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Oppo’s current flagship, the N3, brings with it some great specifications and features on both the hardware and software side. What makes this device unique though is its one of a kind rotating camera setup, with the same 16 MP unit being used for regular shots as well as self portraits.
Granted, the camera setup means nothing if it doesn’t deliver in the quality department, and fortunately, we were already quite impressed by the camera prowess of the Oppo N3 during our in-depth review. That said, a major update to the digital image processing engine was one of the key features of the latest software update of Color OS, bringing with it enhancements to modes and general image quality that Oppo hopes puts its device at par with the other flagships of today.
In fact, Oppo was so confident that its software update has significantly enhanced their camera experience that they challenged Android Authority to take to the streets of Los Angeles, where we showed off the device to everyday people to see how they felt both about the camera experience and the phone itself.
People’s reactions to the Oppo N3
During our time in L.A. we encountered numerous people that were willing to try out the Oppo N3, and even pit the phone against their own devices in a quick camera shootout. One recurring reaction we saw from almost everyone we talked to was excitement and intrigue over the device’s unique rotating camera. Apart from being impressed by the fact that this unique design would allow for some high quality self portraits, users were also appreciative of how easy this camera setup made it to take panorama images, with the rotating camera taking care of all the hard work that usually goes into these shots.
Because it’s the same camera as the rear, just turned around, you have the high resolution still.
As far as photo comparisons go, we’ll be taking a much more in-depth look at how the Oppo N3 and its updated camera experience fares when compared to other modern flagship devices in a follow up feature next week, but we do want to talk a little about some of the reactions people had to the image quality on the N3.
Everyone who took a selfie with the Oppo N3 seemed happy with the result, and as you can see, the images really did turn out very nicely. Beyond selfies, one common sentiment was that the Oppo’s N3 did a great job of getting in close while still retaining a lot of detail. This was evidenced in many of the phones we encountered, including the iPhone 6 and several Android devices.
Turning to the reactions on the phone itself, the build quality in particular received some positive shoutouts, with users mentioning how light it was, and that it felt more substantial and durable when compared to the plastic build of some older Android devices, like previous Samsung flagships.
I would buy it if the company (Oppo) brought it here
It’s also worth noting that there were quite a few iPhone users that played around with the Oppo N3, and yet none of them called out the phone as too big,and one person even said “it’s just like an iPhone 6″ referring to how it felt in their pocket. With Apple moving into the big screen segment with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, Apple users are clearly a lot more comfortable with the larger sizes of Android smartphones than they might have been in the past.
Breaking down the features
So what are the biggest features offered by Oppo N3’s camera software? There’s quite a few standouts, though Ultra HD and Super Macro modes certainly got the most attention when we showed the device off to the general public.
The way the Ultra HD mode works is that it takes 10 shots of scenery and superimposes the best 4, allowing for a lot more detail in the picture. It’s not exactly noticeable in the shot at first glance, but becomes more obvious as you zoom in, removing a lot of the noise that is otherwise usually seen. If you’re looking for more detail in your shots, this mode is certainly going to prove to be very useful, but of course, keep in mind that this does result in significantly larger file sizes as well.
During a iPhone 6 vs N3 shootout, I illustrated to the iPhone 6’s owner how the Ultra HD mode on the N3 could make a 64MP image that allowed much clearer detail than you’d see from a typical smartphone’s images. While taking the same shot of the iconic Via Rodeo resulted in image quality that wasn’t too far apart between these two phones, the difference was noticeable when zooming in further into an image, with the Ultra HD mode on the Oppo N3 allowing for an impressive amount of detail and lack of noise.
The difference becomes obvious when zoomed in further.
The second mode that we want to highlight is Super Macro, which essentially gives the camera a digital zoom to get a really close up shot of the intended target that you want to shoot. As you can see in the images here, the amount of detail and focus is great, and a close up shot of a burger and fries, or coffee, in this fashion will get anyone’s mouth watering. Using this mode allowed for some fantastic zoomed in shots with a lot of detail, resulting in some professional looking photos that will certainly help enhance the smartphone photography experience.
Other Shooting Modes
While the two camera modes above received a special mention in the video, there is no shortage of other features that the Oppo N3 camera application packs. While panorama pictures are possible with any smartphone nowadays, with the Auto Panorama mode, the device takes care of all the work otherwise required by you having to move around yourself while holding the phone in exactly the right position.
Colorful Night mode increases your shutter speed to capture in more light, and enhances the contrast and saturation of the image to let the image pop, and allows for, as the name suggests, some great scenic shots at night. HDR mode also gives your images that extra saturation for some bright photos. Finally, an expert mode is also available, that allows for complete manual control of the camera, with you able to adjust white balance, ISO values, and manually focus the shot.
As you can see, the Oppo N3 seemed to, at the very least, hold its own against many of the phones we ran into in L.A. Oppo might not be a familiar brand here, but most of the people we talked to seemed open to the idea of a phone that brings an experience that is a little different, thanks to the rotating camera. Stay tuned for the second part in this series, in which the Oppo N3 is pitted against the best of the best in the smartphone world when it comes to the camera experience, and take a closer look at how it fares.
Based on the shootouts you saw in the video above, and your own initial reaction to the Oppo N3, what are your thoughts on the device? Let us know in the comments.