Oppo are a company that have been around for a while, but it was not until their 2020 flagship, the Find X2 Pro that many people took a bigger look into what devices were on offer and could start to appreciate the quality devices they might have missed out on.
Since then the company has been on a real forward march making some of the best designed smartphones in the industry, plus adding some interesting concept ones too such as a rollable phone and sliding up camera systems on some of their older ones.
This is the review on the Oppo Find X3 Neo, the so called middle of the road from the three new devices in the series, and one that goes head to head with the Samsung Galaxy S21, but does the Neo have enough to compete with the competition and should you pick one of these up for yourself?
The device was offered on a two week loan from Oppo UK and once finished it was returned back to them so others were able to get hands on to cover, no offer of payment or a device to keep was offered, all opinions are my own and no one from Oppo had any input in any of the review content.
Thanks for checking the review out and feel free to leave a comment with any questions you may have.
When it comes to mid-range devices there are normally corners skipped to get the price down, however with the X3 Neo this is not the case as this is not really a mid-range phone, just the middle of the X3 Series they launched at the same time.
The X3 Neo comes with Gorilla Glass 5 on the front meaning it is extra tough and more resistant against scratching which is great, the back is made of a cut glass which means not only is it strong, it also helps prevents picking up annoying fingerprints.
The front camera will be covered more in the camera section of the review, but as a quick overview you get a 32 megapixel camera with 1080p recording which does a decent job or selfies and video blogging should you want too, samples will be later on in the review.
It was nice to have a high resolution selfie camera but a shame to limit the video to 1080p when 4K would have been a great addition.
The screen comes in at a decent 6.55 inches in size and uses AMOLED technology, it also offers a 90hz refresh rate which will be great for anyone into high frame rate gaming or likes a smooth silky animation here and there, and the 1080p resolution does a good job at keeping things looking good.
The large screen takes up all the front with no physical buttons to be seen, just the large screen which looks great for watching content back on.
The display is also where you will find the built in fingerprint reader used for unlocking the device and this was very accurate and fast, one of the better ones in a phone I have tried.
Looking over at the left side you get the volume up and down buttons which can also be used in the camera app as a shutter button to take photos if you prefer using a physical button instead of on screen controls.
This is something still not many people know is possible on a lot of phones and prefer using a physical button as it feels like a real camera, at least this is now possible using this trick if needed.
Over on the right hand side you get the power button which just controls power, there is no fingerprint reader built in like some phones have, this is due to the fingerprint reader being built into the display.
On my black model I noticed the power button has a slight green colour which adds to the design, I believe the silver model has a plain silver button, so it was nice to see the green tint on the black phone.
Up at the top you have one of the dual microphones for noise cancellation as well as stereo recording when you are either in a voice/video call, or recording video content.
Down at the bottom you have the other microphone used in the dual setup, you also have the USB-C port for data transfer or fast charging at 65w which really helps with super-fast charging when you only have a few minutes spare to get some extra power.
Unfortunately there is no headphone port here, instead you need to use either the USB-C set, or Bluetooth if you have a pair you prefer to use.
Down the bottom is also where you find the SIM tray where you get a Dual SIM slot allowing you to use two SIM cards at the same time which is handy for a lot of people.
Turning over to the back you have a choice of either Silver which is more like a rainbow effect depending how it hits the light, you also get the other colour of Black which is the one I have, but is more like a matte Black thanks to what Oppo call Oppo Glow, this is their take on the back glass which prevents fingerprints whilst also being strong and looking great.
The cameras are housed up top in the left hand corner so as you see on most phones these days, you get the quad lenses with a powerful LED flash.
The cameras include a main 50MP wide angle, a 16MP ultra-wide angle, a 13MP telephoto offering 2x optical zoom, and finally a 2MP macro shooter if you want to get close to an object, even if it is a low resolution.
Sample photos and videos taken from each camera can be found later on in the review so you can see what the quality is like.
Software is an important piece of a smartphone because as good as the hardware may be, it is the software you use every day for every task such as calls, texts, apps, camera and much more.
Oppo use a custom skin they call ColorOS and we are now on Version 11 which is of course based on the most recent Android 11 update which has all the recent security updates and features you will need.
Something many people will appreciate having is a wide range of customisation options from icons to colours so you can really make the phone personal to your style.
You also get the options to choose between a wide range of always on display settings and even change the fingerprint unlocking animation if you wanted too.
Dark Mode is included, but in three different modes, you get Gentle for the light grey colour, Medium for a darker shade, and then Enhanced which makes the most of the AMOLED display showing true blacks and darker colours.
Oppo have also done a lot of work behind the scenes that users will not even see, but will experience such as quicker loading of applications, instant translation of different languages as well as dynamically allocating system resources where needed to always mean an optimal experience, no matter how much you have stored on the device.
There are also lot of security features meaning your phone will stay super secure at all times and even allow different fingerprints for accessing a different profile, handy if you want to use just the one phone for personal settings and also for a work profile too.
There are a lot of different manufacturer skins of Android on phones these days, and from using many of them recently I was pleasantly surprised with how good ColorOS was and how much I enjoyed using it.
Performance is very good running the Snapdragon 865 processor, whilst it may not be the latest 888 chip from the company, the 865 does a great job at performing on heavy tasks still such as gaming or running multitasking and is the same one that powered the X2 Pro last year.
This is backed up by a massive 12GB of RAM which means smooth multitasking including graphic heavy games, and in my time playing Call of Duty or PUBG I had no issues at all with the performance as you would hope to be the case with this amount of RAM., some may even call it overkill but was nice to have.
The battery included is 4500mAh which is one of the higher end capacity on sale at the moment, and performance is very good even running at 90hz using the AMOLED screen and with using two sims at the same time which normally has a big hit on battery performance.
If you do need to top up the power, the X3 Neo supports fast charging via the branded Super Vooc 2.0 which gives you 0-100 charge in just 35 minutes which is crazy fast.
Something missing is wireless charging support which is a shame as this is something found in the competition at this price, but is not a deal-breaker by any means.
The Oppo Find X3 Neo comes with support for 2G/3G/4G/5G so you have a wide range of connectivity options depending on your network and sometimes price plan of choice (not all plans include 5G access)
With lockdown now coming to an end whilst my review had finished, I was able to still test 5G as it had started to become available near me, using EE I was able to pick up 5G from the next town across the harbour and even with all the distance was happy to get 250Mbps which is fast enough for most situations.
With using 4G this was also giving access to 4G+ which is also known as LTE-Advanced, again it depends on network and location but I was happy to be getting speeds of around 100-150Mbps over this network here in Torquay which isn’t exactly the most popular of places for technology, and if you are in a better area with faster networks you can in theory get 200/300Mbps speeds over 4G, if not even more.
Of course being 5G ready as soon as signal covers your area you will get access to these even faster speeds and you are future proofing yourself, all for a very affordable price.
Of course you also get the standard GPS, Bluetooth, NFC and WiFi built in for navigation and communication, WiFi supports the latest standard too for stronger and quicker data speeds if you have the right router.
Something missing is also an IP rating, this means no using in the heavy rain or in the bath for example, as with no IP certification you may cause damage with steam in the long run so best not to risk it.
Smartphone cameras are getting better and better with every update that comes out, we are now at a time when for most people their mobile phone camera will replace their standalone point and shoot as it is always with them.
With the selfie camera you get 32 megapixels which is actually decent because a lot of phones around this price top out at 8 megapixels or even 16 megapixels, the extra information helps with details and in good lighting does a good job.
Quality of the selfie camera for both photos and videos is decent but considering the main reasons for a selfie camera are either sharing on social media or using the video for video calling such as WhatsApp or Duo, and for this the quality is decent enough.
Selfie videos top out at 1080p resolution at 30 frames per second and an example of this is below in case you wanted to check out for yourself, remember though to change the settings in the video to 1080p in case YouTube decided to play at 480p instead.
It is a shame with a 32 megapixel lens the video is a maximum of 1080p and 4K was not an option, not a deal-breaker for some people, but would have been nice.
Oppo have gone for a four camera setup over on the back, each having a purpose and a reason for being chosen for this device instead of just throwing random lenses and finding a reason for them.
The main sensor comes in at 50MP and does a great job at capturing lots of detail and information whilst also keeping decent image quality, this will be the camera you use most of the time so great to see more than decent performance from this.
In fact the main sensor on the Neo is the same 50MP IMX766 you get on the Pro model which means you can expect some great photos in all conditions.
Second comes the 16MP ultra-wide angle which gets more into the frame and is used for situations like group shots or landscape photos when you have more to get into the photo and don’t want to cut anything off the sides, thankfully 16MP is a high resolution camera to have for a wide angle so you don’t lose quality like on some other phones, whilst it is not on par with the 50MP wide angle seen on the Pro, considering the price difference between the two devices, the Neo has a camera that will impress many.
The third camera is a 13MP telephoto lens which allows for 2x optical zoom so you can get closer to your subject and not lose on quality you would get if you used a digital zoom, this allows you to be more creative with your photography skills and get that better photo in the times you need to get that bit closer.
Finally comes the 2MP macro shooter, this is what lets you get really close up to objects, of course at a much lower resolution to the others, and be careful when using as normally you need decent lighting to get a good Macro shot, and the closer you get to the object the more natural light you block out so this can be hit and miss.
Here are photos taken using each of the cameras so you can see what quality you can expect to see from these sensors in all different lighting conditions.
Low light performance also impresses here when you use the dedicated Night Mode in the settings, this is not something new in smartphones, but some are much better than others thanks to not only a better lens used, but also software improvements, and this is where Oppo use their great camera understanding to get the best possible shots in the tough night conditions.
Video recording is very good here too thanks to the different lenses you have to switch between and also the software improvements Oppo use such as better stabilisation techniques.
Video goes to a maximum of 4K at 60 frames per second, and quality of both video and audio is very good full of detail which was great to see.
Something I was confused at first was the stabilisation modes, when you are in video mode you get the option for Pro or Max, on speaking with the Oppo X3 Neo Product Manager in a recent call it was confirmed that the Max mode uses the wide angle lens to help keep things more stable as it gets more into the scene.
Having used many smartphones over the years, the Oppo Find X3 Neo offers a great package of both photo and video recording which many people will appreciate using and having in their pocket at all times.
Oppo are a company you will hear a lot about in the future, they are making some great phones and devices around the world, and have recently started pushing much more in the UK with their X2 Series, and now the X3 Series of smartphones.
I had used phones from Oppo in the past, but the X3 series is by far the most exciting yet.
With Oppo sending me a Neo to use I was able to use as my main device for just over two weeks, and with lockdown now over I was able to use as I would normally day to day with taking to work and using for multimedia and for the camera in more locations than during lockdown was allowing.
Overall I was very impressed with the Oppo Find X3 Neo, with outstanding performance, battery life and camera quality really standing out as the best features of this device.
Whilst a lot of people will look for the X3 Pro and the improved camera specifications it has, and better display, it is the Neo which offers a great all round package for a more affordable price that will help it sell in large numbers and attract a lot of attention.
At £699 this will be a great but for anyone wanting to pick up one of the latest phones by a premium manufacturer, and not have the massive cost normally involved.
A big thanks to Oppo for sending out the device to do this review.