Oppo Find X review: A bewildering mix of the exotic and impractical

Christopher Minasians
7 Mar 2019
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
incl VAT

The Find X has a motorised pop-up camera unlike anything you’ve seen before – but it costs a fortune and skimps on key features

Spectacular stills camera quality
Beautiful design
Flagship performance
No fingerprint scanner, waterproofing, NFC, wireless charging, microSD slot or 3.5mm headphone jack
Ludicrously expensive

In the UK, Chinese manufacturer Oppo is largely unheard of. Some might have accidentally stumbled across the brand while looking for high-end Blu-ray players, amplifiers or headphones. But a smartphone? Not in this part of the world. Travel to India or Southeast Asia, however, and you’ll see more Oppo shops than you can count – according to IDC, the brand holds around 8.6% of the global smartphone market share.

To build its presence in Europe and the UK, the firm is pulling out all the stops, and nowhere is this more apparent than its flagship smartphone, the Oppo Find X. The phone has a motorised pop-up unit that houses both front- and rear-facing cameras and hides them away when not in use. The result? A phone with a front-filling screen and no notch in sight.

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Oppo Find X review: What you need to know

Aside from its pop-up mechanism, the Oppo Find X houses a 6.4in notchless display, which the manufacturer coins as its “Panoramic Arc Screen”. In layman’s terms, this means it has curved edges and very thin bezels.

Internally, the phone packs a significant punch: it comes with a Snapdragon 845 processor, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage. It runs Android 8.1 Oreo and those motorised, hidden front and rear cameras are a force to be reckoned with, too.

Oppo Find X review: Price and competition

The Find X is very expensive, costing a huge £799. Other edge-to-edge display phones are far more affordable: the mesmerising Honor View 20 starts from £499, the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 and its sliding mechanism cost £499 and the Vivo Nex S with its motorised selfie camera is now £440.

If you’re not too worried about the notch you’ll find even more options to consider: the Huawei Mate 20 Pro at £750; the iPhone XR at £749; the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL at £739 and £869, respectively; the Samsung Galaxy S9 at £455; and the OnePlus 6T at £500.

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Oppo Find X review: Design and build quality

The motorised pop-up mechanism on the top edge of the Find X is the phone’s big party trick, and it’s an effective if elaborate solution to eradicating the notch. It’s triggered by launching the camera app or by waking up the device via the power button, and uses a motorised screw to raise and lower the camera module.

When the cameras are stowed away, the phone has a minimalist look like no other. There are no protruding camera housings, notches or in-display selfie cameras in sight and it looks absolutely wonderful, whether you opt for the Glacier Blue or Bordeaux Red finish. The colours on the back of the phone fade subtly into a darker centre, while the edges are vibrant and shift in colour under different light conditions. It’s no Honor View 20 but is still among the better-looking phones out there. In fact, with glass that curves gently along the long edges at both the front and rear of the phone, the build is reminiscent of the Samsung Galaxy S9.

The placement of the buttons and other physical features is as sensible as the design is attractive. The power button resides on the right edge and the volume rocker on the left, the bottom edge houses a speaker grille, the phone’s reversible dual nano-SIM tray and USB Type-C port. The latter, coupled with Oppo’s VOOC flash-charging system allows you to charge the phone from empty to 75% in around 30 minutes. As for wireless connectivity, the Find X supports dual-band 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi 802.11ac and Bluetooth 5.

That’s not an end to the Find X’s talents, though. Other key features include 3D Face recognition that, like Apple’s Face ID, uses an infrared dot-projection camera to map 15,000 recognition dots onto your face and unlock the phone. This isn’t as advanced as Apple’s iPhone X or later models, which use 30,000 dots, but it’s still impressive nonetheless.

If you’re not keen on enrolling your face or having the motorised mechanism pop-up each time you want to unlock the phone, however, you’ll have to make do with PIN or pattern unlock because there’s no fingerprint reader or any other means of quickly unlocking the phone.

Unfortunately, that’s not the only feature missing from the Find X: there’s no wireless charging, no NFC (you can’t make contactless payments), no microSD expansion slot and no 3.5mm jack. To cap it all, dust and water resistance go amiss, too.

READ NEXT: Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review: Behold, the notch killer

Oppo Find X review: Display

The Find X’s “full-view” 6.4in AMOLED display is impressive. It has a Full HD+ (1,080 x 2340) resolution at an aspect ratio of 19.5:9.

Tested via the i1 DisplayPro calibrator, the AMOLED display achieves a contrast ratio of 48,281:1, which is effectively perfect. Peak brightness is reasonable, but at 401cd/m2 it’s no match for the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S9, which peaks at above 900cd/m2 in certain scenarios.

Colour performance isn’t so great, unfortunately. While colours look vibrant, they’re not particularly on the money when it comes to accuracy, lagging a long way behind phones like the Samsung Galaxy S9, Apple’s iPhones, and even more reasonably priced handsets, such as the Honor View 20.

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Oppo Find X review: Performance

To power you through intensive tasks, the Find X uses an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor and 8GB of RAM, which helps it slices through intensive tasks with ease and cope with heavy multitasking without breaking sweat. For context, its performance is largely similar to other phones using the Snapdragon 845 (the OnePlus 6 and 6T, for instance) and slightly slower than phones using the Kirin 980, such as the Honor View 20 and Huawei Mate 20 Pro.

As for gaming, it runs intense games such as PUBG and Asphalt 8: Airborne flawlessly, with no stuttering or lag. Oppo’s “Game Space” aims to enhance the enjoyment, too, by automatically restricting background apps network access and limiting notifications while you’re playing. Suffice to say, if you enjoy gaming on a smartphone, the Find X won’t disappoint.

By utilising GameBench to analyse the frame rate (see graph, below), the Oppo Find X manages to average 59fps on PUBG Mobile, while the more graphically intensive Shadowgun Legends averages at 51fps. Impressive. Here, Game Space manages to reduce the average memory usage by around 150MB – allowing for a greater number of apps to run in the background without having a large impact on your gaming experience.

Added to all this battery life is decent and charging impressively swift. The standard model Find X houses a single 3,730mAh battery that lasted 15hrs 15mins in our video-rundown test, which translates, comfortably to a full day of medium to low usage. And when your charge level is low, the phone charges from zero to 75% in just 30 minutes, thanks to Oppo’s “Voltage Open Loop Multi-step Constant-Current Charging” technology, which somehow translates to the acronym VOOC. Note, though, you’ll need to use the bundled charger and cable to reap in the benefits.

On the software side of things, the Find X comes with Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box with Oppo’s own ColorOS 5.1 software overlay preinstalled. I’d have preferred something closer to stock Android 9 Pie for a more polished experience, but the overlay does at least provide some degree of customisation. Like Samsung’s TouchWiz software, ColorOS has a floating shortcut sidebar that appears with a quick inward swipe from the outer edge of the phone’s display.

Other notable features include the ability to hide the software-navigation keys and replace them with gestures, enabling you to go back, launch the recent apps menus and go to the homescreen with a swipe up from the bottom edge of the screen.

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Oppo Find X review: Camera

The motorised unit that raises from the body of the phone houses both the single 25-megapixel selfie camera and the two rear-facing 20-megapixel and 16-megapixel cameras. The latter is the primary shooter and is equipped with PDAF (phase detect autofocus) and OIS (optical image stabilisation) and all three cameras have an aperture of f/2.0. Unlike other flagship phones, the Find X’s second rear camera is purely a depth sensor for producing blurred-background portrait photographs. There’s no telephoto or ultra-wide angle camera here.

Oppo’s camera app is straightforward and easy to use; in fact, it’s remarkably similar to Apple's Camera app. That’s not to say it’s bad, though – Apple is very good at stripping down features in favour of ease of use and that approach works well here, too.

And when it comes to camera quality, the Find X is impressive. The rear-facing cameras capture plenty of detail, draw in plenty of light and reproduce accurate colours. In the image below, there’s plenty of detail on the building with red brickwork; the autumnal trees crisp and sharp; and there’s no notable loss of detail around the red chimneys.

^ Oppo Find X standard mode

Turn on HDR and there’s an even better tonal balance throughout the image. It’s a subtle difference but the trees don’t seem as dark and the buildings at the foreground are slightly lighter.

^ Oppo Find X HDR mode

Comparing it with the Honor View 20 and its 48-megapixel monster, the Find X not only holds its own but improves on its results. Below is a side-by-side comparison, with the Find X on the left and the View 20 on the right. Both were shot within seconds of each other. The latter was set to shoot at 48 megapixels.

^ Oppo Find X at 180% crop vs Honor View 20 at 100%

From the overall sharpness around the buildings to the sky’s colour tone, the Find X’s photograph is superior. It’s highly impressive and ranks among the top smartphone cameras on the market for stills.

Moving onto low light testing and the Find X is, yet again, very good. Where I’d normally see lots of image noise around the felt pens and the plant vase, the Oppo suppresses it to a minimum. However, there are a few weaknesses that emerge versus the Honor View 20. The text behind the stuffed bear isn’t as sharp and there’s a slight yellowish cast to the image.

^Oppo Find X vs Honor View 20 in low light

Turn on flash and the situation worsens. Here, the Find X overcompensates for the low light conditions and the result is a completely overexposed shot. By comparison, the View 20 maintains a balanced image and eliminates much of the image noise in the process, too.

^ Oppo Find X vs Honor View 20 in low light with flash

As for video quality, I was disappointed to see the Find X limited to 30fps at 4K. I’d expect a phone at this level to output 4K at up to 60fps. Worse, despite the presence of optical image stabilisation (OIS) in stills, there’s no visible stabilisation applied to video and, as a result, footage looks shaky and amateurish.

You’ll love the selfie camera on the Find X, though: it’s utterly brilliant, from the detail captured by its 25-megapixel sensor to the overall colour accuracy.

Turn on portrait mode and the result is mesmerising. I’ve not come across a phone with a selfie camera that manages to blur out the background so well while maintaining excellent facial details.

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Oppo Find X review: Verdict

The Find X is certainly an unusual phone with its motorised pop-up camera module and, thanks to its high-end specification and luxurious finish, it’s a contender for the most exotic smartphone yet – until all those foldable handsets turn up later this year.

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However, at £799 it’s simply far too expensive. That price makes it £300 pricier than the Honor View 20 and the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3, and £360 more than the Vivo Nex S, all of which also offer a notchless design. And, with key features missing, such as a fingerprint scanner, waterproofing, NFC, wireless charging, microSD card expansion and a 3.5mm headphone jack, it doesn’t do itself any favours.

Ultimately, if you want a stunning design and a good spread of flagship features, consider the Honor View 20. Alternatively, if camera quality is paramount, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro is a good choice and, finally, for the best Android experience, I’d get the Google Pixel 3 or the OnePlus 6T.

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