Oppo may still be a relatively unfamiliar name to many Kiwis, but the brand has gone about its business in New Zealand in an impressive way.
Shortly after unveiling its new flagship Find X5 range, the company was awarded Consumer New Zealand’s top mobile phone award for the third year running.
It’s so confident in the durability of its phones that it now offers a three-year warranty to Find X5 customers in Aotearoa, more than in other countries worldwide and much more than some of its major competitors offer.
Is it time to look beyond the virtual duopoly of Apple and Samsung and switch to another brand entirely?
I’ve been using the Oppo Find X5 Pro for a few weeks now and here are my thoughts.
Before you even turn on the X5 Pro, there’s so much to like about the thoughtful approach Oppo offers consumers.
Included in the box is not only a case to help protect your phone, but an 80W SUPERVOOC fast charger.
As other companies drop chargers altogether or get you to spend a fortune for additional hardware – all while advertising how their phones fast charge, of course – it’s refreshing that Oppo considers this standard.
That’s backed up by a fantastic performance too. You can expect the 5000 mAh dual-cell battery to charge from 0 to 100 percent in just 37 minutes using the 80W charger.
The company is also making an extraordinary claim with its battery technology too. It says it’ll last 1600 charging cycles, around double the current maximum offered. For context, Apple says its batteries are good for 500 cycles.
Now clearly the review period doesn’t allow the time necessary to test this out, but if it gets anywhere close then it’s a game-changing performance that offers a substantially increased operational life for phones.
And what a phone it is.
It’s powered by the latest Qualcomm chip, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 that powers other Android flagships. It’s also packing 12GB RAM as standard to ensure it’s lightning quick.
That helps ensure the 6.7-inch AMOLED display, offering WQHD+ resolution of 3216 x 1440 pixels and a billion colours, is an absolute delight to use. I watched a couple of episodes of Lost on the phone and the experience is as good as any other on that size of screen.
When you switch to one of Pixar’s animated movies, however, you really get to luxuriate in all those stunning colours that really pop.
Of course, there’s an adaptive refresh rate on offer too: Up to 120 Hz to ensure that it’s as smooth to navigate and play games as you’d expect any premium modern phone to be.
The device’s exterior is a thing of beauty, with both the back’s ceramic white and glaze black options reflective and surprisingly clean to look at, even with my grubby fingers.
While it’s not quite as flat as Samsung’s S22 Ultra, the stylish, slightly curved camera notch here offers a place to rest your index finger to ensure no wandering digits spoil the photograph when you’re taking pictures.
The pictures themselves aren’t too shabby either. The imaging on the X5 Pro has been co-developed with Swedish camera company Hasselblad and uses Oppo’s own MariSilicon X neural processing unit to help deliver clear, crisp and colourful shots.
On the back there’s a 50 MP wide-angle camera, a 50 MP ultra wide-angle lens and a 13 MP telephoto lens. On the front there’s a 32 MP selfie camera to ensure you’re always looking as good as you possibly can for your Instagram account.
I’ve found it increasingly difficult to judge the quality of photographs on smartphones. Part of that is because the tech is now so good that it’s hard NOT to take a great picture.
The second part is the objectivity of it. What may seem overly warm to some might be perfect to others. While I love my colours to explode, others may prefer a slightly more realistic view.
What I can say without any hesitation is that in comparison with the other top smartphones, I found the output to be more than comparable.
In some situations, other cameras were better. In others, the Oppo came out on top. Here is a selection so you can judge for yourself, with the understanding they’ve been resized and compressed for the Newshub website:
What else is left to say?
The Dolby Atmos dual stereo speakers are very good when using the phone in landscape mode. I brought up old favourite Ozzy Osbourne’s ‘Crazy Train’ on YouTube and the opening 30 seconds of madness as the maniacal laugh rings out sounded just great.
The songs on Encanto also came through loud and clear with more than good enough fidelity for phone speakers.
I don’t tend to use those speakers that much, with quality Bluetooth headphones so easy to come by these days. And they do need to be wireless, with no 3.5mm headphone jack, of course.
The phone has IP68 certification, meaning it will more than survive being dropped in the sink while you’re doing your dishes, or powering your external party speaker at the bach as you enjoy the last of summer.
Finally, I quite liked Color OS 12.1, which is based on Android 12. It feels more stock than Samsung’s One and doesn’t come with as many programmes which duplicate Google’s own, like app stores, games launchers and browsers.
It might be harder for those who enjoy Samsung’s brand of Android to adjust, but for me it felt more natural to use.
Pre-installing bloatware – software I didn’t want or ask for – annoys the hell out of me and Oppo is guilty of that with the Find X5 Pro.
Thankfully the likes of the Amazon Shopping, TikTok, Booking.com and PUBG Mobile Gift Box apps were easily uninstalled, which is not always the case with such unwelcome additions. But come on tech companies, stop it. It’s a horrid practice that really should be destined to the recycle bin of history.
One of the more interesting moves this year has been the removal of the microscope camera that debuted in last year’s Find X3 Pro. I can’t recall the last time functionality appeared and then disappeared in a single generation of phones.
I’m going to give Oppo the benefit of the doubt here and presume that it just wasn’t used much. Features like this can be gimmicky – they’re used once or twice when the phone is new and never again.
It’s not something I’m going to miss but that might annoy some.
The camera also comes with just 2x optical zoom, below that of both Samsung and Apple’s equivalent devices. Again, it’s not a function that I tend to use that much, but if it’s important for you then be aware.
There’s also no ability to extend the storage of the phone with a microSD card, something that’s become increasingly familiar with top-end phones.
This is somewhat mitigated by Oppo offering only a single model X5 Pro in Aotearoa with 256 GB storage as standard, but if you’re a media hog then you might need to figure the additional cloud storage costs into your budget.
My final problem is almost entirely cosmetic in nature. I like that there’s no iPhone-esque notch at the top of the Oppo screen, but there’s something that irks me about the punch hold selfie camera being off to the far left hand side and not in the centre.
I suspect most people won’t be afflicted by such annoyances.
While it’s not quite perfect, it’s fair to say Oppo’s flagship model has made a very big impression on me.
It’s also an incredibly good looking phone that’s just the right size. With the semi-clear protective case included in the box, the gorgeous ceramic back isn’t hidden away like with so many other brands.
With 12GB of RAM as standard and a more-than-acceptable 256GB of storage, you also don’t feel like you’ve got to spend more than you were intending.
At $1999, the Find X5 Pro is cheaper than that of Samsung’s equivalent S22 model by $100, while the iPhone 13 Pro with the same 256GB of storage currently retails at $2199.
Costing less than $2000 along with the extended warranty and award-winning local service could well tempt people seeking a bit more than the lowest specifications from the big two smartphone brands.
As for me? I am transferring my personal SIM card over to the Find X5 Pro after several years of only using Samsung or Apple as my primary phone.
I’ve had at least five jobs, moved six times, survived a divorce and grown more grey hairs than I would like to admit in that time.
And that has to change. It may be April Fool’s Day, but this is no joke.
Will my brief dalliance with the Find X5 Pro turn into a long-lasting relationship? Time will tell.
Newshub was supplied with an Oppo Find X5 Pro for this review.