“OPPO – Camera Phone”. Let’s begin with the tagline of the company. Simple, precise, and to the point. The OPPO F3 Plus that we are going to talk about here is about that itself, the camera, more than anything else in it. The F3 Plus was recently launched in India with the large size, to start with, and that makes it a phone that not everyone would be comfortable using. But then, we aren’t going to end it here because the phablet has a lot that one would want to see in their perfect phone.
Is the OPPO F3 Plus a bit too pricey? Oh, there are some similar ones with better chipsets and priced almost the same, but is the chipset the only decider? Let’s get into the review to see what I found interesting, worthy of a praise, and what disappointed me during my usage of the device for a few days.
A quick look at the specs, we can be assured that the OPPO F3 Plus has enough to keep itself running, with the 6-inch display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 processor, 4GB of RAM, 64GB internal storage, and a 4000 mAh battery. But the highlight has to be the camera combination here. The rear camera has a F/1.7 aperture, while on the front is a dual-lens camera combination where one is a normal selfie camera and the other is for group selfies. We’ll get into the details, in the camera section down below.
A majority of the users would want to use the phone and access the parts of the screen with the same hand that ish holding it. Only some would be okay with the two-hand usage, and this is the only way you can get along with on the OPPO F3 Plus. The large device has not got a unique design as it resembles the Apple iPhone a lot, but we’ve always seen smartphones as something you need to like and not compare. If you were with a budget for an iPhone, you’d have got it already, and the design is something you need to get adjusted with, more with the ease and comfort than with the design.
One who always has to compare the design with that of the iPhone, you are right, it has a lot of similarities. Now, let’s get to the usability part. The phone seems very sturdy and tough. You get an assuring feel of holding a rigid phone with its metal build. The back plate continues to end behind the screen and after the smooth curve, there is a chamfered edge towards the point where the screen meets the metal plate. On the front is the glassy part, with the large 6-inch display, slim bezels, the dual-lens camera, and a fingerprint sensor below the display. The fingerprint sensor would also work as a home button, and to let you take full advantage of the large display, the navigation keys are kept out of the display, with one key each on the either side of the home button.
While for such a large screen size, you’d expect it to offer a better resolution than the 1080p resolution that is offered here, the display is still good enough to put out good colors and OPPO has done no compromise with the basics, offering the Gorilla Glass 5 protection. It isn’t AMOLED, so you won’t be finding the best of the color outputs but then, it is nowhere close to what you should be disappointed about. The phone also has the Eye Protect Mode that helps remove the blue light when using the device in dark conditions.
If you thought that only the design was inspired from the smartphone giant, you are mistaken. It is even the interface that tries much to match what is offered in iOS. The phone runs Android Marshmallow based Color OS, which is a custom interface. The similarity is as much that the icons are also similar to what you would find on an iOS device. Moreover, the interface of some apps also resembles of the counterpart on the competitor OS. But, there’s minimal of the unneeded stuff as you don’t find a lot of bloatware. But as a matter of fact, there are still apps that you might not want to use – Double apps for the same destination. Google’s apps and OPPO’s apps are both there though you might always want to use one.
The Color OS has a lot of settings and they are quite well organized. There are gesture features, like the screen-off gestures where you can draw certain alphabets to open up apps, double tap on the fingerprint button to turn on the screen, and even add more gestures if you wanted. The other quick gestures include single-handed operation and motion gestures for calls. The device also has the “No Disturb Mode” where you can keep all the notifications away for the time that you set.
Also, it is Android Marshmallow that is the OS version the Color OS is based on, and we are not even sure if OPPO cares enough to push out the Android Nougat update, which should have actually been the OS version it shipped with. Fortunately, the review unit that we got just got a software update with the latest security patch update dated for April 5th, 2017, so on that front, it is good on the security side.
Let’s talk performance. No flagship chipset here, but let’s be fair to the offering here. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 processor here is given in many affordable phones than this, but the chipset here is capable of doing very well and keep it smooth for multitaskers. The gaming performance is not as bad but don’t expect it to be perfect because I did notice it lag down on the best of high-graphic games like Modern Combat 5. It does also tend to heat up on playing games for about 20-30 minutes and mind you, it isn’t the mild warming that I’m talking about. A good 42-degree to 44-degree heat is what we could see on the back of the device and almost the same on the front, towards the earpiece area.
Otherwise, for the smoothness, it really is. You wouldn’t have to worry about it much because the phone does let you have multiple apps in the background while being swift enough in switching between them. The audio department is well handled with the single speaker grill in the bottom, but as good is the volume output on the device, the quality isn’t. There is enough distortion on maximum volume for you to notice it and not be impressed with the volume level.
The 16MP rear camera with has the Sony IMX 398 sensor and F/1.7 aperture. The focusing is super quick, the app takes no time to load and the captures are snappy, but hey, let’s talk about the quality. While the pictures taken with the rear camera are good enough, they sometimes tend to lose the originality in colors, but most of the time, the color output is close to real.
Using HDR doesn’t help much because the pictures have a bluish tone to them. While we would expect it to do well in the low light conditions with that aperture size, the results have not made any justice to the camera specs. It does struggle to keep the colors right when there is no good light available.
But, the “camera phone” tag is more inclined towards the front camera. Not just one, but two cameras on the front. There is a 16-megapixel primary sensor and an 8-megapixel secondary one. But, the difference here is about the lens as well. While one is a normal one, the secondary lens has a wide 105-degree field of view that will help in group selfies. It is easy to say that the capture quality is one of the best for the selfie cameras in not just this price range but for any price range. It fights though against the Vivo V5 Plus but others don’t stand a chance when it comes to the quality of selfies taken. It isn’t the polished beautified pictures but much more natural.
Crisp, clear, and colorful shots are captured with the front camera and only when you switch it to the wide-angle sensor, there is a slight difference in the quality of the capture, which is quite obvious. The app has a lot of modes and features to take advantage of the front cameras, and that includes Selfie Panorama, Screen flash, Smart Facial Recognition and Palm Shutter. One good thing about the smart facial recognition here is that the mode automatically chooses which camera to use, based on the number of faces.
The connectivity is a good part, but the phone lacks NFC or even an IR blaster, which is something one might expect for a phone having this price tag. Not that these inclusions should’ve been there because of the price that is being paid, but they should have been there because they have been a kind of obvious need for many. What is common these days and is here, is the fingerprint sensor. It is a brilliantly good sensor that is accurate, quick in recognition and is one of the best. Since it is given on the front of the phone, you wouldn’t have to always lift and hold the phone in hand to reach the sensor and unlock the phone.
Lastly, the battery of the smartphone. For such a large size, there is always room for a big battery. A 4000 mAh Li-polymer battery is packed into the phone and it is definitely a long runner. A day’s usage with ease is what we got while having it on the data network for several hours and the screen-on time, on average, was about 5 hours. The phone does have a Low Power mode where you can have it to restrict some background usage and give a longer battery life on a single charge. To add to the good battery stats, there is VOOC flash charge technology that helps you get about 2 hours of usage with just five minutes of charging.
There are certain drawbacks, some inclusions that didn’t offer what one would expect to, and some exclusions users should’ve expected for what they are expected to pay for the OPPO F3 Plus. For a phone that is costing Rs. 30,990, you do expect it to have the least of common connectivity options like NFC and IR blaster, but the absence of them should not be the real deal breakers.
What is more annoying is the fact that you don’t have a phone running the latest OS. But then, that’s where the drawbacks end here as there is a lot on the brighter side as well.
The front-facing camera of the OPPO F3 Plus, or actually, the combination of the two front-facing cameras of the phone is a killer one. It does a lot in that department and how! The battery life is also great and the phone has enough on the performance front.
The large phone, as mentioned above, won’t be something everyone would like to use because of that big size. So, while you won’t find many such options in the phablet range, the price asked for the device is more than what one should’ve been happy shelling out, considering the number of phones it has to stand firm against. At Rs. 30990, the OPPO F3 Plus is a good phone but isn’t close to the best because you can consider the likes of OnePlus 3T, the Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro, and even the Vivo V5 Plus.