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Get closer: New smartphone camera tech from Oppo zooming to MWC

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Why it matters to you

Oppo has considerable experience in smartphone cameras, and has wowed us with new tech in the past, making the 5x very intriguing.

Oppo, the Chinese smartphone brand known for its camera phones, will be at Mobile World Congress at the end of this month, to show a new technology it’s calling “5x.” What’s 5x? Oppo’s not telling us, but from the way the firm describes it, we’re looking at a new technology, rather than just a new smartphone called the 5x. Probably best, as that’s just going to get confusing.

“Go 5x further,” says the Oppo invitation to see the tech at MWC, adding that it’s, “smartphone photography technology that will give users unprecedented ability to capture highly detailed images.” It has been in development for a year, and is now ready to be shown off to the public. Oppo has a strong photographic background, after it captured many headlines with its rotating camera modules and massive-megapixel selfie cams, and the company even takes the dubious honor of being the first to feature a pre-installed beautification mode on a smartphone.

More: Read our review of the Oppo F1 Plus

What could 5x be? Its name — and the “So close you can feel it” tagline — suggests something to do with camera zoom, a hot trend in smartphones at the moment. If it refers to a 5x zoom on a phone, and is optical without a massive lens extension, then it would surpass Apple’s 2x zoom on the iPhone 7 Plus, and Asus’ 2.3x zoom on the Zenfone 3 Zoom. However, this is only speculation, and we’ll have to wait and see what Oppo reveals on the day.

Last year Oppo also used Mobile World Congress to showcase some exciting technology. It demonstrated the next generation of its proprietary battery fast-charging system, which could take a cell from zero to 100 percent in just 15 minutes, plus a new image stabilization system for smartphone cameras. However, neither of these have since been made available in an Oppo smartphone, despite the intention to have them available before the end of last year.

While we’re excited to see Oppo’s new 5x technology, whatever it may end up being, we’re also wary that it may be an early prototype — and therefore not something we should expect to use in the real world any time soon.