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Oppo F3 Plus: Our First Take

The Oppo F3 Plus' fantastic dual-lens selfie cam will keep your narcissistic side sated

It’s a massive phone, but the Oppo F3 Plus’s dual-lens front camera puts a new twist on what’s rapidly becoming an established trend.

Whether you want to shoot glorious wide-angle shots of stunning landscapes, zoom in for a close-up, or add a blurry bokeh effect to your photo, dual-lens cameras are a lot of fun on our smartphones. However, they’re mainly found on the back of the device. Oppo is no stranger to making unusual, but often excellent, camera phones, and for the new F3 Plus, it put the dual-lens camera on the front of the phone instead.

What does it do? It’s much like LG’s dual-lens camera setup, in that it has a standard angle lens and a wide-angle lens, but they’re for taking selfies and group selfies rather than landscape shots. The standard lens has 16 megapixels and a f/2.0 aperture, while the 120-degree wide-angle lens has 8 megapixels. On the rear is a single camera lens, produced by Sony, with 16-megapixels and an impressive f/1.7 aperture. It also has a dual phase detection auto-focus system and oversize 1.4-micron pixels.

Everything from the sleep/wake key to the speaker grill simply screams “iPhone 6S Plus.”

Let’s go through some other specifications. The Oppo F3 Plus has a massive 6-inch screen that uses in-cell technology for a high level of sensitivity, a 1,920 x 1,080-pixel resolution, and a large sheet of Gorilla Glass 5 over the top. An aluminum body surrounds it with minimal bezels, and it weighs 185 grams. Naturally, this is a big phone, and it’s larger than both the iPhone 7 Plus and the Huawei Mate 9.

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 653 processor with 4GB of RAM powers the F3 Plus. Energy is provided by a 4,000mAh battery, which also benefits from Oppo’s effective VOOC fast charging system. There’s 64GB of internal storage space and a MicroSD card slot built into a crazy triple-space SIM tray, which will still accept two SIM cards even with the MicroSD card in place.

No, it’s not an iPhone

Like many other Oppo smartphones, the F3 Plus is highly reminiscent of Apple’s iPhone. The gold version we’ve tried out has a white front panel and a gold body, with a single rear camera lens in the top left, and the Oppo brand name top center. Everything from the position of the sleep/wake key to the speaker grill simply screams “iPhone 6S Plus.”

The only deviation is the antenna lines which run across the top and bottom of the body. Oppo has split them into three tightly spaced tramlines, and it looks great. The display is raised slightly away from the body, creating a slight ridge. It’s not uncomfortable, and presumably, gives more internal space to accommodate the large battery.

Selfies, and group selfies

If the Oppo F3 Plus is all about selfies, how do they look? They’re great. A button swaps between the lenses, and the wide-angle mode would easily fit in three or four people into the standard shot, with the phone held at arm’s length. There is some distortion around the edges of the shot, bending straight lines in the way one expects a wide-angle lens to do. At the top of the screen is a teardrop-shape button that adds a depth of field effect to the photo. Although this only operates using the standard angle lens, it looks excellent.

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Oppo makes a big deal out of the dual phase detection auto-focus on the rear camera, which is designed to work especially well in low light. On a cloudy, rainy English day, the rear camera certainly pulled plenty of detail out of the scene, but it washed the sky out in auto mode. We can’t pass full judgment so quickly, and it’ll definitely need more testing, but a few tweaks in manual mode may help bring out the best in what appears to be a capable camera.

Outdated software

The F3 Plus sadly has Android 6.0.1 installed, and not Android 7 Nougat. It has Oppo’s own ColorOS user interface over the top. The Android Security Patch is dated December 2016 on our test device, which is just awful, but normal for Chinese phones. ColorOS removes the app tray and changes the notification shade by splitting it into two sections — one for settings and the other for notifications — plus it adds several pre-installed apps. These include a security center, WPS Office, and various tools like a voice recorder, a music player, and a video app.

Availability and price

Oppo hasn’t announced a price for the F3 Plus yet. The F1 Plus costs around $400, and if the F3 Plus can come in around the same level, it’ll be worth investigating further. The 6-inch screen makes it tempting enough, given how few phones are made today with such a sizeable display, but the unusual selfie camera really makes it stand out from the crowd. It delivers good results as well, in our basic early tests.

If you can get past the F3 Plus looking like an iPhone, the build quality feels superb — but beware, because it’s a slippery thing.

There’s considerable potential in the F3 Plus, but a lot depends on the price.

The downside is the overall body size. It’s huge. It’s also a shame it uses an old version of Android, with a user interface which will split opinion. We haven’t enjoyed previous versions of ColorOS, but version 3.0 installed here is supposed to be faster, tidier, and kinder to battery life. We’re also hopeful the big battery will help power the F3 Plus through a couple of days’ use.

You may have to search for the F3 Plus if you want to buy one, as it’s so far only confirmed for release in parts of Asia and India, but we’re hopeful a U.S. and European release will follow in the future. There’s considerable potential in the F3 Plus, but a lot depends on the price. We’ll update here when we know more.

Highs:

  • Massive screen
  • Dual-lens selfie camera
  • Plenty of storage space, and dual SIM slot
  • Big battery and fast charging

Lows:

  • No U.S. release date yet
  • Old version of Android