Oppo wants its smartphones to become synonymous with amazing cameras and super fast battery charging. Some would say it’s already pretty close, with devices such as the N3 with its rotating camera module, and the impressive first-generation VOOC technology that charges up to 2 hours use in five minutes. Still, neither of these are enough for Oppo. It’s working on two new technologies that have massive potential, and Digital Trends got the chance to see both in action.
Let’s start with the camera. Oppo has developed an optical image stabilization smart sensor that can practically eliminate smartphone camera shake. The key word here is ‘sensor.’ This isn’t a optical image stabilization lens unit that relies on a mechanical, motorized platform to steady your shots. Instead, it’s stabilizing power comes from inside the sensor, which brings a variety of important benefits. It’s the result of considerable research and development, and is now in the prototype stage.
Oppo’s sensor stabilizes (on three axis) without motors, making it 10 times more precise, less power intensive, and much faster than those inside of lenses. Power consumption is 50 times less than a lens-based system, but the speed with which it reacts has fallen from around 50 milliseconds to 15 milliseconds. When dealing with often minute movement in your hand, this can make all the difference. The sensor is also tuned for use in a phone. Because of the way we hold a camera phone when shooting pictures and video, stabilization needs to concentrate on yaw angles, which the Oppo sensor does, rather than the pitch which is favored by lens systems.
The Smart Sensor was demonstrated to us in a prototype phone, where it was put up against the LG G4, an excellent camera phone that comes equipped with lens optical image stabilization. Shooting the same image through both cameras, the difference was instantly noticeable — the Oppo image was not only completely steady, it was more clear as a result. Distortion caused by shake is the enemy of the smartphone photographer in a variety of situations, but is especially irritating in low light, when the shutter remains open for longer — letting in both more light and more blur. Oppo’s Smart Sensor tech may have overcome that problem.
Of course, this was a demonstration set up by Oppo, so is obviously going to favor its new hardware, but that doesn’t stop it being very impressive. It just means we’ll have to give it a try in a finished smartphone before making final judgement. At this early stage though, it looks great.
Super VOOC supercharges charging
The Smart Sensor isn’t Oppo’s only new tech breakthrough. It also showed off something called Super VOOC, the latest evolution in its fast charging technology. Before we get into how, here’s why this is equally as cool as the camera tech — Super VOOC battery charging will charge a 2,500mAh battery from zero to 100 percent in 15 minutes, or a five minute charge will give enough juice for 10 hours of use.
Oppo’s optical image stabilization sensor can eliminate smartphone camera shake.
Oppo’s old VOOC system was already great, returning two hours use after five minutes, but this goes way beyond. It has taken three years of painstaking work for Oppo to get Super VOOC to arrive at operating prototype stage. The company proudly demonstrated it during a presentation, plugging the Super VOOC charger into a phone with about 7 percent charge, chatting for five minutes, then showing the state had leapt to more than 50 percent. Rather than rely on the OS, Oppo used independent battery tracking software to prove it.
Super VOOC’s different to Qualcomm and MediaTek’s fast charging systems because it’s low voltage. This means it doesn’t generate as much heat, and therefore doesn’t waste energy, increasing efficiency. This also means you can use your phone while it’s fast charging, and it won’t suddenly switch over to normal charging due to overheating issues, a common situation for higher voltage systems. A new algorithm dynamically regulates the charging current and voltage pulse, and military-grade materials ensure the charger is safe, durable, and efficient.
It’s compatible with Micro USB and USB Type-C chargers, but does require a special battery to work. That means the Super VOOC tech is likely to remain in Oppo’s hands, and only for compatible phones in its range. There’s no denying having a fully charged battery in just 15 minutes is a very tempting proposition, and a compelling reason to consider an Oppo phone when the tech arrives. Both Super VOOC and the Smart Sensor are at prototype stage, but the intention is to have both inside an Oppo phone you can buy before the end of the year.