Oppo Find X review

The gorgeous Oppo Find X plays hard to get, but is it worth the chase?

The Oppo Find X is as delectable and desirable as an orchid, and as fragile as one too.
The Oppo Find X is as delectable and desirable as an orchid, and as fragile as one too.
The Oppo Find X is as delectable and desirable as an orchid, and as fragile as one too.

Highs

  • Stunning design
  • Great camera performance
  • Flagship processor and specification
  • Super fast charging

Lows

  • Durability concerns
  • Very expensive
  • No wireless charging

DT Editors' Rating

The Oppo Find X is arguably the best-looking smartphone we’ve ever seen, and it manages to pack in excellent tech and an ultra cool headline feature. But it comes from a manufacturer relatively unknown outside of China and several other markets in Asia.

The astounding design is enough to turn heads, and the tech is genuinely impressive, but is it a phone you should buy? Or should you stick with the relative safety offered by Samsung, Apple, LG, and others available in a retail store near you? We’ve been using the Oppo Find X for quite some time to find out.

Design

The Oppo Find X is beyond jaw-droppingly attractive, and it’s so wonderfully free from fuss. There are no camera lenses visible, no easily-spotted speaker grill, no fingerprint sensor, and no garish flourishes a drunk designer decided to add for effect. It’s so smooth, if it were a singer, it’d be Frank Sinatra.

It’s also cunningly designed — the dramatically curved edges and superb balance aren’t an accident — to hide its substantial 9.4mm thickness and 186 gram weight. You won’t believe either figure when you hold the phone. Gorilla Glass 5 is used on the front and back, with aluminum for the phone’s frame. If style is everything, the Oppo Find X would be number one, two, and three on the recommendation list of “phones to buy.”

It’s so smooth, if it were a singer, it’d be Frank Sinatra.

Much as design is important, it’s not what really matters, which means there’s plenty more to come as we dig deeper. First, there are some concerns over this cutting-edge design, mostly surrounding durability. Popular YouTube tech tester JerryRigEverything showed his Oppo Find X wasn’t built to withstand a bend test, cracking the phone quickly in a tortuous video clip.

We’ve not subjected our phone to a similar test — we need it to work in order to review it — but we have noticed the chassis does creak when you try to bend it. Many phones do this, and none are really designed to withstand such harsh treatment. Additionally, there is some flex when you squeeze or press the screen and glass rear panel with some force. A screen protector comes fitted as standard, but its quality isn’t very high as it scratches easily.

The smoothness of the phone also makes it slippery. Not in the hand, where it actually has a great grip and feel, but on most flat surfaces. On glass and smooth wood desks, the phone moves around on its own, threatening to fall on the floor several times without any warning. It was so common, we’d lodge it behind other items so it couldn’t escape. The Find X is like many beautiful things: Delicate, and in need of much care and attention.

Camera

The Oppo Find X is the second phone we’ve seen in 2018 with a motorized camera module — following the Vivo Nex S — which is both its headline feature, and further cause for concern over durability. The module elevates out the top of the phone and contains the dual-lens rear camera, the selfie camera, and an infrared sensor for face recognition. Press it down and it retracts into the phone after a little pressure, but the module itself does wobble about, which makes it feel fragile.

The module elevates out the top of the phone and contains the dual-lens rear camera.

It most likely isn’t, and Oppo said it put the module and its mechanism through lengthy tests to ensure it’s reliable for more than 300,000 uses. In our weeks with the phone, it has not caused any problems, but because this is new territory, we don’t know the warning signs of what makes a good or bad module yet, hence our trepidation. It’s also used a great deal. The face recognition is the phone’s only biometric security system, thus it raises and retracts every time you unlock the phone. Think about how many times that could happen in a day, let alone over two years.

You’ll also use the camera a lot, because it’s really good. The rear camera has two lenses: A 16-megapixel f/2.0 lens, and a 20-megapixel f/2.0 secondary lens. Why they have the same aperture is a mystery, and a missed opportunity to improve the camera more. The main lens has optical image stabilization, phase detection autofocus, and a 1.22nm pixel size. Features include a portrait mode, and a slow motion video mode. The selfie camera has 25-megapixels and auto HDR, plus an artificial intelligence-driven beauty mode.

The rear camera uses artificial intelligence for scene recognition, and the portrait mode has various custom lighting effects, along with the AI beauty mode too. Google Lens is built in. Oddly, simple features like activating a grid are found not in the camera app, but in the Settings menu for the phone itself. It’s not very intuitive.

How fast is the camera, considering the module has to raise up first? There is a shortcut on the phone’s lock screen, and the delay is about half a second before you’re ready to take a photo. It’s barely noticeable, and we’d be surprised if opportunities were lost because of the camera setup. It’s the same for the face unlock. Recognition is almost instant after swiping up on the lock screen. We found it equally as reliable as the iPhone X, with only sunlight in the wrong position causing it to fail.

Outside in the daytime, almost regardless of the weather conditions, the Oppo Find X takes glorious, exciting, and emotion-packed photos.

It’s not as fast as the fastest fingerprint sensors — the OnePlus sensor, for example — but is comparable to current in-display fingerprint sensors, such as the Vivo Nex S and the Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS. We didn’t find it frustrating, and never wished for an alternative unlock method. Oppo also uses an infrared sensor for the Find X, which is more secure than the sensors used in camera-based face unlock systems, which are usually only secondary convenience features.

Outside in the daytime, almost regardless of the weather conditions, the Oppo Find X takes glorious, exciting, and emotion-packed photos. The colors are usually spectacular, with plenty of detail in the darker areas. The Portrait mode’s bokeh effect is effective, picking out edges where other phones sometimes fail, plus we really like the mono-tone light black-and-white effect created too. Scene recognition activates consistently, but there’s no obvious way to turn it off. The AI beauty mode is very strong, altering almost all facial features from eye size and complexion, to slimness and tone.

Try out the slow motion video too, which can be shot in either 720p at 240fps, or at 120fps in 720p. We liked the effect, but it’s shot in a continuous manner, rather than the super slow-mo we’ve seen on the Galaxy S9 Plus and the Huawei P20 Pro. This does take away some of the awkwardness of capturing a slow motion moment, but also reduces the wow factor.

Screen and software

The Oppo Find X has a notch-less, almost bezel-free, 6.4-inch AMOLED screen with a 2,340 x 1,080 pixel resolution. It’s hard to fault that spec, and it does look great in most situations, however, it’s not incredibly bright and suffered in sunny conditions outside. Video performance is superb, as you’d expect from a strong AMOLED screen, with everything from YouTube to Netflix looking great.

From the curved edges to the lack of interruption, we wish every phone was the visual feast the Oppo Find X is. The screen also holds another secret. It works as a notification light, bringing back an Oppo fan-favourite feature, the Skyline. Here, rather than a long light at the base of the phone, the edges of the display light up according to notifications and status. It’s eye-catching, effective, and unique.

On the screen is Oppo’s ColorOS, which is a user interface placed over the top of Android 8.1 Oreo. This is a heavily modified version of Android, with a lot of changes compared to a standard version of Android installed on a Google Pixel or Android One phone. All apps are placed on multiple home screens, Oppo has its own app store and various pre-installed apps including weather and the UC Browser. The Settings menu is different, notifications operate differently (and not very well), and there are various custom features to explore.

Oppo also has its own iPhone X-like gesture control system, where swipes from different points on the screen navigate you around the operating system. While it works, it’s not as natural as that found in iOS, and we quickly returned to the normal Android navigation keys which thankfully, still remain the default option.

This is a heavily modified version of Android, with a lot of changes compared to a standard version of Android installed on a Google Pixel phone.

All these things sound bad, and compared to standard Android, it’s cluttered. But Google Play Services, the Google Play Store, and all the associated Google apps are installed. This makes the Find X feel more familiar than the Vivo Nex S, which doesn’t have any Google apps pre-installed. We like the Game Space that minimizes distractions, optimizes performance, and even cuts out background network connectivity for other apps when playing games.

There are also custom gestures that use the screen edge to activate split screen mode, and to switch between running apps. We couldn’t get this to work reliably, but did use the raise-to-wake feature. When watching video, a swipe at the screen edge brings in a menu with a few controls including a screenshot, and a shortcut to block notifications.

Color OS is a solid third-party user interface. It’s not slow, which is the main thing, but you’ll need to be prepared to learn new ways of doing things on the Find X. The drastic customization may mean the Oppo Find X doesn’t receive regular operating system updates from Google too.

Performance and battery

Our review Oppo Find X has a Snapdragon 845 processor with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage space. It’s a top-of-the-range smartphone, with power-a-plenty. We tried some benchmark apps for comparison.

  • AnTuTu 3DBench: 278,432
  • 3DMark Sling Shot Extreme: 3,349 (Vulkan)
  • Geekbench 4 CPU: 2,077 single-core; 7,702 multi-core

The OnePlus 6 and the Galaxy S9 score around the same, while the HTC U12 Plus and the Sony Xperia XZ2 come a little under the Find X’s scores. We did not experience any performance issues, and consider the Oppo Find X to be one of the most capable phones you can buy, provided you can live with a few little compromises.

The Oppo Find X can get quite warm. Running these three benchmarks back-to-back saw the phone get hot to the touch, probably more so than we’d be comfortable holding the device for any length of time. Playing Riptide GP2 and Reckless Racing 3 didn’t tax the phone to the same extent, but did prove to be a frustrating experience due to the active speaker on the base of the phone being covered by our hand in landscape orientation, resulting in muffled sound.

oppo find x review both colors
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Screen layout is also compromised. In full-screen mode, buttons are often placed too close to the edge of the screen making them hard to press mid-game. Switching to regular view isn’t any better, as the game view gets squashed up to the left edge of the screen anyway, creating the same problem. Also, instead of a plain black bar, the tap-to-enter-fullscreen-mode reminder is permanently displayed, making it look ugly.

A 3,730mAh battery is inside the Oppo Find X, complete with Oppo’s VOOC fast charging. We would regularly get a day’s worth of use out of the battery, but gaming does tend to pull plenty of power, and heavy users may need to grab the VOOC charger before the end of a long day. Charging the Find X’s battery for 30 minutes using the VOOC charger saw it reach 60 percent capacity, and after an hour it was at 80 percent, and all finished within 75 minutes. Superb performance. There’s no wireless charging, despite the glass body, and it does not feature the even faster Super VOOC system, which is reserved for special edition versions of the phone.

Price, availability, and warranty.

The Oppo Find X is currently only available as an import, not through retail or official online stores in the U.S. or the U.K.. Oppo says this will change in the future, and has said it will be sold in North America and Europe in the future. No dates have been provided at the time of publication.

Do you want to turn heads with the coolest-looking smartphone out there?

The official price is 1,000 euros, or 1,000 British pounds, which converts over to around $1,150. Prices vary online if you’re willing to import, and the Find X can be found for less. However, this means you will have to deal with whatever warranty your importer provides.

Even with all the goodwill earned with the design and specification, the Find X is a very expensive phone at full price, almost equalling the highest-spec Apple iPhone X and Samsung Galaxy Note 9.

Our Take

Utterly delectable in shape, form, and function, the Oppo Find X has almost everything we want from a smartphone. What’s missing is confidence in its ability to withstand anything other than the best treatment, and in the manner with which we must purchase it.

Is there a better alternative?

This is a difficult question. Yes, there are many better alternatives, but none of them will replicate the joy of seeing, holding, and using the Oppo Find X. It is, unusually today in the smartphone world, almost unique. The closest you’ll get is the Vivo Nex S, which has the same issues surrounding how to buy it, and future warranty support. The Oppo Find X’s software is considerably better than Vivo’s Funtouch OS though.

Forego the motorized camera and baby-skin smooth body to focus on the specification, and everything from the $530 OnePlus 6 to the $840 Galaxy S9 Plus comes into range. We are fans of both. The Google Pixel 2 XL is also recommended, although at this stage, we’d say wait a while to see what the Pixel 3 range provides before buying one.

The big advantage with buying any of these is the ease with which one can do so, because you don’t have to worry about importers, and a solid warranty backing up your purchase.

How long will it last?

The Oppo Find X is not water resistant, it’s made of glass, and feels relatively delicate. If you’re not careful with the phone, it may not last long at all. Internally, the phone has all the speed and technology to last for several years, and as the design looks futuristic now, and is unlikely to age badly.

Software updates are difficult to estimate, due to our inexperience with long-term Oppo phone use. However, we can be sure Android version updates will be slower than buying a Google Pixel phone, due to the ColorOS user interface. We do not know when Android 9.0 Pie will arrive.

Should you buy it?

Is money no object? Do you want to turn heads with the coolest-looking smartphone out there? If the answer is yes, then buy the Oppo Find X right now. It’s a truly wonderful thing. However, if you are shopping for your sole device that you’re planning to use everyday, all-day, then the Find X will be a gamble. You’re definitely better off buying a phone locally rather than importing a delicate flower like the Find X.

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