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.

oppo f3 plus first take review firsttake 20
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

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
Photography

Get up close and personal with this telephoto lens for your phone

Moment is replacing its aging 60mm telephoto lens with a new 58mm tele lens, redesigned from the ground up for the latest iPhone, Pixel, and Galaxy phones. Mount it onto the phone via a case and get closer with 2x optical zoom.
Product Review

Google’s Pixel 3 is a hair away from pocket-sized perfection

Google’s Pixel 3 smartphone is the best Android phone you can buy. It doesn’t have the best looks or the best hardware, but you’ll be hard pressed to find better software and unique A.I. functionalities.
Product Review

The HTC U12 Life is a midrange contender, but it’s no champion

The HTC U12 Life is a midrange smartphone with a large 6-inch screen, plenty of battery life, and a dual lens camera, but it bears little relation to its bigger sibling. Find out if it’s worth considering in our HTC U12 Life review.
Product Review

One look at the Mi 8 Pro, and you’ll wish every phone had a transparent back

Xiaomi has officially launched in the U.K., and its first major device launch is the Mi 8 Pro, a phone that looks quite a bit like the iPhone XS but with a very cool transparent back panel and an in-display fingerprint sensor.
Product Review

Mediocre battery and a big notch slight Google's otherwise perfect Pixel phone

Google’s Pixel 3 XL has two big flaws: The gigantic notch on the front, and mediocre battery life. That being said, this is the best Android experience you can find in a smartphone today.
Mobile

Upcoming Galaxy S10 may support 8K video and have Neural Processing Unit

While we still may be months away from an announcement, there's no doubt about it: Samsung is working hard on its successor to the Galaxy S9. Here's everything we know about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10.
Mobile

Netflix is testing a cheap mobile-only subscription tier in some markets

Netflix is trying to reach potential subscribers in emerging markets. To that end, the company has begun rolling out a cheaper, mobile-only subscription tier, which comes at around $4 per month -- half the price of the Basic subscription…
Music

Here's our head-to-head comparison of Pandora and Spotify

Which music streaming platform is best for you? We pit Spotify versus Pandora, two mighty streaming services with on-demand music and massive catalogs, comparing every facet of the two services to help you decide which is best.
Mobile

Samsung will reportedly announce its folding smartphone at MWC in February

Samsung has been showcasing bendable display tech for a few years and now a folding smartphone might finally arrive. The Galaxy X, or perhaps the Galaxy F, may be the company's first example. Here's everything we know about it.
Mobile

Check out 30 of the best iPhone games you need to be playing

The iPhone has some of our favorite games available for any mobile platform. Here are the best iPhone games for every big-name genre, whether you're into puzzles, strategy, or something else entirely.
Mobile

Text messages are disappearing on Pixel 3s, but a fix is on the way

The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are arguably the best Android phones out there right now -- but they aren't perfect. Users have reported a number of issues and problems related to the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. Here's how to fix them.
Mobile

Get ready for more V-series phones: LG trademarks names up to the V90

It looks like we should get ready for more LG V-series phones. LG has trademarked names for the LG V50 all the way up to the LG V90. We may have to wait some time before we see these phones; the next LG flagship is expected to be the LG G8.
Home Theater

What is MHL, exactly, and how does it work with your TV?

There are more ways to mirror your smartphone or tablet to your TV than you might think. Check out our rundown of MHL for everything you need to know about the wired protocol and its myriad uses.
Deals

All the best Amazon Black Friday deals for 2018

Amazon may be an online-only retailer, but that doesn’t mean its Black Friday sales are anything to sniff at. In fact, due to its online status, Amazon has huge flexibility with the range of products and deals it can offer. Here's our…