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Oppo’s slick Find X5 Pro is a phone loaded with potential

Oppo has scored a few wins over the past year, starting with the Find X3 Pro, continuing with some impressive tech announcements, and culminating with the folding Find N smartphone. The Find X5 Pro should bring everything it has learned together, combining the excitement and fun of the Find X3 Pro and the hardware prowess of the Find N, and showcasing all its newly announced tech.

I’ve spent 24 hours with the Oppo Find X5 Pro to find out if it has succeeded.

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Great looks, ruined by one thing

The Oppo Find X5 Pro is a beautiful smartphone. Just look at the way the camera module rises out of the ceramic case, ending in a shaved-flat surface housing the camera lenses. The flowing shape of the body has a natural look, yet the flat module is so obviously machined, you can almost see and hear the machines creating it when you look at the phone. Replacing the Find X3 Pro’s matte glass with ceramic gives the phone more scratch resistance, plus a warmer, grippier texture. Polishing it to such a high-gloss finish emphasizes its curves.

The Oppo Find X5 Pro's ceramic rear panel.
Andy Boxall/DigitalTrends

It’s a lovely thing, right up until you see all the legal text slapped down the side. The Oppo and Hasselblad branding is fine, but why has all the other information been added in such an obvious fashion? On most other phones, it’s hidden away, and Oppo’s decision not to do so comes very close to ruining the stark beauty of the Find X5 Pro.

What about the new camera module shape? The 75-degree angle at the base of the module is apparently there to make the phone more natural to hold, as your finger won’t rub up against the edge as it may have done on the X3 Pro. While it does make more room for your finger, it’s a problem of Oppo’s own making in the first place, as in most circumstances, you’ll hold the phone lower down on its body anyway. Justifying a design change this way seems unnecessary.

The Oppo Find X5 Pro's curved camera module helps with in-hand comfort.
Andy Boxall/DigitalTrends

This aside, the Find X5 Pro is compact and easy to hold and use with one hand. The 218-gram weight reminds you it’s made of ceramic and metal, and because it’s well-balanced, the phone doesn’t cause fatigue over long periods. It’s beautifully made and technically complex, too. Oppo says the ceramic panel takes 168 hours to produce, and goes through 45 different processes before the final shape and finish is achieved. Take the ugly certification text away, and Oppo would have made one of the most attractive smartphones I’ve seen.

Using the Find X5 Pro

The 6.7-inch AMOLED screen has a WQHD+ resolution, a maximum refresh rate of 120Hz, HDR10+ certification, and Gorilla Glass Victus over it for protection. It’s bright and detailed, and the few videos I’ve watched so far are filled with color. The phone’s audio is strong too.

The Oppo Find X5 Pro's screen.
Andy Boxall/DigitalTrends

Interestingly, the screen has a partial refresh rate system where it doesn’t only dynamically alter the refresh rate as a whole depending on system requirements, but it can also do so in the top and bottom half of the screen independently. A video playing in the top half of the screen would benefit from a higher refresh rate, but a chat window below would not. The Find X5 Pro adjusts accordingly to better manage efficiency.

A Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor is accompanied by 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage space, plus there is a 5,000mAh battery with 80-watt wired fast charging. Oppo’s SuperVOOC system will deliver a 50% charge in just 12 minutes, while its 50W wireless charging will take it to 100% in 50 minutes. Oppo has worked on making the battery last, promising that even after 1,600 full charge cycles — once a day for the next four years — it’ll still utilize 80% of its capacity.

My review phone has Android 12 with ColorOS 12.1 installed. I haven’t used it for long enough for a full assessment, but it has given me a few issues. After setting the phone up and choosing gesture control, the upward swipe used to return to the Home screen refused to function. Even after a restart, it still failed to operate before mysteriously fixing itself. I’m hoping the issue doesn’t resurface. Google’s Autofill service doesn’t work properly, and icons have changed position on the screen by themselves. I’m using the phone ahead of release, so all this could be blamed on early software, but it’s worth noting for now.

Taking photos

The X5 Pro has a 50-megapixel main camera with an f/1.7 aperture and a five-axis optical image stabilization (OIS) system, a 50MP wide-angle camera with an f/1.7 aperture, and a 13MP telephoto for a 2x optical zoom. The unusual microscope camera from the X3 Pro has been removed.

The Oppo Find X5 Pro's camera module.
Andy Boxall/DigitalTrends

Oppo has used the Find X5 Pro to debut its own MariSiliconX Neural Processing Unit (NPU), and also to usher in its newly signed deal with Hasselblad. The camera maker has worked on the color balance and added some filters, the XPAN mode seen on the OnePlus 9 Pro, and the Hasselblad Pro Mode The Find X5 Pro also has a 13-channel Spectral Sensor that will further enhance colors for a more natural look, and the cameras have a new glass lens for sharper detail and improved colors.

I’ve taken about 50 photos with the phone so far. Oppo has talked a lot about the natural colors it hopes the camera will show, and it’s well on the way to realizing this provided you don’t activate its A.I. camera mode. We’ve recently seen this on the Realme 9 Pro+, where it worked well, and the OnePlus Nord CE 2, where it didn’t. On the Find X5 Pro, all pretense of natural colors disappears with A.I. mode on, as it increases saturation to an often unrealistic and unpleasant level.

The welcome consistency between the main and wide-angle camera we saw on the Find X3 Pro returns, with the two Sony IMX766 cameras keeping colors, exposure, detail, and balance mostly consistent across both. Night mode introduces quite a lot of noise in the few photos and video I’ve taken in lowlight so far, so I will wait to assess this until after any post-release software update arrives.

Perhaps the biggest disappointment is the 2x optical zoom. Even Apple recognized this is a bit pointless and increased the optical zoom to 3x on the iPhone 13 Pro. Oppo indicated its research showed people weren’t that interested in the telephoto feature, but for me, it only increases the camera’s versatility, and a 2x zoom just isn’t enough to really change your creative fun with a camera. This, along with the disappearance of the microscope mode, makes the Find X5 Pro’s camera a little ordinary feature-wise next to phones like the Galaxy S22 Ultra.

I need to spend a lot more time taking photos and video with the Find X5 Pro to see what it’s really capable of, and will wait for any software update as well, so it’s too early to pass judgment. At this stage, it hasn’t immediately wowed me, but there is a great deal of exciting new technology inside the Find X5 Pro’s camera system, and I expect fine-tuning will happen until and after release.

Price and availability

The Oppo Find X5 Pro will be released in the U.K. on March 24 in both glaze black (seen in our photos) and ceramic white for 1,049 British pounds. This converts to around $1,485. For comparison, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra starts at 1,149 pounds. Oppo does not officially sell its smartphones in the U.S., but it would be possible to import one, and Oppo says the phone supports North American 5G bands, which should give you some confidence to do so.

Early impressions are mixed

The Find X3 Pro was a breakout device for Oppo. It was the first phone from the company that felt truly forward-thinking as it had its own style, a consistent camera experience you didn’t find on competing phones, and also the microscope camera feature that at first looked gimmicky, but was actually quite fun. The X5 Pro is clearly an evolution of the X3 Pro and does include a lot of new camera tech, but it hasn’t quite come together yet, and one odd design decision spoils what could have been a really stunning look.

The Oppo Find X5 Pro's camera module.
Andy Boxall/DigitalTrends

I’m very aware I’m using the phone ahead of its official release, and Oppo does have at least a month to go before it hits the shelves, so there’s a lot of time to really fine-tune the camera software, make the most of the new MariSilicon X NPU, and get rid of the odd software bugs.

Oppo is in a tough position. The Find X3 Pro remains a great phone and helped show Oppo could really make a competitive, internationally available flagship phone, while the Find N folding phone proved it has the chops to make really outstanding hardware. It has hyped up the new tech inside the Find X5 Pro’s camera for a while too, so expectations around this new phone are very high. It needs to be excellent, and I think the ingredients are there, but the recipe needs some final tweaks to make it a sensation.

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