Skip to main content

Oppo’s mad N3 smartphone is here, and it has a motorized, rotating camera

Oppo, the firm behind the crazy N1 smartphone with its rotating camera module, is back with the equally mad Oppo N3. Leaked and teased over the past few months, the new device has been made official at an event in Singapore. Its claim to fame? A motorized rotating camera module.

Rather than manually flipping the lens round to alternate between rear and front-facing views, a swiping gesture in the camera app sees the module quickly spin round, reducing the need to reposition the phone, or your face in the viewfinder. It’s also handy for taking panoramic photos, because the lens now moves itself. It’s quirky, unique, probably pointless, and utterly mad. We love it.

A new O-Click remote control comes with the N3, and the updated controls can be used to move the lens around, letting you explore new ways of taking photos. The main benefit of the N3’s rotating module is all your pictures will be taken with the same 16-megapixel, f2.2 Schneider-Kreuznach-lensed camera. Oppo has installed a software package it calls Ultra Image 2.0, which includes a slow motion mode, an ultra macro mode, manual operation, and an HD Picture mode for creating highly detailed, 64-megapixel images. Other features include 4K video recording, and the ability to shoot images in RAW.

The N3’s screen measures 5.5-inches and has a 1080p resolution, while the processor is a quad-core Snapdragon 801, along with 2GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage memory. The device is quite thick at 9.9mm, and it weighs 192 grams. Oppo has fitted its “Skyline” notification light at the bottom of the aluminum chassis. On the rear of the phone is a new fingerprint sensor, replacing the touch sensitive panel found on the N1. This time it can be used to unlock the device, and secure files and photos, the latter of which can be done straight after they’ve been taken.

How much will you pay for the Oppo N3? It’s priced at $650 without a contract, and it should be available before the end of the year, although an exact release date hasn’t been confirmed. Finding the phone in a local store is highly unlikely, but Oppo has its own online shop for selling its hardware, so it won’t be too hard to seek out if you’re tempted.


Oppo first broke with tradition when it introduced the Oppo N1, a smartphone with a high-resolution, rotating camera for taking better selfies. Now it seems that the Chinese smartphone maker is gearing up to introduce an even more wild-looking device with a evolution of the N1’s rotating camera.

Updated on 10-13-2014 by Malarie Gokey: Oppo posts official press photo of N3 on social media.

After teasing the release of its new selfie-focused smartphone, Oppo finally announced that it will launch the N3 on October 29 in Singapore. Oppo first teased the N3 in a Google+ post a month ago, but we still don’t know many details about the phone. Information is limited to the hints Oppo has posted on social media and a few leaked press renders. The company is well known for issuing several teaser updates on social media prior to launch, so it pays to keep an eye on Oppo’s Google+ and Facebook accounts.

Oppo officially revealed the design of the N3 in a post on its various social media accounts. Based on the picture,  the N3 will have a metal frame and perhaps a plastic back with a small faux leather insert near the camera.

It looks as though the camera will sport a dual LED flash. The resolution of the rotating camera is still unknown, but it is likely to be very high-resolution, seeing as it’s one of the phone’s main features. The device is said to be made of an “aerospace-grade” material. According to recent reports, it seems there will be two versions of the Oppo N3: one made of stainless-steel and one with a case made from an aluminium-lithium alloy.

The design looks markedly different from an earlier image that was leaked to GSM Arena in September showing what was then believed to be the N3.  The images appeared to be press shots that showed the rotating camera module prominently.

Photo courtesy of GSM Arena
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The Oppo N1 hid the rotating camera by incorporating the module into the top of the device — it didn’t stick out at all. At first glance, you almost didn’t even notice it. Not so with the device pictured below. The phone itself appears thin and the rotating camera rests in a cylindrical bulge at the top of the device. The design is similar to that of the Lenovo Yoga tablets with built-in kickstands. Now it seems that this image is of another device entirely, if it’s real at all.

Previous updates:

Updated on 10-09-2014 by Malarie Gokey: Oppo will launch the N3 at an October 29 event in Singapore.

Editors' Recommendations

Malarie Gokey
Former Digital Trends Contributor
As DT's Mobile Editor, Malarie runs the Mobile and Wearables sections, which cover smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, and…
Oppo releases photos taken with its prototype Under Screen Camera for phones
Oppo's prototype phone with an under display camera

Oppo has revealed its latest Under Screen Camera (USC), which it hopes will eventually replace the notch or hole-punch cutout on a smartphone, and hide the selfie camera beneath the screen instead. The company claims its USC has the “perfect balance between screen and camera quality,” and has released two selfies taken with the camera for proof.

It’s not the first of its type we’ve seen. Oppo has already had a go at getting the complicated tech right and showed its first version at MWC Shanghai in 2019. It didn’t go on to debut on a smartphone, but ZTE has released not one but two devices — the Axon 20 5G and the Axon 30 5G — with Under Screen Cameras, although neither has made much of an impact internationally.

Read more
The Find X3 Pro has a 60x zoom ‘microscope’ camera, and it’s so much fun
Oppo Find X3 Pro camera module

There are camera gimmicks, and then there is Oppo’s mad 60x zoom “microscope” camera on the Oppo Find X3 Pro. It’s absolutely one of the most gimmicky camera features I’ve come across, yet it’s so unique, so simple yet satisfying to use, and most of the time takes such fun photos that I can’t stop using it.
A unique feature
On paper, the Find X3 Pro’s microlens should be terrible. It’s listed on the spec sheet as a 3-megapixel, f/3.0 micro lens with fixed focus, and I certainly feared it was nothing more than a rebranded 2-megapixel macro lens, and we’ve complained about those for a while. All the Find X3 Pro’s micro lens does is take super close-up photos, apparently at a 60x zoom level, giving you the impression of looking through a microscope. To give Oppo credit, it’s certainly not a camera we’ve seen before, but would anyone actually ever want to use it?

The Find X3 Pro's micro lens camera uses the flash, which is illuminated here. Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Read more
Oppo Reno 3 Pro hands-on review: Serious software upgrades
oppo reno 3 pro hands on features price photos release date

Oppo makes great hardware, but the company's software often leaves a lot to be desired. I’ve bemoaned it for a while, and I was often glad to swap the SIM out of an Oppo review phone once I was done evaluating it. Oppo has heard this criticism, and it’s changing course. Color OS 7, its latest user interface built on Android 10, looks promising, and the new Reno 3 Pro is the first Oppo phone I’ve used with it on board.

Here’s why it’s a serious improvement over previous Oppo software.
Color OS 7 is much improved
At first glance, the differences between Color OS 6 and Color OS 7 are subtle. It’s only when you start using the software that the improvements become obvious. It’s cleaner, more minimalist, and less needlessly colorful. It's more spacious, creating a modern, pleasant interface that works well but has just enough character to look sleek.

Read more