Chinese smartphone makers have been elegantly building their reputation all around the world with their competitive devices and aggressive pricing policy. In India, Xiaomi has taken the upper hand since quite some time. However, its fellow native rivals are not too far behind aswell.
Recently, Oppo - a Chinese premium smartphone maker with its highly priced devices have mesmerized quite a lot of individuals in India. The latest piece of technology that they released a while ago, which we are reviewing today, is simply a manifestation of the company's interest in implementing and experimenting new innovative technology.
The Oppo N3 is more than a smartphone, although, we have already seen the device's design language in the company's previous device. Priced at Rs. 42,990, the N3 has a lot to offer and as we have used it for quite a long time, we have also found few downside in the device. Anyway, let's go ahead with the review before passing any further prior judgments already.
Firstly, the Oppo N3 is not a device which is slender and light, which is quite against the trends among the smartphones that are being launched in the market these days. However, the company's 9.9mm thick device weighing in at 192grams does come with other significant design features that compensates the dimension and its bulky weight. The 5.5-Inch build of the device which is quite unfriendly to pocket in itself is even more agonizing when you realize the thickness and overweight of the device. If you are one of those with a small hand, I must say, this one is not for you at all.
Perhaps, one would notice that the device is made quit sturdy, despite the plastic back panel. There is a slightly bulged out solid metal frame which makes the device tough and heavier too.
Call it the company's choice or lack of precision but Oppo N3 design language is quite weird. The metal frame sticks out of the edges and at the bottom edge, the frame doesn't quite touch the main body leaving a substantial gap. Additionally, the angular power and volume buttons of the either sides of the phone too stand-out forming a sharp fret along the smooth metal frame, which according to us is really uncomfortable.
Anyway, Oppo N3's charm exists in the swivel camera that rotates (front and back) to and fro making it one and only device (ignoring its predecessor the N1) with such innovative concept. The motorised swivel camera comes clad in faux leather, which doesn't look as good as it could have been. However, this time around, the swivel camera is tweaked with a motor, which enables it to automatically turn around when you tap on the front camera button in the camera app. You can slide your finger on the screen or fingerprint sensor to shoot pictures.
Another addition to the device is the fingerprint scanner, very much like the Huawei Ascend Mate 7. It rests on the rear side and gives device a better look too to some extent. It's not just a scanner though, it is a clickable button. Although, at first I thought the fingerprint scanner would also work to wake-up and lock the display but unfortunately, it doesn't.
Anyway, you can add up to five fingerprints, and as it works best by far with an index finger you can easily get multiple people registered without feeling like you're doing yourself over as a result. As we used the scanner, it works impressively which was a surprise altogether.
LED Notification Light
Oppo N3 also uses a LED notification light which is placed under the curved part (bottom edge) of the hollowed-out frame. Called Oppo's Skyline notification bar, which first appeared on the Oppo Find 7, can now be seen even when the phone is placed facing down.
As far as the placement of the buttons are concerned, the right-side houses a volume rocker and a headphone port and the left side hosts a power button, SIM and microSD car tray and a microUSB port for charging and connecting to PC.
In short, the design language of the phone is not the most impressive one that we have seen until now but it shows some incredible courage of the company to experiment with its high-end device. Despite the oddities, the Oppo N3 offer a solid grip to your hands and is there are quite a lot of things that depend on the same design language of the handset including the motorized camera, notification light and fingerprint sensor.
The Oppo N3 uses a 5.5-inch IPS LCD screen of 1920 x 1080 pixels (FHD). After paying close to half a lakh rupees, if you are not getting a QHD display featuring device, it is quite embarrassing. Almost all the device at this price range come with a 2K display. Therefore, the biggest flaw in device would be the absence of the 2k resolution screen. However, the Full HD panel offers a pixel density of 403ppi, which is quite low compared to the device that are sold at the same price range.
The Full HD display is not bad in anyways, but it's just that the price of the device makes it a point to complain about. Moreover the use of the IPS technology gives the display a great viewing angles and the colors really stand out crisp and clear on the device. One of the best things about the phone is the maximum brightness level of the screen. The display can be turned very bright can is such that the sunlight readability is fantastic and also offer an excellent contrast. With a color temperature of 8825K, the display is noticeably cold and blueish.
However, the color accuracy is not quite likable in the display as it fail to match up with most of the targets on the sRGB color chart. Grayscale color accuracy is unsatisfactory as well.
Power and Performance
The Oppo N3 comes with a very effective hardware setup. It employs a 2.3GHz Snapdragon 801 MSM8974AA quad core CPU paired with 2GB of RAM. For any sort of a user, I believe that more than enough power. What might make you upset is that the latest 2015 Oppo smartphone is not powered by a 64-bit CPU.
The GPU on the Oppo N3 is Adreno 330, which is not much of an impressive hardware but gets the work done. WE played the Dead Trigger 2 and Asphalt 8: Airborne and noticed a couple of blips. However, overall offering on the power and processor didn't impress us but neither was it a disappointing one. The Oppo N3 ran smoothly and we did experience lag a couple of times when we ran more than four apps at the same time.
As far as the benchmark is concerned, in AnTuTu tool it managed to score 42472 points. It hit 2650 in the Geekbench 3 benchmark, roughly what we'd expect from a phone with its spec. However, benchmarks aren't always a good indicator of how the phone performs in actual use.
The N3 runs its custom OS - Color v2.0 slapped on top of Android 4.4 KitKat. However the device will shortly be updated with the newer version of the Android. Frankly speaking, the software aspect of the device not matured yet. However, it has improved, and it's slightly flatter than before. Moreover, now you can also download skins from the Theme Store and change its look.
One noticeable feature is the lack of app drawer, so everything is on the home screen, like on Apple's iOS. However, the drop down menu has plenty of options.
The N1's O-Click accessory has been redesigned and is now a bit bigger. It pairs with the N3 via Bluetooth and helps take pictures remotely. This time around the O-Click also features a directional buttons that let you control the swivel camera for better frame. Moreover, it can also be used to locate your phone.
Oppo N3 is all about the camera. The motorized 16MP rotating camera is a magnificent piece of innovation that can also be used as a selfie snapper. Despite its weird appearance, the camera is supremely effective in delivering the best shots possible. It's not just a design and marketing gimmick but Oppo has in fact made it a big thing by using one of the best sensors, lenses and camera module by Schneider Kreuznach.
To be specific on the camera, the Oppo N3 uses the Omnivision OV16825, a 16-megapixel 1/2.3-inch sensor. Its sensor pixels are significantly larger than the Galaxy S5's for example, at 1.34 microns a piece to the S5's 1.12-micron pixels.
The camera is swift in focusing the subject and, there's hardly any shutter lag. While I tested it, even at night the Oppo N3's camera works really fast at least in terms of focusing the subject. The camera renders smooth color tone. Colors look fantastic despite there was a bit of an oversaturation.
The N3's camera also is loaded with a lot of extra modes, including HDR, panorama, focus and ISO. The most interesting part of the camera is the motorized camera lens hinge that automatically pans the camera around the scene in the Auto Panaroma mode, making it easier to get a near-perfect panorama shot.
Oppo N3 also comes with a remote control Bluetooth gadget that acts as a remote shutter. Oppo calls it the O-Click. You can also control the camera angle with a two-finger swipe on the screen, and make it flip over to face you with a press of a virtual button. Moreover, the fingerprint sensor can also be used to lick selfies.
Unfortunately, the Oppo N3 doesn't offer 4K video capture at present despite both the CPU and the camera sensor are capable of recording at such a resolution. However, the Oppo N3 is capable of recording 1080p videos at 60fps and slow-mo videos at 720p at 120fps.
Connectivity and Storage
It houses the main nanoSIM card and features a second microSIM compartment that doubles as a microSD card slot. Connectivity-wise, we have support for a wide range of both FDD and TDD LTE bands. Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, and Wi-Fi 802.11 a, b, g, n, n 5GHz, and ac are all present.
As far as the storage is concerned, this particular unit offers 32GB built in memory which can be further enhanced with 128GB of additional memory using MicroSD card.
Oppo N3 is powered by a 3000mAh battery with VOOC fast charging. It is a non-removable cell that offers decent longevity. We played a video on a loop and the device lasted for about 12 hours and 14 minutes.
One of the impressive features is that it comes with VOOC rapid charger designed to charge your phone much faster. This enables you to chare about 60 to 75% in 30 minutes. The battery is pretty decent if not the best.
Despite it's off design, which is heavy and uncomfortable. The Oppo N3 has a lot of other things that offer incredible experience to the users. First of all, an amazing camera, which everyone will like for sure. Add to that the picture quality that it delivers.
However, considering the price of the device, Oppo should have at least offered something more in the device. Perhaps, a QHD display, a refined design or something else. It's certainly a bumped-up version of the previously launched N1 and has improved a lot in certain but still, the company has not made a huge flagship that it could have been.