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OPPO F3 Plus Review: OPPO’s best camera smartphone is also a good overall performer
After giving the world a capable selfie smartphone- the F1 Plus in 2016, OPPO is now back with its successor- the F3 Plus. The smartphone marks an upgrade of OPPO's Selfie Expert family of smartphones by integrating a first of its kind dual front-facing camera combining 16MP+8MP, 120°wide-angle lens for extra-wide selfie shots.
- Amazing dual front facing camera
- Premium design
- Crisp 6-inch 1080p screen is a delight for multimedia lovers
- Google Assistant support
- A bit bulky and slippery
- Design lacks originality
- Not the best multitasking and gaming device in its segment
- No Android 7.0 Nougat
Besides, the phablet features a large 6-inch full HD display, Google Assistant and a big 4,000 mAh battery unit with company's VOOC fast charging support.
The company has priced the handset at Rs. 30,990 in the Indian market that makes it compete against the widely popular OnePlus 3T/3, the Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro, Vivo V5 Plus, Honor 8 and other Android handsets priced around Rs. 30k price-point. So let's find out where OPPO's latest selfie handset stands in the market with the following review.
Camera: It is OPPO's finest camera smartphone till date
Let's start this review by talking about the highlight feature- the dual front-facing selfie camera. The combination uses a 16MP primary camera paired with an 8MP secondary camera that utilizes a 120-degree wide angle lens.
This secondary lens offers a good 105% field-of-view to make sure you capture extra wide selfie shots that no other smartphone can achieve as of now. We have seen this dual camera combination previously in LG G5's rear camera, which is now selling around Rs. 33,000.
The selfies captured by the 16MP primary lens look impressively bright, vivid and have natural colour tones, however the picture quality go down when you trigger the secondary 8MP shooter for extra wide selfies, something we had noticed in LG G5 as well.
The 6P lens attached to 8MP secondary shooter tries hard to prevent distortion but you the effect is still noticeable around the corners. Besides, colour tones and detailing also suffer with the wide-angle camera. The plus point- you can capture more subjects can without using a selfie stick.
As far as value additions are concerned, the camera app has screen flash to brighten up the images in low-light conditions, Selfie panorama that combines three photos into one, ensuring the whole party gets into the shot, Palm Shutter and various filters tucked inside the Beautify 4.0 mode.
Here are some sample shots taken by the dual front facing camera
The rear side sports a 16MP camera with Sony IMX398 sensor that has a 1.4um pixels resolution. It works on a 1/2.8 inch sensor offering a good f/1.7 aperture size. The rear camera also gets Dual Phase detection Auto Focus. All of these results in crisp, clear and vivid shots, not just when the light conditions are favorable but even when you capture images in non-ideal lighting.
The images are less noisy and have better detailing when compared to other smartphones we have tested in the price-category. The upgraded Dual PDAF technology doubles the area of the sensor's pixel array and speeds up autofocus speed by 40 percent.
The 16MP rear camera can also record videos in 4K resolution that looks amazingly detailed and crisp on the 6-inch full HD screen. OPPO has also added optical image stabilization for non shaky smooth videos and the output is decent.
The smartphone also has Expert (Manual) mode that can capture some stunning images if you apply the settings correctly. You can check out some low-light shots captured with Expert mode in the below camera sample shots.
Besides, you also have Ultra HD mode which was first seen in 2014 on OPPO Find 7. With the mode switched on, the camera shoots four photos consecutively and combines the best parts of each to make one 50-MP, ultra-high-definition image.
However for some reason, I found that the results are not that satisfactory. Last but not the least; the camera app also has a 'Super GIF' mode that instantly creates GIFS that can be played forward or backward.
Summing up all, OPPO F3 Plus packs in some amazing camera features and offers the best-in-class performance in its price-point. It is undoubtedly the finest camera smartphone from the house of OPPO till date.
Design: It's big but the most ergonomic phablet I have used in a while
Coming on to design of the OPPO F3 Plus, the large six inch phablet can be a bit bulky for consumers who don't prefer big screen devices, but it is by far the most ergonomic phablet I have come across in while.
You cannot ignore the resemblance with the Apple iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, but that has now become a common practice among Chinese brands and the consumers have also accepted it, after all you are getting an iPhone lookalike in almost every possible price-point and that's not at all a bad thing.
The phablet has a sleek body (7.53mm) and the overall weight (185g) is very well managed giving the F3 Plus a light feel in hands. The rounded corners and the careful placement of physical buttons on right and left edges allow you to operate the handset with one hand.
Though you can navigate through the home screens and execute most of the basic tasks with one hand, we recommend using the phablet with both hands else it can slip off from hands.
OPPO F3 Plus has a metal unibody design and has a 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass 5 at front with a pre-applied protective screen coating on the display. Instead of those white thick antenna bands that we have seen in various iPhone lookalikes, OPPO F3 Plus has a 'Six-String' ultra-fine antenna lines at the back shell that gives the handset a unique look.
OPPO is sticking with a microUSB charging port and the non-clickable home button at front integrates a fingerprint sensor that unlocks the handset in a jiffy.
Display: The large 6-inch Full HD screen is a delight for multimedia lovers
The 6-inches multi-touch full HD IPS display is bright, has good viewing angles and offers an amazing touch response. The images look vivid and the full HD videos will make you stick to the screen for hours.
Besides, users who love to play 3D games will find the large screen a sheer delight or long gaming sessions. There's an eye protection mode that filters the blue light that can strain your eyes when you use the handset in low-light conditions. The display also gets Corning's latest Gorilla Glass 5 protection to protect it from accidental damages.
Processing and Multitasking: Snappier but not the best performer in its price-point
OPPO F3 Plus excels in camera and design department, which are essential buying factors for consumers in the Indian market, but the handset is not the best bet if you are looking for raw performance. The smartphone is powered by a Qualcomm's Snapdragon 653 SoC paired with 4GB of RAM to take care of computing and multitasking respectively.
The combination delivers lag free performance in everyday usage and I couldn't find any difference using my OnePlus 3 and the F3 Plus side by side. The apps fire up instantly and the handset does not stutter while you perform everyday tasks like Facebook, Snapchat, Camera, posting pictures on Instagram, sending emails, etc.
The handset can run games like Dead Trigger 2, Spiderman Unlimited, etc. with no frame drops and can also render heavy graphics from Asphalt 8, Modern Combat 5 with no major performance issues.
However you will notice a slight difference in game play if you keep the handset side by side to OnePlus 3T and OnePlus 3 that are backed by the snappier Snapdragon 821 and 820 SoCs.
The multitasking is smooth for most of the part and you can run multiple applications simultaneously. However I did notice some stutters while editing pictures in Picsart with YouTube, Google maps and some other resource intensive apps active in the background.
Once again the competitors (OnePlus 3T and Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro) packing extra 2GB of RAM and with better memory management have an upper hand in multitasking department.
Call quality was pretty solid on the handset. The 4G worked well on Airtel and Reliance Jio network in Delhi NCR. And as far as audio is concerned, the F3 Plus gets a mono speaker unit at the bottom, which is decently loud and produce clear sound. The audio performance through the earphones is also decent.
Software: Loads of customization features but still hanging with Marshmallow
The phablet runs on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow with OPPO's (V3.0) Color OS custom UI skin on top. The custom skin is quite colorful and packs all the tricks under its sleeve to enhance the Android user experience.
You can install various themes, set gestures, search anything on the device from the homescreen by swiping down and also activate the 'Simple Mode' to get rid of all customary Android launcher features. The user interface is smooth and apps don't waste time in loading. OPPO's dedicated app store is also a welcome addition for a quick glance to find out what's hot in Google Play Sore.
But what is truly the highlight of software part is the addition of Google Assistant. Just long tap the home button and the Google's Virtual Assistant is all set to help you with news updates, weather, and appointments; can draft a mail for you and even save notes among many other tasks it can accomplish.
The only thing that seems missing here is the fact that you are not getting Android 7.0 Nougat, which we believe will land up soon on the device.
Battery Performance: Lasts long and charges up quickly
OPPO F3 Plus is backed a 4,000mAh battery unit that managed to last for a day even with a heavy usage. I took ample use of the 6-inch HD screen to stream videos, browse the web, played games, streamed music and the F3 Plus did last for a good 23 hours on a single charge.
You also get a bulky charging adaptor equipped with OPPO's VOOC technology that can easily fill the 4,000 mAh battery from 0 to 100 percent in less than an hour and half, which is quite impressive. Oppo's VOOC charging technology features a five-layered protection system that utilizes a micro-programmed control unit (MCU), to charge the F3 Plus instantly in an efficient manner.
Storage and Connectivity: Ample storage space for and all required connectivity features
Storage will not be an issue with the OPPO F3 Plus as the smartphone comes with 64GB inbuilt memory with an extensible storage up to 256GB via microSD. For connectivity, you get hybrid card tray that can hold two nano 4G SIM cards or one nano SIM card with a microSD card, VoLTE, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. The smartphones misses some important ones like NFC and FM radio.
OPPO F3 Plus is more than just a selfie centered smartphone. It offers an amazing multimedia experience with its large 6-inch display, lasts long and charges up quickly, captures best-in-group selfies, offers Google Assistant and serves everyday tasks without breaking up a sweat.
At a price-point of Rs. 31,000, it seems like a value for money deal but for consumers who can adjust with occasional minor hiccups while pushing their smartphone to its limits, for instance while playing the most graphical intensive games, or for users who are not looking for latest stock Android experience. In such cases, OnePlus 3T leads the charge. You can also consider the Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro if you are still skeptical about Chinese brands.