OPPO F3 detailed review
Oppo is increasing investment in India compared to two or three years ago. The company had big expansion plans in 2016 and is reportedly investing $ 216 million in manufacturing facilities in India. Oppo eventually wanted to produce 100 million units in the country. Also, the company has set foot on Gas, advertising their new selfie-centric phones on all sorts of platforms. Oppo is even sponsoring the Indian cricket team, starting next month.
All of this is done on the back of the phone, with the Oppo F3 and F3 Plus seem to be the pioneers. There are other phones in the company’s arsenal, but at the moment the company’s focus seems to be on selfies. Not just Oppo, but other Chinese OEMs such as Gionee and Vivo are also ringing the same selfie bell right now, through big and extensive advertising campaigns. Now, whether you want a selfie-centric phone is up to you, but in our books, a phone should be more than just a selfie, and while the Oppo F3 Plus fascinates us, we still can’t see if the smaller Oppo F3 can hold it. Same charm
Selfie: Dual-camera, twice as good?
The Oppo F3 Plus was the best selfie-centric smartphone we tested this year and the Oppo F3 tried to emulate it. The front has a 16MP + 8MP dual camera setup for single and group selfies, respectively. Like the F3 Plus, the 16MP camera has 76.4 degrees FOV and the 8MP camera has 120 degrees FOV. Even the f / 2.0 aperture has been kept the same. That said, there is a difference in camera quality. F3 shoots slightly super-saturated colors, whereas the color captured by F3 Plus is close to neutral. However, overall image quality, including detail, dynamic range, and field depth, remains almost the same, with F3 Plus leading the way in some images.
By itself, the Oppo F3 has good details, the colors are pleasantly extra saturated, and the sound is kept to an acceptable level. The photos are a bit softer, to remove skin blemishes and make selfies look better, but whether you like it or not will be a thematic opinion.
Compared to the Gionee A1, which has been the best phone for selfie listeners available under 20K, the F3 is even better. The Oppo F3 not only captures better details and color under normal lighting conditions, but also works better overall in low light. Photography enthusiasts may still find images lacking accurate descriptions and the soft focus is somewhat annoying. But, at the end of the day, the Oppo F3 is now the best selfie smartphone in the Sub-20K range. There are some swallows, such as the camera sometimes taking a little time in post processing when you are taking bokeh pictures or switching between different filters, but these things are not really deal breakers.
Early Camera: Well, not great
On the back, the Oppo F3 uses a tried and tested 13MP sensor, which makes good pictures for the most part. I’ve seen decent color reproduction and dynamic range, but softer photos, which seem to be produced by the same algorithm as selfies. In the case of the rear camera, though, this is more of a problem.
This means that images on the phone or even on a laptop display look fine, so anyone can easily see the sound in native resolution (4160 x 3120). In low light the sound level increases further, but the pictures are good enough to be shared on Facebook. Yes, there are phones with better rear cameras at the same price, but it is among the better ones.
Photo taken by Oppo F3
Build and design: small, yet the same
Oppo always follows the language and build quality of a nice decent design and that doesn’t change with the Oppo F3. However, compared to the F3 Plus, the build quality seems a bit inferior. The F3 Plus was made with more finesse and polish.
That being said, in the sub-20K smartphone bracket, there are only a few phones that are better made, of which the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4, Gionee A1 and Nubia M2 Lite are perfect examples. The Oppo F3 is thinner and lighter than the older Oppo F1s, competing with most selfie phones. Now, one might complain that the phone looks like the old F1s or other phones on the market, and they won’t be wrong. Unfortunately, Oppo seems reluctant to innovate in design. The Oppo F3 is nice to look at, but not new.
The display of the Oppo F3 is really nice, and you can be as vague about it as possible. The fact is that there is nothing special about writing about this display, but there is nothing trivial about it. In practical terms, it has vibrant colors, good touch response and very good viewing angles. If you want to go into numbers, this is a 1080p in-cell IPS panel, and it’s one of the best in the business.
That being said, it could have been better. The colors aren’t as vibrant as the Gionee A1’s AMOLED display, although it has a higher resolution and feels brighter at 765 Lux. I would also like to mention that the auto-brightness is well calibrated and also has a blue light filter for those who read or browse at night.
UI: iOS inspired
Nothing has changed since the last time we saw this UI. This is the same ColorOS 3.0 that we saw on the Oppo F3 Plus. Layered on top of Android 6.0 Marshmallow, which is the first wrong step anyway. After all, why is a phone still using a two-year-old OS in 2017? Yes, the industry is doing it broadly, but this is only a sign that OEMs are taking advantage of the lack of consumer awareness.
Other than that, ColorOS tries to look and act like iOS. It’s easy to understand and quite colorful. For convenience of introduction, the design and layout of the icons is similar to that of iOS. However, the quick toggle menu is still a drop down from the top. Oppo also includes things like gestures and app cloning so that one can easily use dual SIM for example to use a dual Whatsapp account. Includes a theme manager, a RAM booster app, a lock-screen magazine feature, a cloud backup and a secondary app store. The UI also offers a set of simple but beautiful apps for music, videos, clocks, photos, weather, file manager and even email.
Performance: Lack of punch
Underneath the hood, the phone is powered by a MediaTek MT6750T SoC, paired with 4GB of RAM. Now, this SoC has been around for over two years and it has used more than a dozen smartphones, some of which cost as much as Rs. The 8,000 point is, this is not a very performance based SoC and it shows up here. Although the phone can handle almost all types of apps, one occasionally notices stuttering and laziness. This became quite apparent when I tried gaming on the phone. Games like the Asphalt 8 run below 30 fps, while those that weren’t limited to 30fps typically get distances like 40-45fps. It’s not particularly playable, but the experience is sub-par to say the least. You often see lag and frame drop.
Sometimes the app crashes and the camera app sometimes takes a little longer to take selfies, which is considered to be the main feature of this phone.
On the other hand, the quality of the call is decent and the audio volume through the single speaker at the bottom is sufficient. But, like all the other smartphones in the same price bracket, the audio quality is nothing like writing at home. With headphones, the phone is really bright and offers good overall output.
The 3200mAh battery in the phone can keep up with even the heaviest users and will easily last a normal working day with a maximum of 30 minutes of gaming. If you are not into gaming or do not use navigation often, then the phone must run for more than 12-15 hours a day. Once you charge it, the phone is fully charged in two hours and does not support any kind of fast charging with Oppo’s own VOOC charging technology. VOOC seems to be another feature that the company is saving for its flagship devices.
Bottomline: For selfies only
All in all, the Oppo F3 will take the best selfie of any phone at Rs. 20,000 However, this is not a very good overall performance. Consider this for selfies, but Moto G5 Plus, Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 and Coolpad Cool 1 are good performers overall.