» » OPPO FIND X REVIEW: UNREFINED AMBITION
Category

Vote

Please, rate the engine
Results   All polls
Tags
Archives
OPPO FIND X REVIEW: UNREFINED AMBITION
 
 
Every year, Samsung spends untold amounts of money on ad campaigns more concerned with bashing Apple’s iPhone than promoting its own Galaxy phones. In a two-horse race like the US phone market, that makes sense: slowing your archrival is not meaningfully different from speeding yourself up. But Apple has been selling the iPhone for a decade now, and that’s hardly prevented Samsung from selling tens of millions of phones every year. No, it’s Chinese Android manufacturers like Huawei, Xiaomi, and OnePlus that have emerged as genuine threats to Samsung’s mobile sales around the world.

Oppo is high on the list of serious Samsung rivals, and it’s making its biggest push outside of China with the unique Find X. This smartphone won’t ever be accused of being perfect, but it will also never be guilty of inciting boredom or showing a lack of ambition. The Find X is Oppo’s most memorable device, its most aggressively forward-thinking product, and the latest poster child for the speed at which Chinese companies innovate. At a price of €999 and with a heavily laden spec sheet, the Find X is audaciously positioned as a super premium flagship, and it’s being promoted in Europe and across Southeast Asia with as much enthusiasm as in Oppo’s home market. This device is a signal of future intent just as much as it is a technology showcase for the innovation Oppo is capable of today.

I just wish it was a more refined consumer product.

OUR REVIEW OF OPPO FIND X
VERGE SCORE
6.5 OUT OF 10

GOOD STUFF
Best face unlock system among Android phones
Gorgeous and notch-less
Slider is a cool gimmick
Battery lasts a reassuringly long time
BAD STUFF
Countless software annoyances
The most slippery phone of the year
Oppo App Store spam is insulting
Slider mechanism undermines phone’s long-term durability
Buy for $779.00 from Amazon
The Find X has one particular design highlight, which, when you first see it, incites delighted gasps and exclamations. I still remember my expletive-laden thrill upon seeing the top of this phone slide up to reveal the selfie camera and face ID system before casually sliding back down after authenticating its user. Combining that mechanical motion with a complementary on-screen animation amplified the effect and made the Find X feel instantly cohesive. Cohesive and otherworldly, because who the hell expects their phone to just open itself up like that?

 
OPPO IS THE FIRST ANDROID PHONE MAKER TO USE THE SAME FACE ID TECH AS THE IPHONE, AND IT’S GREAT
Sure, the Vivo Nex beat the Oppo Find X to the pop-up selfie-camera trick, but the Nex has none of the elegance of the Find X’s design. Or the same structured-light face authentication system, the sort of which we’ve only seen on the iPhone X so far. Oppo’s implementation is the same as Apple’s — albeit hidden inside the slider — and its function is at least as good, if not better. I was able to effortlessly unlock the phone in both very bright environments and pitch-black rooms, and the Find X even outdid the iPhone when it came to ID-ing me from an oblique angle. It’s possible Oppo has favored convenience over security with its face unlock, though I wasn’t able to fool it with photos, the faces of friends, or my own face with my eyes closed.

Every occasion I had to unlock the Find X or use its camera was a tiny delight. Humans just like mechanical things that work well, I guess, or maybe it was because this slider triggered memories of my PC’s CD drive sliding open before I put a game in it. Whatever the explanation for why I love it so much, Oppo’s mechanical engineering with the Find X’s slider is undeniably impressive.

 

As well as it may function mechanically, the whole feature still feels like a gimmick, something that exists for its novelty more than for its function. The very good face unlock system could have been accommodated in a bezel or a notch, for instance. And while you may argue the slider protects your camera lenses and privacy — both the front and rear cameras are hidden inside the phone when the slider is down — the design does expose the phone’s internals to the danger of dust and moisture ingress. I haven’t been unlucky enough to get any grit trapped inside the phone yet, but it’s a genuine hazard that more conventional smartphones don’t have to deal with.

Like all other phones in its price class, the Oppo Find X is clad in glass on both the front and back, with the rear panel getting a handsome gradient color treatment in either a purply red or a greenish blue. I’m a huge fan of the discovery of gradients by Android phone designers this year, as also exhibited on the Huawei P20 Pro and Motorola’s upcoming iPhone X clone. The Find X’s striking look gives it a distinctiveness that’s hard to find these days, which will matter to you since your options to customize the exterior with a case will be limited, at best, given how the phone extends itself.

  
  
 
I have to commend one especially thoughtful design detail in the Find X: the bottom edge of the phone is slightly concave instead of flat. This eliminates the baneful pinkie terror of having a rough USB-C port rubbing against your finger, and it also opens up a space in front of the bottom-firing speaker so you don’t muffle it when holding the phone. This concavity is mirrored at the top of the phone purely for the sake of design symmetry. Honestly, it’s the sort of thing that everyone should copy.

THIS MIGHT BE THE MOST SLIPPERY PHONE I’VE EVER REVIEWED
Oppo doesn’t get full marks for its industrial design, however, and a big reason for that is just how slippery the Find X is. This might be the most frictionless phone I’ve ever reviewed; I certainly can’t recall anything recent that has been quite this slippery. The Find X has managed to slip off the edge of desks, coffee tables, mouse pads, basically any flat surface I placed it on. I’ve even put it five inches away from the edge and then watched it slowly slithering its way to the abyss. This problem isn’t as pronounced when holding the phone, I haven’t dropped it (much), but it’s a pretty major issue for an all-glass device, all the same.

 
Disregard the dotted pattern on the screen; it’s only visible to the camera, not the human eye. Photo by Vlad Savov / The Verge
Coming from a Pixel 2 XL, I initially found the Find X’s display intolerably garish and oversaturated. If your point of reference is something like Samsung’s Galaxy range, you’ll be quite at home, and I did adapt over time. Still, I would have liked to have the option to tone the artificially boosted colors down a little. The Find X is a hair shorter and quite a bit narrower than the Pixel 2 XL, however it fits a whole 6.4-inch (2340 x 1080) OLED screen within its frame. That’s the advantage of having scarcely any bezels around the display — though I should also point out that the Find X screen never actually felt meaningfully larger than the Pixel’s. Many people will appreciate the absence of a notch at the top of the screen, which contributes to the clean and attractive look of the Find X.

Oppo’s Find X has made me aware of a subconscious habit I’ve developed of periodically wiping my phone down, both to eradicate fingerprint marks and to ensure a clean lens on the camera. The latter is not an issue with this phone’s design, though the former most definitely is. It’s sad to think that once Google updates its Pixel in a month’s time, we’ll be left with practically no top-tier aluminum smartphone options; it’ll be all glass all the time.

 
I had low expectations for the cameras on the Find X but was proven wrong by the highly competent performance of this phone. When you consider that Oppo crammed its cameras — 16-megapixel and 20-megapixel f/2 cams on the rear, 25-megapixel f/2 imager on the front — into a much shallower space than the typical smartphone’s depth, and that many of its rivals still allow themselves a camera bump, the images you get from this phone are downright impressive.

Oppo’s camera system produces consistently pleasing colors, has good enough dynamic range to rarely blow out any scenes, and it even performs decently in low light. Although it has two lenses on the back, the Find X’s system doesn’t offer a dedicated zoom lens in the way that the iPhone X or Galaxy S9 do. I would advise against trying to shoot any zoomed photos with this phone, you’re just not going to like or want to keep any of the smudged-up imagery it produces when zoomed.