(Pocket-lint) – Oppo has enjoyed some successes recently; with some players faltering, such as Huawei, it’s clear that Oppo is attempting to step into the vacuum that’s been left behind.
The Oppo Find X3 Pro received rave reviews as a flagship. It’s also flanked by a couple of devices that share its name: the Find X3 Neo is, basically, built on the previous year’s flagship hardware, while the cheapest of the bunch is this, the Find X3 Lite.
Despite the ‘Lite’ name, however, good performance continues, with plenty that’s enjoy in this mid-range phone.
Design & Build
- Dimensions: 159.1 x 73.4 x 7.9mm / Weight: 172g
- 3.5mm headphone socket
If you’re a follower of Oppo phones, you might get caught off guard but the shuffle in naming convention. The Find X3 Lite effectively rivals much of what the Find X2 Neo offered, but does make a couple of sacrifices to achieve its price point.
One area that doesn’t seem to have been sacrificed, however, is the build. The Find X3 Lite is a quality device, with Gorilla Glass 5 on the front and rear to help protect against scratches, and an aluminium frame holding everything together. There’s a clear case in the box too, to keep things looking fresh.
As is often the case on affordable devices there’s a 3.5mm headphone socket. However, there’s no stereo speaker offering: it’s a mono affair, with the speaker on the bottom of the phone providing the power – and it’s easily blocked when holding the phone in landscape orientation, such as when playing games.
The Oppo Find X3 family have differing designs, so there’s no sculpted bump on the rear for the Lite’s cameras, it’s a lot more conventional – but we like the looks, especially on this Starry Black version where it’s slightly less prominent than some.
In line with the Lite name there’s no waterproofing on this model, as you’ll find elsewhere in the range.
- 6.4-inch AMOLED panel, 2400 x 1080 resolution, 90Hz refresh
There’s a flat display on the Find X3 Lite, with minimal bezels for a smart look. A punch-hole sits in the top left-hand corner for the front camera, a convenient position for those playing games in landscape, as this corner generally is covered by your left hand, so you don’t have a hole getting in the way of your game.
It’s an AMOLED display, measuring 6.4-inches on the diagonal, with a Full HD+ resolution That’s become the average for this size and type of device, with many flagships now sticking to similar resolution for the sake of battery life.
There’s a 90Hz refresh rate, helping to smooth out some of your scrolling content, with the option to switch back to 60Hz if you prefer – although this is fairly buried within the settings so we doubt that anyone will bother to make that change. Again, it’s a typical setting for this level of device, with an increasing number of devices over the past 12 months offering a faster refresh.
You’ll note that the touch sampling rate is 180Hz, slower than many of the top devices, and while this doesn’t matter to a lot of people, it’s one area where Oppo is keeping a tight check on things to deliver at this price point.
The display is vibrant, delivering a great palette of colours, looking great whether you’re browsing online, gaming or watching movies. It’s not the brightest display around, so it struggles a little in brighter outdoor conditions and you may have to bump the brightness up or down a little to suit the conditions you’re in.
There’s a fingerprint scanner under the display too, which provides fast unlocking and has proven generally reliable, although it only takes a little dust or water to disturb it.
Hardware and performance
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G 5G, 8GB RAM
- 4,300mAh battery, 65W fast-charging
- 128GB storage
The hardware loadout fits with those great mid-range devices from 2020. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G found here is good solid hardware that’s delivered many great phones in the recent past. Technically, that’s now been replaced with the Snapdragon 780G, but the Find X3 Lite was launched before that hardware was available.
That’s not a huge loss: while there might be some incremental improvements to performance, you’re still getting a great device for the asking price. Indeed, the Motorola Moto G100 uses that newer hardware, but is quite a bit more expensive than the X3 Lite.
Performance wise, there’s little to complain about. We’ve been playing a full run of games on the Find X3 Lite and they play perfectly smoothly, while everything else is slick and fast. There’s not really anything in performance terms that fits with the Lite name – it’s a great experience.
There’s no microSD card support, however, so you’re looking at 128GB storage being your all.
Where Oppo is adding some excitement is with 65W charging. That’s thanks to the SuperVOOC 2.0 technology and the chunky charger that you’ll find in the box. What this means is you’ll be able to recharge the phone’s battery at blistering speed – from zero to full in around 35 minutes.
There is battery management software that will attempt to control the charging speeds to preserve battery health though, so that short time-frame isn’t always feasible. This software monitors your usage patterns and will charge the battery slowly as applicable, if you’re in the habit of charging overnight, to ensure it’ll last longer over an extended period of ownership.
However, this can be irritating at times – especially if you only have time for a short charge overnight, because the automatic system doesn’t seem to recognise the difference between you plugging it on at the normal time, or 6 hours later, meaning you can wake up with a phone that’s not charged if you don’t have the, for example, full 8 hours on the charger that you’d normally get.
We also found that this setting had a habit of turning itself back on, even when we’d turned it off. The best solution, in reality, is a short quick charge during the day and leaving your phone off the charger at night. That should work out for most people, because the battery life of the Find X3 Lite is good, easily lasting through the day, including a few hours of gaming.
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- Quad rear camera system:
- Main: 64-megapixel, f/1.7 aperture
- Ultra-wide: 8MP, f/2.4
- Macro: 2MP, f/2.4
- Mono: 2MP, f/2.4
- Front: 32MP, f/2.4
Oppo plays the typical 2021 mid-range phone game, plastering the rear of the camera with sensors so it can claim it’s a “quad camera”. There’s the appearance of the low-resolution macro sensor – which isn’t anything to get excited about – and there’s also a 2-megapixel “mono camera”.
This mono lens notionally feeds data into the portrait system to improve its performance. Portrait is offered on the front camera from a single lens, suggesting to us that it’s simply an unnecessary feature.
The portrait performance isn’t especially good anyway, with the edge detection a little crude. The bokeh effect needs to be set at the time of taking the photo because you can’t adjust it once the picture is taken. Yes, there are options to increase the blur, but unlike the options from Samsung or Google Pixel, for example, you can’t reduce the level of the blur if you find the effect too strong.
The Lite’s front camera is reasonable: we can’t fathom why it’s a 32-megapixel sensor as that doesn’t really deliver any benefits. There’s no pixel binning, as it pumps out 32-megapixel images which just take up more storage and need more data to share. It will give you a decent shot in good conditions, but you’ll need to use the night mode in low-light as it gets noisy rather quickly in less than perfect situations.
The rear camera sees a headline 64-megapixel main, which is par for the course. This is very much about appearing to keep up with rivals than actually delivering better images – but again, it’s typical for this level of phone.
Here there is some pixel binning, with 16-megapixel images as a result by default. If you want to shoot at full 64-megapixel resolution you have the option to turn that on in normal photo mode; there’s also an Extra HD mode which oversamples to give a 108-megapixel image.
Visually, those images basically look the same (the Extra HD mode loses the AI scene optimisation), but greater resolution gives the potential to zoom and crop – although the detail is rather mushy and we can’t see anyone really wanting to do this.
With all that said, the main camera puts in a decent performance for this price of phone and you’ll get decent photos from it in most conditions. There’s no zoom, however, which is a slight limitation, only offering digital zoom.
The ultra-wide camera puts in an average performance, although we like the options this introduces from a usability perspective. However, there is a colour shift between this and the main camera, as well as blurring as you move out of the centre of the frame.
As with many phones in this price category, the Lite will probably do everything you want it to do – as well as a whole load of stuff you don’t want it to do. Just don’t fall for the “quad camera” system marketing and stick to main lens and there’s a perfectly usable single camera on the rear.
- Google Android 11 OS
- Oppo ColorOS 11
Like many brands, Oppo goes to town customising Google’s Android operating system with its own ColorOS setup. ColorOS has seen great improvements over recent years to make it a lot more usable and approachable – and the offering on the Find X3 Lite isn’t too bad.
There isn’t too much bloat or duplication – except for photos, music, and an app to help you relax you’ll likely never use – but with Google Messages, Gboard and Chrome all in place, there’s not too much messing around needed to get to the services you want. Access to Google Discover from the home screen is welcomed too.
But beneath this, ColorOS changes the look and feel of many areas of Android 11. It gives you plenty of options for customisation, but some things fall down the cracks too.
Notifications seem to be particularly irksome: some applications have failed to deliver notifications consistently, we’ve also found that “bedtime mode” – part of the digital wellbeing suite – took about a week to figure out how to run to the schedule we gave it.
Some of these might just be teething troubles, but the experience doesn’t feel quite as slick as the software on the Samsung Galaxy A52 5G, which is a close rival to this phone.
At the same time, we’ve not found the software to get in the way: once you’re in your favourite app or game things run very much as they should.
There’s a lot that’s interesting about the Oppo Find X3 Lite: the core hardware is solid, the display is good, and fast battery charging is a real benefit.
The niggles are also fairly minor: the over-sell on the cameras, the single speaker that’s easily blocked, and some software quirks that seem to block notifications. Despite this running on year-old hardware, it’s still a capable phone, and the Lite naming is perhaps an undersell considering how much you get for your money.
But over the past 12 months, this has emerged as the most competitive smartphone segment: there are better camera performers on this hardware (Pixel 4a 5G), there are better displays in this position (Samsung Galaxy A52 5G) and lots of options besides.
Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
Samsung’s budget offering sits a little lower in the hardware stakes, but offers waterproofing – which is rare at this level – as well as a great 120Hz display.
Redmi Note 10 Pro
Redmi offers blistering value for money, although this is a 4G model only and on slightly lower hardware – but you still get a lot of phone for your money.
Writing by Chris Hall. Editing by Mike Lowe.