Review | Oppo F3 Plus ‘selfie expert’ smartphone

By Ian Barretto

For a smartphone to capture the market’s attention nowadays, it has to have a great selling point or a killer feature to make it stand out in a sea of smartphones. Oppo is making its case with the F3 Plus, a successor to last year’s selfie-centric phone and the latest member of its F series of smartphones with dual front-facing cameras.

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Does the Oppo F3 Plus live up to its claim as a “Selfie Expert?” Is the phone a worthy purchase? Let’s take a closer look and find out.

This is what comes out of the box

This is what comes out of the box

Design and build quality

The Oppo F3 Plus is all-metal with a white façade and large top and bottom bezels. The front of the phone is equipped with a 6-inch Corning Gorilla Glass 5 screen and narrow 1.78 mm side bezels, offering an understated, almost nondescript look.

The dual-front facing cameras can be easily seen at the top of the unit, while the capacitive home button that doubles as a fingerprint sensor is located at the bottom part.

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At the back is the camera and flash on the upper left side. Unlike the unsightly thick white bands present in other phones, the Oppo F3 Plus has a neat “six-string” design of antenna lines, measuring 0.3 mm each.

The phone is solid, weighing in at 185 grams while its metal unibody design provides a sleek, premium look. Its perfectly rounded edges of the phone provide a nice, comfortable grip. But given that it is a smartphone with a 6-inch screen, it can be a bit unwieldy when holding with a single hand.

Sample photos of the phone shown below:

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Display

This Oppo model sports a 6-inch IPS LCD screen with a 1080 x 1920 pixel resolution (~367 ppi), coated with Corning Gorilla Glass 5. The screen is perfectly suited for consuming content such as videos and scrolling through social media feeds due to its sheer size and great color quality, even when used outdoors.

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Performance

Inside the phone is the MSM8976 Pro/Snapdragon 653 processor, Qualcomm’s best mid-range chip at present. It may not be the best in pure processing power but its real-world performance does not disappoint at all.

In fact, apps run smoothly and multi-tasking is a breeze, helped in part with the phone’s 4GB of RAM (similar to high-end phones). Its 64 GB of onboard storage can be expanded up to 256 GB using a microSD, which can replace the second SIM slot.

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The Adreno 510 GPU handles graphics-intensive games such as NBA Live Mobile and Dirt Xtreme running without frame-rate problems.

• AnTuTu benchmark score: 90605
• PCMark Work 2.0 Performance benchmark: 4890
• 3DMark Sling Shot Extreme benchmark: 947

Oppo’s proprietary Color OS 3.0 runs on top of Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, which is disappointing as having Nougat right out of the box would’ve been much preferred. Color OS takes some design cues from Apple’s iOS which can be clearly seen from the looks of some of the app icons and the layout of the settings screen.

Also, the absence of an app drawer is something that may take time to get used to. Overall, Color OS runs smoothly and is one of the better-looking Android skins out there. However, some of its functionalities definitely need some improvements.

Here are some screenshots of Color OS:

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Camera

Now for the standout feature of the Oppo F3 Plus: the dual front cameras. One is a 16-megapixel camera — with a 1/3-inch sensor, F2.0 aperture — producing clear, vivid shots with low noise. The other is an 8-megapixel 120-degree wide-angle camera, which can capture a much broader view than standard 80-degree cameras.

The phone also has a smart facial recognition feature that promptly switches to the wide-angle camera once it detects more than three faces in a frame for a selfie.

Here is a selfie using the regular 16-megapixel front-facing camera

Here is a selfie using the regular 16-megapixel front-facing camera

A selfie using the 8-megapixel wide-angle camera

A selfie using the 8-megapixel wide-angle camera

The rear camera is no slouch either with its all-new Sony IMX398 sensor, a customized 1/2.8-inch sensor Sony developed exclusively for Oppo. The sensor and the F1.7 aperture allows for fast focusing speed, reduced noise, and better low-light performance.

The photos we took came out well – sharp and nicely detailed with vivid colors. Problems occurred when taking photos of low-light settings though – noise was clearly visible and details became a bit muddy.

Here are some sample photos taken using the rear camera:

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Battery

The phone comes with a large 4000 mAh battery that will easily last a whole day. In my case, I regularly used it for replying to texts, browsing the ‘Net, looking through various social media apps, listening to music on Spotify, watching videos on YouTube and making the occasional phone call.

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Power-saving optimizations and the 1080p screen certainly help reduce the burden on the battery. Oppo’s VOOC Flash Charge really lives up to its name. Average screen on time is about five hours of regular use. We did a quick battery test and the phone charges from 10% to 90% in an hour.

Verdict

Oppo has made a good, capable phone with a combination of high- and mid-tier specs. Its camera is certainly the standout feature, producing great images on its rear camera and excellent selfies with its dual front cameras. The phone is ideally suited as well for consuming media due to its large screen.

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The Oppo F3 Plus retails at P23,990, which is quite pricey for a mid-range phone (one could get the OnePlus 3T for a similar price).

This is for people looking for a phone offering premium looks, good build quality, a competent camera, and a sizable screen.

The Good:

• Premium build quality in a metal unibody frame
• Decent camera capable of sharp, detailed images, and good selfies
• Large battery that can last a whole day of heavy usage
• VOOC fast charging really works

The Bad:

• High price for the specs it offers
• Color OS could be better and no Android Nougat out of the box
• Camera does poorly on low-light conditions

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