When it comes to flagship smartphones at $1500 and higher prices, you know they're packing in as much technology as possible, from wireless charging to NFC smartphone payments, from MicroUSB slots on Androids through to IP6x water and dust resistance.
When you aren't charging those premium prices, you enter the upper mid-range world where you still get top features, even unique features as with the Oppo Find X, but there are things that got cut out - or at least, didn't make it into the 2018 version.
Such is the case with Oppo's Find X, a screen with the smallest possible top and bottom bezels, curved edges on the sides of the screen, Face ID-style technology that appears to rival Apple's own, and a cool-looking pop-up camera system featuring a 25 megapixel camera on the front (along with other sensors) and a 16MP + 20MP dual camera on the back.
Naturally, Oppo pulls out all the stops in describing its new flagship, noting that it "combines innovative technologies with groundbreaking design, pushing the boundaries of what is possible in a smartphone".
Michael Tran, MD at OPPO Australia, gave the presentation today at a media event at the famed Bennelong Restaurant at the Opera House in Sydney, as you'll see embedded in the video below. For the first minute or two, he didn't have the microphone in his hand, but once he picked it up, his speaking volume is louder.
Tran said: “We’re excited to announce the availability of the OPPO Find X in Australia. The device will be sure to challenge what Aussie consumers think is possible with a smartphone and shows what OPPO is capable of.
“OPPO’s relentless efforts in creating smartphones that push the boundaries led to the creation of the Find Series. The Find X continues this trend and has delivered a completely new design to the Australian smartphone market that will resonate with Aussie consumers and challenge the status quo.”
Find X being launched in Sydney, Australia, August 15 2018:
First look impressions
Oppo provided review models to the assembled media, on loan for two or three weeks, and I immediately set about taking the Find X out of the box and setting up from brand new condition. The usual Android start-up process commenced, including a 3D face scan after 6-digit passcode was created, and it was quick and easy to set up as you'd expect.
When the face scan occurred, I didn't even see the camera pop up and down into and from view, but I certainly did play with the camera feature popping up and down when I got into the camera, with its very iOS-like interface.
As noted below, the OS looks very much like iOS, presumably so as to make iOS converts feel at home, right down to being able to sort-of mimic iPhone X interface gestures, while still being able to choose the square, circle and triangle style trio of buttons that Android has had for years.
The screen looks very nice, and is what you'd imagine an iPhone X would have looked like had Apple been able to avoid needing the notch.
Given it was a brand new phone with no third party apps or gigabytes of data installed, everything that ran smooth as butter, but given the 8GB storage, the latest Qualcomm 845 processor and more, that's exactly what you'd expect.
A notification popped up that an update to the system OS was already available, which was a few hundred megabytes from memory, and which I quickly downloaded as I'd inserted one of my SIM cards into the Find X, which is a dual-SIM device although sadly with no MicroSD slot.
First impressions are that it is a great looking "camera phone", as Oppo puts it, and provides the uniqueness of its virtually bezel-free and notch-free screen, although without a couple of major flagship features as already noted.
What does Oppo have to say about its new Find X?
Well, Oppo is also keen to remind us all that its Find series of phones were responsible for a range of "industry firsts to market, from the slimmest phone to rotating cameras to fast flash charging technology".
And, while features such as a MicroSD slot, wireless charging and IP67 or 68 rating are't present, the hardware within is nevertheless able to deliver "improved 3D camera technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI) performance enhancements" within its design.
So, what are those headline features again? They're all listed below:
A Panoramic and Unified Design
Oppo tells us the Find X "introduces a unique and beautiful Panoramic Arc Screen, an all-screen display with no compromises. Using the latest in screen technology, the Find X brings the visual screen ratio to 93.8%. With the front almost all-screen, the Find X provides an immersive and unprecedented visual experience, whilst offering an elegant look and feel.
"The new device will come in two gradient colour combinations — Bordeaux Red and Glacier Blue. The Multifaceted Colour Process used by OPPO realises a perfect blend of gradient design with a 3D arc on the rear. In the light, the Find X shines, presenting a colourful effect that changes with your surroundings".
Stealth 3D Cameras Ups OPPOs Selfie Game
"To achieve the all-screen display", Oppr informs that "the Find X uses an innovative sliding structure that completely disguises the cameras within the body of the phone. The Find X sports a 25-megapixel front camera and 16MP+20MP dual rear cameras. Additionally a 3D Structured light module is included, which can project 15,000 dots to build a precise and complete 3D model of a user’s face, with millimetre-level accuracy.
"This has helped to further improve OPPO’s selfie game. The Find X introduces 3D Smart Selfie Capture. Based on the 3D model of a user’s face, AI technology intelligently analyses facial characteristics such as face shapes and features, providing suggestions to make faces look more natural and realistic.
"With the assistance of AI Scene Recognition, OPPO Find X makes it easier to take high quality photos. It intelligently identifies scenes and objects while optimising the image. It supports over 20 scenarios of photography and over 800 scenario combinations including sunsets, snow, food, pets, and so on."
3D Facial Recognition brings a higher level of security
Then comes the Face ID-like technology, where Oppo explains that "Not only do the 3D cameras help users take better photos, but its built-in facial recognition technology has a higher level of security than fingerprint identification. The false acceptance rate of fingerprint recognition is 1/50,000, while the false acceptance rate of 3D Face Recognition is 1/1,000,000.
"3D facial recognition not only makes unlocking safer but also more convenient, while also offering support for mobile payments. OPPO has now made it possible to pay through facial recognition, with Alibaba’s Alipay in China, making Find X the first Android phone to support payment through facial recognition."
Indeed, the facial recognition is very fast, appearing to work in a very similar fashion to the way Apple has done it, and beating Samsung to the punch - this feature should have been in the Galaxy Note9 even though the Note9 is laden with iris scanning, the more basic 2D face recognition and a fingerprint sensor - perhaps Samsung will enable this with the S10 or Note10 to come.
Exploring Intelligence: ColorOS 5.1 AI System
Next up is Oppo's skin, which the company says is "based on Android 8.1", but which they really mean is entirely based on iOS and is the most shameless copy you've ever seen. I keep saying it but I don't know how Oppo manages to get away with it. Is it the Chinese government suggesting to Apple with the power of government force that "these aren't the lawsuits you're looking for", or is Apple merely biding its time to strike back against the attack of the cloning empire with the return of its own JediPhone equipped angry bird legal eagles?
It's hard to say what the maker of the original JesusPhone (as the iPhone was called by sections of the media at its launch in 2007) and what I dub the JediPhone will do against the Dark Lords of the Google, but with Oppo's ColorOS 5.1 deeply integrated with the AI Engine of the Snapdragon 845 mobile platform, the force is very strong with its incredible cloning of iOS power.
Oppo goes so far as to try one-upping iOS by saying that "the AI capability of this arrangement helps ColorOS 5.1 understand user needs better than ever before".
Oppo explains that the Find X contains "the third generation of Qualcomm Mobile AI Platform", powered by the Snapdragon 845 mobile platform that "is engineered with every forward-looking feature, including camera, gaming, an intelligent personal assistant and advanced vault-like security", and because of the Snapdragon 845's power, "ColorOS is stronger, faster and smarter than ever before".
As you'd expect, that's not all. Find X obviously has Google Assistant built-in, augmented by a "smart low-power-consumption MIC with DSP module", which we're told means the Find X "can not only make use of Google Assistant at all times but the Find X can also adjust the performance automatically to ensure high activation success rate".
Oppo Find X "Automobili Lamborghini Edition"
Oppo also announced a special "Automobili Lamborghini Edition" of the Find X, "specifically designed to embody the look of a Lamborghini sports car", and with a carbon fibre "look", although not actually made from carbon fibre.
This edition will have 512GB storage, and introduces "Super VOOC" technology that can exceed 50W of charging power "for the first time", enabling a charge time to 100% of just 35 minutes, and which will come to Australia in a "limited run" at a price not yet announced.
We're told its "features have been specifically designed to embody the look of a Lamborghini sports car. This includes super fast charging, as it introduces OPPO’s unique charging technology Super VOOC flash charge. Super VOOC enables the charge power of mobile phone to exceed 50W for the first time and charges the phone to 100 per cent in just 35 minutes.
So, what is the price of the Find X, and where will you be able to buy it from?
The Find X has an Australia recommended retail price of $1,099, and will be sold "exclusively through JB Hi-Fi".
Questions and answers from the Q&A session (which I unfortunately was not given permission to film):
Tran indicated in the Q&A session that an Android 9 Pie OS update would be coming, but wasn't able to give a date on when that would occur.
In a question I posed as to whether or not the Super VOOC charger for the Lamborghini model would be available to buy separately to charge the standard Find X at the faster rate, the answer was no.
Asked whether there was a MicroSD slot or NFC, the answer was no.
Asked whether there were any screen breakage free replacement policies on offer, which Oppo has offered on select previous models, the answer was no.
Asked about the durability of the camera mechanism, the answer, from memory, was that it had been extensively tested and would hold up, but without being specific as to actual longevity.
Someone asked about accessories like cases, and the answer was that Oppo was considering bringing some accessories to market, and that there was already a transparent case included in the box.
A question was asked about whether Oppo was confident it could sell smartphones at the $1099 price, and the answer effectively was that Oppo was confident the Find X would be a popular model for a variety of reasons, but including the unique screen, 3D camera scanning, pop-up camera and more.
The OPPO Find X Specs:
186g (with battery)
Bordeaux Red, Glacier Blue
ColorOS 5.1 (based on Android 8.1)
Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
System Memory (RAM)
3645/3730mAh Li-Polymer Battery (Min/Typ)
Screen to Body Ratio
16MP + 20MP
f/2.0 + f/2.0
720p/1080p/4K @ 30FPS
Normal/HDR/Panorama/Beautify/Slow Mo /SuperZoom
SIM Card Type
GPS/ aGPS/ E-compass/ Beidou/ G-sensor/ Gyro-meter/ Light and Proximity Sensor
VOOC Flash Charge / USB Type C 2.0
Via Type C - USB-C to 3.5mm adaptor cable included in box
Headphones included in box
Transparent case included in box