The Oppo Discover X3 Neo is the not-quite-flagship different to the Oppo Discover X3 Professional and its ‘everything-but-the-kitchen-sink’ strategy.
Very similar to final yr’s Oppo Discover X2 Neo, it rolls strong second-tier elements right into a svelte, style-conscious physique. However this yr’s Neo mannequin has additionally been tasked with stepping as much as fill the void left by the non-existent Oppo Discover X3, with Oppo whittling its early 2021 telephone vary down to simply three handsets.
It goals to take action primarily by a much-improved digicam system and a contemporary design. At £699, nevertheless, there are some difficult inquiries to reply about its worth proposition.
Design & Construct
The most effective factor about final yr’s Oppo Discover X2 Neo was undoubtedly its design. Whereas it got here third out of 4 Discover X2 handsets by way of efficiency and options, it was arguably the perfect wanting telephone of the lot.
For a short spell, the Discover X2 Neo was the world’s thinnest 5G telephone. Whereas the Discover X3 Neo doesn’t make any makes an attempt to regain that doubtful crown, it’s nonetheless a thin little factor at simply 7.99mm. It’s additionally comparatively mild for its dimension at 184g.
I flat out choose its design to that of its closest rival, the OnePlus 9, which goes for use as a little bit of a yardstick all through this assessment for causes that can grow to be obvious. Although it sits lighter within the hand, the Discover X3 Neo by some means feels extra premium – or at the least extra particular. A part of that comes all the way down to its selection of supplies, which is a steel body and a curiously textured plastic again.
The latter is described by Oppo as “a shimmering, diamond-like look that’s beautiful to the touch and dazzling on the eyes”. I’m unsure about that, however there’s positively one thing interesting to the Galactic Silver mannequin that I’m testing (it additionally is available in Starlight Black). Relaxation assured that grain impact within the close-up handset pictures isn’t picture noise.
This mannequin’s chameleonic end sees the color shifting as you tilt the telephone, partially taking up the hue of its quick environment. From a sensible perspective, it’s additionally each extra grippy and a complete lot extra fingerprint resistant than glossy-backed telephones just like the OnePlus 9.
There’s nothing uncommon in regards to the telephone’s sticky-outy digicam module, which carries shades of the Samsung Galaxy Notice 20 and Extremely. There’s additionally no excessive profile digicam branding in sight right here, but it surely nonetheless appears suitably ‘Professional’.
The telephone’s dead-flat high and backside edges are an fascinating contact, particularly as the highest is roofed by a pale blue glass (or glass-like) materials. One other premium contact is the way in which the show glass melts away into the body, with a slight curve and an entire absence of the plastic body that surrounds the OnePlus 9.
All in all, Oppo has accomplished nicely to make the marginally pared-back materials selection of the Discover X3 Neo appear to be a daring inventive selection reasonably than a compromise.
Nonetheless, just like the OnePlus, there isn’t a IP waterproof score right here which is not very forgivable on the worth in 2021.
The Oppo Discover X3 Neo’s show is a 6.5in AMOLED with a 2400 x 1080 (Full HD+) decision and a peak brightness of 1100 nits.
At first look, it appears to have been culled from the identical components bin because the OnePlus 9 and the OnePlus 8T. Oppo and OnePlus are owned by the identical firm, in any case, and sometimes share elements.
However then you definitely realise that the refresh fee for the Discover X3 Neo is just 90Hz reasonably than 120Hz, which suggests it’s acquired extra in frequent with the year-old OnePlus 8. Or to place it one other method, the Oppo Discover X3 Neo’s show is precisely identical as that of its predecessor, the Oppo Discover X2 Neo.
The shortage of development is a tad disappointing contemplating how a lot you’re paying for the telephone. 90Hz remains to be good and fluid, and is 50% increased than the equally priced iPhone 12 mini, however you are able to do higher for much less cash – the Redmi Notice 10 Professional is 120Hz AMOLED at beneath $300.
Nonetheless, it’s not a foul element to reuse by any means. This show is each bit as brilliant, sharp, and vibrant as you might need it to be, whereas viewing angles are good. You get 100% protection of the DCI-P3 gamut, and it’s additionally HDR10+ licensed, so supported video content material will pop with the complete vary of correct colors.
Avid gamers will encounter a speedy 180Hz contact sampling fee, which ensures the show’s responsiveness. Add in these curved (however not too curved) edges, and it turns into fairly straightforward to get previous these disappointments over a scarcity of progress.
The show additionally incorporates the fingerprint scanner which on this case is an optical sensor, which is reliably snappy.
Specs & Efficiency
Weighing up the Oppo Discover X3 Neo’s efficiency is a curious factor. Not like the telephone’s show, its inside specs have acquired a major enhance over its predecessor, but I’m nonetheless left barely upset.
The Snapdragon 865 CPU that powers it’s a clear step up in school from the earlier Snapdragon 765. Nevertheless it’s additionally final yr’s know-how, with the Snapdragon 888 having taken its place within the Oppo Discover X3 Professional.
True, you’re paying so much much less for the Discover X3 Neo. However you’ll pay even much less for the OnePlus 9, which additionally runs on the Snapdragon 888. And also you’ll pay the identical for the iPhone 12 mini, which comes with an A14 Bionic CPU that eats every thing else for breakfast.
Add in the usage of slower LPDDR4x RAM (albeit a beneficiant 12GB of the stuff), and the musty whiff of a components bin is as soon as once more within the air.
As earlier than, although, these are largely educational complaints from somebody who’s privileged to have hands-on time with plenty of telephones. Telephones have reached a degree the place we have now to nitpick to some extent.
In each day utilization, away from the context of competing gadgets, the Oppo Discover X3 Neo performs admirably.
Our regular suite of benchmark checks reveals what I used to be anticipating – a degree of efficiency that roughly equates to final yr’s flagship telephones just like the OnePlus Eight Professional and the Oppo Discover X2 Professional. In sensible phrases, it was fairly robust to make final yr’s flagship spec sweat, and that hasn’t modified 12 months down the road.
Boot up PUBG Cell, and the settings will default to HD/Excessive, which is across the center. I used to be in a position to push it a notch as much as HDR graphics and two notches as much as Excessive body fee with no main hit to efficiency.
All of that is backed by a wholesome 256GB of storage as customary. There’s no microSD slot, however do you actually need one with that a lot storage at your fingertips? Most individuals most likely gained’t.
Oppo’s greatest step ahead with the Discover X3 Neo is within the digicam division, the place a 50Mp 1/1.56″ Sony IMX766 sensor (co-developed by Oppo) leads the cost.
That is the very same foremost picture sensor that may be discovered within the Oppo Discover X3 Professional, which is shocking. It additionally drives the ultrawide cameras of the OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Professional, by the way (bear in mind what I stated about these shared elements?).
On this guise, it consists of DOL-HDR for ‘quasi-simultaneous’ publicity, which principally tightens up HDR pictures and reduces ghosting and movement blur. You don’t get the Professional’s ‘twin main’ providing of the identical sensor for the ultrawide, although.
There’s a much more modest 16Mp mounted focus sensor right here that does fairly nicely in matching the colors of the principle sensor however falls off by way of distortion and noise on the edges. There’s no Freeform floor lens right here to assist with that just like the OnePlus 9 telephones.
You do get the advantage of a devoted 13Mp telephoto lens, which might take 5x hybrid zoom photographs. You’re greatest off sticking to 2x with this one although, as zooming in additional results in reasonably grainy, vague photographs.
However at the least there’s some potential for usable zoomed snaps right here, not like with the OnePlus 9. Fairly than the Discover X3 Professional’s funky microlens, you get a bog-standard 2Mp macro digicam.
When it comes to normal shot high quality, the Oppo Discover X3 Neo captures brilliant, vibrant, if often barely cool and over-exposed photographs. I used to be significantly impressed at how nicely it dealt with capturing into the solar, with not one of the lens glare that plagues the iPhone 12 household.
When it comes to comparisons with the OnePlus 9 digicam, it’s swings and roundabouts. Once I in contrast a bunch of similar OnePlus 9 and Oppo Discover X3 Neo photographs taken again to again, a reasonably constant divide manifested itself.
In day time circumstances, with loads of mild, I most well-liked the OnePlus 9’s outcomes. There wasn’t an ideal deal in it, however they had been usually extra vibrant, much less overexposed, much less over-sharpened, and so they contained fewer bizarre artefacts (in background tree branches, for instance).
Maybe the OnePlus 9’s superior picture processing (courtesy of that Snapdragon 888) is coming into play right here, alongside its new Hassleblad color tuning. OnePlus has additionally had an additional yr of refining and updating its digicam, don’t overlook.
When the sunshine dropped and the respective evening modes got here into play, nevertheless, the Oppo Discover X3 Neo took over fairly convincingly. The OnePlus 9 tends to over-brighten and wash evening photographs out, whereas the Oppo captures deeper, richer and extra pure colors, to not point out far more element.
The Discover X3 Neo’s OIS probably helps maintain issues locked in and regular right here, whereas the IMX766 sensor additionally appears to symbolize a giant step up in low mild seize.
After all, if pictures actually is your precedence, then the iPhone 12 mini nonetheless takes the perfect pictures within the £600-£700 worth class. Its photographs are full of extra element, higher color stability, and superior dealing with of shadows – whether or not day or evening.
Oppo has packed within the video options too, with AI Spotlight Video utilizing AI algorithms to appropriate the sunshine in your footage, Extremely Regular Video 3.zero retaining issues secure, and Twin-view Video permitting you to shoot entrance (through the 32Mp selfie cam) and rear footage concurrently.
All in all, it is a notable step ahead from the Oppo Discover X2 Neo, with an all-round digicam bundle that takes a step nearer to true flagship territory.
Battery & Charging
One other method through which the Oppo Discover X3 Neo improves upon its predecessor is battery life. With a 4500mAh cell, the brand new telephone positively dwarfs its older 4025mAh brother, and matches the Oppo Discover X3 Professional.
In each day use, I used to be routinely in a position to get by a complete day with out worrying a few recharge. On lighter days with 2.5 hours of display screen on time, I used to be attending to mattress with greater than 60% left within the tank. Heavier days with double that utilization ought to nonetheless see you thru too.
I ought to add the caveat that present house-bound circumstances meant that almost all of my time was spent on a secure Wi-Fi connection. Introduce 5G to the equation, and battery efficiency will invariably endure.
Even should you do end up needing a cost earlier than the day is completed, although, you’ll be nicely served. Whereas the X2 Neo supported 30W wired charging, the Oppo Discover X3 Neo goes as much as a formidable 65W. And the SuperVOOC 2.zero Flash Cost energy brick wanted for that’s bundled into the field.
Oppo claims that its charger can get you from empty to 100% in as little as 35 minutes. I can verify that’s just about proper on the cash, having noticed the telephone going from empty to 95% in 30 minutes, and from 1-100% in the identical time. A 10-minute spritz from empty acquired me to 37%, which is very respectable.
After all, the OnePlus 9 additionally helps 65W charging out of the field. What’s extra, it additionally helps Qi wi-fi charging, which the Discover X3 Neo doesn’t.
The Discover X3 Neo comes with Android 11 and ColorOS 11.1, which is Oppo’s very personal customized UI.
Aesthetically, it’s not significantly to my style, with its simplistic icons and busy menus. Nevertheless it’s developed to grow to be one of many least egregious of the same old customized Android UI offenders.
It’s quick and fluid for probably the most half and doesn’t bundle an excessive amount of shovelware onto its brilliant residence screens. It’s additionally extremely customisable, with loads of theming and format choices at your disposal.
ColorOS on the Discover X3 Neo isn’t with out its quirks, nevertheless. I observed a bizarre and constant case of slowdown when scrolling left into Google Uncover feed from the principle residence display screen, which strengthens the sense of a niche between Google’s inventory Android providing and ColorOS’s fussy pores and skin.
Additionally, I used to be considerably mystified to study that Disney+ wasn’t obtainable to obtain from the Google Play Retailer. Apparently, it isn’t suitable with the telephone. What provides, Oppo?
Add in some overly aggressive auto-brightness dimming in low lighting, and you’ve got an OS that’s strong and extremely customisable, however nowhere close to as slick or fashionable as inventory Android on the Pixel 5 or Oxygen OS on the OnePlus 9.
Value & Availability
The Discover X3 Neo goes on sale within the UK on 14 April, if you’ll be capable to order it from the Oppo retailer, EE or Three. The worldwide rollout commences earlier on 30 March, however you shouldn’t maintain your breath for a launch in North America.
It would set you again £699 at launch, which is a little bit of an issue. That’s £100 greater than the Oppo Discover X2 Neo launched final yr, for one factor.
Doubtlessly extra damaging is the truth that the Oppo Discover X3 Neo is £70 costlier than the OnePlus 9. As I’ve mentioned, the Discover X3 Neo’s stablemate outperforms it in a number of essential methods.
This worth level additionally locations the Oppo Discover X3 Neo straight up towards the iPhone 12 mini. Whereas Apple’s compact powerhouse reportedly hasn’t bought in addition to anticipated, it stays a extremely elegant and succesful operator with an impressive design, digicam, and efficiency.
Take a look at our charts for the perfect telephones and greatest Android telephones to see what else is on the market.
The Oppo Discover X3 Neo is a striking-looking entry-level flagship telephone with a powerful digicam and a reassuring air of confidence. Nevertheless it feels prefer it’s acquired its worth proposition all unsuitable.
It is a telephone that seems to have been caught in amber someday in early 2020, and has emerged a yr later passing off its specs as model new. That may sound just like the premise of a jaunty ’90s comedy, but it surely’s not so humorous when there’s £700 of your cash on the road.
And that’s the issue. With a 90Hz show taken from its predecessor and a Snapdragon 865 processor culled from final yr’s flagships, £700 is like an excessive amount of cash – particularly with the OnePlus 9 providing a more energizing bundle for much less.
I applaud Oppo for the advances it’s made with the Discover X3 Neo’s digicam, and it actually does feel and appear good. Nevertheless it’s going to require a worth minimize or two earlier than it turns into a viable choice for many potential patrons.
Oppo Discover X3 Neo: Specs
Android 11 w/ ColorOS 11.1
6.5in, FHD+, AMOLED, 90Hz, curved show
In-display fingerprint sensor
Gorilla Glass 5 (entrance)
Aluminium alloy body
Qualcomm Snapdragon 865
12GB LPDDR4 RAM
256GB non-expandable UFS 3.1 storage
50Mp, f/1.8, 1/1.56″ foremost digicam with OIS
16Mp, f/2.four ultrawide digicam
13Mp, f/2.2 2x telephoto digicam
2Mp, f/2.four macro digicam
As much as 4K @ 60fps rear video
32Mp, f/2.four front-facing digicam
As much as 1080p @ 30fps entrance video
Stereo audio system
65W quick charging
159.9 x 72.5mm x 7.99mm
Launch colors: Galactic Sliver, Starlight Black