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One month usage Review: OPPO F3, more than just a Dual Selfie Expert.

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OPPO F3 is a new and trendy smartphone whose claim to glory is a Dual Selfie camera. The good people at OPPO gave us a chance to use the phone for an extended amount of time to truly experience and decide if it lives up to the name of Selfie Expert. After the first impression article, we continued using the device and we realized, the phone not only excels in selfies but also has many other strengths that combine – in overall – to make up a very compelling device.

Design and handling

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OPPO generally makes phones with attractive designs across their entire portfolio, the F3 keeps this status quo. The metallic body is complemented by shiny chrome –like antenna lines which reflects light beautifully. The slim 7.3mm body feels great on the hands especially because the curved edges meets the slightly curved 2.5D glass so seamlessy in a manner that enhances ergonomics. Being so slim also makes it possible operate the 5.5 inch phone with one hand without struggling much. A handy one-handed UI mode is available in case you want more flexibility.

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Display

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The screen is of IPS technology, which means that the viewings angles are superb. It renders images in a true-to-life representation; the saturation levels are well balanced to enhance the colors a bit without losing their natural look.  Unfortunately there is no settings to fine tune the display temperature, however, the screen does a decent job by default that you won’t find yourself with the need to adjust it. There is also a handy eye protection mode that filters out harmful light, OPPO conveniently put a quick toggle for this feature on the notification pull out for easy access.

Camera

Dual Selfie Camera
  1. Dual Selfie camera

The dual selfie camera was the headlining feature of the phone, it does real justice to this Selfie Expert.  The dual selfie comprises of 16MP + 8MP combo. The 16MP is for high resolution solo selfies while the 8MP is for super wide angle group selfies.

Solo selfie

The solo shots came out very sharp and with beautiful colors. The 16MP truly performs well especially in bright light environments. Dark areas didn’t produce the best photos mainly due to lack of a front facing flash.

Super wide angle selfie, almost 3/4 of the field is in the selfie

The group selfie is where the true magic lies, the camera gets so much into the picture. I took a picture at a sports stadium and behind me you could see ¾ of the field, it’s that incredible. With such a wide angle sensor, you will absolutely not need a selfie stick.

The picture quality here was amazing as well, more so in areas with lots of light. Colors were saturated and images were well detailed but, when there’s direct sunlight in the back-ground, selfies would tend to come out overexposed.

Bokeh effect, blur background, focused foreground

Bokeh effect is also supported thanks to this secondary camera, it blurs out the background and only puts your face and body into focus. Real time filters and a rare double exposure mode is also supported.

  1. Rear camera
Blue skies, high dynamic range

The rear camera is 13MP in resolution. Yes, you read that right, the selfie camera has more resolution than the rear one, however, I found this shooter to be more mature in terms of picture quality. Photos taken with it are sharp, with great color rendering and most of all, the sensor was able to do better in low light scenarios than the dual selfies could. Even without using the flash, in door pictures turned out decent while compared to selfies. The flash was also bright enough to light up the subject in pitch darkness. There was high dynamic range in photos meaning that the sky remains blue and shadows are well exposed.

Low light shot

Manual mode is supported here, as well as an Ultra HD mode that lets you get photos of up to a whooping 24MP. Zooming is done digitally, but the images remained sharp even at 3-5 times. Other common modes such as HDR are present as well.

Software

No app drawer

OPPO F3 runs on a custom Color OS user interface that is build on top of android 6.0 marshmallow, the UI does not come with an app drawer which might be disappointing for some, but you can use folders to keep things organized. Luckily, there is a powerful search feature, you simply slide down your finger from anywhere on the home screen, type the name of what you want to search and the results are pulled from apps list, messaging, contacts, music, twitter and even Google search, it’s very comprehensive and fast. With this feature, I never spent time going through the home screen looking for a particular app, it makes up for the lack of an app drawer.

Color OS has some neat little touches such as the way the clock app icon changes into black at night and back to white during the day, or the way the notification bar informs of how much data is being used in real time when you have internet / WIFI-hotspot switched on.

Themes available

 

The interface is very smooth while operating the phone thanks to the generous amount of RAM. I did not experience any lags whatsoever. The multitasking panel is arranged in a horizontal list which I actually like since it lets you see full sized cards of your recently used apps. With a little creativity, you can use this panel as a form of dual-screen multitasking which the phone does not natively support.

There are some areas that the OPPO F3 needs improvements such as the way alerts on the notification bar cannot be expanded. Also, Color OS 3 does not play well with changing of default apps such as the launcher and messaging, it forces you to use the stock versions that came with the phone. In addition, I wish they could let you access all volume settings whenever you press the volume button, at the moment, the phone only lets you adjust the volume of the ongoing activities, that is, if you are playing music, you only get access to media volume, you cannot adjust incoming calls volume. Fortunately, these are all improvements that can be with a simple update so they aren’t deal breakers.

Performance

Dream League Soccer 17

Under the hood of the OPPO F3 is a Mediatek 6750T chipset, it is coupled with a 4GB RAM and a whopping 64GB internal storage which is expandable. The chipset handles its weight very fluidly; everything from social media to gaming was met with quick response. The phone plays games such Dream League Soccer 17 smoothly, even graphics intensive titles such as GTA San Andreas, Mortal Kombat X and NFS No Limits, all of them ran smoothly without overheating the phone.

Mortal Kombat X

The 4GB RAM makes multitasking a breeze, I actually stopped using the back button when exiting apps, I would simply press the home button and move on, and even then , the phone never lagged. The 64 GB gives you unrivaled freedom, not many manufacturers let you have this much space for the price of the F3, we applaud OPPO for that and hope that they keep being generous.

Multimedia

OPPO F3 comes with a powerful loud speaker, it is loud enough to make sure that you do not miss any phone calls and that all your friends hear the audio when you are showing them videos and vines. Speaking of videos, all common formats are supported by the native video player that comes with the phone, you won’t need to install a third party app.

The earphone audio is great too, it was actually very loud. Audiophiles would appreciate it especially if they utilize a high quality set of earphones. Bass is punchy and lows are clear, there is a built-in equalizer in case you want to fine tune the audio.

Battery

Despite the slender dimensions of the F3, the phone still managed to squeeze in a 3200mAh battery. Amazingly, the battery life is also great, it will easily take you through a whole day’s use without needing a recharge.

Speaking of, the charging speed is very fast. Sure the phone does not come with OPPO’s VOOC charging technology, but they have still implemented fast charging solution of sorts.

A low power mode exists in case you want to stretch out the longevity further. The feature cuts down background processes and reduced processor speed, but even at this limited settings, the phone is still very fast. I had this mode switched on almost every time, that way, I would use the device endlessly and not have to worry about battery dying on me at all.

Unfortunately, OPPO does not have an ultra power saver mode, we hope that they add it via an update. Lastly, the phone does not have display on screen battery times, again, an update can fix this as well.

 

Pros

  • Beautiful slim design
  • Unique dual selfie camera with high resolution solo shots and ultra wide group selfies
  • Great rear camera with manual mode and fast focus
  • Good picture quality from both cameras
  • All day battery life with fast charging speeds
  • Loud earphone and external speaker volume
  • 4GB RAM makes multitasking a breeze
  • 64 GB storage gives you total freedom with content, it is expandable as well
  • Smooth performance even in gaming

Cons

  • Needs better low light photography
  • Color OS doesn’t let you expand notifications
  • Needs an app drawer option
  • Needs to let you use third party apps as defaults

 

 

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Dennis Mathu
Dennis Mathu
I cover motoring news, gadgets, software releases, mobile apps and enterprise systems powering corporations. Contact me at [email protected] or [email protected]

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