OPPO F3 Plus Review – An Elegant Selfie Machine

The OPPO F3 Plus is a stylish device geared towards the selfie-taker and social media aficionado. While its dual-front camera is a novel, useful idea, the device is itself average. Continue reading to find out what I discovered as I dove into the F3 Plus!
by Corey Sanderson on May 2, 2017
Positives
  • Good front facing camera with 120-degree wide angle
  • Main Camera is capable of great photos
  • Great Battery Life
  • Elegant, aesthetically pleasing build
  • Dual SIM card support
  • MicroSD card
  • 4GB RAM
Negatives
  • Android Marshmallow
  • Display coloring can be unnatural & oversaturated
  • Large & unwieldy in smaller hands
  • Inconsistent fingerprint sensor
  • Lacks NFC

Design

  • Elegant, stringed instrument-inspired design
  • Sturdy, large design

Looking at the OPPO F3 Plus, there isn’t much that sets it apart aesthetically from a lot of its competition. This also goes for its predecessor, the F1 Plus. It features a flat metal backplate that’s smooth in look and feel with rounded edges that taper towards the front display.

Across the backplate are three antenna lines at both the top and bottom, OPPO’s “Six-String” Antenna Lines. This immediately reminded me of a stringed instrument, so the name fit, and the “strings” aren’t just for looks. The two sets of antennae are ultra-thin at 0.3mm, allowing the F3 Plus to operate on six frequency ranges, automatically and seamlessly choosing the best one per user.



At the top and bottom are featured prominent, white bezels. Their large size leads to a 75% screen-to-body ratio. On the bottom bezel are capacitive buttons and a fingerprint sensor. The sensor is oval and elongated, though small with a lot of dead space around it.

The screen uses Gorilla Glass 5 and comes in at 6 inches. Though gorilla glass often leads to fewer smudges, the pre-applied screen protector has a poor oleophobic coating which leads to a very smudge-laden screen.

In hand, the the F3 Plus is large at 6.44×3.18mm, so might be better suited to being carried in a purse than one’s pocket. Given its size, the 7.4mm thickness Its weight at 185g results in it being feeling a bit heavy, though its heft projects a feeling of sturdiness. Users with small hands may find using the device somewhat cumbersome, so one-handed use is not ideal. If you choose to use the included plastic case (or buy your own), the device becomes even more difficult to maneuver around.

Around the edges, on one side are a power button and dual-nanoSIM/microSD tray and the other volume buttons that also function as a camera shutter button. At the bottom is a single speaker, 3.5mm headphone jack, and charging port. Unfortunately, OPPO has chosen to go with a microUSB port while the world is moving to USB Type-C.

Hardware

  • Strength in data speed and playback, but gets a little heated
  • VOOC flash charge is fast charge
  • Inconsistent fingerprint sensor takes too much time to register

Inside that beautiful casing is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 653 and 4GB of RAM. As such, the upgrade to a X9 modem means better voice clarity and data speeds/drop-rates. The processor is capable of 4k Ultra HD capture and playback while display is at 2k. It holds up to all the apps I threw at it, though I did notice that the metal casing did not dissipate heat well. So, while it won’t burn your skin, heavy users may need the comfort of a case to keep their hands from sweating.

The Snapdragon 653 is also capable of fast charging, which OPPO takes advantage of by including their VOOC Flash Charge technology (though utilizing microUSB). The processor also supports NFC, but the function is absent from the F3 Plus. Comm functions present in the device are dual-band WiFi that utilizes the six antennae on the casing and are boosted by a WiFi amplifier.

The F3 Plus also features a fingerprint sensor on the front that I found inconsistent. Sometimes it registered immediately while others I had to press hard a few times. My guess is that the amount of dead space on the bezel coupled with the elongated, oval sensor design led to “misses.”

OPPO F3 Plus Specifications

Dimensions 163.6 x 80.8 x 7.4 mm (6.44” x 3.18” x 0.29”)
Weight 185g
Display Size 6 inches
Display Type IPS TFT capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
Display Resolution 1080×1920, 367ppi
Chipset Qualcomm MSM8976 Pro Snapdragon 653
Internal Memory 64GB, 4GB RAM
External Memory microSD to 256GB
Front Camera Dual 16MP & 8MP
Rear Camera 16MP, Phase Detection AF, OIS, dual-LED flash
WLAN/Bluetooth WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Dual-band, Bluetooth 4.1
Battery 4000mAh
OS Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
Additional VOOC Flash Charger mini (for fast battery charging), MicroUSB cable, earphones, SIM tray ejector tool, Protective Case

The full spec sheet can be found at Oppo’s F3 Plus page.

Display

  • Bright, crisp display with excellent indoor/outdoor visibility & viewing angles

1.78mm thick bezel looks great and is a feature more often found in premium and high end devices.

The OPPO F3 Plus sports an IPS TFT screen with a resolution of 1080 x 1920 at 367ppi. The blacks in movies and photos are not as rich as on AMOLED displays. While the display is very clear, colors fluctuate between natural and oversaturated. There are no viewing angle problems, so colors won’t change as you go about your business.

Outdoors, I had no trouble seeing what I was doing and auto-brightness did its job well. Indoors, the device proved the same. Laying in bed, the dimmest setting, while viewable, was just a tad too dim; about two notches above was my sweet spot. The screen gets bright enough that you could use it to see things in your immediate vicinity (the LED flashlight function is definitely more useful).

An additional feature that my hypersensitive eyes greatly appreciated was the Eye Protection setting. This can be accessed by the pull-down menu or by going to Settings – Display & Brightness – Eye protection display. What this function does is yellows the screen to help shield your eyes from all that blue light (If you’ve ever used f.lux for PC or Mac, this functions in a similar manner). In the settings, there are high, medium, and low levels for eye protection, so you can be the judge of just how much your eyes can take.

Sound

  • Average sound quality
  • Headset optimization through Real Sountrack Technology EQ

For audio, OPPO partnered with Dirac Research AB to develop an HD audio option that they call Real Soundtrack Technology. Users are given the option to customize bass, baritone, and treble by going to Settings – Sound & Vibration – Real soundtrack technology.

The option is only available for headsets. When using the F3 Plus’ single speaker, you are limited to only stock sound. That means no bass (though there is a thump trying to get out) and a flat, treble-heavy sound.

Using earphones is a different story. The ones included were tinny, but even they showed how the Real Soundtrack Technology functioned. OPPO states that their audio technology creates a “spatial stereo field” that gives you the experience of a live performance. The preset and custom EQ options didn’t disappoint and really brought out a richer sound quality. The presets were quite accurate for genres like pop, metal, and electro, and the custom settings let you mess around until you’re satisfied.

Using both Audio-Technica AUD ATHCKS550ISBK Solid Bass and lower end Philips SHE6000 earphones, I had quality bass and sound that left my ears elated.

In calls, I had no trouble hearing those on the other end. Everyone I talked to sounded sharp and crisp, though some reported that I, in contrast, sounded a little fuzzy.

Software

  • Very familiar, dare I say, fruity?
  • Android 6.0 means multitasking is not at its best, but smooth overall performance
  • Lacks bloatware & includes useful features

You may notice the F3 Plus looking a bit…Apple-ish. That’s because of Oppo’s ColorOS 3.0. A number of useful features not included in Google Android are packed into ColorOS. One thing I also appreciated was the lack of bloatware. The OPPO has the usual stock apps—photos, music, video, calendar, weather, Email, and camera—but they never feel intrusive, are easy on the battery, and, quite frankly, I found them minimalist, functional, and useful.  

Gestures & Motions

Especially useful are the customizable gestures. You can double tap on the screen and/or finger button to turn on the screen, draw an O to bring up the camera, a V for the flashlight, and tracing a ||, <, or > will control the default music app. All gestures can be found by going to Settings – Gesture & Motion – Screen-off Gestures.

There are seven additional gestures you can map: Drawing an M, a W, a ^, and sliding left, right, up, or down. These can be mapped to start any app, speed dial a specific person, or unlock your phone from the blank screen.

Further, you can use motions for various calling functions. There are three settings available for what happens when you lift a phone to your ear: 1) It can answer a call; 2) it can switch from speakerphone to the receiver; 3) it can dial the phone from contacts, call history, the message dialog, or the intro screen by holding the phone up to your ear. When in a call, you can also flip the phone over to mute the call. These motions can be turned on by going to Settings – Gesture & Motion – Smart Call.

Now, the OPPO F3 Plus uses Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) instead of Android 7.1 (Nougat). That means that battery-saving Doze Mode only works when the screen has been off and the device itself stationary for a while. Also, the new split-screen feature of Android 7.1 is absent in 6.0, meaning multi-tasking will still require switching screens to access different apps.

The phone does come with a battery and app management suite. Functions of the app include trash removal (memory, cache, etc.), virus scan (powered by Avast! AntiVirus), a permissions overview, and a quick scan that goes through all of the aforementioned in one go.

This app can be accessed by the icon on homescreen marked Security, but the Homescreen Acceleration Ball (a small, overlay widget) provides easier access to the features and gives you a constant readout of memory use. To activate, navigate to Settings – Security – Homescreen Acceleration Ball.

Camera & Selfies for Days

  • The front dual-camera setup is perfect for selfies and getting everything in the photo
  • The primary back camera is average, with details looking grainy and over processed
  • Auto Mode does a good enough job for me to want to skip manual

The OPPO F3 Plus is a selfie machine. Instead of featuring a dual-lense camera on the back, the front of the F3 Plus features a dual-camera setup that is a first for smartphones: a 16MP lens complimented by an 8MP, 120-degree wide-angle lens. Besides making sure my smartphone-wielding arm looked longer and thinner than it actually is, the wide-angle lens also ensured that I got everything in the shot. It felt less gimmicky and more useful than one may expect. It’s definitely a plus in my book.

Taking a closer look at the different front facing camera lenses you can see that the wide angle is over exposed, with colors that are less accurate and the photo is not as sharp as the standard angle.

On the back, the primary 16MP camera features an aperture of f/1.7. As such, detailing and low-light photography are meant to impress.

The camera display tends to represent the scene to be taken inaccurately, so one needs to keep that in mind when adjusting settings in manual (Expert) mode. Especially in low-light and night settings, the camera tends to display either 1) an overexposed photo that looked great before being taken or 2) a dark photo that showed up originally as a brightly lit scene.

In the above photos of a rocky shoreline, the phone displayed the auto mode photo as too dark while manual was “just right”; it turns out that auto was truer to real life while manual was over-exposed.          

Normal Mode is the default, auto-mode Here you can switch between time-lapse video, regular video, auto-photo, beauty mode, and panorama.

In daylight, photos come out detailed and noise is kept to a minimum in the foreground. Slight overexposure can be a problem in auto mode, but switching to manual can help solve this issue. Details pop and the oversaturation, which a lot of people like, makes everything look vibrant. You can take a great photo, as you can see below, but if the lighting isn’t right sometimes the photos are a little grainy. However, if you take the time to focus, you can take a really detailed and stunning photo; it just takes a few taps of the screen and doesn’t come together automatically.

Panorama Mode is really useful for getting hard-to-shoot wide angle shots, and does so quickly.

GIF Mode is pretty limited by the 4-second window of time from start to finish. With other phones offering this mode up to 50 seconds, the time limit seems ill-conceived.

Double Exposure still baffles me, but it may be because I’m not artsy enough to “get it.” It is really easy to overlay one picture atop another, but getting it to look good takes a keen eye.

Double Exposure

Filter Mode: There are various filters included with the default camera app, but you won’t find as large a variety as Instagram or other camera apps offer. There is also a watermark filter mode where you can overlay a timestamp, location, or other various, oddly chosen symbols (crossed arrows, a buck, city skyline, etc.).

Taking another look at selfies, the F3 Plus is capable of taking a great photo, but the background does feel overexposed, even with the standard lens.

 

The background in selfies is often a little over exposed.

Panorama Mode is also featured on the front-facing camera, though, as you can see, it doesn’t always work properly.

Front facing camera, Panorama mode error

Expert Mode is actually Manual Mode. Results will vary, especially at night. I found that the preview after auto focus was at times unfaithful to the actual photo taken. This was especially evident at night, where I adjusted exposure, ISO, and shutter, and was often greeted by inaccurate representations of the potential photo results, either too dark or too bright. After some fiddling, Expert Mode can match or exceed auto, but Auto Mode is usually so on point that it might as well be left on.

In low light conditions the f/1.7 aperture is supposed to provide for higher detail and better performance. The F3 Plus has less-than-stellar stabilization photos blurrier than I expected and details suffered. If you are without a tripod, button placement makes it difficult to rest a side of the smartphone on a surface for stabilization; remapping the volume buttons to volume during camera use helps in this situation. To do so, you can go to Settings – Camera – Volume Button.

Some example shots in low-light:

Taking a closer look at low light selfies, the standard lens takes a very good photo and the wide angle does not do a good job at all.

wide angle

standard angle

Camera performance was average. As with most mid-range phones, in the right lighting it can take an amazing photo. It’s in the more challenging lighting conditions that its mid-range colors start to show. The self-proclaimed Selfie Expert of a handset is good, but the two lenses on the front are not equal and the heavily promoted wide angle lens isn’t as solid as the standard lens.This is very disappointing if it’s the main reason you were looking to buy this phone.             

Performance

  • Not a benchmark beast, but great daily task performer

When loading games or streaming YouTube videos, there was no stuttering or noticeable lag. The Snapdragon 653 performs well in streaming audio and video, and multitasking is of no concern. Transitioning between apps is seamless,  though I would have liked having Android 7.0’s split screen feature since the phone is 6 inches.

The only thing that may hold you back from Instagramming or using Facebook’s live stream is your phone carrier because the phone is fast enough for daily tasks.

AnTuTu Benchmark Score + AnTuTu Benchmark Device Ranking + GeekBench 4 Core Test Results

Basemark medium – 27647
PCMark Work 2.0 – 4789
3D Mark SlingShot – 942
GFXBench – 1080p Car Chase OOff-screen – 353.5frames (6.0fps)
GFXBench – 1440p Manhattan 3.1.1 Offscreen – 317.3 (5.1fps)
GFXBench – 1080p Manhattan 3.1 Offscreen – 645.1 Frames (10fps)
GFXBanch – 1080p Manhattan Offscreen – 1020 Frames (16fps)
GFXBench – 1080p TRex Offscreen – 1957 Frames (35fps)

Battery Life

  • The 4000 mAh battery lasts throughout the day
  • You can quickly charge whatever you use in about two hours

As an active user of Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit, as well as streamer using Podcast Addict and Spotify, I found that the battery lasted me well through my commute and workday, averaging between 45-51% battery left by the end of the day. This is very good battery life an aggressive user will easily make it through the day.

GSam Battery Monitor Discharge and Temperature Graphs

In the above graphs, battery discharge is represented in blue and battery temperature in orange. Those steep drops are me playing Need for Speed: No Limits. If you’re generally on social media apps, snapping photos, and browsing Reddit, you’re going to see around 50-60% of your battery remaining by the end of the day.

Everyday use and on screen time consisted mainly of streaming audio and intermittent social media use. This includes a 40-minute commute to work, consistent, light to moderate use during the day, the 40-minute commute home, and some web browsing. On lighter use days, I saw around 10-11 hours, while heavier use saw a decrease to between 7-8 hours. Simply, the 4000 mAh battery is powerful enough to not worry about bringing a charger or power bank with you if you’re a light to moderate smartphone user and 2 days of battery life is something you might see on occasion.

The VOOC Flash Charge Technology worked as advertised. From 55% to 100% took an hour and 24 minutes while 24% to 100% took an hour and 41 minutes. VOOC Flash Charge is, indeed, a fast charge system. While I never really ran out of battery power, I can also say I was never worried about it taking too much time to recharge.

AccuBattery Pro Charge and Discharge History

Price

The OPPO F3 Plus retails for around ₹30,990 (US$470) in China but we were only able to find it for sale on Amazing for $595 which is no longer in the mid range it’s in the high end going up against the likes of the LG G6.  This is high for a premium-looking, but mid-tier offering. The solid build makes this a great piece of durable hardware and the novel approach to selfie snapping make a pretty sweet package, but the price is high for the hardware specifications. However, if taking selfies is the most important feature you’re looking for in a handset, then you might be willing to dish out the extra cash.

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Price: $549.77

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Rating
Design / 8
Camera / 7
Sound / 7.5
Performance / 8
Battery Life / 9
Software / 8
Price / 7
Editor's Choice / 8
Hardware / 7
Display / 8
OPPO F3 Plus

The OPPO F3 Plus is for users of social media that put an emphasis on selfies. The 120-degree wide-angle lens turns out to be no gimmick, but the photographs themselves felt over-exposed and lacked detail. The well-thought-out design, high battery life, and a rear facing camera that is very reliable are the real selling points of the F3 Plus. The price point is in the premium range which feels high since the specs under the hood are mid range with a premium build. If you're looking for the ultimate Selfie phone, the F3 Plus is good but you will have to play around with the exposure to get the perfect shot.

If you're looking for a durable phone that takes a good photo and has amazing battery life you'll be happy with the OPPO F3 Plus.

7.8
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