Reviewing The Oppo F3 Plus: An iPhone in disguise?

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The last phone that I reviewed by Oppo was clearly aimed at selfie takers as it placed a lot of emphasis on the front camera. I recently got the chance to have a look at Oppo’s latest smartphone, the Oppo F3 Plus. With a retail price of Rs. 69,990/=, the Oppo F3 PLUS is available in most retail mobile phone shops around Sri Lanka and authorized dealers islandwide.

The Packaging

Oppo’s standard packaging applies here with a slidable outer cover that has an image of the device on the front and a list of specifications on the back. Sliding out the outer cover reveals an inner box that houses the phone along with other accessories. Speaking of accessories, you get USB-A to MicroUSB cable, charging dock and earphones (which are sneakily hidden in another cover). Another box inside this box contains a clear rubber/plastic cover and reading material. If that’s not enough, you also get a SIM tray ejector tool under the compartment that houses the phone itself.

Oppo F3 Plus
The Packaging of the Oppo F3 Plus
Image Credits: Mahesh de Andrao

The Oppo F3 Plus

The first thing that popped into my mind when I held the F3 PLUS was that it has an uncanny resemblance to another device manufactured by a company named after a fruit. There’s no hiding it. The Oppo F3 Plus looks exactly like the Apple iPhone 7 right down to the vertical lines on the top and bottom of the back of the phone.

Oppo F3 Plus
Image Credits: Mahesh de Andrado
Oppo F3 Plus
Image Credits: Mahesh de Andrado

That being said, the device looks extremely polished in my hands thanks to its Aluminum unibody. Available in colors of Pink and Rose Gold, the Oppo F3 Plus measures 6.44 x 3.18 x 0.29 inches and weighs around 185g. Not too heavy, but not exactly a lightweight either.

Located at the bottom of the device are the MicroUSB port, the microphone, 3.5mm audio connector and the loudspeaker. The right side of the device has the power/lock buttons with the volume rocker and the SIM tray located on the left. The bottom of the display houses the consisting of Recents, Home and Back keys. The Home Button also acts as a fingerprint sensor.

Oppo F3 Plus
Image Credits: Mahesh de Andrado

Just like the iPhone 7 Plus, the back of the Oppo F3 Plus is completely flat with the word “Oppo” etched towards the middle of the phone. Located at the top left are the Camera lens and LED flash.

Oppo F3 Plus
Image Credits: Mahesh de Andrado

The Oppo F3 Plus – The Hardware

The Oppo F3 Plus sports a massive 6.0” Full HD IPS display that is both vibrant and colorful (16M colors to be exact). It also supports dual SIM functionality and dual standby if you use two different connections or use one SIM for calls and the other for downloading and streaming If you’re that type of person who loves full LTE (4G) support. In terms of storage and memory, you’re looking at 64GB of internal storage and 4GB of RAM which is more than enough to run multiple apps at the same time. If you find yourself running low on storage, and you’re using only one SIM, then you can add upto 256GB of storage via a MicroSD card in the second SIM tray.

At the heart of the Oppo F3 Plus beats an Octa-core Snapdragon 653 processor coupled with an Adreno 510 GPU. TL: DR? You have a CPU that is powerful enough to handle all your application needs and  a GPU to handle all your graphical and gaming needs without an issue.

The Full HD screen does quite a good job of keeping things in perspective. Colors are bold and bright. It also has an eye protection mode that essentially tints the display yellow to cope against low lighting and conditions where the lighting may injure your eyesight.

Oppo F3 Plus
Image Credits: Mahesh de Andrado

The speaker located at the bottom is pretty standard in terms of loudness and clarity. No thumping bass, but if you use it to listen to music and for using the loudspeaker for call, it just about fits the bill.

As I said above, the Home Button also acts as the fingerprint sensor. As the sensor is located at the bottom of the display, it makes it rather convenient to unlock the device. Speaking of unlocking, the sensor on the Oppo F3 Plus is extremely fast. I was able to unlock the phone in almost a second and repeatedly did it to ensure that it wasn’t a fluke. If you, like me, also suffer from a case of sweaty palms, you may have to wipe your fingers before using the scanner. In case everything else fails, then you can either enter a pin code or draw a pattern (both of which can be setup when adding a fingerprint) to unlock the device.

The Oppo F3 Plus – The Software

Oppo’s devices ship out with ColorOS. Based on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, the Oppo F3 Plus runs ColorOS V3.0.0i. In terms of functionality, it offers a near identical set of features as seen from its competitors such as Huawei’s EMUI and Xiaomi’s MIUI Operating systems. The user interface is fluid and smooth and me switching between homescreens like madman was to no avail. App switching too is quite snappy as the device has 3GB of RAM to handle all your app switching needs.

Oppo F3 Plus
The home screen of the Oppo F3 Plus

There is no app drawer per se and all apps installed are on the home screen. From there, you can sort them into folders as you please or just have all the icons on multiple homescreens. There are also a plethora of inbuilt apps such as weather, an inbuilt file manager, Kingsoft Office, and a compass. The most striking thing I noticed was how all the icons resemble those of Apple’s iOS (especially the Settings icon). I’m not saying that they’re ripping off the look and feel of iOS but it feels a little like it, especially if the phone looks like an iPhone.

As far as entertainment goes, you have a choice between an FM Radio or a media player capable of handling almost all audio formats. Speaking of audio, if you have your favorite pair of headphones plugged in, you can tune them with Real soundtrack technology which is a joint operation by Oppo and Dirac research AB. This allows customizations to bass, treble and baritone levels which I assume means the mid-range frequency.

In terms of customization, you can enable tweaks such as motion gestures when you receive a call, display the network speed, display battery percentage, manage which apps can show notifications and even customize your lockscreen with images that you can either automatically download or use your own photos.

Oppo F3 PlusJust in case your Oppo F3 Plus isn’t running at optimum efficiency, there’s an inbuilt “Security Center” that takes care of things. This includes a Cleanup function, Virus scanner and also a privacy controller so that you know which app has access to what information. The app scans and intelligently optimizes your device so that it’s always at peak performance.

The Selfie Expert

Similar to the Oppo F1S, the Oppo F3 Plus is also marketed as a Selfie Expert. To that extent, the rear 16-megapixel camera boasts a number of modes such as Normal, Time Lapse, Panorama, Beauty and a whole lot more. Here again, the camera interface looks very similar to the one seen on the iPhone, right down to the way you switch between the modes and the actual icon for capturing an image.

Oppo F3 Plus
Image Credits: Mahesh de Andrado

If you’re feeling up for a challenge, you can select “Expert Mode” to have a host of other features such as manual ISO settings, manual shutter speeds and the ability to capture RAW images. You just got access to all the features a professional photographer would need. The f1.7 aperture and 1/2.8″ sensor size means that the Oppo F3 Plus is capable of capturing images in both well-lit and poorly lit conditions.

Oppo F3 Plus
Image credits: Mahesh de Andrado

The wider aperture also enables more light to enter the camera lens thus resulting in a brighter image. The OIS or Optical Image Stabilization feature helps keep things steady and compensates for your hand shaking in order to keep the photo clear and blur-free. Features such as HDR and phase detection auto focus ensure that your images have that extra bit of detail and also that they are in proper focus.

Oppo F3 Plus
Image Credits: Mahesh de Andrado

The front camera is where all the marketing is. As it turns out, the Oppo F3 Plus actually has two front cameras. One has a 16MP camera and the other is an 8MP camera. This essentially allows you to switch between the two cameras if you are aiming for a single selfie or a group selfie.

Oppo F3 Plus
Yes, that’s me taking a selfie
Image Credits: Mahesh de Andrado

Both cameras in front also have their own features such as double exposure which takes two images one-after-the-other and then superimposes them together, various filters and even a GIF mode that takes a 3-5 second burst images which is then converted into a GIF. With regard to video, the Oppo F3 Plus can record 2160p@30fps, and 1080p@30fps. Video playback is clear thanks to the brightness and clarity of the display but again depends on the lighting of your surroundings. If you don’t want to join the dark side, you can use the inbuilt flash.

Benching the Oppo F3 Plus

Antutu and GeekBench are some of the most popular benchmarking tools for Android smartphones. They both push the hardware of a smartphone to its limits. A typical test takes around 5-10 minutes depending on the hardware of the device. While running, the device will also tend to heat up and here we see a slight drawback of aluminum unibody designs as the heat travels. Nonetheless, the Oppo F3 Plus stayed relatively cool and I would say it was moderately warm rather than hot.

Racking up a score of 91976 in Antutu 6.2.7 places the Oppo F3 Plus just above the iPhone 6 Plus and just below the Oppo R9s Plus which is similar in spec to the F3 Plus.

Oppo F3 Plus
Scores according to Antutu

GeekBench 4 sees the Oppo F3 Plus comfortably beating the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and positioning itself just below the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge in terms of single core performance. In terms of multi-core performance the Oppo F3 Plus beats the flagship OnePlus 3 and sits below the Samsung Galaxy S7.

Oppo F3 Plus
The scored for GeekBench 4

Does it have what it takes to power through the day?

In terms of battery, the Oppo F3 Plus comes with a non-removable 4000mAh battery which is more than enough to blaze through a normal day’s work. In case you find yourself running low on power, the Oppo F3 Plus also comes with VOOC Flash Charge. According to Oppo, this fast charging feature would give you upto 75% of battery in just a mere 30 minutes. Taking a closer look at the charging dock, I saw that the rated output was 4A rather than the usual 1-2A seen on most chargers. This means that by giving a higher amperage to the battery, the Oppo F3 Plus can charge faster.

Oppo F3 Plus
Image Credits: Mahesh de Andrado

With around 4-5 hours of screen on time, and me playing Mario Run, Pokemon Go and browsing Facebook, and Instagram, I had around 15% battery remaining after a 11-hour work day which is more than enough. Plus, because of fast charging, even if I were to step out in 30 minutes, I would have around 70% battery after charging which again is completely fine. It should be noted that actual usage though depends on factors such as screen on time, network signal quality and how much you actually use the phone and its apps.

Final Thoughts

Priced at Rs. 69,990, the Oppo F3 Plus is not exactly cheap. In fact, it borders on flagship price territory. It does have a cool set of features such as fast charging, an all-aluminum unibody design, an almost instant unlocking feature, Octa-core performance for your daily needs etc. if you’re a person who takes a lot of selfies, then the dual front camera of the Oppo F3 Plus will appease to you as well. The 16MP + 8MP front camera is a first that I’ve seen thus far and Oppo’s target market seems apparent as well: those who want to take selfies. As such the target audience would be teenagers to early youth as well.

For that price, there are several other phone models you can look at as well. For example, the OnePlus 3, Samsung galaxy S6 and S6 Edge (if available) and even the Huawei P9 and Xiaomi Mi 5s Plus which has a faster CPU and GPU and is also cheaper.

If you’re also the type who really wants an iPhone but can’t afford it or prefer Android but still like the look of the iPhone, then you could check out the Oppo F3 Plus. If you’re looking for a solid all-rounder, the Oppo F3 Plus is also a good choice, but always make sure to do your research and see what other models are available and of the specifications suit your need.

Have you used the Oppo F3 Plus? Love it? Hate it? Leave a comment below.

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