I will try to be simple for this review and give my opinion with no filter.
- Build Quality and Design
- ColorOS and Connectivity
- My thoughts
- Build Quality and Design
One design to rule them all… Find X3, X3 Pro, X5, and X5 Pro. Indeed, the design is pretty close between 2021 and 2022 Flagship. Except for an evolution of the photographic block, you can tell it’s a Find X.
The black color is a matte one. It seems not to retain fingerprints, is easy to clean, and the texture feel is excellent.
I’m used to big phones; obviously, this one feels light, small in my hand. It is well balanced, and buttons are easy to access with your fingers, responsive, clicky, and the power button got the OPPO Green color accentuation on its top. Corners are smooth and round, with no sharp angles, and the screen curves are not of the waterfall type, just enough with a bumper case. It might even be less curvy than the P6 Pro. However, I am a fan of flat screens and slim chassis. But I can go with this X5.
When I searched for differences between the X3 and the X5, I saw the bump and how OPPO integrated the photographic block on the X3 series. I will say I prefer the X5 bump, and it’s classier. And OPPO also uses it to write down the “Powered by MariSilicon” on the back glass and Hasselblad partnership on the back cover.
The back cover is made with a frosting matte glass, if you ask. The slope is a 75°. OPPO stated it is the optimal curve for “illuminating (sic)” the OPPO Find X5 body in sunlight or shadow. Okay, maybe, I’ll use the case you can find in the box anyway.
Snapdragon 888 baby. An end of 2020 announced flagship SoC made by Qualcomm.
Is it enough for 2022?
Sure, you just need to look around and see how many SD 870 products you have, brand new, in 2022. So, the 888 will give you what you need for daily use.
I’m getting old, so gaming on the phone… Arf, let’s face it, I am not a COD, Genshin, whatever game. However, this kind of stuff is editing videos, making music.
The Snapdragon 888 is working well. But if you’re a fan of benchmark and think it’s the Graal for smartphones, you will be disappointed. I don’t know where I’m doing wrong, but I never was able to go over 745K under AnTuTu. I have other SD 888 smartphones that easily break the 820K scoring. And even my P6 Pro does better. And in every benchmark, the X5 is behind.
Obviously, you have different modes for the battery, for performance, and even a gaming control center. Everything was maxed out to get the best results possible.
Any CPU/GPU Governor inside ColorOS to prevent throttling? Allow the phone to run at its best for long session hours? ColorOS need to be finetuned to unleash SD 888 Power, or even the driver updated?
After more than one year on the market, I expect OEMs to be able to draw the powerful quintessence of this chipset… And so far, I don’t think it is the case. There is room for improvement.
I must say the 6.55″ 120Hz panel is close to the 144hz I used on my Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders. I didn’t feel any issue with it; it’s responsive and has no mistouch so far. The screen is a 10bit panel with a JNCD of around 0.4 for color accuracy. You can usually tune it in the setting for your own convenience. Personally, I am not too fond of saturated colors, and I need to see precisely the same thing on the screen as I see in real life, especially for taking pictures.
After that, as always, it will depend on 3rd party dev apps to make their apps and games compatible with the 90 or 120fps capability of the X5.
However, the screen is not LPTO but just LPTS/Flexible (Low-Temperature PolySilicon). And yes, AMOLED not LCD.
So, no dynamic refresh rate from 1hz to 120Hz. And no 90Hz option, just 60 or 120Hz. Plus, if you settle your screen this way, I’ve not found any MEMC enhancement to match 120Hz with 24/25/30/60 or 90 fps to 120Hz refresh rate (and if I check, the Find X2 had one).
If you ask, the touch sampling is only 240Hz, a little bit low as now flagships have 360/480hz on board.
But it’s Gorilla Victus for its protection.
Brightness is sufficient even for HDR. It’s not 1500 nits peak but more around 900/1000 for an expected 500/800 day-to-day (if I compare with the ones they marketed for some brightness values)
- ColorOS and Connectivity
So ColorOS… ColorOS… ColorOS
A new UI for me. Pixel and Stock OS have been my best friend for years now, including Oxygen OS up to 11. After seeing its direction, I used MIUI for a long time and got fed up with it.
So, first boot: Android 12 of the box with ColorOS 12.1 + a D1 OTA/February Patch.
It’s themed like many OEMs. However, you can see the Android 12 base behind the curtains and sometimes even Android itself with no customization.
However, when you dig into it, OPPO made many customizations in their system. Launcher, notifications, Icons, settings, smart sidebar, their own privacy sub-menu, including the Android functionalities. They have tons of applications such as OPPO Share, Omoji, gallery, video, even the clock, files app, O Relax (?), and so many apps like App cloner, App Enhancement, App services or others OPPO in-home system apk. Not mentioned on top of the Android Framework, you will also find an OPPO/OPlus framework to make all these works together (surely necessary for the Phone Manager that looks like the security center in MIUI).
We are on Google App for Android for the Phone Dialer and SMS/Messages APP. No OPPO system apps for that. And I like that. So, no debate here.
At first glance, all these apps are just giving the users some native functionalities Android already integrates into Android 12. And give the impression that they are reminiscence of a China firmware variant without Google services in this local market. But lots of them are marked as EU APK variants. And many system apps can’t be uninstalled (disable only). And all of them are not available on the Google Play store as they should be if we follow Android Guidelines.
I said earlier, no biases. I have to give it a try…. And it was hard at first.
It gives the impression that OPPO has integrated Android 12 functionalities made by Google, added theirs on top to expand them, and managed to balance it somehow.
But… But… It’s weird. It’s a heavily customized UI based on Android, with the flavor of a Fork and a clean OS (which is not).
Let’s start with the launcher. It’s fast, allows many options, got the discover/at glance functionality, and you can add widgets (works well with OPPO widgets, less with 3rd party apps/Google widgets), change the layout of the home screens, change the shape or even colors of the icons, notification shade icons. So, you will say Material You. Nope. It seems an OPPO solution, including a wallpaper’s color picker.
And it’s the same for many things. Notification shades are a struggle for me. Too many operations to have a global view and enter the app. I have many email accounts and receive many emails. You can have all the notifications grouped for each inbox; that’s great. You can unfold them and see each notification for each mail. Great. But when it’s folded, clicking on the shade, you should get you in the inbox with all read and unread mail. Here, you need to unfold, select an email, go into the email in the app, go back, and then be in your inbox.
And the system is still responsive, the battery is good, and no drain due to these additions, you customized the X5 to get a closer look at a Pixel/Stock OS. Some options or functionality will pop, giving you more of this feel… or the opposite.
I choose the US region on the phone, meaning lots of functionalities are deactivated to comply with local regulations… No Omoji, Themes, or way to customize the OS. Usually, when these options are free (like themes), the product is you (and your data). The X5 doesn’t have Air Gestures functionality like its big brother, the X5 Pro. It can be a nice touch; for me, it’s just a gimmick, like a quick ball, smart bar. I tried them. I understand the addiction, but it’s not for me. At least the goal of Android, personalize it for your own usage. And it was the same for O Relax. It allows you to relax with a mix of music and video for the time you have decided. Zen attitude. Yep, great for those who need it, nope for me.
For Privacy, OPPO stated, “User privacy is about transparency. OPPO has been improving data compliance through storage and process. With servers deployed in multiple locations worldwide, OPPO guarantees that user data stays in the nearby servers, saved in a non-plain text transmitted using a proprietary protocol.”
ColorOS 12 comes with Private System, Private Safe, App Lock, and more security features with Android 12 Privacy Dashboards. However, on the phone, their privacy notice is outdated from November 2020. It seems the servers are in Germany for EU users, so OPPO complies with GPDR.
Okay, user data are safe and encrypted. ColorOS even integrates the new A12 guidelines as permissions of apps to use the camera, microphone, localization (approximate or precise), the data used, and the green dot to indicate whether an app uses a microphone or camera.
Anti-peeping feature is also included, and the system will recognize if it’s the viewer looking at the screen, so the notification or content can be hidden if tuned this way.
So, with the integration of Android 12 Features, OPPO custom-made additions, a new 3D engine for rendering, the wallpaper-based theming stuff, the smart sidebar, the nearby share integration, the quick return bubble, and all the animations On, what about the battery?
Surprisingly… Good. 3 Gmail accounts + 2 Exchange ones + photography + not a great network as fewer frequencies available here in the US with an EU variant + YouTube + some casual games here and there… You are good to go for the day. As usual, I turned my smartphone by restricting apps I don’t use, and I need to refresh when I go inside them (and believe me, it makes a massive difference as ColorOs allows Foreground Activity, Background Activity, and Auto Launch options to enable or disable.
And if there is an issue, you can activate the Super power-saving mode making your smartphone a feature phone. You can add three apps on top of the clock, dialer, and messaging apps. It will help you be reachable until you find a way to recharge your phone.
Like many OEMs, OPPO integrates the virtual RAM gimmick, adding virtual memory using your storage as paginated space for the less used apps still in memory and the multitasking mode. So, you will have from 2Gb to 5Gb more than the 8Gb RAM available in this variant. With UFS 3.1, the less used in-memory apps, no slowdown with that… but again, a gimmick to avoid pushing a 12Gb variant as the 101 available variants for a flagship.
Floating windows, flexible windows… all these kinds of things are available under Android 12 with PIP mode, and obviously, they are also present in the X5.
Except for the split-screen functionality, the others I don’t use … on a smartphone. The screen is too small; Bingo is on a tablet, but here, again, not my usage. It’s functional; the animations are great, nothing to add. Some OEMs have an issue implementing on top of their framework, but this is not the case here. If you’re a fan of it, you will have it with the X5 series.
ColorOS also integrates all you need for casting your screen. From Miracast to Chromecast, wirelessly to a wired way from TV to your computer screen.
You have your TV or Android or Google or whatever Box up to date, and you should have the opportunity to share your screen and the Audio.
To share your screen on your computer, you will need to download an app, PC Connect client for Mac or Windows, allowing the connection with your phone… And that’s it. You will have a floating window on your desktop mirroring your OPPO screen. Fast and easy. Sharing clipboard functionality is also available.
The wired connection is working via USB-C to HDMI cable; gaming and YouTube are okay, but I had an issue with streaming apps like Prime Video or Netflix, where I don’t have any with other brands. Maybe it’s up to these apps to allow or integrate this new model. The issue is a no go for the apps to decrypt protected content.
Speaking of updates, this Find series should usually receive three years of Major OS upgrades and four years of security updates (per month or as required…)
Something I didn’t see a lot in OPPO communication is the O-Haptics functionality. I like it; it gives a little punch to the notification when you use the smartphone. And you can finetune the intensity and synchronize it with the tones. The demonstration video is convincing, and I am waiting for a third-party app using the API/Library.
Another exciting thing is that the product has 2 IMEI, 2 SIM card trays, and the eSIM option. I will bet the eSIM will deactivate the SIM 2 port if active. But saying eSIM is finally live is a great thing.
The Wi-Fi 6 is 2.4Gbps compatible in the Connectivity part, so easy to reach these numbers. With my GB internet plan, I reach 1.4Gbps on download, with the Wi-Fi meaning with got here the 2x80Mhz bandwidth instead of only 1×80 or 2x40Mhz for some competitors and blocked you only at 1.2Gbps.
For LTE, LTE-A, LTE NR, SA, NSA, 5G, or whatever, sorry, EU variant, and I am in the US, so it won’t be representative.
For the camera review. First, two weeks of snow, rain, wind, and cold weather. Not the best for going outside, taking pictures without gloves, or having incredible scenery to shoot.
So, I will go further later.
But so far, I am still trying to understand why the primary camera is only 6P when the UW is 7P. And why only 110° for UW? And why only 5P for Telephoto? And why is there no x4 optical zoom? And why only 2-axis stabilization? And where is the microscope lens from the X3?
And why an additional imaging NPU when nobody uses all the functionalities of the triple Snapdragon ISP?
Okay, it’s a lot of why. But if you come from the X3 series, you will definitely ask yourself these questions and see if the X5 is worth the update.
Spoiler alert: I won’t be able to answer that.
First, the MariSilicon AKA Imaging NPU:
- 4K Ultra (AI) Night Video
- Ultra HDR
- Hasselblad science
- 18 TOPS for AI Computing (11.6Tops/W)
- 20Bits Dynamic Range
- Realtime RAW
- The MariSilicon is made of an NPU, an ISP, and a Memory Subsystem (8.5GB/S DDR).
It should be 20x faster than the ISP From the X3 Pro (meaning the ISP from SD 888). But Denoise (Noise Reduction Algorithm). They compare the 20Bits vs. the 18Bits from SD888, bringing more contrast and brightness + an RGBW Pro Mode.
Okay, SD888 has three 18Bits ISP, got a Scalar, Tensor, and Vector Units, can process 0.1 lux video, capture 4K HDR videos, get AI-Based AF and Auto Exposure, got 26 TOPS of power processing.
So, on the paper, I’m pretty confused. Okay, it’s the trend, Google with its Tensor, Xiaomi with its C1 and soon C2, OPPO with MariSilicon, and VIVO with its V1…
Okay, it might help OEMs dev bring the same libraries and computational algorithms to whatever SOC you use from Qualcomm to Unisoc via Mediatek and don’t care about their ISP capacity, from mid-range to premium flagship.
But you need to feed them with data, and scenarios, and for now, it’s only on the X5 and X5 Pro under Qualcomm, and even the Mediatek variant doesn’t have it.
So, is MariSilicon working at 100% of its efficiency?
I don’t know the same, but I don’t think so. New technology always needs at least half a year in the wild to be better. It should be interesting to redo all the tests in September or before the end of the year, with all the updates done in between.
Concerning the app, you will find the usual modes like Night, Video, Pro, Photo (AI, HDR, and 50Mp), Portrait, and the extra ones like Pano, Movie, Slo-Mo, Time Lapse, Long Exposure, Dual Video, Sticker (kill me), Text Scanner and the Hasselblad XPAN Mode.
For the XPAN mode, you have a color or black and white option, even if you don’t have any B&W dedicated sensor. So, you will only have the 42/45mm mode and not the 30mm (for now, who knows).
For the color’s restitution, we are close to the one in the OP9 Pro under Oxygen OS 11, meaning good, even perfect, for many users of this device. However, as usual, different lens construction and different apertures… meaning, different color restitution between UW, Wide, and Tele…
And guess what, because the UW got a better construction lens, the photos taken with it are better than many flagships. And that’s something that drives me crazy. If the UW had an f/1.8 7P and the primary camera was also the same thing (or even better an f/1.7), the Sony IMX 766 potential might have been exploited. But let’s remember, we just received one and only update so far. And usually, there is always a gap, for the best or the worst, after a few OTAs.
Now, if I had to compare… Xiaomi is offering way more options, including for Vloggers and Bloggers, different long exposure modes or even videos modes (movies effects such as magic zoom, time freeze, // worlds, etc.), 8K, and Google a better computational AI and tech for skin restitution, portrait, night shots (plus an x4 optical zoom).
If OPPO can include functionalities from them or compete with them, Bingo.
Here are some pictures were taken below. No fancy photography, no artistic one, at first, I try the phone as 90% of us, you take out of your pocket, you point and shoot, that’s it, ready to go in your IG, WhatsApp group, or to your mom.
The folder with untouched pictures (and more shots) is here.
And don’t get me wrong, I am one of those who think before having a cutting-edge DLSR or Camera, know first how to shoot, compose your scene, and have a vision. It’s not because you have a fancy camera you will take fantastic shots.
So far, excluding what the NPU is marketed for (Ultra Night Video, Photos, and so on, I will continue to shoot at night when the weather and the conditions are available), it’s a good camera… for early 2021. So far, I will say my OP9 Pro or P6 Pro or Mi 10 Pro, or Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders are doing the job precisely the same or even better.
So, what are the plans here?
- Take pictures at night, people, colors, landscapes, city
- Use the Movie Mode and do the same also at night
- Having a clear sky at night to see the moon and shoot it.
- Post some samples.
- Play with long exposure for light painting or even taillights.
I talked earlier about the battery life or the super power saving mode and not having an issue for the day for it.
If I have to go further in this part, the X5 comes with the SUPERVOOC DVT 80W, which is compatible with 80W/65W, etc fast charging, 30W AIRVOOC, and 10W Reverse Wireless Charging. Too.
So you will have from 0 to 50% under 15mn.
It means it’s fast for charging and has no heat issue, as the 80W is 40Wx2 at peak times. You only have a 2/3mn difference between 80W or 65W fast charging anyway.
Wireless charging is compatible with current norms, and I am using my 55W wireless charger flawlessly. You can even choose what kind of charging you want, like slow/optimized for bedtime, the same for wireless.
There are 2 Cells 2340/2400 mAh.
No heat issue while charging; as I said, it’s 2x40W, and it’s now a while since OEMs developed fast charging. 100W on one cell is reachable, so less than half in 2022… easy peasy.
As usual, you can choose between different profiles to save more power in case of or depending on your usage. Why run full powerhouse if you’re just watching videos on a social network?
- My thoughts
So, at the end of the day, I need to dig up more ColorOS, and dig more for the photography part, especially at night.
So far, I see the OPPO Find X5 as a 2021 flagship under Android 12 with an NPU I am still trying to figure out the utility. No offense here; it’s just how I have used the smartphone for the past two weeks, I didn’t have the opportunity to shoot vibrant HDR at night videos. I got rain, snow, and cold, and no parties or trips to the city past two weeks. It is on the checklist. But I’m thinking, in that case, I am using the smartphone as everyone else here, depending on the occasion and the opportunity.
For the rest, it’s a nice rounded, balanced device. ColorOS is a surprise, mixed with nice and why questions, but as I said, hard to jump into a new customized OS you never used before (even on OP, as I stayed under O2OS 11).
However, despite the OPPO/OP framework on top of the Android One, the addition of many OPPO Apps (that need to be separate from the OS and moved to the Play Store BTW and allowed to uninstall), the system is responsive, have a great battery life, some nice customizations and still looks like, sometimes, as a clean OS (looks like, not is). There are still some glitches here and there, and some UX details that I’m not used to (and don’t know if it is intended this way or bugs).
For the camera part, UW is good, Main can be better, and Tele is under competition. I need more options in the camera and gallery app. It’s a solid day-to-day photography phone, but there are better 2021 devices in front of it for now. That’s why I’m curious about the following updates for the firmware and the NPU.
The build quality is present. The X5 is too light for me. I feel back I was sent a few years ago. It’s a 6.55″, meaning it’s not tiny, but I can feel and see the difference with the 6.7/6.78″ inches smartphones I’ve been using for the past year. However, it is pleasant to get this size, as it is well balanced, under 200g (7.41oz). Flat-screen, thinner would have been perfect for me.
Okay, people will say no SD Card, No Jack port… Well, I don’t care personally. Yeah, I prefer a 512GB variant, but I can deal with 256GB, and I am using Snapdragon Sound for Wireless Audio.
For the price, in Europe, the product is around 999€ VAT included (meaning $999 taxes excluded in the US if we should imagine a retail price). For this price, 12GB instead of 8GB, a better construction lens for the primary camera with better stabilization. The same goes for the Tele camera, better camera and construction lens, and add a B&W sensor for the XPAN Mode. And maybe I will consider buying it.
So far, as a European living in the US, I see the X5 as an OP9 refresh, a little brother of the OP9 Pro. In Europe, the prices are between 619 and 919€ currently, with the addition of the 80W, the MariSilicon, and switching one IMX 689 to IMX766, 749 or 799€/$ seems more the sweet spot for this model.
That’s all folks