Oppo announces Find X3 Pro flagship with microscope camera

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After a drawn-out series of leaks and teases, Oppo has announced its 2021 flagship in full. The Find X3 Pro is a sleek, powerful phone with an unusual design and some unique features to match. It’s also an important device for Oppo, which recently overtook Huawei in the Chinese smartphone market and will be looking to capitalize on its rival’s troubles this year.

The Find X3 Pro’s most arresting visual element is its camera bump, which almost looks organic in the way it seamlessly rises from the same piece of glass as the rest of the phone’s back panel. Combined with the finish, which on my unit is aggressively shiny and glossy, the phone looks sort of like it was forged out of Terminator 2-style liquid metal.

The camera system itself is no less unusual. There’s a primary camera and an ultrawide that both use 50-megapixel 1/1.56-inch Sony IMX766 sensors, meaning the image quality should be comparable across both, though we’ll have to see how that bears out in practice.

There’s also a 3-megapixel microlens, which shouldn’t be mistaken for the useless macro cameras found in some phones today. Oppo claims up to 60x magnification, and it’s more like a microscope than a macro lens — you can take pictures of things like subpixel layouts on screens, and there’s even a ring light to illuminate the subject. I’m not sure if this will be a selling point for many people, but in my early testing I can confirm that it’s pretty cool. Here’s a quick shot of my computer monitor:

You’ll notice that the whole shot isn’t quite in focus, and that’s because depth of field is extremely shallow when shooting this close — you have to get within millimeters. I probably need more practice using the microlens, but my first impression is that it might be more useful for looking at things in real time than capturing them for sharing.

One notable omission is a periscope zoom lens, even though Oppo did more than anyone to popularize the technology. There is a telephoto lens here, but it’s just a 13-megapixel sensor with 2x optical zoom over the primary camera. That’s not necessarily a downgrade, since it could improve image quality at mid-range shooting distances, but it does mean the Find X3 Pro won’t have anywhere near as much zoom reach as its 5x-telephoto-equipped predecessor.

The Find X3 Pro’s display is another key feature; it’s a 3216 x 1440 LTPO OLED panel with a peak brightness of 1,300 nits and a refresh rate of up to 120Hz. Oppo is making a big deal out of the fact that it’s a 10-bit panel and that it’s integrated full-path color management into ColorOS; this means photos and videos captured with the cameras can be displayed with more than a billion colors, as opposed to the 16.7 million colors on conventional smartphone screens.

The Find X3 Pro has typically flagship-tier internals: a Snapdragon 888 processor, 12GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage. The 4,500mAh battery can be fast-charged at up to 65W, and Oppo has finally embraced wireless charging on a flagship with a 30W system that can fully charge the phone in 80 minutes. The lack of wireless charging was my biggest knock against the Find X2 Pro, so Oppo’s off to a good start here.

We don’t have pricing or release details for the Find X3 Pro just yet; Oppo plans to announce that next week. Stay tuned for more information and a full review.

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