The OPPO Find X3 Neo is not a budget smartphone – it is a superb, fully-featured, no compromise (well, very few) premium smartphone at a budget price of $1199.
The OPPO Find X3 Neo is $1199 – against its bigger brother, the Find X3 Pro, at $1699. Now while I love everything the X3 Pro has to offer (review here 9.8/10), including its excellent QHD+ AMOLED screen, Qualcomm SD888/Gen 3 X60 5G modem and 60x magnifying camera lens, times are tough. If you want a premium device – equal to or better in some ways to a Samsung Galaxy S21/+ for $1199 – this is it.
And there is the OPPO Find X3 Lite (review coming soon) that at $749 probably will tempt you too. We have a comparison article of all three Find X3 models here.
OK, you ask what is missing from its big brother – the Find X3 Pro (differences in brackets)
We issue the standard warning that you must buy the genuine model with Australian firmware as 5G IMEI numbers are registered with the Telcos and must be activated here. It can also make a 000-emergency call (not 911) without a SIM. And you won’t get OPPO Australia warranty either.
Look for the Australian and NZ regulatory mark under Settings, About Phone, Regulatory.
We have named and shamed the major grey marketers here. If you spend this much money, get a genuine ‘Made for Australia’ model.
OK, another black slab, but I rather like the Starlight textured finish. It oozes premium with slightly curved edges (it is basically flat), flat top and bottom plates, and a prominent quad-camera and quad-LED camera bump.
OPPO build quality is superb, and I rather like the textured Starlight Black back that is not a fingerprint magnet. Like its big brother, it is pretty perfect in every way.
Single: 919 Multi: 3146 Open CL: 4456 Vulcan: 4772
Throttle 15-min test
Max: 229,697 GIPS, Average: 220,968, 8% % loss over 15 minutes CPU temp reached 78°
The choice of the 2020 flagship processor reflects global chip shortages. It released a version for China with the later SD870 5G SoC – it is a tad faster. Still, it is an excellent chip and way faster than the 2019 flagship offerings.
This only has USB-2.0 480Mbps (60Mbps half-duplex) data transfer rate. It is not fast enough to directly record 4K video to an external drive. It’s a shame that it does not use the X3 Pro USB-C 3.1 Gen 1 5Gbps (625MBps).
RAM and storage are the latest, with it reaching Tier 1 SSD rates.
Lack of throttling shows OPPOs expertise in temperature management.
-100dBm/63.1fW in a 3-bar reception area (very good) Found next tower at -102dBm/50.1fW Found the third tower at -103/39.8fW
It is not often that a smartphone finds three towers – and it occasionally found a fourth! This is an excellent antenna design. The phone is suitable for city, suburbs, regional city and regional use.
Battery – very fast charge
OPPPO SuperVOOC 2 5V/2A/10W and 10V/6.5A/65W It also supports any PD and QC charger (5V/2A/10W – slower) Claim: 100% in 35 minutes Test: 0-50% – 13 minutes 0-100% – 42 minutes Using 5V/3A standard USB charger and cable – approx 4 hours
Tests All at 90Hz
Video Loop test: 1080p/50%/aeroplane mode – 16 hours Netflix 1080p/50%/Wi-Fi – 13 hours Typical use 4/5G, Wi-Fi, – 13 hours MP3 music test: 50% volume played from storage – 24+ hours 100% load Battery drain – 7 hours GFX Bench Manhattan 3.1 Battery: 215.9min (3.6Hrs) and 3523 frames GFX Bench T-Rex: 6536min (1089 hours) 3372 frames PC Mark 2.0 battery drain: 15.45 hours Drain screen off: 50mA (about 30+ days) Drain screen on: 380mA
Battery life is spectacular, and with OPPO SuperVOOC 2.0 charge, it is almost irrelevant as 35 minutes will fill it. It eats all comers in this class. In any case, it will give you over 15 hours of screen-on time or two days of typical use.
OPPO SuperVOOC 2.0 is one of the safest fast charging methods. The trick is that it uses two 2250mAh series-connected batteries and two charger circuits, so it never stresses the battery. This requires an OPPO charger and cable that delivers 2 x 5V/3.25A circuits equivalent to 10V/6.5A/65W. It also has 5W reverse charge via USB-C – like a power bank.
Sound – Dolby Stereo is pretty good!
Stereo earpiece (front and up-firing) and down-firing speaker Speakers are perfectly balanced for volume and tone Dolby Atmos-certified for decoding to its stereo speaker
AK4376 Stereo 32-bit DAC, 16dB SNR for excellent BT transmission Dual TFA9892 digital amps, each capable of 6.6W RMS at 8W Considered superior to the Qualcomm Aqstic SD865 amp
Media – 82 Ring – 85 Alarm – 82 Earpiece – 55 Handsfree – 75
Much wider than the device with good Left/Right separation. Dolby Atmos adds a slightly wider stage, but there is no 3D spatial sound.
Unlike the more expansive choices of the X3 Pro, this has the standard Dolby Atmos pre-sets – smart, movie, gaming and music. They don’t appear to make a significant difference to the speaker frequency response.
The BT 5.2 drove our reference Sony WH-1000xM4 in SBC and LDAC modes and provided good clear sound and plenty of volume. We also tested with the M3 version that supports aptX and its variants. There was plenty of volume and an excellent clear feed.
The Amps and DAC will handle Hi-Res music (not tested).
Sound quality – not surprisingly very similar to the Find X3 Pro
Deep Bass: 20-40Hz
Middle Bass: 40-100Hz
Hints from 50Hz
High Bass: 100 to 200Hz
Still hints building nicely
High Treble: 6-10kHz
Dog whistle: 10-20kHz
Good to 15kHz
It is a Bright vocal signature- perfect for most music. You can get far more bass response in BT headphones, where we found it quite strong from 50Hz.
Not rated, but we understand it would pass IP54 for light rain and snow use
In the box
Bumper cover 65W charger USB-A to USB-C cable 3.5mm to USB-C DAC adapter Premium buds
I use the term superb about OPPOs build because it is simply so. Precision machining, perfect glass-to-frame fit and even a pre-fitted screen protector and bumper cover. Add to this the positive feedback from readers about its after-sales service and 24-month global travellers warranty.
It now has a trade-in program (a Find X2 Neo is currently worth about $600 as a trade on any OPPO phone), and this brand is serious about keeping its customers. You can’t go wrong.
Android 10 – With at least two upgrades
Google Android 11 Security patch date: 5/3/2021
All standard apps, Google Lens and Assistant. Dedicated Google Assistant key.
Mostly productivity and utilities
Assume two OS update. Security patches should come monthly
Optical Goodix Fingerprint sensor FaceID
We won’t go into ColorOS 11.1 except to say that it is the grease on pure Android’s wheels and makes this phone far more fluid and easier to operate. It also allows OPPO to tune the operating system to the hardware for best performance.
OPPO Find X3 Neo camera – overall one of the best for this price
It uses the same primary sensor as the Find X3 Pro – the 50MP Sony IMX766 shrouded in mystery – no detailed specs. We found that it is excellent when binned to 12.5MP, allowing it to use all-pixel focus and effectively a bright 2um pixel size. This supports Night mode too.
It can shoot at 50MP but loses AI computational photography, including Night mode. The result is purer colours and excellent detail at the expense of brightness and contrast. For most, the standard binned mode is best.
The Ultra-wide angle camera is more for daylight use. Its colours are different to the primary sensor, and being fixed focus lacks a little sharpness.
Overall it is not quite up there with the Find X3 Pro, but it is not far behind.
Primary 50MP Bins to 12.5MP
Depth Macro 2MP
Selfie 32MP Bins to 8MP
OV16A or Samsung 3P8
All Pixel Omni-directional PDAF
Pixel size um
1 (bins to 2um)
Not specified – suspect 1um
.8 (bins to 1.6um)
FOV° and cropped
OIS and EIS video
Dual LED (two single) Two fill LEDs for still and video use
105X digital for video
2X Optical 5X Hybrid 20X Digital
Ultra Night Video Dual View (both sides) Night Flare
Some side distortion
All the usual OPPO AI effects
Indoors Office Light (400 lumens)
Low light (room with less than 40 lumens)
It is the same throughout the Find X3 range and takes terrific selfie shots in most light conditions.
It has both optical image stabilisation (OIS) and electronic image stabilisation (EIS), which means that it crops the larger frame to achieve a stable horizon. It will shot 4K@60fps, but we recommend either 4K@30fps or 1080p@30fps for non-tripod shooting. There are some great video features like Ultra Night video and lots of filters.
But the most exciting thing is a pair of LED fill lights for still and video that gives a nice infill to about 2 metres. Learn to use this – it is very good.
Save $500 and buy the OPPO Find X3 Neo.
Sorry OPPO, but the Find X3 Neo is a fully-featured flagship class smartphone with very few issues and $500 cheaper than its big brother. By all means, if you want to spend $500 more, then the OPPO Find X3 Pro is for you.
I have both the Neo and Lite on the testbed so that I can compare. Where the Pro and Neo have a lot of similarities, the Lite is a totally different phone. There is no similarity at all except the Find X3 name (in fact, it comes up as Reno 5 in test software).
The Find X3 Pro scored 9.8/10, and that is about as good as it gets. It faces off to the Samsung S21+ and Ultra, and I suspect it has a slight edge.
Yes, the OPPO Find X3 Neo is $500 cheaper, but at this price, we still expect a better IP rating, and we think USB-C 3.1 should be standard for any flagship without microSD expansion. So it is going to come in a smidge lower at 9.6/10.
Competitors are the 2020 Samsung Galaxy S20 FE (9.7/10) with the 2021 S21 FE coming soon. Then the Samsung 2021 Galaxy S21 9.6/10, and you would be deliriously happy with any. These both have IP68 that may sway you.