What is a flagship smartphone? Typically, it’s the brand offering that represents all of its capabilities with innovation, technology and quality. It’s that one smartphone from the brand that is the absolute best it can offer. Of course, different brands have different approaches to their flagships. While Samsung may be all about innovating and offering features that no one else can, OnePlus may focus more on delivering specifications that put the rest to shame. On the other hand, Oppo has a completely different approach to the concept of ‘flagship’.
The Oppo F3 Plus is undeniably the company’s current flagship smartphone, by virtue of the fact that it is its more expensive offering in India. But the company has a different approach to the market that some of the other popular manufacturers such as OnePlus, Lenovo and Motorola. Oppo has its strength in its extensive dealer network, and appeals to buyers that don’t find specifications as important as great features. And in line with India’s love for selfies, many of its phones make it a point to offer excellent front cameras. With a dual front-camera set up and 6-inch screen, the Oppo F3 Plus promises a media-centric smartphone that takes great pictures of you. Find out all about the Oppo F3 Plus in our review.
Oppo F3 Plus: The Good
Despite its alternative approach to the idea of the flagship smartphone, Oppo knows that build quality is important and the F3 Plus is built beautifully. With an all-metal unibody design, the phone looks good and feels even better. And despite it being a large smartphone thanks to its 6-inch screen, it still retains a sense of comfort and ease of handling. The curved edges at the back, slim profile and convenient button positioning all help in this regard.
The big 6-inch full-HD screen of the Oppo F3 Plus is sharp, bright and a strong part of what makes this phone an excellent device for media buffs. Watching movies and TV shows is great thanks to the sheer size of the screen, as is playing games or surfing the web. A lot of people use their smartphones for entertainment while commuting and at home, and the Oppo F3 Plus’ great screen will certainly appeal to a lot of these buyers. The fingerprint sensor of the phone is placed right below the screen, can unlock the device from standby and also doubles up as a capacitive home key, which is quick and accurate.
When it comes to specifications, the Oppo F3 Plus is a bit of mixed bag. In certain departments, the phone comes through on the specification sheet, while in some critical areas it falls short. Where you do get value for money is in RAM and internal storage, with the F3 Plus offering 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage, which is expandable using a microSD card in the hybrid SIM slot. Thanks to the sufficient memory and storage, you’ll have no issues with multi-tasking and are unlikely to fall short on space for media, apps and images.
The Oppo F3 Plus is powered by a 4000mAh battery, which helps the phone run through a little over a day on a full charge, which is very good for a phone with a 6-inch screen. Additionally, the phone comes with Oppo’s VOOC fast charging technology, which tops off the phone’s battery in a little over an hour. This is the same technology that OnePlus’ excellent Dash Charge is based on, and is a truly useful feature on the F3 Plus.
The biggest feature of the Oppo F3 Plus is its set of cameras, and this is what the company is using to make the phone appealing to its customers. You get a dual-camera set up at the front with a 16-megapixel primary sensor and 8-megapixel secondary sensor, while the rear camera is a 16-megapixel shooter with an f/1.7 aperture. Although there’s no front flash, there is an on-screen flash option that turns the screen white when taking a picture for a bit of illumination.
There are a couple of noteworthy points regarding the front camera setup. While many dual-camera arrangements use the set-up for depth-of-field effects, the Oppo F3 Plus uses its second camera for wide-angle shots. Triggering the wide-angle mode uses the information from the second sensor to take better wide shots, something that will be useful for group selfies. There is a blur-effect tool as well, but this is simply software-based and doesn’t actually refocus the image. The larger sensor captures color and light information, and the two work together to ensure decent shots with the front camera.
The rear camera of the phone is an ordinary 16-megapixel sensor which is also fairly good when it comes to photography. Although it doesn’t have the same abilities as the front set-up, the better aperture rating ensures improved shots in low-light conditions. On the whole, both the front and rear camera set ups allow you to take good images that are detailed, low on noise and great in low-light.
Oppo F3 Plus: The Bad
One of the biggest issues with the Oppo F3 Plus is its choice of chipset. Powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 653 SoC, the phone’s performance can be considered mid-range at best. The Snapdragon 653 is a capable mid-range option and performance is reliable for the most part, but it isn’t quite at the same level as the Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 in the similarly priced OnePlus 3T. Additionally, gaming and power-intensive apps will have a stronger effect on the battery, so heavy usage will cause significant battery drain. If performance is important to you, the Oppo F3 Plus may not be the best smartphone for you at this price.
The Oppo F3 Plus runs Android Marshmallow 6.0.1 with the company’s ColorOS v3.0 on top. There’s very little character to this single-layered user interface, and indeed you’ll find a lot of common functionality out of place or differently functioning simply for the sake of being different. And above all, there really is no reason for a current generation flagship phone to still be running the older version of Android this late into the software cycle. The only good thing here is that our review unit is running the latest Android security patch at the time of the review.
The Oppo F3 Plus is a flagship smartphone with a difference, and doesn’t quite adhere to the standards set for the term ‘flagship’. It falls short in certain ways; performance isn’t quite at the same level as the price, and old, exciting software leaves a lot to be desired. However, that’s where my criticism of the phone ends. In every other way, the phone is excellent.
Whether it’s the great look and feel, the big screen that’s excellent for media consumption, the fast charging technology or the fantastic camera set up, the Oppo F3 Plus is a feature-filed phone that will check a lot of boxes for buyers. Oppo’s excellent dealer network and improving brand equity also mean that the phone will find a lot of takers in the affordable flagship category. However, if you want a phone that is better rounded and comes through in the performance department, you’re better off with the similarly priced OnePlus 3T, which although not quite as capable in the camera department, is better in all other ways.