A couple of years ago, the term ‘selfie’ officially made it to the Oxford dictionary, and then Chinese smartphone companies Oppo and Vivo started focusing on the niche audience that are into selfies. In Q1 2017, the Indian smartphone market grew 15 percent with the rise in selfie-centric smartphones. Oppo now has a market share of 23.6 percent, with many smartphones focused on this selfie-centric audience. The company’s latest smartphone, the Oppo F3 features dual front-facing cameras, allowing you to capture selfies and wide-angle group photos. The F3 is Oppo’s second smartphone after Oppo F3 Plus to come with dual front cameras. While the F3 Plus is priced at Rs 30,999, the F3 is more aggressively priced at Rs 19,990. Its closest competitors are the Gionee A1, Vivo V5s and Vivo V5 Plus. The Gionee A1 and Vivo V5s feature single front-facing cameras with LED flash, whereas the Vivo V5 Plus features dual front-facing cameras, but it is priced on the expensive side at Rs 27,980. We recently reviewed the Oppo F3 and were impressed with the front cameras and now it’s time for the smaller and more affordable Oppo F3.
Oppo F3: The Good
Design and Build
The Oppo F3 features a unibody design, but unlike the F3 Plus that features an all-metal back panel, the F3 comes with a sturdy polycarbonate body with a metallic finish. On the front, you have a 5.5-inch full HD display with 2.5D curved glass. Above the display, you have the dual-camera module, an earpiece and the ambient light sensor. Below the display, you have the capacitive Android navigation buttons for back and app switcher, and a non-clickable home button that also doubles up as a fingerprint sensor. The sensor is quick in scanning fingers and unlocks the device quickly. Fingerprint security can also be used to keep your apps, content, messages and emails safe. ALSO READ: Vivo V5 Plus Review Talking about port placement, the volume rocker is placed on the left, the power / sleep button is placed on the right, while the 3.5mm audio jack and microUSB port are at the bottom. The dual SIM-card tray is placed on the right, just above the power button, and one of the best things about the tray is that it accepts two nano SIM cards and has a separate microSD card slot, which is a pretty good setup compared to the hybrid SIM-card slots seen on most smartphones.
The 5.5-inch full HD display is crisp and offers decent color reproduction. Not that the display is bad in any way, but at times, the app icon colors look a bit off. Otherwise, the screen is good for watching movies, music videos and more. In 2016, we saw brands upgrading the minimum base storage from 8GB to 16GB and 32GB. This year, 64GB base storage is quickly becoming popular on smartphones. The Oppo F3 comes with 64GB of onboard storage, out of which about 51GB is available for your apps, music, videos and other content. The smartphone also packs in 4GB of RAM to ensure smooth functioning. ALSO READ: Oppo F3 Plus Review: The rise of the ‘selfie’ flagship
Dual front-facing cameras
Moving on to the highlight of the Oppo F3, the dual front-facing cameras. The smartphone uses two cameras – a combination of a 16-megapixel camera for selfies, along with an 8-megapixel sensor with 120-degree wide-angle view for group selfies. The camera app interface is slick with the flash, HDR and photo mode toggles at the top, while the bottom half has the gallery shortcut, shutter button and camera mode switcher button for single or dual-camera mode. You can swipe left to right to switch between beauty, panorama, time-lapse and video modes. Talking about the quality, the camera performs well outdoors where there is enough light. The photos look bright and sharp. Indoors, when there is enough light, the camera captures good photos, but as the lighting gets dull, the photos tend to lose sharpness. There is also an on-screen flash for better photos in low-light, but they tend to look grainy. Below are some sample shots. ALSO READ: Gionee A1 Review When you switch to dual camera mode, some distortion in the form of barrel roll effect is seen along the corners. But that could be because the dual camera lens (120-degrees wide-angle mode) also creates a kind of fish-eye lens effect. Also, ensure that you use a selfie stick as your hands will look elongated when taking wide angle shots. Below are some sample shots taken with the dual front cameras. Battery Life
The smartphone has a 3,200mAh battery which is good enough to last an entire day with moderate usage. During my week-long usage, I was easily able to get screen-on time of up to four-and-a-half hours. My usage included a few phone calls for about 40 minutes, some social networking on Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp. I also had three email accounts in sync and some Slack chats going during the day. The Oppo F3 also comes bundled with fast charging (2A output current) to quickly charge the phone in about an-hour-and-a-half. ALSO READ: Vivo V5 Review
Oppo F3: The Bad
The Oppo F3 comes with a 13-megapixel sensor with phase detection auto-focus (PDAF). The camera is an average performer, day light shots look decent at times, but under harsh sunlight, the photos tend to look overexposed as the camera module fails to capture enough information. Other times, photos appear dull, even in bright outdoor conditions. Under low light, the camera is able to capture just bearable shots, but some graininess is easily visible. Check the camera samples below. Chipset
The smartphone is powered by the MediaTek 64-bit MT6750T octa-core SoC (eight Cortex A53 cores), which is a mid-tier chipset for entry-level smartphones. Made on the 28nm fabrication process, the chipset isn’t as powerful and efficient as the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 SoC which is made on the 14nm process. We have seen the Snapdragon 625 SoC power and performance on the likes of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 and Lenovo P2, among others, and we find performance to be better on those devices. Now, brands like Oppo and Vivo are focusing on users that prefer buying smartphones from nearby smartphone vendors. With such a business model and some money spent on the distribution channel, it may not have been possible for Oppo to go with the more expensive Snapdragon chipsets, which could have made a difference in the performance. ALSO READ: Vivo V5 to Gionee A1: Top 5 selfie-centric smartphones in India, priced under Rs 20,000
It’s been over six months since Google released Android 7.0 Nougat update, and yet, the Oppo F3 runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow-based ColorOS. For an entry-level smartphone under Rs 8,000 it may not be an issue, but when you are buying a smartphone that costs close this much, running a dated operating system is a disappointment. The security patch level of my review unit dates back to March, when the latest for April is already available on many devices. The interface is single-layered and there is no app drawer, something that is quite common with the interfaces of most Chinese smartphone makers. Of course, you can download and install a launcher of your choice from the Play Store, but most UI elements such as the settings page and other menu options still remain the same. Something simple such as stock Android could have been better compared to the complex interface. Also, there is no word on when the smartphone will receive firmware updates.
On the whole, the Oppo F3 is a decent smartphone that comes with a sturdy design and build quality, plenty of onboard storage (64GB) and RAM (4GB), a quick and reliable fingerprint sensor, all at a competitive price of Rs 19,990. The dual front-facing cameras are able to capture good photos in most lighting conditions. However, Oppo’s choice of chipset is quite questionable when there are better options such as the Snapdragon 625 and Snapdragon 650-series (650, 652, 653) to choose from. Also, the rear camera performance is average at best. For those looking to buy a smartphone that lets you click good selfies and group selfies, while offering acceptable overall performance, the Oppo F3 could be a good option. Otherwise, there are other smartphones such as the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4, Lenovo P2 and Gionee A1 that you could choose from, which might come across as better overall options.