Oppo Find X2 Pro hands-on: The Huawei alternative?

To say that I was a little disappointed when I saw the Oppo Find X2 smartphones would be an understatement. Yeah, sure, Oppo’s new flagship smartphone looks pretty darn good on paper but coming from the awesome madness that was the Oppo Find X did make this new smartphone feel very…pedestrian.

After all, when the Oppo Find X launched some two years ago, there was really nothing quite like that handset in the market. The whole camera module sliding up? Mind-blowing. I remember the first time we saw it leak in some advertisement and we collectively lost our minds. It was magical and I absolutely loved that Oppo pushed the envelope like this.

Of course, having the entire top of the smartphone move upwards and downwards was not the most practical thing if we’re being honest. Dust would collect, the mechanism would introduce a bunch of fragile points, and it would eventually break or not work so well after a couple thousand movements. However, the fluidity, speed and experience that Oppo managed to achieve with a first-gen product like that was truly remarkable. And I was looking forward to seeing the second generation. But all I got was perhaps one of the most generic-looking smartphone bodies I’ve seen.

Still, if we’re talking about a smartphone that will move sales numbers, then the direction Oppo’s chosen to take with their new Find X2 series makes a lot more sense. After all, there is now a void in the market for a high-end “Chinese flagship”, and from the looks of things, Oppo’s gunning for that. In fact, there’s even two of them now with the more affordable/watered-down Find X2 and the high-end Find X2 Pro. The one I have here is the Oppo Find X2 Pro, and it’s a spec-sheet beast.

For starters, the phone features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor (with 5G support, both NSA and SA architectures), 12GB of RAM and a whopping 512GB of internal storage. That’s four times more space than Samsung’s current Galaxy S20 Ultra that’s on sale in Malaysia, by the way. And Oppo’s also gone for fast LPDDR5 memory and UFS 3.0 storage, so it’s no slouch.

Though I think the thing that really makes this smartphone feel fast is that screen. It’s a banger of a display, featuring a large 6.7″ dual-curved OLED panel that pushes a Quad HD+ resolution of 3168×1440 pixels giving you a pixel density of 551ppi. That’s awesome, and what makes it even more awesome is the 120Hz refresh rate.

Peak brightness in HDR? 1,200 nits. Max brightness in typical usage? 800 nits. Contrast ratio? 5,000,000:1. Oh, and it’s also got full coverage of the DCI-P3 colour gamut, plus Oppo says that each device is factory colour calibrated for accuracy. There’s even a smart display mode where the phone will automatically switch between its 120Hz fast refresh rate and regular old 60Hz depending on the situation to maximise battery performance.

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In my brief time with it, I simply left it on auto and I never really felt like the phone was using the wrong refresh rate for the wrong task, so that’s good. Unlike Samsung’s Galaxy S20, the Oppo Find X2 Pro will also let you run 120Hz in Quad HD+ resolution so you can have your cake and eat it too. Though, I’m not sure what effect that would have on your battery life—I’ve only had it for half a day.

Speaking of battery, capacity is probably one of the areas in which Oppo’s new flagship doesn’t really hang with the big boys. It’s only got a 4,260 mAh battery. I say only, but in reality that’s still an OK size for a battery. I would have liked maybe 4,500 mAh or 5,000 mAh especially since you have a high refresh rate, but I will note that capacity often isn’t the be-all-end-all of battery life.

To make up for that modest battery cell, Oppo’s gone all out with fast-charging. This Find X2 Pro comes with the company’s 65W SuperVOOC 2.0 Flash Charge fast-charging technology via USB-C. 65W! According to the company, you’ll be able to fully charge this battery in just 38 minutes. For context, I take longer to get out of the shower in the morning.

That said, you may be disappointed to find that this smartphone doesn’t come with wireless charging of any kind. But, personally, it doesn’t really matter to me because I don’t own nor use a wireless charger though I suspect some of you will not like this omission.

Now, it’s time to talk about the other thing Oppo’s really pushing with their new flagship smartphone: its cameras.

While the previous Find X was all about the gimmicky camera module, this time it’s all about actual camera performance. On the back of the Find X2 Pro, you’ll find a triple camera setup nestled neatly in the handset’s sizable bump. Yes, only three when other Android manufacturers are putting four sometimes five cameras, seems like a modest number, but what it lacks in quantity it tries to make up for in quality.

For the main camera, the one with the f/1.7 aperture wide angle lens, you’ll find a 48MP sensor. However, it’s no ordinary 48MP sensor because it’s one that was custom made for Oppo by Sony. It’s an IMX689 sensor and what makes it special is that it is a massive 48MP smartphone camera sensor—one of, if not the biggest—measuring 1/1.43″. This means that each individual pixel is 1.12 microns, where conventional 48MP sensors are usually 0.8 microns, and we all know that when it comes to sensor size, bigger almost always means better.

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The benefit of the larger pixels is that it can let in more light so you get better low-light performance. On top of that, the phone can also do 4-in-1 pixel binning for truly massive 2.24 micron pixels in its 12MP photos. Then, Oppo also includes an Ultra Dark Mode and an improved night mode option with the Find X2 Pro so you can get even better low-light performance. How well that actually performs remains to be seen, but let’s just say that the hardware seems really solid.

Paired with that, you’ve got a 48MP ultra-wide angle camera—this uses the IMX586—and a 13MP telephoto camera. That said, this 13MP telephoto camera isn’t a regular telephoto lens because it’s actually got a periscope design to increase reach. With this, the smartphone is capable of 10x hybrid zoom and 60x max zoom.

I had the chance to get a couple of test shots in and, I mean, the results are pretty expected. The images look really good right up to 10x, but if you’re thinking of game-changing results at 60x, you’ll be disappointed. At 10x though, this this is pretty darn phenomenal.

I will say that the camera app is really nice and snappy. The zoom wheel is also really intuitive to use, but I would have liked to see the picture-in-picture “viewfinder” Samsung introduced in their Galaxy S20 series so I know where I am looking at when I’m at max zoom.

Up front, you’ve got a 32MP selfie shooter in the punch hole at the top corner of the screen, but if you’re familiar with Oppo’s selfie shooters, you’ll know what to expect.

So far, Oppo’s new flagship is pretty much everything you’d expect a high-end flagship smartphone for 2020 to be. It’s even got a gorgeous build that feels really premium and good in the hand, and even a pretentious orange vegan leather option (which I really like, actually, it feels good in the hand) if you find the black ceramic variant too pedestrian. But, as good as the build is, I have to comment on the fact that it is incredibly generic-looking. Like, it looks like every other flagship smartphone now, so much so that I had trouble picking it out of a lineup when it on a desk screen-side up.

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While the Find X was groundbreaking in its design, the Find X2 Pro’s ground remains very firm. But, that’s not necessarily a bad thing because it has a lot of the hardware tools it needs to compete at the top. It’s even got a solid set of stereo speakers (considering the tiny size of its bezels), IP68 water and dust resistance, WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.1 and four times more storage than the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra.

To me right now, with the whole debacle that’s plaguing Huawei, it looks like Oppo’s Find X2 Pro is here to take the mantle. As far as first impressions go, this is the “Chinese high-end flagship” we’ve been missing with Huawei so far due to their lack of Google’s Mobile Services.

Oppo doesn’t have that issue, their ColorOS 7.1 with Android 10 has all the apps, the Play Store and access you want from a modern Android smartphone. Yet it also retains the classic “overcompensating camera” people like from a Chinese smartphone (though, you may argue that this year, Samsung went down that route), as well as the build, features and feel.

However, Oppo also seems to suffer from the same issues that I’ve always noticed on Huawei devices in the past. The issue that at the high end, these flagship smartphones can only compete on specs, but not with the kind of ecosystem features Samsung and Apple can offer.

Of course, the silver lining is that all of this will not be a problem if Oppo prices this smartphone right in Malaysia. In 2018, the Find X retailed for RM3,699, which is very reasonable for today’s market of smartphones. If the Find X2 Pro can find that balance, and find that pricing sweet spot, this phone seems to have a very real potential to stick it to the big boys. And, that is always a win for the consumer.

What do you think of the Find X2 Pro? How much would you pay for it? Let me know in the comments below.

You can pre-order the Oppo Find X2 and X2 Pro at the Oppo Online Store.

Photography by Marcus Choo on the Sony A7 III.