The Oppo N3 lacks the punch for its premium pricing and one could rather go for Sony Xperia Z3 and save some cash for accessories, says Himanshu Juneja
Oppo has been trying to gain a foothold in the lucrative Indian mobile phone market and its efforts so far certainly have made the company make some good noise.
Being the first company to bring up 1080p enabled mobile phone, Oppo has kept its efforts to pop some surprises and its latest handset, the Oppo N3 seems to be another candidate to carry the tradition forward.
Generating the interest this time is the fully motorised swivel action camera along with powerful configuration. The only stumbling block it seems is the price factor, and it will be interesting to see how the company acts on it.
First glance at the Oppo N3, and the phone will remind people of the Oppo N1. The phone measure 6.35 x 3.03 x 0.39 inches dimension wise, and weighs a good 192 gms as well. This is not a light weight phone.
The chamfered edges and the frame running around the phone provides it with a good grip and solidarity respectively. Oppo picked up aluminium alloy 7075 for the frame and rendered it with a matte finish to make it look less garish. The effort seemed to have worked. Although it does increase the phone's footprint, it is there for extra protection. The rest of the phone has been kept plastic.
The phone sits with a pretty decent grip, and the compactness due to picking up a more manageable screen pays dividends here.
The phone's right side packs the volume rocker as well as the 3.5mm jack. The left edge carries the power button, the micro USB port and the SIM-micro SD card combo slot.
The rear side of the phone is particularly interesting as one finds a metal ring which carries a button at its midst.
This square button is not just a finger print scanner, but also provides the functionalities during camera usage as well. The finger print recognition works smoothly, and allows for a total of 5 fingerprint storage.
The placement of the 3.5 mm jack on the side is surely perplexing and will prove annoying to the music lovers for sure.
The Oppo N3 comes with a full HD IPS display measuring 5.5-inch. The resolution of 1080x1920 pixels translates to a very decent 403 pixel per inch density. The natural colours popping on the screen when powered up looked impressive. The screen could have been bit more brighter. It comes with good viewing angles.
Oppo did well to provide a screen where the text comes out sharp, and images crisp. The auto brightness was a little bit wonky and this can cause frustrations at times.
The phone comes with a Qualcomm's Quad core 2.3 Ghz 64 bit processor, along with Adreno 330 GPU. The presence of 2GB RAM seems to have caught on and Oppo N3 carries a good configuration overall.
As for the onboard memory, Oppo N3 has been supplied with a rich stash of 32 GB worth of storage and the users can increase it to another 128 GB.
The Oppo N3 is a Dual SIM mobile phone and comes with LTE support. Apart from Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi direct, there are the expected options like Bluetooth 4.0, AGPS, and GLONASS as well.
The choice which the consumers will have to make is that whether they would want to go ahead and use a second SIM or use the slot for memory expansion seems to be a bit cringe worthy. With a massive chassis, accommodating a bit bigger PCB and eradicating this choice scenario should have been manageable.
The phone comes with Colour OS 2.0 custom skin, which is based on Android Kitkat (4.4.4). Not getting the latest Android as the base for Oppo skin was disappointing and won't go unnoticed.
As has been the trend with the chinese manufacturers, there is no app drawer. Plenty of features here to keep the users busy it seems. Theme support should appeal to most users across the spectrum. Not only the themes can be downloaded, or be custom created, one can make modular changes like only font and give minute touch ups to the operating system. It was good to see that Oppo has included single hand operation mode, this should come in handy on occasions.
There are some more useful features as well like double tap to unlock, and the pinch to launch camera app. A three finger swipe will instantly capture a screenshot. Users can also go ahead and create custom gestures for initiating tasks of their choice.
While the OS has good number of interesting features, there is a long way to go for Oppo to bring in more advantages to make one not miss the stock android experience.
The phone has been packed with a very decent innards and the performance confirms as much. While going about with the normal operations like executing or switching the apps, no lag was observed. The same was experienced while playing the HD content like videos as well as the games on offer.
As an extended test, the camera, which the phone boasts of so proudly, too went about its tasks without hiccups, and the pics were taken and edited without any issues either. The speaker was loud and adequate for the task, however, a dual speaker set up would have been more preferred.
This is the area where Oppo N3 bags the majority of its brownie points. Equipped with a 16 MP camera and a Dual mode LED flash, the users can turn the camera manually or use the motorised mechanism. The swivel action performed via the touch access button at the rear comes in handy and different direction of swiping results in varied orientation of the camera.
The camera module is seen with faux leather and stitching pattern, which really looked out of place. The camera performs impressively as the focus and camera shutter speed are quite zippy, and so is the overall clicking experience.
The pics came out with sharp details and good colour reproduction to render a natural looking result. There was a hint of over saturation involved, but it is the kind which brings the photos to life rather than impart an artificial hue. The swivel mechanism makes for an excellent facilitator for panorama pics.
A swipe from the shutter button reveals the app menu, and user gets access to pro features like ISO, exposure, white balance and manual focus in the expert mode.
The Ultra-HD mode, which is basically super zoomed, comes in handy for larger print photos if the user so desires. The phone is also capable of clicking away in RAW mode.
The video clicking option doesn't include the now favourite HDR and 4k videos, but 1080p videos from the camera were pretty good. The software image stabilisation works nicely. The tracking mode allows user to maintain focus on the desired subject.
Oppo included a nifty accessory called as O-Click. Small enough to be held under a thumb, it seems like a little useful bonus packaged along with the main device.
The O-Click comes in handy as it allows for remotely taking the pics by triggering the camera, and to control the music being played as well.
Providing big relief to forgetful users, it can help in locating the phone in case it is misplaced it. It can also be made to remind the user if and when stepped out of the range of the Oppo N3.
The phone comes with a 3000 mAh battery of Li-Po variant. Oppo has done well here to include at least a 3000 mAh unit and the users will find the phone chugging along easily throughout the day while on a normal to heavy usage pattern.
The charging technology features VOOC (Voltage Open Loop multi step continuous Charging) , which lets battery charge to 75 per cent of its capacity within 30 minutes flat. The battery charges fully in about an hour's time.
There is also the 'Super Power-saving' mode. When activated, it limits the phone's functionality to bare minimum and in turn enhances the battery back up.
For somebody who wants to lay their hands on a piece of device with brilliant camera, a well built piece of hunk, to the extent that it may inflict a cautious approach, this phone really looks up for the job. However, with a price tag of nearly Rs 43,000, the phone seems to be pushing its luck a bit too much.
Even with the above mentioned advantages, the phone still isn't cut out to match phones like Samsung Galaxy S6 or the Samsung Galaxy Note 4. One can even opt for the Sony Xperia Z3 and save some cash for accessories.
Oppo needs to get the pricing more in the range of Rs 30,000 to Rs 35,000 price bracket if it has to make the N3 a strong contender and a frequent recommendation.