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(Pocket-lint) - Oppo is the biggest brand you may never have heard of. If you haven't, you will. It's one of the biggest phone manufacturers in the world, founded in China in 2001. In recent years its smartphones have been the biggest sellers across China and the company has been broadening its international reach considerably.

In its home territory it has made everything from affordable, entry-level phones to real attention-grabbers: back in 2014 it made the Oppo R5 which at 4.85mm thick, was the thinnest smartphone around.

Available in the UK at Carphone Warehouse

After launching phones in Italy, France and the Netherlands in 2018, Oppo has now reached British shores.

Oppo, unlike many other Chinese rivals, is a company that focuses almost exclusively on phones, so it has considerable expertise.

Now, its show-stopping entrance to Britain is already making waves. It launched with not one but three highly-specced smartphones which are all available exclusively through Carphone Warehouse. These handsets fit the company's policy of making high-quality phones for lower prices than you might expect.

Oppo also says that it designs phone according to what people really want, not adding technology for the sake of it. So, the absence of wireless charging on the first handsets to reach the UK is a deliberate omission, but doesn't mean it won't come on future phones.

All of which might make you think that battery power - arguably still the most important feature on any smartphone - would be a priority. And it is.


All day power

Battery sizes on its phones are usually decent but it also has very fast charging. An Oppo feature called Super VOOC charging means that the Oppo RX17 Pro, for instance, one of the three launch handsets, can charge from flat-as-a-pancake to 100 per cent in 40 minutes, which is highly impressive. When your battery charges as fast as that, it's easy to top up significantly in a short time.


Make no mistake, Oppo is in the vanguard for other innovations, too. Such as the super-cool fingerprint sensor on both the RX17 Neo and RX17 Pro. In both, it's actually built into the display itself. This means there's a very natural unlock action. You just rest your thumb, for instance, exactly where you would have done if a conventional fingerprint sensor sat beneath the display. It also means there's way more room on the front of the phone for display since no separate sensor is needed, and it's much more convenient than a fingerprint sensor on the back of the phone. In fact, apart from a slightly wider bezel on the base of the display and a teardrop notch at the top, the RX17 Neo and RX17 Pro are all-screen affairs.

Oppo isn't the only manufacturer with this tech, but to feature it in phones as affordable as the RX17 Neo is a definite first.

It's also a company that pays considerable attention to design, and the new phones show an imaginative approach to colour - Oppo's phones are anything but plain black oblongs.

All of which augurs well for the company's arrival in the UK. It's certainly a force to be reckoned with.