(Pocket-lint) - When the Oppo Find X first got into our hands back in 2019, we were enthralled by its mechanised pop-up camera. Sure, it was flawed in terms of future longevity due to the number of moving parts, but, hey, this was an exciting feature to see in a phone - something that was becoming ever rarer in the world of same-old same-old mobile phones.
For the Find X2 sequel, here seen in its Pro form, the pop-up camera is dead. Long live the punch-hole camera. Which might not thrill and excite us to the same extent, but ultimately makes greater long-term sense and gives Oppo the opportunity to focus on a stand-out feature: the screen, which is now a 120Hz OLED panel, much like the OnePlus 8 Pro.
So does the Find X2 Pro continue to thrill, or by taking away its most out-there feature, does it lose some of its X factor?
- Black (all ceramic rear finish): 164.9 x 74.4 x 8.8m; 207g
- Orange (vegan leather finish): 165.2 x 74.4 x 9.5m; 200g
- In-screen optical fingerprint scanner
- IP68 water-resistance
- Dual stereo speakers
The trend for multi-colour gradient phone rears seems to be dying down in 2020. It's now all about simple elegance and use of materials. Keeping things simple, the Find X2 Pro comes in two options: a ceramic black, and a vegan leather orange - the latter which brings a refreshing alternative to the normal black slab.
The ceramic model doesn't necessarily exude that material finish though, but the etched circular emblems all over the rear (you'll need to look very, very close-up to see them) give it a very subtle texture. The black, as pictured, we'd call more grey, really, in a metallic kind of way, and it absolutely adores fingerprint smears - a little bit too much, just as we said of the Oppo A5.
As we say up top, there's no mechanised pop-up camera unit that can rise from the top of the phone. While that removes a lot of the faff and some of the fun when taking selfies, it also brings a new feature as a by-product: IP68 water-resistance. As there's no moving parts, it's easier for Oppo to seal the handset, ensuring it's water-resistant (the rules state in 1.5m of water for 30 minutes, but like many handsets we've seen the reality is often many times longer than this - not that we've stress tested it here).
Around the back of the phone is where the protruding rear camera section lives. And boy does it protrude. Leaving this phone sat on a table is rather irksome, because it wobbles about so much. You might want to consider a case to level things out, to aid with your OCD. It seems increasingly normal for cameras to be designed like this these days, but that's the trade-off: you want capable cameras, you've got to accept some wobble.
Other features are on the nose when it comes to flagship expectation: there's an in-screen fingerprint scanner, of the optical kind; while dual stereo speakers make for a loud output that doesn't seem too one-dimensional or just from the tail-end of the phone. As is also typical, this also means there's no 3.5mm headphone jack or microSD card slot expansion - the latter unnecessary, given the 256GB storage on board this Pro device as standard. It's a single SIM solution, though, when we were expecting it to be dual SIM.
- 6.78-inch OLED display, 19.8:9 aspect ratio, QHD+ resolution (3168 x 1440)
- 120Hz refresh rate, 240Hz touch sample rate (4.2ms)
- 800 nit brightness (1200 nit max peak)
- HDR10+ certification
To look at, the Find X2 Pro is screen dominant, thanks to a 6.78-inch diagonal, spread in an elongated aspect ratio - which we think is the right choice for one-handed holding, none of this 21:9 super-slim nonsense, or the older and chunkier 16:9 aspect, such as on the too-wide iPhone 8 Plus.
There's little bezel to concern yourself with on the Find X2 Pro, too, although Oppo hasn't gone all-out with a waterfall display, like you'll find on the Vivo NEX 3. Still, the bezel really is minimal, while the punch-hole camera is dinky and not obtrusive, plus Oppo hasn't opted for a dual front-facing camera, so it's not the larger-scale black bar that you'll see on the Huawei P40 Pro. It's all rather neat and tidy.
There's stacks of resolution too, with this panel cramming in more pixels than you're likely to truly need. That's ideal for watching downscaled 4K streams, though, especially as this phone will be 5G, with no 4G-only variants in the European market. We've not been able to test out 5G on our review handset though (no nearby networks during lockdown make that an issue).
It's the added extras of what this screen can do that will gather the most interest though. If any of this sounds familiar then, well, that's because this screen is an echo of the OnePlus 8 Pro. That means a 120Hz refresh rate, which means double the frame-rate for super smooth playback. It's got frame-insertion to make videos smoother too. It's a 10-bit panel, so there's even more colour. It's calibrated, it supports DCI-P3 colour space, HDR10+ high dynamic range, and all that good stuff.
But the thing is, a lot of that is potentially superfluous. Having 120Hz available doesn't mean everything runs better: not every app or game supports that refresh rate. That said, by the end of 2019 the list had grown from just a handful of titles to around 175 options, so the support is growing from a developer standpoint. Whether a game can maintain that fixed frame-rate - a lot will fluctuate depending on how much action is happening on screen - is also questionable, and if your astute brain sees a drop from such a high rate, you may be better just running it at 60Hz constant, knowing it'll be consistent.
That's our due dilligence in pointing out that 120Hz isn't always what it's cracked up to be. That said, having been using this phone for many weeks, we immediately noticed the silky smoothness around the operating system's screens once we had moved out of our previous device. You know what? We rather like 120Hz's potential.
The other feature is frame insertion. As a lot of content is shot at 24, 25 or 30 frames per second, that's miles off the refresh rate of this screen. To counter this, inserting black frames and/or frames produced from the content can give the impression of a smoother playback. Problem is, it can make things look hyper-real and, in part, is the bane of many movie producers' lives, as it produces the so-called 'soap opera effect' - where classic cinema looks like it was shot in your front room. You can opt to turn this processing on or off, via the O1 Ultra Vision Engine in the settings, which handles all this processing. It's good the have the controls, although even with it activated we've not noticed it adding anything of note.
Oppo is now saying this screen is on par with Apple and Samsung thanks to DisplayMate A+ certification through its device-by-device calibration. We're certainly impressed by the screen, but we do find the calibration here perplexing: the Vivid (P3 gamut) is actually less vivid than the Cinematic option, which is bizarre; while the Gentle (sRGB) mode is more how we'd expect a movie mode to be (yellow and flatter). At least there's some customisation available.
So while this screen might oversell itself of high-number specs, that's not really the biggest sell of it all. What you really notice is just how stunning the screen is when using the phone - from brightness, to colour, to resolution.
Not only for casual viewing, but for entertainment, and gamers might reap the benefits even more, given the higher refresh rate and double-that-again 240Hz touch response rate, supposedly helping to give your PUBG: Mobile that extra responsive edge. We can't feel any difference in this regard, though, but some may claim they can.
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor, 12GB RAM (LPDDR5)
- Qualcomm X55 5G modem (no 4G model available)
- 4,260mAh battery capacity (dual cell system)
- Software: ColorOS 7.1 over Android 10
- SuperVOOC 2.0 fast-charging at 65W
- Full charge in 38 minutes
- TUV certification passed
- No wireless charging
There's no questioning the power behind the scenes of the Oppo Find X2 Pro. With Qualcomm's top-billed Snapdragon processor of 2019-2020 at the helm, complete with 12GB RAM, no task has caused this phone issues in our use. Which, again, will be great news for gamers looking to push those titles to maximum graphics and higher frame-rates, that's for sure.
Having used the phone as our own, we've seen this in action too. South Park: Phone Destroyer runs with no lag, casual games are also on point, while the likes of PUBG: Mobile runs silky smooth.
Then there's Oppo's ColorOS 7.1 - that's Oppo's software skin over the top of Google's Android 10 operating system - which Oppo has further refined compared to previous iterations, with smaller icons in the swipe down shade, the ongoing support for an App Drawer (which even just a year prior to this software version was absent), along with additional customisation alerts for notifications. We'll be updating our ColorOS tips and tricks with more info in the future.
While we thought that this system might irk, but it's becoming more like OnePlus' OxygenOS setup with each iteration - which we like. Perhaps that's no surprise, as Oppo is under the same BBK Electronics umbrella as OnePlus.
Where the Find X2 Pro really looks to make headlines is in its battery department. With a dual-cell 4,260mAh total capacity, this phone is not only capacious, its division into two means next-gen fast-charging is possible. Oppo has long been promoting its SuperVOOC system, but with version 2 that's accelerated to 65W charging. To put that in context: you can charge this phone's battery from dead in 38 minutes at a mains plug socket (well, the one included in the box, inferior ones won't do). That's absurdly fast. Thing is, we've got the European plug version, which we can't plug into a UK wall socket, so we've been unable to test this feature for review.
Given the considerable sum of specs, however, the battery is really geared up to be a solid one-dayer. We've been using the phone fairly heavily per day - gaming and emails in the morning, messaging throughout the day, watching some content in the evening - and after around 16 hours it's down to the 30 per cent mark. So there's no chance of fear-of-topping-up anxiety, but it's not quite the extended two-day battery you might think.
That said, we've ensured all the settings are switched on and maxxed out for this review to see how the phone coped. It's possible to adapt the resolution and frame-rate to smart modes, or downgrade to lower resolution and 60Hz fixed to conserve battery life. Likewise there are battery modes designed to hold more juice for longer innings, so the choice is yours. But if you decide to open up and let 'er rip, you'll still get good longevity.
Note: we've not been able to test 5G connectivity on this device, which may further impact battery life.
- Triple rear camera system:
- Main: 48-megapixels, f/1.7 aperture, optical image stabilisation (OIS)
- Sony IMX689, 1/1.4in = 1.12µm pixel
- Four-in-one processing, 12MP default
- All Pixel Omni Directional PDAF
- 12-bit raw shooting
- Periscope zoom: 13MP, f/3.0, 5x zoom (10x hybrid), OIS
- Ultra-wide: 48MP, f/2.2
- Main: 48-megapixels, f/1.7 aperture, optical image stabilisation (OIS)
- Video: Ultra Steady Video Pro digital stabilisation, 4K max
- Punch-hole front-facing camera: 32-megapixel
That rear camera bump protrudes so considerably because of all the tech crammed inside. Much like the Oppo Reno 10X, the Find X2 Pro squeezes in a triple camera system to its rear, complete with periscope zoom.
That's a 5x optical zoom, for a real step-up in making subjects far away appear closer in the frame, although Oppo would have you believe its a 10x zoom - which isn't strictly true, as it uses a hybrid optical and digital method there to achieve that. Besides, within the camera app the default is 0.5x, 1x, 2x, 5x, with 10x possible by tap, with only very slow pinch-to-zoom going beyond that. Check out our gallery of zoom stages to see what sort of results you can get.
Indeed, 60x is possible if you keep on going - but the quality will decrease to absurd levels and we don't think this should be a feature (much like the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra's unnecessary 100x option).
The real power in this zoom is at its 2x and 5x setting, where there's still plenty of detail resolved. Just keep in mind that the zoom shots won't be as impressive as the main camera - in particular when the light dips. But this zoom setup can hold its own against the best of them out there.
While that zoom is all well and good, even though we've basically seen it before, it's the Find X2 Pro's main camera unit that's of the greatest interest in this phone. That's because it's a 48-megapixel Sony IMX689 sensor - the first time we had seen one in any phone. This is a big deal for three main reasons.
One, it's larger scale than typical, so the on-sensor 'pixels' are larger, therefore more capable of adsorbing light for better quality. That 1.2µm pixel size is a clear positive, you only need to look at our shots of hot cross buns to see just how much detail this camera can produce in daylight.
Two, it can capture 12-bit raw, which is something typically reserved for prosumer DSLR cameras and great for post-production edits. This does seem somewhat at odds with a camera phone, though, as there's no on-board editing software, Oppo tells us, so you'll need to import to an editing suite on your PC.
Three, every 'pixel' on the sensor's surface can be used for omni directional phase-detection autofocus, meaning the full sensor plays its part in getting focus achieved, even in low light. It's pretty good at that too, although we've not seen the more detailed focusing you'll find in Huawei's flagship phones come into play here - it's very much a tap-the-screen experience to dictate what you want.
The typical four-in-one processing method is at play here, meaning 12MP output is typical from that 48MP sensor, but that's still more than resolute enough for what you'll need.
While other makers have been going all-out in the battle that is night mode, Oppo's methodology seems altogether simpler: if it's not too dark the camera won't do much more than take a normal photo; if it's darker you can see it capturing multiple frames to condense into the one image.
The results, however, aren't as advanced as some others we've seen. There's often ghosting present, which is to be expected of moving aspects within a frame. But it's the difficulty to hand-hold and retain absolute sharpness that puts it behind the likes of Huawei and Google in the low-light stakes.
Nice to have the mode present, and for it not to be too complex, but it's not quite top spot in this department as yet.
Although zoom is useful for framing sometimes, it's actually the Find X2 Pro's wide-angle camera that we've most enjoyed using. It's just not too distorting like many others we've seen, yet squeezes loads into the frame, which can make for really dramatic effect.
Whether we've been shooting side-on street shots, or colourful market scenes, this wide-angle lens works a treat and delivers punchy shots. Again, a lot of that is likely down to the hugh-resolution sensor being used here, with the four-in-one processing taking the 64MP available and outputting quality 16MP shots.
Do we lament the front-facing pop-up camera's absence? Well, no, not really. As much as we loved watching the original Find X's camera moving into place, that impressive example of engineering has been solved in the Find X2 Pro with a simple punch-hole camera.
That design decision leaves the Find X2 Pro's screen to be the star of the show. And it really is a shining star. Large, bright, resolute, super smooth, and colourful. Plus it doesn't drain the battery too quickly, as we found with Samsung's Galaxy flagship phones.
The Find X2 Pro feels altogether more straight-laced and serious. But serious can be very good indeed. With this kind of top-drawer screen, oodles of power, very versatile cameras, and a considerable battery with fast-charging, the Oppo Find X2 Pro knows how to command attention (if you pick the orange vegan leather one anyway - the black/grey is a little dull).
Initially we thought we'd be put off by the ColorOS software, but that's not been of bother. With Huawei's presence looking more questionable in Europe, it looks as though Oppo has come out fighting to take that spot in the flagship phone space. The X2 Pro's problem? That the OnePlus 8 Pro exists for less money.
This article was first published on 6 March 2020 and has been updated to reflect its full review status and additional use
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra
If you're lured in by the specs then Samsung has it all in the Ultra. It's got a higher resolution camera (108MP) and a bigger display (6.9-inch) than the Oppo. But it also has that larger price tag. And we're not blown-away by the battery either.
OnePlus 8 Pro
An obvious contender because, well, it's basically the same phone as the X2 Pro but for less money. There are some differences, but arguably not enough given the hundreds in price difference.