(Pocket-lint) - In a world where nearly every smartphone is a glass rectangular slab, it's increasingly difficult to stand out, so manufacturers try many different ways to get our attention. Whether that's by adding super-fast charging, mega zoom cameras, or some weird software features, there's no end to the options.
For Oppo's 2022 flagship, the Find X5 Pro, the angle is that it's all about luxury, delivering a ceramic back finish to the handset's subtle design. Not only that, there's super speedy performance and charging, plus a market-leading screen specification, which all adds together for a complete high-end experience.
In a lot of ways, the Find X5 Pro builds on the aspects that its predecessor did really well. The ceramic back design might be the main feature that attracts your attention, but it's the everyday speed and effortlessness in which this handset accomplishes tasks, plus the long battery life that'll keep you coming back.
While we found the camera app experience a little frustrating, and images a tad over-processed, the Find X5 Pro otherwise does very little wrong. Even its blend of Oppo-standard software features with Google's Android 12 additions is well considered, adding plenty to the experience, without getting too complicated or cumbersome.
In short: the Oppo Find X5 Pro is a stunning device, one you should definitely consider high up your flagship shopping list. If a handset this good had a Samsung label stamped on it, it'd sell like hotcakes.
Oppo Find X5 Pro
- Stunning and durable ceramic back
- Crisp display with lots of brightness and colour
- Fast wired and wireless charging
- Customisable software
- Great battery life
- USB Type-A to Type-C cable is a little inconvenient
- Punch-hole camera is quite prominent
- Fiddly camera software
- Dimensions: 163.7 x 73.9 x 8.5mm / Weight: 218g
- IP68 water- and dust-resistance
- Glaze Black or Ceramic White
Viewed front-on and there's a sense of familiarity about the Find X5 Pro: it has a big expansive display, skinny bezels, and glass that curves down to the metal edges on each side. It's virtually identical to the earlier Find X3 Pro or the OnePlus 9 Pro.
This design has its benefits though. Because it's curved from both the front and back, it makes what is quite a big device feel a lot more comfortable to hold than it would be if Oppo had adopted the iPhone's flat screen and straight-edge approach.
With some phones the addition of curves on the screen can lead to accidental touches, but with the Oppo that's an infrequent bother. The only time it tended to happen during our testing was on the lock screen, should our palm touch the bottom right corner.
While the Find X5 Pro's front design is pretty standard, the rear design is anything but. It's here where Oppo is flexing its design muscles and showing what's possible, delivering something unique - which isn't something you can often say. It's all one piece of ceramic that ramps up to the camera protrusion with these sumptuous curves, leading to a completely flat surface that the camera lenses are slightly recessed into.
Getting this finish all in one piece, with no gaps or seams, takes a lot of time and effort. Near enough 170 hours, according to Oppo, as the ceramic particles are subjected to intense pressure and heat. That's near enough a week of finishing time just to make something look this pretty.
It's not often we find ourselves placing our phone screen down just so we can keep glancing at it. But, phwoar! Cue some Barry White music.
Attractive as it is, there are some negatives. It's a very shiny, glossy finish, which means two things: one, it collects fingerprints almost for fun; two, it slips off things very easily. So every time you touch the X5 Pro there's a new oily smear on its surface. Then place it down on anything fabric and it'll work with gravity to make its way to the floor.
There are positives too, though. As the entire rear of the phone is moulded with ceramic rather than glass it's very hard and scratch resistant. So when the Find X5 Pro does eventually drop to the floor - which our unit did multiple times, given that slippery finish - it's less likely to leave a scratch or crack. Ours hasn't so far anyway, but never say never.
Add to that durability with IP68 water- and dust-resistance, and you have a phone that's not just beautiful, but can take a beating too. It's a winning combination.
Display and software
- 6.7-inch AMOLED panel, Gorilla Glass Victus protection
- 120Hz adaptive refresh, 1300 nits peak brightness
- Quad HD+ resolution (1440 x 3216)
- ColorOS 12 (built on Android 12)
Like its predecessor, the X5 Pro's display spec sheet sings all the right notes. It's an almost perfect check-list of features, a large 6.7-inch display with a peak 120Hz refresh rate and 1300 nits maximum brightness.
It's LTPO technology too, meaning the display can adapt its refresh rate to suit the content you're viewing on it, from as low as 1Hz, right up to the 120Hz maximum. That means it's conserving energy when you're doing things with minimum refresh, such as a static browser page. As soon as it detects you need more frames per second - say when watching a video or scrolling through Twitter - it ramps things up, but you won't notice any discernible shift or lag.
While it has QuadHD+ resolution, this isn't enabled by default. Oppo sets the resolution to Full HD/1080p, so if you want to make the most of the screen's crispness, you have to enable that within the settings. You won't regret it if you do though, as it doesn't seem to harm the handset's battery life all that much, thanks to the above smart refresh technology.
It almost goes without saying that the display is really crisp and detailed, presenting fine lines with ease, while curves avoid jagged edges. That means it's a great panel for watching videos on, plus there's tonnes of vibrant colour and dynamic range.
Indeed, in the default Vivid mode, it's almost too much - blues, in particular, appear a little unnatural. For those who want a more subtle approach, there's Natural mode, which tones down the saturation quite a lot. There are also pro modes: Cinematic is somewhere between vivid and natural, delivering clean and vibrant colours, without going over the top; and Brilliant which expands the colour gamut further, making the most of the 10-bit colour panel.
Its peak brightness of 1300 nits ensures those little spots of extra brightness - like flames/candles dotted around the scene - shine bright, without extreme over exposure, while keeping the rest of the scene balanced and visible. There are some high dynamic range (HDR) shows where scenes can appear a little too dark - particularly The Witcher on Netflix - unless you're watching in a darkened room. There is an HDR boost toggle to try and counter this, but we didn't find it to do all that much in Netflix.
From a software perspective, Oppo has adapted its ColorOS system and added new features, most of which are now standard features of Google's Android 12. Those include the ability to change your phone's accent colours based on the colours of the wallpaper you've chosen, and the useful drop-down one-handed mode that mimics Apple's Reachability feature.
Those not so keen on Google's big and bold Pixel Android 12 look will be happy to know that ColorOS 12 looks like a more traditional take on Android. The drop down settings shade has small, round settings toggles, rather than big and square ones.
However, ColorOS' personalisation screen lets you tweak pretty much everything. You can adjust app icon size and shape, font size, scaling, and even create your own always-on display that shows up when your screen is locked and in standby.
It's not something mentioned much in reviews, but even the notification sounds are refreshing. In the alert sound settings you can choose from four different instruments, but instead of always playing the same note, it'll adjust the pitch and play higher or lower notes if you have a period where notifications are coming thick and fast. A nice touch to avoid excess repetition.
The settings menu is easy to navigate too. Oppo has done a lot of work over the past two or three years to make it this way. As a side note, ColorOS also has - and we say this completely subjectively - the best collection of pre-installed wallpapers of any Android phone maker.
Performance and hardware
- Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor, 12GB RAM
- 256GB storage (no microSD)
- 5000mAh battery capacity
- 80W SuperVOOC charging
- 50W wireless AirVOOC charging
Internally, Oppo's flagship has the right components to keep it feeling quick and responsive. Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 runs the show, alongside 12GB RAM and 256GB storage. It also has the feature that allows you to borrow some of the storage to use as RAM. We're not sure exactly when that will be necessary, but it's an option.
It's no real surprise, then, that when it comes to everyday performance, the Find X5 Pro has absolutely no trouble in coping with the most intense apps. It doesn't huff or puff when you ask it to tackle the most demanding games, or when you're shooting photos and videos. It just gets on with it. Not even a bead of sweat.
As for battery life, the 5000mAh cell here goes a lot further than you might assume. With our own usage, which we'd class as moderate (somewhere around three hours of screen time a day - mostly social media, messaging and web browsing), we'd struggle to drain more than half of the battery. It's no exaggeration to say that the Find X5 Pro has two-day battery potential.
Even if you're a more hardcore power user then battery anxiety should never be a concern, thanks to the availability of SuperVOOC flash charging. With a 12 minute charge, it'll get your phone battery half full. It can charge wirelessly too, at up to 50W speeds, when you use it with the Oppo AirVOOC charger.
- Triple rear camera system:
- Main: 50-megapixel, f/1.7 aperture, 5-axis stabilisation (OIS)
- Tele (2x): 13MP, f/2.4
- Wide: 50MP, f/2.2
- MariSilicon X NPU/ISP
- Selfie camera: 32MP, f/2.4, RGBW
From a sensor perspective, not much has changed in the Find X5 Pro's cameras compared to the X3 Pro. The main and ultra-wide cameras both use 50-megapixel sensors, while the telephoto optical zoom (a 2x) uses a 13-megapixel one.
That doesn't tell the whole story though. For instance, the main camera now features five-axis stabilisation. That's made up of both sensor shift across three axis, plus two axis optical stabilisation in the lens. That means there's very little in the way of blur in most photographs, plus videos are really smooth and stable when moving and shooting handheld.
Shooting while walking will result in a little up and down movement, but it's not shaky. And when you're panning, it doesn't take much effort at all to keep it smooth. It's about as near as you can get to completely smooth without going down the route of using a gimbal (like the Vivo X70 Pro). It's pretty effective.
Photography performance is strong in most conditions too, regardless of whether the light levels are bright or dim. We took the X5 Pro out in a variety of conditions - some bright days when even cloud coverage acted as a natural diffuser; other days with harsh bright sunlight - and the camera's algorithms and processing (powered by Oppo's own MariSilicon NPU) do a really great job processing those images and dealing with the contrasting light. Even with heavy backlighting the Oppo camera system does a good job of evening out shadows, and not letting subjects become too dark.
And then there's night mode, which enables you to shoot in very low-light situations by capturing a few seconds of exposure, then using algorithms to counteract any hand-shakiness. This even works with the camera's built-in light-trails or long exposure modes. So if you want you can create those cool traffic shots with streaks of car lights, without the need for a tripod.
A lot of the time, being critical, there's a sense that the HDR (high dynamic range) kicking in during a lot of these scenes can lead to shots being a little too contrast heavy and artificially sharp. Similarly, despite Hasselblad's supposedly expert colour processing, some colours were still a little oversaturated, particularly blue skies.
There are a couple of other downsides. The zoom camera only offers 2x optical, whereas competitors are generally higher, so it feels like Oppo missed a trick here. Even comparing it to the iPhone 13 Pro Max's 3x optical zoom camera left us feeling we'd have loved to get even closer to far away objects. That said, Oppo does have 5x hybrid zoom, and can digitally zoom up to 20x, but results get very ropey rather quickly when pushing it.
The ultra-wide camera is also inconsistent in context to the other sensors. Despite having the same sensor as the main lens we found the results - particularly regarding exposure and colour - didn't match up. Sometimes the wide-angle delivered a more washed-out/faded image.
The interface in the app is simple enough to use, but we did have issues tapping to zoom in and out between the three main focal lengths. Tapping on the small icon on screen often required multiple taps to register, while other times it thought we were trying to access the manual zoom dial, which you drag up and down to zoom smoothly. This led to far too many instances of repeatedly tapping the screen (and swearing).
This flagship builds on the aspects that its predecessor did so well, delivering a gorgeous ceramic back design, along with great software, top-tier speed, and super battery life. The cameras could be improved yet more, but otherwise this is the ultimate underdog - and an obvious handset to consider alongside the likes of Samsung's Galaxy flagships.