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OPPO F3 Plus Review

The groufie expert

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OPPO has been hyping it for quite a while, and it has now finally arrived. We have here the successor to the F1 Plus, the OPPO F3 Plus.

Last 2016, we saw the emergence of smartphones that promised to offer high-quality selfie cameras. And this year, it seems like the title “main camera” now belongs to the shooter at the front.

We continue to see new devices from different companies that have front-facing cameras with the same, or even better, camera specs on paper than the ones at the rear.

And this change in trend actually makes sense, since most of the consumers today are taking more selfies than taking photos with the main camera. The mobile camera technology really has come a long way.

OPPO F3 Plus Review Philippines

If it isn’t still obvious, the OPPO F3 Plus is one of these new breeds of this kind of handsets. Heck, what were you expecting? It’s from OPPO. But the thing is, despite having all of the best-in-class selfie-taking capabilities, is it a good all around package? Is the steep Php23,990 price tag justifiable? Let’s figure that out in our full review of the OPPO F3 Plus.

OPPO F3 Plus Specs

  • Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, ColorOS 3.0
  • Dual-SIM (Nano, Hybrid)
  • 6.0-inch FHD Display, 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 5
  • 1.95GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 octa-core processor
  • Adreno 510 GPU
  • 4GB RAM + 64GB storage
  • microSD up to 256GB (via SIM 2)
  • 16-megapixel and 8-megapixel 120° wide-angle front-facing cameras
  • 16-megapixel Dual PDAF SONY IMX 398 primary camera
  • 4G LTE
  • WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, 2.4GHz, 5GHz
  • Bluetooth 4.1
  • 4,000mAh non-removable battery, VOOC Flash Charge mini
  • Dimensions: 163.63 x 80.8 x 7.35mm
  • Weight: 185g
  • Colors: Gold, Black

In a hurry? Watch our OPPO F3 Plus review video

Design and Build Quality

OPPO might have made minor tweaks with the F3 Plus’ looks, but the change is vaguely visible. This device still looks very similar to the handsets before it. This phone, together with the OPPO F1s and the OPPO A39, which I have also reviewed before – all share the same iPhone-ish look. The all-white face and the Gold back plate, plus all the other tiny accents sure make it look like an Apple smartphone.

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But what OPPO developed on this device is something that they call “Six-String antenna lines”. Instead of going to the traditional antenna lines that have a thick and obtrusive look, OPPO redesigned it. It not only made the smartphone looked better, but it also improved signal quality (more on that in the Connectivity section).

OPPO stripped the antenna bands into six super-slim lines that are divided into threes and positioned at the top and bottom of the back panel. The OPPO F3 Plus is also wrapped with chamfered edges, which are etched at the back panel. It also blatantly shows the partition with the front glass.

The OPPO F3 Plus, just like most “Plus” smartphones that are out today, has a large and phablet-y profile. Other than its large 6-inch display, the device also has a slightly sizable chin and forehead. This is forgivable considering all the hardware packed into it. And besides, OPPO was able to make up for it by having an ultra-thin side bezel of only 1.78mm.




People with smaller hands might find it really challenging to operate this phone with one hand. The device can also take a lot of space in your purse, or leave a huge bulge in your pockets. On the other hand, the F3 Plus also has some noticeable weight to it, but still quite light for a phablet with this size.

Taking a tour, we have the said 6-inch Full HD display in front, earpiece, proximity and ambient light sensors, capacitive buttons, and the redesigned home button/fingerprint scanner. The highlight of this device is placed on top – the dual front-facing cameras. All of these are covered and protected by a Corning Gorilla Glass 5.

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At the left, we have the volume controls, while the right houses the lock/power switch and the SIM Tray. The buttons aren’t the most satisfying thing to press, but still decently tactile. They have and ultra-thin profile and are only slightly protruded.

Probably the main downside of the OPPO F3 Plus is the hybrid implementation on the SIM Tray. I have always praised OPPO by still having two SIM card slot with a separate microSD card slot. But now, OPPO now joined the hybrid route that most companies went with. Instead of having the option to still use two SIM cards despite the presence of a microSD card, you are now left to decide to either add another SIM or expand your storage (up to 256GB).

Design - OPPO F3 Plus

The top only has the noise-cancelling microphone. At the bottom, we have the loudspeaker, microUSB port, the primary built-in microphone, a 3.5mm headphone jack and a Torx screw that binds everything together.

Durability - OPPO F3 Plus

It looks like OPPO is still grounded and has no plans on flying to the future by still including a 3.5mm headphone port, but it would have been nice to see a USB Type-C implementation rather than the standard microUSB port. And besides, this may have something to do with the F3 Plus’ VOOC fast charging technology.

The loudspeaker of the OPPO F3 Plus is pretty impressive performance as well. The volume is loud and can easily fill a quiet room. The low frequencies are present, although the highs are a tiny bit distorted at high volumes. However, the placement at the bottom can have it easily muffled when using the device in landscape orientation.

At the back, we have the 16-megapixel primary camera with dual-tone flash. We also have here the said Six-String antenna lines, the OPPO branding, and the ugly regulatory compliance logos.

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Overall, the OPPO F3 Plus feels well-made and has some killer looks. Unfortunately, people with small hands might struggle using this handset with one hand.

Display

The device has a 6-inch Full HD IPS TFT display, which has a 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution and a total of 367 pixels-per-inch. The display can also register touch even if your hands are wet or under a glove, as per my testing.

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Quality wise, the display delivers good performance. The colors are punchy and not exaggerated, blacks are deep, and sharpness is unquestionable. Together with its enormous profile, this display is perfect for immersive media consumption.

The OPPO F3 Plus can also get bright. However, the outdoor visibility performance isn’t really that impressive. You can hardly see the things projected on the display during extreme daylight scenarios.

Hardware and Performance

The OPPO F3 Plus packs some serious power inside. The device sports the latest Qualcomm MSM8976 Pro Snapdragon 653, which has an octa-core processor consisting of two sets of quad-core processors: 1.95GHz and 1.44GHz. There’s also a large 4GB of RAM and an Adreno 510 GPU. This chipset is part of the new range of mobile processors from Qualcomm that are targeted for mid-range devices.




But despite the mid-range title, the chipset was still able to play nicely with the entire hardware of the phone. It also made the gameplay performance enjoyable. Titles like Real Racing 3 and UFC was playable at decent frame rates. A processor-demanding game called Sim City: Build it is also running without any noticeable hiccup. But on the downside, the device tends to heat up during extensive and long hours of gameplay.

The huge 4GB of RAM is also great. You can easily switch between different applications in a jiffy. Applications also load fast. You can watch an hours length YouTube video and scrub through the timeline without causing the video to reload.

There’s also a spacious 64GB of built-in storage inside the OPPO F3 Plus with 52.27GB usable for the user. Despite the chunky cut for system files, a 52.27GB worth of space is still large to store a lot of your applications, videos, photos, music, etc.

Fingerprint Scanner

Other than the device’s looks, OPPO might also have gotten some inspiration from Apple when they designed the new Home Button/Fingerprint scanner. The said button now works just like the one seen on the iPhone 7.

The hardware is now just the sensor itself, and it happens to direct you back to the homepage once the device is unlocked. The mechanical button is now gone – and I’m not missing it at all.

But unlike the button found on the iPhone, the one on the OPPO F3 Plus isn’t pressure sensitive. This means it can only distinguish a single and long press. It also doesn’t have that sophisticated haptic engine that replicates the feeling of hitting an actual button, so it feels weird at times.

The fingerprint scanner is one of the fastest that I have ever tested and it was able to detect my fingerprint successfully almost 95% of the time.

Software

The OPPO F3 Plus runs on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow with the company’s own ColorOS 3.0 on top. Despite being not the latest Android version, it’s still a step up from their previous devices. The OPPO F1s, for example, only has Android 5.1 Lollipop on it.

OPPO F3 Plus Specs

Probably the reason why OPPO is always behind updates is because of the optimizations they must make for the ColorOS. The company should always make sure that their own user-interface will work seamlessly. Thus, the delay in updates.

It would have been easier if they just ditched the ColorOS once and for all. But considering that it is one of the main identities that sets OPPO smartphones apart from its Android competitors, then we can’t expect to see this going anywhere anytime soon.

With that said, I’m still not impressed with the ColorOS interface (If you read my previous OPPO reviews, you’ll understand). Just like the design, the interface blatantly got a lot of inspiration from Apple’s iOS interface. The Helvetica Neue fonts, the minimalistic icons design, the native apps’ layout, and the Settings Menu.




While it actually made the interface look aesthetically pleasing, there are sacrifices to be made. A lot tiny Android features are gone and I have also noticed a lot of glitches. For one, an Instagram Like notification would show a different image and username; the screen would also change in orientation even when the Screen Rotation button is unticked. Sometimes, simple things like this add up and it can definitely piss off its user.

But other than those cons, some of Marshmallow’s features still managed to work well on this device. The Now on Tap works seamlessly with the OPPO F3 Plus and it lets you summon Google’s Voice Assistant and Google Searches from what’s on your screen. Google’s voice recognition is still one of the best in the industry today as it can accurately distinguish the words you’re saying despite the accent and ambient noise.

App permissions are also here. It lets you control what an application can have access to within your phone. While it is a nice security feature, having to constantly Allow/Deny the pop-up is a little annoying if you’re constantly trying new applications.

The OPPO F3 Plus’ interface sure looks good and works faster and steadier, but it really needs a lot of polishing.

Camera

Let’s get right into the goods. The OPPO F3 Plus has a dual front-facing camera. There’s an 8-megapixel front shooter with a 120° wide-angle lens for when you want to take group photos. But if you want to go solo and wanting to take a selfie without stretching anything, then there’s also a 16-megapixel secondary front-facing camera.

Both sensors on the front can take excellent photos. The colors are good, the contrast and exposure are also impressive for if you set it right, the dynamic range is decent, sharpness and details are also good, with the standard 16-megapixel camera being sharper, of course.

The wide-angle lens can surely fit a lot of subject in one frame. But if you didn’t frame it correctly, the subjects at the edges would look a little stretched and distorted. Also, it would have been nice of other third-party applications like Snapchat and Instagram Stories supports a secondary front-facing camera, as it currently works only with the built-in camera app.

Speaking of the camera app, the OPPO F3 Plus is also come equipped with what the company is calling the Beautify 4.0. The feature has a bunch of built-in filters that helps your skin appear smoother, there is also some on-screen watermark that shows your current location and the temperature.

The app also lets you enable the Bokeh effect, which utilizes the two cameras to isolate the subject from the background by completely blurring. The feature kind of works, but it cannot distinguish the foreground and background perfectly. Check out the photo below.

OPPO F3 Plus selfie bokeh

And before we forget, there’s a 16-megapixel shooter at the back, with a Sony IMX398 sensor that has a 1/2.8-inch sensor that OPPO says Sony exclusively developed for them. There’s also a wide-open f1.7 aperture.

The images that the OPPO F3 Plus can produce are undoubtedly beautiful. Colors are good with punchy colors but not overly saturated, contrast is also impressive, sharpness and details are also present, and zooming-in can still recover a lot of details. The camera a decent dynamic range performance, but still quite impressive.

The OPPO F3 Plus can also shoot 720p videos, 1080p at 30fps and 4K at 30fps. Video recorded at 4K resolution looks incredibly sharp. The image shown below isn’t a real still image taken, it’s a screenshot from a 4K video recorded from the phone. Colors and contrast are also impressive while the dynamic range is fairly decent. However, I have noticed some stuttering on the videos recorded on handheld. Future software updates can fix this for sure. But for now, taking non-pro videos would be the best bet.

Connectivity

The OPPO F3 Plus only comes with the essential set of radio antennas. Despite the flagship status, this thing doesn’t have NFC or any other fancy medium for wireless connectivity. The handset support GSM, WCDMA, FDD-LTE and TD-LTE for its dual nano SIM cards. There’s also a WiFi 2.4/5GHz 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth 4.1.




The six-string antenna lines also slightly improved the WiFi performance of the OPPO F3 Plus. I could still get a wireless signal on the place where connection usually cut off.

Battery

One of the benefits of having a large smartphone is that it gives the manufacturer the ability to fit in a huge capacity battery. And that is also the case with OPPO F3 Plus. There’s a whopping 4000mAh capacity battery on this bad boy. Partnered with its VOOC fast charging, this thing is all geared up in the power department.

During my tests, the OPPO F3 Plus could easily last through a whole day, with still a comfortable amount of juice left to utilize when I get home. My day usually starts at 4 am and ends at 7 pm. And by that time, I’m still left with around 15%-20% to use throughout the night. That’s a whole day of web browsing, exchanging text messages, streaming videos online and offline, and listening to music on my daily commute.

The VOOC charging also works well, although it only works with the supplied adaptor. I was able to get from 15% to 100% in around 1-hour and 30-minutes. While a quick 5-minute charge gave me an extra 9%.

Verdict

There are a lot of things to love and hate on the OPPO F3 Plus. The company’s strategy of getting “inspirations” from a renowned smartphone brand has been working its charm as the company is one of the highest-profiting smartphones in the country today.

The OPPO F3 Plus is an evidence that they’re planning on continuing this strategy. And why not? It’s been working really well for them. A lot of Android users admire the iPhones hardware and software looks and having and Android smartphone that mimics those desirable traits sure is enticing to them.

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The OPPO F3 Plus has a sturdy and stunning build, a large and sharp display, an ultra-fast fingerprint scanner, an impressive set of cameras, powerful processor, and a sizable battery capacity. All of this constitutes to an impressive all-around smartphone – a device that can almost do anything.

However, I really do think that the interface still needs a lot of polishing – a hurdle that can be easily fixed with a software update.

Price and availability of OPPO F3 Plus

The OPPO F3 Plus is definitely the best smartphone that the company has ever released in the Philippines, but it is definitely not the best one in the market today. At a steep asking price of Php23,990, there are already a lot of other devices who offer more for less.

One good example of a competing device is the OnePlus 3T. It has been officially launched in the country by Digital Walker with a starting price of Php24,990. With that, it offers a better processor, USB Type-C, user interface, and more.

But the thing is, only a few of these competing smartphones offers a dual and ultra wide front-facing camera, a feature with a niche market. If you’re really all about that selfie and groufie game, then the OPPO F3 Plus is really the phone to get.

You can buy the OPPO F3 Plus on all OPPO stores, kiosks, and dealers nationwide for a price of Php23,990. It’s also available at Home Credit in flexible installment plans.

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