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Oppo N3 review with Camera, Gaming, Software, Battery and Performance Review


Oppo N3 review
TOP FEATURES

- 206-degree rotating camera
- Responsive fingerprint sensor
- Fast charging

Oppo has been striving to capture marketshare (and mind-share) in the Indian market. In the recent past, it has launched budget devices and initiated big ad campaigns to consolidate its presence. 

While the company's last flagship device managed to impress us with its unique features, Oppo has not been able to get its pricing right to appeal to India's price sensitive consumers. 

The N3 is the Chinese hardware maker's latest flagship smartphone that boasts of features such as a motorized camera swivel. This means the advanced rear camera also becomes the front shooter and you don't need to manually rotate the camera mount when you wish to take a selfie. The smartphone also features high-end hardware specifications and a premium design. We got a chance to spend a few days with it to find out if it's worth a buy... 

Build and design
Oppo N3 looks like a refined version of the Oppo N1 with a relatively compact form factor and a more curved jawline that we've seen on the Oppo Find 7. It even shares the Find 7's Skyline notification light. 

The N3 sports a premium aluminium alloy 7075 micro-arc frame that has a white matte finish and chamfered edges. The frame doesn't just add to the aesthetics but is also responsible for giving the phone a sturdy build. 

The phone fits well in the hand and one of the reasons for that is the 5.5-inch display (the Oppo N1 sported a 5.9-inch display). 

Just above the display, you'll be able to spot the camera swivel with the front portion featuring the earpiece and sensor array and the back sporting a 16MP camera lens and a dual-mode LED flash. For some reason the camera swivel sports a faux-leather finish complete with faux stitching similar to the one found on Samsung Galaxy Note 3. 

The rest of the phone's body sports a smooth matte finish. 

The left edge of the phone sports the power button and the sim card plus microSD card tray. Interestingly it can accommodate both nano and micro sim cards. You can also see the micro-USB port on the same side down below. The volume rocker and 3.5mm headset jack are placed at the right edge. The keys offer good tactile feedback and are pretty responsive. 

At the back, you'll see a metal ring that surrounds a squarish button. Oppo calls this Touch access. It's not just a fingerprint scanner used for unlocking the phone and app authentication but also has convenience features related to the camera. 

The chin of the phone features a transparent, double sided notification light and the speaker grill. There's some gap between the chin and the curved frame at the bottom enhancing the effect of the notification light. Oppo calls this 'hollow out' design. 

Overall, the Oppo N3 features some unique design elements that make it stand out from the rest of the crowd. 

Display
The Oppo N3 features a 5.5-inch full-HD (1920x1080p) display and three capacitive touch buttons. Unlike the Find 7, N3's display is not a 2K (2560x1440p) one but we found it to be bright and vivid. The display also boasts of wide viewing angles and pictures and text looked crisp and sharp. 

Oppo N3's display offers sharp and crisp text and graphics, along with excellent viewing angles. We found the screen to be slightly reflective and affected the outdoor legibility to a small extent.

 

Software 

Oppo N3 runs Color OS 2.0.1i which is based on Android 4.4 (KitKat). The OS is essentially a heavily customized version of Android that offers support for themes and lock screen widgets. 

Just like UI skins from Gionee and Lenovo, Oppo's Color OS doesn't feature a separate app launcher and is now closer to the likes of MIUI and Vibe OS in terms of navigation, home screens and lock screen widgets.The company has replaced the stock apps with its own and has skinned menus and notifications panel. Some apps, such as Music, look really good due to Oppo's nice little touches. While the UI is subtle (with the default theme) compared to other phone maker's custom UI skins, you can select different themes and customize them further as per your liking. 

Oppo has also incorporated support for gestures, including 'double tap to unlock,' three finger swipe for screenshots, and pinch-to-launch camera app. However, with the new version of Color OS Oppo has got rid of the gestures panel. Instead there are Screen-off and Screen-on gestures for performing different tasks. These gestures worked as promised. The Screen-on gestures are now limited to camera activation with multi-finger pinch, gesture screenshots, volume control and single-handed operation mode. 

The single-handed mode is Oppo's way of making its large screen phone fit for single handed use and you get the choice of left or right handed use. 

The Color OS is good to look at and functional at the same time. 

Camera 

One of the major highlights of the Oppo N3 is its 16MP swivel camera. The camera swivel's stepper motor has been designed by Schneider Electric and can rotate 206 degrees with a tap of a button or swiping the Touch access at the back. This means your selfies would be as good as other pictures taken with the phone camera. We have to say that Oppo has implemented the solution really well and in our use the swivel rotated flawlessly. Oppo has also leveraged the motor driven swivel to offer an auto-panorama mode. 

The camera lens has 1/2.3" sensor, f2/2 aperture and pixel size of 1.34 microns. The phone incorporates Oppo's Pure Image 2.0 software technology for enhanced pictures and offers a variety of shooting modes. 

 

The Super Zoom mode, known as Ultra-HD, offers better detail albeit with minor noise. It's useful for large prints. Super Zoom mode merges a number of photos to create a single 64MP image. It can also capture slow-motion (720p at 120fps) videos. 

The Auto-Panorama mode is something really unique as it utilizes the moving camera swivel to capture and stitch snapshots without the need for users to move their hands. 

The camera app offers simple and expert modes with the former not offering a large number of toggles for granular settings. It's easy to switch between shooting modes and change major settings. The Expert mode offers settings for white balance, ISO, Exposure compensation and manual focus.

 

The quality of images captured outdoors, in daylight was excellent with good level of detail, accurate colour reproduction, little noise and good contrast. 

Low-light shots also came out well, though these had much more noise, especially under 100% zoom. 

Oppo N3 features a dual-LED flash which does a good job of filling up light. The selfie mode offers additional functions including controls to soften facial features and a Beauty mode. Selfies shot with the camera look really good. 



The N3 hardware is also capable of recording 4K video but the current software doesn't support the option. It shoots 1080p video at 60 fps, and 720p slow motion video at 120fps. Quality of video recording was good but at times missed out on detail. 

The camera is certainly a major strength of the Oppo N3. 

Performance
Oppo N3 is powered by a 2.3GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, 2GB RAM and Adreno 330 GPU. The phone has a 3000mAh battery and comes with 32GB storage (25.15GB is available to users) along with a microSD card slot. 

Thanks to all the power under the hood, we did not notice any stutter or lag while launching and switching between apps, editing photos, browsing the web, clicking pictures, watching high definition videos or playing graphics-heavy games. 

We played games like Riptide GP2 and Asphalt 8 (with Visual Quality set to High and Engine at 100%) without encountering any frame drops or freezes. 

In terms of synthetic benchmarks, it scored 18001 in Quadrant Standard, 42,062 in AnTuTu, 2523 in Geekbench 3(Multi-core) and in 61.3 NenaMark 2. The benchmark scores are comparable to that of the HTC One M9+ but we'd not recommend a phone based solely on benchmarks as real world performance can be different at times. 

It is safe to say that Oppo N3 offers one of the best smartphone experiences. 

We were able to play videos of popular file formats without any hiccups. Additional file formats can be played through third party video player apps.

 

The sound delivered by the in-ear headset supplied with the phone was good in terms of quality, bass and loudness thanks to the interrogation of MaxxAudio technology from Waves. The sound output through the phone's speaker grill was also pretty decent. 

Call quality was very good and the phone works well even in weak signal areas. We also observed that the phone catches even weak Wi-Fi signals. 

The N3 comes with GPS and A-GPS for navigation and maps and was easily able to lock a signal. It has NFC connectivity as well. The N3 also offers LTE 4G connectivity with support for Indian 4G networks. We tested it with Airtel's 4G network in Delhi and found the experience to be satisfactory. 

It has a 3,000mAh battery. Oppo N3 comes with the VOOC fast-charging technology, offering four times faster charging than conventional chargers. A 30 minute charge gets N3 to 75% of full battery. We were able to get a full charge in about 45 minutes. At a time when phones struggle to offer a good battery backup due to resource-hungry hardware, this feature definitely makes life easy for heavy users. You don't even need to lug a bulky charger (unlike the Find 7) as Oppo has bundled a mini version of the charger with the phone. 

We were satisfied with the battery backup delivered by the N3. With moderate to high usage, including about one to two hours of making calls, playing games, clicking some pictures, listening to music and browsing the web, the phone will last you a full working day (12-14 hours) even if you put the screen brightness at the maximum level and keep 4G turned on. 

Other features
The phone also comes with the O-Click 2.0 Bluetooth based remote that can control the rotation of the camera, take photos, play music and receive calls even when you're away from the phone. It works as promised and is a great accessory. 

The N3's Touch Access fingerprint sensor is not just a fingerprint scanner used for unlocking the phone and app authentication but also has some camera convenience features. It allows users to activate the rotating camera lens and initiate the shutter. You can use up to five different fingerprints or set up personalised guest modes for others for the Touch Access. In our use we found that the Touch Access to be extremely responsive. It's almost as responsive as Apple iPhone's Touch ID sensor. We also like the placement of the sensor. 

Verdict 

The Oppo N3 is without doubt a great flagship smartphone that offers unique features such as the motorized camera swivel, VOOC charging, O-Click and touch access panel. The overall build quality and finish of the phone also left us impressed. 

However, at Rs 42,990, the Oppo N3 is an expensive proposition given that the phone sports relatively older hardware(doesn't come with the latest processor, 2GB RAM, only a full-HD display). You can get the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy S6, and Sony Xperia Z3, at around Rs 40,000, online. This makes it hard to recommend the Oppo N3 even though it offers a great user experience. 

Oppo still has to do a lot of work when it comes to establishing its brand and commanding consumer mind-share. We're also concerned about the limited availability of Oppo phones and the lack of a wide service network.
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