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OPPO F3 Plus Review - The New Selfie King?

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OPPO isn't the one who first came with the "selfie-centric" smartphone idea, but the company is the one who popularized it. It started when the the brand started using the #SelfieExpert battle cry which was first seen last early 2016 with the OPPO F1Since then, more and more devices like the F1 Plus and F1s was successfully launched by the emerging Chinese electronics giant.
OPPO F3 Plus Review
The new selfie king?

However, Vivo, the company's main competition in the selfie game is catching up. As a matter of fact, Vivo one-upped them few months back (at least on paper) with the release of the Vivo V5 Plus, handset packed with dual front facing cameras that can create beautiful background blurs or bokeh. What will be the company's answer to this HUGE threat?

Fast forward March of 2016, OPPO has finally revealed the OPPO F3 Plus, a modern 6 inch phablet paired with great specs, big fast charging battery, bright main camera, and dual front cameras w/ an interesting approach.

Will this be the next #SelfieKing? Let's find out!

OPPO F3 Plus Specs

Display: 6 Inch FHD IPS 1920 x 1080 resolution w/ 2.5D curved glass and Gorilla Glass 5 protection at 367 ppi
CPU: 1.95 GHz 64 Bit Snapdragon 653 octa core processor
GPU: Adreno 510
RAM: 4 GB
ROM: 64 GB expandable via micro SD card slot up to 256 GB
Main Camera: 16 MP f/1.7 Sony IMX398 w/ PDAF, OIS, and dual tone LED flash
Selfie Camera: 16 MP f/2.0 w/ AF + 8 MP 120 degrees wide angle lens and screen flash
Battery: 4,000 mAh w/ VOOC
OS: Android 6.0 Marshmallow w/ Color OS 3.0
Connectivity: WiFi, 3G, LTE, Bluetooth 4.1, OTG, GPS, A GPS, dual SIM (hybrid)
Sensors: Accelerometer, light, orientation, proximity, gyroscope, sound, magnetic
Others: Fingerprint sensor, Colors: gold, black
Dimensions: 163.63 x 80.8 x 7.35 mm
Weight: 185 g
Price: PHP 23,990

See also: The OPPO F3 Plus Black Edition Is GORGEOUS!


Disclaimer: This unit was only borrowed from OPPO Philippines. They're our advertiser, but expect our unbiased review and opinion.


Unboxing / Accessories

The big clean box!
The big clean box!

The OPPO F3 Plus arrived in a bigger box compared to its lower-end siblings. It has a clear view on what to expect inside and some of the key specs and features of the Android phablet.

The essentials
The essentials

Inside, you'll find a fast charging VOOC Flash Charge 4A USB power brick, VOOC ready USB to micro USB data / charging cables, cable managers, SIM ejector tool, FREE TPU silicon case, and a pre-installed glass-like screen protector.
The FREE case fits very well
The FREE case fits very well

What OPPO failed to include is even just a basic type of earbuds or in-ear monitors w/ microphone which can be used for calls, recordings, and music listening.

Build Quality / Design

Full metal unibody design!
Full metal unibody design!

Checking the quality of the materials used in its construction, the F3 Plus is premium all the way. It's made out of a tough type of metal slab to came up with this well engineered unibody design.

High quality materials, check!

In front, the big 6 inch FHD 2.5D display has Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection in addition to the layer of tempered glass like material on top. In case you missed it, Gorilla Glass 5 is arguably the toughest glass protection against drops and scratches.

Note: For added protection and to ensure that your phone will be protected further, use the FREE TPU silicon case in the package.
Microphone on top
Microphone on top
Speaker, VOOC ready USB slot, and 3.5 mm headphone port below
Speaker, VOOC ready USB slot, and 3.5 mm headphone port below
Volume rocker at left
Volume rocker at left
Power button and ejectable hybrid SIM tray at right
Power button and ejectable hybrid SIM tray at right

Looking at the design, the F3 Plus 
didn't shy away from their usual clean iPhone x Samsung style. But, this time it has a refined type of aesthetics that most will like. It has a slim 7.35 mm frame w/ high-quality paint finish, sleek chamfered edges, and better curves coming from the F1 line.

This device is BIG and beautiful!

The 2.5D curved glass is sleek, much slimmer black border bezels which gave a  near edge to edge screen look, camera protrusion is minimal, and now has a six-string antenna band design for better signal reception.

Ergonomically, the phone can sit well comfortably in our hands. All the buttons and ports including the fingerprint scanner in front are easy to reach. However, due to its bigger than our Huawei Mate 9 screen, one-handed operation is close to impossible.

Display Quality

BIG 6 inch screen for you!
BIG 6 inch screen for you!

Boasting a HUGE 6 inch screen, the F3 Plus has the sharp to sharp-enough full HD (1920 x 1080 resolution) panel w/ 367 pixels per inch. Output is bright, vivid, and sharp w/ close to AMOLED-like deep blacks. There's even an occasion where we can't really see its difference with a full HD AMOLED panel.


It's dynamic range can also rival the likes of Huawei displays we saw in the past. Viewing angles are great and brightness level is strong which is good enough to compete even against direct sunlight hit.
10 points of touch!
10 points of touch!

Lastly, there's the flagship-standard 10 points of multitouch for your better typing and swiping accuracy experience.

Audio Quality

Speaker holes below!
Speaker holes below!

The F3 Plus has a single six-hole speaker located on the rear portion of the phone. Quality of output is fine considering that this is not marketed as an audio centric phone. It has flat audio reproduction w/ clean details and audible enough layering. Bass is present, but sub-bass is non-existent (like almost every smartphone) due to its diminutive size. It isn't just as full sounding compared with the likes of P9 Plus, but quality and loudness is definitely good enough.

Audio-output for headphones is a different and more positive story. It has a balanced signature w/ good energetic approach. On a good pair of low-powered headphone or earphones, bass reproduction is just enough. It isn't too heavy to be fatiguing and not too light to the point that it is lacking. Speed and punch production is okay and sub-bass is there. The rest of the frequency is very clean and entry-level HiFi grade.

Checking the mic, voice is excellent for calls and great enough for your casual voice recordings. We tried it in our outdoor video recording and we were surprised that it still has acceptable clarity w/ less noise.

Battery Life

Over 11 hours of score!
Over 11 hours of score!

Considering that the F3 Plus has large 4,000 mAh of battery capacity, this handset is expected to last even if it has a large and power hungry 6 inch screen. In our test, it clocked a score of 11 hours and 14 mins. That's the usual score we get from other 4,000 mAh powered phones, but with smaller screen.

Long battery life, quick charging time!

As a matter of fact, it can last the whole work day on a single charge even on Hotspot mode. For straight gaming, we were able to record 6 and 25 min before needing to charge again.

What does that suggest? The battery optimizations of OPPO were on point. You can even select if you want to optimize the battery usage of a certain app or not. To make the battery life last even longer, you can switch to low power mode.

It isn't using the USB Type C standard, but charging time is insanely quick too! Using the proprietary VOOC Flash Charge power brick and cables, you can fill 50% of the battery in just 30 mins. To full charge, total time needed is roughly around 1 hour and 15 mins to 20 mins.

Camera

f/1.7 aperture lens anyone?
f/1.7 aperture lens anyone?

It has a 16 MP Sony IMX398 sensor w/ Samsung Galaxy S7 bright like f/1.7 aperture, dual PDAF focus, and optical image stabilization (OIS). It even has flash for taking photos in the dark.

On paper, the OPPO F3 Plus is carrying one of the meatiest single camera setup on a smartphone today!

The camera modes
The camera modes

The software interface and feature are still like the ones found with the F1 series. There's the simple and easy to use UI, HDR, beauty, panorama, ultra HD, various filters, double exposure, GIF, and expert modes.
The expert mode
The expert mode

The expert mode or the pro camera mode has adjustments for white balance, exposure, ISO (up to 1,600), shutter (up to 16 secs), and manual focus. There's also spot metering for easy exposure adjustments and levels for guides. However, OPPO failed to include other guides like grids for the rule of thirds. It isn't as robust in manual controls compared with the ZenFone 3 Zoom and the higher-end Huawei's, but those settings should be enough for casual mobile photographers.

Checking what its camera can do. We loved that its focus speed ranks among the fastest today and its shutter speed is very quick as well, yes even on HDR mode. Taking close-up shots won't also be a problem as you can focus even on subjects up to 2 seconds near.

The quality of stills are very good too! Subjects on daylight are very sharp with accurate colors and fantastic dynamic range. Grains are hardly visible and out-of-focus shots are rare. Occasionally, it can even create beautiful bokehs even without the use of software tricks.

In lowlight, this ranks among the finer phones we saw yet. It's not yet on the S7 and Mate 9 level yet, but shots in this condition are acceptable and doesn't have that much grains and loss of detail. Dynamic range is okayish too. Subjects in lowlight are just either a little yellowish or pinkish, but for a phone, it's still impressive.


Tip: You can always use HDR, flash, or manual mode on tough conditions.

Rear Camera Samples

Daylight in HDR
Daylight in HDR
Background blur
Background blur
Daylight close-up
Daylight close-up
Little struggle in dim-light
Little struggle in dim-light
Lowlight auto
Lowlight auto
Lowlight HDR
Lowlight HDR
Lowlight auto

Lowlight auto
Manual mode in a very dark place
Manual mode in a very dark place
Flash test
Flash test

The main highlight of the OPPO F3 Plus is its inclusion of a dual front camera setup. It has the LG V20 like implementation that has a regular sensor paired with a wide angle lens. In the case of this machine, it is using a higher-config that includes a 16 MP f/2.0 w/ AF + 8 MP 120 degrees wide angle lens and screen flash.
Selfie modes!
Selfie modes!

Speaking of modes, the F3 Plus has nearly all the features you want to see on a selfie-centric device. It has beautify levels and various filters. On top of that, it has a "blur" mode on beauty mode that can create bokeh-like shots. It isn't as natural looking compared with the V5 Plus, but at least it has something like that.

This phone could also be dubbed as the #GroufieExpert!

The main highlight of its camera is the secondary 8 MP 120 degree wide angle lens. What does that mean? Unlike conventional camera sensors that can only fit up to 4 people on a single frame, the F3 Plus can give an extended camera angle to let more people in the frame. There's just some "semi fish-eye" distortion in the corners, but it works when needed! 

Speaking of image quality, it reminds us of a more refined F1s / F1 Plus. Autofocus is swift, has tap to focus feature, and speedy shutter speed. Shots on daylight are highly detailed w/ ample saturation for added color pop and wow factor. The beautify works well (has that natural look) at around level 1 to 3.

In lowlight, shots are still great, but more grains will be visible. Slight loss of detail would also be present. You can use the screen-flash when needed. However, it won't be just as good and natural looking compared to the soft-light flash.

Overall, this is arguably the best selfie camera on a smartphone we ever tested yet!


Selfie Camera Samples

Daylight selfie sample
Daylight selfie sample
Daylight selfie sample
Bokeh selfie sample
Wide-angle groufie sample
Wide-angle groufie sample
Indoor daylight selfie
Indoor daylight selfie
Indoor beautify
Indoor beautify
Indoor lowlight
Indoor lowlight
Night flash and background blur mode
Night flash and background blur mode

See also: OPPO F3 Plus Vs Vivo V5 Plus - Initial Selfie Camera Comparison


For videos, the it can shoot up to 4K in 30 fps and 1080p in 30 fps w/ minimal shakes due to its optical image stabilization. Colors are also the same with taking stills, though focus is a little slower than taking photos. For selfie videos, it shoots 1080p in 30fps which is definitely great for Instagram stories, selfie videos, and etc.

Video Samples


Performance

High-benchmark scores!
High-benchmark scores!

Equipped with the turbo version of the Snapdragon 652 chip also known as the Snapdragon 653 octa core processor paired w/ Adreno 510 graphics and 4 GB of RAM, F3 Plus registered 2016-like flagship scores. In particular, results are similar to what the P9 Plus can achieve. It also has enough 64 GB of expandable internal storage for your files, apps, and games.

Performance is close to flagship grade!

As a result, we never had a problem with the performance of this handset. It's snappy, responsive, and doesn't lag at all. Multitasking is fluid where loading multiple apps and switching from an app to another is easy.


Gaming is also close to excellent with the F3 Plus. In particular, we loaded NBA 2K17 in all high settings and it was able to run it smoothly without over-heating. Frame drops are hardly felt as well.
Android 6.0 Marshmallow OS w/ Color OS 3.0 skin
Android 6.0 Marshmallow OS w/ Color OS 3.0 skin

Checking the software, this new-gen OPPO handset still loads w/ Android 6.0 Marshmallow OS. On top there's the heavily skinned Color OS 3.0.
Other features of the phone
Other features of the phone

Fortunately, the skin is clean and doesn't have annoying bloats. It is also feature rich where you'll see a lot of gestures and a security app where you can scan the phone for one-click tune-up. You'll also find a simple mode where it'll turn off all the other heavy processes and just give you the simple call and text phone interface. Fingerprint scanner is also very accurate, fast, and works even when your hands is wet.

The 6 antenna band line design works!

Overall, we never encountered problems in signal and connectivity. GSM signal is strong, LTE is stable, and Bluetooth is okay. GPS for Waze and Google Maps is also close to accurate.

Pros - Good craftsmanship, speedy and powerful performance, long battery life w/ fast charging, lowlight ready main camera w/ stabilization for videos, OTG ready, dual front cameras
Cons - Still not in Type C, not in Nougat yet, Selfie blur effect is far from perfect, no real front flash

Verdict

Among all the selfie-centric devices we tested, the OPPO F3 Plus is arguably the most impressive yet. It has the ability to do most of the selfie task on a phone from different types of beautification, blurring the background, and taking impressive wide-angle shots. Those traits are enough to crown this device as the #SelfieKing for now.

On top of being a selfie machine, the OPPO F3 Plus also impressed us with its craftsmanship, reliable speed, long battery life w/ fast charging, and low-light ready main camera.

For its price, even with few cons, this device is poised to be one of our most recommended big battery selfie-centric device!

Build / Design - 4.25
Display - 4.25
Audio - 4
Battery - 4.5
Camera - 4.5
Performance - 4.5
Average - 4.33 / 5
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