Oppo's Find X3 Pro has a 30x 'microscope' camera

And both its wide and ultra-wide cameras have the same flagship sensor.

Following the teaser way back in November, Oppo is finally launching the Find X3 series today, starting with the flagship Find X3 Pro. The main focus of this Snapdragon 888-powered device is photography. It packs the same flagship sensor in both the main camera and the ultra-wide camera, as well as the addition of a rare 30x "microscopic" camera.

Oppo calls this the "Billion Color Phone," as it supports 10-bit color across the primary cameras and display for more faithful color reproduction. While we've seen this combo on some high-end phones like the iPhone 12 Pro, it goes without saying that this is an upgrade from the 16.7 million colors of most smartphones.

The front side of the Find X3 Pro is very much a carbon copy of its predecessors', featuring a 6.7-inch curved LTPO AMOLED panel with a sharp QHD+ resolution (3,216 x 1,440), a 120Hz variable refresh rate, 1,300-nit peak brightness and 100-percent coverage of the DCI-P3 gamut. You'll also find a 32-megapixel f/2.4 selfie camera in the top-left punch hole here, as well as an in-display fingerprint reader in the usual spot. Everything here is, as you'd expect nowadays, IP68 rated for water and dust resistance.

Things get a lot more interesting on the back. Rather than cutting out a corner to form a "camera island" like most phone makers do these days, Oppo crafted a single piece of glass — a 40-hour process per piece, apparently — that flows naturally over the camera bump and tapers into the metallic frame. The "Gloss Black" unit I got does look elegant, and the curvature of this 8.26mm-thick body feels good in hand, though the glass is also a huge fingerprint magnet. Good thing the phone comes with a soft case.

The camera bump contains four cameras, three of which are laid out in a similar manner as the recent flagship iPhones, but mirrored. When I pointed out this awkward similarity, Oppo explained that a triangular arrangement is the most efficient way to place the cameras as close together as possible, which is key to seamless zooming and accurate portrait mode. The spokesperson added that he believes more manufacturers will eventually follow this practice.

Building on top of the impressive cameras on the Find X2 Pro, Oppo stuffed a new flagship sensor — the 50-megapixel Sony IMX766 — into both the main camera (f/1.8, with optical stabilization) and the ultra-wide camera (f/2.2, 110 degrees) on the Find X3 Pro, so that they would perform similarly and support 10-bit color capture (HEIF format only).

Many of my 10-bit sample shots from both cameras look very realistic on the phone's screen, to the point where close objects such as food and ornaments almost pop out. But even when viewed on other devices, photos still benefit from Oppo's natural color reproduction. Low-light performance is also pretty good, though I wish the phone went a little easier on the noise reduction to better preserve fine details.

The beefed up ultra-wide camera also came in handy when I wanted to record my friend's singing recital in a small hall. To my surprise, the 4K video came out nicely with accurate colors and little distortion, as if it was taken with the main camera. This is also thanks to the freeform surface lens and anti-reflective coating, both of which reduce distortion and color fringing.

The third big camera on the hump is a rare 3-megapixel f/3.0 microscopic camera, which does 30x magnification natively (Oppo's "60x" claim here applies to the 2x zoom) and supports FHD video recording. Since the focal distance is between 1mm and 3mm only, this camera is equipped with a small ring light to illuminate your subject.

I was surprised by how much fun I had with this pocket microscope. Despite the relatively low resolution, the photos turned out sharp, so long as I kept my hands steady. I was able to capture impressive shots of the sub-pixels on my laptop's LCD, my phone's OLED screen, flowers, wooden blocks, sponges and more. I'm not sure how useful this microlens comes into our daily lives, but if you have children, this feature may keep them entertained for a while.

Oppo Find X3 Pro hands-on
Richard Lai/Engadget

For reasons unknown, Oppo ditched its 5x periscopic telephoto camera in favor of a 5x hybrid zoom shooter, and the results were disappointing. Like before, hybrid zoom often washes out fine details, namely text on one's badge, lines on hair and patterns on clothes. In those cases, I'd rather use the main camera's 2x digital zoom to shoot, and then use my fingers to zoom into the photos. Had the Find X3 Pro kept a 5x optical zoom camera or, better yet, a 10x version like the Huawei P40 Pro+, then it'd easily cover all bases.

As with other Oppo phones from recent years, the Find X3 Pro supports VOOC fast charging. Using the bundled 65W SuperVOOC charger, the 4,500mAh battery takes just 10 minutes to go from zero to 40 percent. It also supports AirVOOC wireless charging, with a 30W output being able to fully charge the battery in 80 minutes. The phone itself can do 10W reverse wireless charging as well, should you need to help a friend out.

Oppo Find X3 Pro
Richard Lai/Engadget

On the software side, the Find X3 Pro comes preloaded with the Android 11-based ColorOS 11.2, which feels well oiled thanks to the 120Hz display and lean coding (a source told Engadget that OnePlus' software team had been helping Oppo since the Find X2 Pro). This build offers some new wellness features, including Oppo Relax 2.0 which helps you unwind using sound and games, plus a comprehensive built-in color vision test for color vision enhancement.

One last thing to talk about is a bit unexpected: A set of ringtones and notification sounds created by award-winning composer Hans Zimmer, who was quoted by Oppo as saying that "ringtones should not bring anxiety." These will arrive at the end of the month in an OTA update, and should be quite interesting, considering Zimmer's dramatic film scores in the likes of Inception and The Dark Knight trilogy.

Given Oppo's track record in recent years, chances are the Find X3 Pro won't be headed to the US, but the company has announced that it'll be available in the UK on April 14th starting at £1,099, which is around $1,250 before sales tax. The company also said it'll have more information on global availability early next week.