OPPO Find X5 Pro Review: Amazing flagship, but we want more cameras!
Android smartphone brands usually treat new releases the way Hollywood studios approach franchise sequels: put more of everything. More cameras, more RAM, more battery capacity, more pixels, etc. OPPO’s Find X series is the first flagship line I can remember that doesn’t follow this path. In fact, for a second year running, OPPO has inexplicably removed a useful camera lens that was present in the last edition.
The OPPO Find X2 Pro was one of the first phones to rock a Periscope zoom lens that could produce lossless 5x zoom, but the Find X3 Pro removed it in favor of a conventional 2x telephoto zoom lens whose zoom prowess was average at best. But OPPO compensated by adding a new microscope lens that could take some gnarly close-up macro images — shots that no phone before or since could do. Well, that micro-lens is no more in the Find X5 Pro (the line skipped a number because the number “4” can be considered bad luck in Chinese culture), replaced by … nothing. The Find X5 Pro actually has one less camera than last year’s quad-camera setup.
Thankfully, the Find X5 Pro’s main camera is really good — mostly thanks to a new self-developed imaging chip — and its ultra-wide camera is arguably the best in the business. But I would have liked to have an awesome wide and ultra-wide, plus a Periscope or microscope lens. Instead, the third camera here is still a 2x telephoto zoom, and by 2022’s standards, it’s just not impressive.
That’s a shame because the OPPO Find X5 Pro is a very polished device. It’s got a unique ceramic backplate that, along with the curvy nature of the phone, makes for a very comfortable in-hand feel — I certainly prefer holding it over the Galaxy S22 Ultra or iPhone 13 Pro. There’s also a gorgeous screen that’s among the best screens on the market, and the intuitive software in the form of ColorOS is full of useful shortcut gestures.
But I can’t help but feel the phone is missing that oomph. That best-in-class ultra-wide camera was already in the Find X3 Pro, and a new imaging chip isn’t immediately noticeable or marketable. This means the Find X5 Pro doesn’t have a new feature to grab headlines, like the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s world-beating zoom or Vivo’s gimbal camera system. Instead, the OPPO Find X5 Pro is “just” a refined, well-rounded phone that could be considered unexciting. Especially considering the original OPPO Find X was a show-stopper that stood out among the crowd at the time of release.
OPPO Find X5 Pro: Pricing and Availability
- €1,299 in the EU
- £1,049 in the UK
OPPO Find X5 Pro: Specifications
|Specification||OPPO Find X5 Pro|
|Dimensions & Weight||
|SoC||Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1|
|RAM & Storage||
|Battery & Charging||
|Security||In-display fingerprint sensor|
|Front Camera(s)||32MP, Sony IMX709|
|Port(s)||USB Type-C 3.1|
|Audio||Dual Stereo Speakers|
About this review: OPPO provided me with a review unit of the Find X5 Pro on Feb 14. This review was written after about ten days of using the Find X5 Pro as my main phone. OPPO did not have any input in this review.
OPPO Find X5 Pro: Hardware and Design
- Unique back design in which the camera bump is covered by a single piece of ceramic
- Very good in-hand feel: the entire phone feels rounded, smooth and dense
- First OPPO device to run on company’s self-developed MariSilicon X imaging chip
The OPPO Find X5 Pro brings back the unique design language of the Find X3 Pro — it features a ceramic back that also covers the camera bump, so the entire backside including the camera module feels like it’s a single piece. The bump also eases into the back in a slope, instead of having an abrupt “end” the way most camera islands do. It looks odd in renders, but good in photos, and feels better in the hand. Because the ceramic back and the glass front both curve slightly at the ends to blend into the frame, this is a phone without hard corners. I certainly find the OPPO Find X5 Pro more comfortable to hold than the Galaxy S22 Ultra or iPhone 13 Pro, both with hard edges or pointy corners.
The OLED display measures 6.7-inches, with a resolution of 3216 x 1440 resolution, and is a second-gen LTPO panel meaning its refresh rate can vary between 1Hz and 120Hz at the blink of an eye. I have used the Find X5 Pro side-by-side with the Galaxy S22 Ultra for days, and other than Samsung’s flagship getting noticeably brighter, there isn’t another area in which I can say Samsung’s display is flat out “better.” The Find X5 Pro’s screen is every bit as good in terms of sharpness, color reproduction, viewing angles, and vibrancy, and that says a lot because Samsung sets a very high bar to clear.
Inside, the Find X5 Pro is the premium flagship that you’d expect it to be — Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, 12GB of LPDDR5 RAM, 5,000 mAh battery that can be charged at up to 80W speeds. Yes, the charging brick is included with the packaging. OPPO advertises a full charge in 24 minutes, but my own testing falls a bit short of those speeds. In my own testing, a 0-100 charge took just about 26 and half minutes. This is still really fast.
OPPO Find X5 Pro: Cameras
- OPPO has developed a new chip, the MariSilicon X, to handle image process
- Main and ultra-wide cameras are excellent — the latter arguably is the best in the business
- Video stabilization is very good but falls short of the standards set by the Galaxy S22 Ultra and iPhone 13 Pro
The Find X5 Pro brings back mostly the same camera sensors as last year’s Find X3 Pro, except it’s missing the aforementioned micro-lens. We have a pair of 50MP cameras covering the wide and ultra-wide focal length along with a 13MP 2x telephoto zoom lens, plus a 32MP selfie camera. The aperture of the main 50MP camera and the selfie camera is slightly faster than last year, but otherwise, there is minimal upgrades in terms of camera lenses. However, OPPO is promising new camera breakthroughs because of what’s inside the phone — a new self-developed chip named MariSilicon X.
Built on 6nm architecture, the MariSilicon X is a NPU (Neural Processing Engine) that, according to OPPO, can handle up to 18 trillion operations per second, and most of this power is used to handle efficient machine learning algorithms for shooting videos. More on this in the video section a few paragraphs down. Let’s focus on still photography first.
Hasselblad “color calibration”
The OPPO Find X5 Pro has taken on the Hasselblad partnership that had previously been announced with OnePlus since last year. OPPO is claiming the same things from this partnership that OnePlus claimed — the Swedish camera maker apparently helped OPPO calibrate its imaging colors and designed some filters. To that end, the Find X5 Pro’s camera app also got the orange shutter button that debuted with the OnePlus 9 camera app, and there are some filters.
The Find X5 Pro’s main camera is excellent — it has a relatively large 1/1.56-inch image sensor and a responsive shutter. The aperture is slightly faster this year at f/1.7, which helps it take in more light. This main camera also doesn’t need to resort to night mode often. As can be seen in the photo of the cat below, there’s a natural bokeh that separates close subjects/objects from the background.
Low light performance is excellent, with accurate colors and relatively low noise. The below shot of the tree was particularly impressive, as the scene was quite dark in real life.
The Find X5 Pro’s main camera holds up well against the Galaxy S22 Ultra. The below samples are too close to really declare a winner — OPPO’s shots consistently have slightly better HDR — notice it doesn’t blow out the neon lights like Samsung’s shots — but it can also look a bit more processed.
Here’s a really challenging shot — in a room with all lights turned off, with the only light source coming from screens and windows. We can see the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s shot is better illuminated all around but blows out some lights; the Find X5 Pro shot has better HDR all around.
Just to show how challenging the scene was to shoot, here’s a shot from the Microsoft Surface Duo 2, a $1,500 phone from a trillion-dollar tech giant.
So yeah, the Find X5 Pro main camera is really good — neck and neck with the Galaxy S22 Ultra. What you get here is a top dog through and through.
Last year, I called the Find X3 Pro’s ultra-wide camera the best of any smartphone because it managed to produce a wider framing without losing many details from the standard main camera’s shot. If I use the Find X3 Pro to snap an ultra-wide and a standard wide (aka main camera) shot, and I compare the two images, the details, color science and dynamic range are remarkably similar. The Find X5 Pro continues this trend, because the ultra-wide camera uses the exact same image sensor and sensor size as the main camera.
The above images are very close in terms of lighting and dynamic range. Let’s crop into the ultra-wide and set it to roughly the same framing as the main camera shot.
When you crop in this much, you can see the main camera shot is sharper, but the difference isn’t jarring. Now let’s see the same test with the iPhone 13 Pro’s cameras.
Even without cropping in we can see the iPhone’s ultra-wide is significantly dimmer. If we zoom into the ultra-wide and we can see it’s a significantly inferior image, with much softer details and noticeable noise.
iPhone 13 Pro ultra-wide, cropped in (left); main camera
The Find X5 Pro beats the Galaxy S22 Ultra in this same test too — although Samsung keeps it closer.
And here’s the cropped-in collages.
Below are more Find X5 Pro samples, with an ultra-wide shot juxtaposed next to the main camera shot. I think it’s safe to say the Find X5 Pro still has the best ultra-wide camera on the market.
The Find X5 Pro only has a single 13MP, 2x telephoto camera. It’s an ideal focal length for portraits and 2x zoom photos are sharp and well detailed.
However, for anything beyond 2x zoom, the quality drops off. I’ve gotten used to at least getting usable 5x, 10x shots from flagship phones, so there’s no getting around the fact that the Find X5 Pro’s zooming capabilities are lacking. It’s rather disappointing, because OPPO was the first company to tease the idea of a Periscope camera, and was one of the first ones to put a Periscope camera to a commercial release (the OPPO Reno 10x Zoom Edition, released in May 2019). Somehow, the company has entirely moved away from the Periscope zoom technology in the last couple of years. Take a look below at how much the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s 10x zoom shot is superior to the Find X5 Pro’s
The Find X5 Pro’s main camera produces excellent videos, with vivid colors and capable fidelity even in low light. However, despite the advertised 5-axis stabilization system, the Find X5 Pro’s videos still exhibit micro-shakes and stutter more often than the iPhone 13 Pro and Galaxy S22 Ultra if I walk and film at the same time. It’s not really a big deal, if you just watch the Find X5 Pro’s videos by themselves, you likely wouldn’t have many complaints. But when you see them side by side with video clips captured by iPhone 13 Pro and Galaxy S22 Ultra, you do see the Find X5 Pro’s footage is shakier.
Interestingly, the script flips with the ultra-wide, as the Find X5 Pro’s ultra-wide videos are noticeably more stable than both Apple and Samsung’s top offerings.
As mentioned earlier, MariSilicon X is supposed to help the Find X5 Pro significantly in low-light videos, and it does indeed work. In the below video, I walked into a really dark old Chinese building with most lights off, and you can see the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s footage is noticeably darker and noisier.
The Find X5 Pro has a 32MP selfie camera using OPPO’s self-developed RGBW sensor, and … it’s fine. I must confess I am just not a selfie person, but I like that the Find X5 Pro’s software doesn’t force a beauty filter on my skin (although there certainly is one that can be turned on), and dynamic range, colors, all look on point.
Overall I’m very happy with the Find X5 Pro’s camera system, but I think OPPO needs to consider bringing back the Periscope zoom next year. I like my 5x and 10x zoom shots. Most of the photos above have been compressed for the website, but if you want to examine the original unedited, uncompressed photos, I have uploaded them to a Flickr gallery.
OPPO Find X5 Pro: Software
- The Find X5 Pro runs Android 12 with OPPO’s ColorOS on top
- I am a fan of ColorOS, it’s full of very useful shortcut gestures; I want them on other phones
The Find X5 Pro runs on Android 12 with ColorOS 12.1 on top. There are subtle changes to the ColorOS here from the one I tested even just a month ago on a mid-range OPPO Reno 7 Pro. The first is that OPPO has adopted the Google Pixel 6 Pro’s default one-hand mode, which brings the entire screen down to the mid-screen point (it’s a complete copy of iOS’s “Reachability”). I am not a fan of this one-hand mode as I find the previous OPPO method (also the same method used by Samsung, Vivo, Huawei, etc) of shrinking the screen both in height and width into a lower corner is more intuitive. But considering Google has adopted this new iOS-like one-hand mode as the “official” method, I assume OEMs are trying to follow suit. It’s worth mentioning that the Galaxy S22 Ultra, thankfully, sticks to that lower corner method.
Another new feature is the ability to launch “floating window” mode for almost any app with just a single thumb gesture — swipe up higher than usual, then hold for a beat. This method seems natural and intuitive to me, and the animations of the app being swiped up into a floating state even make sense. On a Xiaomi or Samsung device, launching floating windows is a clunky affair requiring three or more steps: swipe up and hold to go into app overview/multi-tasking pane, then long-press on the app icon, then select floating window. Most users are not going to realize those complicated steps will lead to a floating window, so this simpler gesture is much more intuitive and natural.
This useful gesture summarizes ColorOS for me — it’s software that is full of useful shortcut gestures. For example: grabbing a screenshot with a three-finger swipe down is easier for me than needing to long-press power and volume down button; off-screen gestures allow me to control music playback or launch the camera without ever waking up the screen.
OPPO Find X5 Pro: Overall Performance and Battery Life
- Battery life is decent — not great, not bad
- Fast, zippy performance
With top-tier components, the Find X5 Pro performed as expected during my testing period. I enjoyed watching videos with it on the sofa due to its beautiful display, comfortable in-hand feel, and loud stereo speakers. I saw no issues with gaming, although I am admittedly not a heavy mobile gamer. With the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 in place, you are getting top-tier performance on the device, at par with practically every other top-tier flagship that will come out this year.
Battery life is okay — with display resolution and refresh rate set to maximum, I was able to get about 12-hours of heavy use before the phone drained down to under 5%. In the screenshot below, you can see the Find X5 Pro drained from 100% to 28% in about nine hours away from the charger, with three hours and 24 minutes of screen-use. I am a heavy user who uses the cameras and Bluetooth often. I would say this battery life is acceptable, but not amazing.
OPPO Find X5 Pro: Conclusion
While I do think the Find X5 Pro has an objectively better ultra-wide camera than the Galaxy S22 Ultra, Samsung’s flagship has a noticeably brighter screen and a significantly superior zoom camera system. There’s also the S-Pen and Samsung DeX, which while are undeniable bonuses.
Still, if you’re on the market for a premium Android with Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and you find the S22 Ultra too unwieldy to hold — or if you don’t care about zooming 10x or beyond — then the OPPO Find X5 Pro is a very worthy alternative.