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OPPO F3 Review: Is This The New Selfie King?

We review OPPO’s F3!

After being noticeably absent during OPPO’s unveil of their new dual-camera selfie lineup, the smaller of the two new selfie experts has finally arrived in the Philippines. The F3 promises to be a handier, easier and more affordable selfie expert that has the same dual-camera system as its bigger brother, but does it deliver?

OPPO F3 specs

  • MediaTek MT6750T octa-core processor
  • ARM Mali-T860 MP2
  • 4GB RAM
  • 5.5-inch FHD display, 1920 x 1080 resolution, Corning Gorilla Glass 5
  • 64GB expandable storage, via microSD
  • 13-megapixel rear camera
  • 16-megapixel + 8 megapixel front cameras
  • Dual SIM
  • 3G, 4G VoLTE
  • WiFi, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS, A-GPS
  • Fingerprint scanner
  • 3200mAh battery
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow (ColorOS v3)
  • Php 16,990

Metal build, all premium

As far as design goes, the OPPO F3 is basically a scaled-down F3 Plus. Expect the same aluminum body, rounded corners, curved edges and the plain white facade on the front. The F3 certainly isn’t breaking new ground when it comes to design, and honestly, very few smartphones do nowadays.

We were a little surprised to find out though that the F3 wasn’t a unibody metal phone – there’s two strips of plastic on the top and bottom that hides the antenna bands, colored to blend in with the back of the device. While that’s far from unique – we’ve seen other brands apply the same design choice in the past – it’s just not something we expected from a phone that retails north of Php 15K.

Despite that the phone looks to be well made, without any bends or creaks anywhere, even when we tried to bend it using moderate pressure. The handier size of the F3 will probably endear it to people with smaller paws, since the F3 Plus is literally quite a handful even for people like us that have gorilla-sized mitts.

On the upper right corner of the phone sits the 16-megapixel rear sensor, with the LED flash right beside it. The OPPO logo is clearly visible on the gold-colored back of the device.

Going around the phone, you’ll see the power button on the right side of the device, while the volume rocker is on the left side. On the front of the phone is the 5.5-inch full HD panel (that we’ll get to in a bit), as well as the fingerprint reader on the bottom, which is in turn flanked by the back and recent apps button. Both buttons are a little hard to see thanks to the white face of the phone, an is impossible to spot out in daylight. OPPO includes a dual SIM tray along with a dedicated microSD slot, which is great since you no longer have to choose between an extra SIM or more storage.

On the top of the phone are the two front facing selfie cameras, with one pegged at 16-megapixels while the other is 8-megapixels. It’s virtually the same cameras found on the bigger F3 Plus, and works quite the same way – one is for regular selfies and the other is for wide-angle work/group shots.

The display itself of the F3 is good enough for the price. It’s clear, vibrant and has good color reproduction overall, and has a layer of Gorilla Glass 5 over it. That, along with the included screen protector with every purchase, ensures that the display of the F3 will remain scratch-free while it’s with you.

Power that’s decent, but might leave you wanting more

The F3 is equipped with a MediaTek MT6750T octa-core processor that’s paired with an ARM Mali-T860 MP2 GPU, 4GB RAM and 64GB of expandable storage. The hardware is more than enough for daily tasks and Android games, though it’s not a chipset that’ll allow you to play games on high settings.

We’re a little disappointed at the hardware choice for the price segment – we were expecting something along the line of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 625 for the price, to be honest. Again, there’s more than enough power on tap for daily use, but power users will have to look somewhere else if they want to play their favorite Android games lag-free on higher settings.

Just like most of OPPO’s phones, the F3 comes with ColorOS, their own take on Android, layered on top of Marshmallow. ColorOS takes away the neat, organized app drawer and just sort of drops all of your apps out into the open like iOS. Bloatware is kept at a minimum though, which gives you a spacious 51.6GB of usable storage that you start out with when you get the phone. That storage space can be further enhanced by a microSD expansion up to 128GB.

Moving onto the other stuff – the speaker is quite loud for the size. GPS/LTE radio functionality is good, and we haven’t encountered any problems with either during our time with the device. The fingerprint scanner is quite quick as well.

Regular 16-megapixel front selfie cam
Wide angle 8-megapixel selfie cam

Not just a great selfie-snapper

OPPO’s new phones as of late have banked hard on the selfie phenomenon to sell phones, and the F3 is no exception. Just like its bigger brother, the F3 Plus, the F3’s main gimmick is the two front-facing cameras. But unlike their other selfie phone rival, the F3 relies on a regular 16-megapixel main front camera and a secondary 8-megapixel wide angle camera to take selfies. It’s patterned after LG’s G5 dual rear camera setup – one is for regular portrait selfies, while the other is for wide angle shots and group photos.

Wider camera means more people in the shot

It works just as well as the one of the F3 Plus, which is not surprising, since the F3 is supposed to deliver the same selfie experience as its more expensive brother for less. The 16-megapixel camera delivers excellent detail when there’s enough light, and the wide-angle setup of the 8-megapixel camera gives you more space to fit more people in frame than a regular phone.

The 13-megapixel rear camera gets a slight downgrade though, getting a f/2.2 lens compared to the f/1.7 lens on the F3 Plus. That means it’ll suffer a little more when taking photos in low light.

Generally though photos taken with the F3 are excellent, and are good enough for sharing on social media. You’ll run into a bit of trouble in the noise department once the sun comes down, but it’s not that problematic if you’re smart about where you shoot.

Good enough battery for the day, but we miss fast charging

The F3 is equipped with a 3200mAh battery, quite typical for a phone in the F3’s price range. According to our PCMark battery benchmark test, that’s enough for around 8 hours and 41 minutes of continous use.

In our tests we found that the F3 is capable of running through the day for around 10-11 hours on a single charge with moderate use. Sadly, you’ll have to stick with the phone’s stock charging speed when you do need to top it up, since the F3 does not have OPPO’s uber-fast VOOC fast-charging tech.

Verdict: It’s a great selfie snapper, if a little expensive

If you’re the sort that prioritizes excellent selfies and snaps in the phones you’re looking to buy, then OPPO’s F3 is the perfect phone for you. You’ll be the hit at family gatherings like weddings and the like since getting everyone into frame won’t be a problem with the 8-megapixel front camera. It also takes amazing selfies.

That being said, the F3 is a little expensive for what it is. A non-unibody metal smartphone past the 15K mark is a little hard to swallow, ditto for the MediaTek processor. The F3 puts a premium on a superior selfie experience, but if you’re not the person that prioritizes better self portraits, then there’s better options in the market today.

The OPPO F3 sells for Php 16,990.

John Nieves

John is a veteran technology and gadget journalist with more than 10 years of experience both in print and online. When not writing about technology, he frequently gets lost in the boonies playing soldier.

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