The N3 is Oppo’s current flagship, and it’s obvious the Chinese company has set its sights on the likes of Apple, Samsung and LG with its latest offering.
The N3’s trump card is a 16-megapixel image sensor, which is attached to a Schneider Kreuznach F2.2 lens. The sensor and lens are housed in a motorised rotating module, so like the older Oppo N1, the N3 relies on one top-mounted camera for regular shooting and selfies. The module can rotate 206-degrees.
In testing, the sensor, lens and camera software were up to the task. There’s a decent range of standard shooting options, including a manual mode, and we were completely blown away with the quality of captures. Shooting in normal mode in daylight, photographs were sharp and exceptionally detailed, while colours appeared natural. Using the manual mode options and a steady hand, we also grabbed impressive low light photographs but perhaps the camera’s biggest party trick is panoramas.
With the N3, all you have to do is enable the panorama shooting mode, hold the phone steady and watch as the camera module automatically swivels and grabs perfect captures, every time. The camera and the phone’s usability is enhanced by the included O-Click 2.0 remote, which allows you to control the camera, the included music app and can even be used to find the N3. As the control is Bluetooth based however, the functionality is limited by range.
Priced at AED 2,399, the N3 is a solid phone for everyday use even beyond the camera. The 5.5-inch capacitive screen is responsive, and offers detailed visuals thanks to its 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution. Vibrancy is not a strong point but other than this, there’s nothing to complain about. The combination of a 2.3GHz quad-core CPU and 2GB of RAM makes quick work of apps, games and multi-tasking. Battery life, as expected (given the high-end hardware), is only average with mixed use, and was down to 4 per cent by the end of the day.
In hand, the N3 doesn’t offer the same feel good factor as one gets when grasping an iPhone 6 or a LG G4. While the body feels like it could easily shrug-off knocks and drops, it lacks a premium feel – the camera module in particular is glaring, as it is clad in inexpensive faux leather. There are also a few design missteps that impact the user experience.
When sliding the phone in and out of the front pocket of our jeans, we noticed that the camera module would move as it rubbed against the denim. The positions of the USB (left side, bottom) and headphones ports (right side, top) also leave something to be desired. If you’re a leftie (as this reviewer is), the phone can be awkward to hold when the USB cable is attached, as that side of the phone sits flush with the palm of your hand. Likewise with the headphones, when they’re connected to the phone, they will stick out and prevent the phone from sitting straight in your pocket – you’ll have to wiggle the phone out.
Specifications: ColorOS based on Android 4.4.4, 2.3GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU, 2GB RAM, 32GB built-in storage, 5.5-inch screen, O-Click 2.0 Bluetooth remote, fingerprint scanner, SD card memory upgrade slot, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac WiFi, 192g, non-removable 3000mAH Li-Po battery, 12-month warranty.
Verdict: While the N3 isn’t perfect, it’s a well-priced, highly usable device with a camera that will delight content creators and social media buffs.