We go hands-on with the Oppo N3, Oppo R5

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(UPDATED WITH VIDEO) Earlier, Oppo showed off a pair of new smartphones, which, in our opinion, represents two trends that are driving the industry. On one side is the Oppo N3, a phone with a rotating camera that improves on its predecessor in almost every significant way. On the other is the Oppo R5, which has a welded aluminum-alloy casing that screams "premium product" and is currently the slimmest handset money can buy at only 4.85mm thick.

We have come to a point where having the highest number of CPU cores and RAM isn't as important as it used to be and running on current-gen software, say, KitKat for Android, is the norm. As any iPhone purist would tell you, today's consumers care more about the usage experience than what's inside the hardware.

Which takes us back to the Oppo N3 and R5—neither of which, mind you, pride themselves on being built for speed. But that shouldn't be a problem—or so Oppo hopes.

With the N3, you get a big-screen phone that specializes in taking panoramas and selfies, thanks to a rotating camera with an electric motor; a 16-megapixel, 1/2.3" CMOS sensor; and Schneider-Kreuznach optics. The R5 is as gorgeous as it is thin—which is saying a lot—and, coincidentally, is also Oppo's first 64-bit release on account of a Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 chip.

Oppo N3: The most tricked-out camera phone we've laid eyes on

A phone unlike anything else on the market, the Oppo N3 has a high-resolution shooter that incorporates top-grade aluminum and swivels on its own using either the default camera app; the rear-facing mini trackpad, which doubles as a fingerprint scanner; or Oppo's O-Click Bluetooth remote—essentially a fancy DLSR trigger in white.

There's plenty of shooting options to play around with as well, including slow-shutter, super-macro, and auto-panorama modes. As with most flagship devices, the N3 is capable of 4K video recording, too.

Oppo has taken the idea of stitching stills into a 50-megapixel shot a bit further, allowing the N3 to shoot 64-megapixel photos with the use of a post-processing technique, of course. As for the N3's camera performance, unfortunately, we didn't have enough time to thoroughly test the cam's capabilities, but we're pleased with what we've seen in the demo area.

The hardware is what we've come to expect from Oppo. The plastic back cover feels solid and smooth to the touch, and the 5.5-inch 1080p IPS display, while not the sharpest, is top-notch.

Curiously, the Oppo N3 comes with two SIM slots: one houses a micro-SIM card and the other has room for either a nano-SIM or microSD card, a setup we've seen with increasing frequency as of late. That said, if you want to take advantage of the handset's dual-SIM capabilities, you'll have to forgo expandable storage.

Other specs include an LTE-capable Snapdragon 801 processor matched with 2GB of RAM, 32GB of onboard storage, and a 3,000mAh battery featuring Oppo's Voltage Open Loop Multi-Step Constant-Current Charging or VOOC technology, which should reduce charging times dramatically. The globally registered company claims the N3 can go from 0 percent to 75 percent in just half an hour.

As mentioned in our previous post, the Oppo N3 will retail for about P29,990 when it lands in the Philippines in mid-December this year.


Yes, on the left side is the Oppo R5. Right next to it are three CDs.
Yes, on the left side is the Oppo R5. Right next to it are three CDs.

Oppo R5: More than just a super-thin phone

The R5 wasn't the focus of Oppo's launch in Singapore, but truth be told, we're more interested in it than the N3. To give you an idea how crazy-thin the R5 is, just stack three CDs on top of one another—that's how slim the phone is!

Sure, the 13-megapixel rear camera—which lets you take pictures using the volume button without turning on the handset's screen—sticks out from the rest of the body and makes for a wobbly phone when placed on a flat surface with the display facing up. Also, the missing 3.5mm jack will undoubtedly disappoint music fans. But those concessions apply to majority of former "word's thinnest" titleholders. To its credit, the Oppo R5 will ship with a microUSB-to-3.5mm adapter, we're told.

Another thing to take note of: This Oppo looks far better in person than it does in pictures, with its hand-polished, aluminum-alloy unibody construction that falls more in line with the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s.

At 155 grams, it's neither too heavy nor too light, which is what you want when you spend so many hours a day holding a phone.

And in case you were wondering, overheating shouldn't be a concern, as the Oppo R5 integrates liquid-metal and phase-shifting cooling elements to help disperse heat from its components.

Specs-wise, you're getting a 5.2-inch 1080p AMOLED display and an octa-core processor with Adreno 405 graphics, 2GB of RAM, and 16GB of storage with no option to expand. That's more than enough power to run Oppo's ColorOS 2.0 UI on top of Android KitKat 4.4.2 just fine. The sealed battery is rated at 2,000mAh and also supports VOOC technology.

The Oppo R5 should be priced at P22,900 when it becomes available in the country at the same time as the N3.

Got questions? Tweet us at @aloraguerrero.