If there’s a singular trend to point to for phones in 2018, it’s the effort to cram as much screen into a device as possible. Oppo’s new Find X, which is being officially announced at a live streamed event in Paris today, combines a number of trendy design ideas, plus some even newer tricks, to fit an extremely large 6.4-inch display into a phone that you can still hold in one hand. The Find X’s design is so space efficient that Oppo claims it has a screen to body ratio of 93.8 percent. And it does this without utilizing a notch, which should make at least some people happy.
The most interesting aspect of the Find X’s design is its camera system, which is completely hidden when the phone is off or the camera app is closed. When you turn the Find X on and open the camera app, the entire top section of the phone motorizes up and reveals a 25-megapixel front-facing camera, 3D facial scanning system, and 16-megapixel + 20-megapixel dual rear camera. Close the camera app and the whole assembly motors back into the phone’s chassis. Oppo says the camera can open in just 0.5 seconds, and based on my experience, that seems fairly accurate.
Otherwise, the Find X looks very similar to a Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus, thanks to its curved sides and rounded corners. Its display is a vibrant OLED panel with 1080 pixel wide resolution, and both the front and back of the phone feature curved glass.
This combination of hideaway camera system and a curved screen is what enables Oppo to have the screen reach the very upper edge of the phone, without cutting a notch into it to make room for the front camera. It’s not the first phone to do this — just last week Vivo announced the notch-less Nex, which has a pop-up front camera — but Oppo is unique in that it’s utilizing this system for both the front and rear cameras. It also means there’s no camera bump at all on the back of the phone, so it sits flush on a table and doesn’t rock awkwardly.
The Find X does not have any sort of fingerprint authentication system, whether a traditional scanning pad or an under-screen system like the Nex. Instead, the phone uses a 3D facial scanner, housed in that pop-up camera assembly, for biometric authentication. Turn the phone on, swipe up on the lock screen, and the top of the phone will motor up, authenticate your face, and unlock the phone. It does this all shockingly quickly on the pre-production device I spent time with — fast enough that it doesn’t feel like it will impede use of the device in my day-to-day.
Aside from its unique design, the Find X has all of the things you’d expect from a high-end Android phone in mid-2018. It uses Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 processor, has 8GB of RAM, and offers up to 256GB of storage. It has a 3,730mAh battery with Oppo’s VOOC fast wired charging that’s similar to OnePlus’ Dash Charge. The Find X is a dual-SIM phone that’s also globally compatible — I was able to use a T-Mobile SIM in the demo unit to grab an LTE signal in New York City.
For software, the Find X is running Android 8.1 Oreo with Oppo’s Color OS customizations. Color OS borrows a lot of ideas from iOS and Samsung’s spin on Android, which makes for an interesting combination. It won’t be familiar to anyone used to a Pixel device, but it’s not the worst Android interface I’ve used.
Global LTE compatibility is important because Oppo says this will be its first phone sold in North America and Europe. Prior to this, Oppo phones were limited to China, India, the Philippines, and a few other Asian countries. Oppo is expected to announce specific pricing and carrier information for North America and Europe soon, and we will update this article when it’s available.
The Find X will be available to order in China starting today, and it should cost less than other comparably equipped Android smartphones.
Are motorized camera assemblies the key to a notch-free future? I’m not so sure, there are new compromises to make with the Find X, such as a lack of water resistance and a motorized system that is more susceptible to damage. But it’s certainly an interesting approach, and the Find X shows it can be executed in a surprisingly functional way.