To say that 2020 has been all sorts of weird so far would be an understatement, but phone makers left and right have continued to churn out new devices at what seems like breakneck speed. We’ve seen a ton of flagships already, and most of those are excellent. And yet, the prices have crept up continuously, so a lot of them are quite expensive. However, if the amount that a proper top of the line device commands nowadays isn’t an issue for you, the question remains - which is the one to buy?
That’s complicated, but if you are (or will be) looking for a new flagship smartphone to call your own, aside from the usual suspects by the more established brands, don’t discount the Oppo Find X2 Pro. Yes, it sort of came out of nowhere after many years in which Oppo seemed content to leave the flagship space to other companies to fight over. Yes, it’s expensive, but aren’t all top of the line models?
It’s interesting that in 2020 Oppo decided to finally make a flagship again, and Xiaomi decided to make its first proper, true flagship ever with the Mi 10 Pro (I’m not counting the Mi 10 Ultra because it’s not available internationally). And surprisingly enough, these two phones - the Find X2 Pro and the Mi 10 Pro - are tied with the Huawei P40 Pro/Pro+ for “slab flagship of the year” in my book. I’ve discussed the merits of the P40 Pro and Mi 10 Pro in their respective long-term reviews, so go read those if you’re interested.
But let’s go back to the Find X2 Pro. Although I’ve used it for many weeks already, there isn’t going to be a long-term review of it because, to put it plainly, interest in this phone is just too low to warrant that effort. And while I respect that, I feel like ignoring the Find X2 Pro is just doing oneself a disservice. I know, I know - in a lot of places, Oppo still isn’t very well known as a brand (especially in Europe), and in the parts of Asia (outside of China) where it is known, it’s associated with mid-rangers.
That’s all fine but none of it says anything about the Find X2 Pro itself. This is a phone that has one of the best screens out there (a panel shared with the OnePlus 8 Pro), quality-wise. And feature-wise, it is the best display on any smartphone ever, simply because it allows you to pair the snappy 120 Hz refresh rate with the full 1440x3168 resolution. No other phone does that, not even Samsung phones, even in the second iteration of its 120Hz panels (in the Note20 Ultra).
The screen is also color accurate, it has amazing brightness levels so it can be used without a hitch even in the craziest of sunlight, and pretty good auto-brightness, if not the best I’ve seen (Huawei’s P40 Pro and Samsung’s Galaxy S20 Ultra take that prize). When the ambient light goes down around you and the screen turns its brightness down towards the lowest levels, there is noticeable greening of greys - it’s not just ‘tinting’ or splotching, dark greys basically become uniformly green-infested, and that’s this panel’s biggest downside (something similar has been reported for the OnePlus 8 Pro). If you can live with that, you’re getting a lot in return.
The curves are quite pronounced and yet accidental touches are a non-issue because the software is smart enough to disregard them. Yes, you’ll still get some from time to time, but it’s nowhere near as bad as with any Samsung phone with curved screen edges.
And before you ask - yes, I’ve used the Find X2 Pro without a case, all the time. I was able to do that because of the “vegan leather” back of the orange model I have here, and it’s hard to overstate how refreshing it is to see (and especially feel) this finish in day to day use. It makes handling the phone a breeze, much easier than with any model with a glass back, regardless of said glass’ matteness or glossiness.
Holding this phone in my hand, I never get anxious about it slipping off. Ditto for placing it on a table or couch or the likes - it doesn’t have the urge to slide off any surface, like some of the ‘glass sandwich’ construction handsets out there.
This may feel like a small thing, but unless you’re really klutzy, you will not feel obliged to use it with a case, and that means when holding it you’re feeling the nice texture of the faux leather finish, and not some cheap plastic or silicone in your case of choice. The Find X2 Pro is thus, in my view, the most comfortable to hold ‘big’ flagship of the year. The back has another upside - no scratches showing.
Performance is right as you’d expect from the top of the line SoC of 2020, the Snapdragon 865, and the fact that it’s paired with 12GB of RAM and ample UFS 3.0 storage. This thing flies, no matter what you throw at it, but it does get hot sometimes in long gaming or GPS navigation sessions, as well as when it charges with the included adapter.
Speaking of which - zero to a hundred in 38 minutes. The Mi 10 Ultra is faster than that, and that’s it for competition (if we’re looking outside the Oppo/Realme stable). Like the ‘leather’ back, it’s hard to overstate how much of a usability (and peace of mind) difference this makes in day to day use.
Battery life is good, but not great, and definitely not record breaking - not that I was expecting anything else from a 4,260 mAh cell in 2020 with 5G, high refresh rate, and all that. On most days it made it to the end of my day, but only barely, and then on especially full days there were signs that it wouldn’t. Except none of that matters when an entire charge takes less than 40 minutes, and just topping up for a few minutes will significantly impact what you see in the battery percentage.
I would have preferred to have wireless charging too, and that’s one of the big downsides of this phone, but it’s much easier to live without that when the wired charging is this fast. You can forget to charge overnight and just do it in the morning while you’re getting ready to leave.
If you’re looking for screen on times, here’s a quick rundown. With mostly Wi-Fi connectivity, around an hour on 5G, Bluetooth always on, an hour or so of music streaming via Bluetooth, half an hour or so of GPS navigation, I usually got over 6 hours in a day, and sometimes even over 7. With a couple more hours on 5G, that dropped to 5-ish hours.
Okay, let’s address the colored elephant in the room. ColorOS 7 (based on Android 10) is nothing like any other ColorOS before it. Seriously, ColorOS used to be laughable for how badly it ‘adapted’ to non-Chinese markets, but now it’s very streamlined, and incredibly zippy.
Performance-wise, it is better than stock, MIUI 12 (by a hair, but still), much better than One UI, and almost on par with OxygenOS. It’s also not annoying to use, which unfortunately couldn’t be said for previous versions. Sure, the Settings menu is kind of a mess, with the different entries seemingly positioned at random, but there are a bunch of customization options in there - so that’s the price you pay. Things will get even better in ColorOS 11, which is coming to the Find X2 Pro later this year, and is based on Android 11.
And yet, even today, as it is - ColorOS 7 is great. There’s no useless bloatware everywhere, there are no weird behaviors anywhere, it gives you some customization options not available in other skins (like comprehensive control over icon shapes), and generally while it definitely packs more features than stock, it doesn’t feel overly bloated.
It strikes a good compromise in how many options it allows you to pick, and how things that you can’t change work. I would have liked a different Dark Mode color scheme, but that’s coming too in ColorOS 11 - complete with three different versions of how dark it gets, and customizable accent colors a la OxygenOS.
The software will not in any way detract from the great hardware on offer here, that’s for sure. This is one of the smoothest phones of the year, tied for that prize with the Mi 10 Pro, from the devices I’ve used. There are no stutters anywhere, no microlags, none of that.
Camera-wise, it’s impossible to call a winner, because a lot of the image processing from various companies results in rather recognizable looks that may or may not be to your taste. From a sheer objective quality perspective, for photo taking, this phone is easily among the best out there at the moment. I can’t tell you if it’s the best for you or not, you should use our camera sample comparison tool and judge for yourself pitting its results against other flagships you may be interested in.
What I can say is that there’s little chance the Find X2 Pro’s cameras will disappoint you, regardless of shooting conditions, although Night Mode does produce somewhat dull colors. There’s framing flexibility on offer too, although not as much as the P40 Pro+ or the Mi 10 Pro give you with their two separate telephotos.
Before I wrap this up, I just want to mention two seemingly small things that actually impact the user experience quite a lot - the speakers and the vibration motor. The stereo speakers are great, and while they may not, in my subjective experience, fully match the Mi 10 Pro’s for sheer quality, they make up for that in being just a tad louder. Media consumption on a phone doesn’t really get a lot better than this.
As for the vibration motor, it’s among the best out there. Again, perhaps not the best - but it’s good enough for most people that it will never feel odd. It responds very fast, and delivers pleasant-feeling vibrations. Whether you personally prefer the tuning of another unit is up for debate, of course - I feel like the Mi 10 Pro’s is just a tiny bit better for my taste. But this is a top quality part, and that’s what matters most.
So that’s the Find X2 Pro in a quick, subjective nutshell. To get better acquainted with it objectively, don’t miss our in-depth review. The point of this feature was to stand-in for the long-term review that won’t be, and to give you the main pointers that would have featured in there. So what’s the deal with the Find X2 Pro not being as popular as most of its competitors? I don’t know, but if I were to speculate I’d chalk it up to sticker shock combined with low brand recognition in some markets.
And that’s a shame, considering how good this phone is.
Don’t get me wrong. This is entirely Oppo’s doing. The company should have invested much more in marketing this device, and making sure people know about it, and the brand in general. Samsung didn’t get to get away with charging insane amounts of money for a flagship without having first invested tons of cash in marketing for years on end. The same goes for Huawei.
Both of those companies now have the brand recognition to convey enough trust in consumers willing to buy a top of the line phone from them, but this didn’t just magically happen. It took a lot of investment, as I am old enough to remember a time when no one thought any company other than Apple could ever dare have the most expensive phone on the market. Oh, how times have changed.
So unfortunately Oppo made an amazing smartphone and then didn’t give it a proper fighting chance, didn’t do everything in its power to help it succeed. Hopefully next time around this will change, because from where I’m standing it really is sad that most people won’t get to experience the Find X2 Pro.
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