Oppo Find X7 Ultra review: The Best ‘Ultra’ Smartphone Is Out Of Reach For Indian Buyers

The camera offers two modes. There’s the Hasselblad Portrait Mode for all your bokeh effects and then there’s a Hasselblad Master Mode which allows you to shoot in RAW and tweak many of the settings.
Oppo Find X7 Ultra review: The Best ‘Ultra’ Smartphone Is Out Of Reach For Indian Buyers

It’s 2024 and ‘Ultra’ smartphones have become the rage. There’s the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra, Xiaomi 14 Ultra and the Oppo Find X7 Ultra. Sadly for Indian consumers, the latter of the three isn’t officially available in India. That’s a shame as it is one of the best smartphones the company has ever put out.

I’ve been fortunate enough to test out Oppo’s Find X7 Ultra (albeit the Chinese variant) and I’ve been left mighty impressed.

Xiaomi pursued a strategy a couple of years ago, that I think Oppo would be wise to follow. The Xiaomi 12S Ultra and Xiaomi 13 Ultra didn’t launch in India but the devices were shown and then seeded to a small number of technology journalists to test and write their opinions. Xiaomi company was testing the waters. This year, the flagship Xiaomi 14 Ultra launched in India at Rs 99,999. Here’s hoping that Oppo is also successful with its testing and internal assessment and launches the Find X8 Ultra (or whatever the successor is called) later this year/early next year. The Find X8 Series has already been confirmed to launch outside of China, specifically in Europe, so that bodes well for a potential launch in India.

The Find X7 Ultra has all the ColorOS annoyances, especially as this is a Chinese variant, but those cameras more than make up for it.

The Find X7 Ultra launched on January 8 at CNY 5,999 (approximately Rs 70,000). At that price point, the Find X7 Ultra would be significantly cheaper than both the Galaxy S24 Ultra (which retails for Rs 1,30,000) and the Xiaomi 14 Ultra (available at Rs 99,999). There are three models available - 12GB/256GB, 16GB/256GB and 16GB/512GB - and three colour variants - blue, black and brown and all with a dual-tone design and leather backs - but seeing as they’re only available in China, it’d be wise to wait for the Find X8 Series.

Nonetheless, if you were to import one from a Chinese reseller, then you wouldn’t be disappointed because the cameras are outstanding.

The king & queen of cameras

Yes, I’m talking about cameras first, because that’s what you’re buying this smartphone for. And forgive me for a moment, while I dump all the insane camera specs here. The rear camera setup consists of four 50MP lenses. First up is the main 1-inch Sony LYT-900 sensor (an f/1.8 aperture, 23-mm focal length, and optical image stabilisation (OIS). The ultra-wide sensor packs a Sony LYT-600 sensor (an f/2.0 aperture and a 14-mm focal length). The ultra-wide sensor can focus on subjects as close as 1.6 inches (or 4 centimetres).

Then comes the two periscope lenses. The first offers 3x optical zoom and uses the Sony IMX890 sensor (with an f/2.6 aperture). The second is based on the Sony IMX858 and hits 6x optical (with an f/4.3 aperture). Barring the wide-angle lens, they all offer OIS. Oppo, like OnePlus, has partnered with camera maker Hasselblad for fine-tuning. Oppo has also developed its own in-house HyperTone Image Engine.

The camera offers two modes. There’s the Hasselblad Portrait Mode for all your bokeh effects and then there’s a Hasselblad Master Mode which allows you to shoot in RAW and tweak many of the settings.

It goes without saying that photos taken with the main camera are simply remarkable. There are lots of details, colours are vibrant and have a lot of dynamic range. The shots are well-exposed and the colours remain true to life. What’s even more impressive is that the colour tone and signature are matched across all the lenses. Furthermore, you can get a natural bokeh effect without having to choose the portrait mode. Both the main and ultra-wide lenses have great depth of field.

The camera, according to Oppo, resists over-sharpening, and I couldn’t agree more. While the main camera is remarkably great, it’s the shots taken with the telephoto lens that are a standout.

Over the past few months, I’ve been attending quiz nights here in Delhi and have formed a small group of friends, most of whom are regulars. It’s a lot of right answers (yes, some wrong ones as well!), many beer pitchers, and lots of fun and hilarious moments. The morning after is always filled with me going through my Google Photos (because that’s where all my smartphones back up the photos to), and flipping through hundreds of photos. Last week I was at Fort City Brewing and the next morning I ended up with over 700 photos (most are portraits, as that is what I like to shoot), a new record for a single evening with this particular group. Lo and behold, 80 per cent of those photos were from the Find X7 Ultra, and a lot of them were in black-and-white, which I simply just love.

I used to think the Xiaomi 14, or the Google Pixel 8 Pro, were the king of portrait photography (and black-and-white photos). But let me tell you that we now have a new champion in town (oh wait, it’s not available in India). The Find X7 Ultra takes insanely good portrait shots, even at 3x and 6x.

Even low-light photos come out with excellent detail and accurate colours, with the noise kept to a minimum. The wide-angle lens is the only one that disappoints in low-light scenarios, but its still heaps better than the competition out there.

Let me put this as simple as possible for you. If you want the best camera, which is also a smartphone, then you’d have to import the Find X7 Ultra from China.

The whole package

The Find X7 Ultra is one of the best-looking smartphones I have tested in the past 6-12 months. The two-tone finish is a favourite amongst many of my friends. The top half has a white glass and a silver camera module, with the bottom half featuring a fake leather finish in one of the three colours available.

The camera is the dominating feature and makes the phone a bit top-heavy. In some scenarios, you may need to be careful while using the camera one-handed.

The famous alert slider from OnePlus now features on Oppo smartphones as well. It’s located on the left-hand side. The one change is that this alert slider features three different modes. There’s the ring and silent settings, which you’re used to. But there’s also a VIP mode (which turns off camera, mic, and location access). The Find X7 Ultra uses an aluminium frame. The smartphone has an IP68 ingress protection rating and a layer of Gorilla Glass Victus 2 on top of the display.

Up front is the gorgeous 6.8-inch AMOLED display (with 120Hz refresh rate, Dolby Vision and HDR10+ support). The phone goes up to 2,600 nits in high brightness mode (and 4,5000 nits peak for highlight). This is way more than what is required for outdoor legibility. The Find X7 Ultra’s display is bright, vibrant and punchy. It comes very close to matching the display on the Galaxy S24 Ultra. The speakers are loud and punchy but lack the thumping bass you might be longing for.

The smartphone matches others in regards to having high-end hardware. There’s the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, UFS 4.0 storage, a 5,000mAh battery, and 100W charging tech (with 50W wireless charging and 10W reverse wireless charging). The smartphone ran smoothly, for the most part, with no overheating issues even while gaming.

The Find X7 Ultra delivers enough battery to last the whole day and then some. I rarely had to plug this smartphone in overnight. Over eight hours of screen-on-time (SoT) was the norm here. When the charger is needed, the 100W charger juices it up in just half an hour.

A brief note about the software

Since the Find X7 Ultra is available only in China, you get the Chinese ColorOS build. To that extent, one has to install the Google Play Store via an apk, which is very easy. While downloading your most used apps - WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook, Telegram - was straightforward, try setting up the smartphone as you normally would and you may run into some annoyances. Just a note, that while setting up the smartphone, you have to go through Baidu and the default keyboard. When entering your email address and password it might be tricky.

There is a lot of bloatware present (Chinese apps), some of which are useless for those outside of China and can’t be uninstalled, and a number of permissions are required, especially for the “enhancement services”.

One last thing to note is that you don’t get Google Assistant. You get the brand’s Breeno assistant instead. Trying to change the default voice assistant is a pain and practically impossible.

One thing that Oppo has made good on is software updates. There has been two or three software updates since the smartphone landed up at my doorstep. The Find X7 Ultra will get four Android updates and five years of security updates.

Is the Find X7 Ultra for you?

If you want the best camera in a smartphone, then yes, the Find X7 Ultra is for you. You can comfortably use the camera setup, and all its bells and whistles, without having to learn/know Chinese. It captures outstanding daylight photos, the portrait shots are the best in the business, and it does a good job with low-light photos as well.

Furthermore, the display is fantastic, and the two-tone design (with the large camera island) stands out in a crowded market. Yes, many people came up to me and asked what smartphone I was using. The hardware is top-notch, with excellent battery life.

There’s only the Chinese variant limitation. Yes, the smartphone isn’t available outside of China, and there is no global build of ColorOS for this smartphone.

The cameras are the main reason why I love this smartphone. It’s a reason to stick around despite the annoyances of the Chinese ColorOS build.

Here are some alternatives to consider if you’d rather not import a Chinese unit. There’s the Vivo X100 Pro, Xiaomi 14 Ultra, Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra and Google Pixel 8 Pro. All are brilliant smartphones in their own right, and you don’t have to go through any hassles concerning the software

Related Stories

No stories found.
Outlook Business & Money