Launching a redesigned variant of an old smartphone is pretty common these days. It helps phonemakers create some buzz around their flagship devices. OnePlus came with a limited edition variant of OnePlus 3T in association with fashion brand Collete. Apple launched a Product Red variant of iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.
Now Oppo has released a red-colour Diwali Edition variant of the F3 to celebrate the festive season. Priced at Rs18,990, it is competing with the likes of Xiaomi Mi A1 (Rs14,999).
Design: Handy and good-looking
The smartphone’s fundamental design is similar to the original F3. The lustreless metal body, rounded edges and the light form factor (153g) make it one of the best designed smartphones at this price. What enhances its personality further is the eye-catching red finish on the back and side panels. The front panel includes an oval-shaped home button. It looks and works a lot like the home button on OnePlus 5. It is non-clickable and also doubles up as a fingerprint sensor. It is accurate most of the times and responds almost instantly. The speaker, micro USB and 3.5mm jack have been tucked together on the lower side panel, giving it a slightly cluttered look.
The Mi A1 also has a metal back and comes in rose gold, black and gold colours. It looks good but is slightly bigger and heavier (165g) than the F3 Diwali Edition. Its fingerprint sensor is placed on the back and has a USB Type-C connector.
Display: Big and bright
The 5.5-inch display on the F3 Diwali Edition has a resolution of 1,920x1080p just like the Mi A1. This gives it a sharp look and makes it ideal for anything from reading ebooks to watching HD movies. It looks richer and offers better colour contrast compared to Mi A1’s screen. If you like to watch movies on your smartphone, the F3 Diwali Edition is a much better bet.
Oppo has used the latest Gorilla Glass 5, which is scratch-resistant and can also tolerate drops from a height of 1.6 metres. The M1 A1 has Gorilla Glass 3.
Software: Old Android, colourful UI
The F3 Diwali Edition runs a two-year-old version (6.0) of Android, which is baffling considering the fact that Android 8.0 has already started rolling out. Oppo has stocked it with its custom interface, called Color OS. The interface draws inspiration from iOS and the default icons look similar. Overall, it is a funky looking interface with colourful themes. You can customise colour tone in display settings and have two versions of apps such as WhatsApp and have two accounts on the same device. It is also less cluttered when compared to Zen UI and has very few pre-loaded apps. The Mi A1 runs Android 7.1 with stock Android interface and will get an Android 8.0 update by the end of the year.
Performance: Smooth but not as powerful as Mi A1
Oppo hasn’t tweaked the hardware in the new smartphone at all. Underneath the red exterior lies the same MediaTek MT6750 octa-core processor paired with 4GB RAM, seen in the regular variant of the F3. This is an old processor but quite capable of handling day-to-day tasks, multi-tasking and video playback without any hiccups.
However, it is not as powerful as the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor that powers the Mi A1, which can handle games better.
Like the Mi A1, the F3 Diwali Edition also has 64GB internal storage and accepts microSD cards.
The F3 Diwali Edition is powered by a 3,200mAh battery which lasted about 16 hours on a single charge of moderate to heavy use. The Mi A1 has a 3,000mAh battery but lasts slightly longer than this.
Camera: Impressive front cameras steal the show
The F3 Diwali Edition is one of those rare smartphones which pack in two front cameras. It has a 16-megapixel camera for regular shots and an 8-megapixel wide-angle camera for group selfies. The cameras don’t disappoint when it comes to picture quality and were able to churn crisp looking shots even in rooms with limited light.
The 13-megapixel primary camera impresses with its colour reproduction and manages to muster adequate detail in landscape shots to take on rivals. You can get slightly crisper looking shots with the ultra HD mode, but it takes longer to process the image.
The Mi A1 has a single 5-megapixel front camera and two rear cameras—a 12-megapixel one for wide-angle shots and a 12-megapixel telephoto camera which offers 2x optical zoom. The front camera is average and looks blurry, while images from the rear camera look inferior to the Oppo smartphone in terms of colour reproduction.
Low-light shots look noise-ridden in both the smartphones.
There is more to the F3 Diwali Edition than the unique red exterior such as the impressive display, steady performance and powerful front facing cameras. The biggest letdown is that it runs a two-year-old version of Android. If you are looking for a more powerful smartphone with new Android, the Xiaomi Mi A1 is a better alternative.