Oppo K3: ‘Mid-range’ is no longer a dirty word

Remarkably similar to its sister brand’s Realme X, this phone is a value offering

Smartphone buyers in India can be sure of one thing: they have plenty of choice, even if they don’t plan on spending a lot of money. The category between ₹15,000 and ₹20,000, once starved of anything that was of good quality, now teems with phones that work really well and look stylish too. Oppo has just launched one of these, priced at ₹16,990, and it joins the recently-launched Realme X with which it shares a price, many features and parent company, BBK Electronics.

Design

The Oppo K3’s back wears the gradient that seems to have become the favourite of most phone brands right now. It’s a blue-to-purple shading reminiscent of twilight except that it’s vertical instead of horizontal on this phone. Its colours are quite prominent so if that bothers you, you’ll need to opt for the more sober black variant. You could get away with not using the hard plastic case provided in the box because the back is also plastic, though the difference is becoming difficult to spot. I’m beginning to be a little less judgemental about plastic because it’s being so nicely designed and it means you have to worry less about breaking the phone. If you’re happy enough wiping the back of your phone clean every now and then and think you can keep it free from scratches, you could drop the case, at least occasionally.

The grey-black plastic case also hides the fact that the cameras on the back are very nicely embedded on the phone, leaving no ridges and protrusions and adding to the phone looking pretty.

What’s special about the K3? Well, it’s one of the phones now bringing high-end features to affordable price points. On the front is a 6.5-inch AMOLED screen that’s perfectly nice to look at. Colours really pop on it — which is how most users like it. It’s another full-screen phone because there’s a pop-up camera that has two nice things about it: one is that it’s in the centre and takes nicely eye-aligned selfies and the other is that it rises ever so quietly and smoothly, which is why Oppo calls it a ‘Rising Camera’ rather than a pop-up. It leaves the screen with more space on which to watch movies and other fun things. And because we tend to binge, there’s a flicker-free low brightness mode to reduce eye strain. It is otherwise nice and bright.

Smooth operator

You need not have doubts about the smooth performance of the K3 as this is another advantage that has trickled down to affordable phones. The Snapdragon 710 works well not just for everyday tasks, making going around on the phone a flawless experience, but handles intensive gaming just fine as well. You have the screen, the power, and the software tweaks to game right on. In fact, there are specific settings just for gamers to boost their gameplay. The phone comes with either 6 GB RAM and 64 GB storage, which is enough for everyday users and 8 GB with 128 GB for those who use their phones a whole lot more. These specs are pretty good.

The software used on the K3 (and also the Realme X) is ColorOS and it works well, though it has a slight cluttered, random feel and a few apps are pre-loaded. But that’s now common with less expensive phones.

The in-display fingerprint scanner works nice and fast as does face unlock using that silent rising camera. The phone retains the 3.5 mm headphone jack and has nice sound with its own speaker as well — certainly good enough for casual video and music consumption. The 3,765 mAh battery does a good enough job with Vooq 3.0 quick charging at hand to top it up fully in 80 minutes.

Camera fare

The K3’s main camera set is a 16 MP standard and a 2 MP depth sensor lens. In daylight, the details it delivers are quite impressive. It’s not bad in low light either, but details aren’t as sharp — unsurprisingly. There’s no electronic stabilisation so you can’t afford to shake as you shoot. The front camera is also a 16 MP shooter and does a fine job of selfies. Portraits and general depth sensing and edge detection around objects you shoot could do with improvement.

The Oppo K3 is so close to the Realme X that customers are going to be quite confused at this rate. Considering they come from the same parent, one wonders why there’s no distinct separation between the two, but on the other hand, both brands are lapping up the same segment and possibly selling larger numbers apart than they would have together. Between the two, we find the Realme a little prettier in both Polar White and Space Blue. The base model for the Realme X offers more storage at 128 GB but less RAM at 4 GB. The Realme X has the edge where the camera is concerned, at least on paper.

Oppo K3
  • Price: ₹16,990 for 6 GB/64 GB, ₹19,990 for 8 GB/128 GB
  • Pros: Good features for a good price, silent pop-up camera, well-designed, reliable processor, tackles everyday and major tasks well
  • Cons: Too similar to the Realme X, no expandable storage, camera not as good as its closest competitors’

Published on August 08, 2019

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