2022 Winners and losers: Oppo

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Another twelve months are behind us and Oppo is once again among the leaders in the smartphone world. It announced a custom NPU called MariSilicon X in the last days of 2021, but it wasn’t until this year that it came to smartphones.

Oppo unveiled foldables, regular flagships and a bunch of mid-rangers. Here are the winners and losers in the Oppo portfolio for 2022.

Winner and loser: Oppo Find N2

The new foldable looks a lot like its predecessor, but seeing how the Find N arguably had the best hardware among horizontal foldables isn’t bad news. Oppo kept what was great about the Find N and added several major improvements to create an even more polished product.

The Oppo Find N2 has almost the same footprint as its predecessor, but it’s a much lighter smartphone with better screens, cameras and handling.

Find N2 ditched wireless charging in its pursuit of convenience, but it makes up for it with the fastest wired speeds in its category. It is powered by a powerful Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chipset and the cameras are very solid too.

Still, the Find N2 remains tied to China, which is really disappointing. Oppo showed that it can make a foldable smartphone capable of taking on Samsung, but we have yet to see if it can do it at scale. Here’s hoping its 2023 successor takes the final step.

Winner: MariSilicon X NPU

Oppo is a company that prides itself on its innovations, and the internal NPU is responsible for boosting camapre performance, especially on the video side. It is a chip built on the 6 nm process, brings up to 18 TOPS of computing power and brings huge videos in a low-light environment, as well as backlit portrait videos.

MariSilicon X NPU

We got to use several phones with the MariSilicon X, and we were impressed by the accurate colors in the dark.

Oppo also unveiled the MariSilicon Y at its Inno Day in mid-December, but it’s not a successor to the X; it’s a completely different chip, dedicated to providing better audio performance via Bluetooth. Whether it will work as intended, we will have to wait until 2023 and see.

Loser: Oppo Find X5 Pro

Oppo’s mainstream 2022 flagship is a great device in its own right. But when we take a step back and look at the bigger picture, the Find X5 Pro is a minor update over its predecessor, the Find X3 Pro from 2021. Oppo didn’t fix the underperforming 2x telephoto lens, despite having a 5x camera in it 2020 Find X2 Pro.

The starting price of €1,300 in Europe was a bit too ambitious, and while a price cut to €999 was eventually available at some retailers, it came a bit late and with limited marketing spend, the phone never reached its potential in the west.

Loser: Oppo Reno8 Pro

The Reno8 Pro is known in China as the Reno8 Pro+, but it’s not the confusing name that earns it a place among the losers. The phone was launched at an extraordinarily high price at home and abroad, which makes it a tough recommendation.

Oppo Reno8 Pro

The phone is great, but in the crowded world of mid-rangers, it hardly stands out. It has no official intrusion protection, no microSD slot and no 3.5mm audio jack. Oppo’s services and accessories are not as widely available as they are at home, which also limits user value.

Winner: Oppo Reno9 Pro+

The Reno series is the company’s most popular lineup on the international stage. The recently announced Reno9 Pro+ already made its debut in China and, by the looks of it, is a more worthy addition to the lineup than its predecessor. So once it goes overseas, it could give Xiaomi and Samsung some serious headaches.

Oppo Reno9 Pro+

The Reno9 Pro+ comes with 80W charging, a 50MP main camera with a Sony IMX800 sensor and even MariSilicon X NPU. The phone is powered by a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chipset and comes in a super cool Mint color option – it has a lot going for it.

Loser: Oppo Reno7 Lite/F21 5G

We reviewed a phone back in June called the Reno7 Lite. It came with Snapdragon 695 chipset, 64MP main camera and RGB ring around the cameras that lights up for notifications and charging progress. It’s a thin, light and attractive device with one big caveat – it comes with four different names worldwide. And that doesn’t help consumers at all.

Oppo Reno7 Lite
Oppo Reno7 Z 5G
Oppo F21 Pro 5G
Oppo Reno8 Lite

Oppo Reno7 Lite • Oppo Reno7 Z 5G • Oppo F21 Pro 5G • Oppo Reno8 Lite

Oppo Reno7 Lite 5G, aka Oppo Reno7 Z 5G, aka Oppo F21 Pro 5G, aka Oppo Reno8 Lite 5G is expensive, on top of the confusing naming scheme.

It ships with older Android 11 in all markets, the screen is only 60Hz, the speaker isn’t loud at all, and the camera setup isn’t impressive. There are more appealing alternatives in virtually every market.

Winner: ColorOS 13

Long gone are the days of bloated software that put Oppo devices at a disadvantage outside the domestic market. The Guangdong company listened to its fans and consumers and further improved its feature-rich ColorOS 13 user interface.

The OS will reach out to devices and bring them not only the latest in UI but also the latest Android 13, something other Chinese competitors often struggle with.

ColorOS 13

ColorOS 13 comes with smoother animations that even includes a behavior prediction for user action – this is quite impressive; The manufacturer clearly wants its users to feel welcome when using an Oppo smartphone for a long time.

The AOD function received several adaptations, the control center has been renewed and we must mention the special Spotify widget that allows additional control of playback in the audio streaming platform from the locked screen. Oppo did a great job with ColorOS 13 and we’re pretty positive about what we’ll see in the future.

Special mention: New strategic partnership with OnePlus

Everything new is well forgotten old, grandma used to say. Born out of Oppo, OnePlus lived a life of its own for quite some time, despite the two brands sharing manufacturing facilities, R&D resources and suppliers.

Until it wasn’t. OnePlus fully adopted ColorOS in China, ditching Hydrogen OS, which was after all based on the same core, and in the final weeks of 2022 the brands held a joint event announcing a “new strategic partnership”.

2022 Winners and Losers: Oppo

The joint venture will see Oppo invest the equivalent of $1.4 billion in OnePlus over the next three years and will retain a “dual-brand strategy”. Which means we will still see smartphones delivered under the two brands, although they will be more closely related than before.

In the end, this move may not amount to much, but it’s always good to provide clarity and more context to certain product releases and marketing decisions.

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