Last week, a new range of handsets went on sale in the UK.
You might not have noticed because the manufacturer was also making its UK debut – despite already being the world’s fifth largest smartphone maker.
Chinese brand OPPO chose last Wednesday to make its first assault on our congested smartphone sector, simultaneously launching three similar-looking handsets.
But does their 2019 product range deserve consideration?
Handsets across the ocean
These are the products now available to UK consumers:
- RX17 Neo. RRP: £319. RAM: 4GB. This well-specified budget handset is likely to be the best seller, given its remarkably low retail price
- RX17 Pro. RRP: £549. RAM: 6GB. For a £230 premium, the Pro offers a slightly better Qualcomm processor, more RAM, twin rear cameras and a stylish two-tone matte finish
- Find X. RRP: £799. RAM: 8GB. A Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor and 20MP+16MP dual rear camera are impressive, as is a 93.8 per cent screen-to-body ratio.
Despite notable differences, there are many shared attributes between these devices.
All three have a 6.4-inch screen surrounded by a slim bezel, outputting at 2340x1080p resolution.
Each has a 25MP front-facing camera for Instagram stories and selfies.
Fast-charge technology is standard throughout the range, replenishing 40 per cent of battery capacity in just ten minutes.
The two RX17 models offer an in-screen fingerprint scanner, while the X harnesses 3D facial recognition to unlock.
Another element unique to the flagship X is its retractable camera mounting, containing both the 25MP selfie camera plus twin rear cameras – delivering a total of 36 megapixels.
If the handset is dropped, gyroscopic sensors automatically retract the camera unit to prevent it becoming damaged.
OPPO has become the fifth Chinese smartphone manufacturer to launch in this country, following rival brands Huawei, Honor, OnePlus and Xiaomi.
Xiaomi only reached our shores last autumn, while OnePlus is another relatively new brand.
It’s worth noting that none of these companies achieved more than a fraction of one per cent of total sales across the UK’s mobile device market in 2018.
Huawei’s prospects for 2019 weren’t helped by recent press headlines about alleged collusion with the Chinese Government, and GCHQ fears regarding potential national security risks.
Xiaomi suffered a backlash after a recent flash sale containing just ten phones instantly sold out, though its profile is being boosted by standalone Apple-style stores in shopping centres.
Leader of the OPPO-sition
Speaking of Apple, they continue to dominate our domestic smartphone market with the majority of sales.
Samsung command 28 per cent of the sector, while third-placed Sony achieved just over two per cent; the long-established LG brand acquired a disappointing 1.3 per cent of sales.
In such a fiercely competitive sector, OPPO clearly faces an uphill battle to attract new customers.
Nonetheless, a combination of high specifications and low prices should help its cause