In the world of “online-only” brands, there are a few companies that still have a very strong offline presence and Oppo is one of those brands. Until recently, the company sold smartphones mainly through traditional offline means. That is changing now. Oppo recently launched the K series whose first two phones, the Oppo K1, and the Oppo K2 were available online. The brand has added another phone to the series, which again, is to be sold online – the Oppo K3. Priced at Rs. 16,990, the Oppo K3 tries to seep into the extremely crowded and competitive mid-segment zone which is pretty much dominated by the likes of Redmi, Realme, and Samsung.
Looks like new…
Once considered to be more about function than style, mid-segment smartphones have stepped up their design game, adding shades of premium-ness of late. Oppo K3 is just one of those devices. The face of the phone is all about that tall 6.5-inch display which is surrounded by extremely thin bezels from three sides. There is a relatively thicker chin that sits below the display. The display also holds the in-display fingerprint scanner.
We received the Aurora Blue variant (there is a very striking Jade Black too), and with smartphones coming out with Onion and Garlic editions, we think, Oppo should have called this one “Cadbury” edition. Flip the phone around and you will know exactly why it reminds us of the chocolate brand. The shiny polycarbonate back comes with a gradient finish which changes from deep blue to purple as you move from left to right, which is a very Cadbury color combination. The back also creates wavy patterns when light falls on it.
The top of the back carries the dual camera setup which is basically a couple of circular lenses (in no capsule unit, thank god!) followed by a smaller circular LED flash. Unlike most smartphones that come with protruding cameras, Oppo just like in the Oppo Reno, has kept the back very flat as the dual cameras blend into the back. The lower half of the back carries the Oppo branding.
The frame of the Oppo K3 holds quite a bit. The top carries the pop-up selfie camera while the base houses the 3.5 mm audio jack, USB Type-C port, and the speaker grille. The left side of the device holds the power button while the right one carries the dual SIM card tray and the power/ lock button that comes with a very thin, small green line on top.
…and is very familiar, real(me)ly!
Yes, we know this is an Oppo K3 first cut. We really have not forgotten. But as we moved to the measurements and the handfeel of the Oppo K3, it reminded us of one of the kins from its recently separated partner, Realme, which also sits in the same price band Apart from the color and the camera setup on the back, pretty much everything on the phone is placed exactly where it was placed on the realme X. The pop-up camera, the speaker, the USB Type C port, mic, everything.
We know there is any way not too much variant out there in terms of the placement of the features on smartphones but even the measurements of the two phones are very close. The Oppo K3 measures 161.2 x 76 x 9.4 mm and weighs 191 grams while the realme X measures 161.2 x 76 x 8.6 mm and weighs 191 grams, the two only differ slightly in the width department. The cover of the Realme X fit the Oppo K3, pretty snugly as well. That said, it really is not a negative in any regard. The Oppo K3 looks beautiful and premium just like the realme X. The phone sits well in hand but because it is pretty tall, you would have to use both hands to use it.
While there may be some differences between the realme X and the Oppo K3 on the outside, especially the color, but the two phones are very close to each other when it comes to innards. The Oppo K3, just like the realme X comes with a 6.5-inch full HD+ AMOLED display with a screen resolution of 1080 x 2340 pixels. What’s more, the K3 is also powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 processor and comes bundled with Adreno 616. This setup is coupled with 6 GB RAM and 64 GB storage. There is an 8 GB/ 128 GB variant as well.
The Snapdragon 710 is a chipset that we have seen a fair bit in the sub Rs. 20,000 category. We expect the Oppo K3 to handle daily tasks and casual gaming well, along with a bit of high-end gaming. Option to expand the storage is not available (just as in the realme X), which means you will have to make do with the storage present on the phone.
The Oppo K3 comes with Android 9 (Pie) out of the box and is topped with ColorOS6 which is present on the realme X as well, which makes the two phones even more similar. The two phones are also powered by a 3,765 mAh battery and come with support for VOOC charge 3.0 and a 20W charger inside the box.
Where the two differ is in the camera department. The Oppo K3 comes with a primary camera that comprises a 16-megapixel main sensor with f/1.7 aperture and a secondary 2-megapixel depth sensor with f/2.4 aperture, which is a far cry from the 48-megapixel main sensor and 5-megapixel secondary depth sensor on the realme X. But both have come with a 16-megapixel selfie camera with f/2.0 aperture that pops out of the top of the phone. Connectivity options on the Oppo K3 include 4G VoLTE, GPS, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth.
The competition’s real…as well as realme!
Oppo is one of the brands that are not afraid to add new design touches to smartphones and while we appreciate the flat back and the color gradient on the back, it is difficult not to think that the K3 is just another version of the realme X by Oppo. It does not help that they run on the exact same OS with very similar hardware. On paper, that means there is a very little scope that the experience on the two devices will be a world apart, camera aside. The Oppo K3 comes with a starting price of Rs. 16,990 with a Rs 19,990 tag for the 8 GB/ 128 GB version, which is almost the same as realme X (Rs. 16,999 and Rs 19,999).
Given the fact that Realme is an independent brand, launching a device which is basically already present in the market with more megapixels, seems a slightly risky move by Oppo. And it is not just its former sibling that the K3 will have to deal with it. Standing in its path are the likes of Redmi Note 7 Pro which is pretty much the king of smartphones in that segment, the Samsung Galaxy M40 and Galaxy A50, and well, even the Nokia 8.1 which has recently witnessed a massive price cut.
Will the Oppo K3 be able to make its mark against these worthies? You will have to wait and see in our detailed review. But for now, looking at it makes us wonder if this could have been realme X’s Cadbury edition. The wrapping is slightly different, but the ingredients are so similar. So much depends on just how it tastes!