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Fast Charge: The OnePlus/Oppo deal better give us a great camera

It was announced this week that OnePlus, the smartphone brand famous for its Never Settle approach, would be further merging with its sister-brand Oppo.

This feels like a huge move and one that has been on the cards for a while as OnePlus recently started using Oppo’s ColorOS software, rather than its own OxygenOS, on new phones in China.

In a post on the OnePlus Forums, CEO Pete Lau said this was a “turning point for the future of OnePlus” and that “this change will be positive for our community and our users. With this deeper integration with Oppo, we will have more resources at hand to create even better products for you.”

That last line really got me thinking, could this merger finally fix the one glaring issue I have had with just about every OnePlus phone I have reviewed including the OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro?

It’s always been the camera that has let down OnePlus flagships. OnePlus has tried to remedy this each year and there have been improvements along the way, but the photographic skills of the devices haven’t always matched up to the best camera phones you can buy.

The biggest step in the right direction was with the OnePlus 9 Pro. For this, OnePlus partnered with camera icon Hasselblad and focussed on tuning the colours and improving the ultra wide lens. It worked, to a point, but still wasn’t quite up there with the best.

This could all change with this Oppo integration though and this feels like the best chance yet of getting an actual flagship camera experience on a OnePlus phone. See, Oppo makes great camera system on its phones.

The Find X2 Pro was up there with the best in 2020 and the Find X3 Pro is easily one of my favourite phones to shoot with right now, competing impressively with the Galaxy S21 Ultra and the iPhone 12 Pro. If this merger means some of that camera know-how gets injected into future OnePlus phones then it sounds like a good partnership to me.

oppo find X3 pro
The Oppo FInd X3 Pro has a great camera

Of course, with anything like this, there could be issues and it isn’t really clear at this stage what this means for future OnePlus phones. Our reviewer wasn’t too impressed with the recent Nord CE and these cheaper OnePlus phones are certainly losing a bit of the brand’s DNA with the removal of things like the alert slider.

Android Authority has also reported that future OnePlus phones will still run OxygenOS, giving them a point of differentiation from Oppo phones that run ColorOS. These might be both versions of Android, but they’re very different visually.

But the fact is that Oppo makes some of the best phones out there and if this partnership gives OnePlus the ability to make even better devices then it would be a win for all.

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