Packing for a big trip requires a lot of thinking - you need to keep your possessions to a minimum but you don't want to find yourself lacking in essentials either. Earlier this year, I went travelling for just under 5 months in Central and South America, from Mexico to Colombia, and naturally, I wanted to make things as easy as possible for myself when it came to the contents of my backpack.
Without having any previous experience of going away for such a long stint, I found it pretty hard to know what I was going to need and what I wasn’t. One concern I had was that I would lose or break my smartphone, or have it stolen, so instead of taking an expensive flagship with me, I decided to take one of the best cheap phones.
As it turns out, it was one of my smartest decisions. Not only did it alleviate a lot of the worries I had, but the smartphone I decided to take actually really impressed me in a number of ways, although it wasn’t perfect.
When I reviewed the Oppo Find X5 Lite, I liked how well it performed across the board and at less than £500, it gives you a lot of bang for your buck. Now after using it for months on the road, I’ve come to the conclusion that it's an excellent piece of kit for anyone who travels a lot. Here’s why.
1. The battery lasts for ages
While I was away, my favourite thing about the Oppo Find X5 Lite was the battery life. On a single charge, it would last a full day and then some, surviving well into the next morning. The handset was made good use of during that time too - I used it to snap photos when I was out exploring, I would stream Spotify podcasts on long journeys and I recorded full-day hikes on Strava when I remembered.
Having such impressive battery life was a blessing, especially when I didn't have any access to power, but it also meant I didn’t need to carry around a portable charger.
When I did eventually need to charge it, the Oppo Find X5 Lite only needed to be plugged in to its 65W charger for about 30 minutes before it reached 100%. Giving it a quick replenishment before heading out would give me hours upon hours of juice, and it meant I didn’t need to leave my phone unattended for too long in shared spaces.
2. It has a decent camera system
Along my journey, I saw a lot of cool things which of course meant I took a lot of pictures. From beautiful blue waters and jungle views to Mayan ruins, I needed my phone to capture the moment and capture it well. The perk of using one of the best phones is that you’ll also get one of the best camera systems, but the Oppo Find X5 Lite proves that you don’t need to spend an eye-watering amount of money to come away with some stunning shots.
The Find X5 Lite’s camera system is made up of a 64MP main camera, an 8MP wide-angle camera and a 2MP macro camera, while on the front, there’s a 32MP selfie snapper. For the most part, the images the camera took were well balanced, boosting colours where needed without oversaturating and they provided enough detail to accurately depict objects that were further away. My pictures were full of life, whether that was photos of me, landscapes, sunsets or towns.
Admittedly, the camera wasn’t totally perfect and I did find that it struggled in some areas. Zooming took away a lot of detail like when I was trying to snap a sloth up a tree in Costa Rica. It wasn’t quite able to cope in low light without the flash especially when the subject was further away, like when I was trying to photograph the lava erupting from a volcano at night in Guatemala. And videos were shaky if I didn’t apply the stabilisation like when I was kayaking on a lake in Nicaragua.
But in saying that, I was generally quite impressed at the photos I took, and the speed at which I could take them. Check out some of my shots below.
3. This phone is well designed
As well as the camera system and battery life, the design of the Oppo Find X5 Lite proved to be really well suited to travel.
Measuring 7.81 x 73.2mm and weighing 173g, it doesn’t add too much bulk to your bag. I found that the handset comfortably slipped into most pockets and I could easily squeeze it into my often overfilled bumbag.
The screen was another big plus point - the Oppo Find X5 Lite has a 6.43-inch FHD display with 800 nits peak brightness and HDR10+. The quality of the screen was important to me because `I spent a lot of time viewing and editing my photos, and I streamed a fair amount of TV on travel days too. The Oppo Find X5 Lite was great for all of that, I had no complaints about the quality of the display.
I was also pleased to find that I could comfortably use the Find X5 Lite phone one-handed when I was trying to juggle a few things at once. My thumb stretched to both sides of the screen, which isn't the case with most larger handsets. I did also add a Popsocket to the back so that I could prop it up and take selfies more easily, which also turned out to be a fantastic idea, if I may say so myself.
In terms of design, there’s just one feature I could really have done with - an IP rating. This phone isn’t waterproof or even water resistant so I had to be careful using it near bodies of water and in tropical rain.