We just received a unique new accessory for the Oppo Find X5 Pro – Oppo’s Ice-Skin case. Intended to aid passive cooling of the phone, this case comes as part of the standard retail set for phones sold in China. Unfortunately, the case’s availability is so far limited to China, and we received our review unit directly from Oppo.
At the time of writing, we couldn’t find the case available outside of China, although we were promised a global release would be coming. However, for Western Find X5 Pro users, the case will be a separate purchase whose price has yet to be announced.
However, it was the technical side that aroused our curiosity. It’s not often you see technological innovation in something as simple as a protective case.
The Ice-Skin case is unique because it incorporates a soft hydrogel layer over its entire back. The hydrogel is stored inside a soft rubber case, which can be seen from both inside and outside the case.
Inside, the rubbery surface is flat and unbroken, maintaining full contact with the back of the phone.
On the outside, the hydrogel is covered with a set of plastic strips, which provide both flexibility and protection. They allow the hydrogel to come into contact with the environment, which would be all it needs to regenerate its cooling capabilities. The case is supposed to capture heat from the back of the phone, continuously transfer it to the surrounding air, and do so much more efficiently than any other case.
If you have read our Find X5 Pro detailed review, you probably remember that the phone incorporates a multi-level passive cooling system. A 3D graphene film covers the motherboard and charging coil, and a dedicated ultra-thin graphite film covers both the back of the screen and the display IC. A vapor chamber with an area almost 75% larger than that of the Find X3 Pro covers both the SoC and the battery.
This system should effectively dissipate all the heat generated during high intensity use to the surface of the phone.
Unfortunately, even that extra-large vapor chamber is sufficient as the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen1 chipset can get quite toasty under load. Despite the advanced passive cooling system, the phone’s benchmark scores quickly dropped on the second and third cycles due to thermal throttling.
We don’t want to say the Find X5 Pro is a worse offender in this respect than any of the other phones using the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, but obviously Oppo thinks there’s more to it than just simply rely on the built-in cooling solution.
Enter the Ice-Skin hull with its Glacier Mat. Using a special hydrogel, developed by Wuhan University in China, it is able to continuously absorb moisture from the air and release it through evaporation, providing a continuous recharge of its cooling properties.
Even before putting the case on the phone, the hydrogel pad on the inner side of the case was noticeably cooler than any other surface in the room (ambient air temperature of 22°C), so that was a promising start. .
Ice-Skin Case Cooling Performance Test
The test we decided to use to examine the cooling performance of the Ice-Skin case is the CPU Throttling Test (available on Google Play), which we often use in our tests.
Function test 1 – Case disabled
the the first run had the Find X5 Pro naked, without the case, and we had the phone propped up on its back on two thin strips of silicone without touching any larger solid objects that might help with heat dissipation (like the desk). The ambient temperature was 21C. The screen brightness slider has been set to 50% on the slider.
Less than ten minutes into the test, CPU performance experienced its first dip below 80%. The reported battery temperature was 41°C, down from 22°C at the start of the test.
From there the phone obviously got its bearings, and for the next 10 minutes it only dipped below 80% once or twice. The reported internal temperature, however, rose to 43C. The upper back of the phone also got quite warm to the touch, especially the metal frame.
The hot upper part of the frame was a bit of a concern. We weren’t sure the Ice-Skin case could work its magic on this hotspot, in particular, since the hydrogel pad didn’t stretch upwards. But hey, if we knew all the answers in advance, we wouldn’t be taking this test.
Twenty minutes into the test, the phone settled comfortably around the 80% performance mark with hardly any significant drops. The temperature seems to have stabilized at 43°C.
Thirty minutes into the test, the phone’s performance was still hovering around 80%, but the reported internal temperature rose to 44°C. The upper part of the metal frame was no longer comfortable to the touch for more than a few seconds.
Forty minutes into the test we continued to see the same thing – around 80% performance and a battery temperature of around 44°C, so we stopped the timer.
CPU throttling test with Ice-Skin case turns phone off – focus on first 20 minutes
There are hardly any surprises here, though we admit the Find X5 Pro did better than our review results, where it throttled to 70 per cent after just twenty minutes of testing.
Function test 2 – Case activated
For the second run, our Find X5 Pro was now equipped with the Ice-Skin case. The other environmental conditions were identical.
By monitoring the real-time performance graph, we could immediately see an improvement in phone performance as the timer progressed.
Ten minutes into the test, the phone experienced its first dip to around 90% performance, but the temperature was only 38°C.
It was only after 16 minutes of testing that we saw the first dip below 80% and temperatures around 42C. Now, with the case on, it took the phone twice as long to get to this point.
But from there, we saw the same thing as before. Twenty minutes into the test, performance stabilized at around 80% and temperatures reached a steady 43°C.
CPU throttling test with Ice-Skin case on phone – focus on first 20 minutes
We finished the second run forty minutes after the start, with performance hovering around 80% and an internal temperature maintained at 44°C – again, like in the first run. Only this time, with the case wrapping around the phone’s frame, touch was no longer an issue despite the high temperatures.
We can safely conclude that with prolonged heavy loads (20min+) the Find X5 Pro will get hot and it will reduce to around 80% of its peak performance whether or not you use the Ice-Skin case.
In fact, the cooling properties of the case seem temporary, and even though it has regenerative abilities, unlike most hydrogels, they fall far short of what is needed to keep the Oppo Find X5 Pro cool. under prolonged load.
However, as temporary cooling relief (less than 15 minutes) or when you need all the performance the phone can muster for a quick gaming session or two, the Ice-Skin case can get you the cooling which you need.
Also, design-wise, it’s a pretty cool case, and it doesn’t add any more bulk than a regular case.
Overall, the Oppo Ice-Skin case is worth recommending, and it does a good job as long as you keep your expectations in check.
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