Oppo, a Chinese smartphone manufacturer known for affordable camera-centric mobile devices, recently launched its premium offering, the Oppo R17 Pro, in India. This is the second flagship product that the company brought to the country, after the Oppo Find X. Priced at Rs 45,990, the Oppo R17 Pro shares similarities with the OnePlus 6T (review). Both phone have the same parent company, BKK Electronics. However, in terms of utility, the Oppo R17 Pro is targeted to a different audience. It is primarily a camera phone with a triple camera module on the rear, which has unconventional lenses configuration.
Display: 6.4-inch AMOLED, waterdrop notch design
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 710, Adreno 616 GPU
Rear camera: 12MP primary lens of f/1.5-2.4 variable aperture, dual-Pixel PDAF and optical image stabilisation | 20MP secondary lens of f/2.6 aperture and autofocus | 3D time-of-flight (ToF) sensor for depth
Front camera: 25MP lens of f/2.0 aperture
RAM and Storage: 8GB and 128GB
Battery: 3,700 mAh (1,850 mAh bi-cell design)
Others: In-display fingerprint and SuperVOOC flash charge technology
From the front, the Oppo R17 Pro looks similar to the OnePlus 6T. However, it has subtle differences on the back and on the chassis. For an example, the phone’s radiant mist colour is different than the thunder purple colour of the 6T. It is a combination of purple and blue, which reflect a hue of each shade when looked from angles. Like OnePlus 6T thunder purple edition, the radiant mist colour variant of the R17 Pro is not prone to fingerprints, making it convenient for user to use the phone without back cover.
The R17 Pro chassis is thick and does not have an arc design of the 6T. It is pressed towards inside from the top and bottom, which does not add to any benefit, but cosmetic beauty. The dual SIM slot is there at the bottom of the device, along with mono speaker, primary microphone and USB type-C charging and audio output port. The volume rocker keys are placed on the left side, and the power key on the right side of the chassis.
Overall, the Oppo R17 Pro design looks similar to the OnePlus 6T, except for the rear camera module that is bigger in the R17 Pro due to triple camera set-up, and a few noticeable differences in terms of colour reflection and chassis design.
The Oppo R17 Pro has a 6.4-inch waterdrop notch-based AMOLED screen of fullHD+ resolution, stretched in tall 19.5:9 aspect ratio. The screen is bright and vivid, and can be tuned to render warm, natural or cool colours by changing the settings from display menu. Though the screen does not support additional modes that are there in the 6T, such as adaptive, sRGB and DCI-P3 mode, it is bright and render colours that look pleasing to eyes. The display, being an AMOLED unit, has good contrast and dynamic range. Sunlight legibility is also good and the screen fares better irrespective of indoor or outdoor usage.
Though the Oppo R17 Pro has a triple camera module on the back, the lenses configuration is done in a way that limits the imaging capabilities to the primary lens, whereas the secondary and 3D ToF lens provide just the depth information. However, the primary lens is a capable shooter with f/1.5-2.4 variable aperture that plays automatically, based on lighting conditions.
The phone supports artificial intelligence-based automatic scene detection, which works consistently to recognise most of the scenes, such as sunset, food, pet, etc. There is a beautification mode that also relies on AI to produce heavily edited shots that looks unreal but gorgeous, something that social media enthusiasts and beauty experts would appreciate. This AI beauty option is available in auto mode and portrait mode, making it easy to use it whenever required.
The rear cameras’ true potential lies in portrait and night time shots. In portrait mode, the camera module resolves details and takes good shots. It recognises faces automatically, even multiple faces in one single frame, and capture portraits with natural bokeh effect. In night time, the camera identifies the scene using AI and tunes the settings to take clearer shots. In dim light conditions, the night mode comes in handy to take over exposure handheld shots without shaky output.
The front camera also supports portrait mode, making it a suitable choice for selfie enthusiasts. Though it supports beauty mode, the lens does not able to resolve as much details as the rear camera module does. The night time photography from front camera is also just satisfactory.
Overall, compared to the OnePlus 6T, the Oppo R17 Pro fares better in terms of photography. Though it relies largely on just the 12MP primary lens, it captures scintillating frames irrespective of lighting conditions. It also resolves details better in portrait shots and manages to outdo any other phone in adding artificial beautification to the human faces.
Though the phone has a less capable processor, compared to the flagship processor (Qualcomm Snapdragon 845) in the 6T, it does not show up any major challenges in terms of performance. The phone handles most of the day-to-day operations without any hiccups. It is good at multitasking and retains apps in background without force closing them to free up the resources for other apps. The phone also handles graphic intensive gaming titles such as PUBG and Asphalt 9 easily with graphic settings set to high.
Though the R17 Pro does not show any weakness and continues to go for extended hours without any lags or slowdown, the phone’s default user interface (ColorOS 5.2, based on Android Oreo 8.1) is kind of a let-down. The UI looks childish and is not user-friendly. It takes time to understand the interface and the setting menu. The UI has no app drawer, which makes it difficult to find any particular app – if there are numerous apps installed.
Powering the phone is a dual 1,850 batteries, which makes a total battery capacity of 3,700 mAh. The phone easily sails through a day on normal usage and around 12 hours on heavy usage. The phone’s on-battery time is not exemplary, but the fast charge technology (SuperVOOC) it comes bundled with deserves accolades. It is super-fast in charging the battery and requires less than an hour to take the battery charge from zero to 100 percent.
The Oppo R17 Pro is a complete package with strengths across areas. The phone is primarily a camera-centric device, where it delivers consistently irrespective of lighting conditions. The SuperVOOC charging technology and in-display fingerprint sensor add to the overall utility of the smartphone to make it an all-rounder in its segment. However, at its price, the phone seems to be on an expensive side.