Oppo recently launched its new smartphone, the R17 Pro, in India but we knew a lot about the product even before its arrival. It was widely rumoured that the OnePlus 6T would be based on the design of this phone, and there are in fact a lot of similarities between the two. What is different is the hardware.
Oppo has gone with the new mid-range Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 SoC to power this smartphone rather than the flagship Snapdragon 845 that OnePlus uses. Also new is the SuperVOOC Flash Charger which pumps out 50W of power and promises to charge this phone at a ridiculously fast pace.
Priced at Rs. 45,990, does the Oppo R17 Pro stand a chance against its powerful competitors? We put it through our tests to find out.
Oppo R17 Pro design
Oppo was among the first smartphone manufacturers to introduce multicolour gradient finishes on its smartphones. This has been a welcome change from the standard colours and finishes options that every other manufacturer offered. Our Oppo R17 Pro review unit has a dual-tone finish called Radiant Mist which is a gradient between cyan and purple. Even the metal frame is finished in this colour, which gives the phone a funky look. If you don't like the flashy finish, you have the option of a plain Emerald Green.
At the front, the Oppo R17 Pro sports a 6.4-inch display with a waterdrop notch at the top. Just like the OnePlus 6T (Review), the earpiece is moved above the selfie camera and towards the frame to make the notch smaller. You won't be able to spot a physical fingerprint scanner on this device as the Oppo R17 Pro sports an in-display fingerprint scanner like the OnePlus 6T and the Huawei Mate 20 Pro (Review). The sensor is located beneath the display, just above the capacitive navigation buttons.
The bezels at the sides and the top of the display are thin while the bottom bezel is comparatively thicker. Oppo has positioned the power button to the right while the volume buttons are to the left, and all three are easy to reach. At the top and bottom, you'll find concave indentations which are just for design, and are similar to what we saw on the Oppo Find X (Review).
The earpiece is moved towards the phone's frame to make the notch smaller
At the bottom of the Oppo R17 Pro are the USB Type-C port, speaker grille, and primary microphone, while a secondary microphone is at the top. Just like the OnePlus 6T, the R17 Pro misses out on a headphone jack. You get USB Type-C headphones in the box but not a Type-C to 3.5mm dongle.
The camera module, which is at the centre of the back, comprises of a dual camera setup along with 3D sensors. There's also a dual-LED flash under it, and an Oppo logo. The phone is 7.9mm thick and is curved on the sides which makes it comfortable to hold. Oppo has opted for a dual-battery setup consisting of two 1850mAh units for a total capacity of 3700mAh.
To top this battery off, Oppo ships a 50W SuperVOOC Flash charger in the box and it is definitely one of the highest rated chargers we have ever seen bundled with a smartphone in India.
Oppo R17 Pro specifications, features, and software
While the Oppo R17 Pro looks a lot like the OnePlus 6T, it does not pack the same amount of power. Oppo has opted for the new Snapdragon 710 SoC to power its smartphone. This is a capable octa-core processor with eight custom Kryo 360 CPU cores. Two of these cores are based on the ARM Cortex-A75 architecture and the other six are based on the Cortex-A55 architecture. We first saw this processor powering the recently launched Nokia 8.1 (Review) which costs quite a bit less than the R17 Pro.
The 6.4-inch display on the R17 Pro has a 19.5:9 aspect ratio and full-HD+ resolution. There is Corning Gorilla Glass 6 for protection which should be able to help prevent scratches. Oppo offers the R17 Pro in one configuration only, with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. There is no microSD card slot, but 128GB should be comfortable for most users.
The Oppo R17 Pro is a dual-SIM device with two Nano-SIM slots. There is 4G as well as VoLTE on both SIMs. Other connectivity options on the device include Bluetooth 5, dual-band Wi-Fi, NFC, and GPS.
Our R17 Pro review unit was running ColorOS 5.2 on top of Android 8.1 Oreo along with the October 2018 security patch. This isn't a great sign, as more affordable phones such as the Nokia 8.1 are shipping with Android Pie out of the box.
The Radiant Mist version of the Oppo R17 Pro has a unique finish
ColorOS, Oppo's custom skin, is available on the R17 Pro and could take a short time getting used to. This is the new version of the UI which is also available on the Oppo A7 (Review) and the RealMe U1 (Review) and you can finally dismiss notifications with a single swipe. There is no app drawer, and all icons are available on the homescreen. Oppo has also redesigned and reordered the Settings app.
Quite a few apps come preinstalled on the R17 Pro. You get Facebook, WPS Office, PayTM, UC Browser, Dailyhunt, and Amazon Shopping amongst others. A preinstalled app called ORoaming lets you subscribe to data packs when you travel abroad without needing a local SIM. Smart Scan lets you scan documents and convert them into editable text. It is also capable of translating different languages.
Gesture support can be enabled from the Settings app. This lets you interact with the phone using gestures. Like a few recent Oppo phones you also get a Smart Sidebar, which is somewhat similar to the one seen on the Samsung Galaxy S9 (Review), and gives you app and action shortcuts when you swipe on it from any screen.
Theme support is built into ColorOS, so you can customise the smartphone to your liking. Oppo also has its own AppStore that serves curated apps. Game Space lets you alter how the smartphone behaves when playing games. You can block notifications, lock screen brightness and even clear memory when launching a game.
During our review period, we were constantly bombarded with annoying notification spam. The two main apps responsible for it were the stock browser and Oppo AppStore. You do have the option to switch off these notifications from the respective apps' settings, but they did not stop even after we did this.
Oppo R17 Pro performance, battery life, and cameras
The Oppo R17 Pro has a relatively new processor, being only the second phone to sport the Qualcomm Snapdragon 710, after the Nokia 8.1. We put the R17 Pro through our tests to see how it performs.
In AnTuTu, the phone managed to clock 1,55,629 which is lower than the 1,71,343 that the Nokia 8.1 (Review) achieved. The R17 Pro managed 1,801 and 5,932 points in Geekbench's single-core and multi-core tests respectively. In terms of graphics, we got 55fps in GFXBench T-rex and 20fps in the Manhattan 3.1 scene.
As expected, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 sits between the Snapdragon 600 series and the Snapdragon 800 series in terms of performance. It is marginally better than the 600 series in CPU tests, but there is a considerable jump in GPU performance which was evident to us when gaming.
The Oppo R17 Pro has an in-display fingerprint scanner
We played PUBG Mobile and Asphalt 9: Legends on the R17 Pro, and it handled them without any hiccups. PUBG Mobile ran at High settings with the graphics set to HD and frame rate set to High without any lag or stutter. Asphalt 9 ran at Medium settings by default.
Day-to-day performance was good and the phone showed no sign of slowdowns. Even with a bloated UI, it was capable of delivering a smooth experience without stutters. With 8GB of RAM, there is plenty of room for multitasking between apps.
In-display fingerprint scanners are slowly becoming more common, and the Oppo R17 Pro has one. This in-display scanner isn't as quick as a traditional scanner, which is our only gripe. Oppo also offers a face recignition feature. You do have the option to use a combination of face unlock and the fingerprint scanner. This makes the phone trigger face recognition only when you tap the fingerprint icon on the display. Users can also lock down apps and secure a private storage space using these methods.
The R17 Pro has dual 1850mAh batteries, totalling up to a capacity of 3700mAh. It offers good battery life, and our HD video loop test went on for 14 hours and 18 minutes. With our usage consisting of 37 minutes of PUBG Mobile, an active WhatsApp connection, 30 minutes of navigation using Google Maps, and running a few benchmarks, we still ended our day with around 45 percent left.
The Oppo R17 Pro ships with a 50W SuperVOOC Flash charger in the box
Things get a little exciting when you first try using the SuperVOOC Flash Charger. You don't get to plug a 50W charger into a phone every day, do you? We guessed it would be faster than the 20W Dash Charger from OnePlus and the 40W charger that Huawei ships with the Mate 20 Pro, but we were blown away.
The SuperVOOC Flash Charger is capable of topping an empty battery in 35 minutes flat! It managed to get the phone to 57 percent in 15 minutes, and 95 percent in 30 minutes. This is definitely useful for absent-minded people who often forget to charge their devices.The phone does get slightly warm to the touch, but this isn't alarming. Even the charger did not get hot during these fast charging sessions.
This is definitely something we hope other manufacturers pick up from the Oppo R17 Pro for its smartphones. That said, we can't really gauge the impact this kind of rapid charging has on battery's long term life.
The camera module on the Oppo R17 Pro comprises of dual camera sensors along with a TOF (Time Of Flight) 3D sensor. The primary 12-megapixel sensor has a variable aperture of f/1.5 or f/2.4 which should give it an edge in different lighting conditions. The R17 Pro automatically switches the aperture based on lighting conditions, and we couldn't find a way of controlling it manually. Along with this is a 20-megapixel depth sensor that assists in portrait shots.
Oppo's camera app UI remains unchanged, but a few features are added. Smart Beautification mode allows you to toggle AI-based beautification on or off. There are multiple filter options that you can apply before taking an image. You get quick controls for HDR, the timer, and the flash. The 3D sensor cannot be used at the moment, as there is no way to enable it. Oppo told Gadgets 360 that it will be rolling out an update to enable this in the near feature, but did not specify when this will happen.
Apart from the usual photo and video modes, you get Panorama, Portrait, Night, Sticker, and an Expert mode. In Expert mode, you have complete control over the white balance, exposure, ISO, shutter speed, and autofocus.
Tap to see full-sized Oppo R17 Pro camera samples
Photos taken with the Oppo R17 Pro had good amounts of detail, even for objects that were at a distance. AI Scene Recognition is available and is able to recognise what the camera is pointed towards. It is able to meter the scene quickly and switches on HDR automatically if required. Colour reproduction was quite accurate, but there's also a Dazzle Colour option that seems to make the output more vivid.
Macros had good detail, and the second sensor did help in creating a good depth effect. Portrait mode gives you the option to simulate different light effects. We found it to have good edge detection and the effects did look good.
The Oppo R17 Pro managed to capture good details in low light. The varying aperture helped capture more light in dimly lit areas. Noise was kept under control but we did see fine grain in the output when we zoomed in. The dedicated night mode keeps the shutter open for slightly longer than usual, and the results had a watercolour-like effect.
Selfies were crisp and the R17 Pro is capable of capturing a good shot in different lighting conditions. You also get good edge detection when taking portraits with the selfie camera. You can even use AR stickers which mimic your facial movements.
Video recording maxes out at 4K for the primary camera and 1080p for the selfie shooter. We did not have to deal with a time limit for 4K video recording. There is no stabilisation available at 4K but the phone is capable of stabilising 1080p footage very well. Oppo offers beautification in video and lets you adjust the level of beautification you require.
Priced at Rs. 45,990, the Oppo R17 Pro currently sits between the Oppo F9 Pro (Review), which is priced at Rs. 21,990 after a recent price drop, and the Oppo Find X (Review), which costs a lot more at Rs. 59,990. The R17 Pro offers solid build quality, a flashy paint job, and an insanely fast charger.
While the Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 isn't a bad processor by any means, it isn't the fastest one around. One of the biggest competitors to the R17 Pro is the OnePlus 6T (Review), which packs in a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor at a lower price.
If you are the absent-minded type and see the need for SuperVOOC Flash charging, then by all means, go for the R17 Pro. But if you are more value-conscious, then the OnePlus 6T should check all your boxes.