DISCLAIMER: This is NOT a sponsored review by OPPO. The opinions and thoughts expressed below are my own and do not necessarily represent the official views of Pandaily.
The OPPO R17 Pro was unveiled back in August earlier this year. It’s a stunning device that comes with triple rear cameras, Snapdragon 710, and Super VOOC Flash Charge, the fastest charging technology on the market currently. I was lucky enough to be able to play around with the phone for about 3 weeks and found some great features and some not-so-great things with the device. Here’s a video review of the smartphone:
- Dimensions: 157.6×74.6×7.9mm
- Weight: 183 grams
- Dual-SIM (Nano)
- Color OS 5.2, based on Android 8.1 Oreo
- 6.4-inch full-HD+ (1080×2340 pixels) AMOLED display with a waterdrop notch
- Cornings Gorilla Glass 6
- 91.5 percent screen-to-body ratio
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 SoC
- 8GB RAM
- 128GB internal storage, expandable via microSD card (up to 256GB)
- 3,700mAh battery with Super VOOC Flash Charge
- triple rear cameras:
- 12-MP shooter at f/1.5 to f/2.4
- 20-MP shooter at f/2.6
- TOF 3D shooter
- 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi 802.11ac (dual-band, 2.4GHz and 5GHz)
- Bluetooth v5.0
- GPS/ A-GPS
- USB Type-C with OTG functionality
Stunning design like none before
The radiant mist casing with fog lighting that gradually shifts from deep blue to purple is downright gorgeous. The color gradient looks natural whether you’re indoors or outside under natural light. It’s one of the few phones that make me NOT want to get a protective case just to show it off.
The texture is neither dull nor too reflective that it becomes a fingerprint magnet. The fingerprints on the back are not too visible unless you look at it close up. So, in my opinion, the build, color, and texture of the phone are very well done. If I really had to nitpick, I guess the dented creases on the head and toe of the phone could be more rounded out. But this is all just personal preference.
Now OPPO decided to follow the trends of recent flagship designs when it came to the notch. The waterdrop notch design looks just like the OnePlus 6T released back in October. There are no options to toggle it in the settings so one would have to live with it. To be honest, it looks quite good in my opinion. The curves are smooth and not at all intruding to the whole experience of looking at the phone display.
A day’s power in just 30 minutes
Alright, detailed explanation incoming: So you guys might already know that power is measured in watts and the more wattage being supplied to a smartphone, the faster it will charge. Lots of the smartphone chargers operate at 5V and supply a current of 2A. So multiple 5V x 2A and you get 10 watts of power. Now OPPO claims that it raised the current carrying capacity by 100%. This means that even at the same 5V voltage, the charger supplies current at 4A instead of 2A, which makes the total come out to 20 watts.
So we set out to test OPPO’s claim on charging times. After depleting the battery completely, I set a timer to record just how fast the phone can charge. And to my surprise, OPPO really wasn’t exaggerating when it guaranteed at least a 40 percent charge in just 10 minutes!
Now this was game changing for me and I’m sure it will be for many people too. Because if you forget to charge your phone overnight, you could just spend about the 15 minutes you get ready in the morning to charge your phone, and you’d get at least a 50 percent battery. I’ve got to give both thumbs up to OPPO for this.
Camera: General impressions
The OPPO R17 Pro comes with 3 rear cameras—a 12MP, a 20MP, and a TOF 3D sensor lens. I found that the R17 Pro performs a lot better in bright light settings compared to dim light environments. The AI features automatically detects the environment you’re in and tries to provide the optimal settings for taking pictures. But for me I like to leave it off personally. Because I feel like the AI scenery detection isn’t very accurate most of the time.
Also, the beautifying effects! I feel like it’s just way too much. I mean I understand the craze over beautifying your pictures, like having a smaller chin, thinner face, or bigger eyes, etc. but at this level, it’s just a little too crazy for me. I feel like I have no idea who I’m taking pictures of anymore whenever I leave it on. I look like an anime character when taking selfies. However, if that’s your particular brand of vodka, go ahead. Leave it on to your heart’s content!
Two things I’d found to be quite unsatisfactory was the video taking and night mode on the R17 Pro. I’d noticed that whenever I tried to take videos, even in bright light settings, there’s an obvious graphics lag that follows when zooming on the device. The jerky movements of the images are extremely uncomfortable to look at. I strongly suspect a software or algorithms issue over here. It definitely needs a fix.
And night mode! Night mode has been a little shaky for me and not exactly easy to use. You have to thoroughly wipe the lens first before taking a photo because a dirty lens may affect the taking experience severely. But anyway, this could perhaps be fixed through a algorithms update. I’m hoping OPPO addresses this soon because it gets a little annoying if I have to wipe my lens every time I want to take a picture.
TOF 3D sensor lens
One of the most exciting, yet at the same time disappointing, features of this phone is its TOF 3D sensor lens. It’s exciting because it has been marketed to be able to complete 3D scans of objects and pull off superior AR; but also disappointing because OPPO hasn’t released the software needed to run it.
The craze to add in new features is natural and understandable. But it seems pointless to try to rush an incomplete feature just for attention. So right now, the R17 Pro is effectively a dual-lens phone. The TOF 3D sensing lens is just a decoration. Although frustrating, there’s little I can do about it, regardless of how desperately I’d like to demonstrate its capabilities. Not exactly a very well-thought-out decision the way I see it.
Strangely priced for a Snapdragon 710 flagship
As a phone that’s a tier below the premium sector, the R17 Pro lacks some flagship features such as water-proofing, stereo speakers, and wireless charging. These are all subjective features of a flagship experience the way I see it. I mean if I was to spend $600 on a smartphone, it’s very unlikely I’ll take it to the washroom for a bath, play music out loud constantly, nor be up tight about not having wireless charging. But, if you’re using the Snapdragon 710 still, on a flagship device and selling it at a higher price than a lot of the other flagships currently on the market, that begins to sound a little strange to me. I guess the pricing on OPPO devices have all just been geared towards the higher end market, but with strangely paired specs at the same time.
What I found slightly faulty:
- The fingerprint unlock is a little unstable personally. I’m not sure if it’s a hardware or software issue, but the fingerprint unlock just didn’t meet my expectations for a $600 device. It often took more than a second to unlock, or just doesn’t unlock at all. This really shouldn’t be an issue for a flagship device.
- Mono speaker. I guess it doesn’t bother me overall, but if I’m spending this much on a flagship, I’d expect this to be an obvious inclusion.
- Again, night mode has some strange algorithms that really need an immediate update. It’s not exactly a great experience having to thoroughly clean up the lens before taking a picture.
- Zooming in and out during video takes. The graphics spikes are cringing to look at for a flagship smartphone and desperately needs an optimization.
What I really liked about it:
- The flash charge is definitely a plus for me. After playing with the phone for about two weeks, it completely changed my charging habits. Whenever I’m low on battery, I plug in the phone for about 20 minutes and I get about 80 percent. Awesome.
- The radiant mist case is another plus here. I may not be an art major, but I still have an aesthetic appreciation for beautiful smartphone designs. The OPPO R17 Pro is, by my books, the most stunning smartphone released in 2018. The aurora splash across the back is right up my alley.
- Daytime photos and portrait mode. Vibrant colors, wide dynamic contrast, edges that didn’t look too sharp. The bokeh on portrait mode was done well and looked very natural.
- It barely heats up even after hours of intensive use and charging as you use it.
- And even though I said I’d rather toggle off the beautifying effects in the video, this is still a plus for me because it does make things fun and enjoyable when taking pictures of people, not just myself.
So anyway, besides all that I’ve said, I’d still give the OPPO R17 Pro a big thumbs up for the overall experience I had. Yes, it is still lacking in some aspects mentioned above, but the overall usage was smooth, quick, and comfortable. It is a high-performance phone with a rather above-average price for its specs. It has no obvious shortcomings, just a few minor personal preferences here and there.
I would say that its biggest selling point is still the Super VOOC Flash Charge and the stunning design! The super fast charge is truly a life saver, especially for intense smartphone users who need to constantly access their phones. And honestly, you’d fall in love with it too if you held it in your hands and watched it glow.