OPPO Philippines will formally launch its first triple-sensor camera phone in the R17 Pro at an event slated for November 7. We already gave you an overview of the device and what it can do in trickier lighting conditions in a previous article.
OPPO R17 Pro preview
Today, we’re sharing our hands-on review of the OPPO R17 Pro to give you a more holistic view in anticipation of its local announcement. But first, let’s discuss pricing and availability where OPPO’s latest will first go on sale.
In its native China, the OPPO R17 Pro with 6GB RAM costs ¥3,999 (P30,638 or $576), while the 8GB RAM variant is priced at ¥4,299 (P32,937 or $619). Both versions are equipped with 128GB of memory and will start shipping later this month.
Prices in the Philippines are expected to mirror local pricing, give or take a couple of thousand pesos, which put both versions well above the P17,990 ($339) OPPO F9 but still below the P49,990 ($941) flagship OPPO Find X. The R17 Pro is an upper-mid-tier phone — think the Samsung Galaxy A series — and its price tag reflects just that.
Moving on, what’s most striking about the phone is on the outside. The R17 Pro is, without a speck of doubt, one of the most beautifully designed and crafted phones we’ve ever had the pleasure of testing. The body is made of metal and glass, like most premium models, but the execution here is on point.
Rounded edges and smooth contours make for a comfortable yet secure grip, and the weight isn’t excessive, just right for the phone’s size. Though the backing doesn’t feel like it, there’s actually glass on both sides, held in place by a two-tone metal railing with subtle concave details on the top and bottom, similar to what you’d see on the Find X.
But despite that, the hardware gives off a strong Samsung vibe, which, if nothing else, is a compliment to how well it’s built and how pleasing it is to hold in the hand. The tapered glass back is coated in a soft-touch finish, making it more resistant to fingerprints and smudges.
Perhaps our only major gripe is that the company chose to eliminate the headphone jack on the OPPO R17 Pro without offering proper waterproofing. Thankfully, it does include an adapter in the box, along with a translucent but tinted case and a 50-watt Super VOOC charger, which we’ll get to in a minute.
If it wasn’t obvious already, the eye-catching Radiant Mist coloring around the back serves as the R17 Pro’s main attraction. It’s made using advanced surface-etching process that allows the blue and purple colors to shift dramatically in different light and show a vertical gradation between two distinct hues. Our pictures may not do it justice, so it’s probably best to see it in person.
Also unique to the OPPO R17 Pro is its vertical triple-camera setup, with the third option dedicated to capturing 3D images of an object or person. The way it works is, the user cautiously circles the time-of-flight or TOF 3D camera around the subject until the scan is complete. It’s sort of like the 3D Creator app Sony debuted on its own Xperia phones, only it’s less functional because you don’t have the option of uploading images to Facebook or even sharing them in a format that’s accessible.
But the intention here, according to OPPO, is to deliver better augmented-reality experiences, with AR expected to explode in China over the next few years. Personally, we don’t think it’s something most users will find useful, much less compelling.
The primary camera is a different story. It has a 12-megapixel sensor with optical image stabilization and a variable aperture of f/1.5 and f/2.4 like the Samsung Galaxy S9+ and Galaxy Note 9 cameras. On the OPPO R17 Pro, however, you can’t manually switch between the apertures as necessary; the phone will decide how wide the shutter opens, adjusting the settings based on available light.
Photos turned out nicely, even those shot in low light and at night. The main camera did focus and snap images quickly, and the image quality looked good — bright, detailed, and nicely saturated. We’re very pleased with the results, although to be clear, we were using pre-production software for review. It may get better with some more fine-tuning.
Pictures captured on the OPPO R17 Pro
The secondary shooter is 20 megapixels and provides additional detail and depth information for bokeh and portrait-style pictures. It seems to work well enough, as the blur effect is accurate and effective.
The front-side camera features a 25-megapixel sensor, most likely the same one used in other OPPO handsets. It performs adequately in most situations, delivering crisp detail and natural skin tones. The R17 Pro’s beauty mode also does an admirable job of enhancing facial features without making them look too processed.
Selfies taken with the OPPO R17 Pro
The OPPO R17 Pro comes in sporting a 6.4-inch OLED screen with 2,340 x 1,080 resolution and an aspect ratio of 19.5:9. It checks all the right boxes, with a punchy, contrasty picture and satisfyingly deep blacks. Add in wide viewing angles and high brightness for outdoor visibility, and it’s a great viewing experience.
The bezels are thin all around the screen, with only the bottom bezel being the most visible, while the notch that houses the selfie camera is minimal. The proximity and light sensors are embedded underneath the display, which occupies 91.5 percent of the front panel. Impressive stuff.
Also found beneath the display glass is the R17 Pro’s fingerprint scanner. It works pretty well and functions like a traditional sensor, though we still found OPPO’s implementation to be slower at reading fingerprint data. It’s far from perfect, but at least accuracy isn’t a problem.
Powering the OPPO R17 Pro is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 processor mated to 8GB RAM and 128GB of native storage. The Snapdragon 710 is a higher-end chip than the Snapdragon 660 and Snapdragon 670, but it’s still far behind the Snapdragon 835 and Snapdragon 845 in terms of actual and gaming performance.
That’s not to say it doesn’t perform well in day-to-day use; it really does — and apps are quick to launch and load for the most part. Swiping through the interface feels smooth, and we rarely encountered stutters in the animations. Unfortunately, our test unit couldn’t run our usual benchmarks, so you’ll just have to wait for our follow-up article to see how it compares to other options in the category.
Interestingly, the R17 Pro combines two 1,850mAh batteries for a total of 3,700mAh. OPPO says that using two cells instead of one is necessary for Super VOOC Flash Charge, which delivers close to 50 watts of power, and in turn, allows the phone to reach charging speeds we’ve never seen before.
Super VOOC Flash Charge delivers close to 50 watts of power, and in turn, allows the OPPO R17 Pro to reach charging speeds we’ve never seen before. It’s the fastest wired-charging technology around, and once you use it, you’ll never want to go back to anything else.
Super VOOC is the fastest wired-charging technology around, and once you use it, you’ll never want to go back to anything else. We charged our unit only twice during our testing and found that just 20 minutes of topping up would take us to a 75-percent battery, enough for a day of moderate use. Adding another 10 minutes would result in an almost-full charge. It’s ridiculously fast.
Despite its glass backing, the OPPO R17 Pro doesn’t support wireless charging. But when wired charging is this good, it’s not something you’re likely to miss.
The OPPO R17 Pro is a substantial upgrade for anyone looking for something that is prettier and faster; has a nice and sizable OLED display; and takes great handheld photos in poor lighting. The new fingerprint-unlocking system is accurate and placed in an ideal location. On top of that, Super VOOC is indeed extremely fast and manages to hit charging speeds we haven’t seen before with other phones.
We will put the phone through its paces for a much more detailed insight. Stay tuned for our follow-up story.
OPPO R17 Pro specs
- 6.4-inch AMOLED display, 2,340 x 1,080 resolution (19.5:9)
- Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 processor
- 8GB RAM
- 128GB storage
- Triple 12-megapixel camera with f/1.5-f/2.4 aperture lens, 20-megapixel, f/2.6 camera, 3D depth-sensing camera
- 25-megapixel, f/2.0 front camera
- Fingerprint reader (in-display)
- 3,700mAh battery
- ColorOS 5.2-based on Android 8.1 Oreo
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