It’s been quite a while since we last have an OPPO smartphone in the labs – and today, we have their latest R-series smartphone in our hands – the OPPO R17 Pro. It came out guns blazing with a few key highlights – fantastic night shots, SuperVOOC charger, and the 3D TOF camera.
Is the OPPO R17 Pro worthy of your attention? Let’s take a look in this in-depth review here.
The OPPO R17 Pro comes in a very fancy box as OPPO is clearly showing everyone that the this phone in particular, has a fancy blue and purple color. The words “R17 PRO” are embossed on the packaging and has fancy reflections too.
At the back we see a simple sticker highlighting the variant of the OPPO R17 Pro – as the one we have here is equipped with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage.
The box slides open sideways, revealing the OPPO R17 Pro at the top. Do pay attention to the graphic printed on the smartphone’s plastic wrap as it shows how the nano SIM 1 and SIM 2 cards are positioned.
Under the phone’s cradle (which doubles as the accessory box) is where we can find the SuperVOOC charger, the USB-C earphones, and also the USB-C cable.
Digging out everything, we have a blue colored TPU case too. Not sure why they want to include a blue colored one, though.
The OPPO R17 Pro is obviously focusing more on the design first and everything else comes second. It does give the OPPO R17 Pro a very dazzling look while still maintaining a good shape geometrically.
Let’s first look at the front. The OPPO R17 Pro comes with a waterdrop notch like the OPPO F9 that came before it – and with an under-display fingerprint scanner too. More on that later.
Looking at the back here, we can see that the OPPO R17 Pro is indeed beautiful with its blue and purple gradient that goes from right to left, while a curved line in the middle separates them. It’s certainly a very eye-catching color.
The color gradient actually fills up all the way to the edges of the phone and it can be seen through the sides as well. However, the beautiful colors can somewhat degraded by protective cases – even the included TPU case that OPPO included.
For whatever reason, OPPO thought including a blue colored TPU case would be a good idea. Sure, a blue TPU case might not turn yellow so quickly, but the beautiful colors of the OPPO R17 Pro is hindered for sure.
That said, the included TPU case does provide enough protection for day to day use. Still would’ve preferred a transparent case, though.
Taking a look at the connectivity that the OPPO R17 Pro offers, it comes with 5GHz AC WiFi as well, which means you can make use of the Unifi Turbo speeds through WiFi. It does come with NFC too, magically.
Remember the plastic wrap on the phone that shows how the dual nano SIM cards are to be slotted inside the OPPO R17 Pro? Well, here we can have a better look at how it actually works.
Its dual nano SIM cars slots face each other back to back and slides in the phone – which is exactly how the Huawei Mate 20 series’s dual SIM card slot works. However, since the OPPO R17 Pro does not support NM cards, that means the OPPO R17 Pro does not have any option for expandable storage memory.
Also, the OPPO R17 Pro comes with an under-display fingerprint scanner – which I obviously do not prefer. However, it only reaffirms my standpoint that under-display fingerprint scanners are still inferior as it is still slow and unreliable. OPPO does compensate by offering a speedy face unlock, though.
At the top of the phone we can find the two antenna lines and a microphone port. Funny enough, OPPO made the top indent inwards.
At the left side we can find the volume rockers. On the right side is where we can find the lonesome power button.
At the bottom however, is where we can find the speaker port, a microphone, the USB-C port, and the dual nano SIM card slot.
Unfortunately for us users, the OPPO R17 Pro lacks a 3.5mm jack and it does not come with a USB-C to 3.5mm jack dongle as well. That is a problem for a large majority of users from the get-go – especially for mobile gamers who rely on audio like PUBG Mobile.
The OPPO R17 Pro comes with a 6.4-inch AMOLED display2340x1080 pixels in resolution and has a waterdrop notch like the OPPO F9. With an under-screen fingerprint scanner, that means the there is actually a “see through” cutout around the under-display fingerprint scanner. And yes, only AMOLED screens can have an under-display fingerprint scanner.
Also since it is using an AMOLED display, the colors are obviously much more saturated compared to IPS LCD displays and has complete darkness when showing black colors too.
Since the Mate 20 Pro green screen AMOLED debacle, I personally have been quite paranoid about quality of AMOLED displays – and I’m happy to say that the OPPO R17 Pro comes with a good AMOLED panel as there is no “green” or fringing grey colors from our test.
The waterdrop notch does indeed get in the way of certain elements – like Instagram’s lux button. Still, I wish that OPPO’s software is smart enough to move everything downwards and out of the way of that pesky notch. Doesn’t seem like OPPO’s software is ready for the notch even after a full year.
Alright, let’s talk about the cameras. OPPO has been a very photography-centric smartphone brand over the years and the OPPO R17 Pro does have quite a decent main camera – even for night shots. Take a look at specs first.
- Rear-facing cameras
- Main camera: 12MP f/1.5-2.4 dual-pixel PDAF + OIS
- Secondary camera: 20MP f/2.6
- 3D TOF camera: 5MP
- Selfie camera
- 25MP f/2.0 fixed focus
As you can see from the specs, the OPPO R17 Pro has variable aperture for its main camera lens. This is a unique feature that is – thus far – only found in the Samsung Galaxy S9/S9+ and also the Galaxy Note9.
However, OPPO did not disclose what is the purpose of the 20MP f/2.6 camera. From what we can find out, that secondary 20MP camera is only used as a depth sensor as we discovered by using a finger to block that camera while in portrait mode.
As for the 3D TOF camera, it’s a piece of decoration as of now. It does not work and there are zero apps or features that uses the 3D TOF camera found on the OPPO R17 Pro right now. OPPO has told us that they are still preparing for a software update that brings all of the features to all customers, but it’s been months since the release of the OPPO R17 Pro. Where is that update?
Anyway – back to the photography part. You can check out the full size of all images shown here alongside with all metadata at our Shutterfly album here.
Looking at the pictures taken by the OPPO R17 Pro, I can say that for daylight shots, it does perform pretty well. There is a lot of artificial sharpening happening in the picture as the trees on the far side of the picture shows. The white balance is also a little off as everything appears slightly bluish.
Turning on HDR however, makes all the colors vivid and the blue tint is even more apparent here. Also, it tends to overexpose the image, making it way too bright.
It’s safe to say that the OPPO R17 Pro does do quite a good job – just try to avoid HDR mode.
Then comes the night shots. The OPPO R17 Pro has a dual aperture lens – which means it can open up and allow more light to enter the sensor in low light conditions. The night shots look surprisingly decent, albeit still noisy.
We also tried using the long exposure night mode feature that the OPPO R17 Pro has. It works similarly to the night mode introduced in the Huawei P20, but the stabilization on the OPPO R17 Pro is not as good. All night mode pictures I took while holding the phone with my hand resulted in a shaky image.
While the OPPO is indeed a brand that is focused on selfies, the R17 Pro still does not have autofocus for its selfie camera. While it boasts a 25MP sensor, images produced by the selfie camera looks fuzzy and noisy.
It’s quite a basic camera UI, to be honest. It’s clunky and spread out, yet there are no ways to rearrange the modes in the camera app to better suit your own use cases. Also, remember when we said the OPPO R17 Pro can take some fantastic night shots? That is because the main camera actually has dual aperture like the Galaxy S9 and the Galaxy Note9.
However, the OPPO R17 Pro’s manual mode does not allow manual configuration of the aperture, unlike Samsung’s flagships. I have no idea why OPPO implemented a variable aperture lens into the main camera but did not implement the software to control it manually.
While on the subject of manual mode, the OPPO R17 Pro does provide the option to change the shutter speed from 1/8000 to 16 seconds.
By the way, that 2x zoom button is actually digital zoom. There is no optical zoom for the OPPO R17 Pro. Just don’t bother using that button if you want the pictures to look good.
After a few years, ColorOS has gone through a lot of iterations of improvements. Now, the OPPO R17 Pro comes with the latest ColorOS 5.2 which still runs on Android 8.1.0 Oreo. Most smartphones released in this time range already has an update schedule published for the Android 9.0 Pie update. Not for OPPO, unfortunately.
ColorOS 5.2 comes with a few bloatware – namely Opera browser, iReader, Lazada, and also WPS Office. In terms of bloatware, OPPO’s ColorOS 5.2 on the OPPO R17 Pro is surprisingly clean.
Focusing on the app called Game Space, it functions as a helper to block notifications, enable “performance mode” and also to lock brightness. These are all very helpful tweaks for games like PUBG Mobile but fails to block Facebook Messenger chat heads. Samsung’s Game Tools utility does the same things and blocks every notification – including chat heads.
There’s also something called “quick tools” whereby you can bring it up by swiping the little piece of semitransparent card at the edge of the screen, just like Samsung’s Edge Panel on the Galaxy S and Galaxy Note series. This menu is customizable in terms of positioning.
However, it felt like the this utility is poorly implemented. Tapping on “screenshot” will take a screenshot immediately as opposed to letting you select which part of the screen to take the screenshot.
Another feature is by holding the power button for 0.5 seconds to bring up Google Assistant. I question the existence of this feature as there is nothing wrong by holding the on-screen home button to bring up Google Assistant.
The overall look and feel of ColorOS 5.2 still feels like a custom icon pack with a flat home screen baked into the system itself. It does not offer much useful value in terms of extra features or utilities compared to its competitors.
The OPPO R17 Pro is one of the first smartphones to be equipped with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 710 chipset. It’s positioned above the Snapdragon 660 (obviously) – but how much does it actually matter?
First, let us take a look at the list of specs on the OPPO R17 Pro.
- 6.4-inch AMOLED display with 2340×1080 pixels in resolution
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 chipset
- 2x Kryo 360 Gold @ 2.2GHz + 6x Kryo 360 Silver @ 1.7GHz
- Adreno 616 GPU with 750MHz and 128 ALUs
- 8GB LPDDR4X RAM
- 128GB UFS 2.0 storage (no microSD)
- 3,700mAh battery
- Android 8.1.0 Oreo with ColorOS5.2
With that out of the way, let’s take a look at the benchmarks.
For both the CPU and GPU performance, the Snapdragon 710 is not that much better than the Snapdragon 660. It is still far behind the Snapdragon 845, which was unexpected to us.
Here is the most interesting thing about the Snapdragon 710. In terms of GPU performance, the Snapdragon 845 has double the amount of higher ALUs but 40MHz lower per GPU core clock compared to the Snapdragon 710. However, the Snapdragon 710 is still a mighty fine performer when it comes to mobile gaming too – just not as good as the Snapdragon 845, logically.
First off with Honkai Impact 3. We changed all of the graphical settings to its highest and at 60FPS for the OPPO R17 Pro. As we mentioned in many of our recent smartphone reviews, the new “God Kiana” character is flashy as heck and will cause many smartphones to stutter and lag. The OPPO R17 Pro also lags when casting the God Kiana’s skill.
Then comes Asphalt 9. Surprisingly, it’s smooth as butter at the highest graphical settings here.
On PUBG Mobile however, I can run it on high graphical settings with the highest frame rate settings with the “colorful” filter. There are occasional frame rate dips but overall, it’s still a pleasant experience. Other than the notch for blocking the screen, of course.
Looking at the composition of 6+2 cores on the Snapdragon 710, it is expected that the OPPO R17 Pro will last for quite a long time in our battery life test – and we are right. Take a look at the chart below.
It lasts for 13.65 hours which is decent. The 3,700mAh battery is indeed small but thanks to the chipset’s efficiency, it can last for a long time.
To put things in perspective, I played PUBG Mobile with this phone when I charged it to 100% for 2 hours. When I checked back after 2 hours, I still have 67% battery left. Fantastic!
But then again, how fast does the OPPO R17 Pro takes to charge?
One thing that OPPO prides themselves over is the SuperVOOC technology. They are the pioneers of the magnificently super fast charging technology since many years ago and SuperVOOC is considered their second generation of this technology.
The charging brick looks like a typical smartphone charger, but the included cable is a lot more thicker compared to other cables that we have used. The SuperVOOC charger is listed to output an insane maximum of 10V at 5A.
As for the charging speed, take a look at the graph below.
Obviously this is the fastest smartphone charger we have seen to date. It took 9 minutes to charge to 50% and a total of 17 minutes to reach 76% battery charge. In just a total of 32 minutes, the OPPO R17 Pro already reached 100% battery charge. Wow!
In comparison with a conventional 5V 2A charger, it took nearly 3 times longer to reach 100% charge compared to OPPO’s SuperVOOC charger.
We have to admit – the OPPO R17 Pro is a pretty good smartphone. It has fantastic performance with a surprisingly decent main camera and great battery life as well. The phone itself is especially beautiful too – though that depends on your personal preference. However, that’s about all the good things to say about the OPPO R17 Pro.
Through our discover, the 20MP camera’s function seems like a glorified depth sensor. The 3D TOF camera does not serve any function as of now. And there is no microSD card slot. The 3.5mm audio jack and the dongle is missing too – yet the battery size is only 3,700mAh. At least the Mate 20 Pro’s lack of 3.5mm jack is justifiable with the 4,200mAh battery.
Furthermore, the OPPO R17 Pro is priced at a whopping RM2,699. With this insanely high price, I think that it is just not justified. You’re better off buying the Samsung Galaxy Note9 which also happens to be our phone of the year. Or buy two Pocophone F1.