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OPPO R17 Pro Review - Incredible charging speed and low light cameras

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A month back, we unboxed the R17 Pro. It's OPPO's newest premium smartphone which highlights a gradient 3D fog glass at the back, 6.4-inch FHD+ AMOLED screen with Gorilla Glass 6 protection, 8GB RAM, SuperVOOC flash charging solution, and triple-camera camera setup at the back.
OPPO R17 Pro Review - Incredible charging speed and low light cameras
The beautiful R17 Pro

Right off the bat, the R17 Pro is very exciting, but its premium price tag of PHP 38,990 is surprising for a smartphone with a mid-range processor.

Now let's see if the R17 Pro has a hidden trick in its sleeve to justify the PHP 38,990 price tag. 


Here's our full review!

Display Quality

Large display

The OPPO R17 Pro features a big 6.4-inch AMOLED screen. It has a 19:5:9 screen aspect ratio with slim bezels and big screen 91.5 screen-to-body ratio.
Punchy colors
Punchy colors

The screen resolution is at FHD+ or 2340 x 1080 pixels at 402 ppi. It is not on 2K resolution yet, but most modern flagships with similar price tag are still on 1080p. Besides, it is more than crisp enough for my usage.

Punchy colors!

The color quality of the screen is great since it is using AMOLED. Colors are punchy, contrast are good, blacks are deep, and it goes with nice viewing angles.

We just noticed that its colors is a bit warmer compared with other newer phones with AMOLED screens like the OnePlus 6T.

On the display settings, it has the auto brightness feature that works accurately depending on the lighting scenario. If it is dark, it will lower the brightness. If it is bright, it will increase the brightness to make your screen more visible.

You can also set its color tone to cooler, default, or warmer.

There is a Night Shield feature that you can switch on and off or schedule whenever needed. It is designed to protect your eyes in night or dim lighting when reading.

You can even set its screen to black and white and comfortable nighttime dark skin mode.

As expected, the R17 Pro comes with 10 points of touch.

Audio Quality

The R17 Pro doesn't have a stereo speaker setup unlike flagships. But, it comes with a single loud speaker below which was able to produce rich and crisp tunes. We also enjoyed that it has nice separation of vocals and instruments. Its bass response is also deeper than expected.

My issue is it a bit grainy on max loudness. On landscape mode while playing games, my hand covers the speaker. My suggestion is to flip it on the other side to avoid sound blockage.

For headphones, the R17 Pro doesn't have a 3.5mm headphone jack slot anymore. To listen with your favorite wired headphones or earphones, use a USB-C to 3.5mm female headphone dongle.

While on dongle mode, the audio quality it produced with my in-ear earphones is superb. It has strong driving power which only requires around 60 to 70 percent of loudness to make even the 1MORE Quad Driver earphones shine. The sound it produced is rich in details with slight emphasis on the lows.

Like other OPPO handsets, the R17 Pro uses the Real Original Sound Technology co-developed with Dirac Research AB. To my ears, it sounds fuller and more natural compared with the early versions of this audio tuning. It is livelier in  sound yet still detailed.

For calls, the ear speaker of the R17 Pro is a good and clear one as expected from a premium smartphone. It also has a dual-mic setup for audio recordings. It can record your voices clearly even if it has some grain and noise in the background.

Battery Life

Around 9 hours and 43 minutes
Around 9 hours and 43 minutes

The OPPO R17 Pro has a dual 1,850mAh batteries which translates to 3,700mAh. 3,700mAh is big enough to power its screen and chip for several hours.


PC Mark's battery test showed that it clocked almost 10 hours of work battery life. It indicates that the R17 Pro could have an above-average battery performance.

And it did! In our usual daily usage with either 4G LTE, WiFi all the time, and even 4G with WiFi hotspot at times, the R17 Pro can last from 8AM to 6PM before reaching the 0 percent battery mark.

Under heavy usage like playing a lot of games and taking photos/videos, it can survive around 6 to 8 hours.

The fastest safe charging tech yet!

Charging is very impressive! Its use of the bi-cell design allowed the R17 Pro to use the SuperVOOC flash charge solution. It can give you up to 40 percent of charge just 10 minutes. In 40 minutes, it can fully charge the battery of your phone.

It is the fastest charging speed that I ever tested on a smartphone yet!

Camera

Triple-camera setup
Triple-camera setup

The R17 Pro is one of the few with rear triple-camera setup. You will see a 12MP (f/1.5/f/2.4) primary sensor, 20MP f/2.6 secondary sensor, and the 3D TOF depth camera.

The primary 12MP sensor of this handset is a beastly one. It comes with big 1.4µm pixels and a variable aperture setup which automatically switches to f/1.5 for low light and f/2.4 in daylight. It even has Dual Pixel PDAF focus and OIS for stabilized shots!

It works like the primary sensor found on the Galaxy S9 and Note9 high-end phones.

The secondary camera is a large 20MP f/2.6 sensor with autofocus. It is designed to aid you with you bokeh shots. However, I can hardly see the difference when taking portrait bokeh shots with the secondary sensor blocked or not. It helps with the focus speed though.

Personally, it could have been better if OPPO used a telephoto lens instead for it to have better zoom quality. Besides, some of the best portrait mode implementations are from smartphones with telephoto lens that can zoom more and provide realistic depth effect like the other brands.


The third camera is the 3D TOF sensor. It is for augmented reality applications. OPPO said that it will allow users to take 3D photos which you can even view on your TV.


There will be an update to make it work in the future. However, it has no real use for now. 

It leaves us with two usable cameras for now, the 12MP (f/1.5/f/2.4) sensor and the 20MP f/2.6 sensor.
It also has AI for auto scene detection
It also has AI for auto scene detection

In terms of camera modes, the R17 Pro is feature-rich. It comes with more camera features compared with the OPPO Find X flagship smartphone. It goes with the auto HDR, panorama, 2x digital zoom, expert (ISO 100/3200, EV -2 to +, 1/8000 to 10s), portrait with a lot of effects, and stickers.
The portrait mode
The portrait mode

My favorite is the new Ultra-clear Engine for Ultra Night Mode shots. It will allow you to shoot handheld long exposure images for 3 seconds!

Near flagship-level cameras!

As expected, shooting speed is fast. Focus is mostly accurate as well. It can provide stable focus even on some close-up shots in daylight. For low light focus will be a bit slower, but it is still flagship grade in my opinion.

Picture quality in daylight is above-average. It can provide images with crisp details and close to accurate colors. There's a hint of saturation and warmness, but it is far from oversaturated and inaccurate.

My problem in daylight is the dynamic range on against the light shots. Its HDR performance is lacking over other smartphones with lesser camera specs, but with flagship image signal processor.

If OPPO used the flagship SD845 here, I'm sure that it will come with better post processing. But, I hope that OPPO can do something about it with a software update.

Don't get me wrong, its daylight performance is decent. It is not just flagship grade. There are even times where it'll perform like the Galaxy Note9.


Indoor shots are like that as well. It is still quite detailed with nice colors.


The bokeh using the portrait mode of this handset is flagship level to my eyes. It has clean edge detection and close to natural looking depth of field at times. It even has a lot of filters that you can try. My favorites are the bi-color light and canvass light.

In low light, this is where the OPPO R17 Pro shines. Its f/1.5 lens could see better in the dark. It has less noise than most I've seen. From my memory it could even compete with the iPhone X in low light on point and shoot mode.

It also has a trump card if you want to shoot even better low light shots, the Ultra Night Mode. It shoots up to 3s of exposure to deliver DSLR-like crispy images with plenty of colors and great dynamic range. #NoFlashNeeded

Rear Camera Samples

Daylight 1
Daylight 1
Daylight 2
Daylight 2
Daylight HDR test
Daylight HDR test
Close-up
Close-up
Portrait mode
Portrait mode
Close-up dim 1
Close-up dim 1
Close-up dim 2
Close-up dim 2
Dim
Dim
No night mode vs with night mode
No night mode vs with night mode
Night mode 2
Night mode 2
Night mode 3
Night mode 3
Night mode 4
Night mode 4
Night mode 5
Night mode 5

For selfies, it comes with the 25MP AI selfie shooter. It is the same sensor found on the OPPO Find X.
25MP goodness
25MP goodness

It also comes with the 3D Beauty Technology and AI Portrait Mode! It is also wide enough for groufie shots even without a secondary ultra-wide selfie lens.
Selfie camera UI
Selfie camera UI

The features are still the same. It comes with Photo, Portrait, Sticker and Pano modes. It even has the Omoji 3D animated emoji feature of the Find X.

It also has a pretty fast face detection feature and saving speed.

Daylight selfies are incredible. It is crisp with great colors. Its colors are warmer and more natural than the usual OPPO phones. It doesn't make you look too white at times. There are still 6 levels of beautification with AI beauty mode.

The AI helps in letting you take selfies with good details and colors without over beautifying your selfies. It also comes with a lot of filters to choose from.

Low light selfies are also decent. Though you will notice a bit of softening. But noise is minimal. Use the screen flash if the usual selfie cam is not enough.


Selfie Camera Samples

Selfie daylight
Selfie daylight
Selfie daylight
Face beauty
Indoor bokeh
Indoor bokeh
Indoor selfie
Indoor selfie
Low light selfie
Low light selfie

To my eyes, this is the best OPPO for videos yet. It can shoot up to 4K 30fps in quality and with options to choose 1080p and 720p at 30fps as well. We noticed that it goes with speedy focus, good sharpness, nice colors, and decent stabilization.

It even has a super slow-motion feature up to 1080p 120fps or 720p at 240fps in quality. The 720p 240fps only usable in daylight though. The 1080p 120fps works even in dim conditions.

The selfie video has up to 1080p 30fps in quality on auto mode. It only has up to 720p 30fps in face beauty mode. It also comes with several color filters to try. It goes with a slight crop for selfies videos, but not as big and bad as other flagship phones from Huawei.

Selfie video quality is crisp and respectable especially in daylight.

Video Samples


Performance

AnTuTu and Geekbench scores
AnTuTu and Geekbench scores

Inside, the R17 Pro is powered by the 2.2GHz 64-bit Snapdragon 710 octa-core processor. It's an upper mid-range grade type of SoC solution with Adreno 616 GPU.
PCMark work and 3DMark Sling Shot Extreme
PCMark work and 3DMark Sling Shot Extreme

It is decent in speed, but not as fast as the new generation Snapdragon 800 series. Sadly, most phones at this price point runs with a real flagship processor.

Good speed, but not as fast as the real similarly priced flagships

Fortunately, OPPO paired it with massive 8GB RAM to ensure that the multitasking and overall performance is mostly smooth. It loads apps like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Chrome, and more effortlessly.

We also noticed that it can play most games on max settings. Though it is noticeable that it is not as smooth as its competitors.

The good thing? It doesn't get hot. Only a bit warm which is far from alarming at all.

The UI


ColorOS 5.2
ColorOS 5.2

Out of the box, the R17 Pro runs with a slightly higher version of the ColorOS skin versus the Find X flagship. It features the Android 8.1 Oreo based ColorOS 5.2 instead of the ColorOS 5.1.


Like ColorOS 5.1, is is more integrated with Google. It has Google Assistant and Google Lens.

It also has AI learning to analyze app usage and and automatically suggest to shut down apps that haven't been used for long to help keep the phone fast always and conserve battery life.

It also comes with new features like the Smart Scan for easy translation, nicer multitasking features, block harassing calls/messages, and even allow you to play videos even if your screen is off.
Game settings
Game settings

It also has the Game settings for optimized and uninterrupted gaming.

The UI of OPPO is very clean this time with minimal bloats. It is always fast based on our experience. It is also less inspired by Apple's iOS skin. Though some may still not like it. If not, just change the skin.

Other features

The OPPO R17 Pro is one of the few with the Vivo-like In-Display fingerprint scanner. But, OPPO's implementation is a bit faster than Vivo based on our experience. It is still not as fast as traditional fingerprint readers though.

If you do not like the In-Screen scanner, use the IR-assisted 3D face unlock. It is very fast and accurate. It even works even in low light.

As expected, it comes with WiFi, 4G LTE, Bluetooth, GPS, NFC, and dual SIM slots. There's no light sensor. But, there's OTG for USB OTG devices and gyroscope for AR/VR apps.

Pros - Gorgeous construction, Gorilla Glass 6 protection, big screen with a small notch, large 8GB RAM, SuperVOOC flash charge is legit, really good cameras, accurate In-Display fingerprint reader, 700MHz 4G LTE
Cons - No water and dust resistance, Snapdragon 710 is underpowered for its high price tag, no headphone jack

OPPO R17 Pro Specs

Display: 6.4-inch 2.5D curved Gorilla Glass 6 protected AMOLED screen w/ 2340 x  1080 resolution at 402 ppi
CPU: 2.2GHz 64-bit Snapdragon 710 octa-core processor
GPU: Adreno 616
RAM: 8GB
ROM: 128GB expandable via microSD card slot up to 256GB (dedicated)
Back Camera: 12MP (f/1.5/f/2.4) + 20MP f/2.6 + 3D TOF depth camera w/ PDAF, OIS and dual-tone LED flash
Selfie Camera: 25MP f/2.0 w/ AI Beauty Recognition and screen flash
Battery: 3,700mAh w/ SuperVOOC flash charge
OS: Android 8.1 Oreo w/ ColorsOS 5.2
Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz/5GHz), 700MHz 4G LTE, Bluetooth 5, OTG, GPS, A-GPS, dual SIM
Sensors: Accelerometer, light, orientation, proximity, gyroscope, sound, magnetic
Others: Fingerprint sensor, 3D face unlock, Colors: radiant mist
Dimensions: 157.6 x 74.6 x 7.9 mm
Weight: 183 g
Price: PHP 38,990

Verdict

The OPPO R17 Pro is a stunning premium handset equipped with flagship worthy features and innovations.

The glass finish at the back is a piece of art and it is one of the few with Corning Gorilla Glass 6 protection.

It is also the phone with the fastest charging time yet. Thanks to its 50W SuperVOOC fast technology which uses the bi-cell solution for safe charging.

It also has an incredible low light camera hardware and software that can produce stunning results.

However, while I understand that the OPPO R17 Pro is a mostly premium machine, the experience is not complete without a flagship-grade chipset.

At its price tag of PHP 38,990, it would have been better if the R17 Pro arrived with a flagship-grade chip just like other similarly priced high-end phones.

It would have made the R17 Pro a value for money powerhouse.

Build/Design - 4.75
Display - 4.25
Audio - 4.25
Battery - 4
Camera - 4.5
Performance - 4
Average - 4.29/5
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