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Oppo R17 Pro Review

Oppo have been around for a while, yet you may not have used one of their phones due to not being available directly in the UK.

Until now that is.

With lots of talk on the new Reno range including the 5G model, I decided to take a look at their other main seller, the Oppo R17 Pro which is a medium spec smartphone that packs a punch for the price.

Oppo reached out and offered me a loan device for two weeks so I decided to use as my daily device and see what the £450 flagship could do.

Thanks to Oppo for sending out the device to cover, this is a loan device and in no way was I swayed to give a certain review in exchange for the device.

The RX17 Pro was announced back in August 2018, however Oppo have only just started selling directly in the UK.

Design

Oppo have gone with the same design the OnePlus 6T by using a large 6.4 inch screen with just a small dewdrop notch housing the front facing camera.

Thankfully, the new notch design allows maximum screen space and with a Full HD ,1080p resolution display using AMOLED, the content looked both crisp and clear, even without the boost to 2K resolution some people look for which drains battery quicker.

The notch holds the earpiece as well as a 25 megapixel selfie camera which also features HDR to capture the perfect selfie in any lighting condition, and as far as selfie cameras go, this one is actually pretty decent as long as you have good lighting.

Not only do you get the front facing camera, you also get the earpiece which produces decent call quality as well as loud volume when in voice calls, this is often an overlooked feature as we are all too busy looking at the camera and battery life, but when using this as an actual phone, quality was clear and decent.

There are no buttons below the screen as they have been built into the display and can be used to go back a screen, home, or to open up the multitasking window.

Personally I was happy to see in the options the choice of gesture navigation which hides the on screen navigation, replacing it with swiping gestures instead.

Once this was found and switched on, the extra screen space given was very handy and made apps look much better without a horrible navigation bar in the way.

Looking over to the left you have the volume up and down keys whilst the right side just has the  single power button which can also be used to open the Google Assistant.

Up at the top you have one of the dual microphones which help record stereo sound in video mode, but also help with noise cancellation when in voice calls.

Audio recorded is decent for most uses and the noise cancelation really does help if you are in a loud area, and would normally struggle to hear someone on a call.

An IR blaster would have been handy buy Oppo did not include one here which is a shame, and if they did would have put pricing up anyway.

Looking at the bottom you have the other microphone as well as a speakerphone which is loud but lacks a lot of clarity, especially when cranked up to it’s maximum volume.

You also have the USB C charging port which includes the crazy fast 50w VOOC charging which gives you a full recharge in about an hour, however to get this speed you have to use the supplied charger and cable, otherwise you get the slower charging which takes longer.

Also on the bottom is the pin hole which pulls out the SIM card tray, the RX17 has a dual SIM slot but also lacks any expandable storage leaving you with the 128GB internal only.

Something missing you may have noticed is a headphone port, as is becoming the trend these days, Oppo have opted for using the USB-C port as a way of plugging in a headset, and there is a lack of adapter in the box if you want to use your own 3.5mm set, this means it’s the included set in the box or a pair of Bluetooth ones to go hands free.

Over on the back you have a beautiful design with shiny coloured finish, Oppo branding, as well as the camera.

The design comes in two colours, I was sent the Emerald Green version and it looks great, however is VERY slippy so was pleased to find a clear case included in the box to help add to the grip.

The camera is a new triple setup in a vertical layout, the main sensor is 12 megapixels, which like Samsung use on some of their recent phones can switch between an aperture of f1.5 and f2.4 which helps with low light photos and adjusts in different situations.

The second camera is 20 megapixels with an aperture of f2.4 and when combined allows 2x zooming without losing any quality.

The third camera is for ToF and this allows you to get better portrait shots as well as using some fancy AR technology that’s judges the distance between objects and helps get that perfect shot.

Camera

As just mentioned above, the RX17 Pro comes with three cameras on the back including a 20 megapixel, 12 megapixel and a ToF camera for distance control.

Whilst the specs add up very well, the finished product does fall short of the OnePlus 6T, as well as some other mid range camera phones out there which was a shame.

Photos taken are decent enough to be shared on social media or to friends and family, but lack the all important ‘wow’ factor many will be hoping for.

The camera does seem a little laggy to open at times, but once open you get a very familiar interface with the list of modes down the side so just a swipe away on the right hand side.

The left side has options to control HDR, timer, flash and settings.

The sample photos below were taken in different modes at different situations to show off what the camera can do.

Overall quality was mixed, some of the good lighting photos came out very well, full of detail and colours, yet some of the lower lighting condition photos look a bit washed out and grainy when zoomed in closer.

Portrait shots seem quite decent thanks to the three cameras on the back, but it is the every day photos that seem to be hit or miss.

When it comes to video options you can record full 4K video and 1080p slow motion using the main cameras, switch over to the selfie side and you have a maximum resolution of 1080p.

Overall the quality of the captured video is decent enough to use for most uses, but as with the camera performance lacks the stand out wow found on other flagships.

Software

Oppo have their own skin on top of Android 8.1 Oreo and is called Color OS.

There is no news if this device will get Android 9 or even 10 at some point which is a shame, especially with all the improvements in digital well-being and security updates.

Color OS has improved a little from older versions, but still lacks when compared to the competition, yet again referring to the OnePlus 6T and it’s Oxygen OS which has often been called one of the best skinned version of Android, and right now is getting access to the Android Q Beta.

The RX17 Pro I was using was updated to the latest version of software available, yet was still on a January 2019 security version, five months out of date and a whole version of Android out of date.Hopefully the new flagship phones under the Reno range fix this approach as £450 is s lot of money to splash out on for an out of date version of software.

The few handy parts of Color OS I enjoyed using was the Long Screenshot which scrolls down the page your on making one large screenshot instead of needing multiple shots.

Game Space is a nice addition and changes the device performance to concentrate on just the game you are playing, it also puts a do not disturb mode on so you don’t get caught out with all your notifications which is quite handy.

Another little qwerk I liked was when using your phone as a personal hotspot, once your phone was locked, in the top right hand corner you can see just how much data you have used, handy if you are on a data plan where you need to watch those megabytes.

Whilst you have the option of expanding screen use by disabling the navigation buttons at the bottom and using a swipe gesture lots of us are used too now, there is no option to enable a app drawer that many people like to use, although this can be installed via a 3rd party launcher.

Whilst this is easy for most people to do, it would have been nice to have an option built into it directly.

Also there is no dark mode or option to change the theme of the device into a black screen which helps improve battery performance.

You also have a draw page when you swipe left of the home screen, this allows you quick access to any apps you want to put in it, the weather, steps counter as well as quick contracts.

Whilst this is handy, it falls short of some of the other more customizable widget drawers out there, but it’s a start.

My first time with Color OS leaves me with mixed feelings, whilst I didn’t mind some of the things mentioned above, the lack of a dark mode and out of date version of the OS and especially security updates left me hoping the newer phones step up to fix this.

Performance

The RX17 Pro is what you would call a mid range performer when it comes to the list of specs on paper, however it’s not all about number but how the overall experience is day to day.

With the RX17 Pro having a Snapdragon 710 processor, you won’t get the super speedy performance against some other phones in this price point such as the OnePlus 6T.

For daily tasks the processing power is good enough for most people, and only seems to stutter a little on some graphic heavy games and when the camera is first opened.

RAM size is 6GB which is still a lot for a phone even in 2019, and this allows for smooth multi tasking and running of multiple apps in the background of needed.

The battery is a large 3700mAh which easily lasts the day, thankfully though you get super speed VOOC charging at a crazy 50w which means a near full charge in an hour.

For the bad news there is no wireless charging to be found, this means if you do have to charge on the go you will be restricted to normal slower charging unless you take both charging block and cable.

Connectivity is an area the RX17 does well at with offering dual SIM which is great for anyone who has a work phone and a personal phone but Hayes having to carry both at all times.

As well as the standard WiFi, Bluetooth, NFC and GPS, you have a CAT15 LTE model allowing in theory download speeds up to 800Mbps, with using my EE SIM I was reaching speeds around 80Mbps in reality which is plenty.

Storage is internal only so no chance to put in a memory card if you have one, however you do get a large amount of 128GB which is good news, plus you always have online storage options such as Google Drive if your needed more.

Conclusion

In total I had use of the RX17 from Oppo for just over two weeks and was using as my main daily device.

This was my first time using an Oppo but had heard some great things so I was very excited at trying it out, especially with a 5G phone due shortly.

The RX17 Pro is a great device for what price tag it has, the super fast charging is handy and the software has some great plus points.

However considering the OnePlus 6T only costs a bit more, you are getting a better camera, better battery and better performance, and bang up to date software, and that makes it tricky for Oppo in comparison.

In case you were wondering why all the comparisons to the OnePlus 6T, it is more than a coincidence as both Oppo and OnePlus are owned by the same company and share a lot of technology, yet are ran independently of each other.

Hopefully some of the issues can be addressed on the new range about to go on sale, and become a company to really look out for in 2019 and going forward.

The Oppo RX17 Pro is on sale in the UK at Carphone Warehouse and costs £449.99 SIM free or available on pay monthly contracts too.

Oppo R17 Pro

Design - 87%
Camera - 82%
Battery - 90%
Software - 85%
Performance - 81%

85%

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