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OPPO F17 Pro review: yet another stylish camera phone

On: September 2, 2020

OPPO‘s last three launches in the F-series – OPPO F9 ProOPPO F11 Pro and OPPO F15 (review) have all been stylish smartphones with good cameras. OPPO has now launched the newest F-series smartphone in India called the F17 and F17 Pro. Both OPPO F17 and F17 Pro live up to the reputation of their predecessors.

Also read: OnePlus 8 Pro long-term review: a stellar flagship experience

Notably, the F17 Pro is the only other device apart from the Reno 3 Pro to be powered by the MediaTek Helio P95 SoC. I received the F17 Pro ahead of the launch and the smartphone impressed me with its build and design, as well as cameras. Without any further ado, let’s delve into my detailed review to find out why I say so.

Design and display

OPPO has been marketing the F17 Pro as the sleekest smartphone of the year 2020, and at just 7.4mm thin, the handset lives up to that claim. Moreover, the phone weighs just 164g, which makes it one of the lightest in the market. The curved back panel and rounded edges of the device make it very comfortable to hold. The OPPO F17 Pro is comfortable to use for long hours thanks to its sleek and light build, but operating with one hand is tough because of its taller profile.

OPPO is offering the F17 Pro in Magic Blue, Matte Black and Metallic White colours in India. I received the Magic Blue variant and quite frankly it’s one of the best-looking mid-range smartphones I have seen lately. The back panel has what OPPO is calling a Shiny Matte finish, which is blue gradient paint job with a frosted finish on top. You can also see a violet hue around the curved edges when light hits it. OPPO claims that the back panel has a fingerprint-proof coating on it and I can vouch for that.

Speaking of the back panel, OPPO has ditched the tall vertical camera module for a square stacked camera layout this time. The camera module is placed in the top left corner with lenses arranged in a tight 2 x 2 grid, which looks neat. There’s a dual-LED flash right next to the camera module and apart from this, the back panel is completely clean. 

Other elements include the power button on the left, and volume buttons with a dual nano-SIM tray featuring a dedicated microSD card slot on right. The bottom edge houses the loudspeaker, USB Type-C port and 3.5mm audio jack.

The 6.4-inch Super AMOLED display on the front is stunning, to say the least. Thanks to the dual punch-hole cutout design, the display offers immersive viewing with a screen-to-body ratio of 90.7 percent. The screen features 2,400 x 1,080 pixels resolution and a 20:9 aspect ratio. There’s a layer of Corning Gorilla Glass 3 on top to prevent scratches and nicks. Since it’s an AMOLED panel, the colours are punchy with deeper blacks. The viewing angles, sharpness and brightness are all commendable as well. There’s also Widevine L1 certification, which means you can enjoy high-resolution streaming on your favourite OTT platform.

The display also houses a fingerprint scanner, which was accurate and fast in my experience. I personally liked the haptic feedback from the sensor when the phone unlocks. The 2D selfie-camera based face unlock is pretty quick as well but it unlocked the phone even with my eyes closed, which is a security risk.

Cameras

In terms of cameras, the OPPO F17 Pro features a 48-megapixel primary camera on the back with f/1.8 aperture. The primary camera is backed by an 8-megapixel wide-angle camera, 2-megapixel mono portrait lens and 2-megapixel BnW lens. On the front, the OPPO F17 Pro has a 16-megapixel primary camera assisted by a 2-megapixel depth sensor. The camera app offers HDR, night, portrait, AI scene recognition, AI portrait colour, AI super night portrait, AI floral portrait and more features.

The primary camera captures 12-megapixel pixel binned images by default but there’s a dedicated 48-megapixel mode to take full advantage of the sensor. However, I found that there’s not much difference between the standard and 48-megapixel mode unless you plan to transfer pictures to the desktop and use as a wallpaper or take prints. The daylight pictures are sharp with natural colour reproduction and excellent dynamic range.

The wide-angle lens does a good job of capturing a wider shot, however, the picture quality and details take a dip, which is natural. The 2-megapixel BnW lens as well as the portrait lens, produce impressive results. There’s an AI Colour Portrait feature and AI Flare portrait modes, which both work great with accurate edge detection. While the former captures the background in black and white, the latter is designed to click pleasing bokeh images with light flares in the background.

Coming to selfies, the 16-megapixel dual selfie snappers on the front captures good images with a high amount of details. However, I did notice an unnatural red tint while clicking selfies in daylight. Additionally, the beautification is aggressive even when it’s turned off.

Performance, software and battery

Coming to the performance — as I mentioned before — the OPPO F17 Pro is the second smartphone in India to be powered by the 12nm MediaTek Helio P95 SoC. The processor is accompanied by 8GB RAM and 128GB of storage. Notably, this is the same chipset that powered the OPPO Reno 3 Pro, which I reviewed earlier this year. In the performance department, the F17 Pro is on par with the Reno 3 Pro.

In my day to day usage, the F17 Pro handles multitasking like a breeze even with multiple apps open in the background. The apps open pretty quick and animations are smooth too. To test the gaming performance, I played PUBG Mobile (now banned in India) on the F17 Pro every day for at least an hour. The game opens in high settings with graphics set to HD and High frame rate by default. I didn’t run into any incident of lags or frame drops in my stint with the handset.

More importantly, the smartphone gets only slightly warm after an hour of gaming. There’s a built-in Game Space in ColorOS 7.2, which enhances the overall gaming experience as well. However, the battery drain is significantly higher while playing PUBG.

Speaking of the Color OS 7.2, the software is based on the Android 10 and borrows somw elements from stock Android like a Google Now feed on the left of the homescreen. There’s still a lot of bloatware present, but I didn’t encounter any of the pesky browser notifications which I faced on the Reno 3 Pro. Moreover, the majority of the bloatware can be removed to free up resources. ColorOS 7.2 also comes with various bells and whistle such as smart assistant, smart sidebar, system-wide dark mode, and Digital Wellbeing & parental controls.

The OPPO F17 Pro is powered by a 4,000mAh battery with support for 30W VOOC 4.0 super fast charging. The phone charges from zero to 100 percent in around one hour, which is pretty impressive. The battery itself lasted close to 11 hours in PCMark Work 2.0 Battery Life test, which is a standard for a 4,000mAh cell. In my experience, the smartphone lasted me a day on a full charge with moderate usage. However, the battery backup takes a dip if you game heavily, navigate using maps and binge-watch shows. I had to plug in the device by early evening after an hour of gaming, binge-watching a show on Netflix and heavy social media usage.

The competition

The OPPO F17 Pro has been priced at Rs 22,990 in India and at this price, it competes with the likes of Realme 6 Pro (review) and POCO X2. Both these smartphones are being offered at a lower price point.

The Realme 6 Pro offers a 6.6-inch FHD+ display with a smoother 90Hz refresh rate and is powered by the Snapdragon 720G SoC. The processor is not only more powerful but also power-efficient thanks to the 8nm die size. The Realme 6 Pro comes with a 64-megapixel quad-camera setup on the back, which actually takes better pictures, during the day as well as night. I personally prefer the use of 8-megapixel wide-angle lens along with the primary 16-megapixel camera on the front as it allows for capturing more in the frame. The phone offers similar battery and fast charging speeds as the F17 Pro, however.

As for the POCO X2 (first impressions), the smartphone also offers  6.6-inch FHD+ display but with a higher 120Hz refresh rate. The smartphone is powered by the Snapdragon 730G, which is faster and more efficient compared to the Helio P95. The smartphone is powered by a larger 4.500mAh battery, but with support for 27W fast charging.

Bottomline

The OPPO F17 Pro is arguably one of the best-looking smartphones in the mid-range segment currently. The smartphone offers powerful cameras, decent battery backup and fast charging support. However, if you are looking for a more powerful processor, there are other options to consider at this price point.

Pricebaba’s rating: 7 / 10

What works:

  • Gorgeous AMOLED display
  • Stylish and sleek design
  • Good cameras

What doesn’t:

  • Bloatware in ColorOS 7.2
  • Aggressive beautification in selfies
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Abhiman Biswas

Abhiman is obsessed with all things tech. His hobbies include reading on his Kindle and clicking random pictures on his phone. His secret superpowers happen to be mixing great cocktails and lip reading. In his spare time, you are likely to find him cleaning his aquascape, researching new species of aquatic fishes and planning which aquatic plants to buy next.