Oppo R17 Pro first impressions: A feature-packed beauty with a heavy price tag

The Oppo R17 Pro is available in a single 128 GB variant with 8 GB RAM and is priced at Rs 45,990.

Until earlier this year, Oppo was always looked at as a Chinese company which focuses a lot on their selfie cameras and their advertising. Well, 2018 has been a year where the company's really tried to be bold in their own way.

After announcing their entry into the premium smartphone space with the launch of the gorgeous Find X in July, Oppo just launched their first two R-Series smartphones in India, the R17 and the R17 Pro. While both these models were launched in China back in August, they certainly pack a lot when it comes to features.

Oppo R17 Pro first impressions: A feature-packed beauty with a heavy price tag

The Oppo R17 Pro is priced higher than the OnePlus 6T in India. Image: tech2/ Shomik Sen Bhattacharjee

But the problem here is definitely the pricing of both these phones. While the R17 costs Rs 34,990, the premium R17 Pro has been priced at a whopping Rs 45,990. Does the R17 really offer enough to be picked up over a similarly priced OnePlus 6T or a Pixel 2 XL or is Oppo being way too optimistic? Read on to find out.

Oppo R17 Pro: Build, Design and Display

The design is definitely one area where Oppo really puts their money on and the Oppo R17 Pro does not just look every bit a premium smartphone, it also feels like one once you pick it up. The front looks almost identical to the OnePlus 6T but the overall design did remind me of the Find X.

The R17 Pro comes in two colours - Radiant Mist and Emerald Green. Image: tech2/ Shomik Sen Bhattacharjee

The R17 Pro comes in two colours - Radiant Mist and Emerald Green. Image: tech2/ Shomik Sen Bhattacharjee

The phone comes in two colours, one with a gradient finish called Radiant Mist and the other has a more traditional glass-back finish named Emerald green. I did spend some time with both variants and I really liked the Radiant Mist variant and there are two reasons behind it. One, the back on this variant is frosted which makes the colour shift more subtle and pleasing and two, the frosted finish also helps cover up most of the fingerprint smudges on the back. The Emerald Green variant is also very pleasing to look at but it is an absolute smudge magnet. Oppo does offer a free transparent case in the box though, which should help you keep the back clean.

The phone has a nice heft to it at 183 grams and also isn’t the thickest. There is a considerable camera bump on the back though which would be an issue if you tend to type while keeping your phone on a flat surface like a table. There are also mild inward dents on the top and bottom of the phone which are subtle design cues (from the Oppo Find X) which I really liked.

The bottom of the R17 Pro features a dual-SIM tray, the speaker grille and a USB Type-C port. Image: tech2/ Shomik Sen Bhattacharjee

The bottom of the R17 Pro features a dual-SIM tray, the speaker grille and a USB Type-C port. Image: tech2/ Shomik Sen Bhattacharjee

The phone has a 6.4-inch AMOLED display with a waterdrop notch on top. Initial impressions here are great as the colours looked well saturated with great peak brightness levels. The display has a resolution of 1080 x 2340 pixels and an aspect ratio of 19.5:9. There’s also Corning Gorilla Glass 6 protection for people who are going to be using this phone without a tempered glass or a basic screen protector.

Oppo R17 Pro: Chipset, Storage and Software

The Oppo R17 Pro is the first smartphone in India to launch with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 chipset. The chip sits right below the Snapdragon 845 when it comes to the pecking ordering of chips made by Qualcomm and should be more than capable of handling day to day tasks as well as for moderate to heavy gaming. Accompanying this is 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage (102 GB usable). There's no scope for expansion via a microSD card which is a bummer but for most users, 128 GB should be enough.

The top and bottom of the R17 Pro have a subtle intentional dent which looks quite appealing. Image: tech2/ Shomik Sen Bhattacharjee

The top and bottom of the R17 Pro have a subtle intentional dent which looks quite appealing. Image: tech2/ Shomik Sen Bhattacharjee

The phone runs on Android 8.1 Oreo with Oppo's proprietary ColorOS 5.2 running over it. This is the same version of ColorOS we've seen on the Oppo F11 Pro as well a couple of Realme devices. For those wondering about Android 9 Pie, well, Oppo hasn't mentioned anything about it yet.

The phone runs on Oppo's ColorOS 5.2 based on Android Oreo 8.1. Image: tech2/ Shomik Sen Bhattacharjee

The phone runs on Oppo's ColorOS 5.2 based on Android Oreo 8.1. Image: tech2/ Shomik Sen Bhattacharjee

That said, with my limited use of the phone, I did open most of the pre-installed Google apps on the phone and even tried the in-display fingerprint scanner. The phone did not skip a beat here and the in-display fingerprint scanner also felt a tad bit faster than what I've seen on the OnePlus 6T. The animations and app transitions are also quite fluid, all suggesting that Oppo has spent a decent amount of time fine-tuning the software here. The phone also gets the October security patch which is good to see.

Oppo R17 Pro: Camera and Battery

If the design is one area where the Oppo R17 Pro excels, the camera is definitely the area which Oppo wants to excel in. In terms of hardware, the R17 Pro packs a system similar to the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Note 9's variable aperture mechanism on the centre camera present in the triple camera alignment. This camera has a 12 MP sensor and can switch between f/1.5-f/2.4 aperture. The ability to drop to an aperture as low as f/1.5 should help with low-light shots.

The triple rear-camera setup on the R17 Pro features a bump which isn't too elegant. Image: tech2/ Shomik Sen Bhattacharjee

The triple rear-camera setup on the R17 Pro features a bump which isn't too elegant. Image: tech2/ Shomik Sen Bhattacharjee

The primary camera on the phone is a 20 MP sensor with a fixed aperture, while the third camera looks to be meant for 3D DOF depth sensor. Oppo hasn't revealed the pixel count on this third sensor but has said that it will assist with 3D photo capturing. I'm quite curious to see why Oppo's added a DOF sensor on the back of the phone because the only other practical use of this sensor we've seen so far is Apple using it for 3D face mapping on the iPhone X lineup.

On the front, there's a 25 MP f/2.0 wide-angle selfie camera which also helps with face unlock. I did take a few shots with the front camera in my limited time with the phone and though I don't have anything to show for, it did reasonably well in the odd lighting we had the launch event.

The battery is also one of the biggest selling points of the Oppo R17 Pro. Sure it has a beefy 3,700 mAh battery but this phone is capable of utilising Oppo's Super VOOC charging technology which is capable of juicing the phone up from 0-40 percent in just ten minutes. Yes, ten minutes. Oppo claims that the 50W charger supplied in the box can charge the R17 Pro up from 0-75 percent in just 30 minutes. We definitely can't wait to see it in action once we have our review unit in and we'll also compare it to the SuperCharge charging standard on the recently launched Huawei Mate  20 Pro.

The Snapdragon 710 is a 10 nm chipset which should help a fair bit with overall battery life as well, in case you forget to pick up your adapter.

Does the step down to a Snapdragon 710 chipset really matter? Image: tech2/ Shomik Sen Bhattacharjee

Does the step down to a Snapdragon 710 chipset really matter? Image: tech2/ Shomik Sen Bhattacharjee

Conclusion

The Oppo R17 Pro is packed to the brim when it comes to features. So much so that it goes neck to neck with the OnePlus 6T. The question which all of this boils down to, is why pay a sum of close to Rs 46,000 for a smartphone that doesn’t feature a Snapdragon 845 chipset? But again, does the step down to a Snapdragon 710 really matter? Also, is the camera an upgrade compared to the OnePlus 6T?

A lot of these questions need answering but you will have to wait for our detailed review of the phone to find out.

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