OPPO F17 Pro review: A midrange smartphone that fully justifies its price

OPPO F17 Pro

The OPPO F17 Pro is one of the many smartphones that the Chinese smartphone maker OPPO recently launched in India. Priced at Rs 22,990 for its sole 8GB RAM and 128GB internal storage configuration, this midrange smartphone brings a motley mix of midrange and premium features — from a dual-camera set-up on the front to AMOLED screen, a lightweight design, and a big-capacity battery with fast-charge support. With these, the OPPO F17 Pro seems to be a balanced smartphone offering each user something they would like. But how does it fare as a complete product in everyday use? Let’s find out:

OPPO F17 Pro: Design

The F17 Pro takes design cues from OPPO’s premium Reno4 Pro (review) smartphone. It is an ergonomically built smartphone with a compact form factor (7.48 mm thin) and lightweight design (164g) —great build overall. Though made of plastic, the phone seems sturdy and has a novel gradient design on its back cover. It is a two-tone gradient reflective cover that looks familiar but intriguing. Complementing the back cover design is an Apple iPhone 11 Pro-like square-shaped camera module on the back. Though it protrudes outwards from the chassis and makes the phone wobble on flat surfaces, it does not look odd.

Overall, the OPPO F17 Pro has a clean design that looks premium, feels sturdy and has a good in-hand feel. It is one midrange phone that feels comfortable to hold and operate, thanks to its lightweight build and thin form factor.

OPPO F17 Pro: Display

The OPPO F17 Pro has a 6.43-inch screen of a fullHD+ (2400 x 1080) resolution, stretched in a tall 20:9 aspect ratio. It is an AMOLED screen with a 60Hz refresh rate. The screen lacks features like a high dynamic range and enhanced refresh rate, but it works great in everyday use. It is bright, vivid and responsive. Moreover, there are value-added features like the always-on display mode and dark mode. The always-on display mode shows clock and some more details on the locked screen, so you do not have to unlock the phone to check time and day. It shows app icons for pending notifications in the phone’s notification area, providing a quick glance of all information at one place. The always-on display mode is customisable and features some pre-set clock styles.

Even if everything seems fine, the display is not free from distraction because of its capsule-shaped punch-hole in the top-left corner. Its bezels, especially the big one at the bottom, are another distraction from a design point of view.

OPPO F17 Pro: Camera

The OPPO F17 Pro has six cameras – four on the rear and two on the front. The rear camera set-up includes a 48-megapixel primary sensor of an f1.8 aperture, an 8MP ultra-wide sensor of an f2.2 aperture, and two 2MP monochrome sensors of an f2.4 aperture. On the front, the phone has a 16MP primary sensor of an f2.4 aperture mated with a 2MP depth sensor.

In daylight conditions, the phone’s primary and ultra-wide sensors take detailed shots with a good amount of detail, a decent dynamic range and neutral colours. Exposure seems to be an issue with the primary sensor, and it applies over-exposure by default quite often. However, a little tinkering with the on-screen exposure setting balances it. The ultra-wide sensor handles exposure well but shows a barrel effect, making images soft on the edges. In low light, the primary sensor takes satisfactory shots but require stable hands. The ultra-wide sensor, on the other hand, suffers in low-light conditions and captures noise, resulting in poor output.

Besides the wide and ultra-wide sensors, there are two 2MP sensors for depth details. It is with these two sensors that the camera segments the subject and the background. These two come into play with the camera’s filters and bokeh effect in video. Among other filters, there is an ‘AI Color Portrait’, which retains the colours on the subject (human only) and turns background into monochrome. The filters turn out to be a good value-addition in the OPPO F17 Pro imaging package.

The front camera works fine for selfies in all light conditions. The addition of a supplementary 2MP sensor here boosts the camera performance in the portrait mode. Like the rear camera, the front camera supports colour filters, too, and the dual-camera set-up works well to segment the subject and the background.

OPPO F17 Pro: Performance

The OPPO F17 Pro is powered by MediaTek Helio P95 system-on-chip, paired with 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of internal storage. The phone boots Android 10-based ColorOS 7.2 user interface. The phone is powered by a 4,015 mAh battery, supported by 30W VOOC Flash Charge 4.0.

The phone handles most day-to-day tasks with ease. Processor- and graphic-intensive workloads are not much of a problem, but do not expect extreme performance that you get, say, top-end premium smartphones. Gaming experience is decent, if not perfect. The phone faces slight lags at maximum graphic settings in popular gaming titles like Call of Duty.

User experience is similar to what you get in most OPPO phones. Though the phone ships with a custom UI layered on top of Android OS, it does not feel entirely different and functions more or less the same way as stock Android. Interestingly, OPPO’s telephony and messaging app is now replaced by the Google version and the default keyboard is also Gboard. The UI has a mature look and feel looks and it feels optimised. There is some bloatware but most of it is part of the OPPO ecosystem, not third-party apps.

The OPPO F17 Pro has a decent on-battery time: it sails through a day on mixed usage — multimedia streaming, imaging, video and voice calls, messaging, internet and social media browsing. Charging time is quick and the phone takes around one-and-a-half hours to refill a completely drained out battery to full. Thankfully, there is no thermal issue here while charging or otherwise and the phone maintains moderate temperature even if you put it to heavy use.

OPPO F17 Pro review: Verdict

The OPPO F17 Pro is one of the few phones that tick all the right boxes and justify their pricing. It might not be a perfect smartphone, but it works well on almost every parameter. Besides, it has a design and build that few in the segment can match. The OPPO F17 Pro is an easy one to recommend. However, do check out the Realme 7 Pro (review) and the OnePlus Nord (review) before finalising your pick.

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