OPPO F17 Pro Review: Slim & Sleek Doesn’t Cut It

OPPO F17 Pro Review
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Although Oppo boasts some of the most impressive flagship smartphones the industry has to offer, the company has managed to historically establish itself as a brand that values the trend, the glamour, and more importantly, the cameras above everything else. The new F17 Pro that I have with me right now follows the same trend. Dubbed as the slimmest and the lightest entry in Oppo’s fashion-first “F” series of smartphones, the F17 Pro is definitely something to drool over. But how is everything else on it—let’s find out in this review of the Oppo F17 Pro.

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OPPO F17 Pro Specifications:

  • Body: 6.30 x 2.91 x 0.30 inches, 164 gm, Gorilla Glass 3
  • Display: 6.43-inches Super AMOLED panel, 408PPI, Gorilla Glass 3
  • Resolution: FHD+ (2400 x 1080 pixels), 20:9 aspect ratio
  • Chipset: MediaTek Helio P95 (12nm Mobile Platform)
  • CPU: Octa-core (2×2.2 GHz Cortex-A75 & 6×2.0 GHz Cortex-A55)
  • GPU: PowerVR GM9446
  • RAM: 8GB LPDDR4x
  • Storage: 128GB UFS 2.1 (expandable via a Micro SD card)
  • Software & UI: ColorOS 7.2 on top of Android 10
  • Rear Camera: Quad-camera;
    – 48MP primary camera, f/1.8
    – 8MP ultra-wide lens, f/2.2, 16mm
    – 2MP, f/2.4 mono camera
    – 2MP, f/2.4 mono camera
    – LED flash
  • Front Camera: Dual; 16MP f/2.4 primary, 2MP f/2.4 depth sensor
  • Security: In-display fingerprint scanner (optical)
  • Audio: 3.5mm headphone jack, loudspeaker
  • Connectivity: Dual-SIM (Nano), WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (dual-band), Bluetooth 5.1, GPS / AGPS / Glonass / Galileo / BDS / QZSS, USB Type-C, 4G LTE
  • Sensors: Accelerometer, Gyro, Proximity, Compass
  • Battery: 4015mAh with 30W VOOC Flash Charge 4.0
  • Colors: Magic Blue, Matte Black, Metallic White
  • Price in Nepal: Rs. 43,990 (8/128GB)
  • Available at OPPO authorized retail stores

OPPO F17 Pro Review:

Design & Build

  • Polycarbonate body, plastic frame
  • Remarkably slim, lightweight body
  • Attractive dual-tone design

Like its predecessor, the Oppo F17 Pro stands out among the competition because of its design. As I mentioned earlier, Oppo is advertising it as the sleekest phone of the year. Measuring just 7.48mm in thickness while weighing 165 grams, the phone almost feels non-existent when keeping it in the pocket. There were a couple of instances where I gasped about the whereabouts of my phone—only to discover it was in my pocket the entire time.

Oppo has achieved this impressive lightweight build partly with the use of a polycarbonate body, alongside plastic frames. That may sound like a bummer but it’s really not, considering the work Oppo has put into designing the back panel. With a (subtle) reflective matte finish, holding the phone at different angles makes it seem as if the camera module is pouring rays of light throughout the panel. There is also a vertical strip running down the length of the phone—therefore resulting in a hip dual-tone design. Similarly, the F17 Pro has reflective materials on the edges for an added visual treat.

Catches fingerprints quite easy

Unfortunately, the phone isn’t as fingerprint resistant as Oppo would want you to believe. Although the matte finish does a decent job of concealing the smudges, I found myself having to wipe off the fingerprints quite often. Speaking strictly in terms of the back panel, the one on the F17 Pro feels significantly better than the Oppo F15 that I had reviewed earlier this year. The camera module itself has a dual-layer finish with the actual sensors protruding even further.

Overall, I gotta admit that the F17 Pro is a great phone to look at. Yet, keeping it that way could be a headache as within a week or so, I noticed dust accumulation around the camera module—therefore masking off the glossy surface beneath it.

Display

  • 6.43-inches FHD+ AMOLED panel
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection
  • Standard 60Hz refresh rate

Moving on to the display, the Oppo F17 Pro sports a 6.43” FHD+ AMOLED panel refreshing at the regular 60Hz, with a dual-punch-hole cutout for the selfie cameras. And like every other typical AMOLED panel, you get to enjoy rich colors with excellent contrasts on this display. Furthermore, it is also Widevine L1 certified meaning that the F17 Pro can play HD content from Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. It can get plenty bright too. Throughout the review period, I didn’t face a visibility issue with the Oppo F17 Pro, even when I was under direct sunlight. Oppo also claims that the phone can reach up to 800 nits of brightness.

OPPO F17 Pro - Display

Likewise, the company has also added Dark Mode and Always-on Display features on the F17 Pro. Both these features were absent on the F15 (despite featuring an AMOLED panel as well). Dark Mode is still in Beta mode and therefore doesn’t work well with all apps. Whereas, you get to play around with up to 18 different clock styles, and the information to show under the AoD settings.

Performance & Software

  • Octa-core MediaTek Helio P95 (12nm)
  • 8GB LPDDR4x RAM with 128GB UFS 2.1 storage (expandable)

Powering the F17 Pro is Helio P95 SoC. While it’s relatively new silicon from MediaTek, it surely isn’t an ideal one for the price of the phone. Even more so considering the fact how Qualcomm’s newer Snapdragon 700-series chipset is all the rage right now. Still, I faced no problem with the phone as it was fairly capable of handling my everyday tasks. With 8GB of RAM onboard, multi-tasking was a breeze as well.

OPPO F17 Pro - Design [1]

Gaming

Getting to gaming, I was able to get around 25-30fps in PUBG Mobile under HD graphics and Extreme frame rate. The fps data comes directly from the built-in Game Assistant feature. There were hardly any instances of stutter or noticeable lag. But, the phone does start to heat up pretty quickly. Therefore, naturally, if you want a stable and comfortable gaming experience on the Oppo F17 Pro, you’ll need to tone down the refresh rate to Ultra or High.

Similarly, I tried playing COD Mobile with both: Graphics and Refresh Rate set to high. Here, the gameplay was fairly decent with minor stutters every now and then, but nothing that concerning. As you’d expect, running less demanding games like Clash Royale, Among Us was an absolute cakewalk for the phone.

Software

Since the F17 Pro ships with ColorOS 7.2 (based on Android 10) out-of-the-box, I was eager to check out the “Quick Return Bubble” feature. Basically, once activated, it keeps track of the waiting time of your game, while you temporarily get busy with other apps. To my disappointment, the phone doesn’t support it as of yet—maybe it will after the upcoming ColorOS 11 update.

Additionally, I also had some problems accessing the Game Assistant panel during games. While I didn’t face such an issue on the Realme 7 Pro, swiping the smart sidebar on the F17 Pro kept bringing the notification panel down.

Still and all, the Game Assistant isn’t completely useless. It gives you info about frame rate, CPU/GPU usage, and more. And when you receive a text message in the middle of the game, it is displayed horizontally across the screen, without disturbing the gameplay. It worked well with text messages and Telegram, although I do wish it supported Messenger too.

Google apps

In addition, I like the way Oppo ships with Google Phone and Messages apps as the default instead of their Oppo alternatives. Even swiping right on the home screen takes you to the Google Discover feed. If memory serves me right, this space was sheltered by some kind of assistant-like feature from the company itself. The F17 Pro does ship with a handful of third-party apps like Facebook, WPS Office, Music Party, Netflix. But, you can’t uninstall the last two.

OPPO F17 Pro - Google Feed

Other interesting features on ColorOS 7.2 include Oppo Lab and Oppo Relax. As the name implies, the former is home to a set of new experimental features. At the time of writing this review, there were 9 assorted features inside it. And I’m personally fond of how it lets you change icon shapes and such. Similarly, the icon pull-gesture makes it easy to use the phone single-handed.

Cameras

  • Quad-cameras at the back
  • (48MP primary, 8MP wide-angle, 2MP mono, 2MP mono)
  • Dual-selfie cameras (16MP primary, 2MP depth)

In terms of cameras, the Oppo F17 Pro has a total of 6 sensors: 4 at the back, and 2 on the front. The rear setup includes a 48MP primary sensor followed by an 8MP wide-angle and two 2MP monochrome sensors. The dual-punch-hole cutout on the display houses a 16MP Sony IMX471 sensor and an additional 2MP depth sensor. During the review, we compared the cameras of Oppo F17 Pro against the Realme 7 Pro since both phones retail at a similar price (in the international market).

Normal Images

Here, in normal images, the shots from F17 Pro tend to feature this noticeable pinkish tint to them. On the other hand, the ones from the Realme 7 Pro look more natural to the eyes.

The dynamic range is also comparatively worse on the F17 Pro and as you can see from these samples, the one from Realme has better details (thanks to the 64MP sensor) and highlights. But, in a couple of instances, Realme 7 Pro does overcompensate shadow details and exposure.

Wideangle Images

Moving on to the wide-angle images, the photos from Realme 7 Pro are much more detailed and have better exposure, white balance maintenance.

While the results are fairly comparable in a dimly lit situation, the wide-angle sensor on the F17 Pro’s inferiority is highlighted in a sunny environment.

Portrait Images

Likewise, portrait images look slightly better on the F17 Pro as the ones on the Realme 7 Pro have overblown shadows and exposure.

The edge-detection itself is very similar between the two phones. Although the subjects do look a-bit smoothened on Oppo, the yellowish hue on Realme 7 Pro looks almost cartoonish.

Selfie Images

Regular selfies on the F17 Pro look pale while the ones on the competition come off reddish—and maybe even over-sharpened.

Here as well, the subject looks smoothened on the F17 Pro.

Portrait Selfie Images

Moving on, the portrait selfies share a similar story as regular selfies.

But, the background exposure is much worse on the Realme 7 Pro.

Nighttime Images

When it comes to nighttime shots, both phones struggle quite a bit under an extremely poorly-lit environment. Thankfully, they come with a dedicated Night Mode feature that works with the wide-angle sensor as well.

The regular nighttime images on the F17 Pro are a little grainy whereas Realme 7 Pro has slightly punchy colors. It also has better exposure and shadow details compared to the F17 Pro and therefore looks better with a good amount of details.

Turning on Night Mode, images from both phones have similar results. But, I’d prefer the one on the Realme 7 Pro for its marginally better details.

Regular wide-angle nighttime shots from both phones are almost dismissable, although Night Mode does help a bit to bring out more details.

Videography

In terms of videos, the F17 Pro is locked at 30fps under every resolution—except for slow-mo recordings. While testing them during the review, we found that 1080p/30fps footages from the Oppo F17 Pro look a bit muddy and it can’t lock exposure as often. But otherwise, they are similar on both phones in regards to details and stabilization. Bumping the resolution to 4k, the Realme 7 Pro gives off stabilized shots while Oppo lacks it entirely.

Similarly, 1080p/30fps wide-angle videos are slightly wobbly on the F17 Pro, although the Realme 7 Pro’s field-of-view (FOV) is comparatively smaller. Selfie videos aren’t that great on the Realme 7 Pro with worse background exposure and a shorter FOV.

Battery

  • 4015mAh battery with 30W VOOC Flash Charge 4.0
  • AI Night Charging for intelligently juicing up the phone

Here, the Oppo F17 Pro gets its juice from a decent 4015mAh battery; which I think is a little small considering what competing devices are offering. Almost every day I had to charge the phone in the middle of the day—after two hours or so of FPS gaming, and couple more hours of social media browsing, video streaming, and such. My usage also consisted of turning on the GPS and Bluetooth the entire time—with the Huawei Health app running in the background.

OPPO F17 Pro - Charger

The considerably inadequate battery endurance is somewhat compensated by a fast-charging mechanism. The phone ships with 30W VOOC Flash Charge 4.0. Oppo claims that it can juice up the phone in just 53 minutes. During my test, the claim kinda-sorta proved to be true. The phone got from 0-70% in just 30 minutes, while it got to 100% in the 55th minute. We all know by now that fast charging technologies have an adverse effect on battery health in the long-run.

So, to prevent this, Oppo has come up with a feature called “AI Night Charging”. With this, the device intelligently identifies the time of the day when you are most unlikely to use the phone; and slows down the charging process for that period. In the early days of the review, this feature slowed down the charging process overnight, only to fully charge the phone at 6 AM. After a while, the adjusted settings now completes the charging cycle at 7:30 in the morning.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the F17 Pro is like every other mid-range Oppo phones. If you’re a fan of style and aesthetics, this will definitely catch your eye. It has an excellent AMOLED panel, so the viewing experience is great too. Unfortunately, the camera performance is somewhat inconsistent as we discovered from our intensive testing against a directly competing device—the Realme 7 Pro. And about that, Realme’s superiority is a bit confusing considering how it’s a spin-off of Oppo itself.

Just by looking at the spec-sheet, you can tell the 7 Pro is a much better value overall. From relatively better cameras to a bigger battery, better performance, and a flagship-grade 65W charging, almost everything looks better compared to the F17 Pro. And hey, if you’re looking for even better cameras, we can’t recommend the Vivo V20 enough, although it does come at a slightly higher asking price.

  • Watch our view review of the OPPO F17 Pro.

OPPO F17 Pro Review: Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Great design, comfortable, lightweight
  • Nice, vibrant AMOLED display
  • Decent camera performance
  • 30W charger provided inside the box
  • Ingenious overnight charging feature

Cons:

  • The performance isn’t that great
  • Slightly uncompetitive cameras
  • Battery life could’ve been better
  • No high refresh rate display
REVIEW OVERVIEW
Design & Build
9
Display
8.5
Performance
7.5
Back Cameras
7
Front Cameras
8
Software & UI
8
Battery
8
Value for Money
7.5