OPPO R17 Pro Review : A Firework in the Night

At this point, so many articles and reviews about the OPPO R17 Pro 2018 high-end smartphone have already been published online.

In fact, here in TechPinas alone, I believe I've already done more than a couple of blog posts about the handset's key features and stellar imaging capabilities -- not counting all of my social media entries and Youtube videos.

Honestly, for more than a week now, I've been wondering how I can make this review truly valuable for my readers and OPPO fans who currently thinking about spending their hard-earned money on this particular model.

Earlier today, I finally decided how I'm going to do this. I'll just try to answer the one question that I've received the most from you guys about the OPPO R17 Pro: "Is it worth buying?"

Price in the Philippines

Donning a price tag of PHP 38,990, OPPO R17 Pro is one of the most expensive handsets that the Chinese smartphone maker has released in the Philippines. As such, it is a high-end or premium release through and through.

In fact, the only current model that's more pricey than this one is the OPPO Find X, which has a notchless screen and a 3D Stealth mechanism housing its front and back cameras.

The complete retail package includes the unit itself, the headset, user manual and security information booklet, SuperVOOC Flash Charger, USB Type C charging cable, and a free soft gel case.

The OPPO R17 Pro's price tag puts it in direct competition with Samsung Galaxy A9, Huawei P20, Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro, and OnePlus 6T, which are all within the PHP 30,000 to PHP 40,000 echelon.

Attractive Design, Stellar Build

For me, if there's one thing about the OPPO R17 Pro that truly makes it special compared to its competitors, it would have to be its downright attractive design identity. I mean, just look at it. This model is a definite looker.

This phone features a frosted or misted glass back panel with a unique vertical gradient - going from purple to a shade of blue that's close to dark turquoise. I initially thought that this is made of metal has it looks like it from afar and up close.

To be fair, Huawei was the smartphone maker that popularized the use of color gradients in the design of smartphones. However, Huawei uses horizontal orientation (top to bottom) for the gradient finish of its current phones.

OPPO R17 Pro's mid-frame is crafted from anodized aluminum, which perfectly complements the front and back elements to give it an air of corporate elegance and sophistication. This model is expensive -- and I'm sure you will look and feel expensive too when you hold it.

Apart from the gradient finish, the handset's protruding plate for the Triple Camera Module - I would say - is its identifying physical characteristic. This oblong, metal-framed plate is placed right smack in the upper middle part of the back panel, which gives the phone a balanced look.

Beautiful Display with Waterdrop Notch for the 25 MegaPixel Front Cam

OPPO R17 Pro is one of the few smartphones apart from Samsung Galaxy releases that have a SuperAMOLED display.

This type of screen is typically more bright, brilliant, and vibrant compared to IPS panels that have the same resolution -- and it's also more energy efficient has it doesn't have LED bulbs lighting it from behind.

Whether you enjoy playing 3D games, watching Full HD movies on Netflix and vlogs on Youtube, viewing high resolution photos, or reading blogs on your handset, I'm confident that you will find the experience enjoyable on this 6.4-inch 1080 x 2340 pixels 19.5:9 panel.

The notch has become a polarizing feature on the screens of today's smartphones. Some people like and some people don't. Personally, I've never found the notch - regardless of its size - annoying since I have early on accepted it a novelty marker on new mobile devices. Now, if you happen to hate the notch, you'd be glad to know the one on OPPO R17 Pro is small enough not to be intrusive or too obvious. Aside from that, OPPO has added software features to it - like a menu for taking screen captures or viewing messages while playing games without opening another application - which allow it to help enhance user experience.

OPPO R17 Pro Selfie

The notch of OPPO R17 Pro houses its 25 MegaPixel front-facing camera, which is one of the highest resolution selfie shooters that you will find on any smartphone in the market. This snapper is powered by OPPO's AI Beauty technology that brushes up the skintone of the user while maintaining his or her identifying physical characteristics. This results in clear and crisp selfies that still look like you even after beautification effect.

Unique Triple Camera System

Like Huawei P20 Pro and Samsung Galaxy A7 2018, OPPO R17 Pro also has a Triple Rear Camera Module. However, OPPO's version of such a system for this model is currently one of a kind.

The topmost shooter in this column is a unique 3D Sensing Time of Flight (TOF) camera that's supposed to capture high-precision 3D depth information of subjects through nanosecond infrared light measurement. Sounds heavy, right?

According to OPPO, this cam is meant to allow the user to capture 3D images, which can also be used for printing. However, I think the company is still trying to polish the software that will power and bring this shooter to life. Frankly, I never quite got to try out the capabilities of this camera because of this limitation. As such, I will reserve judgment until I get to play with the final software.

The primary camera, which is in the middle of in the column, is a 12 MegaPixel shooter with variable f/1.5-2.4 aperture, Phase Detection Autofocus, and Optical Image Stabilization.

The aperture of this cam automatically changes depending on the amount of ambient light to deliver the best image in various lighting conditions. To be specific, when light is low, the aperture can go as wide as f/1.5 to let in the most illumination or it can be as slow as f/2.4 to give the user the sharpest shots when there's enough light in the environment.

The third snapper in the column is a 20 MegaPixel f/2.6 secondary camera that assists the primary cam for better contrast and more beautiful color replication in all images as well as more natural bokeh effect in portrait mode.

These two shooters combine to deliver stunning images regardless of the subject, whether indoor or outdoors. But don't take my word for it. Check out these photos of flowers, greenery, food, and architecture that I took using the OPPO R17 Pro.

I own a Samsung Galaxy Note8 and Apple iPhone X -- and for me, strictly in terms of image clarity and color vibrance, OPPO R17 Pro is right up there with those two in terms cameraphone performance especially in well-lit conditions.

Useful Night Mode and Good Video Stabilization

When I first played with the OPPO R17 Pro during my trip with my blogger friends to the OPPO Headquarters in Shenzhen, China last October 24, 2018, the one imaging feature of the handset that stuck me the most was Night Mode because it worked well right off the bat.

On the night that Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Shenzhen following the Macau bridge opening, the city's skyline became the slate for a marvelous light show and thankfully, I was able to take clear photos of it -- thanks to my OPPO R17 Pro's Night Mode. Basically, I just raised the handset, clicked the capture button, and the camera took the three-second long exposure shot.

OPPO R17 Pro Night Mode

I think the camera took multiple shots in that three-second interval and the algorithm stitched all of the images together into one crisp and clear low-light photo.

What's more amazing for me is that OPPO R17 Pro was able to capture that long exposure without needing to be mounted on tripod! Yep, it was all handheld. This wouldn't have been possible without the phone's top-notch optical and electronic image stabilization.

The handset's OIS and EIS also benefits video capture even at night! Believe me, my arms and hands were shaking when I recorded the video of the Shenzhen Lightshow above -- and yet, the clip looks rather stable to be fair. Again, don't take my word for it. Watch the video in FullHD and see for yourself.

Speaking of the video recorder, OPPO R17 Pro can shoot 4K videos at 30 frames per second, FullHD 1080p clips at 60 and 120fps which is great for content creators, and Slow-Mo HD 720p videos at a whopping 240fps.

AI and AR

2018 was the year of smartphones with AI and the OPPO R17 Pro joins the roster of models that have this smart feature.

For those who are hearing about it for the first time, AI for smartphones is often implemented in these devices' imaging software. (Though, there are other applications, which I will talk about in another post.) Basically, AI allows the cameraphone to automatically figure out what's in front of the camera and adjust color saturation, bokeh, shadows, and highlights - among other parameters - to shoot the best exposure possible. AI also maps out the face of user when snapping selfies to figure out the exact location size of the eyes, nose, cheeks, mouth, forehead, and ears as well as unique facial features like moles, beard, and mustache.

The AI facial mapping feature powers OPPO R17 Pro's AR Stickers for selfies and groufies, which include cute animal graphics. You can add these effects to you and your friends' faces when snapping photos that you'll share on Facebook or Instagram.

Fast and Accurate In-Display Fingerprint Scanner

OPPO proves that it is truly a leader in innovation by integrating an a Fingeprint Scanner or Sensor within one section of the OPPO R17 Pro's SuperAMOLED display. Currently, only some OPPO, OnePlus, and Vivo smartphones have this security and privacy feature.

To use it, simply place your registered finger on top of the sensor face and wait for the handset to recognize it and unlock the interface. I find OPPO R17 Pro's in-display fingerprint scanner quite fast and accurate -- though, I always make sure that my finger is grime-free and that I press on the screen slightly to ensure that my entire fingerprint will be "captured" by the scanner.

I find this location of the sensor easier and more convenient to use with my thumb versus rear-placement when I'm holding the smartphone or when it's placed on table and I need to unlock it.

The user can choose from multiple Fingerprint Unlock animations including this wave pattern.

To ensure maximum protection against those who want to steal or view private information and content, you can also enable OPPO R17 Pro's Facial Recognition feature as well as the familiar pattern and passcode unlock alongside the In-Display Fingerprint Scanner to build multiple security layers.

Smooth Performance Across the Board

OPPO R17 Pro runs its ColorOS 5.2 skinned Android 8.1 Oreo operating system with a 10nm Octa Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 processor that's both powerful and energy efficient. This fairly new chipset has a multi-core AI Engine that enables the many AI capabilities of this smartphone including the ones I mentioned above.

This smartphone's Snapdragon 710 processor is complemented by a whopping 8GB of RAM, which ensures buttery smooth multitasking experience, as well as a generous 128GB of internal storage that's perfect for those who love recording 4K videos and snapping thousands of travel photos. And what's cool is that you can even get more space for your large files through the handset's hybrid secondary nanoSIM slot that can also take in a microSD memory card.

Although OPPO R17 Pro's Antutu Benchmark Score is - oddly enough - not quite as high as that of its main competitors, the user can rest-assured that this handset won't lag or become slow when playing high-frame-rate games and resource intensive applications. The truth is, this model can breeze through any 3D title that you can download from Google Play Store, including Ragnarok M: Eternal Love, Mobile Legends Bang Bang, and PUBG Mobile, to name a few.

Industry-Leading Fast Charging Feature

The one feature that puts OPPO R17 Pro head and shoulders above its competitors would have to be its unique SuperVOOC Flash Charge technology. I mean, other companies haven't come up with something that can go head to head with this innovation.

Created and developed by OPPO, 50W SuperVOOC fast charging gives OPPO R17 Pro's battery 40% juice with just 10 minutes of plugging to an electrical outlet using the provided cable and travel charger. Believe it!

This technology is made possible by the smart "component" that's incorporated in the charger as well as the bi-cell design of the OPPO R17 Pro's battery. These elements, among others, truly cut down the charging time, allowing the user to accomplish more on the handset on the go.

How does this feature contribute to user experience, you ask? Let's say you forgot to charge your smartphone before going to an event and your Grab ride is already arriving in 10 to 15 minutes. With SuperVOOC Flash Charging, you can get 40% charge or more by plugging the device to an outlet for that short amount of time. I think it's very useful -- especially for me who's always rushing.

Is It Worth It?

Frankly, OPPO R17 Pro has a number of really powerful and interesting competitors in the market. I don't have to tell you the unique selling points of the other models in the above-mentioned price bracket. Also, I have heard consumers say that OPPO R17 Pro's PHP 38,990 price tag is a bit steep for many Pinoy mobile users.

To answer the question, I think that all things considered, the OPPO R17 Pro is well worth it. Here's the thing: What makes this model quite pricey is that fact that it incorporates so many "firsts" in the mobile industry -- and consumers really have to pay a premium to enjoy those on their devices.

Apart from the Frosted Glass Finish and the FullHD+ SuperAMOLED display, the In-Display Fingerprint Scanner, the 3D TOF Camera (even if it's not yet polished), the Long-Exposure Night Mode, and SuperVOOC Flash Charge Technology are all high-end features that you can get all at once on the OPPO R17 Pro.

Perhaps, eventually, OPPO will bring some of these unique innovations to its more affordable midrange offerings -- but for now, we all have to shell out more money to be able to reap their benefits in our daily mobile experience.

Despite facing stiff competition, I honestly feel that OPPO R17 Pro has enough stellar capabilities to take on all of them and win. As I've mentioned in the title, this model is like a firework in the night; You will see its wonders if you just take time to look at it. All things considered, I give it 9.5 out of 10 TP Stars.

OPPO R17 Pro Specs
157.6 x 74.6 x 7.9 mm
183 grams
6.4-inch FullHD+ 1080 x 2340 pixels, 402 ppi, 19.5:9 Aspect Ratio, SuperAMOLED
85.9% Screen-to-Body ratio
Waterdrop Notch
Triple Rear Camera Module:
12 MegaPixels, f/1.5-2.4 Variable Aperture, 26mm Wide Field of View, 1/2.55" Sensor Size, 7P Lens, 1.4µm Pizel Size, Dual Pixel PDAF, Optical Image Stabilization
20 MegaPixels, f/2.6 Aperture, AutoFocus
TOF 3D Stereo Camera
Front Facing Camera:
25 MegaPixels, f/2.0, AutoFocus
Rear Video Recorder: 4K 2160p 30fps, FullHD 1080p 60/120fps, HD 720p 240fps
ColorOS 5.2
Android 8.1 Oreo
10nm Octa-Core (2 x 2.2 GHz Kryo 360 Gold + 6 x 1.7 GHz Kryo 360 Silver) Qualcomm SDM710 Snapdragon 710
Adreno 616 GPU
8GB of RAM
128GB of ROM
Hybrid microSD Card Slot
WiFi 801.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth 5.0
4G LTE Cat15
USB Type C Charging Port
SuperVOOC Flash Charging 50W, 40% in 10 Minutes
Non-Removable Li-Po 3,700 mAh battery
Misted Glass and Metal
Stream Blue

OPPO R17 Pro Price
Official Suggested Retail Price in the Philippines - PHP 38,990

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