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OPPO R17 In-Depth Review: Annual Flagship of OPPO

OPPO has been pre-heating its new annual flagship in a strange way. We began learning the core parameters of the OPPO R17 only in the last three days. And a day before the launch, we were informed about the price.

Moreover, the OPPO R11s was announced in the second half of last year. In this sense, the OPPO R17 comes a bit earlier. Another thing, before this, the company’s flagship was the OPPO R15. And instead of launching the OPPO R15s, we see a move forward. Anyway, the phone is out and it has two versions – the OPPO R17 and the OPPO R17 Pro. Today, we are going to review the former model, as it is already available for pre-order, while its singling will go on sale in mid-October. Honestly, it’s from another galaxy.

OPPO R17 Appearance: A Vital Rhythm, A New Look

Previously, the term full-screen meant its aspect ratio should be 18:9. Some manufacturers even tried to hide a few sensors under the screen to enlarge the screen ratio. No matter whether they succeeded or not – they all are called full-screens. This year, OPPO launched the Find X and brought a new approach. Actually, the structure it used led it to the genuine full-screen design.

In this context, the OPPO R17 has re-used the bangs full-screen. However, unlike all current smartphones that use shaped screens, our protagonist uses a new form of display, officially known as the ‘drop screen.’ The non-display area of the screen is designed based on the shape of the ‘water drop’ in the natural state, presenting a screen transition of the water droplets.

As for this screen, the OPPO R17 uses a 6.4-inch OLED display with an aspect ratio of 19.5:9 and a resolution of 2340×1080 pixels. The screen surface covers Corning’s sixth-generation Gorilla Glass. By the way, with the R17 the Gorilla Glass 6 debuts.

According to Corning’s data, the sixth-generation Gorilla Glass has a new, chemically-strengthened glass material that can withstand higher surface lamination stress than Corning’s fifth-generation Gorilla Glass. Subjected to a new and rigorous test methodology in our labs, on average, Gorilla Glass 6 survived 15 consecutive drops from 1 meter onto rough surfaces and is up to 2x better than Gorilla Glass 5.

Though the ‘drop screen’ area is smaller than the previous notch area, the OPPO R17 still placed inside the traditional sensing elements. But they are hidden. If you don’t take a closer look at the Water Drop Screen, you will only see the camera components. As for the components such as the earpiece and the light distance sensor, they are hidden in the top border, inside of the screen, and the like.

According to the official introduction, the OPPO R17 hides the light sensor under the screen on the right side of the water drop, and buries the bent light guide column in the water drop area, which in turn transmits light to the sensor to realize the recognition of ambient light. In addition, the same ‘TP + screen under infrared’ solution found in the Find X is used to realize the corresponding functions of the traditional proximity sensor.

Thanks to the optimization of the screen dispensing process and screen packaging technology, the width of the border of the OPPO R17 is further reduced. Under the effect of reducing the frame and the ‘droplet screen’, the OPPO R17 has a total screen ratio of 91.5%.

The OPPO R15 has a screen ratio of 90%, and OPPO R17 has a screen ratio of 91.5%. Among them, the upper border of R15 is 1.95mm, the left and right borders are 1.78mm, and the lower border is 5.05mm. The upper border of R17 is 1.85mm, the left and right borders are 1.63mm, and the lower border is 4mm.

Like the previous generation, the OPPO R17 continues using a double-sided glass body. However, compared to the previous generation, the OPPO R17’s back style can be described as ‘big-bang.’ The rear dual-camera adopts the vertical arrangement. Plus, the flashlight comes in a different color area. The fingerprint scanner was removed from the back.

In terms of color options, the OPPO R17 upgraded the previous generation with a gradient color design and realized the ‘flowing’ effect on the original gradient design. OPPO called it ‘Magic Color Gradient.’ So after combining different body colors, different gradient effects can be provided.

At present, the OPPO R17 offers two colors – Neon Purple and Streaming Blue. The Neon Purple color can realize the horizontal three-color gradient, while the Streaming Blue can realize the four-direction gradient of up, down, left, and right. At the same time, the fuselage middle frame also uses the same color on the back to create a visual sense of unity.

Apart from the front and back design, OPPO R17 has no obvious difference from the previous generation. The body shape is slightly tough, but the details are still based on round transition. As for the grip experience, it still provides the possibility of single-hand operations.

Though there is the sixth generation Corning Gorilla Glass, we still recommend ‘wearing the sleeve’, to avoid accidental damage. Plus, it will prevent the phone from becoming a ‘fingerprint collector.’

In other details of the fuselage, the OPPO R17 retains a 3.5mm headphone jack at the bottom and uses the Type-C interface. The volume rocker is on the left, while the power button is on the right side.

It should be noted that this generation of OPPO R17 does not support memory expansion via the card slot. There is only a dual-Nano card. The built-in storage is 128GB.

Compared with the previous OPPO R series smartphones, the overall appearance of this generation of R17 can be described as quite recognizable.

OPPO R17 Performance: Snapdragon 670 + 8GB + 128GB

In last year’s OPPO R11 series, OPPO was the first to bring the Snapdragon 660 mobile platform. With its excellent performance and excellent power consumption, the Snapdragon 660 is known as the ‘generational god U.’ In this year’s OPPO R17 series, OPPO is once again taking on the first heavy responsibility and becoming the first brand to carry the Snapdragon 670 mobile platform.

In addition, the R17 series uses an 8GB LPDDR4X memory and a 128GB UFS2.1 storage. There is also a 6GB variant.

Though it is only an upgraded version of the Snapdragon 660, the highlights of the Snapdragon 670 are remarkable. The CPU part uses the Kryo 360 core of the 2+6 Big.Little architecture and the GPU part uses the Adreno 616 core. It is built on a 10nm process and features an X12 modem, a third-generation AI Engine, and integrated Hexagon 680 vector unit (DSP) and Spectre 250 image sensor (ISP).

According to Qualcomm, the processing performance of the Snapdragon 670 mobile platform is 15% higher than that of the previous generation, and the graphics performance is improved by 35%. Second, overall power consumption is reduced by 30%, and AI performance is up to 180%.

Judging from the running scores of the major benchmarks, the OPPO R17 equipped with the Snapdragon 670 cannot be compared with the Snapdragon 800 series. But it is indeed a lot better than the previous generation Snapdragon 660 mobile platform. In addition, such running scores can also compete with the Snapdragon 710. It can even be said that the Snapdragon 670 is the ‘low-frequency’ version of the Snapdragon 710.

It is worth mentioning that, starting the OPPO R11 series, OPPO smartphones have a fairly stable gaming experience. We tested the phone by playing the ‘Honor of Kings’ and the ‘PLAYERUNKNOWN.’ It was a pleasure to play these games on the OPPO R17. However, it should be noted that due to the problem of model adaptation, in the current setting of ‘PLAYERUNKNOWN’, the ‘HDR HD’ and ‘Ultra HD’ screen quality cannot be selected.

Of course, during the game, you can feel the heat of the fuselage. At the same time, OPPO R17 will have more obvious fever than the game with special optimization. However, neither the former nor the latter are hot and can be accepted.

OPPO R17 Software: Full-Featured & Easy to Use

The OPPO R17 runs on Color OS 5.2 based on Android 8.1. Compared with the previous V5.X version, there are not many obvious changes in the system style. Still relying on lightweight design as the main design concept, it continues to follow the simple, brisk style route, but with some more lively, fresh color elements.

We can even say that the features on the OPPO R17 system are further optimized and functionally enhanced. For example, for the ‘Sweep’ optimization of AI Wisdom, the new ‘TOP Application Special Optimization’, the newly optimized ‘Smart Sidebar’, and ‘Screen Fingerprint Recognition’ are added.

The ‘smart sidebar’ is actually a redesigned variant of the previous generation of ‘full-screen multitasking.’ However, unlike the latter, the ‘smart sidebar’ can be opened in the form of a floating window, and the notifications of WeChat, QQ, etc. can be viewed.

In addition, the ‘Smart Sidebar’ can provide a folder for collection management, where you can see what you have collected on different APP pages. What’s also interesting is that it also provides a ‘game hang-up’ function, which can lock the screen during the game to ensure that the game will not be interrupted or quit.

As the highlight of AI wisdom, the OPPO R17 has added ‘TOP Application Special Optimization’ to the system. As the name suggests, ColorOS 5.2 is targeted for TOP applications. By adding the intelligent detection optimization mechanism, the software scene is identified and analyzed. Then the intelligent allocation of hardware is completed in the system scheduling.

According to OPPO, ‘TOP Application Special Optimization”’ can achieve faster response and lower energy consumption by optimizing the individual applications. In addition, a large-scale deployment has been completed for mainstream TOP applications, including WeChat, Taobao, Honor of Kings, PLAYERUNKNOWN, Wilderness Action, etc. This list grows daily.

As mentioned earlier, the OPPO R17 cancels the traditional capacitive fingerprint recognition and turns to the optical touchscreen fingerprint technology.

As the first model of OPPO to adopt screen fingerprints, it is not much different from the current screen fingerprint experience on the market, including the fingerprint entry process, unlocking efficiency and so on. The system also provides a variety of unlocking light effects, including the virtual force field, mirror water, energy beam, etc.

Though the entry process and unlocking efficiency are not significantly different from the current screen fingerprint technologies, such a user experience is still worthy of recognition as the first screen fingerprint model. However, it should be noted that in the case of unlocking when the phone film is attached (if the film is too thick or bubbles are present), the unlocking efficiency is lowered.

So the screen fingerprint technology adopted by the OPPO R17 can replace the traditional capacitive fingerprint technology. At the same time, it can also be used for real fingerprint unlocking, fingerprint payment (Alipay/WeChat), fingerprint application encryption, and so on.

According to reports, the OPPO R17 uses CMOS scheme and MicroLens 3P lens, with the 2mm*2mm image sensor. The single pixel size reaches 12.5um. The resolution reaches 160*160. And the screen is unlocked in 0.41 seconds.

As mentioned above, the ‘drop screen’ carries a 25MP front camera. Without the support of more image sensors, the OPPO R17 realizes the face payment function of ‘Alipay’, which is somewhat surprising. However, in the current system version, this feature is not yet supported. But according to OPPO, this feature will be enabled soon.

OPPO R17 Endurance

Though the OPPO R17 is only equipped with a 3500mAh battery, it can also have a relatively good endurance performance. Due to the Snapdragon 670 mobile platform with a 10nm technology the energy efficiency ratio of OPPO R17 should be higher, theoretically.

According to the endurance test, the power consumption of the OPPO R17 hour when watching video online for 1 hour is 9%, when playing game online is 17%, and when leaving it in the standby mode for eight hours is 3%. So the OPPO R17 shouldn’t last a day on a single charge.

The results of the above endurance test will vary from person to person. So with the help of OPPO’s own VOOC flash charging technology, it is a tricky way to win with charging efficiency. The OPPO R17 is equipped with a 5V/4A charger and supports up to 20W of output power. It is part of the low-voltage fast charging solution.

Not surprisingly, the actual charging efficiency of the OPPO R17 is quite satisfactory. Starting with 1% of electricity, it can charge up to 57% in 30 minutes, and it takes 76 minutes to fill a whole battery. In addition, thanks to this low-voltage fast charging solution, it can achieve fast charging even on bright screens and even when playing games.

However, it should be noted that in order to achieve the above high-efficiency charging or bright-screen fast charging, you should use the charger and data cable of OPPO. When any of them lacks, the VOOC charging won’t provide the mentioned efficiency.

OPPO R17 Camera: Captures Like a Professional

The OPPO R series phones have always taken cameras as a core selling point. The R17 is no exception. On the back, it carries a 16MP + 5MP dual-camera, while on the front it features a 25MP single camera. The rear main camera uses the Sony IMX519 sensor, which provides a F/1.7 aperture. The front one adopts the Sony IMX576 sensor, which provides a F/2.0 aperture.

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As for imaging technology, the OPPO R17 brings a new RAW HDR. According to OPPO, it uses the RAW data for synthesis processing. So the final photo details are more abundant. The degree of reduction is better. And the backlight shooting is better.

However, the OPPO R17 is still based on AI camera technology. And on this basis, it brings some functional upgrades, such as AI intelligent scene recognition, AI smart beauty, AR photo, O-moji, and other functions.

It is not difficult to see through a series of photo samples that the OPPO R17’s camera has a relatively good performance. In the daytime scene, the white balance and color can be controlled in a more realistic range, and the style of consistently eye-catching is maintained. In the macro and night scenes, it can display a good picture purity and show the advantages of large aperture.

In the case of a night scene with strong backlight or complex light source, although it is possible to control the exposure and ensure the purity of the picture, there is still room for improvement in the details of the picture.

However, despite the AI smart scene recognition, dual-core focus and other technologies, the R17’s camera is still worthy of recognition.

Wrap Up

On the OPPO R17, we have seen many popular elements of smartphones launched in the second half of this year, including the ability to increase the ‘drop screen’ and enhance the screen ratio. At the same time, it uses an on-screen fingerprint scanner that can be seen in half a dozen models. But what’s more interesting, all these features are found on Chinese models. So it turns out OPPO and other Chinese brands are simply put some pressure on top brands.

Argam Artashyan

Back in 2010, he was dismissed from his position as a lecturer at the university. This made him get another job at his friend’s digital marketing company as a blog writer. After a few years, when he was thinking the article writing is his mission, Google pushed the Panda update and affected the company and websites he was working at. (Un)fortunately and surprisingly, he got an offer to head a large knitting factory. In 2016, he got his Ph.D. and resumed teaching at the University … and writing tech-related articles following his passion.

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