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Oppo R17 gets underscreen fingerprint sensor, not much else

oppor17-13

That gradated metallic blue is a cool look.


Aloysius Low/CNET

Oppo’s R17 is a pretty good-looking phone, but it could be better.

I’ve only spent a short time with it so far, but it lacks that something special to help it stand out in a sea of similar Chinese Android phones. Dual rear cameras, beautiful design, a full-screen experience with a tiny notch — these make it a killer midrange phone, but we’ve seen plenty of similar phones this year.

It does have an underscreen fingerprint sensor, but Vivo already beat Oppo to the market with that feature in the Vivo X21 ($469 at Amazon.com). At 3,499 Chinese yuan (about $510, £395 or AU$700), does the R17 have what it takes to make it a must-buy?

For one thing, it’s a really stunning looking phone. If you wouldn’t be caught dead with a boring champagne-gold phone, the three-gradient metallic-blue rear of the R17 is gorgeous and eye-catching. For another thing, the dual 16- and 5-megapixel rear cameras take pretty good AI-powered pictures, and Oppo has tweaked the phone to be able to capture night shots with ease.

For high dynamic range (HDR), which typically combines a few shots together for a clearer image, Oppo says the R17 uses raw photo data when processing the final image, resulting in an image that’s cleaner and rich in detail. Selfie shots also get a boost on its front 25-megapixel camera, which has a beauty mode that can slim your cheeks and make your eyes a lot bigger. (I know, it’s weird, but these modes are really popular in China.)

I took the phone out for a spin in Shanghai, and came away pretty impressed with its photo-taking capabilities. I’m waiting till it gets dark to see how it handles at night. Portrait mode shots seem a tad odd, with too much artificial bokeh, but I’ll have to test this out more to see if it’s intentional.

While the phone feels slightly heavy, it’s a comfortable heft that makes it feel more expensive. Packing a 3,500-mAh battery, the phone should be able to last a full day, easily. There’s no waterproofing or wireless charging, which is a shame.

Check back soon for more information from the launch event — there’s an upscale Oppo R17 Pro model I haven’t seen yet.

Quick specs

  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 octa-core processor
  • Memory: 8GB RAM, 128GB onboard storage
  • Display: 6.4-inch full-HD+ 2,340×1,080 pixels resolution
  • Battery: 3,500 mAh
  • Software: Android 8.1 Oreo
  • Underscreen fingerprint sensor

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