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Oppo RX17 Pro review: The fastest-charging phone we’ve ever seen

Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
549
inc VAT

Battery life shouldn’t ever be a problem with the Oppo RX17, but it’s pricey for what it is

Pros 
Good looks
Great battery life
The fastest charging we’ve ever seen
Cons 
Third TOF camera feels like a gimmick
Snapdragon 710 not the speediest
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Update: When I wrote this review, the Oppo RX17 Pro didn't have an RRP, or even a guaranteed UK release. Now it does: it'll cost you £549, and is currently exclusive to Carphone Warehouse.

I've gone through the review below removing the ambiguity, but the top line is this: £549 is a little optimistic for a handset that is basically the £499 OnePlus 6T with a slower processor and an extra gimmicky camera lens. 

That's not to say that the Oppo RX17 Pro is a bad phone by any means, but when you can get more for less, why would you consider it? That said, if the price tumbles in the next few months, then it's definitely worth looking again. Read on to find out why. 

Buy now from Carphone Warehouse


You may think you’ve seen the Oppo RX17 Pro before. That’s not because all phones look the same, although I don’t think it’s any great revelation to highlight that fact, but because the RX17 Pro is a dead ringer for the OnePlus 6T, right down to the teardrop notch and the flashing green in-screen fingerprint reader.
 
That’s not a bad thing – after all, the OnePlus 6T was one of the best phones of 2018. Neither is it hugely surprising, given Oppo has a curiously ill-defined relationship with OnePlus. What is a bit more baffling is why anyone would pick this over the 6T when it launches in the UK this month, given it just doesn’t perform as well, and may well go for a bit more money.  

Oppo RX17 Pro review: What you need to know

Oppo may not exactly be a household name over here, but the Chinese firm is pretty well known worldwide. In fact, it’s the fifth biggest smartphone company in the world, with only Samsung, Huawei, Apple and Xiaomi shifting more units.
 
The RX17 Pro may look a lot like the OnePlus 6T but its internals are markedly different. Instead of using a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, it has a weaker 2.2GHz Snapdragon 710 inside. This is a relatively new chip but was recently seen powering the Nokia 8.1. It’s backed up by 6GB of RAM.
 
That’s still weaker than the OnePlus 6T – which can have up to 10GB of RAM if you like – but the RX17 Pro does have a selection of trump cards up its sleeve: its triple camera array, its 25-megapixel selfie camera and the fastest-charging battery we've ever seen.

Oppo RX17 Pro review: Price and competition

The RX17 Pro is amongst the first Oppo handsets to be sold in the UK, meaning you won't be relying on grey imports. Hoorah! 

The downside is the somewhat optimistic pricing. It's a Carphone Warehouse exclusive, and will set you back £549

 
That doesn't compare well to the competition. As the Snapdragon 710 is a new chip, we’ve only tested one phone with it: the Nokia 8.1, which goes for £380, although that phone has only 4GB of RAM and a simpler camera setup.

More damningly, the RX17 Pro's doppelganger, the OnePlus 6T, gets the far faster Snapdragon 845 and goes for £50 cheaper. Awkward.

One final comparison, again from China, would be the Pocophone F1. As with the OnePlus 6T, it comes with the more powerful Snapdragon 845 processor but goes for a considerably more wallet-friendly £330.

Best Oppo RX17 Pro contract and SIM-free deals:

Oppo RX17 Pro review: Design

As I mentioned in my introduction, the Oppo RX17 Pro bears more than a passing resemblance to the OnePlus 6T. From the teardrop notchlette in the middle, to its near bezel-free design and 6.4in OLED screen, it’s basically identical. The in-screen fingerprint scanner even flashes the same green when you place your thumb on it. This, by the way, is a little slower than a regular fingerprint scanner but not by a huge amount and that tiny lag is worth it for the wow factor alone.

Flip the phone over, however, and there’s more to separate the phones. For starters, you have “Oppo” stencilled clearly in the middle of the handset and three cameras rather than two. Otherwise, though, there’s little to separate the two phones.
 
That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though. The OnePlus 6T is a handsome handset, and logically that means the Oppo RX17 Pro is equally handsome if a touch less original. Unfortunately, that lack of originality extends to the drawbacks, too. There’s no 3.5mm headphone jack or rated waterproofing and the model we got our hands on had no microSD card slot for storage expansion, either.

Oppo RX17 Pro review: Screen

As mentioned above, the screen on the RX 17 Pro is a 6.4in AMOLED panel. It has a resolution of 1080 x 2340 pixels, a tall, narrow aspect ratio of 19.5:9 and a pixel density of 402ppi. It’s very good, too, as good as the OnePlus 6T. In fact, the results from our testing are so similar to the OnePlus that it wouldn’t be wholly surprising that the panels came from the same production line.

 
We measured a mere 1cd/m2 difference in peak brightness measured – a perfectly good 423cd/m2 narrowly beating the 6T’s 422cd/m2. In terms of colour presentation, though, the two firms take a very different approach. On the OnePlus 6T, you have a choice between various modes – one tuned to sRGB another to DCI-P3 and another “adaptive” mode.
 
The Oppo has just one mode and that appears to be tuned to the DCI-P3 colour space than sRGB. This means its better suited to watching movies than browsing the web, where you’ll find the Oppo’s images look a bit oversaturated.

Oppo RX17 Pro review: Performance

If you were to crack open the RX17 Pro to see what makes it tick, you’d find the first big dividing line with the OnePlus 6T: a far weaker processor. It’s not that the Snapdragon 710 is poor but the Snapdragon 845 is currently the best Android chip available and there’s no contest as the benchmarks show:

As you can see, while it’s neck and neck between the two Snapdragon 710 phones, the Snapdragon 845 handsets are significantly faster. And, given both come cheaper, that’s quite a tricky blow to come back from.

Graphically, the differences are even more stark, with the Manhattan 3 benchmarks showing a big advantage in the frame rate. In short, you’ll notice the difference but probably only if you’re a big Fortnite or PUBG Mobile player.
 
Most casual games will play perfectly smoothly and, in day-to-day use, the RX17 Pro feels perfectly responsive. Again, though, the question is why you’d pay more for weaker performance whether you notice it or not?
 
The Oppo RX17 Pro has the same 3,700mAh battery capacity as the OnePlus 6T, and its stamina is nearly as impressive as the OnePlus 6T. In fact, the first time we ran our video-rundown battery test, the 20-hour video ran out before the battery did.

A repeat test came up with 19 hours and 30 minutes, so perhaps the screen brightness was a touch low. In any case, while that's not quite as impressive as the OnePlus 6T's stamina, it's certainly no slouch compared to others.

Not only that, but the rate at which the battery charges is quite something. OnePlus boldly promises you can get a day’s power in half an hour’s charge, but the RX17 Pro smashes this thanks to some clever technology inside. Rather than one 3,700mAh cell, it has two 1,850mAh batteries to optimise the charging. That, according to Oppo, allows it to charge your phone from flat in 35 minutes.
 
In our tests, it wasn’t quite that fast but it wasn’t far off. In ten minutes, from 0%, it was up to 42%. It eventually crossed the 100% line after 37mins 27secs. That’s phenomenal.

 
There’s a couple of caveats here. First, to reach top speed, the phone needs to be switched off. Second, it requires the use of both the bundled plug and cable; I tried with another USB Type-C lead I had lying around and it barely made it past 30% in half an hour.

Oppo RX17 Pro review: Camera

Incredible fast charging aside there’s one other trick up the Oppo RX17 Pro’s sleeve: like the ‘Pro’ versions of Huawei’s P20 and Mate 20, it has three cameras on the back that work altogether. It’s not as advanced as either Huawei handset, although that’s unsurprising given that it goes for between £250 and £350 cheaper.

So here’s what you get for your currently undefined amount of money: a 12-megapixel camera with an aperture that adapts on the light available to go from f/1.5 to f/2.4, much like the Samsung Galaxy S9, plus optical image stabilisation and phase detect autofocus. The second, 20-megapixel shooter supports it with depth mapping and 2x optical zoom, something the OnePlus 6T lacks.

So what’s the third for? Uh, 3D scanning. No, really.

I’ll come back to that in a moment, because frankly it seems like such a niche interest that the main cameras should take precedent.

In short, the quality of pictures is pretty good. In low-light conditions you can clearly see that the RX17 Pro’s quality is right up there with the OnePlus 6T. Perhaps a touch on the warm side in this shot but detail is very good indeed.

But how does it do against the more expensive, triple lens Mate 20 Pro? Not too bad, given how much cheaper we expect it to be.

Yes, in terms of detail, it’s no contest, but where Oppo has the edge is that it applies far less aggressive processing in tricky light.

So to summarise: the camera is pretty similar to the OnePlus 6T’s, optical zoom gives Oppo a very slight edge.

For aspiring filmmakers, though, the verdict gets flipped on its head. The OnePlus 6T is capable of capturing stabilised 4K video at 60fps while the Oppo RX17 Pro is stuck at 30fps whether you film in 4K or 1080p. Worse, there’s no kind of stabilisation, leaving footage a shaky mess. That’s a pity because the quality of image capture is superb; if you want to take advantage of it, you’d best get a gimbal.

So back to that third lens. It’s a Time of Flight (TOF) camera, which fires out infrared light and then measures how long it takes to come back. The idea is that this could be used for 3D scans of people, like on the Sony Xperia XZ1, or even to measure accurately measure things using just your camera.

Only when you take the phone out of the box, you won’t find any support for it at all. Unless I’m being completely dense, none of the camera settings seem to enable it, and the “usage guide” app on the handset doesn’t mention it at all. But it’s there, just waiting for a purpose, which Oppo says is coming soon.

In fact, you can get an early preview now if you don’t mind messing around with .apk files, as Oppo’s own measuring app is in beta as of 2 January 2019. I tried it, and it’s certainly easy to use: select what you’re measuring (length, distance, area or angle) and then tap where you want your measurement to start and where you want it to end, while a line draws between the two. Accuracy is another matter, however. It managed to measure my 31.5in viewable screen area as being between 31.5in and 33in in my tests and it estimates my study as 4.22m/2 when the floorplans show it to be 6.7m/2.

It measured the side of a bowl as both 22 and 23cm (it was 22) but, most uselessly of all, I can now tell you that my cat’s face has a diameter of 16cm. I don’t want to risk my skin by measuring him to be sure, but as you can see from the screenshot below, he thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Still, it’s useful to ballpark figures if you’re prepared to give it a few tries and then average out your results. Oppo plans to support the TOF camera with more apps further down the line but we’d have prefered an ultra wide-angle lens or a bigger zoom.

The front-facing camera is a fair bit simpler to explain. It’s simply a standard, single-lens effort, albeit with specifications that are pure overkill for Skype calls: 25-megapixels with an aperture of f/2. Yes, that means this camera has the most megapixels on this four-camera handset.

This results in selfies that are more than detailed enough for even the vainest Instagram posters and the AI-picked beauty options aren’t too bad either (middle). Just don’t push all the sliders up on the beauty settings (right) or you get something straight out of the uncanny valley.

Oppo RX17 Pro review: Verdict

The Oppo RX17 Pro is a handset with an awful lot going for it. It’s good looking, has a very nice screen, incredible stamina and plenty of mod-cons like an in-screen fingerprint reader.

But pricing it £50 higher than the OnePlus 6T feels like an odd choice. There’s not enough in the third camera or charging speeds to justify taking the hit on performance, frankly, especially when the Nokia 8.1 goes for £380 with the same chip.

Still, it’s a good start from Oppo, and if it takes lessons from Chinese success stories like OnePlus and Xiaomi, there’s every chance it could be successful in the UK over the next couple of years. Watch this space.

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