If smartphone development and the market research that fuels it is anything to go by, the future is in bright colors, more cameras and super-fast charging. It’s been demonstrated recently on the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, which packs in all of the above, although the combination comes at a rather steep price of Rs 69,990. However, you don’t have to look further than another successful Chinese smartphone maker for a more affordable option that checks all of those boxes.

Oppo has just launched its latest smartphone in India, the R17 Pro, at Rs 45,990. It’s the first R-series device from Oppo to launch in India, representing a big shift in the company’s strategy that thus far focused on more affordable price segments. The new Oppo R17 Pro packs in impressive design and features, and also bears a rather strong resemblance to the OnePlus 6T. We’ve had a chance to try out the new phone, and here’s what we think.

The Color

Perhaps the most striking thing about this phone is the color; it’s hard not to like it. The Oppo R17 Pro comes in a shade called ‘radiant mist’, which is a combination of violet and blue. If you’re looking at the back of the phone, the entire left side is violet which includes the glass back and metal frame, which blends into the blue on the right. It’s certainly unlike any other color you’ll have seen, and the quality of the build materials only enhances the effect.

With the exception of small differences here and there, the Oppo R17 Pro looks strikingly similar to the OnePlus 6T. But then again you could also say that it is the OnePlus 6T that looks like the Oppo R17 Pro. Given that both companies have a shared heritage, this isn’t surprising. The R-series has usually been the core design for the OnePlus devices, although we won’t say that the two phones are entirely identical.

Elements that are similar are the 6.4-inch AMOLED screen, general design and build, the waterdrop-style notch and the button layout. Differences can be seen in the rear camera setup, the position of the SIM tray and slight recesses at the top and bottom. Additionally, the Oppo R17 Pro doesn’t come with OnePlus’ signature alert slider. Certain features also add up to the list of differences.

WATCH: OnePlus 6T Thunder Purple Hands On

The fastest charging yet

Oppo’s VOOC charging – also the base technology for OnePlus’ Dash Charge – is known to be far ahead of the competition when it comes to charging speed, and with the Oppo R17 Pro you get the next level tech. You get an included Super VOOC charger that is capable of 50W charging at its peak, stepping down to 10W when the battery is close to charged. In practice, this means a full charge of the 3,700mAh battery in just about 40 minutes, which is commendable. At lower battery levels, you’ll be able to get about four percent of charge per minute.

Other specifications are also impressive, including the chipset under the hood. The Oppo R17 Pro is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 SoC with 8GB of RAM, and 128GB of internal storage. It’s among the earliest devices with this new chipset, which sits somewhere between the mid-range 600-series and flagship-grade 800-series chipsets from Qualcomm. The phone runs ColorOS on top of Android Oreo, which is perhaps the only disappointing element of the device.

Interestingly, you also get an in-display fingerprint sensor and face unlock on the phone, further highlighting similarities between the OnePlus 6T and the Oppo R17 Pro. The fingerprint sensor works fairly well, but you do need to get the positioning fairly accurate each time.

Three cameras

A triple-camera setup isn’t new; we’ve seen it on both high-end and affordable devices recently. However, the Oppo R17 Pro has a unique choice of third sensor and capabilities. The primary sensor is a 12-megapixel shooter with dual-aperture, switching between f/1.5 and f/2.4 depending on the lighting conditions. The second sensor is a 20-megapixel one for depth-effect shots and up to 2X lossless zoom.

The third sensor is a Time-Of-Flight 3D sensor, which is something typically seen in professional products and helps in sensing three-dimensional elements in the frame. There’s no way to individually utilize this sensor on the Oppo R17 Pro; indeed I haven’t even been able to figure out if any of the images I’ve shot even use the third sensor. While I’ll investigate further during my review, for now it seems like this would need to be enabled through a software update, or will only be utilized for specialized purposes such as augmented reality use cases.

The dual-aperture camera is similar to what we’ve seen on the Samsung Galaxy S9+, although while that phone had the ability to manually set the aperture, the Oppo R17 Pro doesn’t give you that option. While shooting in auto mode, the camera automatically sets the aperture based on lighting conditions; dark scenes trigger the wider aperture, while well-lit conditions use the narrower aperture. Initial impressions are positive, but we’ll explore the camera in more detail in our review.

Final thoughts

The Oppo R17 Pro may look a lot like the OnePlus 6T, but there are big differences in these two phones. The additional feature set in the form of Super VOOC charging, the dual-aperture camera and the stunning look and feel of the phone help set it apart, and my initial impressions of performance are decent as well, save for the software.

While price might seem a bit high and you’ll want to consider similarly-priced online options that offer more punch, the Oppo R17 Pro does have the benefit of offline availability and an aesthetic like no other. It’s an impressive smartphone at first glance, and we’ll be bringing you our full review soon.

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