Oppo R15 hands-on review

Nic Healey 31 March 2018 NEWS

Oppo has just launched its new R15 and R15 Pro handsets, and we've already gone hands-on to assess its latest affordable yet premium devices.

Oppo’s line of Android phones has slowly been winning over the world with its mid-tier phones, often with features that mirror those found in premium handsets.

The new Oppo R15 and Oppo R15 Pro look set to continue that tradition with high style designs that lack the high price tag of the big-name flagships.

We got hands-on with the two new phones in Oppo’s hometown of Shenzen in China. Side by side there’s not much to differentiate the two models. The Pro is slightly more curved toward the bezel, but otherwise, you’re still looking at a big 6.28-inch OLED screen with a 2K resolution (2280 x 1080). And it is a very big screen indeed. Oppo has carved back the bezel and added a slightly familiar looking notch in the middle for the front facing camera. The result is Oppo’s first ever screen to body ratio of 89%.

Truly colourful

I know it’s a bit unusual to talk about the colour of a phone early on, but it’s worth noting because these are some striking phones.

Oppo has partnered with award-winning designer Karim Rashid to help develop some new colour styles for the rear and it’s impressive. While the black and white models – sorry that’s Frost White and Infinity Black – are both fairly stock standard looking, the Nebula Purple, Rogue Red and Ruby Red really stand out. The Purple is particularly lovely, with a subtle gradient giving it an almost iridescent look that genuinely stands out in the world of countless black rectangles.

The big differences between the two models are on the inside with the Pro packing in the Snapdragon 660 octa-core processor while the regular R15 has the MTK Helio P60. The GPU also differs. The R15 has a Mali G72 MP3 and the Pro uses an Adreno 512. Both still have 6GB of RAM and a massive 128GB of storage.

To be honest, using the phones you’d be hard pressed to notice any differences. Both are quick and responsive with apps opening quickly and video looking particularly crisp and sharp.

Big snappers

The R15 and the R15 Pro keep up Oppo’s tradition of pushing the camera, both sporting a 20-megapixel f/2.0 front facing camera and dual rear cameras. These combine a 16 megapixel and a 5 megapixel sensor, both of which stand out from the rear case ever so slightly.

Just below is the now regulation fingerprint sensor. These use the IMX519 sensor that Oppo co-developed with Sony.

Oppo says this gives better results in low-light or backlight conditions and we’d be inclined to agree after an hour or so of playing around with the phone. HDR is supported on both models.

The cameras have the usual Oppo "beautification" tools for the perfect selfie, but you also get a smart AI scene recognition from the rear cameras.

This automatically identified if, for example, you were taking a photo of food and will adjust colour and lighting effects for the optimal results.

The dual camera allows for those popular bokeh style portrait effects and both the R15 models have new virtual lighting modes you can use to tweak the results.

The standard powerful extras

Oppo’s patented VOOC flash charging system makes a comeback, with both phones able to get an additional two hours of battery life from a five-minute charge.

The operating system is still Oppo’s own ColorOS, this time up to version 5.0 and based on Android 8.1. That’s either good news or bad depending on how you feel about ColorOS, but Oppo has certainly slimmed back on the system bloat and it runs far more slickly than its previous incarnations.

The R15 Pro should be IP67 rated but we’re waiting to confirm that as it will differ from market to market, just as it will for the existence of a dual SIM option.

Sadly USB-C has not arrived at Oppo yet, but the headphone jack has made a comeback and the 128GB of built-in storage can be boosted by 256GB on a MicroSD if you need it.

Early Verdict

These are genuinely nice phones to use. The R15 might be slightly more aesthetically pleasing to this writer’s eyes – the slight edge on the bezel has a pleasing look to it – but both boast solid build quality with a heavy emphasis on style.

The camera app is responsive and intuitive, unlike some other bloated apps from other manufacturers, and the results are good, even for people who aren’t natural photographers.

The price will obviously be the big issue here. We don’t know how much the R15 and R15 Pro will be when they hit the local market, but we’ve been told to expect a price that’s in line with Oppo’s other products. That would suggest pricing somewhere around $600, based on its previous "flagship" devices.

If that’s how it all shakes out, then Oppo has another pair of well-made devices that offer excellent quality. Expect an Australian launch around July and stand by for our comprehensive review.

Nic Healey travelled to Shenzhen, China as a guest of Oppo.

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