If you're looking for an affordable iPhone alternative, the Oppo R17 has you sorted.
The Oppo R17 continues the Oppo trend of applying Apple's design ethos to Android smartphones. It does so by taking more than a few cues from the Apple iPhone XR as well as Huawei's recent P20. It's not quite as powerful or feature-packed as those phones, but it's not as expensive, either.
Edge-to-edge screen provides plenty of real estate for videos and games
ColorOS remains as close to iOS on Android as you're going to get
In-screen fingerprint reader makes securing your phone simple
No 3.5mm headphone jack
Like Apple, Oppo puts a lot of stock in the style of its smartphones. The design of the Oppo R17 highlights this. Its slim, curved body captures the sleek look expected of a premium smartphone, while its range of distinct colour options helps it stand out from the pack. The popular "notch" makes its appearance at the top of the R17's screen, though it's smaller than many notched phones which allows for more screen space.
Speaking of the screen, the Oppo R17 opts for an all-face display that actually does stretch all the way from edge to edge. It's a big screen, too, measuring in at 6.4 inches with a not-quite-full-HD resolution of 1,520 x 720.
Rather than shifting the fingerprint sensor to the backside of the phone, Oppo has incorporated it directly into the R17's display. This allows you to unlock the phone and authorise transactions by simply pressing your thumb to the screen.
Another nice touch is Oppo's integration of Corning Gorilla Glass 6 to reinforce the screen against drops, bumps and scratches.
Unfortunately, in taking cues from Apple, Oppo has decided to ditch the 3.5mm audio jack on the R17. Instead, it bundles in a USB-C–to–3.5mm adapter for connecting traditional wired headphones via the R17's USB-C port. Alternatively, you can sync up a pair of wireless headphones thanks to the R17's support for Bluetooth 5.0.
You've got 128GB of onboard storage to play around with, too. That's plenty of room for carrying around your music collection or for downloading games to pass the time on your daily commute.
25MP front-facing camera allows for seriously sharp selfies
Beauty Mode makes it easy to tweak and touch-up photos on the fly
Larger aperture lens promises better clarity in low-light situations
To compete in the premium smartphone space these days, a phone needs to pack serious camera hardware. The Oppo R17 doesn't disappoint here. It serves up a dual-array camera at the rear with a 16MP primary sensor plus a 5MP secondary sensor for enhanced depth and clarity.
These sensors feature apertures of f/1.7 and f/2.4 respectively, with the former tuned for performance in low-light situations.
Selfie-lovers benefit from even higher fidelity thanks to the 25MP sensor at the front of the R17. Not only that, Oppo's AI-powered Beauty Mode makes its return, incorporating features like dynamic face slimming, virtual makeup and other image-enhancing techniques. And because it's all driven by artificial intelligence, it's able to learn from the photos you take and the settings you tweak so that it can better match your needs in the future.
Taken as a whole, the Oppo R17's cameras should have no trouble delivering top-quality photos under most conditions, even if you're not the most experienced photographer this side of Instagram.
Snapdragon 670 delivers a smart balance of power and price
6GB of RAM is plenty for gaming and multi-tasking
ColorOS limits customisation in favour of streamlining the user experience
To undercut the steep premium of other high-end smartphones on the market, you have to make a few compromises. Oppo plays it smart here, equipping the R17 with a relatively affordable yet still capable Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 processor.
Pegged at roughly 15% faster than the already-solid Snapdragon 660 chip, the Snapdragon 670 packs more than enough power to handle heavy-duty phone activities like gaming, multi-tasking and high-resolution video capture.
Combine this with the R17's 6GB of RAM and you've got yourself a highly-capable smartphone that should deliver a snappy and responsive experience no matter what you throw at it.
Much of the iPhone's appeal stems from the streamlined nature of its iOS software. Oppo has sought to emulate this with its ColorOS software, which is a custom spin on the standard Android operating system. With the R17, ColorOS has hit version 5.2 and incorporates features like new gestures for quick navigation, full-screen multi-tasking and screen recording.
As with other versions of ColorOS, the visual design will be familiar to anyone who has used iOS. All your apps are accessible from the home screen and core functions are handled by built-in apps for the sake of simplicity. Those looking for the deep customisation options of stock Android may find this a little restrictive, but it makes for an experience much more in-line with the iPhone.
3,500mAh battery should survive a full day even under heavy use
VOOC flash charging is both swift and safe
At 6.4 inches, the Oppo R17 has a whole lot of screen to light up. That's going to take a serious toll on battery life, so it's no surprise Oppo has crammed a hefty 3,500mAh battery into the R17's slim frame.
For comparison, the similarly specced Nokia 7 Plus features an even larger 3,800mAh battery. The Nokia 7 Plus delivered excellent battery life in our testing, lasting a full day without issue. Since the R17 has to power a larger screen than the Nokia 7 Plus, it's unlikely to last quite as long on a single charge. Nevertheless, it should still have little issue surviving through a full day under average use.
Charging the Oppo R17 is equally convenient thanks to its support for VOOC flash charging. When using the included charger, this allows for delivery of two hours' worth of talk time in just five minutes. However, use a different charger and you'll be stuck with regular charging speeds.
If safety is your concern, you'll be glad to know the VOOC charger monitors the charging process and adjusts voltages to avoid damaging the battery or the phone.
Pricing and availability
The affordable iPhone alternative
By making smart trade-offs, the Oppo R17 delivers Apple appeal at a price the average person can actually afford.
Matt Sayer is a writer for Finder, covering all things technology and telecommunications. Along with reporting on events like CES and Mobile World Congress, he has produced comprehensive guides for popular products like smart speakers and graphics cards. He has a Bachelor of Computer Science from RMIT University and is passionate about helping Aussies leverage technology to better their lives.
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