Where the difference between mid range and high-end smartphones is becoming less and less noticeable OPPO is taking on the smartphone market with a focus on sexy design and great selfies.
Oppo is already making its mark in its native China, but with a big push planned for India in 2016 as well as starting to push for a presence in Europe, it could well become a name we begin to get more familiar with.
The R15 Pro is a phone has great cameras combined with an excellent display and a stunning design that grabs eyeballs.
The 6.28-inch Super AMOLED display is fantastic, offering vibrant colors, excellent contrast, and great viewing angles. I had no issues reading the screen in harsh sunlight, and the panel goes all the way down to 2 nits, making it conducive for reading at night. You don’t get the option to select from sRGB or DCI-P3 modes, but there is a setting to adjust the color balance. And like most phones available today, you get a blue light filter for night-time reading.
On the subject of battery life, I was easily able to get day’s worth of battery consistently from the 3400mAh unit on the R15 Pro. The one downside in this area is that the phone charges over Micro-USB, like the Vivo X21. There’s no place for a Micro-USB port on a $500 phone in 2018, but for what it’s worth both Vivo and OPPO finally made the switch to USB-C with their latest flagships.
The phone features OPPO’s VOOC fast charging solution, which works in the same fashion as Dash Charge. OnePlus, in fact, licenses VOOC from OPPO and rebrands it to Dash Charge. VOOC works at 5V and 4A, resulting in a 20W charge. You get a proprietary wall charger along with a Micro-USB cable in the box, and using a third-party charger will limit the charging output to 10W.
With VOOC fast charging, you’ll be able to top up from zero to 57% in just 30 minutes, and it takes just over an hour and a half for the battery to fully charge. As is the case with most Chinese manufacturers, ColorOS comes with a host of battery-saving optimizations that let the device eke out the most out of the battery.
ColorOS takes some getting used to, it’s a shame you can’t put another launcher on top of it. We’re not sure why OPPO would bring this phone to western markets and not cater to the regions need for heavy customization.
While the customization options are welcome, the interface itself needs a lot of work. There’s no app launcher, the settings pane needs an overhaul, and there’s a lot of duplication when it comes to the stock apps. That’s understandable given that there’s no Play Store in China, but the international version of ColorOS also comes with OPPO’s suite of apps.
Whereas OnePlus is all about offering flagship-level performance at the $500 mark, OPPO’s main area of focus is the camera department. OPPO’s tagline continues to be “Camera Phone”, making it clear where the brand’s priorities lie. The dual 16MP + 20MP shooter on the R15 Pro does a fantastic job taking photos in daylight conditions, however, low light leaves a lot to be desired. I believe it’s even worse in quality than it’s predecessors.
While the OnePlus 6 isn’t quite a carbon copy of the R15 Pro, it uses most of the same internal components. As noted above, both phones feature the same 6.28-inch display, and the R15 Pro also has the same 16MP + 20MP dual camera arrangement at the back — including the same sensors. The OnePlus 6 has a slight edge in this area as the R15 Pro is missing out on the Snapdragon 845’s excellent image signal processor, but in most well lit shooting conditions the R15 Pro manages to hold its own.
The camera app itself is identical to what you’d find on the OnePlus 6, with OPPO offering an AI-assisted selfie mode that automatically removes blemishes and cleans up your portraits. The AI feature also recognizes over 120 scenes — much like the P20 Pro. The rear camera has portrait mode, and you’ll be able to choose from various soft lighting options, including film light, tone light, and more.
The butterfly loses it’s antenna when you use portrait mode!
Selfies on the OPPO R15 Pro look great! The AI beauty mode can be a little aggressive at times, but I still like it very much. Personally, I like the beauty set at level 1 just to even out my skin tone a little.
Low light selfies are another story compltely. They lack detail and aren’t often blurry, you’ll see that the low light photos in general on the R15 Pro aren’t very good. They lack detail and are compltely dark when other handsets would have been able to produce something usable.
Overall we’re pleased with the camera, but extremely disappointed with the low light chops.