Oppo may no longer be making those incredible blu-ray players, but they are cranking out some increasingly tasty phone hardware. Take their mid-range ‘R’ series. Where earlier phones in the range were capable and offered an iOS-like experience without Apple’s locked down, pay for everything ecosystem, they weren’t all that exciting. This has been handily remedied with the Oppo R15 Pro.
In short, the R15 Pro is a breath of fresh air. It takes what is right about Apple’s iPhone X and adds in some much-needed customisability as well as access to Google’s ecosystem.
This is a good looking piece of hardware. It might be a lot like Apple’s iPhone X, but if Apple has shown the world anything, it is that their industrial design chops are phenomenal. The R15 Pro sports a glass chassis which is available in cosmic purple and a striking ruby red. Both colours include an eye-catching gradient on the phone’s rear. This gets shown off to good effect with the bundled transparent silicon protective case.
Around the front, the display mightn’t be entirely edgeless, but its bezels are thin enough to be nearly unnoticeable. As with the iPhone X, it sports a notched display. This might not be everyone’s cup of warm beverage, but when combined with the 6.3″ screen’s 18:9 ratio, there are definite gains in screen real-estate. About the only real downside with the display is that unlike Huawei’s P20 Pro, the R15 Pro’s notch can’t be hidden.
While there is no wireless charging, there are other bonuses on offer. First and foremost is Oppo’s ultra-fast VOOC charging. It’s the fastest in town and is an excellent way of adding a surprising amount of charge very quickly. There’s also a headphone jack too (while it’s crazy that this is a bonus spec, we can have Apple to thank for that). Its face unlock feature also works really well.
Oppo’s ColorOS – their Android take on iOS – packs iPhone X-inspired navigation swipes. While Android users will need a small adjustment period, it quickly becomes intuitive (you can also enable standard Android shortcut buttons if swipe navigation isn’t your thing).
Swiping to the right might not land you a date, but it does give you access to a feed-style interface that is Oppo’s take on a smart assistant. It incorporates appointments, steps counts and other notifications. It’s not groundbreaking, but in use proved quite handy. The Google assistant is still baked in too.
Performance wise, the Oppo R15 Pro might not pack an 800 series Snapdragon CPU, but its embedded Snapdragon 660 was plenty powerful enough for gaming and everything else I threw at it, while offering decent battery life. Helping things along is 6GB of RAM. While it might not be as quick as Samsung’s S9+, its bang per buck performance certainly won’t disappoint.
The 3430mAh battery easily got through a day with typical use, leaving me with 10-15% charge still in the tank. I typically averaged 12+ hours of use. This depends on what your usage of the phone is, so your mileage is likely to vary.
There’s a decent front camera that proved adept at delivering crisp selfies. The dual-lens rear camera also offered up crisp, accurately exposed photos in almost all shooting environments. The one exception to this was shooting in low-light. There was noticeable pixel noise and camera shake-induced blurring, but then this is pretty much a standard thing with most smartphones at this price-point.
The camera has also has had some smarts added. In-built AI can detect up to 120 different kinds of ‘scenes’ and switch to whichever of the R15 Pro’s 16 camera modes are best suited. All told, it was hard to take a bad photo in most shooting environments.
The R15 Pro offers solid value at a reasonable sticker price thanks to great design, a good camera and decent spec. All told, the R15 Pro offers flagship functionality for a pocket pleasing $899. If you’re looking for a good Android smartphone, with few compromises or caveats, the R15 Pro offers excellent value for money.