OPPO is one of the world’s leading smartphone brands… apparently. I had never heard of it, largely because I’ve been civil-partnered with Sony devices for the better part of the last decade.
I love the R15 Pro. It’s just not my One True Phone.
So, the good stuff. You want a decent battery life. The R15 won’t run any marathons, but doesn’t haemorrhage power like some other phones on the market. I work in communications and PR, so my phone is almost permanently doing things, and I was comfortably getting through the day with about 5-15% battery by the time I went to charge before bed. Also, the charge is insanely fast, getting me up to 50-80% reliably within about 45 minutes of plugging it in; excellent for sneaking a charge over the workday.
The camera is so good it’s not even funny. Aside from taking an almost unreasonable number of pet pics, some of which are below, I also started taking selfies just to play with the ‘Beauty’ filter. This wonderfully bizarre feature makes you look like ‘You on a Good Day’ at setting 1, all the way up to what my girlfriend described as ‘Aryan Real-Doll’ at level 6. As a 29-year-old man who occasionally breaks out in the skin of a 15-year-old, and which I admit I am quite self-conscious about, this genuinely did boost my confidence around selfies.
I’m legitimately afraid to do these full size, but look at these cuties and my beautiful skin and tell me it’s not a damn fine camera:
Video playback lets the side down a bit, as the bezel-free design makes the notch at the top of the screen excruciatingly irritating; it’s basically a black chunk missing from your entertainment. That in itself can be the drawback of the notch design for people like me, for all the practicalities of having a spot to pop notification icons and such, the notch still finds itself creating the black void with video content. The screen is excellent, other than that, although it was a bit overzealous on the whole adaptive lighting thing, requiring extra steps to use the phone while that was active; I stopped bothering, instead choosing to dazzle myself in the dark.
A weird one for me, but also important, is that it never got hot. Like, never. I was running Spotify and Twitter and the camera all at once for ten minutes at a time, and the R15 Pro never even got warm. That, as someone who has almost burned his beard off from a phone call, is a big deal.
The gesture features are fantastic; drawing a circle on the screen to open the camera, or a V to turn on the flashlight from a slept screen, is inspired. No more blindly groping in the dark for me; now I can grope with full visibility.
… OK, that was a bad example.
The R15 Pro themes are something that will appeal to any iPhone users who want to switch to Android, or Android users who miss the feel of an iPhone. The level of customisation is staggering, and the whole experience with some themes has a distinctly iPhone feel to it, which took me by surprise. To be honest, it took me a few tries before I found something I actually liked instead of just tolerated, but nonetheless there’s definitely a market for this kind of smartphone experience.
Aside from anything else, the thing is god damn beautiful. The handset I was sent has a gorgeous Ruby Red gradient on the back, and I’ve seen the Cosmic Purple look just as impressive. The clear gel case that came with it lets you show it off without risk of damage, although without a screen protector you’re just tempting fate.
My only real issue with the R15 Pro was, oddly, the Bluetooth. I tried it with my SONY WH-1000XM2s, my TREKZ Titanium, my Pebble 2, and the Boom 3, and all of them had the same issue of dropping connection unless the phone was completely static and within 6 inches of the output. It is entirely possible that my review unit had a factory fault, of course, and the supplied earbuds are among the best I’ve ever had come with a phone. But if you (like me) rely heavily on Bluetooth for your smartphone functionality, you’re not going to have a good time. This is especially odd, as the other connectivity was great, with the NFC helping me with everything from Snapper to… well, Snapper is the only NFC I use. But damned if it wasn’t reliable!
Even so, this is a phone that I used for a couple of weeks, and would be happy to use for a couple of years, even with the sheer size of the thing. I know I’m an oddity when it comes to this, but I’m really not a fan of the ‘phablet’ scenario, and a 6.28 inch screen is about 1.28 more inches than I need (insert as many jokes as you like in here). However, you simply cannot beat the price here, and the quality you get for the money can’t be beaten.
If you like absurdly large devices that have clearly stopped pretending to be phones, the OPPO R15 Pro delivers a customisable, satisfying experience, and one I can easily recommend. Sure, it’s a little more money than you’d expect from an OPPO (around $899), but way less than a similarly performing iPhone.
Review’s over but, if you’re one of those people that obsesses over tech specs (yeah, I see you), here’s some overload on the details:
Specifications OPPO R15 OPPO R15 Pro
6.28 inch 2280×1080, 401ppi, OLED,
Screen body ratio:89%
Front: 20MP, f/2.0
Rear: 16MP+ 20MP, f/1.75+f/1.75
AI Recognition, AI Beautification, AR
stickers, Sensor-HDR, PDAF
CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 660
CPU: 2.2GHz, Octa-core, 64bit
GPU: Adreno 512
BAT: 3430mAh (type-value)
(depending on markets)
4G+/4G: TD-LTE, LTE FDD;
3G: WCDMA, TD-SCDMA, CDMA2000;
WLAN 2.4G / WLAN 5.1G / WLAN
5.8G / WLAN Display
Cosmic Purple, Ruby Red
ColorOS 5.0 (Android 8.1)
Fingerprint Reader: Back;
Fast Charge: VOOC Flash Charge;
Micro USB, OTG; 3.5mm, Dual Mic Noise-reduction;
Sensors: Magnetic sensor, Light sensor, Distance sensor, Gyroscope,