For its smartphone portfolio targeted at the Indian market, OPPO has made a clear differentiation. The F series targets the mid-range market, while the Reno series serves as sort of the company’s flagship product. With OPPO’s meticulous attention to design and camera performance, these F series smartphones provide segment-first features while sticking to their core ideologies. The F21 Pro, their most recent smartphone, is no exception.
This new F21 Pro is being offered in the market in just one storage variant that too with 128GB and at a price tag of INR 22,999. Given how popular OPPO smartphones are for their design and cameras, this new model tries to bring something new to the table. But will it be enough for the buyers to make a buying decision? Let’s find out in our full review.
OPPO F21 Pro Specifications
Before starting with the OPPO F21 Pro review, let’s have a look at the phone’s specifications.
- Display: 6.43-inch FHD+ resolution, 90Hz refresh rate AMOLED display
- CPU: Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 680 Processor
- RAM: 8GB
- Storage: 128GB internal storage
- Software: Android 12 (ColorOS 12)
- Main Camera: 64MP (f/1.7) (PDAF) + 2MP f/2.4) depth sensor + 2MP micro lens f/3.3)
- Selfie Camera: 32MP (f/2.4)
- Connectivity: USB Type C, Wi-Fi 802.11ax,ac, Bluetooth v5.1, GPS/ A-GPS, FM Radio
- Cellular: Dual SIM
- Fingerprint Scanner: Yes, side-mounted
- Battery: 4,500mAh, Li-ion Polymer, 33W SuperVOOC 2.0 fast charging
Here’s a complete list of items you get inside the box:
- OPPO F21 Pro smartphone
- 33W SuperVOOC fast Charger
- USB Type C Cable
- Silicon case
- Sim Ejector Tool
The design is among the few areas where OPPO has stirred up things. The phone now sports a design that we have seen in the past with the Reno series. It gets an all-plastic built with flat sides and a flat AMOLED panel. This is a candy-bar form factor and the phone comes with glass on the front and a faux texture on the back. The in-hand feel of the phone is quite good actually and despite the material choice it looks and feels premium.
There is a triple camera module on the back left with the Oppo branding on the bottom. Unfortunately, the camera module sticks out a bit and is not flushed to the back. Flipping the reveal the gorgeous AMOLED display but with a chunky chin. This is one thing that OPPO could have worked upon, given the price tag.
Moving to the button and port placement, the power button is on the right side, while the volume rockers are placed on the left rail. The 3.5mm audio jack has been removed, the speaker and the USB Type-C port sit on the bottom, while the earpiece is sandwiched between the display and the outer frame.
The display is configured to show vibrant colors, but you may adjust them using the color profiles built into ColorOS. Despite having an AMOLED panel, the experience of watching video is diminished by the large bezels and poor brightness without HDR.
Moving to the software, the F21 Pro 5G gets the latest version of ColorOS but it is still based on Android 12. You get plenty of customization options, from changing the themes to wallpapers, icons, and more, since ColorOS at its core is a decked-out skin on top of Android, especially with the ColorOS 12.1, there have been lots of improvements.
The UI is packed with features like Game Mode, Dark Mode, and the OPPO Relax. There has been liberal use of AI done here from camera to display to performance. The new ColorOS builds carry less bloatware, something that we have mentioned in our previous reviews as well. You get the standard feature list including Dark mode here, Always On Display with many pre-sets, and Edge lighting.
The F21 Pro is a 4G smartphone and is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 680 SoC with 8GB of LPDDR4X RAM and 128GB of UFS2.2 storage. The chip is on par with last year’s Snapdragon 712/720G SoCs and improves upon some aspects. That being said, this chip is nowhere near powerful as that of the competition in this price segment but is more than okay with carrying out day-to-day tasks with ease.
RAM management has been above average on past OPPO phones and the F21 Pro is no different. We now also get Expanded Virtual RAM, something that is quite common these days on custom skins. During our testing period, we did some gaming, and games like PUBG, Call of Duty, and Asphalt ran fine on low to medium graphics settings with ease. The call quality, too, is excellent, and the speakers’ audio is loud and clear for the most part.
The OPPO Reno7 Pro comes with a triple camera setup on the rear with a 64MP main sensor, coupled with a 2MP depth sensor and a segment-first 2MP microlens with 30X magnification and a ring flash. We get an updated 32MP Sony IMX709 sensor up front for crisp selfies.
The images taken by the main sensor are sharp, have lots of detail, and bear natural colors. The dynamic range is excellent, as well. The low-light performance however is average and we would suggest taking low-light shots with the Night mode turned on. Moving to the other two lenses, the microlens is capable of taking so next-level macro shots with crazy good magnification and detail and the ‘Orbit flash’ around this lens is a nifty touch. The third 2MP depth sensor is however more or less of no use here.
Since photography is OPPO’s strong point, there has been liberal use of AI all throughout the camera app. You get access to features like AI scene detection to Bokeh in the video, to HDR selfies, and even a 108MP mode. Moving to the selfies, this is where the Sony IMX709 sensor shows its might. Despite the weaker SoC and ISP, the selfies taken out of this phone are both crisp and full of detail with excellent edge detection and HDR.
The F21 Pro 5G gets a fairly decent 4,500mAh battery under the hood. The phone lasted for a full working day with a screen ranging from five to six hours of screen-on time with medium to heavy usage during our limited testing period. This number is subjective and could change for someone who is a demanding user. Our heavy usage included a bit of gaming, content consumption, usual texting, and high camera usage.
Using OPPO’s proprietary SuperVOOC 33W fast charging brick, we were able to completely top up the phone in under 90 mins.