Oppo F21 Pro that was launched last month is one of the smartphones that have somehow stood out in my eyes, not because it is the bests phone you can buy for Rs 22,999, but for the way it looks, and for a very cool feature it offers (read on for more on this “cool feature”).
The Oppo F21 Pro 4G was launched in India in April at a price of Rs 22,999 onwards in the country. The smartphone comes with a 6.4-inch full-HD+ AMOLED display with 90Hz refresh rate, and is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 680 chipset paired with 8GB of RAM. The smartphone comes with a triple rear camera setup that houses a 64-megapixel primary camera and two 2-megapixel sensors. Now, I have been using the Oppo F21 Pro as my secondary smartphone for the past few weeks and I will tell you what I like about the smartphone, what I don’t like, and if you should spend your Rs 22,999 on the Oppo F21 Pro. Let’s begin.
In terms of design, the Oppo F21 Pro 4G looks very good. The smartphone is lightweight, and comes with flat edges that make the smartphone easy to hold and it can also stand on your desk or any other flat surface. The Oppo F21 Pro 4G also has this orange faux leather back panel that gives the smartphone a nice premium and different look, and the rectangular camera module on the back with its dual tone silver and black just adds to the premium appeal of this back panel.
On the front, the Oppo F21 Pro 4G has a hole-punch cutout that is placed in the top left corner of the screen. There is also a chin at the bottom of the front panel, which shouldn’t have existed, but of course, one can only ask for so much. Overall, the smartphone’s design is one of the best in this segment – super lightweight, flat edges, and that faux leather back panel make it one hell of a looker!
The display on the Oppo F21 Pro 4G is a 6.4-inch full-HD+ AMOLED display. It is an AMOLED display, so the blacks are deeper, and the colours are more vivid. There is a 90Hz refresh rate display that does make the experience much smoother.
The details on the display, however, aren’t as good as we would have hoped, which you’ll get to know only if you play games like Battlegrounds Mobile India. Otherwise also, the display does not feel as premium as some other smartphones in this segment, but it is not a bad display by any measure. In terms of brightness also, it is not the brightest screen in this segment, but it’s still usable in bright sunlight. However, watching videos and Netflix shows was a good experience on the Oppo F21 Pro 4G.
PERFORMANCE AND BATTERY
In terms of performance, the Oppo F21 Pro 4G performs just like any other mid-range Android smartphone. It is not sluggish by any definition, but of course, apps take at least some time to load and the startup time is also longer than I expected. There were a few times that the smartphone showed very slight lag while doing things like changing wallpapers, or resetting any display setting.
As with other Oppo smartphones, ColorOS 12.1 takes away quite a bit of the overall experience of using this smartphone. There are a slew of permissions that you need to give to use basically everything on the smartphone, and there are still a few bloatware apps here and there. While you can uninstall these bloatware apps easily, it is mostly not appreciated among users. Now, ColorOS 12.1 does give you several features that you won’t get with stock Android or other Android skins, but that still does not make up for the fact that you have to give access to multiple things to even use basic apps on the Oppo F21 Pro.
In terms of battery, the Oppo F21 Pro 5G fared very well. If you don’t play games on this phone, it will last up to two days. However, even with gaming, the smartphone gave me just under five hours of screen time, which is very good battery backup from a 4,500mAh unit. The 33W fast charging is also pretty fast and the smartphone just above an hour to charge fully. I did not test the exact times, but the charging never felt slow.
The camera on the Oppo F21 Pro 4G is a triple rear camera that comes with a 64-megapixel primary camera and two 2-megapixel sensors. The camera quality is just average for normal photos. Pictures clicked in the “extra HD” mode are very good quality, but otherwise, the photos clicked are average. In bright environments, it puts out great quality images, while in darker environments it struggles. There is also quite a bit of AI interference with the shots.
Now, while the camera is just about average, there is a microscope feature that is just amazing and super addictive. One of the two 2-megapixel lenses on the Oppo F21 Pro 4G can turn the smartphone into a handheld microscope, and it works very well. This was my favourite thing to do with the Oppo F21 4G. You can find this feature in the camera app named “microscope” and after clicking it, you will have to palace the camera about 4mm to 6mm away from the subject in order to see what your naked eye can’t. Very cool feature and putting it in a mid-range smartphone is much appreciated.
The Oppo F21 Pro 4G is your average Android mid-ranger for most things. It performs like one, and the camera is also like you’d expect from any other mid-range Android smartphone in our market. However, the design and the fun-factor with that microscope camera feature are what make the smartphone stand out from the crowd. Evidently, what I like is the design and the microscope camera feature, what I don’t like is the OS and the average camera performance.
There’s no denying that there are better performing and more future-proof mid-range smartphones that are available in this segment. However, the Oppo F21 Pro 4G offers you something that none of those mid-rangers offer. So if you want that party trick, and if you want people to ask you what beautiful phone you are using, then the Oppo F21 Pro 4G is worth your Rs 22,999.