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Oppo R15 Pro review: An overachiever that's just a fraction behind OnePlus

Oppo's R15 Pro is a great phone, just not quite as great as the similarly priced OnePlus 6.

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Daniel Van Boom
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Daniel Van Boom

Senior Writer

Daniel Van Boom is a Senior Writer based in Sydney, Australia. Daniel Van Boom covers global tech issues, culture, video games and much more. Daniel Van Boom loves speaking about himself in the third person.

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4 min read

Arguably the coolest phone brand among Android enthusiasts is OnePlus. It's both powerful and stylish, with a scarcity that makes it feel special. OnePlus, you may not know, has a lesser-known (in the US) sibling called Oppo. Oppo's phones are also worthy of your attention.

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Oppo R15 Pro

The Good

The Oppo R15 Pro is a strong all-rounder, giving you solid cameras, battery life and power for a reasonable price. It also looks less like an iPhone than previous models, and it comes with a headphone jack.

The Bad

Oppo's operating system is still a blatant iOS clone, and portrait photos can look washed out. They charge through the outdated Micro-USB port.

The Bottom Line

The Oppo R15 Pro is a terrific midrage phone, but it lacks the OnePlus 6's processing power, more interesting operating system and battery life.

Both brands, along with Vivo, are owned by Chinese company BBK Electronics, and much of what makes the OnePlus 6 great also applies to Oppo's latest flagship, the R15 Pro.

The R15 Pro has a sharp 6.28-inch display, a strong camera game and impressive design -- if you can get over the notch. It's being released alongside another phone, the "regular" Oppo R15.

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The two R15 variants look identical, but have big differences inside. Most notable is the processor: The R15 comes with a MediaTek Helio P60 CPU, while the Pro is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660. We only got the Pro, so couldn't compare the two, but on paper the two midrange processors should perform similarly. The Pro has 6GB of RAM, though, more than the R15's 4GB, and a different camera setup with more megapixels.

The Pro will sell for AU$779 in Australia, but won't be officially available in the US or UK -- its Chinese pricing converts to $515 or £385. For that, it's an excellent example of a reasonably priced phone that doesn't feel like it makes any meaningful compromises. It overachieves more than other midrange phones, like the awesome Moto X4, and I even prefer it over some much pricier phones, such as the Nokia 8 Sirocco.

Really, its major problem is big brother: The OnePlus 6 is the same price, but has a better operating system, faster processor and longer battery life.

No escaping the notch: 15 phones with screen notches

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Oppo R15 Pro looks less like an iPhone, despite the notch 

Oppo has a history of borrowing liberally from Apple's iPhone designs. But while the R15 has a notch -- an Apple first that has since become a design trend with Androids, particularly now that Android P standardises it -- it doesn't look as similar to an iPhone as previous Oppo phones. That's an improvement, as the Apple-esque design of the R11 was jarring.

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The gradient, coloured back is fetching indeed.

Ian Knighton/CNET

The R15 Pro has a huge 6.28-inch display, no home button and minimum bezels. It has facial recognition, which I found to be even more responsive than on Huawei's P20 Pro. Its biggest improvements are on the backside, though. We got the starry purple unit, which has a metallic, holographic finish that's slightly iridescent. It actually looks more similar to the aforementioned P20 Pro than to an iPhone. It also comes in snow white, thermal red, dreamy red and ceramic black.

There are cons, though. The R15 phones run ColorOS, Oppo's brand of Android 8.1 Oreo, which is a blatant, unimaginative attempt to clone iOS. They're charged via Micro-USB ports, which would be fine two years ago but we're very much in the USB-C era now. Plus, while the R15 Pro comes with dust and splash resistance, neither model is waterproof. Keep this one away from the pool.

On the plus side, there is a headphone jack.

Oppo slowly moves away from iClone design with R15 Pro

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Oppo gives you lots of megapixels 

A phone's camera may be its most important component. Basically every phone can browse Facebook and YouTube, but not every phone, not even all the expensive ones, can shoot good pictures. The Oppo R15 Pro can shoot good pictures.

It's got more megapixels than most phones out there, that's for sure. On the back is a 20-megapixel and 16-megapixel dual camera combo, plus a 20-megapixel selfie camera on the front. But of course, more megapixels doesn't always mean better pictures. They're mostly put to good use here, though.

I found the R15 Pro's cameras to be excellent. Photos look detailed, sharp and realistic. The automatic HDR is solid, as it doesn't make pictures look artificial, as some HDR shooters can. The selfie camera also serves up the goods, especially if you're outside as it doesn't deal with artificial light super well. The beautify feature, which smooths out your skin tone (read: makes you whiter), is still here.

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Your selfie game is safe with this phone.

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Tranquilo.

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There are problems with portrait shots (right) though, as they often looked washed out compared to normal-mode shots (left).

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Portrait shot on the left, normal shot on the right.

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Strangely, though, the rear cameras' excellence doesn't extend entirely to portrait mode. The phone is capable of shooting profile picture-worthy portraits, but it'll take some finagling. The lens often captures way too much light, making some portraits washed out or looking unnaturally bright.

The cameras are more than capable at night, too. Not Huawei P20 Pro-capable, as photos come out a little grainy in comparison, but certainly better than you'd expect from a midrange phone. On the video front, it offers 2,160-pixel shooting at 30 frames per second, and can give you up to 240 fps slow-motion video.

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Watch this: Oppo's R15 Pro is a notchtastic Android deal
Oppo's R15 Pro is a notchtastic Android deal
1:37

All the performance and battery life you need

The R15 Pro's greatest strength is its lack of weakness. It's not a flawless phone, but it's without any real deal-breaking problems. It's reliable.

For starters, the phone has a big pot of juice with its 3,340mAh battery. I always got home with a good chunk of battery left, after a day of reading, social media-ing and watching too many YouTube videos on cellular internet. It lasted just over 14 hours in our video-loop battery test, which isn't quite as good as the OnePlus 6's 15.5 hour result, but is still on the higher end of the scale.

And yes, the Oppo R15 Pro offers only midrange power, but I've long questioned the need for a high-end processor. It's well behind the Huawei P20 Pro and Galaxy S9 in benchmark tests, but as someone who used both of those phones in the weeks and months prior to the R15 Pro, I can't say there was a noticeable drop in performance. That includes gaming, where 3D games like Asphalt 8 faired just fine.

3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited

Oppo R15 Pro 23,724OnePlus 6 62,952Huawei P20 30,547Moto X4 16,796
Note: Longer bars indicate better performance

Geekbench v.4.0 single-core

Oppo R15 Pro 1,611OnePlus 6 2,454Huawei P20 1,896Moto X4 869
Note: Longer bars indicate better performance

Geekbench 4 Multi-Core

Oppo R15 Pro 5,712OnePlus 6 6,653Huawei P20 6,672Moto X4 4,114
Note: Longer bars indicate higher performance

Oppo R15 Pro versus OnePlus 6, Huawei P20 and Moto X4


Oppo R15 ProOnePlus 6Huawei P20Moto X4
Display size, resolution 6.28-inch; 1,080x2,280 pixels (AMOLED)6.28-inch; 2,280x1,080 pixels5.8-inch; 2,244x1,080 pixels (LCD)5.2-inch; 1,920x1,080 pixels
Pixel density 401ppi402ppi428ppi424ppi
Dimensions (Inches) 6.16x2.96x0.31 in6.13x2.97x0.31 in5.9x2.8x0.3 in5.8x2.9x0.31 in
Dimensions (Millimeters) 156.5x75.2x8 mm155.7x75.4x7.75 mm149.1x70.8x7.65 mm148.4x73.4x8 mm
Weight (Ounces, Grams) 6.35 oz; 180g6.2 oz; 177g5.8 oz; 165g5.7 oz; 163g
Mobile software Android 8.1 OreoAndroid 8.1 OreoAndroid 8.1 Oreo OneAndroid 7.1.1 Nougat
Camera 16-megapixel, 20-megapixel monochrome16-megapixel, 20-megapixel 12-megapixel RGB, 20-megapixel monochromeDual 12-megapixel, 8-megapixel
Front-facing camera 20-megapixel camera16-megapixel  24-megapixel camera16-megapixel
Video capture 4K4K4K4K
Processor 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 660Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 8452.3GHz octa-core Kirin 9702.2GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 630
Storage 128GB64GB, 128GB, 256GB128GB32GB, 64GB
RAM 6GB6GB, 8GB4GB3GB, 4GB
Expandable storage Up to 256GBNoneNoneUp to 2TB
Battery 3,430mAh3,300mAh3,400mAh3,000mAh
Fingerprint sensor BackBackBelow screenBelow screen
Connector Micro-USBUSB-CUSB-CUSB-C
Headphone jack YesYesNoYes
Special features Super slow-mo video, dual-sim, splash-resistant (IP57)Dash Charging, dual-SIM, super slow-moSuper slow-mo video (960fps), splash-resistant (IP57)Water-resistant (IP68), selfie-flash, dual rear cameras
Price off-contract (USD) Converts to $515$529 (64GB), $579 (128GB), $629 (256GB) Converts to $839$399 (Motorola and Google); $330 (Amazon with Prime ads)
Price (GBP) Converts to £385£469 (64GB), £519 (128GB), £569 (256GB)  Converts to £599£349
Price (AUD) AU$689Converted: AU$700 (64GB), AU$770 (128GB), AU$835 (256GB) AU$999AU$699
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Oppo R15 Pro

Score Breakdown

Design 8Features 8Performance 8Camera 8Battery 8