Oppo’s F series has always been about its design and camera, and the newly launched F21 Pro follows the same tradition. The Oppo F21 Pro 4G gets a bunch of ‘industry’s first’ features in its price segments like the fiberglass leather design on the back, Sony IMX709 sensor on the front, and a microscopic camera. Priced at Rs 22,999, the Oppo F21 Pro competes with the likes of Realme 9 Pro Plus (Review), Xiaomi 11i, OnePlus Nord 2 CE, and more. We used the Oppo F21 Pro for a few days and here’re the five things we liked about it and two we didn’t.
Oppo F21 Pro: Top Reasons to Buy
Here are some reasons why you should consider buying Oppo F21 Pro 4G:
Design is the biggest highlight
Oppo has been marketing the F21 Pro for its back design which is made of vegan leather. The Fiberglass leatherback is said to be the industry’s first that is claimed to make the phone thinner, lighter and durable. However, this design is limited to the Sunset Orange variant only. The device is lightweight and the back design feels different and better than other devices. The flat edge design makes the device comfortable to hold.
The camera bump on the back of the device is huge but we liked the fact that the camera module blends beautifully with the orange colour of the device. Plus, the orbit technology which makes the secondary camera sensor glow, adds to the premium feel. The glow has a default white colour only but it would have been great if Oppo added the option to customise the colour.
The 32MP front camera on the Oppo F21 Pro has a Sony IMX709 sensor which we have already seen on the Oppo Reno7 Pro 5G. The sensor is claimed to be 60 per cent more sensitive to light and reduces noise by 35 per cent compared to its previous-gen IMX615 RGB sensor. We clicked a lot of selfies in different modes with the Oppo F21 Pro and the front sensor produces good photos showcasing all the necessary details. The skin tone was slightly on the bright side but after turning beauty mode off, we got a nearly accurate skin tone. The phone also manages to capture decent low-light selfies.
The Bokeh Portrait mode on the F21 Pro manages to make pictures look more beautiful. Oppo was spot on with the edge detection on the F21 Pro. However, it couldn’t control the light very well in portrait mode.
Feature-rich ColorOS 12
The Oppo F21 Pro runs on Android 12 based on ColorOS 12 skin out of the box. And, it is a feature-rich software. There are a bunch of bloatware pre-loaded in the device which sends unwanted notifications. However, the pros of the ColorOS 12 are more compared to cons. It feels light and smooth and there is a lot of space for personal customization. Moreover, it supports the Android 12 ‘Material You’ feature which means that it will automatically customize the colour as per the wallpaper.
The sidebar on the right side has a screen translation feature and background steam option which turned out to be helpful. The Android 12 was launched with more focus on privacy which the ColorOS 12 retains, it features several privacy-based options and shows you a LED light on the notification bar if any app is using a microphone or camera.
That said, there are a lot of things that we can talk about the ColorOS 12 on the Oppo F21 Pro, but we would recommend you to read our detailed review of the ColorOS 12.
The Oppo F21 Pro packs a 4,500mAh battery and ships with a 33W fast charger in the box. The device provides an impressive battery life, we got a total screen-on time of approximately 7 hours and used the device for a whole day. The brightness was set to automatic, the screen was set to a 90Hz refresh rate, and apps like Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, and YouTube, were opened in the background. Moreover, an hour of playing BGMI was also included in the usage.
The 33W charger can juice up the device’s battery from 0 to 100% in an hour which is impressive.
The Oppo F21 Pro comes with 2MP microlens, also known as a microscopic camera. It was first seen in India on the Realme GT 2 Pro (Review) which is priced at Rs 49,999 but Oppo has brought this feature to the mid-budget segment. That said, we had a fun time using the feature and clicked a lot of pictures using the microlens. It can zoom up to 30x but we would suggest you use this feature on a 15x zoom mode to get better results.
You might not be using this feature on a practical basis but it would turn out to be interesting with the eye-catching images.
Top Reasons Not to Buy Oppo F21 Pro
Here are some reasons that you should consider before going for Oppo F21 Pro 4G:
Performance could have been better
The Oppo F21 Pro is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 680 chipset which is already seen on some budget devices such as the Redmi 10 that is available in India at Rs 10,999. The Oppo F21 is convenient for regular everyday usage which can include all-day scrolling on social media but when it comes to multitasking or gaming, we saw some random lags.
We played the Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI) and COD: Mobile for an hour each. Playing BGMI was hard as it took a lot of time to render buildings, ground, and more before landing. After landing, the game becomes choppy and hard to play. Maximum, you can set the BGMI graphics to balance and medium or smooth and high.
COD: Mobile can be played at the highest settings with slight lags. There is a dedicated mode for gaming that runs in the background when you launch a game.
No Ultrawide camera or 4K recording
Oppo has ditched the ultra-wide camera in the F21 Pro. No ultra-wide means that you cannot capture a larger view of the scene. Further, the phone lacks the ability to shoot 4K video from the rear sensor, which is slight letdown. A phone that is priced over Rs 20,000 and is advertised to capture beautiful shots is limited to shooting 1080p videos at 30fps only. Not done, Oppo. We would have loved the 4K video recording support on the F21 Pro.