Oppo F21 Pro 5G Review: Awesome, but that Reno 7 5G…
When someone says camera smartphone, certainly, Oppo is one of the top brands that comes to the mind. And with the impressive performance of the Oppo Reno 7 series, expectations are already high from the other phones by the manufacturer. Recently, the company has introduced new members to its F-series with F21 Pro and F21 Pro 5G while onboarding unique designs and AI-enabled camera features. But is that what really matters? Definitely not! From smooth user experience, powerful performance, and good battery life to rich display, everything is needed for a satisfactory overall experience. We have already reviewed the Oppo F21 Pro, which checks several critical boxes, but does the Oppo F21 Pro 5G manage to bring an overall rich experience? And does it stand out in the competitive segment of mid-range smartphones? After spending a couple of weeks with Oppo F21 Pro 5G, this is what I have found…
Oppo F21 Pro 5G Design
Whereas, on one side, the 4G variant breaks the company's continuity of providing glittery rear panels with changing colour hues, the Oppo F21 Pro 5G sticks to the trend, but with a twist! It is the camera hump that makes the whole difference in the look. With two giant camera lenses placed within the round metallic rings that feature orbiting lights around it the immediate reaction is… Wow! Whether you get calls, message notifications, or you keep it on charging, these lights breathe life into the overall design (you got the pun!?)
The smartphone comes in two colours, one Cosmic Black and another with Rainbow Spectrum. The glittery, rainbow-exhibiting colour panel is smudge proof with a matte finish. The device comes in sleek design and weighs just 173. While in the front, F21 Pro 5G has narrow bezels at the sides, though the chin has quite evident bezels compared to the sides. The selfie camera rests in the top-left corner without taking much space. And, headphone jack? Yes, it has one!
Oppo F21 Pro 5G Display
Oppo F21 Pro 5G display measures a 6.43-inches AMOLED screen, which makes the viewing experience rich in colours, contrast and brightness. Well, the low point is its 60Hz refresh rate in the era when smartphones are offering even up to 144Hz of refresh rate. Surprisingly, Oppo's own Reno 7 5G and even F21 Pro bring a 90Hz refresh rate.
Well, despite a 60 Hz display, it doesn't show any tantrums while moving from one app to another or using it on a daily basis. Also, its in-display fingerprint sensor is quick to respond. Still, the impact of a low refresh rate display is what makes the experience sour for heavy apps, which could have been better with a higher refresh rate in this price range.
Oppo F21 Pro 5G Performance
Of course, Oppo smartphones are not just about camera performance! This statement can be proven with the Oppo F21 Pro 5G which is equipped with Snapdragon 695 chipset with 8GB RAM under the hood. From daily usage for multitasking to even using heavy apps for video-editing and gaming such as BGMI, and Call of Duty: Mobile, it performed effortlessly without any lags or stutters. However, do note that only a short span of gaming on low settings is what delivers satisfactory performance.
The smartphone runs on ColorOS 12 with Android 11, which is quite sad especially when we have seen its own 4G version with Android 12. Though the update is in-the-works, but exactly when it will reach you, is still a secret! Well, set up the phone and you will be entertained with the pre-installed applications, a few from Oppo and the rest belonging to third parties. The good part is you can uninstall them if they are not required. Also, dealing with advertisements is almost negligible. Overall, the Oppo F21 Pro 5G is rich in features and easy to handle. From Oppo's Omoji to air gestures, split-screen, floating windows, simple mode, and more can be tailored according to your needs. I enjoyed using the Air gesture feature which allows you to control the screen without even touching the phone.
Coming to the audio and connectivity performance. It comes with a 3.5mm audio jack and a single speaker option which is quite loud but at maximum, you have to deal with distortion in the sound. While during the review, obviously, due to the absence of 5G in India, I couldn't test it. But with my 4G SIM, the calling, as well as video calling experience was hassle-free.
Oppo F21 Pro 5G Cameras
There might be a rare chance when Oppo disappoints with its camera performance, and thankfully Oppo F21 Pro 5G is not that rare case! With a triple-camera setup including a 64MP primary camera sensor paired with a 2MP macro and another 2MP depth camera, F21 Pro 5G delivers the overall rich visuals output that we have come to expect from the company. While in front, you get a 16MP selfie camera.
In daylight, the 64MP camera performed impressively with detailing, rich colours and clarity. Even with its 6x zoom, I was able to capture far subjects with clarity without any noise (check the camera sample here). Though, it is night photography where camera starts struggling and ends up with lack of details and clarity. It's 2MP macro mode is just fine during the day.
Well, the Portrait mode of Oppo F21 Pro 5G is its USP. Indeed it is! Several modes such as Bokeh flare, selfie HDR, and AI enhancement ensures to make the portraits look lively, bright and rich in colours. Though, it makes the skin look a bit brighter than what the reality is. If you are into videography, then know that you will get only up to 1080p recording and also there is no image stabilisation. Though, in natural light, it is enough to take good videos.
Oppo F21 Pro 5G Battery
The Oppo provides a 4500mAh battery along with a 33W SUPERVOOC charger inside the box. During the daily usage on office days, the F21 Pro 5G battery life sustained for the entire day. During this time I did about 1-2 hours of calling, surfing the internet, usual 2-3 hours of social browsing, and streaming music in the background.
Well, during the weekend, to this was added browsing YouTube and playing games and battery life still lasted up to a day. With its 33W Supervooc charging, I was able to charge it up to 50 percent from its 10 percent battery in 25 minutes. While it took another 50 minutes to get a full refill. On average, you can charge it in 1 hour and 15 minutes.
The Oppo F21 Pro 5G is all about camera performance. From picture-perfect portraits to overall colours and detailing, it ensures great images in daylight. However, for night photography, Oppo still needs to figure out something really impressive. But as we said, it's not just about cameras. F21 Pro 5G provides decent battery life, stylish design, bright display, smooth user experience with lots of features, and decent overall performance for day-to-day tasks. Though, its 60Hz refresh rate display at the price of Rs. 27,999 surely leaves room for improvement.
But, we can't neglect the competition in the same price range and the biggest competitor is none other than its own Reno 7 5G with a better selfie camera, higher refresh rate and MediaTek Dimensity 900 5G processor in just an extra 1000 bucks. Besides this, Vivo V21 5G can be another option with a 44MP selfie camera and a higher refresh rate priced at Rs. 26,699. Well, if camera is not your priority, then there is Xiaomi 11i HyperCharge with good display and its 120W fast charging.
Well, for someone seeking a good camera along with a decent performance in most other aspects along with 5G connectivity, the Oppo F21 Pro 5G won't disappoint you.
- Portrait mode
- Decent battery life
- Stylish design
- 60Hz refresh rate
- Camera performance at night
- Android 11
Display6.43-inches AMOLED 60Hz
Battery4500mAh, 33W wired charging
OSAndroid 11, ColorOS 12
ChipsetSnapdragon 695 5G