Oppo F21 Pro review

Orange is the new back

₹ 22,999

In this ongoing race of cramming as many features as possible into a phone, we’ve ended up with most devices looking like illegitimate siblings. But once in a while, we come across a smartphone that stands out for its design. 
The Oppo F21 Pro is a mid-ranger with a classy design that will catch some attention. But does it offer enough to help it compete in this cutthroat price segment? Having spent the last few days giving it all our attention, here’s our Oppo F21 Pro review.


Design is the highlight of this phone, and it is clear the moment you take it out of the box. In going with the current trend, the edges are square-ish, which continues to divide opinions. There’s no denying that the edges on this device compliment the Sunset Orange colour scheme. 
Speaking of which, it’s hard not to notice the faux leather back panel. The colour is eye-catching, and the texture is smooth to touch. During our time using the phone, we really didn’t want to put it in a case. Keep it beside a tan coloured handbag, and it’ll give any fashion conscious person goosebumps. 
Look beyond, and the overall design language is quite standard with the screen dominating the front, and a small camera housing at the back. The way the lenses are placed reminds us of old cameras, which further enhances the appeal. If that wasn’t enough, Oppo has also added a ring light around a lens, which illuminates to alert you of incoming notifications.


The 6.43in screen is the right size, making it easy to use without stretching the sinews of your palm. The AMOLED panel is able to reproduce colours accurately, the text looks sharp, and you won’t find much to complain about when watching OTT content. With 800nits of peak brightness, the display is legible even when outside under the harsh sun. 
Unlike most devices out there today, this display doesn’t get a 120Hz refresh rate. But, its 90Hz refresh rate is no slouch either. For most parts, scrolling and animations are smooth. It’s only when you’re pushing the device that you start noticing some jitteriness.


Under the hood is a mid-range Snapdragon 680 octa-core chipset, which by no means is the fastest on the block. It performs well as long as you’re at cruising speeds but put your foot down, and you’ll notice it struggling. 
In essence, the device is able to easily handle day-to-day tasks, multitasking, watching OTT, and even a bit of casual gaming. Stick with this routine, and you’ll find the chipset performing admirably. 
But it’s when you ask it to play graphics-heavy games that it starts to struggle. On paper, you can easily play games like Asphalt 9: Legends, but at medium settings. Max those settings, and you will notice frame-rate drops and jitters.

On the software front, the smartphone runs Android 12-based ColorOS 12.1 UI. If you’re a fan of colourful interfaces with a host of customisation options, then the ColorOS skin is for you. That said, we must warn you that the skin comes with a boatload of pre-installed apps, which takes precious time to uninstall.


On paper, the 4,500mAh battery doesn’t instil a lot of confidence, but in day-to-day usage, it was able to last an entire day on a single charge. Even when pushed, the battery lasted till bedtime with about six hours of screen time. 
When it is time to recharge, the 33W charger (in the box) is able to juice up the battery in about 90 minutes. It may not be the fastest around, but it is by no means slow either.


For photography, there are three cameras at the back – 64MP wide-angle lens, a 2MP microscope lens, and a 2MP depth sensor. The primary lens is quite the capable shooter when the lighting conditions are ideal. It captures enough details and has a good dynamic range albeit with a touch of oversaturation. It’s not too good and not too bad. You can say it’s almost tailored for the current social media generation.

But as the sun goes down, so does the quality of photos shot on the phone. Captured photos lose out on details, and there’s a visible amount of noise. Switching on night mode makes things a tad better, but the photos also look a tad artificially boosted. 
There’s a 2MP microscope lens onboard, which lets you get really close to a subject. But the results are vastly inconsistent. For one, you need the rock-steady hands of a neurosurgeon to get a photo that has the subject properly in focus. Secondly, the resultant photos pale in comparison to the excellent microscopic camera on the Realme GT 2 Pro
The 2MP depth sensor helps in shooting portrait shots with a good bokeh effect and edge detection. But these are only achievable in ideal lighting conditions. The front 32MP camera is good enough for selfies that can be immediately shared on social media without a whole lot of editing.

Verdict: Should you buy it?

Oppo F21 Pro’s looks clearly trump all other aspects and is the primary reason for choosing this phone. The orange colourway and faux leather texture combo are classy and make for a refreshing change. 
Look beyond the design, and there’s not a lot except the display and primary camera performance that really stand out. You also miss out on 5G connectivity here. Yes, there’s an Oppo F21 Pro 5G variant (₹26,999), but by opting for it, you give up on the one thing that makes this phone stand out – the faux leather back.

Stuff Says

For the design-conscious who want their phone to stand out in the sea of similar-looking devices
Good stuff
Bad stuff
  1. Classy design

  1. Vibrant display

  1. Primary camera performance

  1. Ring light for notifications

  1. Hit and miss performance

  1. Microscope camera performance

Display: 6.43in FHD+ AMOLED 90Hz
Chip: Qualcomm Snapdragon 680 octa-core
Memory: 8GB RAM / 128GB storage
Rear cameras: 64MP primary / 2MP microscope / 2MP depth
Front camera: 32MP
Battery: 4,500mAh 33W fast charging
OS: Android 12 (ColorOS 12.1)
Dimensions: 159.9 x 73.2 x 7.5 mm
Weight: 175 g