We had the same question on our mind as you when OPPO unveiled the F21 Pro (you can read our deep-dive review here) and the F21 Pro 5G. Are there any significant differences between these two devices aside from the 5G suffix and the Rs 4K premium for the OPPO F21 Pro 5G version? It’s not a straight answer and it’s tough to recommend the 5G version for all users. We’ll tell you why.
In terms of heft and design language, both the devices are similar. They’re high on style and score with their ultra-slim, flat-edge design. The OPPO F21 Pro 5G feels great in your hand and it’s easy to reach all corners of the device with one hand. We think that a 6.4-inch display and a heft of around 175gm might well be the sweet spot for flagship smartphones. It’s the perfect balance of form and function; you get a large screen and a device that doesn’t hurt your hand, even if you’ve been texting all night. We checked out the Rainbow Spectrum colour option that’s quite blingy with a shimmering rainbow-like frosted finish. OPPO says that this finish was achieved with three layers of texture and two layers of coating. It works well; it’s glittery and yet doesn’t attract smudges. If bling is your thing, you will dig the dual orbit lights around the rear camera rings that light up each time you get a call or notification.
There’s still no rollout date for 5G in India but if you are likely to hold on to your phone for over a year and would like to play it safe, then the Oppo F21 Pro 5G version is probably a good bet.
This 5G-ready device is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 Processor. It certainly gives you more wings than the Qualcomm Snapdragon 680 on the F21 Pro but it doesn’t boast of a significant performance boost. We clocked 2006 on our Geekbench benchmark (multi-core) test (higher is better), compared to the F21 Pro’s 1671; this despite both devices being evenly matched (8GB/128GB) on RAM and internal storage. This smartphone is not geared at compulsive gamers and power users.
The answer is yes, if you’d prefer a 5G-ready smartphone with extra firepower. However, if you’re not hung up on 5G, then we think the F21 Pro might be a smarter choice. We were quite enamored by the microscope lens in the triple cam of the F21 Pro. The 5G version combines the same 64MP primary lens but sticks to a conventional macro lens instead of the microscope lens. Results were quite even on the selfie cam; both phones give you aggressive beautification mode options and a whole bunch of OPPO camera tweaks including the cool Bokeh flair portraits. The other step down is the 60Hz refresh rate on the 6.43-inch display (2400 x 1080 pixels); you might miss the 90Hz refresh rate display of the F21 Prof especially when gaming. The OPPO F21 Pro 5G brings a lot of style to the sub-Rs 30,000 segment but it has its work cut out against the likes of the OnePlus Nord CE 2 in this price band.
The OPPO F21 Pro 5G costs Rs 26,999 and comes in Rainbow Spectrum and Cosmic Black.