Oppo has had plenty of success this year already, with the impressive Find X2 Pro, and now it is back with the flagship device of its cheaper Reno range. Oppo Reno 4 Pro may have had a clear run at the upper mid-range market until just the past couple of weeks – with strong rivals from Google and Samsung, can it keep up?
Oppo can’t have been all too pleased to see the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE and Google Pixel 5 drop right around the same time as its device that starts at a price of £100 more.
Nevertheless, Oppo has always done its own thing – finding success with the Find X2 Pro, even at what seemed like an exorbitant starting price. In particular, Oppo Reno 4 Pro is clearly a different beast to what’s offering by Samsung and Google, with a few key differentiators. Can the Reno 4 Pro stand out from the crowd or will it get drowned out by some of the big players?
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Screen – Smooth and bright
The 90Hz refresh rate is certainly the stand out feature of the Oppo Reno 4 Pro display, making the day-to-day scrolling and navigation experience all the more pleasing. The smoothness extends to watching videos and gaming, where the display handles sharp movement with ease.
The FHD+ resolution combined with that higher refresh rate and AMOLED panel makes for a gorgeous display experience – in particular, the UI looks stunning – with a bright and vibrant colour range. The display can get extremely bright so you’ll never have issues seeing this display in direct sunlight.
Those who have experienced QHD (or, even, 4K) mobile panels may find the display somewhat wanting when watching video, as the large 6.55-inch panel can lack a little detail.
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Design – Smudges dent the style
The Oppo Reno 4 Pro continues the long-running trend of glass sandwich design that you’ll be familiar with if you’ve ever owned a flagship Samsung Galaxy device. As such, the make up of the hardware doesn’t really stand out even if it remains fairly stylish in its own right.
The colour choices are where Oppo is really aiming to stand out with its latest phone, opting for two quite different directions. There’s the interesting Galactic Blue, which Oppo says is “silky to the touch” and is also fingerprint-proof – the bright light blue shade is certainly to grab many fans.
Whereas, our review model is Space Black. The black colour offers a slight rainbow reflection when caught by the light and has Oppo logos smattered across the bottom half of the device. One thing it certainly isn’t is fingerprint-proof, I’ve experienced prints and smudges aplenty.
Performance – A day-to-day dream
Like other devices we’ve reviewed sporting the new Snapdragon 765G chip, the Oppo Reno 4 Pro offers nigh-on flagship performance along with the handy new 5G connectivity tech.
Reno 4 Pro handles all games like a dream – and that 90Hz display only adds to the seamless experience. With 12GB RAM, all of your day-to-day tasks – from browsing to messaging and video watching – won’t trouble this device. To push this device, you have to go out of your way to push it – with swift multi-tasking of the most demanding applications.
The new Oppo comes in a singular model that offers 256GB storage, which is a nice coup over some competitors that kick off with just 128GB.
On the software side, Color OS 7.2 (Android 10) isn’t all that intrusive – offering a fairly simple take on Android. A stand out feature for those with 6.5-inch display averse hands is “Icon pull-down gesture” – a one-handed mode of sorts that lets you drag up from the bottom left or right to have your apps pulled towards you for easier use.
Some of the Oppo hardware features on the periphery perform less well. The fingerprint scanner works perfectly fine in terms of accuracy but it is far less speedy than physical fingerprint buttons or face unlock-sporting devices.
The speakers aren’t going to be doing much justice to your favourite music. The stereo setup is fine for calls and watching most videos but it is far from a premium audio experience.
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Camera – Boosted basics, awkward add-ons
The day-to-day camera experience of the Reno 4 Pro is more than enough for your average phone user but there are certainly some features that could use a little TLC.
The main camera is able to take some stunning snaps in a variety of situations, capturing plenty of detail and clear colours amongst buildings or out in the wild. This phone is a great point and shoot device.
However, an extra level of scrutiny may leave camera aficionados looking elsewhere. Oppo is doing a lot with its AI capabilities and little adjustments of camera positioning can often lead to very different photos. You can really tell when a photo has been “enhanced” and it hurts the realism of the image – making darker aspects of the image a bit too well lit and obscuring detail.
This tinkering affects your use of Night Mode too. In low light situations, you’ll often get better results by just using the camera as normal and letting Oppo’s AI do its thing. While actually putting the phone in Night Mode leads to an overly bright and unrealistic image.
The additional features are a mixed bag. Oppo avoids the trap of including a lacklustre macro camera, like many other Android phones at the moment. Macro shots are still not great but at least a sensor hasn’t been wasted on it. Any kind of “super” zoom is off the table, with anything above 5x zoom really not worth capturing.
While the Portrait mode offering is quite impressive, with subjects clearly defined without any awkward misplaced blurring.
Oppo is keen to boast about its “Ultra Steady” modes on both its rear and front-facing camera – and they do achieve what it says on the tin. Turn the mode on and you’ll get much improved results, especially if you are videoing a subject, but it isn’t a breathtaking implementation of this feature and most other phones also do a decent job.
Battery life – Va Va Vooc
Oppo Reno 4 Pro battery capabilities are something of a marvel – with a stellar combo of long-lasting battery life and unbelievably fast-charging.
Like Realme. Oppo has started using 65W fast charging (SuperVooc, as it’s named by Oppo) and it is something to behold. Oppo touts you can charge the device up to 60% in just 15 minutes and 100% in 36 minutes. Our experience was about five minutes longer in both cases but it’s still mighty quick. The charger and phone can get slightly warm to the touch but it is far from an unnerving level.
While super-fast charging is great and all, you won’t be constantly reaching for it with the Reno 4 Pro. The 4000 mAh battery manages to get you to the end of the day without that evening stretching act before bedtime. I was able to get through a day with about 7 hours screen-on time and have around 10% still in reserve.
For those rare times you are scrambling, Oppo offers Super Power Saving Mode. The mode restricts you to just six apps and lets you eke another hour or so if you hit the 5% mark.
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Should you buy the Oppo Reno 4 Pro?
Oppo Reno 4 Pro doesn’t offer many stand out faults, once again making a strong argument for not buying a £1000 phone. However, the Reno 4 Pro would’ve been far more appealing about six months ago.
Now, the new Oppo has a cheaper Pixel 5 with similar specs to contend with along with similarly priced devices OnePlus 8T and Samsung Galaxy S20 FE that offer more for your money.
As a result, the impressive screen, decent performance and strong camera capabilities aren’t enough to opt for the Oppo over the extremely similar OnePlus 8T – unless the Reno 4 Pro design is something which greatly appeals.
Oppo Reno 4 Pro has found itself at the wrong place at the wrong time. The new Oppo does everything it sets out to do, with ludicrously fast charging, snappy performance and a delightful main camera, but it’s price places it up against far too strong competition.
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