Oppo Reno4 Pro 5G review: Give ‘em the old razzle-dazzle
This smartphone boasts a stunning design and vibrant display, but it’s sadly feature-light
Having released a string of excellent smartphones across the pricing spectrum in recent years, Oppo will be hoping to cement itself in 2021 as a genuine household name. It’s doing well so far; the Oppo Find X2 Pro, for example, was a solid handset capable of going toe-to-toe with the Samsung Galaxy S21, while the outstanding X2 Lite was a mid-range sizzler that offered 5G connectivity at an affordable price.
Sitting between them is the 6.6in Oppo Reno4 Pro 5G, a handset that’s more expensive than the average mid-tier smartphone but compensates with a dazzling display and exquisite build quality. However, with strong competitors in this field, including the outstanding Google Pixel 5, the Reno4 Pro 5G must prove it can stand apart from the crowd.
Oppo Reno4 Pro 5G review: Design
The Reno4 Pro 5G’s shimmering Galactic Blue finish immediately caught our attention. The phone’s sparkling, multi-toned rear is the result of a patented design process branded ‘Reno Glow’, debuting with the Reno4 series. The glass-coated device shimmers with pastel blue hues when exposed to light, and even generates a subtle glow-in-the-dark effect when the lights are out. Alternatively, you can purchase the Reno4 Pro 5G in Space Black or the borderline-sickly Green Glitter.
Beyond this aesthetic, the Reno4 Pro 5G’s build quality is practical too, with its matte finish both fingerprint-resistant and smooth to the touch. While there’s little chance of accidental slips, Oppo supplies the device with a rubber shell in case you feel added protection is required. Otherwise, its dimensions are satisfyingly trim for a device with such a large display. It’s much thinner than most comparable devices, with a depth of just 7.6mm versus the Pixel 5’s 8.6mm, for example, which itself was fitted with a smaller 6in display. Its 172g weight also means it’s lighter than many devices in this bracket.
The Samsung Galaxy-esque dual-curved panel, meanwhile, caps off a gorgeously-designed handset. The panel features a hole-punch camera in the top-left corner opposite a three-lens off-centre configuration arranged in a strip on its rear. These lenses are fixed on a smooth glass mount, similar to the modern iPhone design, which looks classy but also means the device wobbles when you rest it face-up. The only port you’ll find on the Reno4 Pro 5G is USB-C, beside a SIM slot and speakers, with Oppo ditching the 3.5mm jack.
Oppo Reno4 Pro 5G review: Display
The Reno4 Pro 5G’s 6.6in 1,080 x 2,400 OLED panel is the jewel in its proverbial crown, and impresses in several ways. Not only does the display look glorious to the naked eye, thanks to a smooth 90Hz refresh rate and 402ppi pixel density, but also scores well in our display testing metrics.
With a maximum brightness of 445cd/m2, it shines brighter than a clutch of mid-range counterparts. It scores better than the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 and Samsung Galaxy A90 5G, for instance, which registered 398cd/m2 and 351cd/m2 respectively. The Pixel 5 scored a slightly brighter maximum of 468cd/m2 though, while the iPhone SE 2 is in a league of its own with 571cd/m2.
Vibrant colours also underline this display’s qualities, with the Reno4 Pro 5G registering 97.2% coverage of the sRGB colour gamut - although an average Delta E of 3.65 suggests it’s far from perfect in terms of balance (less than 1.5 would be ideal). Nevertheless, the Reno4 beats the Pixel 5’s strong 95.1% coverage, and isn't that far behind the Galaxy A90’s score of 99%. These results are also good enough to go toe-to-toe with a host of premium devices, although these top-tier smartphones are often souped-up with higher resolutions refresh rates. The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G, for example, registered a high 98% coverage of the sRGB colour gamut but was let down by its 302cd/m2 brightness.
Although the standard display customisation toggles are all present, one feature absent from the Reno4 Pro 5G is granular control over the display’s colour balance, although it essentially needs no alteration. In previous devices, Oppo’s default ‘gentle’ colour profile has appeared too washed out to recommend over its ‘vivid’ alternative, but both are perfectly viable in the Reno4 Pro 5G, with colour testing in both presets confirming as much.
Oppo Reno4 Pro 5G review: Hardware and performance
The Oppo hosts the same Snapdragon 765G mobile CPU that’s become a popular fixture in mid-tier devices released in recent months. This chip is also found in the likes of the Oppo Find X2 Lite, OnePlus Nord and Google Pixel 5, for example.
This is a capable mobile CPU complemented in the Reno4 Pro 5G with a meaty 12GB RAM and 256GB internal storage, which, on paper, pushes midrange performance to its limits. However, we should note that those seeking to get the most bang-for-buck from similarly priced phones should look instead to the likes of the iPhone SE 2 and Samsung Galaxy A90 5G, which are essentially cheaper shells packaged with high-end mobile hardware.
Nevertheless, Geekbench 5 testing reflected solid single-threaded and multi-threaded results of 615 and 1,829 respectively, and the Reno4 Pro 5G comfortably bested a handful of mid-tier competitors including the Google Pixel 5. That device registered a similar single-threaded score of 597 but a weaker 1609 for the multi-threaded test, suggesting the Oppo is more suited to handling complex tasks.
The Reno4 Pro 5G doesn’t break any new ground, however, with the much cheaper Oppo Find X2 Lite registering near-identical scores of 623 and 1826. Also much like the Find X2 Lite, the Reno4 Pro 5G achieved a stonking 22hrs 38mins battery life in our video playback test. Battery life of 22hrs-plus is becoming something of a minimum expectation in these kinds of phones; the aforementioned Xiaomi Mi Note 10 lasts 23hrs 12 mins, for instance, while the Pixel 5 lasted 22hrs 54mins when put through its paces. For a blockbuster lifespan, however, users should instead look to the cut-price Samsung Galaxy M31 and its remarkable 29hrs battery life.
Oppo Reno4 Pro 5G review: Camera
Oppo has shaken up the camera configuration in its latest device. However, it’s taken the unusual decision to do this by reducing the number of cameras, switching from four lenses in previous releases to three in the Reno4 Pro 5G. The main Sony 48MP wide-angle lens, unchanged since the Oppo Reno2, works together with an improved 12MP ‘ultra night wide-angle video lens’ and 13MP telephoto lens to produce a versatile configuration, alongside a 32MP front-facing lens.
The images we captured were crisp and bright using default settings, albeit a little washed out. Thankfully, they can be improved through software enhancements and AI processing, such as HDR and ‘colour dazzle’ settings. These toggles do well in boosting vibrancy without oversaturating the frame. Activating the 48MP lens can sharpen up an image too, although you’re unable to use 5x optical zoom or 20x digital zoom while doing so. ‘Pro-mode’ shooting makes a return as well, with users able to tweak settings like the shutter speed and ISO to their precise liking.
Most impressive, however, is the Reno4 Pro 5G’s Night mode, which is nothing short of outstanding. This smartphone shoots capably well in low light using default settings, but using the in-built dark mode generates crisp and noise-free images miraculously filled with light. Unfortunately, you’ll need to maintain a steady hand (or use a tripod) as it takes a good few seconds to capture each shot - but the results are worth it.
You can also capably shoot video in 4K at 30fps, or 1080p and 720p up to 60fps, with useful ever-present features like ultra-steady mode and live HDR recording. This is in addition to ‘ultra night shooting’, which improves the quality of footage shot in the dark just as effectively as it does taking still images.
Oppo Reno4 Pro 5G review: Software and features
With ColorOS 7.2, powered by Android 10, the Reno4 Pro 5G comes with the basic tools and settings you’d expect from a mid-tier device. Although these features include extensive UI customisation, there was a noticeable lack of any meaningful bells and whistles. This is a shame considering its price tag, and the fact competing devices made by Google and OnePlus tend to innovate well.
While the likes of split-screen mode and an overflow quick-access app drawer that you can access from the side of your display are useful, we’d have wanted more oomph than these standard ColorOS features. The Google Pixel 5, for example, is fitted with wireless charging as well as Google’s Titan M security chip for hardware-level protection, while also benefitting from apps such as Recorder, which provides real-time auto-transcription. Although it misses out on wireless charging, the Reno4 Pro 5G does, however, feature an excellent rate of fast-charging that can see your battery surge to 100% in 36mins.
It also comes bundled with Android self-care services, including a ‘focus mode’ that hides notifications and plays soothing audio tracks as well as a bedtime mode that turns the display greyscale and mutes all alerts. Gesture-based ‘screen off’ gestures also add neat shortcuts, letting you draw an O to open the camera, for example, alongside other patterns that can be assigned at your whim. Absent, however, is Oppo’s ever-present smart assistant, which harnesses data from frequently-used apps to curate a page unique to you. The manufacturer has instead integrated Google’s Snapshot service, a web-based assistant that performs much the same function.
Oppo Reno4 Pro 5G review: Verdict
With the Reno4 Pro 5G, Oppo has released an exquisitely-manufactured smartphone that’s fully capable in terms of its performance and photography, sitting between devices in the conventional premium and mid-range brackets. In light of its excellent build quality and dazzling OLED display, it’s often easy to forget you aren’t handling a more premium device, although the lack of high-end features does occasionally snap you back into reality.
Google’s outstanding Pixel 5, by contrast, offers tons of nifty tools like wireless power-sharing while also being priced slightly cheaper. While the Oppo Reno4 Pro 5G can’t compete on features, its outstanding build quality and exterior design are worthy of the slightly raised price tag alone. These assets combine well with sophisticated night-time shooting and great display to render a device that razzles and dazzles like few others.
Oppo Reno4 Pro 5G specifications
Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G
2400 x 1080
48MP f/1.7 wide, 12MP f/2.2 ultrawide, 13MP f/2.4 portrait mono
Dust and water resistance
3.5mm headphone jack
Memory card slot
159.6 x 72.5 x 7.6mm
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