Oppo Reno 4 Pro 5G Review: The Entertainer


The Reno series has always placed a focus on aspects like design and camera performance, with the best of the current bunch – the Oppo Reno 4 Pro 5G – being no exception.

Oppo has hit what could roughly be considered a biannual release schedule with its Reno line, meaning the differences from the likes of the Reno 3 to Reno 4 (and indeed the forthcoming Reno 5) Series’ will feel incremental to those wondering whether they should upgrade from one generation to the next.

In the case of the Reno 4 Pro 5G specifically (notably a different device to the LTE-only Reno 4 Pro), Oppo has essentially blended some of the best bits from its Find X2 and Find X2 Neo smartphones to make a device that splits the difference, while showcasing some flashier aesthetics in the process.

Design and build

‘Reno Glow’ – two words that represent the culmination of seven dedicated patent applications and six months of research and development – Oppo wants people to know about the surface finish that debuts on the Reno 4 (styled as “Reno4” by the way) line in a big way.

While the ins and outs of its surface finish might be a little too much a macro detail for the average consumer to care about, there’s no escaping the fact that the Reno 4 Pro 5G is a pretty phone.

Although absent from the Space Black model (we’ll get to why that is in a moment) both the poster child colourway – Galactic Blue (pictured) – and the Pantone special edition Glitter Green model, feature this unique finish.

Aesthetically, the back of the Reno 4 Pro 5G unquestionably stands out in its Galactic Blue guise. There’s a reflected silver-to-dark-blue gradient running diagonally across the phone’s back that has an almost pearlescent quality paired with a (pulling from Oppo’s official press release) “crystal drilling technique (that) forms millions of micron-level prisma [sic] crystal pits.”

Reno Glow: Repels fingerprints but also grip

Long-story-short, this Reno Glow finish is eye-catching, unique and Oppo’s pride in its creation seems valid (to a degree). The company also claims it’s “fingerprint-proof,” which is confidence indeed. Sure enough, oily fingers generally leave the back of the Reno 4 Pro 5G unmarked, which is wholly impressive, again validating their confidence in the extra effort at work here.

The Space Black model takes the phone’s aesthetics in a different direction, with a more conventional polished glass surface finish that, unfortunately, does hold onto prints. To make up for this drawback though, you get a reflective rainbow surface treatment that catches the light and a subtle repeating ‘OP’ pattern, which feels reminiscent of Louis Vuitton’s signature Monogram canvas print, granting the phone an extra touch of luxury.

There are no boring colour options with the Reno 4 Pro 5G, really just the choice between fingerprints or no fingerprints. Unless, of course, you slap on the included flexible transparent case, which renders this decision moot – so long as you’re then okay with the extra thickness the case adds.

Beyond its finish, the 4 Pro 5G offers an impressively thin profile (just 7.6mm), helped along by the curved Gorilla Glass on its front and back, not to mention a pleasantly lightweight hand feel (at 172 grams), considering the size of the phone’s display.

The only real omissions are any form of IP-certified water resistance and a headphone jack, along with the fact that the distinct three-sensor camera bump on its back sticks out quite far – even past the included case.

Display and audio

The phone’s 6.55in extended 20:9 aspect ratio screen is a joy to look at when it comes to consuming media. The AMOLED tech used (and support for HDR10) grants you great viewing angles, brightness, dynamic range, vibrant colours and defined contrast with true blacks.

A 90Hz refresh rate is the little secret sauce that helps the Reno 4 Pro 5G feel particularly current; with super-smooth visuals when swiping around the phone’s user interface, assisted by the software’s snappy animations and a more sensitive (than most 60Hz refresh rate phones) 180Hz touch response rate – which has the potential to give players an edge when gaming in quick-reaction titles like CoD: Mobile.

Speaking of gaming, one aspect of the display that will divide potential Reno 4 Pro 5G owners is Oppo’s decision to give the phone’s cover glass slightly curved edges.

On the one hand, it provides a more premium, cutting-edge look and can feel nice under-finger when swiping, however, it also gives your digits less room to simply hold the phone, increasing the risk of accidental touches and misstaps – particularly frustrating when gaming.

The viewing experience can be augmented by way of the phone’s Eye Comfort mode, which is designed to reduce eye strain and blue light emissions, as well as fine-grain control over general colour temperature and colour representation. You can choose from ‘Vivid’ viewing, which is enabled by default (representing 100% of the DCI-P3 colour space) or ‘Gentle’, for more subdued viewing within the sRGB colour range.

In the pursuit of a clean design and with those thin metal edges, there is a fingerprint sensor, it just isn’t immediately apparent, until you press your thumb into the lower portion of the display, that is.

The under-display biometrics work well enough to keep your phone secure, with a bright white light illuminating your thumbprint each time you want to unlock the phone. It’s not the quickest sensor out there but if you’re willing to sacrifice on the level of security, RGB face unlock is also an option, using the phone’s front camera to jump from sleep to your home screen in an instant.

As for audio, we’ve already made mention of the headphone jack’s absence, however, Oppo does include some white USB-C earbuds in-box, complete with an inline remote and microphone. The set actually pushes out acceptable sound for in-box buds too.

There’s also the matter of the 4 Pro 5G’s loudspeaker setup, which trumps the standard Reno 4 5G’s mono output with stereo speakers that deliver a surprisingly full sound, considering how thin this phone is.

The stereo split mirrors a lot of modern dual speaker smartphone arrangements, with bass bias from the down-firing speaker and treble channelled more directly out of the earpiece loudspeaker. That said, the balance feels far closer together here than it does on other devices that offer the feature currently on the market.

Software and features

The Reno 4 Pro 5G comes with Android 10 but dressed in Oppo’s own skinned overlay, dubbed Color OS (version 7.2). As modified Android goes, Color OS has improved dramatically in recent years, partly in its appeal to a more global audience (with regards to styling and interaction), but also in its ease of use.

There are still some stylistic options and perhaps a few too many choices concerning the granularity of user experience customisation but ColorOS also augments stock Android in some meaningful ways as well.

You’ll find the inclusion of one-handed mode and the icon pull-down gesture invaluable for more readily zipping around the UI on that 6.55in panel one-handed, plus power users will no doubt enjoy features like the Smart Sidebar for quick access to favourite apps, tools and split-screen multitasking.

There are a few preloaded Oppo apps that have to work a little harder to justify their place on your phone’s storage though. Game Space helps direct resources and divert notifications when gaming on the Reno, while Oppo Relax is the company’s own mindfulness app; complete with lights, sounds and breathing exercises to escape and bring calm to your day – if you’re into that sort of thing.

Performance

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 765G is arguably one of the most interesting mobile processors of 2020 – not to mention one of the most versatile out there right now.

It’s not the company’s most powerful piece of mobile silicon, that title remains with the Snapdragon 865+ – at least until we start seeing phones with the newly-unveiled Snapdragon 888 hitting the scene – but the 765G has been found in an eclectic mix of smartphones from flagship handsets (Google Pixel 5, LG Wing), right down to the border between mid-range and budget (with devices like the Realme X50 5G), and it always delivers.

It’s more than capable of ensuring the Reno 4 Pro 5G feels as engaged as any £1000+ flagship Android phone, helped by a heap of memory – in 12GB of RAM (as tested) – and unlike 865/865+ powered phones, boasts an integrated 5G modem for greater power efficiency too.

In artificial benchmarks, it behaves with a reassuring consistency against other 765G powered devices, like Oppo’s own Find X2 Neo and Lite, along with the likes of the OnePlus Nord. It doesn’t quite offer the same CPU grunt as the more affordable Reno 4Z 5G’s MediaTek chip does but instead brings the heat when it comes to graphical oomph.

The variances shown on paper by such devices don’t really translate into real-world discrepancies all that much, with the Snapdragon chip and the generous amounts of RAM it’s paired with guaranteeing consistent and long-lasting performance for those looking for a device that will last.

Battery and charging

While there’s a comforting balance across the Reno 4 Pro 5G’s feature set, one particular highlight is its fast-charging capabilities; with Oppo’s own SuperVOOC 2.0 tech onboard delivering an astounding 65W fast charging rate.

Despite our battery tests having found the phone sometimes lingering on 99% for a while past the 30-minute mark, for all intents and purposes, you can refill the Reno 4 Pro 5G’s cell in half an hour from flat and it’ll already have reached two-thirds full after just 15 minutes of charging.

In testing, total longevity of 11 hours and 50 minutes is also commendable, although real-world screen-on time clocked in at a more modest five hours. That’s still enough to get you through a day with a decent amount of use under your belt though, and if you do feel battery anxiety creeping in, we’ve already proved that it takes just minutes to rectify the notion of ‘low power’, thanks to that blisteringly-fast SuperVOOC charging.

Camera

The triple camera setup on the phone’s back is fronted by the long-established Sony IMX586 sensor – a 48Mp snapper that captures pixel-binned 12Mp stills by default and on the Reno 4 Pro 5G comes complete with OIS (optical image stabilisation), along with a laser autofocus array.

There’s also a 12Mp (IMX708) ultrawide whose loyalties actually lie in video capture, thanks to an unusual native 16:9 aspect ratio. The rear array is then rounded out by a 13Mp telephoto snapper that offers 2x optical zoom but also supports 5x ‘hybrid’ zoom (and a maximum 20x lossy all-digital zoom).

If it’s stills you’re looking to shoot, Oppo’s done a great job getting a lot out of the now-ageing IMX586; with plenty of detail, pleasingly-rich colours and surprisingly good dynamic range in standard shots.

Detail is the first thing to go in low light but even then, results aren’t unusable as they might be on similarly-equipped phones, while Oppo’s Night mode does wonders to bring some fidelity back to such shots.

There’s a notable discrepancy in the colour science at work between the main and the ultrawide though, leading to the need to colour correct in-post if you’re looking to incorporate shots from both sensors in a single album.

Where video is concerned, you can expect clean footage with the ability to smooth out shake to an impressive degree, thanks to the near-Go-Pro-like Ultra Steady mode. OIS on this sensor (which is included on the Oppo Find X2) would have elevated things that little bit more – instead it’s achieved using EIS (electronic image stabilisation) only – but that’s where some of the extra money that the X2 asks of you must goes.

The sensor’s other party piece is Ultra Night Mode, which like shooting Night mode stills, makes scenarios that most phones would through in the towel on, still able to be captured, worked with and shared to social media. Only the far pricier iPhone 12 Pro line takes such an interest in this sub-section of mobile videography, making the Reno a stand-out alternative, at least in this specific regard.

The phone’s aforementioned face unlock is facilitated by a 32Mp front-facing camera that’s set into the corner of the display itself. It works well enough for selfies and doesn’t trip up all that often concerning edge detection. There’s a notable downtick in colour depth when shooting video with this front snapper though, which sticks out on the Reno 4 Pro 5G more so than on rival devices as a result of the rear setup’s video prowess.

Price and availability

While Oppo introduced the Reno 4 line into its native market of China back in June, it wasn’t until October that the phones started to arrive further afield, including Europe and the UK.

The Reno 4 Pro 5G sits at the top of the current Reno hierarchy and as such, carries a not-insignificant £699 RRP. However, in its short time on the market, it’s already receiving discounts, including £50 off on both Oppo’s own web store and Amazon at the time of writing.

Verdict

Without context, you’d be forgiven for thinking the Oppo Reno 4 Pro 5G is as much of a flagship as any £1000+ handset. It’s nice to look at, nice to use, powerful, has a capable trio of cameras and the latest features in a high refresh rate display, 5G and super-fast 65W charging.

While the £699 price tag seems just about competitive, unless you’re sure you need this exact recipe of design and performance, you don’t have to sacrifice much to make a significant saving.

The Find X2 Neo sports an only-slightly-less-capable camera setup and more modest 30W fast-charging but preserves pretty much every other selling point of the Reno 4 Pro 5G for notably less.

If you don’t need the Reno’s video capture prowess, then the aforementioned OnePlus Nord doesn’t skimp on performance and offers what is arguably a superior user experience in the form of Oxygen OS, for closer to half the price.

There’s also the fact that the Reno 5 series, which we touched on at the beginning, is already breathing down the Reno 4 line’s neck, with an imminent release due (in China, at least).

So while the Oppo Reno 4 Pro 5G is a stellar smartphone in every regard, it’s nestled among a number of other similarly stellar smartphones that offer the same or better value in subtly different ways.

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Specs
Oppo Reno 4 Pro 5G: Specs

6.55in curved Full HD+ 90Hz OLED display
Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G processor
12GB RAM
256GB storage (non-expandable)
48Mp main sensor (Sony IMX586) w/ OIS
12Mp ‘Ultra Night Wide’ video lens (Sony IMX708)
13Mp telephoto (2x optical, 5x hybrid, 20x digital zoom)
LDAF (laser detection autofocus)
32Mp front-facing camera
Stereo speakers
ColorOS 7.2 atop Android 10 (upgradable to ColorOS 11 atop Android 11)
5G
4000mAh battery
65W SuperVOOC 2.0 fast charging
159.6×72.5×7.6mm
172 grams
Colours: Galactic Blue, Space Black, Green Glitter


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