Oppo served up a smorgasbord of good to excellent smartphones in 2019, starting with the Reno 10X Zoom.
It also plumbed a tonne of cash into getting its name out there — sole sponsorship of Wimbledon; Oppo branding plastered across F.C Barcelona shirts? Bold moves.
Having just dropped three Reno4 series of 5G phones, the fanciest of the bunch is the Reno 4 Pro. This thin glass and metal sliver of a smartphone looks like a flagship to all intents and purposes. A big, high-refresh-rate screen, slinky design and a confident camera bump.
Start using it, and it carries forward the flagship feeling with an under-display fingerprint scanner and stereo speakers. It’s also one of the fastest charging phones in the world. Everything checks out until you read the spec sheet. The Reno 4 Pro’s processor is a midrange chip. Deal-breaker? Absolutely not, but could you get more power for less? Definitely.
Design and screen: Slinky
The Oppo Reno 4 Pro is a beauty. It combines a tall 6.5in screen, tiny bezels and a dinky punch-hole selfie camera with a smooth 90Hz refresh rate.
Held together by a glass front and back sandwiching metal frame, it’s a classic combo and it works. The new Reno 4 Pro is a waif, clocking in at 7.7 mm thin. It still feels solid and rich with its curved glass and stark, cool to the touch feel.
Around the back is a good looking camera bump - or should we say bumps. There are three individual cameras that each poke out a bit from a raised frame. You can pick it up in two colours - a high-gloss black or a matte icy blue; definitely get the blue one if you don’t like smudgy fingerprints. Add to the mix a case in the box and a screen protector pre-fitted on the phone and it’s protected from all sides - though there’s no official IP water-proofing.
The big OLED screen is super bright with excellent viewing angles. With its 90Hz refresh rate, Oppo’s Colour OS interface looks silky, and despite not sporting 2K or 4K resolution, it’s still sharp enough. There’s also an under-display fingerprint scanner which is handy - and it works quickly.
Jump into the display settings, and Oppo has loaded the Reno 4 Pro up with options, from dark mode to eye comfort features, customisable refresh rates and a variety of colour modes. While the Reno 4 Pro’s screen can’t stack up to the Oppo Find X2 or Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, it’s still very good.
Cameras: Three’s definitely company
The Oppo Reno 4 Pro’s main camera clocks in at 48MP, with an f/1.7 lens and OIS. That’s combined with a 12MP ultrawide camera and a 13MP 3x optical zoom snapper - competitive, but definitely not class-leading on paper.
Expect standard shooting modes - Auto, Pro, Night Mode and more, and thanks to smart electronic stabilisation coupled with that OIS, it grabs rocksteady video.
Detail from its pictures is on-point. Even indoors with middling artificial light, keep a steady hand and photos look sharp. You can pinch and crop into them a fair bit and they’ll still be good enough for social media or small prints.
Colour balance across all three cameras is also great unless lighting is seriously tricky - a bright TV to the side or coloured bulbs throwing off the scene, for example. Meanwhile, saturation balances a realistic and punchy look with finesse, looking less zingy than Samsung phones, including the Galaxy S20, probably one of the Reno 5G’s main rivals.
Noise handling is good in auto mode, though you’ll need to dip into the night mode if scenes get too dark. The fact the Reno 4 Pro uses the same 48MP Sony IMX 586 sensor found in phones launched in early 2019 like the Honor View 20 shows just how far software can boost mobile photography. That said, it isn’t perfect, with dynamic range struggles surfacing in dark scenes. This is specifically when capturing dark elements such a black cat fur indoors.
As for the ultrawide camera, it’s anything but a letdown thanks to a new Sony sensor at its heart. Shots look sharp enough whether taken near or far thanks to autofocus - missing from most ultrawide lenses.
Also a boon - the phone’s night mode works across all three cameras. Meanwhile, the 3x optical zoom is decent, wiping the floor with the Pixel 5’s digital zoom, for example. Unlike the Pixel 5 though, the Reno 4 Pro can’t shoot 4K video at 60fps, instead, capping out at 30fps.
That said, video does look incredibly smooth, with the onboard stabilisation working a treat. The Reno 4 Pro copes with low light better than most of the sub-£700 competition in video mode, and if you want the best results, drop the resolution to 1080p. Once you do, you’ll open up video across all three cameras (and therefore focal lengths). If you stick with 4K, you’re locked to the main camera.
Software: Simple plan
Running Android 10 with Color OS 7, Oppo’s interface has gone from gross and clunky in the Reno 10 X Zoom to streamlined and simple.
Navigation’s easy - you can choose between either an apps tray or an iPhone-like UI with all your apps across home screens, there’s a notifications bar at the top and a Google screen to the left.
Having covered the extensive range of screen modes earlier, Oppo extends this customisation across a number of UI elements, from gestures, home screen grid size, themes, icon styles and more.
Combined with the 90Hz screen and Oppo’s great optimisation, and swipes and taps feel super responsive throughout the UI, third-party apps run like a dream and it’s indistinguishable from more powerful flagships in day to day use.
Specs: One confused cookie
Powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G, while the Reno 4 Pro’s chipset is midrange, its 12GB RAM is seriously flagship. So too is the 256GB storage — plenty of space, so you won’t mind that there’s no expandable storage here.
It’s a bold move from Oppo to price the Reno 4 Pro at £699 given its middling power. That said, we struggle to see a negative impact in day to day use.
Starting with gaming, everything from Genshin Impact to Injustice 2 played back smoothly. We noticed a few dropped frames when playing PUBG on occasion, but unless you’re a power-gamer, the Reno 4 Pro will fit the bill. Additionally, everything else from 4K playback through to snapping pics and shooting high frame rate video is slowdown-free.
Rounding off, the 4000mAh battery is a decent size, and it lasts as long as we expected it to — one day comfortably, but no more unless you’re a light user.
The real highlight is its charging speed — up to 65W with SuperVOOC 2.0, it powers up by 60 per cent in 15 minutes, and 100 per cent in 36 minutes.
Oppo Reno 4 Pro Verdict
If you’re a gamer, the Oppo Reno 4 Pro isn’t the phone for you. Its chip won’t win you over, so get the OnePlus 7T instead - it’s a beast. That said, if you’re a more casual gamer or don’t need ultimate smartphone power, the Reno 4 Pro is a cracking option.
You get a lot of flagship features here: a beautiful curved screen, slender, premium design, a wide, ultrawide and telephoto camera system that’s really good, and incredibly nippy charging. There’s no wireless charging, so it doesn’t check all boxes, but it really isn’t too far off.
When the Reno 4 Pro price drops a bit, it will be a five-star phone - the quality isn’t what holds it back. At £699, Oppo’s just been too punchy with its pricing, especially with more powerful phones like the OnePlus 8T and Samsung Galaxy S20 FE costing the same or less.