Oppo’s Reno 8 5G mid-range smartphone sports flagship features

November 27, 2022
4 mins read
Start
10/10

Summary

Oppo Reno 8 5G Smartphone REVIEW

$999

This phone packs flagship features for a mid-range price and is easily the best deal in town, writes PAT PILCHER.

Oppo’s Reno 8 5G is a curious beast when it comes to smartphones. Priced squarely in the mid-range end of the market, it offers a flagship-level build, spec and design but still manages to be an affordable smartphone.

The big deal with the Reno range of phones has traditionally been with the cameras. While the cameras are excellent, there were also a lot of other areas where the Reno 8 impressed.

While Aussies, Yanks, and Brits can get Google’s Pixel 6a, it’s MIA in New Zealand. Happily, the Reno 8 fills its niche at a similar price point.

Not so long ago mid-range phones sported creaky cheap Tupperware bodies and unexciting designs. In contrast, Oppo’s Reno 8 is beautifully designed and uses premium materials, giving it a flagship look and feel.

The design takes what works so well with Oppo’s Find X range and puts it to good use. To this end, the Reno 8 has Gorilla Glass 5 on its front, and its flat display sits squarely in the side frames. Like the Find X, it also sports a sizeable camera module on its rear, which curves into the Gorilla Glass back. It’s a good-looking device whose design is very much of the moment. The only real disadvantage I found with it was that the frame edges dug into my hands when I was using it for extended periods. It’s an issue that’s resolved by adding a protective case (given its glass front and back, that’s definitely a good idea).

While its camera bump is sizeable, I found my forefinger tucked under its curved ridge, which gave me a better grip on the phone. Design feature or merely a happy accident aside, it proved useful as the Reno 8 5G isn’t a small phone, and its sleek and 7.67mm thin design makes it a slippery customer too.

 

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The odd fumble occurred, and thankfully, the Reno 8 proved to be a durable device that bounced when it hit our wooden floors. Its durability is helped out thanks to an IP54 rating for protection against water.

The only area where the Reno 8 5 G’s mid-range DNA surfaces are with connectivity. It only comes with a USB-C port and SIM card tray. There is no Micro SD storage, no headphone socket or wireless charging.

These are not necessarily bad compromises, as its 6.7-inch OLED display sports slim bezels and offers a full HD+ resolution at a 90Hz refresh rate. As an OLED display, it delivers peeper-pleasing brightness levels while colours look super vibrant. Oppo also baked in a metric tonne of display customisation options. The display is HDR compatible, so YouTube and Netflix content looked great.

On the audio front, you also get stereo speakers. They’re surprisingly loud, and even though they won’t loosen the plaster on your neighbour’s ceiling, they deliver a full-bodied sound. Unfortunately, one of the speakers is next to the USB-C port, and my hand often muffled its output.

Under its hood, the Reno 8 5G uses a MediaTek Dimensity 1300. While it is mid-range 6nm silicon, it felt snappy in use, even with half a dozen apps running as I played Asphalt. Stutters and lags were only conspicuous in their absence. This was helped by a generous 8GB of RAM. (RAM can be expanded by up to 5GB depending on how much of the 256GB storage is free). Rounding out the generous spec is the addition of 5G, which confusingly gives the Reno 8 near flagship-level storage, RAM and network connectivity.

As I mentioned earlier, I fired up Asphalt to a) test the Reno 8 and b) remember how utterly crap I am at car racing games on phones. It ran at 60fps with graphics set to high, and thanks to what Oppo calls the “Super-Conductive VC Liquid Cooling System” (which translates into a conductive graphite and middle frame/vapor chamber) meant the Reno 8 didn’t heat up during gameplay. This performance was further helped along by some nifty gaming settings Oppo baked into the OS.

The most critical spec (but the least mentioned) is battery life. Let’s face it, with a dead battery, your all-singing and dancing smartphone is less useful than a brick. Thankfully, Oppo kitted the Reno out with four smaller batteries (one of the key ingredients in the Reno 8’s super-fast charge times). The battery setup comprises 2 × 2200 mAh cells and 2 × 2250 mAh cells.

Add in support for Oppo’s super-fast 80W SuperVOOC charging system and there’s plenty to like. (Unlike many other phone makers, Oppo also earns brownie points by including a charger in the box). I got a day and a half of usage from a single charge, with moderate to heavy use. Even better still, when it finally demanded quality time with the charger, it went from flat-to-fully charged in just 30 minutes.

The big news with any Reno phone, however, is its camera. Despite the big camera package around the back, the oft-ignored front shooter stood out. It uses a Sony IMX709 sensor in a punch-hole configuration. The sensor uses an RGBW setup with 32MP of resolution. Add to this autofocus (another flagship spec), and selfies looked good, even if they featured my ugly mug.

Around the back, the main shooter uses a Sony IMX776 sensor which sports a 50MP resolution. I particularly liked how captured image colours were more natural and less saturated than most other recently tested phones. Night shots and portrait modes stood out in particular, even though the regular Reno 8 doesn’t pack the same MariXSilicon AI used in the Reno 8 pro. For videos, the Soloop app is also bundled which makes editing and creating slick videos an absolute doddle.

You also get 8MP ultrawide and 2MP macro cameras along with the main shooter. The 8MP ultrawide can be useful, but at just 8MP, it compares poorly to the main sensor, and the 2MP macro doesn’t have enough resolution to be of much use either.

A high point with most Oppo phones is their ColorOS Android launcher/skin. Where early Oppo gear aped the iPhone, ColorOS on new devices – including the Reno 8 5G – is clean, uncluttered and intuitive. Other smartphone makers could learn a thing or two from ColorOS.

With a great design, crisp display, super-quick charging and a solid camera setup, the Oppo Reno 8 is a mid-ranger that bats well above its price range. If you’re on a budget but want a flagship-level smartphone, the Reno 8 is easily your best bet.

https://shop.oppomobile.nz

 

Pat has been talking about tech on TV, radio and print for over 20 years, having served time as a TV tech guy and currently penning reviews for Witchdoctor. He loves nothing more than rolling his sleeves up and playing with shiny gadgets.

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