Oppo Reno 4 Smartphone REVIEW
Blurring the line between budget and flagship, Oppo’s Reno 4 phone is a capable and beautifully designed pocket rocket, opines PAT PILCHER.
With affordable 5G mid-range phones starting to hit the market, I was curious to see how Oppo’s newest phone fared.
Oppo has introduced what they call Reno Glow for the Galactic Blue Reno 4 version, an attractive matte finish with a metallic shimmering blue/slate finish on its back. The Reno 4 is weighty enough to feel substantial while still light enough to comfortably pocket. Despite its roomy 6.4-inch display, it still feels compact, and thanks to its curved edges, it can be used comfortably with one hand.
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The usual controls are all present and are predictably placed. The power button is near where my thumb sits (or index finger for left-handed folk), while the volume rocker is on the left-hand side. On its underside sits a speaker grill and Type C USB port.
The screen is a 6.4-inch AMOLED 1080×2400 display that delivers a pleasing 409 PPI. Oppo clearly put a bit of work into the Reno 4’s display, which is exceptionally vibrant. And being AMOLED, contrast levels are excellent too. For binge-watching Netflix/Amazon Video while waiting for the bus, the Reno 4’s display really is the business. The screen is also helped along by thin bezels. These give it an edge-to-edge feel that is only interrupted by the front shooter’s punch-hole cut out at the top left of the display. Sitting under the display is an optical fingerprint sensor, and you also get the option of the front camera using your mug to unlock. Both were fast and accurate.
Powering the Reno 4 is Android 10 overlaid with Oppo’s custom UI, ColorOS 7.2. Where ColorOS had previously been an iOS lookalike and little else, Oppo has gone to considerable lengths to ensure it enhanced Android’s already excellent usability. Examples of this include functions such as a pull-down gesture that squeezes all icons on your screen to one corner for easy one-handed reach. There are lots of other brilliant bits baked into ColourOS 7.2 such as Oppo Share, Quick Return Bubble and an anti-fragmentation engine. Oppo has also indicated that the Reno 4 will get Android 11 and ColorOS 8. Bloatware has been minimised although there are a few useful apps such as SoLoop, for video editing, as well as Oppo Labs (which offers up experimental capabilities).
Stylish looks are backed with brains. Under its hood sits a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765 5G processor and 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage is included. With a microSD card, storage can be expanded to 256GB.
The Reno 4 handled demanding games such as PUBG, Call Of Duty Mobile and Asphalt 9 at their maximum settings, with no lags or stuttering. This is helped along by what Oppo calls Game Space, a mode designed to boost gaming performance that can handily block notification for distraction-free gaming.
Downward and upward-firing speakers worked fine for notifications. Still, when used with Bluetooth headphones, music really shone. This is in part thanks to preset audio EQ settings. These include a Smart mode that automatically adapts audio profiles depending on the media. A Movie mode provides a more expansive sound stage and more resonant bass as well as Gaming and Music settings.
The Reno 4 comes with five cameras: a 32MP front camera and a rear quad-camera setup. The rear cameras include a 48MP primary snapper and a 2MP mono sensor, an 8MP ultrawide camera and a 2MP macro camera.
It’s the totality of the combination that makes the Reno 4 a camera that’s as versatile as it is a phone. Oppo has traditionally crafted a good camera app, and the Reno 4 is no exception. Not only is it intuitive, but it’s also fast. Low-light shooting provides a quick and easy way to sort the wheat from the chaff when it comes to phone cameras. In this regard, the Reno 4 acquitted itself well.
While the low light performance of the rear shooter was good, the Night mode was better, keeping sensor element noise to an acceptable minimum. It also used AI to lighten and tease out detail that would otherwise be lost. It isn’t perfect, however, and I noticed that some night mode shots were overexposed.
Night mode aside, there are also plenty of other camera modes, including Pro mode, Portrait mode, Panorama, Time Lapse and Slo-Mo. I particularly liked the gimmicky sounding (but cool in use) AI colour portrait mode, which converts the background in a photo to black and white while keeping the face of the person in focus and colourised.
The Reno 4’s video performance wasn’t shabby either. Image stabilisation is available for both front and rear cameras. It worked with most of the filters available in resolutions ranging from 30fps@4K to 30fps@720P. With video, the Ultra Steady video and Ultra steady video pro mode (which is supported by the ultra-wide-angle camera) proved surprisingly adept at reducing camera shake. The included SoLoop app is also a bonus with slick pre-mixed videos able to be crafted from a single click/tap.
Oppo Reno 4’s 4015mAh battery delivered a full day and a half of juice with moderate to heavy use. With light use, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it delivering close to two whole days of battery life. Even better still, when it needed charging, Oppo’s 30W fast VOOC charging took it from empty to full in a just over an hour – it reached around 60 per cent charge in only 25 minutes.
With the Reno 4, Oppo has managed to cram loads of functionality into a surprisingly affordable phone. Flagship smartphones are becoming stupidly expensive. As their prices skyrocket, the number of consumers willing to pay over the odds for features and functionality they’re unlikely to see any benefit from is dwindling. This is where good mid-range smartphones like the Reno 4 step in. By offering value for money and blurring the line between budget and flagship, buyers get an affordable phone that offers top-shelf capabilities. All told, the Reno 4 is a great choice.