Oppo Reno 4 Pro review: Oppo delivers eye candy, but scrimps on performance
The Reno series from Oppo have given us some of the most distinctive and gorgeous phones in the past few years, bar none. With the Reno 4 Pro, which succeeds the Reno 3 Pro launched earlier this year, Oppo has tried to amp up the design quotient, but is there more to it than just a pretty face? Plus, with the Chinese proclivity for avoiding the unlucky number 4, will this be 4th time lucky for the brand? I spend a week with the phone to find out.
The design-first intentions are evident from the moment you take it out of the rather unassuming Oppo box. Oppo has skipped the trend of using a glass rear panel and has kitted the Reno 4 Pro with a polycarbonate rear and on the frame on the sides. No glossy plastic though, as we get a matte finish panel that not only keeps the rear panel free of smudges and fingerprints but also contrasts tastefully with the slightly raised glossy camera module. It also affords the Reno 4 Pro some grip, which the phone needs – it’s a mere 7.7 mm thick (or thin, depending on how you see it) and courtesy the use of plastic, just a shade over 160 grams! When you’re regularly used to handling finger-stretching, 200+ gram phones, a phone like the Reno 4 Pro comes as a pleasant surprise…and a big reason why this design scores is that Oppo has managed to deliver this without the phone feeling or looking cheap.
Interestingly, Oppo has even managed to fit in a 3.5 mm headphone jack into the petite body of the Reno 4 Pro, cocking a snook at the rest of the smartphone industry that simply cannot find the space within much larger phones to fit this much-loved legacy port. You can pick up the Reno 4 Pro in Starry Night and Silky White variants - maybe a little color wouldn’t have hurt? On the front, you have a 6.5-inch full HD+ AMOLED curved display with a 90Hz refresh rate and a 180Hz touch sampling rate for fluid visuals and super-snappy touch response. The barely-there bezels and peak 1100 nits brightness translates into rich colors, inky blacks and excellent brightness for watching content or playing games. The selfie camera is housed within a hole-punch cutout and there’s an in-display fingerprint scanner, which wasn’t the quickest to recognize the registered fingerprint, leaving me to default to facial recognition to unlock the device.
Now, for a phone that’s hitting the mid-thirties, Oppo’s choice of the Snapdragon 720G feels like a bit of a tradeoff in terms of performance particularly when you consider that the variant that’s on sale in China has the more modern 5G-capable Snapdragon 765G that we’ve seen recently on the OnePlus Nord. Instead, you get a chip that’s available in phones like the Poco M2 Pro at half the price. Clearly, if performance is a priority, you should look elsewhere, maybe at the OnePlus 7T, the Realme X2 Pro or even the OnePlus Nord. Gaming is expectedly the biggest casualty on the Reno 4 Pro, with a game like PUBG going to HD + High graphics whereas you could crank it all the way up on a similarly priced OnePlus 7T. If you’re not one to game a lot or push your phone to the limit, the Reno 4 Pro will serve you just fine. With 8GB of memory and 128GB of storage (expandable via a dedicated microSD card slot), you can get everyday stuff done and the 90Hz display with ColorOS 7.2 is pretty slick to use. If anything, my complaints will have to revolve around the amount of bloatware out of the box, though Oppo says some of it (apps banned by the government) will be addressed via a software update. Also, the single downward firing speaker felt a little anemic, so it’s just as well you have a headphone jack.
Possibly the biggest trump card for the Reno 4 Pro is its battery features. No, not that Oppo has managed to fit in a decent sized 4,000mAh battery in something this slim, which is pretty decent to be honest. Not the longevity either which, at anywhere between 4 to 5 hours of screen on time with the display set at 90Hz (that’s about late evening for a moderate workload), is fairly middling. It’s the fact that you get Oppo’s blazing fast 65W SuperVOOC 2.0 charging support on this phone. Zero to 100% in about 40 minutes, with a 65W charger in the box? I can live with that!
Some images from the phone:
And finally, the cameras. The quad camera setup is a familiar one – a 48MP Sony IMX 586 primary shooter, an 8MP ultrawide, a 2MP macro and a 2MP monochrome sensor – so the results are equally familiar. In good light, the shots turn out well, and the phone can handle tricky lighting conditions well with decent dynamic range. Portraits are crisp with good edge detection although the colors are excessively saturated. Night mode shots are well exposed and offer accurate colors, but the odd photos suffer from excessive noise reduction and a drop in sharpness. The ultra-wide may help you get more into the scene, but it just doesn’t deliver on details. Selfies shot on the 32MP shooter are perfectly usable for social media. On an aside, not a fan of the “Innovative Quadcam” branding on the cameras. I mean, if you have to scream innovative on your product….
It's pretty evident this is not a phone targeted at the enthusiast who craves performance, and there are plenty of better specced options for the price, and the Reno 4 cannot compete on this front. This is for someone who cares about aesthetics, about having a phone that’s legitimately eye candy material. The excellent display and the top-spec charging system should help its case, but this is a phone that’s meant to be flaunted, first and foremost.
Oppo Reno 4 Pro
Pros: Snappy 90Hz display, sleek and lightweight, 65W fast charging, decent primary camera
Cons: Average performance for its price, poor ultrawide camera, no stereo speakers.
Price: Rs 34,990 (8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage)
Tushar Kanwar is a tech columnist and commentator, and tweets @2shar