Oppo Reno5 Pro 5G review: Style meets substance
In an industry that has a proclivity for making bigger and heavier phones, Oppo’s Reno4 Pro from last year came as a breath of fresh air. It scored high on design and aesthetics and was, looks wise, easily one of the most flaunt-worthy phones of the year, but it fell short when it came to performance. The Reno5 Pro 5G then may well be what the doctor ordered for Oppo – a phone that embodies the same design principles that we loved in the Reno4 Pro, only this time with MediaTek’s vaunted Dimensity 1000+ chip and a bunch of new camera features. Will the Reno5 Pro 5G, priced at Rs. 35,990, tempt buyers away from the likes of the Mi 10T Pro and the OnePlus 8T?
If you’ve seen the Reno 4 Pro, the successor doesn’t mess with the design formula, and the Reno5 Pro 5G is super slim and light at 7.6mm thick and 173g in weight. Coupled with the matte frosted glass finish on the rear, this gives the phone an excellent in-hand feel and a rather premium look, particularly in that fetching Astral Blue color I had in for review. It’s a stylish color that would be wasted behind a case, so it’s good that Oppo packed in a clear silicon case to protect the phone while still offering some degree of fall protection. As with the predecessor, this is a phone that feels a lot more premium than its price tag would have you believe, and the only omission I noticed was the loss of the Reno4 Pro’s headphone jack, a victim of the Reno5 Pro’s slim dimensions.
Turn it around, and much like the Reno4 Pro, the Reno5 Pro gets a 6.5-inch curved-edge AMOLED display, with a full-HD+ resolution, an HDR10+-friendly peak brightness of 1,100 nits, a touch sampling rate of 180Hz and a 90Hz refresh rate. Colors were punchy, HDR performance was good (albeit only on Prime Video for now) – all in all, this is a great display, among the best I’ve seen in the segment, particularly the responsiveness and fluidity of the display, and there are a whole bunch of customization options to alter the color saturation levels and temperature to your liking. The in-display fingerprint sensor does its job adequately well, too.
The big upgrade I was looking to put through its paces was the use of the MediaTek Dimensity 1000+ chip, a chip which brings MediaTek into the 7-nanometer and 5G conversation alongside last year’s Snapdragon 865 and Exynos 990 chips. You get the phone in only one configuration – 8GB of memory and 128GB of storage. In my testing, this is a chip that delivers at performance levels far above mid-range chipsets and just a shade under the premium flagships. What that translates to is smooth multi-tasking and strong gaming performance for games like Asphalt and CoD: Mobile (even at max settings) while keeping the battery usage and temperatures under control. Speaking of which, the thin design still packs in a decent 4350mAh battery which lasts about a day on moderate usage, about 5 hours of screen-on-time. Here’s where Oppo pulls out the ace from its sleeve, with the Reno5 Pro supporting ultra-fast 65W SuperVOOC 2.0 charging, which takes about 30 minutes to go from empty to full (and a half charge in under 15 minutes).
To its credit, Oppo’s ColorOS 11 has improvised considerably over time, shedding its past iOS-inspirations for a coat of fresh paint that is largely bereft of spammy app notifications that one is seeing crop up on phones up and down the price spectrum. There’s still a bit of bloatware but most of it can be uninstalled. The good bit is that the phone launches with the latest Android 11, and Oppo should be good for 2 years of Android updates.
On the cameras front, the Reno5 Pro 5G is packing a 64MP primary sensor, alongside the trio of cameras we saw on the Reno4 Pro - an 8MP ultra-wide angle, a 2MP macro and a 2MP monochrome camera (plus a 32MP selfie shooter).
The cameras are perfectly capable, particularly the 64MP primary which turns out 16MP pixel binned shots by default. Daytime shots were detailed and color accurate, as was portrait mode, and there’s the AI Scene Enhancement which bumps up the saturation and colors to push out more “pleasing” images. Night shots are rather respectable, with impressive details levels without excessive noise. The ultra-wide angle gets more of the scene in the picture but the details start falling off at the edges. The macro is good in bright light, and the mono sensor is there to check off the “quad-camera-setup” box, really. Selfies are good, if a little smoothened.
The highlight of the Reno5 Pro is the video, particularly what Oppo’s calling AI Highlight Video. What it does is control colors and exposure levels depending on the amount of light available. It feels gimmicky at first, but over some amount of use, it does take some of the guesswork out of taking balanced videos for beginners. Keep in mind it only works at 1080p resolution and not at 4K.
I ended my Reno4 Pro review with the lament that as good as it looked, it just didn’t perform anywhere near peers in its price range. The Reno5 Pro fixes that with the MediaTek Dimensity 1000+ chip, so you now have unmatched design (in its segment), great in-hand feel, respectable performance, a great display, good cameras and that blazingly fast charging tech. It’s a good package for the price, although a little bit more will get you the likes of the less-fashionable but higher performing OnePlus 8T and the Mi10T Pro.
Highlights: Oppo Reno 5 Pro 5G
Pros: Excellent display, gorgeous design, good cameras, 65W charging with included charger, improved ColorOS
Cons: Single speaker, mildly pricey, pre-installed bloatware
Price: Rs. 35,990 (8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage)
Tushar Kanwar is a tech columnist and commentator, and tweets @2shar