OS: Android 10 with ColorOS 7
Display: 6.55-inch AMOLED (2400 x 1080), 90Hz
Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G
Rear cameras: 48MP main, 12MP ultrawide, 13MP telephoto (2x optical, 5x hybrid, 20x digital), laser autofocus
Front camera: 32MP
Battery size: 4,000 mAh
Charging speed: 65W wired
Size: 2.85 x 6.28 x 0.29 inches (72.5mm x 159.6mm x 7.6mm)
Weight: 6.06 ounces (172 grams)
Water/dust resistance: Unrated
Oppo’s Reno4 Pro may have debuted in China over the summer, but it’s only now reaching the U.K. It arrives in a crowded field of phones, all trying to make their mark while keeping prices under control.
In some ways, the Reno4 Pro does a good job at that. It's a smartly designed phone, with some stand-out elements like 65W charging and a good display/speaker offering. However it stumbles a little when it comes to photography and some of its older components. Our Oppo Reno4 Pro review finds a phone that doesn’t benefit from its late arrival. With so many other phones already doing a similar job there aren't many reasons why you'd pick a Reno4 specifically over a Google Pixel 5 or a Samsung Galaxy S20 FE.
Oppo Reno4 Pro review: Price and availability
In the U.K. the £699 Oppo Reno4 Pro is currently available from Oppo itself, as well as retailers like Amazon and Carphone Warehouse or phone carriers like EE or Vodafone. There's only one model you can buy, with 12GB RAM and 256GB storage, but there's a choice of Space Black or Galactic Blue with the £699 version. A unique Green Glitter version available only from Oppo costs an extra £50.
Oppo doesn't sell its phones yet in the U.S. If you're interested in this handset, you can likely import it at a small markup. Just remember to make sure the device supports the correct 4G and 5G bands for your mobile carrier, otherwise it'll be almost useless as a phone.
Oppo Reno4 Pro review: Design
Unpacking the Reno4 from its oddly large box, you can immediately see the resemblance it has to its stablemate, the OnePlus 8T. (The same parent company owns both Oppo and OnePlus.) The front camera punch-hole is in the same spot in the top left corner on both phones, and the buttons on the sides are in the same location too, although Oppo hasn't copied OnePlus' handy iPhone-style alert slider. Another big difference is the curve of the Reno4 Pro's display — it’s not dramatic, but it does help the Reno4 Pro stand out and fit nicely in your hand without making you worry about accidentally tapping the screen.
The back of the Reno4 Pro curves into the flat side rail, making for a neat elliptical cross-section. The back itself is quite special though, since the Galactic Blue model has a dark diagonal streak of color baked across the center of the phone, as well as having a slightly glittery smudge-proof matte finish. Combined with the mirror finish on the rounded rectangular camera bump in the top left corner, there's a lot to take in for a phone that otherwise is quite plain on its reverse. I like how unique the Reno4 looks, but I'd understand if someone else thought this mix of colors and finishes looked cluttered.
The Reno4 is a comfortable phone to hold despite the large 6.5-inch display. The slightly rounded design is ergonomic, and the matte texture on the back not only gives the phone a unique texture that's pleasant to the touch but helps give a firmer grip.
That's handy since this is a phone you really don't want to subject to the elements. Oppo hasn't had the Reno4 Pro officially rated for resistance to water and dust. However it promises that the phone's still been thoroughly tested against intrusion, even if there isn't an IP68 rating like the OnePlus 8 Pro or other leading Android phones offer.
Oppo Reno4 Pro review: Display
With a 6.55 inch screen, the Reno4 Pro would be considered a phablet, though not a massively sized one. It matches the measurements of the OnePlus 8T, but is smaller than something like a 6.7-inch Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus.
The refresh rate on the Reno4’s display is 90Hz — faster than the average smartphone, but not as fast as the 120Hz refresh rate enjoyed by phones like the Galaxy S20 FE or OnePlus 8T. In theory, 90Hz puts less of a strain on the phone’s battery.
The maximum brightness of the Reno4 Pro's AMOLED panel is 1,100 nits. We weren't able to check this with our own measurements, but I could use the Reno4 outdoors in the bright winter sun with no problem.
I watched the new trailer for Disney Plus' Loki on the Reno4 Pro’s display and found the nighttime scenes impressively dark, with the phone’s OLED panel offering plenty of detail and color. Trying out a round of the Shadow Arena fighting game proved what a benefit a high refresh rate could be, with the quick kicks, punches and sword swings coming across far clearer on the Oppo's display than it did on 60Hz screens.
A display isn't much good without speakers to pair sound with the visuals. The Reno4 Pro offers stereo speakers, which is a solid start to producing good sound. Those speakers have quite a lot of strength behind them too, as I was immediately struck by how loudly the Reno4 could render the trademark bombastic orchestral themes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe during the Loki trailer.
While you can find other phones at this price with display features you may prefer— take the Galaxy S20 FE and its 120Hz screen — the Reno4’s combination of sound and visuals ought to please most people.
Oppo Reno4 Pro review: Cameras
The Reno4 Pro gives you the sensors you expect from a flagship. On the back, there's a 48MP main camera, as well as a 13MP telephoto camera with 2x optical zoom, and a 12MP ultrawide shooter. As a bonus, there's also a laser autofocus sensor to help out the other cameras.
I took the Reno4 Pro out with my trusty iPhone 12 Pro to see how well Oppo's phone could compete with Apple's best. The first test was this view from a bridge over the Regents Canal. Although it’s capable of capturing 48MP pictures, the Oppo takes pictures at 12MP by default using pixel-binning to save space and improve low-light performance.
For this comparison, I give the iPhone the edge. I much prefer the more vivid colors that its image offers compared to the more muted ones from the Reno4.
I tried an alternative view of the canal at Browning's Pool once night had fallen to test low-light shooting. This seems to be the Reno4's biggest weakness in photography, with its picture turning out muddy in color and far less sharp than the iPhone's image.
Comparing the two cameras' ultrawide capabilities is difficult, since they use very different magnifications. Setting aside the extra stuff you can see in the iPhone's image, the other notable change is how much brighter the sky is in comparison to the Reno4's photo. The buildings still look similar though, so I haven't got much of a preference between the two.
I tried out the two phones' 2x optical telephoto zoom cameras on this plaque commemorating Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of penicillin. The Oppo has a slight resolution advantage with a 13MP sensor, compared to the iPhone's 12MP sensor, but strangely the iPhone's image is far brighter. While there is some charm to the darker image produced by the Reno4, the extra brightness helps the iPhone show off the finer details in the plaque's stonework.
To assess the Reno4's laser autofocus, I tried taking a bokeh shot of these flowers, a photo effect that requires both well-written software and the help of either a laser or optical sensor to judge the distances of objects.
I like the Reno4's image. The flowers pop out from the background, and the image is nice and bright because of its big 48MP camera. However, I prefer the iPhone's image, with its far more vivid colors. Plus, there's less of an unwanted halo effect around certain portions of the flowers in the iPhone image.
For selfies, the Reno4 Pro provides a 32MP camera, a fairly high resolution for a front camera. In contrast, the iPhone 12 Pro has a 12MP camera aided by a depth sensor.
Like we saw with the previous bokeh shot, the iPhone produces a more saturated image compared to the Reno4. In addition, it deals with the background better, actually showing off the tree and building behind me rather than overexposing it to almost pure white in some places. Once more, while there's not a huge amount wrong with the Reno4's picture, it's the iPhone's shot I'd pick to go on Instagram.
Perhaps it's not a surprise that the top phone on our best camera phones list beat the Oppo Reno4 Pro. However the fact that the Reno4 was able to hold its own at all should be celebrated. Since the Reno is sold in the U.K. for exactly the same price as the cheapest iPhone 12 Mini, and £100 less than the iPhone 12, phone, you can expect photography in the same ballpark as Apple’s best-in-class phones while not spending as much money.
Oppo Reno4 Pro review: Performance
Inside the Reno4 Pro, there's a curious mix of parts. The chipset is a Snapdragon 765G, a mid-range processor with built-in 5G, which suits the Reno4's position as Oppo's mid-range phone option, between the phone maker’s A-series and the Find series. However we still get 12GB of RAM, which is just as much as you'd find in a much more expensive Android phone like the Galaxy S20.
I played a few rounds of Shadow Fight Arena to test out how the Reno4 Pro handled gaming. This 2D fighter proved to be no challenge for the Reno4, which ably kept up with the action without the phone's chassis heating up excessively or the game losing stability or resolution. Even though I know playing this game on a Snapdragon 865-equipped phone would be a better experience, I didn't feel I was missing out by using the still mighty 765G within the Oppo.
To get some more specific performance information, we ran the Geekbench 5 benchmark on the Reno4, which scored 603 on the single-core portion of the test, and 1759 on the multi-score portion. It's quite a lot lower than the OnePlus 8T's scores, which managed 887 and 3,203 with its Snapdragon 865 chip and 12GB RAM. It's not surprising given how Snapdragon 8-series chips are the best that Qualcomm offers to smartphone manufacturers, while 7-series chips like the 765G are designed to offer more everyday levels of performance.
The Pixel 5, which uses the same Snapdragon 765G chipset as the Reno4, scored 1,615 on the multi-core part of the test, a lower score potentially due to it only having 8GB RAM to play with. The original OnePlus Nord which also uses a 765G but with the same 12GB of RAM, scored 602 and 1,948 on the same test. While that's obviously a higher multi-core score, it shouldn't mean too big a difference in real-world performance.
Expect plenty of power for everyday use with the Oppo Reno4 Pro, but you aren't getting leading performance for the price. Plus, spending a little more will let you get another step higher on the Qualcomm ladder and acquire the most powerful hardware on the market while keeping the premium phone trappings.
Oppo Reno4 Pro review: Battery and charging
The 4,000 mAh battery inside the Reno4 Pro isn't particularly large, but it still means there's a decent capacity on offer within the phone's slim frame. We didn't run our normal LTE web browsing-based rundown test to check how long the battery lasts, but as a more casual test of watching an hour of YouTube revealed, the fully-charged Oppo used just 5% of its capacity during that period of time. Since video streaming is quite power-intensive, you shouldn't have any trouble with the Reno4 running out on you in the middle of the day if you're using it for less strenuous tasks like internet browsing or answering your emails and messages.
While the Reno4 battery seems somewhat average, what instead stands out on the Reno4 is its 65W wired charging. That’s the same super-fast charging introduced by the OnePlus 8T earlier in the year. The chunky charging brick and extra-thick cable you get in the box offers some of the best charging speeds you can get on a phone right now. You can fill the phone to 63% full in just 15 minutes, and in 35 minutes you can top off the phone's battery completely. Why bother plugging your phone in overnight when you can power up that fast?
For comparison, the Galaxy S20 FE comes with a 25W charger, while the Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G feature an 18W charger. Even the more expensive iPhone 12 maxes out at 20W (and there’s no charger in the box with Apple’s phone).
Oppo Reno4 Pro review: Software and user experience
Disappointingly for a late 2020 phone, you don't get Android 11 out of the box. Instead, you have Android 10 served up as Oppo's ColorOS 7.
Android 10 is not a bad operating system, and Oppo promises the Reno4 will get its Android 11 upgrade over the air sometime in 2021. But it certainly would have been nice for Android 11 to come installed already.
You get some pre-installed apps on the Reno4, but not enough to really be a problem. This includes Game Space to manage and launch all your mobile games from, an Oppo Relax app for meditation, the Soloop video editing app, Oppo's Phone Clone data transfer app as well as a couple of third party apps — namely Facebook, and WPS Office.
Typing on the Reno4 with default settings is extremely unpleasant. The haptic feedback turns every tap of the keyboard into a long buzz, making typing long passages of texts at speed feel horribly mushy. The rest of the phone's haptics are fine, but you will almost certainly want to turn off typing vibrations if you're a quick typer.
For security, your main option is an under-display fingerprint sensor. However you can use a less secure but surprisingly quick face unlock feature, too. This is common on many modern Android phones, but unlike the famous Face ID you find on iPhones, it’s not as secure since it works with just an image, rather than infra-red dot projection. Since face recognition works so smoothly and reliably on the Reno4, it doesn't hurt to have it set up, but make sure your fingerprint and PIN are also enabled to fully secure your phone.
Oppo Reno4 Pro review: Verdict
The best parts of the Reno4 Pro are its most practical ones. The rapid charging and mid-sized design makes this a sensible phone to buy, while its good quality display and audio means you can still enjoy movies and games. Even the areas we found wanting are still not that bad, such as the photography or its computing performance. And with any luck, the issue of older software will disappear in a few months once Oppo sends an OTA update for Android 11.
It's unfortunate that the Reno4 didn't hit the U.K. market earlier in the year. If it had arrived shortly after the OnePlus 8, and before we had a summer and fall of strong midrange phones like the OnePlus Nord and Pixel 4a 5G, then Oppo’s phone would have been a standout. Arriving now, though, with the Nord, Pixel 4a and now the OnePlus 8T now available, the Reno4 feels like a phone that missed its time to shine.