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Oppo Reno 4 Pro Review: Innovative Yet Compromised
The Reno series by Oppo has always focused on design, camera performance and bringing innovating mobile battery technologies. The latest Reno 4 Pro smartphone is also built on the same ideology. It is easily one of the best-looking value flagship smartphones with an excellent curved OLED screen and a capable quad-lens camera system. Most importantly, the Reno 4 Pro introduces the crazy fast-charging speeds to the sub-35K price bracket. Oppo ships the Reno 4 Pro with a 65W fast-charger that can refuel the battery from flat to 100% in less than 40 minutes. It is insane!
- Stunning Design
- Excellent Curved 90Hz Fluid Display
- Groundbreaking Fast-Charging Speed (65W)
- 3.5mm Audio Jack
- Good Video Recording Features
- Feels Underpowered
- Camera Offers Mixed Results
- No IP Rating
- Poor Haptics Response
- Underwhelming Audio
But what comes as a surprise is the choice of the underlying chipset. At an asking price of Rs. 34,990, the Oppo Reno 4 Pro is powered by a 7th gen. Snapdragon CPU which is mostly seen on sub-20K smartphones. A mid-range chipset on a premium device isn't a new thing and not necessarily translates to a bad overall product as long as it meets basic performance requirements.
That said, I used the Oppo Reno 4 Pro as my daily driver to test its day-to-day performance and specifically to evaluate whether a good design and fast-charging speeds coupled with mid-range chipset justice the high price. Here's what I found out.
Design- Unbelievably Sleek And Lightweight
Oppo has got almost everything right with the Reno 4 Pro's design. The phone is visually appealing, feels sturdy and even offers the conventional 3.5mm headphone jack. An audio jack on the device which is mere 7.7mm slim is worth appreciating, especially in the year 2020 when even some mid-range handsets are letting go of the good old 3.5mm jack. Moving on, the Reno 4 Pro also feels incredibly light as it weighs just 161 grams. This is because the phone uses a plastic frame and a plastic back panel instead of metal and glass construction.
Despite the plastic build, the Reno 4 Pro feels quite sturdy. One let down is the lack of an official IP rating. The phone costs Rs. 34,990 and fails to offer any protection from possible damage from water and dust.
The Reno 4 Pro's dual-tone matte finish back panel with frosted layer is an instant head-turner. You cannot ignore its minimal appearance and also the vertically stacked quad-lens camera module. The camera array sits on a glass sheet and bears no protrusion. It sure looks eye-catchy but might come across too flashy to some. The front is occupied by a curved OLED display. The tall aspect ratio and gentle curves add to the premium look and feel.
I found the button placement in the reach of my fingers. The audio jack, Type-C charging port and a speaker unit are placed at bottom while the SIM card tray is positioned on the top. The Reno 4 Pro is available in two color options- Starry Night and Silky White.
Display- Vibrant 90Hz Curved AMOLED Display
The Reno 4 Pro boasts a 6.5" curved E3 Super AMOLED screen with 2400x1080p pixels resolution and a pixel density of 402 PPI. It is a vibrant OLED panel with good viewing angles and excellent color reproduction making the Reno 4 Pro a good handset for video playback and gameplay. The text, images, videos and other graphics look mesmerizing on the tall 20:9 aspect ratio panel. As the screen is capable of running at 90Hz refresh rate, the UI navigation and scrolling is buttery smooth. Also, the slim bezels (2.9mm) further enhance the viewing experience. The AMOLED panel has good peak brightness which means you can comfortably use the Reno 4 Pro outdoors for texting, reading and other day-to-day tasks.
There's no fancy camera setup on offer; no 64MP high-resolution sensor or telephoto lens to offer optical zoom. The Reno 4 Pro mostly relies on software tricks to impress shutterbugs. The smartphone comes equipped with a pretty standard quad-camera setup featuring a 48MP primary sensor, an 8MP wide-angle lens, 2MP macro lens and a 2MP depth sensor. For selfies, the Reno 4 Pro features a big 32MP front-facing camera. The Reno 4 Pro lacks OIS support which is a letdown at this price-point. The video recording maxes at 4K 30fps resolution.
To compensate for the standard hardware, Oppo has offered a pretty feature-rich camera app that offers plenty of modes and filters to experiment with photos and video recording. The AI Color Portrait mode for video recording is pretty cool. It keeps the subject in colors and turns the background black and white for a cinematic effect. The selfie camera is also backed by all sorts of software wizardry that you might need to enhance facial features and skin tone.
Daylight Image Quality
The camera captures 12MP pixel-binned shots by default but you can enable the 48MP mode to capture high-resolution images. The pictures come out crisp and contrast is on point. As you can see in the above camera sample, the Reno 4 Pro takes images with vibrant hues and excellent dynamic range; however, sharpness seems slightly overboard upon a closer look. Similar to the rear camera, the 32MP selfie camera also captures vibrant selfies and the camera is also aided by numerous modes and filters to step up your selfie game. Overall, if there's ample light to frame images, the Reno 4 Pro's 48MP rear camera and 32MP selfie shooter impress you with vibrant pictures and videos.
Inconsistent Portrait Mode
The dedicated 2MP depth-sensor does a decent job. It captures pleasing bokeh, provided that you are ensuring the right distance from the subject. The subject isolation is good and images also show good details and realistic colors. Similar to videos, the Portrait image mode also offers a range of AI color and monochrome filters to help you capture some creative shots. For instance, the Night Flare portrait can help you create some artistic low-light portraits which otherwise require a good lighting setup and loads of post-processing.
Average Wide-angle And Low-Light Camera Performance
The 8MP wide-angle sensor delivers good results on bright sunny days. The lens captures a good 119-degree field-of-view and colors still look vibrant and dynamic range is once again very good. If you look inspect images closely, you will find out exposure inconsistencies and softer details. The lack of a high-resolution sensor affects the overall sharpness of the images. And I am only talking about daylight results here. The wide-angle lens is a letdown in a low-light situation. The 48MP primary sensor is also not quite a shooter in poor lighting situations and often delivers mixed results.
Video Recording Performance
The Reno 4 Pro is not an ideal device for serious video recording jobs because the camera hardware lacks OIS. A software-driven Ultra Steady Video 3.0 mode is offered to cut down on shakes but it is not going to help you much. You must use a tripod to capture steady videos on the Reno 4 Pro. And similar to photos, the Reno 4 Pro also banks upon software to deliver some interesting results. You can choose to apply a range of AI-enabled filters to give your videos an artistic and cinematic look and feel. The app offers four different monochrome color filters that highlight specific color and turns the background black and white.
The Reno 4 Pro performs quite well in daily routine. In fact, it feels right at par with some devices powered by flagship chipsets. The 8GB RAM and 128GB built-in storage ensure smooth multitasking and lag-free day-to-day performance. The UI navigation, app scroll speed and other general phone related tasks such as texting, calling, note-making, etc. feel buttery smooth, all thanks to the latest Color OS optimized for the 90Hz refresh rate panel. That said, for most users with usage involving camera, Facebook, Instagram, Google maps, etc. the Reno 4 Pro will come across as a very good smartphone.
Not Built For Power Users
But for avid gamers and power users who like to push their devices to extreme limits, the Reno 4 Pro will just come across as an underpowered handset. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G chipset with Adreno 618 GPU isn't the ideal combination for heavy gaming. You can sure play PUBG and other popular game titles but the gameplay isn't going to impress you if you spend most of your time in gaming. Also, the phone lags with heavy applications and the haptic response is very underwhelming. Overall, the choice of CPU has left us disappointed. The Reno 4 Pro would have been a great device if it had shipped with a better chipset. It is also worth mentioning that the Reno 4 Pro is a 4G device and you can easily get a 5G-enabled handset in the sub-35K price bracket in India.
As far as audio concerned, the smartphone comes equipped with a 3.5mm headphone jack. You can use any standard wired earphones with the Reno 4 Pro which is no less than a privilege in today's time. Oppo has also ensured good codec support if you prefer wireless headphones in daily routine. The Reno 4 Pro supports including aptX, aptX HD, and LDAC for wireless audio streaming.
Insane 65W Fast-Charging Technology
Oppo is charging the high price for the innovation put in the battery and charging technology of the Reno 4 Pro. The Reno 4 Pro takes less than 40 minutes to get fully charged. It is the fastest fast-charging speed a smartphone can offer in the sub-35K price-point. The competition devices take almost double the time to reach 100% mark from flat zero. The Reno 4 Pro achieves the insane speed by the help of 65W fast charger which ships in the box. In our testing, the charging brick took dot 37 minutes to recharge the 4,000mAh battery cell from flat to 100%.
And as far as battery life is concerned, the modest 4,000mAH battery can only last a full day if used moderately. You have to keep the charger handy for a refuel if your multimedia consumption is high. That said, the underwhelming battery life is tried to be balanced here by offering best-in-class charging speeds. I would have preferred a slightly bigger battery cell with moderate fast-charging speed. It would have given better value to the overall user-experience in daily routine.
Is 65W Fast-Charging Safe?
The rapid current needs to be contained safely to prevent any mishap or any damage to the phone's battery. Oppo ensures phone's safety by equipping the device with 5-layer protection which is claimed to be certified by German independent safety authority, TUV Rheinland. The built-in battery also has a dedicated protection chipset to monitor the voltage and current to ensure safety. We recommend you using the bundled brick to recharge the device. It will ensure safety and will give you full benefits of 65W fast-charging speeds.
The Reno 4 Pro shows that Oppo is not shying away from experimenting and bringing new innovations to value flagship buyers. The key selling point here is the fast-charging speed which is truly unmatched by the competition. But the attempt leaves a set of audience wanting for more firepower and better camera performance from a smartphone priced at 35K. Also, the Reno 4 Pro is a 4G-enabled handset and the market is gradually moving towards 5G-enabled mobile devices. The OnePlus Nord is a good example.
If the lack of 5G connectivity does not concern you, the market has some other alternatives in the form of the Realme X2 Pro, Realme X3 SuperZoom and the OnePlus 7T. These devices offer better value for your money in the similar price bracket.