Oppo couldn't have picked a worse time to launch the Reno 4 Pro in India, right on the heels of the OnePlus Nord (Review). If that wasn't bad enough, its price of Rs. 34,990 for the sole 8GB RAM configuration isn't sitting well with a lot of people, especially since it uses an SoC we're used to seeing in phones under Rs. 20,000.
However, if you look past the processor and pricing for a moment, you'll find that there's a lot to like about the Reno 4 Pro. It managed to make a good first impression on me a few weeks ago, and now that I've spent a decent amount of time using it, I'm ready to decide whether good looks can make up for the “lack” of power, even if that comes at a high cost.
The premium design of the Reno 4 Pro helps it stand out from the competition and is easily one of its best attributes. This is the only phone that comes to mind, in this price range, that offers a curved display — a feature that's typically found in more expensive models. This along with a matching curved back panel makes the Reno 4 Pro look classy from any angle.
It's also incredibly slim (7.7mm) and light (161g), which is a refreshing change of pace. In order to get to this level of lightness though, it seems Oppo has had to compromise a bit by using a plastic frame instead of metal, and a polymer resin for the back panel instead of glass. Despite this, the phone still feels very sturdy and the frosted texture on the back doesn't attract many fingerprints.
The Oppo Reno 4 Pro has a large 6.5-inch full-HD+ Super AMOLED display with Corning's Gorilla Glass 5 for scratch protection. It also has a 90Hz refresh rate and a 180Hz touch sampling rate, similar to the OnePlus Nord. Unfortunately, Oppo has dropped HDR10 support for the Indian model, which is a little disappointing. Still, the display is very good. It gets plenty bright and colours have excellent saturation. You also get a hole-punch cutout in the upper left corner for the selfie camera.
When I first began using the Oppo Reno 4 Pro, I noticed that the fingerprint sensor wasn't authenticating my finger quick enough and often required multiple tries before it worked. However, after re-registering my fingerprints, and a couple of software updates later, it's more consistent now. It's still not as quick as other premium phones such as the OnePlus Nord, but at least it's gotten more reliable. Face recognition works very well on the Reno 4 Pro, even under dim lighting.
The buttons are ergonomically placed on either side of the Oppo Reno 4 Pro. On the bottom, we have the USB Type-C port, a single speaker, and a headphone jack. The SIM tray is on the top of the phone and supports two Nano-SIM cards as well as a microSD card. The four rear camera lenses are individually exposed, similar to the camera design on the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. This gives the Reno 4 Pro a distinct look, which should appeal to a lot of people, unless you happen to suffer from trypophobia.
Oppo ships a headset in the box, which is not something we see too often these days. The headset looks like an Apple EarPods clone, but it actually sounds pretty decent. Also provided in the box are a silicone case, a data cable, and a 65W fast charger.
The Reno 4 Pro runs on Oppo's ColorOS 7.2, which is based on Android 10. While the functionality remains largely similar to what we've seen on other recent Oppo phones, the company says it has added a few new smarts in the latest version. ‘Icon pull-down gesture' is a very handy one, which lets you access out-of-reach icons on the homescreen with a simple gesture.
‘Quick return bubble' lets you keep track of your game if you need to minimise it in order to open another app. As the name suggests, it creates a floating bubble which shows pertinent information from the game. The type of information is limited to countdowns in games such as PUBG Mobile, when you're either waiting for a match to begin, or before jumping off the plane.
Oppo claims that ColorOS can now learn the usage behaviour of the user and pre-load frequently used apps in memory, for quicker loading. You also get a new set of ‘artistic' wallpapers, which look really good, but better than those are the live wallpapers. Oppo LAB is a new app that lets you try out experimental features, which currently includes a ringtone generator and a ‘decision spinner.' Oppo Relax offers a selection of soothing music tracks and guided breathing exercises.
My unit of the Oppo Reno 4 Pro had the usual bunch of preinstalled apps including some that are now banned in India such as TikTok and Helo. However, Oppo told Gadgets 360 that devices reaching consumers now won't have any of the banned apps. Most of the third-party apps can be uninstalled anyway, so it shouldn't be a big problem.
In India, Oppo has launched a single variant of the Reno 4 Pro, which has 8GB of LPDDR4X RAM and 128GB of UFS 2.1 storage. It also features dual-band Wi-Fi ac, Bluetooth 5.1, multiple satellite navigation systems, and the usual suite of sensors.
The choice of SoC sticks out immediately when you look at what the competition offers. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G might be a speedy and efficient chip for a low-cost phone, but using it here means that at Rs. 35,000, the Reno 4 Pro is definitely outclassed by its peers. For example, the OnePlus 7T (Review) retails at the same price and features the much faster Snapdragon 855+ SoC. Even the OnePlus Nord is better off with its Snapdragon 765G 5G SoC at a lower price.
With day-to-day use, I didn't notice any issues with performance. Navigating the interface felt snappy, apps loaded quickly, and multitasking was generally a breeze. Call of Duty: Mobile and Asphalt 9: Legends ran just fine too, with reasonably good graphics. Even PUBG Mobile was fun to play at the ‘HD' graphics quality and ‘High' framerate settings, which are the highest levels available for the Reno 4 Pro. Despite its slim body, I never noticed any abnormal heating with this phone, even after extended gaming sessions.
The single speaker gets decently loud and there's Dolby Atmos sound enhancement too. Videos looked great on the Reno 4 Pro's display, and the high level of brightness managed to cut out reflections quite well. You also get a proper always-on display mode and a system-wide dark mode, which can be scheduled to activate at a given time. The ‘Edge lighting' feature lights up the curved edges of the screen when you get a new notification, which looks cool and can be seen even with the device lying face down.
The Oppo Reno 4 Pro has a 4,000mAh battery, which easily lasted me for about a day and half on average, with medium to light usage. I managed to get a runtime of a little over 16 hours in our HD video loop test, which is good. However, the main highlight is 65W Super VOOC 2.0 fast charging. The charging brick is about the same size as a OnePlus charger, but with a maximum output of 10V and 6.5A. This charges the Reno 4 Pro up to 97 percent in just 30 minutes, which is ridiculously quick. Of course, 65W will soon be overshadowed by Oppo's recently announced 125W fast charging tech, but that isn't yet available in any phones that are actually shipping.
The cameras are another area in which the Indian model differs from the global one. The Oppo Reno 4 Pro sold here has four rear cameras: a 48-megapixel primary, 8-megapixel ultra-wide, 2-megapixel macro, and 2-megapixel depth cameras. The global Reno 4 Pro 5G model keeps the same primary camera but has a 13-megapixel telephoto and 12-megapixel ultra-wide cameras. I'm not thrilled with the trade-off on the Indian model, but it is what it is. The selfie camera is the same on both models, using the same 32-megapixel Sony IMX616 sensor as the OnePlus Nord.
The camera interface is easy to use. You can swipe through the various shooting modes on the right side of the viewfinder, and based on the selected mode, you get corresponding contextual options on the left. Oddly, there's no way to switch to the macro camera without jumping through a bunch of hoops. It's as if Oppo didn't want you to bother with it. The control isn't found anywhere in the list of shooting modes, but rather hidden in the Expert mode. Here, you'll need to tap the icon of the two ‘trees' and then select the ‘flower' icon, to use the macro camera. The funny thing is, the camera AI suggests using the ‘Macro lens' when you get very close to a subject, but doesn't offer any shortcut to switch to it.
In terms of image quality, the primary Sony IMX586 sensor delivers predictable results during the day. Details are generally good, HDR works well, and colours are nicely saturated. There are times when the camera AI boosts colours a bit, like when it detects plants or flowers. There's digital zoom with up to 10x magnification, but quality takes a hit. The wide-angle camera can be useful, but it tends to capture weaker details and muted colours, compared to the main one.
Portrait shots look decent. The level of blur can be adjusted before shooting, and the new filters add some fun effects to your shot. Some of these filters are available for the selfie camera and for videos too. The macro camera isn't the easiest to use, compared to other implementations. I found that it took a lot more effort to get a usable shot, as even slight movements immediately after pressing the shutter resulted in blurry photos.
Low-light photos aren't too noisy, but the sensor doesn't pick up a lot of detail in darker regions of the frame. Night mode can make a big difference to the photo. With it, light sources don't look like glowing orbs, and darker areas show plenty more detail.
The selfie camera captures good photos during the day. Backlit selfies didn't turn out great at times, as skin looked heavily smoothened, but otherwise, the sensor captured plenty of detail. Portrait mode and filters can add some fun effects to your selfies too.
The Oppo Reno 4 Pro can shoot videos at up to 4K 30fps, with stabilisation, but only using the primary rear camera. The ultra-wide camera can shoot at up to 1080p, but sadly, you can't switch between cameras while recording, at any resolution. Video quality is good in daylight but in low light, the stabilisation causes a jarring intermittent shimmer, if you walk around. Videos shot using the ultra-wide camera look comparatively poor, even in daylight.
The Oppo Reno 4 Pro could have been a strong contender in the Indian mid-tier smartphone segment, if only Oppo had launched the global model in India with the Snapdragon 765G SoC and the better selection of secondary rear cameras. The one we have here is still a good product, but at its current price of Rs. 34,990, it's just too expensive and there's no getting around this fact.
I think most people would be happier with the OnePlus 7T at this price. Sure, you lose out on the slim design and super fast charging, but the 7T has better cameras, a much faster processor, and premium construction, compared to the Reno 4 Pro. The OnePlus Nord, Realme X3 series, and Redmi K20 Pro are also great alternatives that offer better performance and are less expensive.
If you value a slim and light smartphone over high performance, then I can see the appeal of the Reno 4 Pro. It might not offer the best value at this price, or stand-out camera performance, but you do get incredibly quick charging, good battery life, and a premium-looking display.
Is Nord the iPhone SE of the OnePlus world? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.