2021 has gotten off to a great start, at least as far as smartphones are concerned. Xiaomi recently launched the Mi 10i (Review), a powered-packed 5G smartphone, at a very aggressive price. Hot on its heels, we have Oppo with its brand new Reno 5 Pro 5G.
The successor to the Oppo Reno 4 Pro (Review) from 2020, the Reno 5 Pro 5G embodies the same design DNA and overarching feature-set, only this time with a more powerful 5G-capable SoC, a slightly larger battery, and some new camera tricks. This phone also happens to be the first in India to feature MediaTek's much-hyped Dimensity 1000+ SoC. Oppo is offering all these improvements for about the same price as its predecessor at Rs. 35,990.
It's time to see how MediaTek's flagship SoC compares to Qualcomm's equivalent offerings, and whether or not you should consider buying the Oppo Reno 5 Pro 5G over the competitors such as the Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro 5G, OnePlus 8 or the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE.
Having reviewed the Oppo Reno 4 Pro myself, I immediately noticed a lot of similarities between it and its successor. For starters, the Oppo Reno 5 Pro 5G is also very slim and light, measuring 7.6mm in thickness and weighing just 173g. This gives it an excellent in-hand feel, and it's comfortable to hold and use even for long stretches at a time. The Astral Blue version that I have looks superb, in my opinion. The glossy frame offers decent grip and the textured glass back has a unique sheen when light hits it, along with being resilient to fingerprints. Oppo offers a Starry Black colour option too.
The flattened top has a ‘Designed for Reno' inscription, while the dual-SIM tray, USB Type-C port, and a single speaker are on the bottom. The volume and power buttons are placed on opposite sides of the frame and are easy to reach. There's no 3.5mm headphone jack on the Oppo Reno 5 Pro 5G; something that the Reno 4 Pro did have.
Similar to its predecessor, the Oppo Reno 5 Pro 5G features a 6.5-inch “borderless sense screen” AMOLED display with curved edges. It has a full-HD+ resolution, peak brightness of 1,100nits, touch sampling rate of 180Hz, and 90Hz refresh rate. The display has multiple certifications for low blue light emissions and is HDR10+ capable too. Oppo has used a scratch-resistant glass from Panda for the back panel (Corning Gorilla Glass 3 for the black version), and Corning Gorilla Glass 5 cover glass over the display.
Overall, I really like the design of the Oppo Reno 5 Pro 5G, mainly due to its slimness and low weight. Build quality is also very good, despite this phone having a plastic frame, and the rear cameras barely protrude at all, making this a very comfortable phone to carry in your pocket. The box contains a 65W charger, USB Type-C cable, SIM eject tool, case, and USB Type-C headset.
One of the big upgrades in the Oppo Reno 5 Pro 5G is the MediaTek Dimensity 1000+ SoC, which was announced back in May last year and has only now made it to India. In fact, this is the first Dimensity SoC to debut in a smartphone in India. It competes with Qualcomm's Snapdragon 865 series and is built on a 7nm process featuring four ARM Cortex-A77 and four ARM Cortex-A55 cores. It has an integrated 5G modem and supports wireless connectivity such as Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1.
Oppo is offering the Reno 5 Pro 5G in a single configuration, with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. The phone also has a 4,350mAh battery (which is larger than the one in the Reno 4 Pro) and the same 65W Super VOOC 2.0 fast charging tech.
The Reno 5 Pro runs ColorOS 11.1, which is based on Android 11. It's more or less similar in form and function to what we've seen before on previous Oppo smartphones. The latest version features heavy customisation from Oppo, and should still be familiar to existing Oppo users. You can tweak the look of the always-on display watch faces, and even choose between three different intensities for dark mode. There's a slightly tweaked Game Space menu that can be called up when playing games, and you can quickly translate text in screenshots thanks to Google Lens.
You get plenty of preinstalled apps from Oppo as well as third-party developers, and most of the latter can be uninstalled. The typical Oppo apps include Music, Browser, Theme Store, etc, which we've seen on Oppo phones in the past as well. Thankfully, I didn't encounter any unwanted ads or promotional notifications from the company's stock apps.
This version of ColorOS also has a feature called FlexDrop which lets you minimise some apps into either interactive floating windows or even smaller, view-only panels. Only a single app can be minimised in this fashion at a time.
I used the Oppo Reno 5 Pro 5G for about a week and things went pretty well. I didn't mind carrying it along with another phone since it's very light and slim. The in-display fingerprint sensor and face recognition work very well. Biometric authentication using either method is quick and seamless. 5G is something I was unable to test here in India, but 4G VoLTE worked very well and I didn't have any issues with call quality.
I found the display to be excellent. Brightness was more than adequate, and even under sunlight, content was very legible. Colours are punchy which makes watching videos a fun experience. HDR videos looked very good, either locally or when played via YouTube, but Netflix couldn't detect the display's HDR capabilities on my review unit. The 90Hz refresh rate makes scrolling through menus and feeds a lot more fluid. Stereo sound would have completed the media consumption experience, but sadly this phone only has a single speaker.
ColorOS always felt snappy on the Oppo Reno 5 Pro 5G. Apps loaded quickly and multitasking is handled well. Compared to the phones I've used powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 865, the MediaTek Dimensity 1000+ is a bit slower, but this is only noticeable when comparing benchmark scores. For example, the Reno 5 Pro 5G returned 4,22,192 points in AnTuTu and 31fps in the GFXBench Car Chase test suite, compared to 5,75,669 points and 46fps equivalent scores from a OnePlus 8T (Review).
In the real world, the Reno 5 Pro 5G is able to handle demanding apps and games with relative ease. Call of Duty: Mobile and Asphalt 9: Legends ran very well at the highest graphics settings, and so did CarX Drift Racing 2, which can be a taxing game to run. The Reno 5 Pro 5G didn't get too hot even after 15-20 minutes of gaming; the back of the phone only got slightly warm.
For such a slim phone, battery life is quite impressive. The Reno 5 Pro 5G's 4,350mAh battery lasted 16 hours and 34 minutes in our HD video loop test, which is very good considering the powerful SoC. With normal use, I was easily able to average about a day and half on one charge. The battery charges incredibly quickly too when using the bundled 65W charger. I was able to get roughly a 98 percent charge in just half an hour.
The Oppo Reno 5 Pro 5G features a 64-megapixel primary camera which is a higher resolution than the 48-megapixel sensor on the Reno 4 Pro. However, the rest of the specifications are the same – there's an 8-megapixel ultra-wide angle camera, 2-megapixel macro camera, and a 2-megapixel monochrome camera. For selfies, there's a 32-megapixel front camera.
The Reno 5 Pro 5G's signature camera feature is a new ‘AI Highlight Video' mode, which either brightens footage in low light or applies an HDR effect in the day, depending on the amount of light around your subject. This works for selfie videos too. There's also a picture-in-picture mode for videos. The rest of the features are the same as what we've seen on previous Oppo smartphones, and include AI Colour Portrait, Ultra Steady video, Pro mode, etc.
AI Highlight Video is worth enabling since it brightens up dark scenes (albeit, with additional noise) and helps with white balance when shooting subjects directly against sunlight. I found this particularly useful when shooting selfie videos. Keep in mind that it only works at 1080p and not 4K. Speaking of 4K, video shot in daylight is decent in terms of quality, but you don't get stabilisation, as Ultra Steady mode is also restricted to 1080p. Videos shot in low light with stabilisation at 1080p gets a bit grainy, so it's best to stick to 4K even if that means footage looks a bit shaky.
Coming to still images, the Oppo Reno 5 Pro 5G captures good details and colours in landscape shots. The ultra-wide camera captures predictably poorer details but it's not too bad. Close-ups looked sharp and well-defined. With AI Scene Enhancement enabled, photos tended to have a warmer colour tone, which can look better or worse depending on your preference. Portrait mode works well, and along with adjusting the level of blur, you can even add filters. The macro camera is not great but it's there if you need to use it.
The autofocus system is fairly quick, making it easy to capture close-up subjects even in poor lighting. Night mode is quite effective, especially for the ultra-wide camera.
Selfies taken in good light pack in very good details. Skin tones look a bit smoothened, but not too aggressively. The selfie camera does a good job in low light too, capturing decent details and colours without needing the screen flash.
As good as the Oppo Reno 4 Pro was, its underpowered SoC and high price made it really hard to recommend. Thankfully, Oppo has addressed the performance aspect with the new Reno 5 Pro 5G. MediaTek's current flagship 5G SoC might not be able to outclass Qualcomm's top-end chip (and we're not even talking about the Snapdragon 888 coming in phones this year) but it is enough to deliver smooth performance in heavy games, and is quite power efficient. Considering it costs about the same as the Reno 4 Pro at Rs. 35,990, makes the new Reno 5 Pro 5G better value than its predecessor.
The Oppo Reno 5 Pro 5G is a good package overall for the price. It has a premium design, a vivid display, long battery life, very fast charging, and fairly competent cameras. Video quality could be improved though, especially in low light, and I would like to see stabilisation at 4K. It wouldn't have hurt to have stereo speakers either.
If you're looking for a more powerful SoC, then there's always the Mi 10T Pro 5G (Review), Samsung Galaxy S20 FE (Review) and the OnePlus 8 (Review), but these phones are also more expensive.