Oppo Reno 4 Pro review: Has a premium feel, but falls behind competition

Launched at Rs 34,990 for the 8GB RAM variant, the Reno 4 Pro is pricier than most of its competition.
Oppo Reno 4 Pro
Oppo Reno 4 Pro
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It’s been quite some time since Oppo released the Reno 4 Pro in the country. The smartphone, primed to take on the OnePlus Nord, has been received well in the country. When the first smartphone from the Reno series - Reno 10x Zoom - launched back in May of 2019, it wowed consumers with its elegant and innovative design that set it apart from all other smartphones at that time. It had a shark-fin selfie pop-up camera and an O-Dot structure that protected the camera.

In its 4th iteration and the first 5G smartphone, Oppo has dialled back on the design front. It’s got premium material from top to bottom. The smartphone may stand out from the crowd, but it is far from what it could have been. There’s the frosted back. It’s plastic and not glass. Then there’s the skinny polycarbonate frame (plastic and not metal) and a Gorilla-glass covered display on the front. It’s a curved edge AMOLED display. 

The smartphone comes in at 7.7 mm thin and 161g light. Being mostly plastic, a drop will not make your heart skip a beat, as much as it would on something like an iPhone SE 2020.

Despite all of this, the phone feels very sturdy and the frosted texture on the back makes sure that it doesn’t attract fingerprint.

The large 6.5-inch full HD+ Super AMOLED display with Corning’s Gorilla Glass 5 is quite good. Once again, being good isn’t enough. It’s got a 90Hz refresh rate and a 180Hz touch sampling rate. This is similar to the OnePlus Nord, which is a cheaper alternative.

The display itself is bright and has good colours. There’s the hole-punch cutout for selfies in the upper left corner.

There’s an in-display fingerprint sensor that is strictly okay. Again, much slower than on the OnePlus Nord. Face recognition works really well, even in low-light situations.

Where Oppo has an edge over the competition

With Color OS 7.2, Oppo is edging closer to OnePlus’ Oxygen OS. It’s got a few new nifty features like ‘icon pull-down gesture’, ‘quick return bubble’, and more. It’s got some bloatware, but most of those can be uninstalled upon setting up of the device. It’s still not as snappy as Oxygen OS but it’s getting there. The update to Android 11 promises to make it an even more exciting smartphone.

It’s the camera department where Oppo gains lead over OnePlus and other competitors. The Indian model of the Reno 4 Pro comes with a quad-camera setup - a 48-megapixel primary, 8-megapixel ultra-wide, 2-megapixel macro, and 2-megapixel depth camera - and an easy to use camera interface. During daylight, the resulting photos are good and pleasing to the eye. It’s got nicely saturated colours and good HDR boost. The only downside is the 10x digital zoom. If you zoom in all the way, the quality surely takes a hit.

The wide-angle camera is useful and takes good, sharp photos but has fewer details compared to the main camera.

Portrait mode is strictly average. Selfies, on the other hand, are excellent.

The one downside for the camera setup is that photos captured in low-light have a lot of noise. It’s mostly not acceptable.

Battery performance is another area where the Reno 4 Pro came out on top. It’s got a 4,000mAh battery with a 65W SuperVOOC 2.0 fast charging technology. With the always-on-display and the 90Hz mode, and a medium-to-heavy usage, I easily got over one day of usage on a single charge. The smartphone charges up to 97% in just 30 minutes, which is very fast.

The one area where the Oppo Reno 4 Pro falls behind

Performance is one area where the Oppo Reno 4 Pro falls behind the competition. It’s got Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 720G, which lags behind other smartphones. The OnePlus Nord has the Snapdragon 765G 5G chipset at a lower price!

It’s not that the Reno 4 Pro is bad to use on a day-to-day basis. In fact, it’s quite snappy. It works well for the most part, but you notice a lag more often than not. Especially when you’re multi-tasking. Again, this is down to both the hardware and software. The latter though is getting better with each iteration and so is the smartphone.

Still, compared to Vivo V20 Pro (that’s launching on December 2nd), OnePlus Nord, Poco X3 and others, the Reno 4 Pro falls behind in choice of processor and is much pricier.

Would you buy this phone toward the end of 2020?

It’s now nearing the end of 2020, and the Reno 4 Pro has been out for a few months. Launched at Rs 34,990 for the sole 8GB RAM configuration, the Reno 4 Pro is pricier than most of its competition. Even the Pixel 4a is cheaper.

There’s a lot to like about the Reno 4 Pro if you look past the processor but it just isn’t worth it at these prices. If it falls under Rs 30,000, then consider picking one up. With the OnePlus Nord at Rs 27,999, you can save some money and get a smartphone with a better processor and excellent software.

With the Reno 4 Pro, you have to weigh the pros over the cons. Are you willing to spend extra for an attractive phone with an ever-improving software and a good enough camera system but compromising on the performance?

That’s the question you must ask. One hopes that Oppo goes back to the days of the Reno 10x Zoom design with the Reno 5 (whenever that comes out). Until then, wait for the smartphone to get a hefty discount or buy something else.

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