Oppo Reno4 5G review
Quick verdict: Oppo’s latest affordable 5G handset provides an impressive combination of performance, battery life and camera features.
- 5G capable
- Cameras shoot well for stills and video
- Snapdragon 765G is still snappy
- Cheaper Reno4 Z has a 120Hz display
- No expandable storage
- ColorOS is still a tad garish
2400 x 1080px
48MP + 8MP + 2MP
Power, storage and battery
|Launch price (RRP)||$0|
2020 has seen a lot of options emerge in the mid-range 5G space, and Oppo certainly hasn't been shy to iterate on more affordable 5G fare. We've seen the Oppo Find X2 Lite and the Oppo Find X2 Neo, and they're now joined by two models under the Oppo Reno4 moniker. There's the more entry level Oppo Reno4 Z, and then the "premium" Reno4 model, which is just the Oppo Reno4.
No, I don't understand Oppo's naming structures either.
Thankfully you don't have to understand the mind of a marketer to appreciate a good quality smartphone like the Oppo Reno4.
- Galactic Blue or Space Black finish
- 6.4-inch 60Hz AMOLED display
- In-display fingerprint sensor
The Oppo Reno4 features a nearly-bezel free front 6.4-inch AMOLED screen with a 2400x1080 pixel resolution, which is very decent at this price point, although it's got a weird contrast with the cheaper Oppo Reno4 Z. That phone is cheaper and has a 6.5-inch 2400x1080 LCD display, but features a 120Hz refresh rate, where the Oppo Reno4 tops out at a regular 60Hz. It's a battle between the larger colour gamut of the AMOLEDs versus the higher refresh rate of the LCD, essentially, but it does feel unusual to have a cheaper option with a much better refresh rate in any case.
The Oppo Reno4 has a wide hole punch style notch that has to accommodate two front-facing lenses. While it's a touch distracting to have a wider hole punch in a year where we've seen so many phones with tiny screen gaps, it works well enough. The same can be said for Oppo's in-display fingerprint reader, which rarely missed a beat during my review time.
The Oppo Reno4 5G sells in Australia in two tones, with a more regular "Space Black" or shiny "Galactic Blue" finish available. Like most Oppo phones, you also score a simple plastic case in the box with the phone. It's an appreciated touch, because even mid-range and cheap phones deserve some simple protection.
- Triple rear lens camera shoots well
- Front-facing camera with aggressive beauty mode
The headline rear lens for the Oppo Reno4 5G is a 48MP f/1.7 wide lens which, rather predictably uses pixel binning to typically shoot 12MP images with better low light capture. Low light is a particular selling point for the Oppo Reno4 5G, with the company claiming that it's especially good for fast focusing and low light video performance. Alongside the primary lens there's an 8MP f/2.2 119' wide-angle lens, and finally a 2MP f/2.4 mono lens. You can shoot wide, but you can't use the mono lens as its own standalone camera for arty black and white shots. Instead, it's used in a hybrid approach to add contrast to your other photos.
What that does leave out of the Oppo Reno4 5G's toolbox is any kind of dedicated optical zoom. Oppo attempts to overcome this with the use of aggressive cropping and pixel binning, providing set 2x and 5x hybrid zoom modes, and up to 20x digital zoom if you really must.
Most of the time you're better off just taking regular shots and cropping for most phones, but the Oppo Reno4 5G acquits itself fairly well as long as you don't want to go to the extremes.
Here's a sample shot taken at a shopping centre near me, first of all with the wide-angle lens.
Switching to the standard 48MP lens at 1x – which is to say, standard resolution – and everything is still fine.
2x zoom is still perfectly fine.
And even 5x zoom, bearing in mind that these were all handheld shots, stands up reasonably, although some digital noise starts to creep in.
Push it all the way to 20x, however, and you're not going to do well at all.
General photo and video capture with the Oppo Reno4 5G is entirely satisfactory. Although rather predictably, if you switch to the front-facing cameras you find yourself somewhat battling Oppo's AI-led "beauty" mode.
Despite that wider than usual hole punch, you don't get options of regular or wide group selfies; instead what you're looking at is a 32MP f/2.4 primary sensor paired up with a 2MP f/2.4 bokeh camera. Soft focus it can manage well, but its AI-led efforts to smooth out skin can lead to some dreadfully artificial looking photos. You might like that look, but I'm never a fan of looking like I'm made out of plastic.
I swear, I'm a real human being, and not some kind of humanoid robot, no matter what the Oppo Reno4 5G's camera says.
- Snapdragon 765G remains a great mid-range processor
- Speedy 5G performance
- Lacks storage expansion
- ColorOS still doesn't add much to core Android
Like pretty much every other mid-range 5G phone available right now (with the exception of the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE, which cheats by using a top-tier processor but suffers from a much higher price as a result), the Oppo Reno4 5G runs on Qualcomm's mid-range 765G platform, paired up with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of onboard storage. The one big catch here is that there's no capability for storage expansion, with a dual SIM slot that only accommodates standard nano SIMs, not MicroSD cards.
There's been relatively little difference between all of the Snapdragon 765G phones this year in benchmark terms, and the Oppo Reno4 5G certainly doesn't buck that trend. Here's how it compares using Geekbench 5's CPU test:
The S20 FE dominates that test, but it should, because the 5G model of that phone uses a pricier Snapdragon 865 processor instead.
Here's the performance you'll see out of the Oppo Reno4 5G from its Adreno 620 GPU via 3DMark's Slingshot Extreme and Wild Life benchmarks:
In the performance stakes, both in benchmarks and in real world app use, there really isn't that much between any of the Snapdragon 765G phones, all of which can handle most Android apps with ease.
That 5G suffix does mean that the Oppo Reno4 5G is capable of 5G connectivity where it's available. Testing using a Telstra 5G SIM in my local area with 5G coverage gave the predictable array of variable speeds. For what it's worth, the Oppo Reno4 5G managed an impressive peak download speed of 621Mbps down, faster than I'd seen on Australian 5G networks to date, but that's not an inherent factor for this particular phone; quickly switching to another 5G device in the same location saw similar download speed rates.
Like every other Oppo phone, what you get with the Oppo Reno4 5G isn't just Android. It uses Oppo's own ColorOS launcher, which has come a long way since its roots in aping the iOS experience. There's still a slight flavour of that, alongside some very brightly coloured icon choices and default apps that want quite a few upfront permissions before they'll even work. Being Android, you can at least modify most of this behaviour if it's not to your taste. I don't mind the idea of alternate launchers, but I'm yet to see much out of ColorOS that has made me feel that it's super necessary.
- 4,000mAh battery delivers the goods
- Very fast USB C charging
The Oppo Reno4 5G ships with a 4,000mAh battery, which is almost dead on average for mid-range 5G phones this year. It should in theory benefit over competitors with 120Hz displays in terms of battery endurance, although like any 5G phone, your use of faster 5G networks will have a solid effect on how long it lasts.
To give some kind of qualitative comparison, I ran our standard battery test over the Oppo Reno 5G, looping a Full HD YouTube video at maximum brightness and moderate volume for 1 hour. What I'm looking for here is a remaining battery figure above 90%, and the higher the better. Fall under that mark and a phone may struggle to last a single day, even on moderate usage. Here's how the Oppo Reno4 5G compared:
That 95% figure is solid, and while my 5G adventures did sap the battery relatively quickly, all but the most demanding users should easily see a day's usage out of it.
Every mid-range 5G phone tends to have its compromise points, and for the Oppo Reno4 5G, it's in wireless charging, because it's not present. You do rather predictably get access to Oppo's SuperVOOC fast charging at up to 65W. Oppo's claim is that you can boost the battery up to 60% in just 15 minutes with the supplied charger. It's not far off the mark, although that much power transfer quickly leaves you with a rather warm handset.
Should you buy the Oppo Reno4 5G?
- Buy it if you want a good value mix of features along with 5G compatibility.
- Don't buy it if you need more storage expansion or camera flexibillity.
The Oppo Reno4 5G is a phone that's best summed up with the word solid. It's an entirely capable handset with good battery life, effective performance and a nice design, complimented with cameras that work well. None of it is absolutely market leading, but that's in line with its price point.
Pricing and availability
Power, storage and battery
Images: Alex Kidman
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