OPPO Reno4 Review: What the OPPO Reno3 could have been

The OPPO Reno series has just announced its 4th iteration since it first debuted last year. It seems they intend to release two Reno products every year. Earlier this year, they released the Reno3 series and we were able to review the OPPO Reno3 Pro. This time we have the OPPO Reno4 in our hands and we’ve been using this device for the past two weeks. Read on and find out if this new Reno phone is something you may want to buy as your next phone.

OPPO RENO4 SPECS:

OS:Android 10 with ColorOS 7.2
Processor:2.3GHz Qualcomm SM7125 Snapdragon 720G Octa-Core processor | Adreno 618
Display: 2400 x 1080 6.4" FHD+ Super AMOLED Dual Punch-hole Display
Wireless Connections:LTE, Bluetooth 5.0, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS
Memory:128 GB Internal Storage expandable with a MicroSD, 8GB RAM
Connectors:USB Type-C, OTG Support
Cameras:48 Megapixels f/1.7 (wide) + 8 Megapixels f/2.2 (ultra-wide) + 2 Megapixels f/2.4 (macro) + 2 Megapixels f/2.4 depth sensor (Main Cameras), 32 Megapixels f/2.4 wide + 2 Megapixels f/2.4 depth (Front)
SIM Card Slots:2x Nano SIM Cards required
Battery:4,015mAh
SRP:P18,990

THE UNBOXING

The box’s sleeve is similar to the OPPO Reno3 Pro. I am not certain if this is now a permanent design or a theme for this year’s packaging.

Inside the box are the OPPO Reno4, Type-C USB Cable, VOOC Charger head, earphones, Silicon Case, SIM Card pin and User Manuals.

THE LOOKS AND FEEL

In my Reno3 Pro review, I have mentioned a lot of times about the changes they’ve made with the phone. I have considered purchasing the OPPO Reno 10x and even the OPPO Reno 2. These Reno phones have almost everything I wanted in a high-end smartphone. However, OPPO has a different direction with the Reno series, and I think they lowered down its target market as not to compete with their Find series which is originally their flagship line.

OPPO describes the Reno series as their mid-premium line, so instead of expecting them to bring back the glass back cover found on the first two Reno phones. they have settled for a polycarbonate shell. It started with Reno3 series, and now it’s with the Reno4. The review unit that I have has the Space Black color variant which isn’t boring to look at. It has a shining effect with the bottom part of the phone revealing the letters O and P intersecting with each other. Found on top is the camera module which looks a lot better than the Reno3 Pro.

One of the positive changes made in the Reno4 is its thinness. I immediately noticed that it’s slimmer than the Reno3 Pro. I was right, because the Reno3 Pro is 8.1mm thick while the Reno4 is 7.7mm. It’s also lighter too at 165g. The power button is found on the right side of the phone while the volume controls are on the left.

Found at the bottom are the 3.5mm headphone jack, Type-C USB port, and speaker grille.

THE DISPLAY

The Reno4 didn’t make any changes with its screen. Similar to the Reno3 Pro, the new Reno also has a 6.4″ Super AMOLED display with Full HD+ resolution. It still has the capsule-style dual punch-hole cameras introduced in the previous version which somehow affects the viewing experience unlike the full view screens of the Reno 10x and Reno 2. I still miss the Shark’s fin pop-up design, but it is what it is now.

I’m glad they stuck with the Super AMOLED display and as always colors look vibrant. And because I love watching Netflix all the time, the Reno4 has a Netflix HD streaming certification. This means I can watch my favorite Netflix shows in High Definition.

The Reno4 also has an on display fingerprint scanner and it worked all the time. I didn’t have to use the face recognition app since using a face mask is a hindrance to this security feature.

THE PERFORMANCE

The Reno3 Pro opted for a MediaTek Helio P95 processor which was fine but didn’t have any significant speed bump compared to its predecessors Reno 2 Qualcomm Snapdragon 730. This is not the case for the Reno4, as they went back to Qualcomm again, this time with a much better Snapdragon 720G. Below are the benchmark tests we made with the Reno 4:

The Antutu and Geekbench 5 scores shows how much better the Snapdragon 720G is. Apps ran smoothly during our two weeks of usage and the built-in 128GB of internal storage is considered plenty enough for both media content created with the phone and downloaded app/games. The 8GB of RAM didn’t crash with all the open apps.

The Snapdragon 720G processor is optimized for mobile gaming, and I enjoyed playing Call of Duty Mobile, Asphalt 9 Legends and NBA 2K20 all at their highest video and graphics settings. None of them stuttered even after playing for hours and they all played smoothly on the Reno4.

On to the software side, the Reno4 comes with ColorOS 7.2 based on Android 10. It still retains its useful features like the Smart Sidebar and Game Space, but at the same time introduce new ones like the Smart AirControl, Smart Rotation and Smart Spying Prevention. Smart Air Control is similar to other gestures where you can control your phone without touching it. I don’t see the point of it and never used this feature. I couldn’t get to make Smart Rotation work whenever I lie down on my bed. Smart Spying Prevention seems to be the most useful among all the new features but unfortunately I am not able to try this since I am alone most of the time.

THE CAMERAS

The OPPO Reno4 has a quad-camera setup in the rear lead by its 48 Megapixels main wide camera followed by an 8 Megapixels ultra-wide, 2 Megapixels Macro and 2 Megapixels depth sensor. The front cameras have 32 Megapixels and 2 Megapixels depth sensor. Like previous Reno models, the main camera doesn’t default to 48 Megapixels. Instead, it has 12 Megapixels which takes decent photos with less details.

As expected, photos taken outdoors looked awesome and the color reproductions are spot-on. I think bokeh photos are much better with the Reno4 compared to the Reno3 pro which I had a hard time using. Photos taken at night did not disappoint me and sometimes, Night Mode even makes my photos look better without the added noise.

Here are some sample photos:

Night Mode OFF
Night Mode ON

When it comes to selfies, you can’t go wrong with the Reno series. AI Color Portrait can add some artistic flavor if you find your selfies boring. Basically, the subject still remains colored while the background gets the black and white treatment. Pretty cool and I loved it instantly.

Beauty Mode OFF
Beauty Mode ON
AI Color Portrait
50% Bokeh
100% Bokeh

THE BATTERY LIFE

Battery capacity of the Reno4 is rated at 4,015 mAh which seemed to suffice a day’s worth of usage. I average 12-13 hours per day and I still have around at least 15% before I charge the phone again. Speaking of charging, the Reno4 comes with VOOC 4.0 30W charging which can fill up the phone from 0 to 100% in an hour.

DR’S CONCLUSION

I have already accepted Reno’s new direction in design and hardware and the Reno4 made me interested in the series again. The Reno series is all about creativity, and the Reno4 has some great camera features that would help makes your creative ideas come into life. In fact, I’ll be doing some VLOGS using the Reno4 in the next few days and make use of its camera features. In my opinion, OPPO should have released the the OPPO Reno4 over the Reno3 last March. The former is more compelling to buy than the latter. If you need a new smartphone for VLOGS or other creative purposes, consider the OPPO Reno4.

PROS:

  • Very Thin Form Factor
  • Processor is much better than previous version
  • Takes good photos

CONS:

  • Polycarbonate shell is a smudge magnet
  • New Smart features do not work
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