I can't help wonder, this could have been one of my favourite phones had Oppo not been Oppo, for a second.
Reno 4 Pro is priced at Rs 34,990 in India. (Photo credit: Saurabh Singh/Financial Express)
I really, really want to like the Reno 4 Pro; I mean, just look at it — what’s not to like. I have absolutely no trouble saying, it’s one of the best-looking mid-range phones in the market today. Sleek, trendy, and all that jazz. I mean, just look at it. This thing can give way more expensive phones, a run for their money. Just look at it. But it’s also an Oppo mid-range phone, so you probably already know where I am going with this.
Oppo makes a lot of good-looking mid-range phones, phones that have a lot of modern features too. There’s always a catch or two though but that’s okay. There’s no such thing as a perfect phone anyway. But then, Oppo goes out and prices these phones, well, bad would just be an understatement. The Reno 4 Pro sadly, shares the same fate.
Most reviews start with the good things — the positives if you will — and I promise you that this phone we have for review today also has a lot of good things. But it is also a very familiar phone in certain aspects — caveats if you will — so might as well be done with those now so we can try and focus on all those good things at length.
The Reno 4 Pro comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G, the same processor that you can get in phones ranging anywhere from Rs 15,999 (Redmi Note 9 Pro Max) to Rs 24,990 (Vivo V20). Now a processor is only a part of what makes a phone tick, but regardless, it’s a big part. There’s 8GB RAM inside this phone but there’s no beating around the bush that the Reno 4 Pro could have done with a faster processor. For some context, there is a version of this phone with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G and 5G support selling in China. As for India, every other phone in and around the Reno 4 Pro’s price point, right from the OnePlus Nord to the Google Pixel 4a — not to mention, the iPhone SE that literally wipes the floor with any new Android phone out there — offers more value on the core hardware front.
The same is true about the Reno 4 Pro’s cameras. But this is not because the phone is lacking in good camera hardware. The phone has four cameras on the back. There’s a 48MP main (Sony IMX586 sensor), 8MP ultra-wide-angle, and two 2MP cameras for depth and macro photography respectively. It’s a setup very similar to that seen inside the OnePlus Nord with a few notable omissions like OIS. The cameras on the Reno 4 Pro aren’t subpar or anything, in fact I really like the main camera on this one, across lighting scenarios. It can capture good detail (with some noise) and dynamic range is also satisfactory. Colours are boosted but without going overboard which should appeal to many users. The ultra-wide-angle’s colour tuning could be better but overall, it gets the job done when lighting is ideal. The portrait camera is interesting and useful. The macro, not so much. Low light photos with night mode enabled are encouraging but nothing special. All this pales next to competition though, so bottom line, don’t get the Reno 4 Pro for its cameras.
Now the good bits. The Reno 4 Pro’s main highlight is its wafer-thin design. It’s just so slim and very attractive to look at. It feels very nice in the hands too. The body is made of polycarbonate but Oppo has polished this thing to the T and then applied a matte finish on top that’s different from others. It’s more like sandpaper, the sort you got with OnePlus phones at one point of time. It’s available in black and white, with a hint of light gradient that looks classy and adds a dash of premium to the whole thing. The camera setup on this phone is also very distinct, sort of like Apple’s pro iPhones, only here the individual cameras are vertically aligned. The power button on the right and volume rocker on the left offer excellent tactile feedback despite being all plastic. This is the general tone of the entire phone in fact. Like Samsung, Oppo has found a way to make plastic look and feel premium and I think more brands should follow this route.
The Reno 4 Pro is also a very curvaceous phone. Side profiling it would remind you of Samsung’s earlier Galaxy S phones like the Galaxy S9 or Huawei’s Mate phones. I am not very fond of this, but I am sure there will be many takers because the thing does look really nice — even though all those curves serve no real-world purpose.
There’s a 6.5-inch 1080p+ curved Super AMOLED display here with 90Hz refresh rate and punch hole cut-out — this houses a 32MP camera which shoots excellent selfies by the way. Oppo calls it a 3D borderless sense display, though it isn’t as “borderless” as the one on the Find X2 Pro, or even some of the other near all-screen phones in the market today. You can’t go wrong with this display when it comes to quality, colours are nice and punchy, brightness levels and viewing angles are at par with some of the best in the business, though for some reason this phone does not support HDR 10. The phone has an optical in-display fingerprint scanner for biometric authentication which is fast but there is some room for improvement.
If you’re someone who isn’t bothered by spec-sheets, cores and clock speeds, the Reno 4 Pro is an excellent daily driver which means that there is nothing to complain here in day-to-day use. The software, which is Android 10-based ColorOS 7.2 is well optimised and also very likeable in comparison to how Oppo software was a few years ago. That 90Hz display also helps in making the all-round experience fast and fluid and I have had basically no issues with this phone unless I set out to benchmark it against competing phones. What I am trying to say here is that the Reno 4 Pro isn’t necessarily a bad phone, far from it, and chances are you won’t be disappointed if you get it. I really like that this phone does not get hot on extended use, and even though I haven’t been gaming much on it, I see no reason why anybody can’t game on it. High-end games will of course won’t run at the highest settings but again, not everybody may be looking to do that. Be that as it may, I can’t help wonder, this could have been one of my favourite phones had Oppo not been Oppo, for a second.
Why I say this is because Oppo literally went overboard in some of the other areas, like fast charging for instance. The Reno 4 Pro supports whopping 65W fast charging and Oppo also bundles a compliant fast charger in the box. I am all for it, but given a choice, I would much rather have a faster processor than crazy fast charging. As good as fast charging is, 65W on the Reno 4 Pro feels more like a gimmick to me when Oppo could have simply put in a Snapdragon 765G and given us, I don’t know, 33W charging maybe. Everybody would be a winner that way — including Oppo. Speaking of battery life, the 4,000mAh battery inside the Reno 4 Pro lasted 11 hours and 30 minutes in our video loop test with screen set to 90Hz. That’s good but nothing great. I guess battery capacity was one of the things Oppo had to compromise with to make the phone slim.
Should you buy the Oppo Reno 4 Pro?
As mentioned earlier, I really, really wanted to like the Reno 4 Pro and I like it too a lot more than I would have imagined but this phone had lots of potential. Potential to be one of the best in its price range, and yet it is not, despite its cutting-edge design, near all-screen display, and 65W fast charging credentials. The quirks here, and these are typical Oppo quirks that I think the company needs to address ASAP, are so big, they are in fact deal breakers next to bustling competition. You can’t ignore them, not now, when every other phone seems to be going for the kill.
Still, if style and some substance is what you’re looking for, the Reno 4 Pro is well worth a look but make sure, you’re doubly sure of what you’re getting into.