Roughly less than 4 months since bringing the global version of the Reno3 to our shores, OPPO announced the Reno4 in what possibly is the fastest product refresh to date for the company. We had our fair share of criticisms with the Reno3—such as the dated processor and plastic build—which OPPO has addressed with their new phone.
Armed with a more powerful Snapdragon 720G processor, is the Reno4 the proper, value-for-money mid-range phone that we’ve been waiting for from the brand?
- Snapdragon 720G a big improvement over the Reno3’s Helio P90 processor
- Better video features ie. Ultra Steady Video in Full HD
- Frosted polycarbonate back gave it a more premium feel
- Reno3’s telephoto lens was swapped for a less-desirable macro camera
- Inconsistent performance from the ultra-wide-angle camera
- Air Gestures work but feel a tad too gimmicky
The Reno4’s packaging has a snazzy outer sleeve with a distinct, holographic-like pattern that spells out Reno, along with the Reno4 banding and a small tab indicating that the phone is an 8GB/128GB model. The actual box is dressed in plain white with OPPO branding on the top and sides of the box.
Inside the box, you have the usual fanfare: the phone itself, silicone case, documentation, SIM ejector tool, headset, USB-C cable, and 30w VOOC charger.
Familiar build made more premium
While the Reno4 still has the same polycarbonate back as its predecessor, OPPO shifted to a frosted, matte-like texture for the Reno4. We like this finish over the usual glossy texture as it is more smudge resistant and more premium-looking. Like its predecessor, it has a slim frame with ergonomic curves that makes the Reno4 great to hold.
The Reno4 get a larger camera bump with three large lenses housing the 48-megapixel IMX586 main camera, 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera, and a 2-megapixel macro camera. The 2-megapixel depth sensor and LED flash are placed beside the three large cameras.
The Reno4’s camera module may be polarizing, but we like this design as it makes it stand out amidst a tight, saturated mid-range segment.
Same superior AMOLED display, but with a punch hole instead
While you also get a 6.4-inch Full HD+ AMOLED display with the Reno4, OPPO ditched the Reno3’s waterdrop notch for a pill-shaped punch-hole that is home to a 32-megapixel IMX616 selfie snapper and an AI Smart Sensor. The latter is used features like Smart Rotation, Smart Always On, Anti-Peeping, and Air Gesture. Anti-Peeping uses the Reno4’s face unlock data to prevent prying eyes from looking at your phone’s display, while Air Gesture is similar to what we saw in phones like the LG G8 ThinQ, where the sensor detects hand gestures and executes certain actions.
It took us several tries before we got a hang of the Reno4’s Air Answer and Air Scroll since it functions only when the sensor detects your hand at a certain distance. While we find the feature pretty cool, Air Gestures are still gimmicky, especially with its limited use—Air Scroll, for example, only works with Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook. We hope OPPO explores more features to maximize the Reno4’s AI Smart Sensor through future updates.
While the display sticks to a conventional 60hz refresh rate at a time mid-range phones sport 90hz (or 120hz) displays, we would always go for AMOLED over IPS as they deliver deeper blacks and more accurate colors. Like the Reno3, the Reno4 has an in-display fingerprint scanner that is fast and accurate.
One of the biggest pain points of the Reno3 is its rather old Helio P90 processor, which started to show its age with multi-tasking and gaming. For the Reno4, OPPO equipped it with a newer and more powerful Snapdragon 720G processor that offered a significant increase in performance. In AnTuTu alone, the Reno4 scored around 50k higher than its predecessor.
The performance improvement is much more evident with gaming. Based on numbers we obtained with GameBench, the Reno4 performed flawlessly with today’s popular games. Even at the highest possible graphics settings, we were getting at least 90% stability on titles like Asphalt 9, PUBG Mobile, Marvel Super War, Call of Duty Mobile, and NBA 2K20.
The Reno4 was consistently hitting close to 60FPS with Call of Duty Mobile and Marvel Super War, and 50FPS with NBA 2K20—impressive numbers that prove the Snapdragon 720G’s overall performance.
The Reno4’s 4015mAh battery clocked in at a little over 12 hours with PCMark’s battery test, which is a notable improvement over the score we got with the Reno3. Using the supplied VOOC charger, it takes a little over an hour to top up the Reno4’s battery from 14% to 100%.
Great features for its cameras
While the Reno4 loses the telephoto camera of its predecessor (and uses a less desirable macro camera), OPPO improved the software features of the Reno4. Chief among these is Ultra Steady, which can now shoot at Full HD when using the 48-megapixel IMX586 main rear camera. Utilizing both 60FPS and software-based stabilization, one can get decent, steady footage with it. If you need a wider POV, the Reno4 Pro has Ultra Steady Video Pro, though you are limited to 30FPS.
For slo-mo shooting, the Reno4’s smart motion detection at 960FPS lets you shoot clean ultra slo-mo videos for select scenes at HD resolution. Here’s a sample video:
As for photography, the main camera produced generally good photos, while the 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera is a mixed bag. With the ultra-wide-angle camera, we encountered inconsistencies when it comes to white balance and color accuracy
Like other OPPO phones, the Reno4 has a toggle for 2x and 5x digital zoom, and both modes delivered usable images. Night mode boosted the dynamic range on the Reno4, though photos appear to be oversharpened when you zoom into the details.
For selfies, OPPO chose to lower the megapixel count on the Reno4 in exchange for a tried-and-tested IMX616 sensor. The snapper took decent selfies, regardless of lighting conditions.
Verdict: Finally, a proper 2020 mid-range phone from OPPO
While the Reno4 was unveiled too soon, just a few months after the Reno3, OPPO’s latest mid-range offering is the brand’s best offering in recent memory. While you lose the telephoto camera compared to the previous generation, the Reno4 is a superior offering over the Reno3 with its Snapdragon 720G processor.
As one of the better mid-range offerings OPPO has in recent memory, there is still room for improvement for the Reno4, particularly with the features that can be used with its AI Smart Sensor and with the performance of the ultra-wide-angle camera.
With its Php 18,990 price tag, the Reno4 offers better value for money than the Reno3 (which had the same SRP when it came out), though the Reno4 will have to face tough competition with an already saturated mid-range market.
The Reno4 will be available for pre-order starting August 15 until August 21 at all OPPO Concept stores, dealer partners, and Shopee and Lazada official stores. Those pre-ordering will get the Rock Space EB100 TWS earbuds with their purchase.