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(Pocket-lint) - If you've looked at Oppo's Reno family over the years, confused at exactly where it fits, which devices are in it, and if they're even available where you live, then fear not - you're not alone.

Since the first Reno phone (which was released in 2019), Oppo has expanded the range considerably. Among that product family is where you'll find a particular gem: the Reno 4 Pro. 

It's a sleek, attractive and well-proportioned, but for a mid-range device it's arguably a little pricey. Does that affect the overall proposition? Read on...

Design

  • Dimensions: 159.6 x 72.5 x 7.6mm / Weight: 172g
  • Monogrammed design on Space Black model
  • All glass front and back design

When 5G first hit the scenes - and just like when 4G became a thing - phones were pretty large. Not only did phones need an extra external chip to act as the modem, but space was required for cooling, while larger batteries were required to ensure longevity.

In 2020, however, thanks to the advancement of processors that have built-in 5G modems, that changed. Samsung showed it with the S20. And Oppo - having first shown it with the Find X2 Neo - does it again with the Reno 4 Pro. It's impressively slim and sleek for a 5G-capable device. 

In fact, it's very similar to the Find X2 Neo in terms of size, shape and build. It's got the glass on the front and back that curves towards the edges, making it look and feel really slim. It's narrow, too, and has really skinny bezels on the front - ensuring the screen takes up the majority of the space (around 94 per cent of it, says the spec). 

Where it differs is in the styling and finish of that rear panel. There's a new Arctic Blue model that features a frosted glass finish, but unlike most other frosted glass phones, this has been created with an Oppo-designed technique using microscopic laser etchings along the surface. This way the finished product resists scratches and fingerprint smudges. 

We were sent the Space Black model which has a much more traditional black, glossy look. However, even that's unique. There's a rainbow effect that appears when you angle it towards light, as well as a pattern of repeating monograms spelling out 'OP'. Because, er, Oppo. The company says this is to make the phone something of a fashion statement. We feel you'll either love it or hate it. Opinions are definitely mixed here at Pocket-lint. 

The camera housing is among one of the most attractive we've seen on a smartphone. It's a simple, glossy rectangle with rounded corners that protrudes from the back with three identically sized camera rings in a neat row. It's compact, and pleasant to look at. 

To pick up and hold the phone in the hand, the Pro is just a delight. Some of the rough edges we found between the glass and metal on the Find X2 Neo aren't an issue here. This is one slim, smooth and sumptuous mid-ranger.

Those curved edges and the slim nature of the phone do mean there's a tendency to accidentally touch the display though. We've often accidentally tapped an icon in the bottom corner of the display when it pressed into the base of our thumb. Similarly, with navigation gestures enabled, we've also often found ourselves trying to swipe away notifications only for it to launch the 'back' gesture instead.

Display

  • 6.5-inch AMOLED display, 90Hz refresh rate
  • FHD+ resolution (1080 x 2400 pixels) 
  • Punch-hole selfie camera

The screen on Oppo's top mid-range phone is AMOLED, meaning you get plenty of benefits. It's bright (at about 500 nits peak brightness), and features deep inky blacks and vibrant colours. 

It also has the added bonus of a 90Hz refresh rate, which means animations stay smoother. When you're switching between areas in the user interface or scrolling up and down menus it helps everything seem all that much more fluid. 

Heading into 2021, the Quad HD resolution display seems to be on the way out in smaller devices for the sake of battery life. And so Full HD sharpness on the Reno 4 Pro is perfectly fine - and as much as expected. It's still virtually impossible to see any individual pixels. 

For the most part this is a bright and vivid panel. We put it side-by-side with the Samsung Galaxy S21, for instance, and - set to vivid mode - the Oppo more than pulls its weight for things like Netflix watching, general interface appearance, and photo viewing. Where it struggles a little is with games, but we'll get more into that in the performance section. 

It's not quite perfect though. The curves in the corners, for instance, don't quite match the more square corners of the phone, while the top and bottom bezels are noticeably thicker than the sides. Both combined makes for a slightly uneven look. 

Performance

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G processor, 12GB RAM 
  • 4,000mAh battery, 65W Super VOOC 2.0 charging
  • 256GB storage, no microSD expansion
  • 5G connectivity

Look at the current mid-range market and you'll see Qualcomm's Snapdragon 700-series is the most popular. Here, it's the same 765G chip that's inside the OnePlus Nord and a handful of other powerful mid-rangers. 

Joining it, there's a generous 12GB RAM and 256GB storage (in the UK variant), which is more than enough to keep the most demanding apps running smoothly and ensure you have enough space to store all of your photos, music and video for entertainment on the go. 

Like the Nord, we've not had any issues with performance. In fact, for most tasks, the Pro will feel pretty much as good as any flagship would. It's fast and responsive, partly down to the fluidity of the display, partly down to the 765G platform being plenty powerful enough.

Loading up games isn't quite as quick as some of the more recent top-tier phones, but the difference isn't remarkable. Where you do notice the difference is in the graphics quality. Details that might be smooth and sharp on higher-end phones seem a little rough around the edges. Lines look a bit jagged, almost like the game won't run at its full resolution. At least, that's what we found while playing Mario Kart Tour. 

The 4,000mAh battery on board is about standard in terms of capacity these days. But what's not standard is Oppo's Super VOOC 2.0 flash charging technology. This particular flavour is the 65W variant - which we've seen on top-tier phones like the Find X2 Pro. With an empty battery, it'll charge from 0-66 per cent in just 15 minutes and finish its charge completely in 35 minutes. Now that's fast! 

What we've found in the past with phones using this tech is that it changes your charging behaviour. You no longer have to charge it overnight. You can wait until it runs almost flat, plug it in, and even 10-15 minutes is enough to get through the rest of the day. 

Oppo seems to have done something rather magical with battery life too. Its standby performance is pretty remarkable. If you're someone who isn't glued to your phone constantly then you shouldn't have too much trouble making the Reno 4 Pro last two days between charges. We've left it overnight on many an occasion, in standby, and woken to find it only having lost five per cent of its charge. Impressive.

Cameras

  • Triple rear camera system:
    • Main: 48-megapixel, f/1.7 aperture
    • Wide/macro: 12MP, f/2.2
    • Zoom (2x): 13MP, f/2.4
  • 32MP selfie camera
  • 4K video at 30fps

The Oppo Reno 4 Pro's 48-megapixel main camera is joined by a 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera and a 13-megapixel 2x zoom lens. What's interesting here is that the 12-megapixel ultra-wide is also being branded as a 'night' camera. A lot of that is down to the fact that Oppo has boosted its night performance, especially when shooting video. 

That ultra-wide doubles (triples?) as a macro camera, too, and that means not having to rely on a dedicated low resolution sensor for close-up shots - as is so prevalent in many rivals. And you can tell: the macro shots are actually decent, retaining good colour and depth, while avoiding suffering from that nauseating swirling bokeh effect we've seen from some of the poorer macro solutions. 

As for that third lens, that's a 5x hybrid zoom camera, so while it's not quite as impressive as the high-end periscope-like lenses that go up to twice that, it's still a very versatile system. At 2x optical zoom, images retain colour, sharpness and depth, but as soon as you push it up to 5x - which is where it's using digital zoom - things can look a little ropey. Images lose sharpness as they tend to once you switch into digital zoom. 

Transitioning between the four main focal lengths is easy enough though. There's an icon on the screen that you can tap to quickly switch between 0.6x, 1x, 2x and 5x. Or you can tap, hold and drag it to use the smoother zooming interface - as it turns into a wheel on the screen. 

What impressed us was that - while sometimes the images came out with slightly over-exposed highlights - the balance of colour and light between the three cameras was pretty uniform. Greens and purples look the same in all three in the collection above. While they all have a little over-sharpening in the darker areas, that evenness isn't something you typically see when using three unique sensors. 

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Laser detection autofocus ensures that the camera focuses quickly and reliably even when the light levels aren't optimal. Indoors in dim conditions we found it to focus fast, which made it quick and easy to grab the shot we were after without repeatedly tapping the screen in frustration trying to get the camera to lock on. 

There are plenty of shooting modes too. Open up the More tab in the camera app and you can shoot with stickers, shoot in 'Pro' mode to get fine-tuned control, shoot slow-mo, time-lapse, and even scan text or use Google Lens to assess the scene for text and everyday items. It doesn't feel overly busy with options thankfully, and the main collection of shooting modes is where most people will spend their time. 

Verdict

The Oppo Reno 4 Pro's spec sheet may make it seem like a mid-range phone at a near-flagship price, but its performance and everyday reliability makes this one genuinely good phone - regardless of the price.

The camera system is strong and consistent, offering versatility without falling into the same traps as other mid-range phones with multiple cameras on the back. This has three cameras and all of them useful and actually decent. 

A perceived lack of power could put off the smartphone enthusiasts when compared to similarly priced devices, but we've enjoyed almost everything that the Oppo phone has to offer. The only minor criticism is graphical performance compromises when it comes to gaming.

While the Oppo is considerably more expensive than the OnePlus Nord or Google Pixel 4a, for that extra money you get a more premium design, a more versatile and powerful camera, and a stupendously fast-charging battery. The Reno 4 Pro is an impressively slim and sleek device that still has all the functionality you'd expect from a top-tier phone.

Alternatives to consider

Oppo Find X2 Neo

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It's not exactly the same, but it features similar build and performance. The only compromises you make, really, are a poorer camera system and slower charging speeds. But it'll save you some money as a result.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE

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Samsung hit all the right notes with the 'Fan Edition' of the S20. It's got all the top features that matter - like a 120Hz display, flagship-spec processor, and a solid camera system. The price isn't that much higher considering the spec bump either.

Writing by Cam Bunton. Editing by Mike Lowe. Originally published on 30 September 2020.