Review: Oppo's Reno4 is brilliance on a budget

Newshub's critical review of the Oppo Reno4 5G.
The Oppo Reno4 5G. Photo credit: Newshub.

Oppo's latest entry into the mid-range smartphone market, the Reno4 5G, comes with a reasonable price and hits well above its weight in many ways. 

But of course, its relative cheapness means you're not getting everything you would with a pricier phone.

Does what it's lacking really matter?

I've been using one of the devices for the last few weeks and here are my thoughts.

The good

The Reno4 boasts the specs, camera and build quality of a much more expensive phone, along with a price tag of around $1000 in New Zealand - much less than many of its competitors. 

My first impressions were wholly positive. I like the shape and feel of the Reno4, and the pearlescent blue sheen of the plastic rear really is eye-catching. Oppo has also partnered with a number of local artists for customised cases, something I thought was a nice touch. 

The display is about as regular as they come: a 6.5 inch OLED screen (modest by today's standards) wraps around twin selfie cameras and a very slight bezel, making the Reno4 84 percent screen. 

You'll be getting Oppo's custom Android platform, ColorOS 7.2 with the Reno4, which is possibly their best OS to date. Clean, sleek and lacking any of the frustrating bloatware that bogs down other phones, a pleasant user experience awaits new or returning Android users. 

For the nerds out there, the Reno4 is powered by a Snapdragon 765G chip, with 8GB of RAM and an Adreno 618 GPU. Honestly, this is pretty good for a middle-of-the-pack smartphone. 

With that being said, even cheaper phones these days are pretty beefy, and will typically run as many apps as you like with little to no issues. I found myself listening to Spotify, playing PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds ​and sending messages simultaneously without any problems; but again, this is now the standard for modern smartphones. 

2020 Oppo Reno4 5G.
The Reno4's camera lenses. Photo credit: Oppo

The Reno4's camera functions are comfortable, if a little underwhelming compared to its big brother, the Find X2 Pro.

A quad-lens setup adorns the back of the Reno4, including a wide lens, ultrawide lens, and two macro and depth lenses. For the price tag, you can expect crisp, clear photos with a good colour balance.

The Reno4 also shoots video in 4K at 30 frames-per-second, which will come as a delight to Apple fans who don't want to pay an Apple price. 

Finally, the pièce de résistance: ​5G compatibility. ​The Reno4 is currently the cheapest 5G phone on the market.

But, cruelly, we don't have 5G in Hamilton yet. City of the Future? Yeah, right. 

So what's not to like about the Reno4? Surely with its adequate camera, stunning looks and good performance, it's a win on all fronts? 

Not quite.

The bad

The Reno4 isn't perfect and one area it's lacking in is night photography.

With the launch of the Reno4, Oppo was excited to present their Laser Detection Auto Focus hardware, which it says brings light and vibrancy to low-light photos. But I'm less than convinced by the new tech. 

I took the Reno4 out for a night out of photography and pitted it against the similarly priced Samsung Galaxy S20 FE in a fight for the best night photo. 

The Samsung beat the Reno4, hands-down. 

In certain situations, the Reno4 excelled. Colours render more faithfully and contrast better against each other. But with sources of light, or patches of dark colours, the Reno4 overexposes the image, making photos seem cloudy.

Night photo taken with an Oppo Reno4 5G.
Photo taken with an Oppo Reno4. Photo credit: Newshub.
Night photo taken with a Samsung Galaxy S20 FE.
Photo taken with a Samsung Galaxy S20 FE. Photo credit: Newshub.

So what else is wrong? 

The Reno4 is sorely restricted in storage, a problem I wouldn't expect from a midrange smartphone. Maxing out at 128GB and with no option for expandable memory, free space disappears quicker than my hopes of getting on the property ladder. 

In just a few weeks, I've easily chewed through 30GB of space: a quarter of what the phone will hold. 

The Reno4 also lacks a headphone jack, something I'm getting really sick of complaining about these days. If phone brands keep phasing out the humble headphone jack, how will I listen to music in my car? 

The verdict

The Oppo Reno4 is a great device I'd definitely recommend.

With the direction consumer technology is going and as smartphone prices skyrocket, finding a mid-range smartphone that will go the distance is becoming more and more difficult. 

The Reno4 offers great value for money and aside from a few shortcomings - like the poor storage and underwhelming night photography - it skirts the line between budget and premium very well. 

Don't want to throw the price of a small car at your next smartphone? Then this could be the one for you. 


Oppo supplied Oskar with a Reno4 for this review.