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Hands-on review: OPPO Reno 4 and Reno 4 Pro 5G

24 Nov 2020


I’ll have to admit having developed an affection for OPPO’s people and products. Their impressive team are passionate about both their products and delivering top-notch service.  Over the past few years, OPPO has been very busy developing new products and I’m feeling as if Christmas has come early for me with these two beauties to review. If you use a phone for professional-looking photos and great video content, both these models deserve your attention. 

In New Zealand, we’re still waiting for 5G technology to be rolled out across our fair nation. Currently it’s only available in a few scattered places in New Zealand. Right now, I would love to be in Twizel! I Google-searched what we can expect 5G technology to do and one of the responses was “everything” but it doesn’t end there.

According to CNET, you can expect speeds that aim to be 100 times faster than our current wireless technology and even faster than fibre technology. It promises seamless streaming of content, meaning instantaneous streaming to your VR headset. Minute lag times means speedy interaction with fellow gamers. Self-driving cars will be able to communicate with each other and central controllers. "You can imagine no traffic lights in the street -- the cars are crossing, but they're not bumping into each other," said Nokia's head of innovation marketing Volker Held.

For both review items, I cloned my existing OPPO A5 2020,  a simple and speedy affair. The Reno 4 models both have dual sim options, but no internal memory option. Frankly, I’ve been living in the cloud for so long, I won’t be making a fuss about not being able to install my SD card.  

The cameras are just as good as the hype surrounding them. I’ve just recorded a happy birthday song for my gorgeous wife, and you could easily mistake me for that famous clip of a movie star singing for JFK. The video makes me look even more gorgeous than I am in real life, and the sound-track captures my breathy rendition of a classic. 
OPPO Reno 4 5G  

I can feel myself entering the prevarication zone. At some stage, my readers will want to know if I have a preference between the two phones. The experience is a little like asking me if I want a chocolate or dark chocolate cookie. In the end, there are minuscule differences between the two, with the Pro being marginally lighter and equally marginally brighter.

The Reno 4 Pro model comes into its own if you demand cinema-quality video from your phone. It comes equipped with a healthy range of filters to add to your already Taika Jackson-like quality of your movie masterpiece. 

I am impressed by the quality of the lenses when taking macro shots of our gorgeous spring flowers. Sadly a local bumble-bee refused to cooperate so I wasn’t able to capture pollination happening. However, my rain-drops look stunning and I loved the glowing red of this red rose, which by any other name is still a rose.

The bokeh effect is so easy to achieve, and the phone literally renders my Digital SLR Camera obsolete. Humility prevents me from sharing my latest selfies, but I’m sure the singer had me in mind when he sang, “I caint wait ter look in the mirror, coz I get better looking each day.”  

The image stabilisation technology is outstanding, whether taking stills or shooting an action video scene. Those of us who learned photography many moons ago know all about the importance of tripods. We can now forget all of that. Woohoo!

I haven’t tried shooting at night-time, but OPPO promises I’ll be blown away by the quality of my shooting in the dark, with its Ultra Night and Ultra Dark modes.

Currently, I’m holding both phones in my hands looking from one to the other, and back again. In January this year, I wrote about OPPO NZ winning Consumer NZ’s top mobile phone brand. I’d hazard a guess that with phones like these (not to mention their competitive prices) I’ll be surprised if they aren’t still sitting in that top spot.  

I’m imagining myself having to make a life or death decision as to which phone I shall choose. Both models are priced competitively, with about $100 separating the two, depending on your reseller. Sitting around the $1000 mark, OPPO has priced these phones competitively, compared to some of the opposition. 

In the end, if you like the curved bezel-less look, go for the Pro. If you need professional-looking video and images, the Pro would be my choice. Having said that, the Reno 4 did an excellent job too.  Both have that silky-smooth OPPO texture that is a delight to touch.

I feel like the worker who has been asked to take his pick from the two shovels leaning against the wall.  Good luck with your choices. I reckon I’ll need to keep them both for a couple of years before I can nit-pick enough (pardon the pun) to decide between the two.