Oppo Reno 7 5G Review: One step forward, two steps back

Oppo Reno 7 5G  Review: One step forward, two steps back
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Oppo Reno 7 has launched in India alongside the Reno 7 Pro and the two new phones succeed the Reno 6 lineup from last year. We have also reviewed the Reno 7 Pro (review) and found it to be a really stylish device with impressive cameras. Now the Reno 7 that has launched in India is essentially a new wine in an old bottle when you compare it with the Reno 6. It’s got a new design and camera stack while the Dimensity 900 SoC remains the same as the Reno 6. We have reviewed and tested the Reno 7 taking it through our usual set of tests and here’s how it fares against the competition and whether it’s worth the asking price of Rs 28,999?

Oppo Reno 7 Performance Test

Oppo Reno 7 Performance Review

The Oppo Reno 7 is powered by the MediaTek Dimensity 900 SoC which has an octa-core CPU and is paired with 8GB LPDDR4X RAM and 256GB UFS 2.2 storage. It runs on Android 11 based ColorOS 12 which ensures a smooth experience. Though we would have preferred Android 12, the phone will likely get an update very soon.

When it comes to daily performance, the phone did not show any signs of stress and neither did I experience lags of any kind. The phone comes pre-loaded with some bloatware but apart from that the ColorOS 12 has received some design changes which make it more appealing than before.

In synthetic benchmarks, the Reno 7 showcases decent performance but since it uses the same chipset as the Reno 6, it offers similar performance results, sometimes better.

Oppo Reno 7 Performance Review

In the AnTuTu benchmark, the Reno 7 gets ahead of phones like the 11i Hypercharge (Dimensity 920) and Reno 6 but does not manage to get close enough to the performance offered by Snapdragon 778G on the Galaxy M52.

Oppo Reno 7 Performance Review

Similarly, in Geekbench tests, the Reno 7 got a lower single-core score than the competition but in multi-core tests, it was able to go toe-to-toe with Dimensity 920 yet didn’t manage to catch up to the Snapdragon 778G.

Oppo Reno 7 Performance Review

In PCMark tests which runs some workload sessions like video editing, document editing, web browsing to mimic real-world usage, the Reno 7 scored the lowest amongst 11i Hypercharge, Galaxy M52 and also the Reno 6. This means that the system optimizations doesn’t let the Reno 7 perform these tasks as smoothly as on the Dimensity 920 and Snapdragon 778G.

Oppo Reno 7 Performance Review

We also ran the CPU throttling test to check whether the phone and the SoC onboard is limiting the performance. Here we found out that the phone throttled to 94% of its maximum performance which means that it is capable of running up to its full potential but due to ColorOS optimizations, it can limit the performance to keep the thermals in check.

Oppo Reno 7 Performance Review

In GPU tests, the Reno 7 got decent scores but nothing that lead us to believe it can offer a sustained gaming experience. And since it has the Dimensity 900 under the chassis, it has more or less similar scores as the Dimensity 920 with the Galaxy M52 taking a solid lead with its Adreno GPU.

Oppo Reno 7 Performance Review

We used Gamebench metrics to assess the gaming performance of the Reno 7 on games like COD Mobile, BGMI, Asphalt 9 and more. As per the data recorded by Gamebench, our COD Mobile session on the Reno 7 raked in consistent 59FPS with a 93% stability. The game runs smoothly but it’s a Dimensity 900 limitation that it can’t offer any more than medium graphic quality with high frame rates.

The Reno 7 ran Asphalt 9 at 30FPS with 93% stability and BGMI at 40 FPS with 99% stability. Both these games run smoothly with some occasional lags in BGMI but otherwise, the gaming performance is decent. Though if gaming is a priority, you may have to look elsewhere for a phone that doesn’t compromise on sustained gaming performance.

Oppo Reno 7 Battery Life

The Reno 7 is equipped with a 4,500mAh battery that supports 65W fast charging out-of-the-box. Oppo claims that the phone can fully charge to 100% in just 31 minutes. However, in my use, the Reno 7 took around 37-40 minutes to fully charge from 1%-100% with the screen on.

While the battery life of the Reno 7 is nothing to write home about, it offers a day’s worth of use on a single charge. Though if you play games regularly or watch videos in between, you might just have to charge it by evening. In our video loop tests, the Reno 7 lasted for around 17 hours on a single charge which is pretty decent and in line with the competing phones.

Oppo Reno 7 Camera Review

Oppo Reno 7 Camera Review

The Oppo Reno 7 has triple cameras on the back headlined by a 64MP camera, an 8MP ultra-wide camera with 120-degree FOV and a 2MP fixed focus macro camera. On the front, we get a 32MP selfie camera. The rear cameras can record in 4K UHD at upto 30FPS and 1080p at upto 60FPS with EIS. 

Even though there’s ample reason for us to believe that the Reno 7 uses the same camera stack as the Reno 6, it doesn’t diminish the fact that the cameras are perhaps the only saving grace of the Reno 7. The main camera can create some really good-looking pictures in daylight that has great clarity and dynamic range. The colours from the main camera are very close-to-natural and there is minimal processing involved. In low-light, the camera bumps up the brightness in night mode and produces decent pictures that have little noise. 

The ultra-wide camera creates some usable wide frames but there’s ample noise around the four corners with very little details to go about. The barrel distortion effect remains minimal though all of this isn’t noticeable until you zoom in to look closely. The colours from the ultra-wide camera are also slightly over-saturated and not in line with the colours from the main camera.

Being a fixed focus 2MP macro camera, there’s very little you can do with it. It is a hit or miss affair to lock down the focus and the resultant image doesn’t have details, sharpness and is underexposed. A higher-resolution sensor perhaps would have worked wonders but you can avoid the macro camera on the Reno 7.

Oppo offers tons of different modes to play around in the camera app, the most prominent one being the Portrait mode which gives a shallow depth of field effect to images and videos. You can manually change the bokeh effect to 25 levels varying from f/0.95 to f/16. The portrait mode puts a bokeh effect to the picture but isn’t able to identify the edges and textures in the picture as accurately. Moreover, the colours look too saturated than normal. Looking at the regular and portrait versions of the same image leads me to prefer the natural bokeh to the artificial one offered by portrait mode.

The 32MP front-facing camera produces some nice selfies in daylight. Oppo offers 8 beauty/retouching filters and can detect over 193 key facial features. In video, Oppo’s algorithm can even detect the gender of the person and provide specific effects.

Oppo Reno 7

Oppo Reno 7 Build and Design

Oppo Reno 7 Performance Review

Oppo showed us its industrial design capabilities with the Reno 6 which features a flat-edge design. With the Reno 7, Oppo takes it a level further with the LDI (Laser Direct Imaging) process that has been used to carve millions of micro-lines on the back panel that gives it a brushed effect and a matte finish. We received the Startrails Blue colour from Oppo that has a gradient finish on the back which changes colour when light falls at different angles. Oppo has gone as far as to claim that this effect is an imitation of star trails but like me, you may also think it’s a bit far-fetched if you see the actual phone with your own eyes.

The other colourway Oppo is offering is called Starry Black which has a black-blue gradient finish. Since the back of the phone has a matte finish, you won’t need to make an effort to clean off fingerprints and smudges.

Oppo Reno 7 Performance Review

That said, the phone has a plastic build and an anti-glare glass on the back. The display is topped with Gorilla Glass 5 for added protection against drops. The Reno 7 is comfortable to hold in the hand as the 3D curved edge and the textured back provide ample grip. It’s also fairly lightweight, weighing in at 173 grams and doesn’t stress your hands.

Overall, the Reno 7 has a solid build but the design may not appeal to a wider audience as it doesn’t feel as premium as the Reno 6.

Oppo Reno 7 Display

Oppo Reno 7 Performance Review

The Oppo Reno 7 features a 6.4-inch AMOLED display that offers Full HD+ resolution and supports upto 90Hz refresh rate and 180Hz touch sampling rate. There is a punch-hole notch cutout in the top-left corner for the 32MP selfie camera. The display is certified for HDR10 playback so you can rest be assured of enjoying Netflix and Prime Video in HD.  

Oppo Reno 7 Performance Review

For most of my use, the display on the Reno 7 offered a smooth experience but the phone has a slightly wider chin than I expected. Going by the looks of it the bottom bezel is slightly thicker than the previous generation. The AMOLED panel on the Reno 7 is decent to watch videos and offers great details and vibrant colours. However, it fails to offer an immersive experience if say, you want to watch a movie on it as it doesn’t have a stereo speaker setup, something the Reno 6 was also criticized for.

Verdict

The Oppo Reno 7 isn’t much of an upgrade as much as Reno 6 was at the time of its launch. Sure it’s got a shiny new finish and a slightly bigger battery but that’s all pretty much commonplace in the sub-Rs 30k budget segment. The Reno 7 offers decent performance in day to day life that you can depend upon and has a good set of cameras that will attract photography enthusiasts. Even though I’d have preferred the Snapdragon 778G version of the Reno 7 to launch in India, the Dimensity 900 does a decent job. If you are someone looking for a phone under Rs 30,000, the Reno 7 is the newest kid on the block and should definitely be on your radar. The same goes for people looking for a good and value for money mobile-photography experience. However, when it comes to sustained gaming performance, the Reno 7 won’t be able to live up to your expectations.

Also Read: Oppo Reno 7 Pro 5G Review: Lots Of Style, But What About Substance?

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