OPPO Reno 8 Pro Review: Undeniable style, questionable value?

OPPO Reno 8 Pro  Review: Undeniable style, questionable value?
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“The Portrait Expert”. This is the lofty claim Oppo makes for its latest high-end device – the Oppo Reno 8 Pro, which incidentally happens to be the most expensive Reno phone in the Indian market, so far. With this phone, Oppo aims to capture the camera enthusiast consumer while also providing enough hardware and software chops to aid in daily usage. The Reno series is generally known for marrying premium design with impressive specs, and the Reno 8 Pro is no different. 

Sporting the MariSilicon X NPU, which was previously utilised in the Oppo Find X5 Pro, the Oppo Reno 8 Pro leverages this chip for enhanced video HDR processing. Add to that a 50 MP Sony IMX766 sensor, a unibody design, and the MediaTek Dimensity 8100-MAX SoC, and you get a smartphone that looks impressive on paper. However, in the sea of competitors such as the OnePlus 10R, Moto Edge 30 Pro, Google Pixel 6a, and iPhone SE 2022, can the new kid on the block nudge the market in its favour? Priced at ₹45,999, the Reno 8 Pro has a lot to prove in order to live up to its relatively exorbitant price tag. Is it worth the cost? We find out that and more in the review of the newly-launched Oppo Reno 8 Pro.

Oppo Reno 8 Pro Review: Build and design

Oppo has had a solid track record with the design of the Reno series of smartphones, some of which were touted to be the most visually appealing smartphones in their respective price segments. With the Oppo Reno 8 Pro, the company has yet again, left no stone unturned to ensure a gorgeous design. The all-glass build with an aluminium frame gives it a premium look and finish. The sides are flat and the display sits almost flush with the sides – so it has somewhat of an iPhone-esque feel to it. 

Despite packing in a lot of hardware, the Oppo Reno 8 Pro weighs merely 183 g, so it’s got a very lightweight build with decent weight distribution despite the pretty large camera module. The phone is 7.34 mm thick, so you won’t find it as bulky as some high-end and flagship devices on the market. The device is also comfortable to hold, however, it features a large 6.7-inch making, making one-handed usage an improbability. 

Oppo Reno 8 Pro Review: Build and design

The Reno 8 Pro has what the company dubs a “unibody design” which refers to the camera module seamlessly blending into the rear panel with a single glass sheet. The look achieved is honestly quite stylish and eye-catching, however, we felt that the design could be taken a level further if the camera module was made slightly more compact. The phone wobbles slightly on a flat surface, but it isn’t as aggressive as we’ve seen on other phones with steeper camera modules.

Due to the subtle curve of the camera module, the phone is comfortable to hold even in landscape mode as it provides a resting place for your index or middle finger. Overall, this is a gorgeous-looking phone, possibly the best-designed one in the segment.

Oppo Reno 8 Pro Review: Build and design

The rear features a glossy glass panel and the Glazed Green colour variant we received was excellent at rejecting fingerprints and smudges. The phone is IP54 certified for dust and water resistance as well, however, some similarly priced phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE offer a higher IP rating. The company has used Gorilla Glass 5 for protection, so across the board, this is a well-protected smartphone – from both elements and accidental drops. Our only real gripe with the build is that the in-display fingerprint sensor is placed too low on the screen, and someone with shorter fingers will find it harder to reach the sensor one-handed.

Oppo Reno 8 Pro Display Review

The Oppo Reno 8 Pro flaunts a gorgeous 6.7-inch AMOLED panel with Full HD+ resolution and 120 Hz refresh rate. The bezels around the display are extremely thin and while all sides aren’t uniform, the thin bezels do contribute to the premium feel of the phone. You’ve got a screen-to-body ratio of 93.4 per cent which is amongst the highest in this price bracket.

Looks of the display aside, the panel performs admirably. You get HDR10+ and Widevine L1 support meaning you can enjoy HDR high-definition content on streaming services such as Amazon Prime and Netflix. Content consumption of this device is a treat as the display’s colours are vibrant, a tad oversaturated at times. If that does put you off, you can change the display colour preset to Natural to get a more true-to-life colour depiction. Nevertheless, the picture you get is crisp and vibrant. Viewing angles are excellent as well. The AMOLED panel also assures true blacks which makes the contrast even richer.

Oppo Reno 8 Pro Review: Display

As for the display’s brightness, we had no issues using the display even in harsh sunlight since the screen was perfectly legible at all times. We recorded a peak brightness of 552 nits in normal usage, while on High Brightness Mode, the screen can touch 800-900 nits with ease. 

The screen supports 120 Hz refresh rate but there’s no dynamic refresh rate switching feature which means it will run at 120 Hz regardless of what’s on the screen. This can leach the battery quite a bit but you can turn down the refresh rate to 60 Hz in the settings menu, should you need the extra juice. With 120 Hz refresh rate active, scrolling and swiping within apps felt fluid and smooth. 

In addition to the excellent display, you also get stereo speakers on the phone which are quite loud and sound pretty good, making content consumption an even more immersive experience. 

Oppo Reno 8 Pro Performance Review

The Oppo Reno 8 Pro is powered by the MediaTek Dimensity 8100-MAX SoC, the same one found in the OnePlus 10R which sports a considerably lower price tag. The chipset is paired with 12 GB LPDDR5 RAM and 256 GB UFS 3.1 storage. There’s also support for added virtual RAM, but 12 GB is enough for even heavy multitasking, so that feature is not really necessary on this phone. There’s only one memory variant and it is priced at ₹45,999. This processor is accompanied by Oppo’s in-house developed MariSilicon X Imaging NPU which is used to enhance video recording. 

The Dimensity 8100-MAX SoC is powerful enough for it to perform swimmingly in day-to-day usage. Tasks such as calling, texting, social media, web browsing, and more can be carried out with no hitches. We experienced no instances of lag or stutter despite running intensive video editing apps or having 12+ tabs open in the background. Gaming is smooth on this device as well, with the phone’s GPU being able to handle just about any game thrown at it on High graphics. 

We ran our usual slew of benchmarks on the Oppo Reno 8 Pro and the phone performed as expected. However, when faced with competitors at around the same price point with better SoCs, the phone displayed its questionable value for its asking price. 

Oppo Reno 8 Pro Review: Performance

Oppo Reno 8 Pro Review: Performance

Oppo Reno 8 Pro Review: Performance

We pit the Oppo Reno 8 Pro against the Moto Edge 30 Pro and the Pixel 6a since both phones sport a slightly lower price tag than the Reno 8 Pro. The results were telling with the Moto Edge 30 Pro crushing the Reno 8 Pro’s score in every benchmark we ran while the Pixel 6a pulled up similar scores. 

Oppo Reno 8 Pro Review: Performance

Oppo Reno 8 Pro Review: Performance

Oppo Reno 8 Pro Review: Performance

We also ran Call of Duty: Mobile via Gamebench Pro. The phone ran the game at a median FPS of 59 at 100 per cent stability on High Graphics, which is excellent. Our experience concurred with the Gamebench numbers – when playing COD: Mobile we barely saw any frame drops and the gameplay was smooth all the way through. The phone also handled heat pretty well and got nowhere as toasty as the Pixel 6a did after 15 minutes of COD: Mobile.

Oppo Reno 8 Pro Review: Performance

While there are similarly-priced phones that perform better in benchmarking apps, the Oppo Reno 8 Pro can handle almost anything you throw at it. Even in the CPU Throttling Test we ran, the phone only throttled to 94 per cent of its peak performance after 15 minutes. This goes to show that the phone can sustain its performance even under considerable workloads and can handle heat swimmingly with its graphite-based cooling system. For this reason, we would recommend this phone to ardent mobile gamers as well, even though they aren’t Oppo’s target audience for this phone.  

Oppo Reno 8 Pro Software Review

The Oppo Reno 8 Pro runs ColorOS 12.1 based on Android 12. Oppo has promised two years of Android OS updates. With a few competitors offering three or four years of OS updates, Oppo’s two-year promise feels lacklustre, to be honest. ColorOS is an extremely feature-rich UI, one we would have probably loved if it weren’t for the plethora of bloatware on this phone. Thankfully, most of these third-party applications can be uninstalled but it doesn’t bode well if users have to deal with this kind of bloatware at the 45K price point. Additionally, some native Oppo apps did send us a barrage of notifications that weren’t too pleasant to experience as well.

Oppo Reno 8 Pro Review: Software

ColorOS 12.1 has a ton of features and customisability options that we enjoyed tinkering with. Some features seemed a tad bit gimmicky but some were actually pretty nifty. For example, you can select which colours from your current wallpaper should be used for the overall theme of the phone, which is pretty neat. ColorOS’ Air Gestures features are fun to use as well, but the novelty did wear out after a while and we went back to using the phone normally in a couple of days. 

We also loved the X-axis Linear Motor used in the phone. Haptic feedback from the motor when texting and receiving calls is satisfying and precise. Other features such as multi-screen connect, require password to power off and anti-peeping notifications were also useful. Emoji tries to emulate Apple’s Animoji but it doesn’t really come close.  

Oppo Reno 8 Pro Camera Review

Oppo is pushing the Reno 8 Pro as a camera-centric device, but sadly, the cameras seem to be the device’s weakest link. There’s a lack of consistency in the shots clicked on all three rear lenses, with the selfie camera being the camera stack’s most consistent shooter. Let us elaborate. The Oppo Reno 8 Pro features a triple rear camera stack consisting of a 50 MP Sony IMX766 primary lens, an 8 MP ultrawide shooter, and a 2 MP macro camera. You also get a 32 MP Sony IMX709 camera for selfies. Check out uncompressed camera samples here. 

Oppo Reno 8 Pro Review: Camera

In daylights, pictures come out looking pretty good with vibrant colours and oodles of detail. However, the colours are sometimes too oversaturated, which works for social media but can end up looking slightly unnatural. In close-up shots, the camera has good natural background blur but sometimes, the subject’s edges look too soft.

Oppo Reno 8 Pro Review: Camera

Oppo Reno 8 Pro Review: Camera

As for dynamic range, the Oppo does well in ideal lighting conditions but in more tricky lighting highlights get overblown and shadows are crushed. The Oppo usually clicks sharp pictures and with auto-HDR, details are brought out nicely in most instances. There’s also a dedicated 50 MP mode that brings out some added detail but compromises on dynamic range.

Oppo has called the Reno 8 Pro “The Portrait Expert” and while the primary lens is capable of clicking some pretty solid portrait shots in ideal lighting conditions, skin tones and textures look a tad too unnatural on the phone. There’s a lot of smoothening and whitening happening here, even with Beauty Mode turned off. Edge detection is pretty decent, but the camera does miss out on a stray strand of hair from time to time. 

Oppo Reno 8 Pro Review: Camera

The 8 MP ultrawide camera is honestly not as good as the competition, namely phones such as the Nothing Phone (1) and the Pixel 6a. The photos are lacking in detail and the dynamic range is poor. Ultrawide barreling is pretty minimal but other than that there’s no real redeeming factor for the ultrawide shooter. In fact, in low light, there’s an extreme amount of softness and noise in the ultrawide shots. The phone also features a 2 MP macro camera that’s not worth mentioning since it takes blurry and soft shots, mainly due to the OIS being absent.

In low light, the primary lens does a decent job at extracting detail in photos and letting enough light in to illuminate the photo well. Night Mode brings out further detail in photos, however, colours aren’t the best in low-lit conditions. Oppo also does a good job curtailing lens flare from lights in low-lit conditions. However, without OIS, low-light shots are hit-and-miss with some lacking detail while others looked fantastic. You may need to take a couple of shots to get the perfect low-light shot you desire.

Oppo Reno 8 Pro Review: Camera

Oppo Reno 8 Pro Review: Camera

As for selfies, the 32 MP front camera is the strongest link of the Reno 8 Pro’s camera stack. The phone consistently clicks detailed and vibrant images which look fantastic and social-media ready. Turn off the beauty mode and you’ll get pretty colour-accurate skin tones as well. Portrait selfies are also great with impressive edge detection. Low light selfies look great with the phone’s inbuilt screen flash. There’s plenty of detail and character in nighttime selfies. 

Oppo Reno 8 Pro Review: Cameras

Moving on to video, this is where the phone leverages the MariSilicon X NPU for enhanced low-light videos. The phone tops video recording at 4K@30 fps on the rear camera while the selfie camera tops out at 1080p@30 fps. In daylight, Oppo’s footage has way too much contrast and the highlights are sometimes overblown. We turned off AI mode in video, and the contrast did come down to more manageable levels but it still doesn’t look natural.

At night, the MariSilicon X NPU does show its abilities by adjusting exposure on the fly. This does lead to well-lit low-light videos with a good amount of detail. However, the constant exposure and dynamic range adjustments do look jarring at times. You can visually see the colours and exposure shift and it doesn’t look seamless due to that. Oppo needs to spend some more time optimising its NPU to best leverage its abilities.

Overall, the Oppo Reno 8 Pro’s camera has definite weaknesses, and phones such as the Google Pixel 6a and the lower-priced Nothing Phone (1) seem to be more consistent in certain areas. If the camera is your primary concern, we couldn’t possibly wholeheartedly recommend the Reno 8 Pro unless Oppo can roll out some firmware updates to fix some of these issues.

Oppo Reno 8 Pro Review: Battery life

The Oppo Reno 8 Pro draws power from a 4,500 mAh battery and comes with an 80 W SuperVOOC fast charger in the box. The battery life of this phone is excellent with the device lasting over a day with medium usage. With heavy usage, you can expect about a day’s worth of battery life. In our video battery test where we play a 4K video on loop on full brightness, the phone lasted just under 15 hours, which is very impressive.

Oppo Reno 8 Pro Review: Battery life

The bundled 80 W charger is extremely speedy and charged the device from zero to full in merely 38 minutes. The phone did get slightly toasty at the end of the charge but it was manageable levels of heat.

Oppo Reno 8 Pro Review: Verdict

The Oppo Reno 8 Pro is a stellar device, no doubt. But, it doesn’t deliver what it promises. What it promises is a reliable camera setup across the board, however, all the rear cameras have significant weaknesses making some lower or similarly-priced competitors more appealing. Also, ColorOS is loaded with bloatware which takes away slightly from its premium feel. However, the phone is an absolute powerhouse with the MediaTek Dimensity 8100-Max SoC packing a punch no matter what’s thrown at it. Additionally, the battery life is fantastic with 80 W charging being the cherry on top. All in all, this is a well-rounded phone that does well in all areas but doesn’t excel in the one area where it promises to – the camera.

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