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Oppo Reno 5G Review: Its Shark Fin Pop-Up Camera is a Gimmick But We Love It

Oppo recently entered the 5G game by releasing its Reno 5G.

From its giant display, stunning colour options and pop-up selfie camera, it’s one of the more interesting phones we’ve have seen this year.

But this isn’t particularly surprising for the Chinese phone manufacturer. It has a penchant for being a bit weird, and we’re extremely here for it.

But is the wild design choice all that Oppo’s latest flagship has going for it? We spent some time with it to find out.

The Oppo Reno 5G has a 6.6-inch OLED display that is rolling with a 93.1% screen-to-body ratio thanks to the wild Shark Fin selfie camera.

It has a 16MP lens and the motor can allegedly last for over five years – this figured has been based on a 100 times a day use case.

The rear camera setup includes three lenses – 48MP main, 8MP super-wide 120 degree and a 13MP periscopic zoom. This stacks up to a focal length of 16mm – 160mm, which is 10x hybrid zoom.

When it comes to video, both devices can record at 4K 60fps and includes hybrid stabilisation, 3D audio capture and audio zoom.

Under the hood we’re looking at a Snapdragon 855 processor, 8GB RAM/256GB storage and a 4,065mAh battery. The latter comes with Super VOOC 3.0 fast charging.

Battery Life

Coming in at 4,065mAh the Reno 5G is really solid on the battery front.

I didn’t have any issues with drain anxiety, even with early starts and late finishes. Much like Huawei, Oppo phones tend to have quite hardcore battery management systems, which is is incredibly useful.

However, I did find that the battery would drain a faster while conducting 5G speed tests.

This may trickle down into every day life if you’re in a city with patchy 5G (and at the moment that’s everywhere). Looking for 5G service will suck that battery down more than if its holding a solid 4G connection.

Hopefully this will become less of an issue as 5G becomes more predominant in the future.

Camera

In general happy snap situations you’re going to get some really lovely shots with the Reno 5G. While there are a lot of options in the menus to help customise your shots, they’re a bit convoluted and could use some streamlining.

But for the most part you’re going to be able to get the shot you want. You can even make it pop just that little bit more with the built-in editor if you’re not into using external programs such as Lightroom.

Here are some of our examples:

And while you can’t get anywhere near the quality of shot that the Huawei P30 pro does with its dedicated Night Mode, the Reno still does an alright job in low light situations.

Oppo has also used a bit of software witchcraft in order to achieve 10x hybrid zoom. Whether it looks good or not is entirely situational. While I have captured some bangers with 5x in particular, it can get trickier if you’re dealing with low light or a moving subject. You are definitely going to cop some muddiness and loss of detail.

Even more is lost when you attempt to take a 10x shot. Though the ability to do this cool, I haven’t found these shots to be worth the effort as yet. Here’s an example of the 1x, 5x and 10x zoom:

The Reno is also capable of 60x zoom but considering how badly a hand movement can impact on the photo quality on 5x and 10x, you absolutely need a tripod. Even then, that’s not the experience that I want from a phone camera.

Shark Fin Pop-Up Camera

The most prominent feature of the Reno is the pop-up shark fin front-facing camera. Oppo isn’t shy when it comes to experimental camera choices, and its latest attempt does not disappoint.

In addition to being damn fun to use, the 16MP lens takes some damn fine selfies.

There is also built-in software to mess with your skin, chin, eyes and general face size. Much like the P30 Pro, using this too much has given me a warped sense of how good I look on a day to day basis.

Unfortunately, it does get quite muddy in low light conditions.

Decent 5G… When You Can Get It

It feels a little odd to be talking about 5G, despite the Reno being a 5G phone.

The fact of the matter is that 5G is still largely superfluous for the majority of the population at the present time.

Not only is it still only available with one network provider (Telstra), its availability is still patchy.

Though it has grown in most major CBDs since June 31st, it’s by no means widespread.

And despite the speeds being an improvement on 4G, it hasn’t gotten close to the speeds promised by Telstra, or the ones hit by the telco during its heavily controlled testing during the media briefings for the four 5G devices that are currently available.

Still, the Oppo did a decent job in our tests when we did manage to hunt down a slither of 5G. At the top end we hit 367Mbps down before June 31, though the average tended to be between 165 and 195Mbps.

No Wireless Charging

While the Oppo Reno is an absolute beast in the battery department (and includes its signature Super VOOC 3.0 fast charging), there is one glaring omission – wireless charging.

This is a shame. Despite being the most affordable 5G phone available in the Aussie market right now $1,500 is flagship pricing and that deserves some modern inclusions beyond network connectivity that is barely available right now.

No Water Resistance

Again, this is a bit of a let down considering the price point. Let that shark fin swim, dammit!

It’s difficult to recommend any 5G phone at the moment. Not because they aren’t good from a specs and usage perspective, but because of the intense premium that is being placed on gaining access to the most patchy feature – 5G.

Furthermore, it’s currently only available on EE, meaning that monthly plans aren’t exactly competitive – you’ll be looking at at least £59 a month for a 5G plan.

While the Samsung S10 5G is also a solid device, it’s also the most expensive: a 5G plan with a Samsung S10 will set you back at least £69 a month, and that’s with a £150 upfront cost for the handset.

As for LG’s 5G offering, it’s a bit of a weird unit with its double screen, which is more of a hindrance than a help. And if you detach it you’re left with a pretty ordinary device that probably isn’t really worth the £74 a month price tag.

But this doesn’t mean that the Reno wins by default. Between the stellar battery life, massive screen real estate and lovely camera setup, what you have here is a really great device that is a pleasure to use.

Plus, it’s actually doing something interesting with the design and camera in terms of the shark fin. Experimentation with handsets is fun, and it’s even better when that innovation pays off.

However, if you’re looking for something even cheaper and don’t care about 5G yet, you might want to consider the mid-range version the of the Reno that Oppo recently announced. It has incredibly good specs for the price point.

Gizmodo Australia is gobbling up the news in a different timezone, so check them out if you need another Giz fix.

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