Review: Oppo Reno4 5G & Reno4 Z 5G

Oppo sent over two phones late last year – the Reno4 Z 5G 128GB (CPH2065) which is $499 from Amazon or Officeworks and the Oppo Reno4 5G 128GB (CPH2091), $779 at Kogan/various eBay sellers (e.g: Wireless1, MobileCiti). Going by the name you’d think they’re pretty similar devices sporting 5G capabilities, but dig into specs and the differences are vast.

For your $280 extra you get:

  • An AMOLED screen instead of IPS, but the cheaper display on the Reno4 Z is slightly larger (6.57″ vs 6.43″) a higher refresh rate (120Hz) and goes brighter (480 nits vs 430 nits).
  • A Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G SoC versus a MediaTek MT6873V SoC. They’re basically the same in most synthetic benchmarks.
  • A slightly better video camera that records 1080p video at 120fps (the Z maxes out at 30fps) and supports HDR.
  • A better selfie cam – 32MP with a faster lens, but smaller pixel pitch.
  • No headphone jack, but USB 3.1 instead of USB 2.0
  • SuperVOOC 2.0 65W charging capability 60% battery in 15 min and 100% in 36 min according to Oppo.
  • Under display fingerprint reader instead of a right side mounted button reader that would be a proper pain in the arse for a left handed person.

I didn’t spend too long checking these phones out, just mucked around with em for a week really, but they’re both perfectly cromulent devices for their price points. Both run Oppo’s ColorOS 11.1 (based on Android 11) which is one of the least offensive custom versions of Android and is very regularly updated. Both devices are currently running the Feb 2021 round of Google security patches. Not bad!

Is the more expensive Reno4 worth it? Going by the specs, not really, but after a week of use I prefer the Reno4 5G. Despite both devices are pretty similar in day to day usage the fingerprint reader on the Reno4 Z 5G really shit me. I use my phone in both hands and being forced to unlock the phone with my right hand is annoying. There is face recognition on both devices but it’s the crappy image based kind and such a piece of piss to bypass I don’t use it. For that reason alone I used the Reno4 Z way less and wouldn’t buy one.

Would I buy an Oppo Reno4 5G though? Maybbbeee, which is a lot more than most Android phones in this price bracket because the Pixel 4a 5G is awesome. I strongly prefer Google’s Pixel phones because the interface is coherent and they get the latest and greatest updates from Google directly for a few years. Most Android phones don’t do that, but Oppo does a pretty reasonable job keeping things updated with ColorOS.

Specs wise they compare quite nicely:

  • More RAM on the Oppo (8GB vs 6GB) but in the real world probably doesn’t make much difference.
  • 48MP main camera vs 12.2MP, but only an 8MP wide angle vs a 16MP on the Pixel. However Google’s image processing is superior to Oppo’s so the difference in pixel count isn’t that bad in reality.
  • 4K video recording at 60fps and 240fps at 1080p is better on the Pixel.
  • The Pixel has a headphone socket!
  • The Oppo has an FM radio. Handy for the footy.
  • SuperVOOC 2.0 charging on the Oppo, just 18W charging on the Pixel.

I’d still lean towards the Pixel just because I have more confidence in Google supplying regular updates for at least 2-3 years and I like the more subdued stock Android interface, but ColorOS suprised me.

My quick summary of the Oppo Reno4 Z 5G: nice phone, decent price, but the right sided fingerprint reader is stupid.
My quick summary of the Oppo Reno4 5G: solid unit that competes well with the Pixel 4a 5G, buy it if you like ColorOS over stock Android.