First impressions of the super-charging Oppo Reno 5

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Oppo Reno 5 mainAnnounced last night in SA and available today, Oppo’s stepping up its game in the South African market with the Oppo Reno 5. It’s not quite the company’s Find series — that’s going to have to wait — but it is a remarkably premium entry at a not-really-premium price point.

We got a chance to sit down with Oppo today and explore the handset a little while discussing what’s coming next for the brand in South Africa. We haven’t had enough exposure for a proper review (that’ll have to wait a few days) but we did go hands-on with its best features. Here’s what we think so far:

Reno 5-11

Going by the specs of Oppo’s newest South African entrant alone, we’re looking at an upper-mid-range device. The Snapdragon 765G chipset is the same one Google uses for the Pixel 5, there’s 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage in the locally-available model (which launches here in both Galactic Silver and Starry Black) and there’s a very impressive camera array adorning the back of the phone. But that’s just the device in pictures and paper — how does it feel as an actual device?

To quote a certain cartoon frog, “Feels good, man.” The front-end of the Reno 5, at a glance, is hard to tell apart from the legions of high-end smartphones with bright screens and tiny bezels. Around back, especially with the Galactic Silver version we handled, it’s considerably more striking. The rear panel is a slice of polycarbonate, covered in numerous layers of paint to create the eye-catching effect Oppo’s carting around here. What’s more, the rear panel doesn’t seem to hold fingerprints all that well — at least, in our limited (so far) experience. Overall the Reno 5 gives the impression of solid quality.

Trick photography

We spent a little time flicking through the Android OS running the Reno 5 and it seems less intrusive than previously was the case. It’s a cleaner, less energetic interface overall, which is always a good thing. We’ll need a little more time with the device to come up with a final verdict on usage, but something we did get rather familiar with was the camera interface.

There are four camera sensors on the rear here — a main 64MP, an 8MP ultrawide, and dual 2MP cameras for macro and depth. Your mileage is definitely going to vary here, as the Reno 5 is capable of some fantastic shots but it’s also going to snap one or two grainier efforts. That said, the camera has some tricks up its sleeve.

You can shoot full-resolution stills, or they can be upscaled via software to 108MP. Which will give you a huge file size but it won’t be quite as crisp as the shots Samsung’s 108MP-sensored phones are capable of taking. We’re not sure what the point is, but we feel that way about Samsung’s huge images as well. There are a couple of other software-powered tweaks that are worth your attention, though. The on-device AI suggests settings based on your environment and snagged us a few crisp ones, and there’s also a software-powered stabilising mode for video that’s a little uncanny. You’re limited to a set view when using it, but it’ll smooth out a lot of (rather violent) movement. Finally, social media-y software SoLoop is something we intend to explore a little more. It’s basically AI-powered zany videos for social media using the images on your device.

Taking charge

And then there’s the charge speed. Oppo uses a humongous 65W Super-Vooc charge block, which is included with the handset itself (but will also be available as a R1,000 or so add-on if you manage to lose yours). The company’s got a lovely little graphical interface that illustrates just how quickly the Reno 5 can charge. We observed it for less than a minute and saw the battery counter climb by 4%. Oppo reckons that a five-minute topup will net you some four hours of powered-on time, meaning you can now leave even more things for the very last minute.

We’re set to have a full review of the Oppo Reno 5 soon, but there’s also more on the horizon. Oppo’s planning on bringing its own 5G router to market, at an unspecified time in the future, but we’re also likely to see a 5G successor to the Oppo A72 in the shape of the Oppo A74 — the handset sports a 90Hz LCD display, a side-mounted fingerprint sensor and 6GB of RAM for somewhere under R8,000. Expect to see it at the end of April. And expect to see a review of the R15,000 Reno 5 soon, as well.

 

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