This is a phone for someone who wants a little more than average but doesn't need their phone to power a spaceship. It looks sparkly, takes decent selfies, is quick enough for texting and social media, and everyday browsing. But there are better options out there, for not much more money.
The rear of our Oppo Reno 7 5G sparkles more than the vampires from the Twilight movies. It’s called Startrail Blue and is the first thing you notice about this curved, thin phone. These visually striking whimsical colours may be the reason some buy the phone. Oppo claims that this is the first phone to use LDI (Laser Direct Imaging) processing. It’s chiseled with over 1.2 million micro-rasters that look like tiny shooting stars or meteors on the plastic chassis. However it’s done, it might be the most stylish phone in its price range.
That magical matte finish also helps shrug off fingerprints. The Reno 7 feels great in hand, where it spends most of its time. The weight and thickness mean it’s not too clunky for one-handed typing. But there’s more to this phone than just a pretty face.
Pretty on the inside
The Oppo Reno 7 5G sparkles on both sides thanks to its bright 6.4in AMOLED display. A punch hole cutout trims off a bit of the screen, but there’s still plenty to be impressed by. The screen offers a 90Hz refresh rate, fine for Candy Crush, but Genshin Impact will probably suffer a little.
The MediaTek Dimensity 900 processor should handle typical use, as well as entertainment and social media. The midrange chip comes with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, plus a microSD slot and room for another SIM card.
In practice, the device runs smoothly, with no stutters or hangups. It’s speedy for a mid-tier phone, handling all the apps the Stuff team typically uses. But if there are few performance issues, that’s made up for with regards to bloatware.
The Reno 7 runs ColorOS, bolted onto Android. The OS is easy to navigate but the Reno 7’s sparkle dimmed like a sad unicorn when we noticed how many pre-installed apps there were. We counted ten different apps that needed disposing of, by the expedient of chucking them into a folder and forgetting about them. It’s not the end of the world, but bloatware is hated for a reason. It shouldn’t have been on the phone in the first place.
The Oppo Reno 7 has a triple rear camera setup that includes a 64MP sensor, an 8MP, and a 2MP macro lens. For selfies, you have a 32MP cam on the front. The cameras are designed to shoot DSLR-styled portraits, a feature we had loads of fun playing with. Colours are well-reproduced and it’s capable of some snazzy shots. Lighting matters, certainly, but it’ll provide you with a decent crop of photos for your socials with little effort.
But the phone’s sparkle flat out dies when fighting with the macro sensor. The Reno 7 demands a 4cm distance in order to take macro shots, but in actual practice, it’s finicky. Finding the correct range is a pain since the phone apparently doesn’t know what 4cm looks like. We do. We consulted a ruler. Still, no dice.
The Oppo Reno 7’s 4,500mAh battery supports the company’s 65W SuperVooc charging technology. Expect quick top-ups, even if you’re only connecting it for a few minutes. It lasts the day even when thoroughly used, frequently only needing a morning top-up while breakfast was in the works. A mere half-hour to forty minutes gets the battery back to full again.
We mostly used the phone as our daily driver. For that sort of usage, these figures are decent. Throw calls, texting, music, social media, and maybe a few small games at it and you’ll still find it going the distance. Even on days that it doesn’t, that 65W fast-charging makes it easy to get back on the move again.
Oppo Reno 7 verdict
The Oppo Reno 7 5G is priced at R15,500. That might be a little a mid-tier phone, even one as well-rounded as this one. We love how thin and light the phone is, and how attractive it looks in general. Flagship-worthy features like SuperVooc charging, 5G, a long-lasting battery, and a competent camera, help it to stand out from other devices in this bracket. But if you’re okay with a slightly older phone, it’s possible to get an older Samsung flagship — like the Galaxy S21 256GB or a Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 — in SA for just R500 more. That takes a little of the shine off Oppo’s device.