The Oppo Reno4 Z 5G is a great phone, though one that you can’t buy in the United States.
Oppo’s handset brings flagship-level features, such as a 120Hz refresh screen, down to us mere mortals at a fraction of the usual price. It’s a little lacking in some areas — the performance and cameras, for example — but, on the whole, the Reno4 Z 5G is a very nice piece of kit.
The Reno4 Z 5G makes a very good attempt at looking more expensive than it actually is. It costs around £330 in the UK, which works out to around to $425 in the US. But, it truly looks like it could cost almost twice that.
In many ways, the Reno4 Z 5G brings a genuinely convincing “sub-flagship” experience. Its fast refresh rate screen is nice to look at and its 5G connectivity is great.
However, it’s clear that Oppo has pinched a lot of pennies with the Reno4 Z 5G. And, as a result, it means that we can’t wholeheartedly recommend this handset.
Oppo Reno4 Z 5G Design and Screen
The Reno4 Z 5G has a sizeable 6.57-inch LCD display with a 1080×2400 resolution. As we mentioned above, it also has a 120Hz refresh rate, which makes everything seem so much smoother.
It’s far from a bad screen, but it’s certainly nothing to blow you away. In the top left corner, you’ll also find a pastille-shaped camera punch-hole. Again, this makes the phone look more expensive than it is — there aren’t many phones with dual front cameras, especially at this price point.
We’re not entirely certain what the Reno4 Z 5G’s rear case is made of — Oppo doesn’t mention it anywhere. But we can say this with certainty — it feels plasticky and it certainly picks up fingerprints. The plasticky feel extends to the frame. Again, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does feel a bit cheap.
On the back, you’ll also find the camera bump, and it’s pretty chunky. The squared-off design clearly apes more expensive devices such as the iPhone 12. But, on a phone like this, the bump doesn’t feel necessary.
Still, it’s not all bad, the Reno4 Z 5G has space for a headphone jack, although it doesn’t offer expandable storage. We also found the single, bottom-mounted speaker to lack some oomph. The Reno4 Z 5G does also come with a fingerprint sensor. It’s side-mounted and integrated into the power/lock button, like the Moto G 5G Plus. It might seem sensible to combine the button with the fingerprint sensor but, in our opinion, it makes the phone far less easy with a left hand.
All told, the Reno4 Z 5G looks good from a distance. Its overall design looks great — the high refresh rate screen, the dual selfie cameras, and the chunky camera bump make it look more impressive than it is. Delve a bit deeper into the Reno4 Z 5G’s design and you’ll find the plasticky construction and the phone’s large size make it a bit of a handful.
The Reno4 Z 5G has four rear cameras — that’s a lot considering the price tag. These cameras include a 48Mp main lens, an 8Mp ultrawide angle lens, and bizarrely, a 2Mp black-and-white portrait monochrome lens, and another 2Mp “vintage portrait” monochrome lens.
Those latter two lenses are, frankly, gimmicks. Oppo has previously told us that they’ve had good user feedback on monochrome lenses, but we still can’t see their value. The ultrawide lens is perfectly good, but it can leave colors looking a bit bland.
The main 48Mp lens, however, is pretty strong. Colors are accurate, though there is a bit of a blue tint to the photos. However, low-light quality is poor. Colors are much harder to discern and Oppo’s attempt at a night mode is sluggish and leaves photos looking blurry.
The Reno4 Z 5G would have been far better off with two good cameras, rather than two average lenses and two useless ones.
Videos from the rear cameras aren’t great, either. There’s little in the way of stabilization and they can appear pretty pixely.
Selfies, meanwhile, are pretty decent. Colors are reproduced pretty well and there’s a good amount of detail. However, as with most Oppo phones (and a lot of other Chinese phone companies besides) caucasian skin appears whiter than normal in selfies, and there’s a lot of smoothing.
If you’re after a top-drawer camera phone, the Reno4 Z 5G is not the phone for you.
Oppo Reno4 Z 5G Performance and Battery Life
The Reno4 Z 5G also struggles when it comes to its overall performance. It uses a MediaTek Dimensity 800 processor and a healthy-sounding 8GB of RAM. However, in our experience using the Reno4 Z 5G, we found its gaming performance to be sluggish, while regular apps often juddered around. Of course, this might not be entirely the fault of the processor and RAM figures — it could also be to do with app and software optimization.
Battery life wasn’t much to write home about, either. The Reno4 Z 5G has a 4,000 mAh battery. Two or three years ago, that was a good battery size but consumers are coming to expect more. We could make it through a whole day if we were careful, but anything more than 5-6 hours of screen time per day meant that the phone would start to struggle.
Normally, this wouldn’t be a problem for most Oppo phones as the company has its super-fast VOOC charging. However, the Reno4 Z 5G has to make do with an 18W charger, which feels a lot slower.
Oppo Reno4 Z 5G Rivals
At $425, the Reno 4 Z 5G finds itself with some very impressive similarly priced company.
The Google Pixel 4a, for example, costs $350 while the 5G-enabled version costs $499. Meanwhile, the $399 iPhone SE might not come with 5G, but it packs excellent cameras and fast performance.
For European buyers, the Motorola Moto G 5G Plus offers a similar overall package to the Oppo phone for a slightly lower price.
In truth, there’s no real reason that you should buy the Reno4 Z 5G over more competent and similarly priced phones such as the Pixel 4a 5G. It might be more expensive but you’ll get a better camera, better screen, and nicer hardware.
It’s a shame that the Oppo simply can’t cut the mustard — the company has put out some excellent phones of late, but this isn’t one of them.
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