Oppo Reno 5G review as MailOnline gets hands-on with the ‘shark fin’ device

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Chinese mobile phone manufacturer OPPO is relatively new on the scene of global smartphones and has released its latest handset, the Reno 5G (pictured)


Chinese mobile phone manufacturer OPPO is relatively new on the scene of global smartphones and has released its own 5G handset – the Reno.  

The relatively unknown manufacturer will most likely ring a bell to those outside the tech world for sponsoring the ICC cricket world cup and Wimbledon this summer.  

MailOnline got hands on with the handset, and a 5G SIM, to see how the tech performed and if it will be enough to break into a crowded market. 

Overall, the handset is good for the money, performs very well most of the time, has a good camera and 5G is as rapid as advertised. 

But, it is mildly irritating occasionally with a handful of niggles spoiling the overall experience of the phone and ColorOS disappoints compared to most Androids.   

Scroll down for video  

The name Oppo will most likely ring a bell to those outside the tech world for sponsoring the ICC cricket world cup and Wimbledon earlier this summer

MailOnline got hands on with the Oppo Reno 5G handset, and a 5G SIM, to see how the tech performed and if it will be enough to break into a crowded market

5G

The phone is one of a handful on the market with access to 5G and, in the UK, is exclusively available on EE.

EE was the first network provider to roll-out 5G in Britain and it is currently available in London, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Belfast and Manchester. 

More cities are set to be added over the next 18 months but, for now, the range is very limited. 

It has now been joined by Vodafone in offering 5G and O2 will join the battle of the rapid internet access in October.  

5G speeds on the Oppo Reno were noticeably faster than on 4G and shared WiFi, reaching speeds of up to 180Mbps (pictured)

Shared WiFi provides very slow internet speeds almost ten times slower than provided by 5G

Shared WiFi (right) provides very slow internet speeds almost ten times slower than provided by 5G, which topped out at around 180Mbps (left) 

EE has rolled-out 5G to six cities across the UK - London, Cardiff, Belfast, Edinburgh, Birmingham and Manchester (pictured, green). A further ten will be added before the end of 2019 and myriad more before the end of next year, EE claims

EE has rolled-out 5G to six cities across the UK – London, Cardiff, Belfast, Edinburgh, Birmingham and Manchester (pictured, green). A further ten will be added before the end of 2019 and myriad more before the end of next year, EE claims 

HOW WILL 5G SPEEDS IMPROVE MY PHONE?

One advantage of 5G which doesn’t get enough credit is its sheer capacity and ability to deal with large amounts of people on the network at any one time.

4G is often overloaded when large gatherings of data-hungry devices are trying to get on the network at any one time.

As anyone who has ever been to a sporting event, festival or tried to send a ‘Happy new year’ message will know, at these times messages fail to send and the internet fails.

5G’s superior bandwidth means the capacity it has before becoming overloaded is much better and would be almost impossible to exceed. 

When on 5G though the internet access and download speeds are phenomenal. Working in a central London office on 5G, the handset had a quicker internet connection, by a county mile, than 4G and WiFi. 

This manifests itself in a range of ways, most notably the lack of latency when bobbing around the Big Smoke and downloading apps, films or music. 

MailOnline tested the speed on local WiFi, 4G and 5G with the simultaneous downloading of Pokemon Go, a 94.05MB app. 

5G completed the task in 14 seconds, WiFi in 43 seconds and 4G in 32 seconds.  

But, a train journey from London to Leeds on a Thursday to watch the cricket provided the perfect perspective on the current state of 5G – excitement over the ultra-fast internet must be stymied while vast swathes of the UK barely have serviceable 3G.  

Oppo Reno 5G speeds  
WiFi  4G  5G 
43 seconds 32 seconds  14 seconds  

Camera 

THE VERDICT  

Overall 

The Oppo Reno 5G is a good phone with a big screen and a reasonable price-tag considering the 5G rivals on the market. 

But it needs 5G to take-off and find its feet in order to make the investment a viable opportunity for most people. 

The good 

It’s rear camera, complete with three lenses, is equipped with more than competent AI which swiftly switches between modes and the quirky shark-fin front camera works well. 

The large screen is crystal clear and its processor and battery life allow you to use it without inhibitions.  

Its ultra-fast VOOC charging is also extraordinary. Oppo claims it can take a phone from 0 – 75 per cent full in just half an hour and a test of this claim found it to be accurate. 

The bad 

The camera system may be smart and swift at knowing what it is looking at, but it falls down a little when it comes to the images themselves. 

It occasionally struggles with lighting and regularly admonishes the user with a stern pop-up warning the user to ‘hold the camera still’ a little too regularly.  

5G is in such small pockets at the minute that the phone is only really worth it for people regularly in the centre of big cities. 

Score: 7/10 

The tri-camera set up on the back of the Reno s=is good and offers good quality and zoom capabilities. 

Its 5x optical zoom and 10x hybrid (and 60x digital) brings almost all shots into focus and reach. 

The quality at this level of zoom is, obviously, far worse than the normal camera and is about par for the course among the rest of the phones on the market. 

Compared with the capabilities of the Huawei P30 Pro, for example, it pales in comparison. 

But for a phone which is aimed at the mid-market, it is rather impressive. 

It’s rear camera is also equipped with more than competent AI which swiftly switches between mode, such as automatically detecting and changing the settings for grass, macro and portrait images. 

The quirky shark-fin front camera also works well with good clarity, but ts real value is in allowing the screen-to-screen display and no screen interruptions for a camera in the form of hole-punch or notch cameras.  

It does, like many things in life, come with a few compromises however, peak among them is it means the phone is in no way water or shower proof. 

The smooth mechanism does feel slightly like a gimmick, but it is weirdly impressive and mesmerising. A one trick pony for sure, but one I love.  

The images themselves come out at well with the 48MP camera setup taking high-quality snaps. 

A trip to the nearby ZSL Whipsnade zoo saw the camera cope well when adjusting to sunlight while zooming in on the rhinos, giraffes, bears and myriad other creatures. 

It also feels mildly harsh when it regularly admonishes the user with a stern pop-up warning them to ‘hold the camera still’ a little too regularly.

iPhoneX image of a wolverine at Whipsnade Zoo

Oppo Reno 5G image of a Wolverine at Whipsnade zoo

 Images of a Wolverine at Whipsnade zoo near Dunstable in Bedfordshire provided a good real-life test of the camera of the Reno. It performed well and images were comparable to that of the iPhone X but fall short of the lofty standards established by some marquee handsets 

Screen 

By hosting the camera away from the screen the Reno has a good screen-to-screen display with ample size at 6.6-inches. 

The marquee feature of the screen though, is its in-screen fingerprint sensor. 

Located in a sensible, easy to reach location unlike some other handsets, it works well and reliably – even with greasy or wet fingers. 

Its split screen capability is also useful for those wanting to multitask, but doesn’t support all the apps you would like it to, including Netflix. 

But for watching social videos and replying to emails/forgotten texts, it works just fine.  

The keyboard is fine and intuitive, if slightly mediocre. But for a phone reliant on big ticket items such as 5G and its camera, you can forgive an average feature here and there. 

The phone also relies on Oppo’s own ColorOS, which feels smooth and well-oiled but occasionally come into difficulty and is noticeably inferior to regular Android systems.

When rotating the screen it sometimes struggles with lag and when streaming full-screen video the menu buttons on the bottom of the screen don’t always appear when you would like them to and require somewhat of an infuriating workaround. 

Another minor grievance is its screenshotting mechanism. 

Holding the power button and the volume down button for two seconds feels clunky and the alternative, using three fingers and swiping down the screen, feels very unnatural. 

However, the quality screen and the sheer size of it work sublimely alongside the Snapdragon 855 processor, 8GB RAM and 256GB storage.

It makes multi-tasking, rapidly flipping between windows and diving down app-based rabbit holes is as smooth as any phone on the market. 

The Reno 5G is also excellent for gamers, coping with the demands of 3D graphics flawlessly.

Battery   

The 4,065mAh battery life is another impressive feature of the handset, coping with intense use all day. 

Its ultra-fast VOOC charging is also extraordinary. Oppo claims it can take a phone from 0 – 75 per cent full in just half an hour and a test of this claim found it to be accurate. 

A normal day’s use, even for a battery intense user, is very good. It will deal with streaming, browsing, navigating and browsing all in a day’s work and often still leaves about 20-30 per cent in the tank at the end of the day. 

And, even if you somehow drain the cell, it will charge up so quickly it makes very little difference.   

The Oppo Reno 5G is elusive to EE, which makes shopping around for a deal difficult. The current prices start at £49 a month for 10GB of data and with a £100 up front fee for the handset.

The Oppo Reno 5G is elusive to EE, which makes shopping around for a deal difficult. The current prices start at £49 a month for 10GB of data and with a £100 up front fee for the handset.

Cost     

The Oppo Reno 5G is elusive to EE, which makes shopping around for a deal difficult. 

The current prices start at £49 a month for 10GB of data and with a £100 up front fee for the handset. 

This puts it in the same price bracket as the Apple iPhone XR and the Huawei P30 Pro. 

The problem, when you have access to 5G where your mobile connection is often superior to your WiFi connection, is likely to be the vast data consumption the Reno will devour. 

And 10GB seems like it may be on the light side for this.

For me, after using the handset as my primary device for 22 days, I managed to get through a not insubstantial 11.4GB  of data.

For £100 up front and £54 a month you’ll get the package you probably will want, with 30GB a month. 

Data hungry tech geeks can splash out an extra fiver on every bill to double up and get 60GB mobile data. 

This price is marginally on the high side, but that is an effective surcharge for the privilege of having 5G – something many will be prepared to stump up the cash for. 

Verdict 

A good phone, with good value available and the added sparkle of 5G. 

High-quality tech features mingled in with some middling tech make for an intriguing phone that many 5G nerds will opt for. 

An enjoyable handset to use and hold and also a practical device not hamstrung by gimmicks. 

If you are willing to branch out from the Apple, Google, Samsung safety blanket, its a good phone for the general busybody around the UK – with it being more attractive to those in locations where 5G is already available.  

WHAT IS 5G AND WHAT DOES IT DO?

The evolution of the G system started in 1980 with the invention of the mobile phone which allowed for analogue data to be transmitted via phone calls.   

Digital came into play in 1991 with 2G and SMS and MMS capabilities were launched. 

Since then, the capabilities and carrying capacity for the mobile network has increased massively. 

More data can be transferred from one point to another via the mobile network quicker than ever.

5G is expected to be up to 1,000 times faster than the currently used 4G. 

Whilst the jump from 3G to 4G was most beneficial for mobile browsing and working, the step to 5G will be so fast they become almost real-time. 

That means mobile operations will be just as fast as office-based internet connections.

Potential uses for 5g include: 

  • Simultaneous translation of several languages in a party conference call 
  • Self-driving cars can stream movies, music and navigation information from the cloud
  • A full length 8GB film can be downloaded in six seconds. 

5G is expected to be so quick and efficient it is possible it could start the end of wired connections.  

By the end of 2020, industry estimates claim 50 billion devices will be connected to 5G.

The evolution of from 1G to 5G. The predicted speed of 5G is more than 1Gbps - 1,000 times greater than the existing speed of 4G and could be implemented in laptops of the future 

The evolution of from 1G to 5G. The predicted speed of 5G is more than 1Gbps – 1,000 times greater than the existing speed of 4G and could be implemented in laptops of the future 



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