Oppo’s Reno8 5G is the company’s latest entry into the mid-range phone market. It’s a device for those who don’t want to spend around $2,000 for one of the best phones on the market.
It has a streamlined look synonymous with more expensive devices; is capable of solid performance; can take Instagram-worthy photos; and has a decent battery backed by 80w charging capabilities.
But, somehow, the Reno8 feels uninspired. It’s exactly what you would expect from a mid-range device. The problem is it doesn’t do anything new, compared to the immediate competition, and it’s missing significant features that other similarly priced products boast.
The difficult task for a mid-range phone is it not only needs to compete with other devices at the same price point, it needs to compete with older, higher-tier phones that are dropping in price as well. And it’s here where the Reno8 5G struggles. Last year’s Samsung S21 FE 5G brings more to the table.
With that said, if you’re not fond of Samsung, you’ll get a lot of use out of the Reno8. However, if you’re looking for the best mid-range device on the market, there are better options.
- Looks nice
- 90Hz display
- 80W charging
- Not as good as similarly priced competitors
- No IP resistance rating
- No telephoto lens
The Reno8 is a higher tier, mid-range phone costing $1,000. It’s not as expensive as the best smartphones like the $1,799 Oppo Find X5 Pro or the $1,999 iPhone 13 Pro Max, but it’s not as affordable as the $849 Samsung A73 5G.
The Reno8 does a good job of making itself look like a premium device. Oppo’s “unibody” design, reminiscent of the Find X5 Pro, with the camera bump blending into the back of the device, is a streamlined and classy look.
Looking at it, you’d be forgiven for thinking the Reno8 is a $2,000 phone. It’s not until you touch it that you realise this isn’t quite up there with the best of the best.
In order to achieve a $1,000 (or thereabouts) price point, mid-range devices need to remove some “premium” features. The design is commonly where these exclusions occur.
Although glass, the back of the Reno8 feels “plasticky” and not as premium as the Find X5 Pro’s ceramic metal. It’s a slippery material that’s a sucker for fingerprints and will slide off surfaces unless propped up correctly. It begs for a case that, unfortunately, isn’t included in the box.
At 183g, it’s light. As a comparison, the Find X5 Pro weighs 218g. It’s 161mm long, 74mm wide and 7.3mm thick. I could easily operate it with one hand without issue.
The front display is made from Corning’s Gorilla Glass 5, which is an ageing version of the material, released in 2016. Corning claims this will allow the display to survive drops of up to 1.6 metres. The S21 FE 5G has the latest Gorilla Glass Victus material, which will survive up to two metres.
The Reno8 doesn’t have an IP resistance rating – meaning it can be susceptible to water, dust and particle damage, which obviously isn’t ideal. Especially as the S21 FE 5G and the iPhone SE 2022 have IP ratings of IP68 and IP67, respectively.
The device comes in two colours, Shimmer Black and Shimmer Gold. For our review, we were given the Shimmer Gold version. Light reflects off it nicely, creating an eye-catching shimmering effect, it looks very nice.
The display is a 6.42inch AMOLED screen with an FHD 2400 x 1080 resolution and a 20:9 aspect ratio. It’s vibrant and bright with a peak brightness of 800 nits.
The screen boasts a 90Hz refresh rate. It’s smooth to navigate and is better than the iPhone SE 2022’s 60Hz cap. However, it isn’t quite as good as the S21 FE’s 120Hz screen. There isn’t a variable refresh rate option here, either. You can set it to 60Hz or 90Hz. That feature is usually reserved for premium devices, though, so it wasn’t an issue.
This isn’t an edge-to-edge display. There are bezels around the outside which are noticeable, the worst being the bottom bezel which is almost three times thicker than the others. It’s a dated look that takes away from the premium-esque illusion.
The Reno8 boasts a triple camera array with a 50MP f/1.8 main, an 8MP ultra-wide and a 2MP macro lens. The front camera is a 32MP f/2.4 Sony IMX709 lens.
It’s a decent array, with the main camera being the standout, thanks to its very capable Sony IMX766 sensor.
While not as good as the best in the business, the camera takes great social media worthy photos and performs particularly well for the price, in low-light conditions.
The camera supports ultra-steady video recording and dual video mode in which you can simultaneously film with your rear and front cameras. You can record video at a maximum of 4K at 30fps or 1080p at 30fps. 60fps video recording is restricted to 1080p.
See below our comparisons between the Reno8 and the iPhone SE 2022.
In the comparison between the Reno8 and the iPhone SE at 1x zoom, you can see there isn’t much to differentiate the two images, however the iPhone SE produces a slightly sharper picture.
At 3x zoom we can see the Reno8 is the clear winner. The image is sharper, with more clarity and less grain in the background.
At maximum zoom, there is very little between these two devices. Both images aren’t great. However, the Reno8 again produces a sharper, less grainy image.
In low light conditions we can see the Reno8 does a better job of lighting up the subject. The result is still blurry, but the colours are more prominent and noticeable.
Powered by the Mediatek Density 1300, the Reno8 performs well. I didn’t encounter any stuttering or latency when playing games like Raid: Shadow Legends, and it was fine for scrolling through social media apps and watching YouTube. And, of course, it supports 5G.
The Reno8 does a good job of staying cool when performing high-intensive tasks. Oppo has included its “Super-Conductive VC Liquid Cooling System” here, which increases the cooling area by 16.8% and is 1.5x more efficient than the system in the Reno7. It never felt like it was overheating.
The Reno8 uses ColorOS 12, which sits on top of Android 12. It’s a lightweight feeling operating system that’s intuitive, fast and easy to manage.
The device supports a fingerprint sensor and facial recognition biometrics, which work as they should and is also compatible with air gestures. Be warned, gestures only work with some apps. Scrolling only works on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and YouTube, and gesture call answering only applies to voice calls, not video calls.
The Reno8 has a 4,500mAh battery. It’s not the biggest battery, but it’s certainly enough. I could easily get a day’s use out of the battery with moderate usage.
To help with the daily usage, it’s compatible with Oppo’s 80W SuperVOOC charging, which will charge the device to 50% from empty in 11 minutes. And fortunately, the charger comes in the box.
Oppo has also made a point of increasing the amount of charging cycles the battery will survive. Estimated at 1600 charging cycles by Oppo, this is significantly more than the 500 average. It means the phone will last longer, which is always a positive when you’re spending $1,000 on a device.
Oppo’s Reno8 5G is a relatively bland mid-range device that doesn’t do much to challenge its competitors. That’s not to say it’s a bad phone; it looks nice and is perfectly capable of allowing you to do everything you want, whether it’s scrolling social media, playing games or taking nice photos. All for half the price of a flagship device.
There’s a lot to like here. The camera produces good images, the battery with its 80W SuperVOOC charging is best-in-class, performs well, and comes with valuable features like a fingerprint scanner.
The problem is it doesn’t bring anything new to the table. While I don’t expect new, unseen technologies and features to be introduced with a mid-range phone, I expect improvements on what’s already in the market. Samsung’s S21 FE, released in January last year, has a 120Hz display, more robust Gorilla Glass Victus material, an IP68 resistance rating, an 8MP telephoto lens (which is more useful than a macro lens) and a nicer-looking display. It’s simply a better device at the same price.
The Reno8 is a good option if you’re not willing to spend close to $2,000 for a phone, but it’s not the best in its price range. It’s a shame as I can’t help but feel Oppo missed out on making a big move on the NZ market that’s still dominated by Samsung and Apple.