I will try to be simple for this review and give my opinion with no filter.
- Build, Specs, Build Quality/Design
- ColorOS and Connectivity
- My thoughts
Build Quality and Design
Let’s start with a quick video unboxing of the OPPO Reno 8 Pro 5G:
As you can see, you will have in the box:
-Phone x 1
-Charger SuperVOOC 80W x 1
-USB data cable x 1
-SIM Ejector Tool x 1
-Safety Guide x 1
-Quick Guide x 1
-Protective Case x 1
All you need to get your smartphone ready to go.
Now, let’s go with the not-funny part, the specifications:
The OPPO Reno8 Pro 5G get you covered for all your day-to-day usage
What we learned about these specs:
The Mediatek SoC, the Max Variant of the Dimensity 8100, but also the integration of the NPU MariSilicon X, only the Find X5 series got so far.
It means it is the 1rst one in the mid-range, or Reno series, to be equipped with it. While in China, the Dimensity Variant of the X5 Pro was without it. Interesting choice here.
The Dimensity 8000/8100 Series:
You got your back cover. In the benchmark part of this review, you will have enough horsepower for 99.9% of your daily usage, including gaming. But here, I tried to understand the need for an additional NPU as the Mediatek ISP is more than capable in many photography scenarios (4K, 60fps, HDR10+, AI motion Unblur, Lossless Zoom, Dual camera recording with both in HDR…). On paper no need for it.
MariSilicon X, NPU by OPPO:
● Featuring best-in-class power efficiency, 20-bit ultra-high dynamic range, real-time RAW processing, and Enhanced RGBW Pro Mode.
● Enabling high-quality 4K AI Night Video and live preview on Android smartphones for the first time.
So, if you take a look at the OPPO Reno8 Pro 5G website, it seems OPPO markets the NPU as a powerful addition for:
- 4K Night Video
- 4K HDR Video
- Night Portrait
Well, It might not be overkill, but hey, why not? We’ll see it later in the dedicated part.
The OPPO Reno8 Pro is a tribute to Antics maths and Archichecture splendor
Since last year, OPPO has decided to adopt a unibody chassis with a dedicated form factor for the optical block. This year and for the Reno 8 series, they managed to improve it and got it right. I am a big fan of it.
Slim, lightweight, flat screen, well balanced, nice grip, and any flagship should be close to it.
The company communicates about Reno 8 Pro’s design and declares the smartphone is based on the Golden Ratio (1:.618). For a reminder, Golden Ratio is a mathematical proportion that is in its nature aesthetically attractive, used since Antiquity. OPPO added that its designers used the same proportion for the rear camera optical block but also for the handset form factor, horizontally and vertically, to create its pleasing aesthetic.
I will say the job is done here.
You can take a look at it in this video, and judge by yourself:
I know flavors and colors. Personally, I really got a flagship vibe with this color and form factor. I can put it on a table, be casual, or work-ish; it will blend with any occasion.
So I have the Glazed Black variant; however, a second color exists, the Glazed Green.
Clearly, the Green one is a wonderful summer, splashy color and appealing too. Black is more classic but has a more day-to-day professional vibe. I’m more into mate colors than shiny ones like the Black Find X5. However, the X5 Pro was also glossy, so maybe a way to show the Reno8 uses top-notch materials and gives him a flagship feel.
Just for the beauty of it:
Lot of Flagships should take example
It’s flat. And I like it. Period. I’m fed up with this curved waterfall, edge, whatever the name. In a sense, the only purpose is to make the phone thin with small edges thanks to this trick. But Reno8 Pro doesn’t need it. It’s already thin, and well-balanced; the flat screen is absolutely the best choice here.
It’s a 10Bit Panel (8+2 to be precise) compatible 120Hz and up to 720Hz touch sampling rate (with compatible games that support frame interpolation tech).
100% DCI P3 or sRGB depending on the screen mode, 6.7 inches with HDR support up to nearly 1000 nits at peak (950).
I know flagship with lower luminosity than that.
Plus, it is Gorilla Glass 5.
For color restitution, by default, it’s too over-saturated for me, you can go further, or you can switch to more natural colors, a thing I’ve done. I’m pleased with it, especially under the bright sun while riding my back and checking for navigation instructions with Google Maps.
It’s interesting to see this year’s mid-range products providing the same specs in so many departments, including this one, of past end years’ flagships or even surpassing some flagships that are only one year old.
OPPO Reno 8 Pro or a Flagship?
Why choosing, with the Reno 8 Pro, you got both.
The Geek/Nerd paradise with numbers and benchmarks. First, in everyday use, I have no issue with this matter. The OPPO Reno 8 Pro runs smoothly for applications, translations, live transcripts, gaming, videos, or even photography. You got way enough horsepower here. It’s pretty much the same level of performance as last year’s flagship. No overheating, no throttling so far I’ve experimented. So far, so good.
Let’s start with AnTuTu:
No surprise here, The phone is top 10%, close to Oneplus 9 Pro under SD 888 and Oneplus 10R under the same SoC as the OPPO Reno 8 Pro.
For a reminder, here is the last ranking available:
And now the result:
No need to go further, the Max variant of the 8100 got its AI boosted vs. the 8000, and it seems they did a good job (usually around 750K for the 8000).
In this case, Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 hits 500/550 for CPU, 1800 for GPU, and Google Tensor around 1700 for NPU.
Geekbench ML wasn’t able to fully perform the NPU test, maybe due to the one from Mediatek and the one from OPPO, both at the same time?! I’m still wondering if it’s a software, app, or hardware issue.
It seems not, even after a burn-in-test with CPU Throttle:
Now for gaming:
I tried Genshin, The Division Resurgence, and some others. No lag, 90 fps, plus OPPO integrate some nice Gaming tools to change some settings and permit running them how they should be. It is compatible with Razer Kishi (What I used); the thin design and flat screen are just green lights for this. I enjoy more playing with it than some other smartphones. The battery was impressive too. When I played The Division Ressuregence, I played straight for more than 4 hours (with AC, my favorite license), and I was still able to use the smartphone until the end of the day.
ColorOS and Connectivity
OPPO reached with ColorOS 12.1 the maturity needed to move to the next step.
ColorOS… ColorOS… ColorOS
A second time I got this UI after the X5. First of all, Android 13 and ColorOS 13 will be available for this product. Beta starts in October. It should have 2 Major Android updates with four years of security updates, including A13. Usually, the security updates are only quarterly.
The first boot is Android 12, out of the box, with ColorOS 12.1 material design. You will surely have a D1 OTA (July Patch, in my case).
A few days ago, I received the August security patch with some corrections included.
It’s themed like many OEMs. However, you can see the Android 12 base behind the curtains and sometimes even Android itself with no customization.
However, when you dig into it, OPPO made many customizations in their system. Launcher, notifications, Icons, settings, smart sidebar, their own privacy sub-menu, including the Android functionalities. They have tons of applications such as OPPO Share, Omoji, gallery, video, even the clock, files app, O Relax (?), and so many apps like App cloner, App Enhancement, App services or others OPPO in-home system apk. Not mentioned on top of the Android Framework, you will also find an OPPO/OPlus framework to make all these works together (surely necessary for the Phone Manager that looks like the security center in MIUI).
We are on Google App for Android for the Phone Dialer and SMS/Messages APP. No OPPO system apps for that. And I like that. So, no debate here.
At first glance, all these apps are just giving the users some native functionalities Android already integrates into Android 12. And give the impression that they are reminiscence of a China firmware variant without Google services in this local market. But lots of them are marked as EU APK variants. And many system apps can’t be uninstalled (disable only). And all of them are not available on the Google Play store as they should be if we follow Android Guidelines. I’m really waiting for all system apps under Aarch64 and available on the Play Store with uninstalling possibility.
I said earlier, no biases. I started to get used to ColorOS, it was hard at first, but now it’s becoming way better.
It gives the impression that OPPO has integrated Android 12 functionalities made by Google, added theirs on top to expand them, and managed to balance it somehow.
Let’s start with the launcher. It’s fast, allows many options, got the discover/at glance functionality, and you can add widgets (works well with OPPO widgets, less with 3rd party apps/Google widgets), change the layout of the home screens, change the shape or even colors of the icons, notification shade icons. So, you will say Material You. It seems an OPPO solution, including a wallpaper color picker.
I still think the Notification shades can be ameliorated, and they are a struggle for me. Too many operations to have a global view and enter the app. I have many email accounts and receive many emails. You can have all the notifications grouped for each inbox; that’s great. You can unfold them and see each notification for each mail. Great. But when it’s folded, clicking on the shade, you should get you in the inbox with all read and unread mail. Here, you need to unfold, select an email, go into the email in the app, go back, and then be in your inbox.
And the system is still responsive, the battery is good, and no drain due to these additions; you customized the Reno 8 Pro to get a closer look at a Pixel/Stock OS. Some options or functionality will pop, giving you more of this feel… or the opposite.
I choose the US region on the phone, meaning lots of functionalities are deactivated to comply with local regulations… No Omoji, Themes, or way to customize the OS. Usually, when these options are free (like themes), the product is you (and your data). It can be a nice touch; for me, it’s just a gimmick, like a quick ball, smart bar. I tried them. I understand the addiction, but it’s not for me. At least the goal of Android, personalize it for your own usage. And it was the same for O Relax. It allows you to relax with a mix of music and video for the time you have decided. Zen attitude. Yep, great for those who need it, nope for me.
For the quick ball, is there an example that van is handy if you need, on the fly, translation, for instance:
You can also easily use the splitting screen functionality
For Privacy, OPPO stated, “User privacy is about transparency. OPPO has been improving data compliance through storage and process. With servers deployed in multiple locations worldwide, OPPO guarantees that user data stays in the nearby servers, saved in a non-plain text transmitted using a proprietary protocol.”
ColorOS 12.1 comes with Private System, Private Safe, App Lock, and more security features with Android 12 Privacy Dashboards. However, on the phone, their privacy notice is outdated from November 2020. It seems the servers are in Germany for EU users, so OPPO complies with GPDR.
Okay, user data are safe and encrypted. ColorOS even integrates the new A12 guidelines as permissions of apps to use the camera, microphone, localization (approximate or precise), the data used, and the green dot to indicate whether an app uses a microphone or camera. Android 13 should bring more features concerning user privacy.
Anti-peeping feature is also included, and the system will recognize if it’s the viewer looking at the screen, so the notification or content can be hidden if tuned this way.
So, with the integration of Android 12 Features, OPPO custom-made additions, a new 3D engine for rendering, the wallpaper-based theming stuff, the smart sidebar, the nearby share integration, the quick return bubble, and all the animations On, what about the battery?
Surprisingly… Good. OPPO reaches, updates after updates, a great maturity for ColorOS 12 (12.1). It’s even a shame they move to ColorOS 13 so quickly. Fingers crossed it will keep the same stability I have now.
So far, with 3 Gmail accounts + 2 Exchange ones + photography + not a great network as fewer frequencies available here in the US with an EU variant + YouTube + some casual games here and there… You are good to go for the day. As usual, I turned my smartphone by restricting apps I don’t use, and I need to refresh when I go inside them (and believe me, it makes a massive difference as ColorOs allows Foreground Activity, Background Activity, and Auto Launch options to enable or disable).
And if there is an issue, you can activate the Super power-saving mode making your smartphone a feature phone. You can add three apps on top of the clock, dialer, and messaging apps. It will help you be reachable until you find a way to recharge your phone.
Like many OEMs, OPPO integrates the virtual RAM gimmick, adding virtual memory using your storage as paginated space for the less used apps still in memory and the multitasking mode. So, you will have from 2Gb to 7Gb more than the 8Gb or 12Gb RAM available in this variant. With UFS 3.1, the less used in-memory apps, no slowdown with that… I received the 12Gb, I decided to disable this feature.
Floating windows is also available with the OPPO Reno 8 Pro, here some screenshots
It’s fully functional; the animations are great, nothing to add. Some OEMs have an issue implementing on top of their framework, but this is not the case here. If you’re a fan of it, you will enjoy it with the Reno8 series.
5G DSDS, BT 5.3 LE, aptX audio, wireless cast, close to perfect.
ColorOS also integrates all you need for casting your screen. From Miracast to Chromecast, all wirelessly. So far, I wasn’t able to cast via the USB-C VS the X5 Series; maybe they cut corners here to keep the price low.
To share your screen on your computer, you will need to download an app, PC Connect client for Mac or Windows, allowing the connection with your phone… And that’s it. You will have a floating window on your desktop mirroring your OPPO screen. Fast and easy. Sharing clipboard functionality is also available.
The Wi-Fi 6 is 2.4Gbps compatible in the Connectivity part. However, with my device, I couldn’t connect over 1.2Gbps, while my X5 or P6Pro or even SSI smartphones were able to achieve it. I’m still wondering if we got here only 80Mhz x1 or 2x 40Mhz Antennas. I’m still waiting for an answer from OPPO in this matter.
For LTE, LTE-A, LTE NR, SA, NSA, 5G, or whatever, sorry, EU variant, and I am in the US, so it won’t be representative.
For USB type c onboard, a lot of websites advertise a USB-C 2.0. Well, I’m not so sure, or it was fast. I transferred more than 8Gb in less than 5mn, and it’s more than 10-15mn with a USB 2.0 port. So maybe not 3.1 or 3.2, but 3.0 is a possibility here.
For the Bluetooth connection, it is 5.3 LE. I’m a big fan of Qualcomm Snapdragon Sound. Even if the device is not compatible with lossless codec for the last Snapdragon Sound as it is for Snapdragon SoC and Fastconnect like the 8+ Gen 1, it is also compatible with aptX codec as LDAC (Sony). And it’s a big welcoming surprise. So Well done, OPPO, on that. It’s worth the extra money.
And also, there are no 3.5mm jack nor USB-C to Jack adapter in the box, so having a flawless BT Audio experience was needed, even for a mid-range device (Premium Mid-range in this case)
Camera and Photography
Great for every day situations, with an emphasis for portrait and night videos
First, I want to remind all the readers that the Reno Series is a mid-range device. Not here to cannibalize the Find series or other flagship from the brand.
Meaning, if it was a Flagship worth $1000 or more, I would be pissed. Even if I still don’t understand some choices here.
Let’s take it off directly, No OIS, No Raw file option, no 4K/60fps, no long exposure or vlog options.
OIS is hardware; however, EIS is doing the job, especially with video modes. But the rest is only software. Worst, with all the NPU and Mediatek ISP, integrating them into the Reno 8 Pro should even be a problem. I’m still wondering why they didn’t, if there is any hardware limitation here or even the marketing reason, product managers, or whatever. Literally, it’s frustrating as it could blow away the competition if these basic features were integrated. Again, so far, for me, except for OIS (optical stab), it’s only software limitations.
I had one issue with the Gallery app, the HEIC to JPG tool while exporting to social networks, and the HEIF File format. It seems some apps, some websites, or even sharing them may result in no way to view the result with a different device. If you are sharing your work or just storing it, you should choose what suits you the best. The last update from Google Photos fixed a lot of glitches related to it, but so far the OPPO Gallery is still behind.
For the selfie part, OPPO introduced a new 32MP RGGW (W for white) custom sensor, the Sony IMX709. The aperture is f/2.4. It would have been better with an f/2.0, but again, we got one dedicated to capturing more light with its white layer. Remember, this selfie camera was the rear main Reno 7 sensor, with its cat-eye lens (not the case here). The OPPO F21 Pro is also equipped with it.
Now for the results, they are pretty good, nevertheless. As usual better to see vs. explain, so here are some examples:
Some Colors shots:
Food here and there:
Low Light Portraits shots (by playing with editing tools and filters available on the gallery and camera apps):
The post-treatment can be super aggressive in portrait mode, I advise you to tune it before and do some tests, or deactivate it. Again depending on the subject, the feminine population was more tend to push it to the limit and was happy about that. Flavors and colors…
A big part here is the use of the NPU, MariSilicon, for the 4K HDR vs. no HDR recording videos (in H265, meaning they might not be played in your browser, so here is a shared drive in Google Photos: ):
So here, more saturated colors, blacks are deeper, and contrast is stronger than with no HDR enabled.
Here is an example of a street video with a lot of lights, smoke, and people moving around:
Let’s go a last one:
As you can see, I hit it hard in a low light environment, not an easy task, with no gimbal too, and obviously no OIS.
The result is still here, exploitable and way enough for your social media or even for editing.
You also got slow motion and timelapse video options too, so here 2 “How-To” videos and timelapse examples (post-encoded in 720P for space-saving):
Here is some random videos in daylight:
Now, from a tech point: I was surprised to see the NPU added to X5 Series with the last Qualcomm and Snapdragon SoC. I’m still thinking the Triple ISPs are in fine better. Now we got the same with this Reno 8 Pro. Again, on my side, Mediatek ISP is better too than a 3rd party solution (especially since we don’t have 4K/60fps or even 8K available, or triple video streams at the same time recording capability, or 4K HDR selfie videos… etc etc). So Why?
The only things I’m thinking about right now are:
- You don’t pay your supplier for their tools and licensing
- You can have a dedicated team tuning and pushing updates whatever the SoC on the devices
- You can push the same updates to every device with this NPU less time and resource consuming
- Having the same NPU here and there allows them to train it more quickly and feed him with data and case scenarios.
Maybe some stuff I forget and am not aware of.
Is it right or not, it’s the trend now from Xiaomi, OPPO, VIVO etc. Do I like it? Nope. And I’m pretty sure we won’t see the benefits, as users, until mid-next year if it’s still alive.
The Battery and Charger:
Charging is blazing fast, really fast. And the battery stands long.
First, for the USA, with 110V, it’s 66W fast charging (SUPERVOOC), others 80W. It reminds me of the OnePlus 10 Pro situation, except it was 65W (coughing…). If you got a 150/160W SUPERVOOC charger from Realme, OnePlus, it would be 80W. But whatever, it’s only a 3mn difference for a full charge between 65/66W and full 80W.
It’s just surprising OPPO decided to port X5 fast charging capability to a mid-range like the Reno, while a lot of 2022 flagships are still using 18/27/33/50/55/65W charging instead of 80/120/150W available on the market.
Yep, that’s right; the Reno8 Pro doesn’t need to be jealous of the top tiers of flagships available in the market concerning this point.
Indeed, from 17% to 100% in 33 minutes. Take a shower, grab a coffee, listen to a podcast, and you’re fueled up for more a day of battery. And yes, with many push email accounts, listening to music with TWS, smartwatch connected, GPS navigation, some gaming sessions in the commute (or streaming), social media, and posting photography shots… Your smartphone will handle it. Worst, you are a heavy player, just 5mn of charging here and there, and that’s it.
Now, two things bother me with the power outlet/charger. No USB-C port, it’s an old USB type A. I can understand the idea is to have the cable able to connect to a computer port or even Android Auto, where usually it’s still “type A.” Plus, no Type A to USB-C adapter to make the USB cable type C to type C. But again, it’s a mid-range and not a Flagship device.
The second is the size of the outlet. It’s huge for an 80W. Now we got GaN technology, and I’ve seen 150W chargers smaller than this one.
As you can see, OPPO should release a GaN 80W, the same size as the Xiaomi 65W in the photos. It would be a killer product.
Do you want the best for BTS, in its category? No Brainer, the OPPO Reno8 Pro is for you.
Yes, if you’re searching for the best premium mid-range device with an incredible feeling in your hands, the OPPO Reno8 Pro 5G is for you. If you don’t have the money to pay for a $/€1000 flagship device, the same, the device is for you.
Now, you will think twice if you can put your hands on a new H2 2021 (or even an H1 2022 flagship for a lower price than the OPPO Reno8 Pro).
You will have to consider what is your usage of the device for every day: more into photography, selfie, night videos with HDR, gaming, social media, and maybe some stuff I’m forgetting.
And it will be a hard decision as the OPPO Reno8 Pro can easily be mistaken for a flagship with some software addition. The line is growing thinner than usual between next year’s mid-range device and the previous flagship. Usually, it was a one-year and a half gap; now, we’re even close to 6 months. And worst, the new OnePlus 10T only got the latest Snapdragon SoC + the charging time for him (around 10mn faster for a full 0 to 100 charge) VS. the OPPO Reno8 Pro 5G, and they are available at the same time on the market. However, the OPPO Reno8 Pro 5G surpasses the OP10T for all photos and videos matter.