OPPO Reno6 Pro 5G review: Should you pay more for the camera innovations?

OPPO Reno6 Pro 5G

Chinese smartphone maker OPPO has been consistent in upgrading its Reno line of smartphones, but the changes that successive editions have brought are mostly incremental. Take for example the recently launched Reno6 Pro 5G. A successor to the Reno 5 Pro 5G (review), this smartphone brings a slightly more powerful processor (MediaTek Dimensity 1200) and OPPO’s new camera-centric innovations. Priced at Rs 39,990, the Reno6 Pro 5G is about Rs 13,000 more expensive than the Realme X7 Max (review), the only other MediaTek Dimensity 1200 system-on-chip-powered smartphone currently available in India.

So, should you pay for the Reno6 Pro 5G more than you would pay for its peers in the same league just for its camera innovations? Or is there more to it that makes it a worthy package? Let us find out:

Design

OPPO keeps experimenting with the back cover design in its Reno smartphones. There is some of that here, too. Though the smartphone looks similar to its predecessor, it has a flashy gradient matte finish (Reno Glow design) on the back cover for novelty. The smartphone is easy to hold and operate, and has a good in-hand feel. The phone has a compact form factor, lightweight build (177g), and thin chassis (7.6mm) for comfortable ergonomics.

Display

The Reno6 Pro 5G sports a 6.5-inch fullHD+ OLED panel of a 90Hz refresh rate with support for HDR10 and HDR10+ high dynamic range formats. Like the previous models, the Reno6 Pro 5G boasts a two-side-curved screen – something not common in midrange premium smartphones. The two-side-curved screen eliminates the side bezels and feels natural to use, especially with gesture-based navigation controls. Moreover, the display’s 90Hz refresh rate brings user interface transitions to life and makes on-screen content lively. As for output, the display is bright, vivid and responsive. It is set to render natural colours by default; you can tune it from display settings to use vivid colours.

Camera

The phone sports a quad-camera array on the back, featuring sensors identical to the predecessor. It has a 64-megapixel primary sensor, an 8MP ultra-wide angle sensor, a 2MP macro sensor and a 2MP mono sensor. On the front, the phone has a 32MP sensor, accommodated on the top-left side in a display punch hole.

Like the design and display, the imaging-related upgrades are incremental. Speaking of upgrades, the Reno6 Pro 5G boasts the portrait video feature with the flare bokeh effect and a focus-tracking feature on top of other camera-centric innovations that were part of the previous Reno smartphone – AI Highlight video. That said, the camera-centric innovations are limited to video recording and there are no significant improvements with regard to still photography. Starting with the portrait video feature with flare bokeh effect, though it works only with human subjects, it works surprisingly well irrespective of lighting conditions. Shutterbugs might not like the quality of the video recording but this specific feature seems to impress social media enthusiasts.

Besides the portrait video feature with flare bokeh, there is an AI highlight video feature. It is touted to improve the dynamic range, colour depth and range, and contrast, to deliver an enhanced video experience irrespective of light conditions. In real life, the feature improves video recording, but not always. In lowlight conditions, the feature brightens the scene if there is some light source, howsoever dim. In daylight condition, the feature enables HDR, based on the scene requirement, to capture details that otherwise go missing. Overall, it is a good value-added feature.

Aside from the AI highlight video portrait video with flare bokeh, the Reno6 Pro 5G boasts dual-view video, AI colour portrait, monochrome video, and ultra-steady video. The dual-view video feature lets you use both the front and rear cameras simultaneously to record videos. The AI colour portrait applies a monochrome filter on the frame background while keeping the colours intact on the subject. The ultra-steady video uses electronic image stabilisation technology to record videos free from motion blur and shakes.

Complementing the value-added features for video recording is the OPPO’s SOLOOP video editing app, which comes pre-installed in the Reno6 Pro 5G. It is easy to use and has a lot of templates to quickly process the recorded video for use on social media platforms.

As for still photography, the primary sensor works well across light conditions. It captures frames with a good detail, and without any visible noise or distortion. In good light conditions, the primary sensor does a good job composing otherwise difficult details like dynamic range, highlights and shadows.

The ultra-wide sensor is a good performer, too. The ultra-wide shots lack detailing, especially the colour accuracy, that the primary sensor manages to capture. But it works well without this. The sensor straightens the barrel effect and the images it takes look uniform and free from any visible distortion.

The macro sensor is nothing to write home about. It lacks the clarity and struggles to capture details even in good light conditions.

The Reno6 Pro 5G’s front camera is good for selfies but it is not best suited for group selfies because of its narrow field-of-view (FoV). The front camera supports the night mode for lowlight selfies, but it requires stable hands to capture decent images free from motion blurs. Both the portrait video with flare bokeh effect and AI Highlight feature are supported by the front camera too.

Performance

The OPPO Reno6 Pro 5G is powered by MediaTek’s flagship Dimensity 1200 system-on-chip, paired with up to 12GB RAM and 256GB on-board storage. The phone is a performance powerhouse. It delivers consistent performance without any visible lag or throttling, even after extended usage. Speaking of performance throttling, the phone keeps thermals in control and does not heat up unnecessarily. It warms up a bit at times but not to a point where it becomes uncomfortable to hold and use.

Complementing the OPPO Reno6 Pro 5G performance is the ColorOS 11.3 user interface. Based on Android 11 operating system, this custom user interface from OPPO is full of customisation options for personalised experience. The smartphone supports 5G network connectivity. However, the phone’s 5G network capability could not be tested due to lack of a 5G network at present.

Battery

The OPPO Reno6 Pro 5G ships with a 4,500mAh battery and the company’s USB-C-based 65W fast charger. The phone easily sails through a day even if the screen is set to 90Hz refresh rate. Charging time is quick and it takes about an hour to charge the battery fully from zero per cent.

Verdict

The OPPO Reno6 Pro 5G is a complete package but not without caveats. While some of its limitations look significant on paper but do not hamper the user experience in real life scenarios – such as the screen's 90Hz refresh rate – there are many others that one simply cannot ignore. This is especially true when compared with the Realme X7 Max. For example, the smartphone lacks stereo speakers, ingress protection rating, 3.5mm audio out port, etc. That said, the OPPO Reno6 Pro 5G is an expensive smartphone, worthy only if you care about the OPPO’s camera-centric innovations. Otherwise, the Realme X7 Max is a solid deal and costs significantly less.



Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel