Samsung has always made excellent phones, and with its market reach, it is obvious why many people prefer its devices.
Oppo, on the other hand, was a late comer in the mobile telephony space, but that does not mean it hasn’t done any good to its image.
Both companies have a Kenya presence, but with different approaches. Samsung largely brings its entire product portfolio here, but Oppo spares us of pricey phones with low-end to mid-range smartphones that the majority of Kenyans can afford to buy.
It has also emerged that Samsung is aware of Oppo’s proposition, or that of Chinese phone makers for that matter. Which is that they offer very good deals especially for the price-conscious demographic, essentially explaining the existence of the A series from Samsung.
That aside, and by sheer numbers, both phones have matching features, from basic hardware components to sensitive things like price.
The Galaxy A71 is available for Kes 40k or thereabouts. Its price hasn’t changed that much, and depending on RAM, there is a 1K or 2K price difference (it comes in two RAM configs, 6 and 8 GB).
Oppo Reno 4 is available for Kes 40k, but it has one configuration that is packed with 8/128 GB memory, and other perks that we are going to look at briefly.
Samsung Galaxy A71
BUILD: Plastic back, Gorilla Glass 3 screen
SCREEN: 6.7 inches, SuperAMOLED, 1080 x 2400 pixels
OS: Android 10, OneUI 2.5
CHIP: Snapdragon 730
MEMORY: 6 or 8 GB RAM, 128 GB ROM
MAIN CAMERA: Quad, 48 MP main, 12 MP ultrawide, 5 MP macro, 5 MP depth sensor.
SELFIE: 32 MP
BATTERY: 4500 mAh, 25W charging
PRICE: Kes 40k
Oppo Reno 4
BUILD: Plastic back
SCREEN: 6.4 inches, OLED, 1080 by 2400 pixels
OS: Android 10, ColorOS 7.2 (planned upgrade to Android 11 in December 2020)
CHIPSET: Snapdragon 720G
MEMORY: 8/128 GB
MAIN CAMERA: Quad, 48 MP main, 8 MP ultrawide, 2 MP macro, 2 MP depth sensor
SELFIE: 32 MP
BATTERY: 4015 mAh, 30W fast charging, 50% in about 25 minutes
PRICE: Kes 40k
We are going to do this quick comparison based on the above listed specs. However, it is obvious that the majority of the numbers are the same, save for a few changes in terms of camera and chipset, as well as size.
With that in mind, let’s jump right in:
- BUILD and HARDWARE
Both phones are constructed using plastic, prominently on the back.
However, they feel different: the A71 has the glossy type, whereas the Reno 4 plastic back is frosted and feels kinda nice, and subjectively more premium.
The Reno 4 is also small by sheer size, and is even lighter by a couple of grams.
Both have the necessary hardware inclusions: USB Type C, a headphone jack, no notch (front cameras are punched in the screen), and so forth.
None has dual speakers.
Winner: Overall, we love the weight, build and compactness of the Reno 4, which makes it an obvious winner for this category.
Both phones have OLED screens, but Samsung has traditionally calls its OLED technology ‘Super AMOLED.’
They are vibrant, get plenty bright on the outside, and are a pleasure to look at for 40k devices.
It is really hard to pick which display is better here because OLEDs is an excellent technology that, if used for an extended period, trumps over other technologies such as LCDs for its vibrancy and deep blacks.
The only differentiating factor here is the size: the A71’s screen is larger at 6.7 inches, which can be very attractive for media consumption. At 6.4 inches, the Reno 4’s screen is not very small either, but in comparison with the A71, its compact size is noticeable, and some people like that.
Winner: Tie. The screens are excellent for the price and will look very attractive to potential buyers.
Both devices run Android 10, with their respective skins on top: ColorOS 7.2 for the Reno 4 and One UI 2.5 for the A71.
Both offer many useful features, and you can customize the experience to your liking.
ColorOS, however, has more features in terms of how you want you phone to look: you can change iconography, or use third party solutions for that matter. There are so many features in the software to keep you busy for an entire week.
OneUI is equally good, but its settings are bundled in that it is hard to find something to adjust. Overall, it is good looking, and we hope Samsung keeps improving it.
Now, let’s talk about updates. The Reno 4 will be running Android 11 before 2021. The A71, which was released in December 2019 by the way, will get the update months into 2021. If software updates are important to you, then the Reno 4 is the obvious choice.
Winner: Reno 4. Its settings are well organized, and while both skins are feature-packed, the Reno 4 gains points by promising a timely Android 11 update.
Speed goes hand in hand with performance, which entails two key features: the chipset and RAM. The A71 comes in two RAM configurations, 6 and 8 GB. We have the 6 GB variant. The Reno 4 has 8 GB of RAM.
The Reno 4 is powered a S720G chip, whereas the A71 has the S730. Both chips are built on the same node and feature the same processor cores. The S720G has a slightly higher clock speed, but based on performance metrics, it should not be as powerful as the S730. However, when we run Antuntu benchmarking app, the S720G reported higher number, implying better performance, but only slightly so.
In day to day use cases, the A71 feels it is catching up with the Reno 4.
The Reno 4 actually flies – save for occasions it freezes on a screen for no apparent reason (isolated case).
The A71 appears to be catching up with the Samsung curse, which is One UI finally getting the better part of the device with slowdowns over time.
However, in terms of overall use, both are performant, and will execute tasks as expected.
Winner: Oppo Reno 4. It feels fast, perhaps aided with the extra 2 GB or RAM.
This is one of the most interesting comparison, besides the camera. Both phones have large batteries for their sizes at 4015 and 4500 mAh for the Reno 4 and A71, respectively.
The Reno 4’s fills up very fast using the 30W charging brick in the box. You an get a full battery in a little over one hour.
Samsung supports 25W fast charging, which is equally speedy. The cell size significantly bigger than the Reno 4’s too.
Endurance appears to be best with the Reno 4.
Both devices can do two days especially with mixed usage or in between charges.
Thus, we feel that both phones have done a good job in terms of battery performance.
Winner: Tie. The A71 cell is bigger, but the Reno 4’s fills up faster. Both can last up to two days.
Both have quad snappers, with the A71 having an advantage in megapixel count, but that is not the entire story (refer to the specs above).
Both have selfies punched in the screen.
Photo processing is different, and Samsung still insists on punchy colours that may be attractive to some.
Both nail dynamic range very well, which is evidenced when taking images of clear, blue skies.
However, and this is a personal preference, I tend to prefer the Reno 4 rear cameras. They try to nail colours, and try to attempt to represent colours as natural as possible.
Others might prefer the A71, but we think the Reno 4 does an overall good job.
Here are some sample images:
Winner: Reno 4. It processes colours more accurately.
The Oppo Reno 4 and Samsung Galaxy A71 are very good phones for 40k.
They have different approaches to software, design, camera performance and overall packaging.
The A71 has been around since Jan 2020, while the Reno 4 just got here. The Reno has slightly better software, and its update to Android 11 in December will obviously give it additional points.
Its battery can also charge very fast, especially from empty to 50%.
The compactness of the Reno 4 also makes us think that it is a better phone, especially with that frosted plastic back.