OPPO Kenya has been selling the Reno7 series of phones for a while now. The devices, which feature a 4G and 5G version, are the latest Reno members in the country. We have the Reno7 4G variant in the house for assessment, and after more than a month with the smartphone, this is the perfect time to tell you about its great points, and where we think it needs to improve. The improvement should be in the form of the Reno8, which has already been teased and should be hitting the Kenyan market soon.
With that out of the way, let’s see what the Reno7 (4G) brings to the table in terms of specs:
Screen: 6.43”, AMOLED, FHD+, 90Hz, Gorilla Glass 5
Software: Android 12, ColorOS 12
Chip: Snapdragon 640 4G
Card slot: Yes
Memory: 8/256 GB
Cameras: 64 MP main, 2 MP microscope, 2 MP depth sensor
Selfie: 32 MP
Headphone jack: Yes
Fingerprint reader: Yes, in-display
Battery and charging: 4500 mAh, 33W
Colours: Cosmic Black, Sunset Orange
Price: Ksh 43000
The specifications are satisfactory from our side bearing in mind that this is the 4G version. The 5G model has more power in the hood, including even faster charging at 65W while maintaining the same cell size, a snappier chipset namely the MTK Dimensity 900, a better rear camera system with an 8 MP ultra-wide shooter, and even reverse charging.
However, it loses points on some parts: its colours are not as catchy as that of the 4G version, it only launches with Android 11, and although it has since received an update to Android 12, it does not have an official IP rating, and it loses on the aesthetics of its predecessor, the Reno6 5G which had a boxier and balanced design in place of the current’s curvier design.
That aside, you would want to know what the Reno7 does well, and why you would pick it over last year’s Reno6 4G. Well, I can’t find a lot of features that go with what the predecessor offered, but I will try to highlight them as much as I can. To begin with, the Reno7 has a much better design and great colours, which were reserved for the 5G version at that time. The S680 is also more efficient over the S720G in the Reno6, which, as we had noted, was getting aged and was generally not a great performer. This means that the Reno7 has more power to run applications and other services faster than the Reno6 could. To me, that is a good reason to upgrade.
Nonetheless, we should remember that the Reno6 had a quad camera system. The Reno7 loses an ultrawide, which can be a big deal for some people, but for us, we don’t really care much about it. Still, we would have been glad if OPPO didn’t discard it.
The cell is also slightly bigger from 4310 mAh to 4500 mAh.
There are other hardware features that make the Reno7 special. It has a ring light around one of the rear camera lenses. When you charge the device, it lights up. It does the same thing when you receive a notification. We haven’t seen such kind of implementation before, and it serves as one of the cool factors for the device under review. We hope it sticks around for longer.
Additional hardware features perform as expected. OPPO is perfecting the fingerprint reader in the Reno lineup. It is now faster and can be used to unlock the device reliably. Face unlock is here too, but there is no need for it if the fingerprint scanner is so good. Back in the day, we praised OPPO’s face unlock feature, which, to be honest, was ahead of the competition.
Speaking of face unlock, OPPO has a feature that allows you to hide lock-screen notifications if the person holding the phone has not enrolled their face for face unlock. It is one small feature that goes a long way in ensuring security and is solely limited to OPPO phones.
The feature is a software one, which makes a good segue to addressing the phone’s software features. ColorOS 12 is packed with a ton of nice tricks, but we cannot cover them all for the purposes of this review because they have been addressed in previous OPPO evaluations. But, generally speaking, you can do a lot with ColorOS: you can theme your entire system using colours of your choice. Android 12 also allows the device to match UI colours to the type of the applied wallpaper. You can even add third-party icon packs without downloading a third-party launcher. Very few launchers allow users to do this, which is why it is never necessary to slap another launcher on the device. Who would have thought that ColorOS could have gotten here? Colour us impressed, so to speak.
Another key aspect of the device is camera performance. I love this camera, but that does not mean it does not have its faults. For instance, it has skipped the ultrawide for a microscope and depth sensor. Worse is that the last two sensors have a low resolution of 2 MP. The ultrawide, this time around, has also been made a reserve for the 5G model, which retails at Ksh 60,000. The main sensor is great at 64 MP, but I didn’t like its output in some instances. We are prepping a different camera review about the camera, so be sure to check it out a few hours after this review goes online.
We cannot conclude this assessment without talking about battery performance. The juicer here is bigger than its predecessor at 4500 mAh, and while it does not top up as quickly, the 33W charger, which is also provided, goes a long way in ensuring that your device is charged fully in an hour or thereabouts.
It is also worth noting that we have never had issues with OPPO Reno series batteries. They are fairly big and charge quite fast. We cannot ask for more and are glad that OPPO is one of the few companies that pioneers new and fast charging technology.
So, at Ksh 43000, does the device cut it for you, or us? For the most part, it actually does. There aren’t many phones that bring these kinds of features to the table for consumers. But we think the Reno series needs to do more. The 4G cameras could be better. Kindly, bring the ultrawide back, because some people use it. Customers will also love 65W or more charging for this price, although we understand why OPPO reserved the feature for the 5G model. Although, make the bezels around the device uniform: the Reno6 5G did an excellent job trying to remain symmetric, but the Reno7 4G fails in that area.
Finally, can the devices cost a little bit less? Still, we have had a good time with the phone, and we look forward to enjoying the Reno8 whenever it gets here.