Oppo has got its game right in the premium smartphone space. On one hand, it is doing all sorts of exciting experimental stuff with the Find X series, i.e., rollable display phones, microscope cameras, and the likes. On the other side, there’s the Reno series that spices up things within the bounds of the conventional smartphone realms. The Reno 6 series is the next chapter for the latter.
Both the Reno 6 and Reno 6 Pro are two of the prettiest smartphones you can buy in India today, regardless of the price. The Reno 6 gets the iPhone 12-esque flat edges but it is the pricier Reno 6 Pro that’s got our attention: partly for its design and partly for what lies underneath. Hence, I was curious to use the Aurora Reno 6 Pro for a fortnight to see what’s what. Mind you, this one costs Rs 39,990.
Spoiler alert: This one has got all the spice for an all-rounder in the sub-Rs 40,000 space, outclassing the OnePlus 9R and iQOO 7 Legend.
The word “Reno” has been made synonymous with Oppo’s prettiest smartphones of the year ever since Reno 10X Zoom came out. The Reno 5 Pro from January was a head-turner with its matte “Reno Glow” design. Oppo has only polished out the elements further with the Reno 6 Pro. A classier Galaxy Note-inspired camera hump and brighter colours is all that distinguishes it from its predecessor.
Oppo speaks a great deal about its Reno Glow design and I am in full appreciation for that. The marketed “14 hours of painstaking efforts” is visible once you experience it in person. The Reno 6 Pro is a phone that looks mesmerizing when held at any angle.
There are all sorts of colour variations going on under the matte glass, all of which goes on to make the Reno 6 Pro distinct in a sea of dull smartphones. The surface is also resistant to smudges and scratches (as long as I used): I never put on the protective case on this one.
Going lightweight is also an important factor and Oppo has got that nailed too. Despite the curved-edge display and slim rails, the Reno 6 Pro is a comfortable phone to hold. The weight distribution is spot-on and there’s no area that’s rough on the palms. In fact, you can’t even figure out that the frame is made of plastic unless you go into your anti-plastic investigation mode. I don’t recall the last time I was all praises for the comfort factor on a curved-display smartphone.
Oppo doesn’t skip on the in-box accessories despite charging a premium. The phone comes with a pre-applied screen protector, and a plastic transparent case. There’s a charging set in the box and also a pair of wired earphones! No other premium smartphone makes bundles a pair of earphones in the box these days!
Similar to the Reno 5 Pro, the Reno 6 Pro uses a gorgeous curved-edge AMOLED display that measures 6.5-inches across. This isn’t the best smartphone display I have seen this year but the overall experience is up there with the top names. The colour calibration is great – the typical AMOLED saturation is present but it isn’t burning through your eyes. Brightness levels are great for indoors but sunlight legibility suffers under the direct summer sun.
There’s a slight loss in colour accuracy when viewed from extreme angles but for the regular consumer, it’s not worrisome. The 90Hz refresh rate aids in a smoother scrolling experience while the 180Hz touch sampling rate makes the display more responsive. The OSIE feature makes non-SDR videos livelier, which is a good extra for movie lovers.
That said, given the premium one has to pay for this phone, a 120Hz display could have justified the extra. Vivo’s X60 Pro, OnePlus 9R, and iQOO 7 Legend offer faster displays as standard.
One of the main reasons for the Reno 6 Pro to exist is to offer the MediaTek Dimensity 1200’s performance to the usual Reno buyer. Compared to the Reno 5 Pro’s Dimensity 1000+, the new version offers comparable performance with the Snapdragon 870 chip. I have already experienced the power of this chipset on the Realme X7 Max and on the Reno 6 Pro, it delivers on expectations.
Coupled with an efficient ColorOS 11.3, the Dimensity 1200 makes for flawless everyday performance. Smooth animations, quick app loading times, and an aesthetically pleasing design make using the Reno 6 Pro a lovely experience. The superb optimization translates to no noticeable pauses, or janky animations even when I put the phone through its paces. Hours of social media browsing, ogling at YouTube videos, and even editing some on the SoLoop app does not seem to throw off the hardware.
If you are into mobile gaming, the Reno 6 Pro does not disappoint there as well. Light-on-system games like Shadow Fight 4: Arena and F1 Clash run on their best iterations. Hardcore titles such as Battlegrounds Mobile India and Call of Duty: Mobile perform pleasantly with the settings maxed out (not exactly maxed out as both these games can only do Max frame rates when graphics is down to High, not Max). I was unable to witness disturbing frame drops even after an hour of fiddling around with the controls.
With long sessions of gaming, the rear of the phone warms up around the cameras. However, it never becomes too uncomfortable to hold and does not seem to have any adverse effect on the performance either.
However, Oppo is focused on the experience here, and similar to Find X2 Pro flagship from last year, the Reno 6 Pro relies highly on ColorOS 11. The interface may be a year old now but it has aged well. It is aesthetically pleasing and easy to use, with all the crucial functions within arm’s reach. The subtle haptic feedback upon scrolling lists, unlocking with the fingerprint sensor, and interacting with app shortcut menus dials up the immersion.
Tasteful customization options for the AOD, icon colours, theme, and the Oppo Sans font only further the appeal. The overall experience with the software is on par with Samsung’s OneUI on expensive Galaxy S21 series phones.
And similar to those high-end Samsung phones, you will find preloaded apps as well as intermittent ad-like notifications from some of them. The SoLoop app throws notifications while the default browser keeps showing news articles throughout the day. The HeyFun app also keeps spamming notifications. Why should a customer paying a premium for a smartphone have to tolerate all these?
The story dips further. Unlike its rivals, the Reno 6 Pro gets a tinny single loudspeaker and the audio out of that is sub-par. A stereo speaker setup is standard for a phone at this price and Oppo missing out on this is surprising. In-call volume is low for the loud Indian ambiance outdoors. That said, I experienced reliable network connection on Jio’s network even in some tricky areas.
Oppo speaks a great deal about the videography performance on the Reno 6 Pro. The Bokeh Flare portrait mode looks promising on paper and after testing it in various lighting conditions, I can assure that those claims aren’t just marketing gimmicks. That video bokeh portrait mode works as advertised, keeping an accurate track of subject separation while maintaining vibrant (albeit brighter than usual) colours.
The cameras hold onto their own even when you pan around your moving subject within a shopping mall. Despite the sub-optimal lighting, it keeps the human figure in full prominence without smudging out hair strands. Regular video footage looks pleasing too, both in 4K at 30 fps and 1080p and 30 fps. The lack of OIS is visible in the 60 fps mode (only present in 1080p) and you have to rely on the aggressive EIS to reduce the shake. In low and indoor lighting, the camera tends to brighten everything up but trained eyes can spot the noise and loss in details.
The overall video performance is still miles behind the iPhone 12’s videography but non-Pro users and even budding vloggers have a lot to like about the Reno 6 Pro’s video capabilities.
With still photography, the Reno 6 Pro tries hard to hold on to that magnificence. The main 64-megapixel camera has been tuned well to deliver sharp photos in daylight with boosted saturation and great exposure controls. Contrary to an iPhone 12, this camera wants to make everything look more appealing than reality with slight touch-ups. I cannot deny that it encourages the user to take more photos.
Even in low light and indoors, the camera does a good job of keeping details intact without letting noise creep in. The saturated colour tones are more prominent but within the “pleasant limits.” The auto mode with AI mode turned off tries to be sober with the colours while the Night Mode tries to get the colours right. Compared to the Night mode on a Galaxy S20 FE 5G, there’s a slight loss in details on this Oppo.
The 8-megapixel ultra-wide camera doesn’t do wonders with details but under both daylight as well as night conditions, the photos are reliable. The colours are close to the main camera’s output and paired with the Night mode, you can gain back some of those elusive details.
Sadly, the 2-megapixel macro camera cannot match the performance of the other two cameras. Despite providing ample light, macro photos come out soft with poor sharpness and negligible details. Cost-cutting seems to be the only reason why Oppo chose a terrible macro camera instead of a more useable telephoto camera. Oppo needs to look at the 5-megapixel macro camera output on Xiaomi smartphones.
The sadness continues with the 32-megapixel front camera. On a sunny day, you can expect highly detailed selfies with boosted colours and slightly smoothened skin. However, most users take selfies indoors and this is where the Reno 6 Pro struggles. The camera loses out on sharpness and crucial details like hair strands and cloth textures. Oppo needs to tune this camera better as there’s potential here.
With its 4500mAh battery and clever optimization, the Reno 6 Pro 5G in a mix of 4G and Wi-Fi networks can easily last an entire day. I have been ending some of my busiest WFH office days on the Reno 6 Pro with about 30 percent charge left. Note that my usage involves 2-3 hours of voice calls on average, responding to emails, browsing social media for up to two hours, streaming music, 30 minutes of gaming, and occasional photography.
Charging the Reno 6 Pro is no big deal either. The 65W SuperVOOC 2.0 charging requires around half an hour to fill up from under 5 percent charge. This is highly convenient on the days when you have to head out quickly and cannot spare much time for a quick refill. That said, wireless charging is missing on the Reno 6 Pro and a similarly priced Galaxy S20 FE 5G features it (at 15W speeds).
Oppo is trying to appeal to the fashion-conscious and non-geek crowd with the Reno 6 Pro. The tantalizing design flaunting pretty rainbow-like colours, solid build quality, and unique videography features make it a tempting smartphone. The Dimensity 1200 chip takes care of all performance needs and those in the mood for gaming won’t be left wishing for more. And despite having a high-end chip, the battery easily lasts an entire day.
So that means this is quite literally the best overall smartphone under Rs 50,000, right? It does to a large extent, but you have to fall in Oppo’s target audience to blindly go for it. The iQOO 7 Legend has more raw power and slightly better cameras for a similar price. The Mi 11X Pro also a similar proposition for similar prices. And since we are talking specs, don’t mind the iPhone SE and iPhone XR for their sheer performance capabilities and peace of mind experience.
However, the Reno 6 Pro is more concerned about standing out. It makes you feel special every time you hold it. It is a fashion statement for your personality. It’s got tools to make your quick Instagram stories look amazing. And, it’s got all the fancy tech stuff you care about(5G, fast charging, and the likes).
At Rs 39,990, the Oppo Reno 6 Pro is a great experience. It is a breath of fresh air from the strictly business-like OnePluses, Samsungs, and Xiaomis of the world. If you have got Rs 40,000 to spend on a smartphone this summer, we highly recommend you give the Reno 6 Pro a try.