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Gadget of the Week

Gadget of the Week: Oppo targets the high end

After establishing itself firmly in the mid-range, Oppo is going after the flagship market, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

What is it?

A glass back, glossy sheen, curved edges and light body give the new Oppo Reno8 Pro smartphone a premium feel that one usually finds in high-end phones. The company’s flagship range, the Find X series, is not yet available in South Africa, but the Reno8 offers many of its features at a lower price.

It is the first Oppo handset retailing at above R16,000, but still comes in at under R20,000, where flagship ranges typically begin.

Aside from looking and feeling good in the hand, does it deliver on the flagship promise?

For one thing, it runs on a computer chip that has been described as the most energy efficient processor of 2022, the MediaTek 5nm Dimensity 8100-MAX SOC, which makes for smooth loading and running of apps, and transition between apps, without overheating the handset.

It is powered by a 4500mAH battery, and ships with an 80W charger using Oppo’s proprietary SuperVOOC fast-charging technology. That enables a 50% charge in 11 minutes – giving almost a full day’s use through a charge that takes as long as drinking a cup of coffee. Yes, that was our benchmark: Can we get the phone ready for a working day out of the office while we catch that last caffeine boost? The answer is, yes we can!

Oppo says that its Battery Health Engine allows for more than 1600 full charging cycles, which works out at around four years of optimal battery health. Few high-end smartphones are used for more than three years, so time will have to test that claim, but it does provide some confidence in making this purchasing decision.

Storage is generous, at 256GB. RAM comes in at a decent 8GB. This allows for efficient multi-tasking, when multiple apps are open, as well as improved performance of any interactive content, like gaming.

Talking of which, the 6.7-inch screen has a fast 120Hz refresh rate and 1000Hz Ultra touch response, meaning it is instantly responsive, and even gives one an advantage in competing with others in mobile gaming. An X-Axis Linear Motor offers true-to-life haptic vibration – essentially force feedback – to make gaming action more realistic.

The camera array is close to flagship level, with a 50MP main camera using a wide-angle 23mm lens with a focal length of f/1.8 – numbers that spell premium. It is supplemented by an 8 MP ultrawide 16mm lens and a 2 MP macro lens, which combine to offer 4K shotting at 30 frames per second (fps), or 1080p (high-definition) video at 30/60/120/240fps, and 720p video at 960fps – ultra slow- motion.

The 4K functionality includes Ultra Night Video, which promises faster image processing and greater detail and colour accuracy in low light.

The front of the handset hosts a 32MP selfie camera with 2X zoom, providing more options – and challenges – for content creators.

Most of the lenses are supplied by Sony, but Oppo also uses its own imaging neural processing unit (NPU), the MariSilicon X, which works with the Sony lenses and is dedicated to the management of camera functions and processes. It works mainly by applying artificial intelligence processes to video capture. While the lenses on the Reno8 Pro are not very different to those on its predecessor, the Reno7 Pro, the NPU lifts them to higher capabilities in low-light video as well as portrait photography.

What does it cost?

The OPPO Reno8 Pro 5G is available in two colours, Glazed Green and Glazed Black, retailing from
R19 999.

Why does it matter?

The lines between mid-range phones and flagship devices are blurring, and one now finds a continuum of functionality, rather than a firm cut-off of premium features between different price- points. The handsets that navigate this continuum most successfully tend to be those that sit between the mid- and high-end of smartphone ranges. The Reno8 Pro is not only an excellent addition at this level, but readily passes as a flagship phone.

What are the biggest negatives?

  • The lenses have not advanced significantly from previous phones in the Reno7
  • Limited colour options.

What are the biggest positives?

  • 50% charge in 11 minutes.
  • 120HZ refresh rate and 1000HZ Ultra touch response.
  • Incredibly thin, at 7.3mm, while not compromising on side buttons.
  • A premium phone at a below-premium price.

Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Follow him on Twitter on @art2gee

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