OPPO Reno8 Pro 5G review: Another impressive outing from OPPO

OPPO has rolled out the latest in its Reno line in the form of the Reno8 Pro 5G, which offers a tempting upgrade path for those who have used previous iterations, especially this reviewer who has had the OPPO Reno5 5G as a daily driver for the last few years.

Yes this review will not only be a look at the Reno8 Pro 5G alone, but also how it shapes up against its older brother and what the upgrade experience is like for an OPPO faithful who wants a new phone while sticking with this manufacturer.

As always we start with the unboxing and we’re a bit shocked to see that it hasn’t really changed at all over the years. The box and packaging is almost identical to the Reno5 which isn’t a bad thing, especially with the great inclusions in the box.

The Reno8 Pro 5G comes with a screen protector pre-applied from the factory and a clear plastic cover. We’ve banged on for years about how much we love these accessories being included in the base package and we will continue to do so here.

For an OPPO product, where finding accessories like screen protectors and covers will be difficult in South Africa, this is even more appreciated. While we’ll touch on some advancements later we are still sadly reporting that these kinds of products are still difficult to come by locally and you will need to hunt for them should you want to replace either in the future.

Also in the box is a USB Type-A to USB Type-C charging cable which connects to the frankly huge power adapter. This size is justified as it’s a beast of a thing offering 80W charging. yes you read that right, 80 watts. This facilitates the continued SuperVOOC fast charging that OPPO offers, with more on that and the battery capacity later.

Aside from the SIM card removal tool and documentation there is a massive exclusion: a pair of headphones. This is because the OPPO Reno8 Pro 5G unfortunately falls into the trap of removing the headphone jack, a decision we absolutely hate on this phone and all other phones. With devices only getting larger every year we see no reason for this to keep happening.

In exchange, however, you now have stereo speakers on offer which is a breath of fresh air compared to the OPPO Reno5 5G which didn’t have this feature. It’s a massive improvement for consuming all kinds of content and we’re glad to have it.

With the phone finally in our hands we can appreciate the build quality that has remained high from OPPO over these years. Our review copy came in a Glazed Green colourway that we don’t mind but we can see most people preferring the Glazed Black option instead.

Aside from the quality feel in your hand the next big discovery is just how huge that camera bump is. The top corner of the back of the phone is utterly dominated by the camera cluster housing the main shooter – a Sony IMX766 50MP affair – as well as an ultra-wide camera, macro camera, flash and sensors.

From this side view the camera bump is clear to see.

In hand it’s rather jarring just how big the bump is and, even with the included cover on, you never forget that it’s there.

It can get irritating at times but after a while you will forget it’s there, thankfully. Like front camera notches this seems like a massive annoyance at first but your brain eventually tunes it out.

Speaking of front notches the OPPO Reno8 Pro 5G instead as a middle-mounted, in-screen, front-facing camera in the form of a Sony IMX709 32MP shooter. OPPO doesn’t try to spin this as a feature like Apple recently did with the Dynamic Island… this is just a front-facing camera that mostly hides away in the top notification screen and only stands out when you maximise content in horizontal mode.

With first impressions out of the way we’ve been using this phone for a few weeks now and can report that it’s been a mostly flawless experience. There’s nothing we tried to do with the phone that it couldn’t take in its stride, which isn’t surprising given its hardware with Dimensity 8100-Max Octa-Core SoC and a MariSilicon X imagining NPU.

This is combined with 256GB of storage on our model (non-expandable) and 8GB of RAM. Of note on the RAM from is the option to expand it by using free system storage as RAM. 2GB, 3GB and 5GB expansions are all available with the 3GB expansion enabled by default. This RAM flexibility is very and is another returning featuring from other OPPO phones.

The 4 500 mAh can get you through a real world day where you’re using your phone a decent amount but we think more capacity could have been packed into a device this size and weight. The rather insane 80W charging does, however, fill that battery up in less time than it takes to make a coffee, which continues to be impressive.

On this we can also report on experiences with past OPPO products. When we first started using the older Reno5 5G we were worried that SuperVOOC Fast Charging would negatively impact battery life over time, especially as it can’t be turned off. While we can’t speak for the newer Reno8 Pro 5G, the older Reno5 5G didn’t experience any massive battery degradation after years of fast charging, so we have no reason to expect anything different this time around.

These specs stand up when you look at the synthetic benchmarks with GeekBench reporting a single-core performance number of 899 and a multi-core score of 3 547.

GeekBench offers up some similar devices as a comparison, with the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G as the main competitor reporting a single-core score of 924 and a multi-core score of 3 085.

At the time of writing the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G is priced rather close to the South African RRP of the OPPO Reno8 Pro 5G at R19 999.

As always benchmarks don’t give you the full picture, but again we have to report that the OPPO Reno8 Pro 5G did everything we asked of it with only one to point out.

The first is internet performance which wasn’t great. We noticed many dropped connections and intermittent problems with the Wi-Fi. This isn’t a problem with the Wi-Fi has other devices worked flawlessly – including the older OPPO Reno5 5G – so the problem must be with this newer phone. We’re not sure what the exact problem is but a phone restart (which happens extremely fast we have to mention) usually fixed things.

We don’t see any other outlets or individual users reporting the same problem but we leave this mention in should anyone in the future be experiencing the same.

The issue could also stem from some disagreement between the phone and the network which is very insular, but again other devices on the same connection had no problem.

And, of course, we need to talk about that camera. It’s one of the biggest selling points and literally, physically one of the biggest parts of the phone.

Camera results from the OPPO Reno8 Pro 5G are extremely impressive and can catch even the most minute of details. We especially loved taking pictures of pets where the camera manages to catch individual strands of hair and tiny pores perfectly.

Inanimate objects are equally captured well and there’s a lot of options to tinker with for photographers who want to maximise their results.

The question has to be asked though: is the camera performance good enough to justify the huge camera bump? We’re not so sure even if we’re happy with the pictures and videos we captured. Some shots which include a lot of natural light were real stunners, while others indoors with less light didn’t impress.

As with most cameras the amount of time you take to light and position will make the biggest difference, so don’t expect the huge camera array on this phone to magically up your photography game.

As an entire package the OPPO Reno8 Pro 5G did absolutely everything we wanted but, in that way, it’s a victim of its own success. The experience was so good that small problems like the network issues, lack of a headphone jack and occasional extra processing time on the camera, stand out even more.

At R19 999 this phone falls into what many call the “premium mid-range”, but it can still tangle with more expensive offerings from other companies. You get everything you need out of the box, but may feel frustrated when looking for accessories in South Africa, an issue we were hoping that OPPO would have worked on over the years it has been active locally.

A rock solid option, the OPPO Reno8 Pro 5G should be on your radar if you’re shopping in this price range or you’re looking for its specific features.


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