It’s no secret that traditional smartphone lifecycles in India have been upended by the constant releases from Xiaomi and Realme. In fact, some would say the increasingly samey hardware releases are because of this constant release cycle. After all, it can be pretty hard to add a meaningful upgrade every six months. Now, six months for a minor upgrade makes sense, but Oppo is positioning the Reno 6 Pro 5G — arriving half a year after the Reno 5 Pro — as the next evolution of the Reno series. With such little time between releases, is the Oppo Reno 6 Pro a true all-out upgrade?
In the Android Authority Oppo Reno 6 Pro review, we see if this premium mid-range smartphone brings enough to the table to stand out amidst the towering competition.
What you need to know about the Oppo Reno 6 Pro
- Oppo Reno 6 Pro 5G (12GB RAM/256GB storage): Rs. 39,990 (~$534)
The Oppo Reno 6 Pro takes a design-first approach to the increasingly crowded premium mid-range smartphone segment. Sure, it now has the power to match, but Oppo’s focus is clearly on creating a good-looking all-rounder first, and an all-out performer second.
The phone is, by and large, a refined and slightly upgraded version of the Oppo Reno 5 Pro that launched just a few months ago. Upgrades include a switch up from the MediaTek Dimensity 1000 Plus to the Dimensity 1200 chipset, faster UFS 3.1 storage, and a slightly larger 4500mAh battery.
The phone goes up against strong competition from the likes of Xiaomi, OnePlus, and even Iqoo. In particular, the OnePlus 9R, OnePlus 8T, and the Xiaomi Mi 11X Pro come across as the most obvious alternatives to the Reno 6 Pro 5G.
The Oppo Reno 6 Pro is available in two colors including a lighter Aurora shade and a Stellar Black variant — we tested the latter. The phone goes on sale in India on Flipkart starting July 20, 2021, and will also be widely available in offline retail stores. Oppo hasn’t yet revealed if or when it plans to launch the phone in Europe or other western regions.
Is it well designed?
Subtle evolution is the name of the game, and the Oppo Reno 6 Pro is following it to a T. It all starts with the general design language, where Oppo is once again showcasing the Reno Glow design it debuted with the Reno 5 Pro.
This time around the Gorilla Glass 5 back has a matte finish that balances a subdued look with speckles that subtly shine through when light strikes the back at the right angle. Sure, it sparkles, but it is the hand-feel that truly shines here.
I observed that the matte finish kept fingerprints at bay, and helped enhance the grip. The camera module also gets an upgrade, and, unlike the glossy plastic island on the Reno 5 Pro, you’ll find the cameras encased in a plastic module with a matte finish to match. There’s obvious attention to detail that becomes increasingly evident the more you use the phone.
The button layout is straightforward and you’ll find a power button embellished with a green highlight over on the right. Meanwhile, the left side of the phone has a split volume rocker. All three buttons deliver excellent feedback. An in-display fingerprint reader is available and I found it as fast as any other option on the market. It was reliable and rarely failed to work on the first try.
The slim profile of the phone makes it easy to slip into a pocket and the phone feels great to use over long hours.
Using the phone every day, the svelte 7.6mm profile of the Reno 6 Pro was particularly refreshing. Combined with the light 177g weight, this is a phone that won’t feel heavy in hand, nor will it leave a bulge in your pocket — win!
Over to the display, the phone sports a 6.55-inch AMOLED panel with a 90Hz refresh rate. This is exactly the same display as on the Oppo Reno 5 Pro, and I don’t really mind it. Brightness levels are great and I had absolutely no trouble viewing the phone in direct sunlight. The default color calibration is also great. What isn’t though is the lack of 120Hz support. As more and more premium phones ship with 120Hz panels, it’s a bit of a miss from what is otherwise a great screen. Additionally, there is a bit of color shift along the dual-curved edges. It didn’t take away from the user experience, but some users might find it annoying.
Unfortunately, there are a few more omissions in the hardware puzzle that make the Oppo Reno 6 Pro a tough sell. There’s no IP rating, nor will you find stereo speakers or storage expansion. I understand the lack of storage expansion, but Oppo makes no mention of splash resistance at all. The not-so-great mono speaker also doesn’t cut it against some of its competitors.
How powerful is the Oppo Reno 6 Pro?
Oppo has seriously upgraded the power on offer compared to the Reno 5 Pro. This time around, the Oppo Reno 6 Pro is bringing the heat with Mediatek’s most powerful chipset.
The Mediatek Dimensity 1200 packs a combination of four Cortex A55 cores clocked at 2GHz, in addition to three Cortex A78 cores running at 2.6GHz, and, finally, a single Cortex A78 core running at a blazing 3GHz. All this to say that there’s ample CPU power here. However, the Mali-G77 MP9 GPU onboard is getting long in the tooth and is just not as competitive against Qualcomm options. Real-world performance puts it closer to a Snapdragon 870 than the flagship Snapdragon 888. Put simply, this is a perfectly fine chipset, but you can get better from the competition at around the same price.
The MediaTek Dimensity 1200 holds up great in everyday use, with minimal heating even in intensive gaming.
With paper specifications out of the way, let’s take a look at real-world performance. Day to day use is more than satisfactory and the interface remained slick throughout the testing period with my standard workload of phone calls, emails, social media use, and lots of music streaming. I’m not much of a smartphone gamer, but the phone had no trouble maxing out Call of Duty: Mobile. Casual gamers, in particular, should fare just fine.
If there’s one thing I’ve come to truly appreciate about Oppo’s phones it’s just how well the company is able to mate Color OS 11 to the hardware. The software flies and frame drops are almost non-existent. Oppo has tossed in animations throughout the interface that add to the visual appeal. It is, however, possible to switch them off. In fact, you’ll find ample tweaks to personalize and customize the phone to your preferences.
Oppo’s excellence at optimizing Color OS extends to battery life. The 4500mAh battery handily lasts a day and a half of use. I tracked about six hours of screen-on time with several phone calls, social media use, and emails.
The Oppo Reno 6 Pro barely sips power when in standby mode and 65W charging comes in clutch.
Charging the Oppo Reno 6 Pro is exceptionally quick, with 65W charging support. The phone takes about 35 minutes to go from 0 to 100. You do miss out on wireless charging, but the feature isn’t too common at this price point anyway.
Is the Oppo Reno 6 Pro camera any good?
The camera system is, by and large, the same as the one on the Reno 5 Pro. The only real difference is a slightly wider field of view for the ultra-wide camera. Despite the similar hardware, there are a few differences in the camera optimization that we’ll run through.
The primary 64MP camera generally shoots excellent images as long as the lighting conditions hold up. Colors are fairly natural, though the camera has a tendency to bump up exposure levels. I noticed minimal noise reduction artifacts in good lighting.
See also: The best camera phones you can get
Unfortunately, Oppo’s camera tuning with the Reno 6 Pro has taken a turn for the worse when it comes to indoor or less than great lighting. Aggressive noise reduction severely reduced details and there is a noticeable color shift as well. HDR performance is rather good. The phone does an excellent job at pulling out details while keeping highlights in check.
The 8MP ultra-wide camera sports a 120-degree field of view, allowing you to capture wide landscapes with ease. Oppo has done an effective job ensuring color accuracy across the two lenses. Overall though, the low-resolution sensor ends up being the Achilles heel here and the resulting images are short on detail.
That same gripe extends to the macro sensor. It’s a shame that smartphone manufacturers are still including 2MP sensors. You can get a usable image if you hold the phone still enough in good lighting, but the image is still too low resolution and lacks detail. Oppo could learn a thing or two from Xiaomi’s excellent tele-macro sensors.
Low-light imaging has taken a massive step back with the Oppo Reno 6 Pro. Night mode, in particular, consistently showcased significantly reduced details, and the image, while brighter, wasn’t exactly better. You’ll get a better shot using the regular camera but low light results from that sensor are nothing to write home about either.
On the flip side, Oppo has fixed our issues with the front-facing camera on the Reno 5 Pro. This time around, the Reno 6 Pro captures well-detailed, evenly exposed images. There’s a good amount of dynamic range, and the portrait mode did a decent job at edge detection.
Moving on to video capture, the Reno 6 Pro excels. Videos are evenly exposed with ample detail. Moreover, focus tracking worked effectively and kept objects in focus even in less than perfect lighting. I wasn’t too impressed by the portrait video mode and its rather unnatural-looking bokeh, but generally speaking, the phone should prove to be an effective tool for capturing videos.
You can take a look at the full-resolution Oppo Reno 6 Pro camera samples in this Google Drive folder.
- Bloatware and notification spam: You’ll find the usuals like Amazon and Facebook, but Oppo is also tossing in unknown digital finance apps like FinShell Pay. Most, but not all of these can be removed. There’s also significant notification spam from system apps that takes away from the user experience.
- 5G support: The phone boasts 5G support (sub-6GHz only). Unfortunately, I couldn’t really test that out due to the lack of 5G networks in India. However, with rollouts starting by the end of the year, the Oppo Reno 6 Pro should be ready to go once 5G networks are available in the region.
- Updates: Oppo is yet to comment on the kind of software support it plans to extend to the Oppo Reno 6 Pro. Traditionally, the company has been pretty slow in rolling out Android updates to the Reno series, and I wouldn’t recommend the phone if you want to be on bleeding edge software.
Oppo Reno 6 Pro specs
|Oppo Reno 6 Pro 5G specs|
|Display||6.5-inch Super AMOLED
FHD+ 2400 x 1080 at 402ppi
90Hz refresh rate
Gorilla Glass 5
|Processor||MediaTek Dimensity 1200|
64MP, f/1.7, 1/2.0″, PDAF
8MP Ultra-wide 120 degree frame-of-view, 1/4.0″
|Connectivity||4G LTE support
|Operating System||Color OS 11.3
|Security||In-display fingerprint sensor, face unlock|
|Color||Black, Blue, Aurora|
|Dimensions and weight||160 x 73.1 x 7.6mm
Value and competition
Priced at Rs. 39,990 (~$534), the Oppo Reno 6 Pro is, objectively speaking, not that great value. While I like the phone, the hardware package does not live up to the price point, and omissions like the lack of stereo speakers, an IP rating, and a lackluster secondary camera system can’t be overlooked.
The phone has ample competition from the likes of stablemate OnePlus. Both the OnePlus 9R (Rs. 39,999) and OnePlus 8T (Rs. 38,999) are priced within spitting distance of the Oppo Reno 6 Pro and offer more power and versatile camera systems.
Meanwhile, the Mi 11X Pro (Rs. 41,999) offers a much more powerful Snapdragon 888 chipset, and a high-quality 108MP camera sensor for just a little more.
There’s also the standard Xiaomi Mi 11X (Rs. 29,999) that includes an equally powerful Snapdragon 870 chipset and more versatile camera set up.
If the design language on offer here catches your fancy, you could also look at the Reno 5 Pro (Rs. 35,999) that offers a similar design and experience for lesser money.
Oppo Reno 6 Pro 5G review: The verdict
The Oppo Reno 6 Pro is a curious beast that takes significant steps forward in some ways but pares back in other, equally important, ways. It’s a great-looking phone, but design isn’t the be-all and end-all. The overall package matters, and if you care about performance, you might want to take a closer look at alternatives. It’s not that the MediaTek Dimensity 1200 is a bad chipset per se, but the competition simply offers a lot more for your money. This is particularly true if you factor longevity into the equation. Elsewhere, the camera system doesn’t really hold a candle to what the competition is offering either.
The Oppo Reno 6 Pro is a pretty nice phone on its own, but nice just doesn’t cut it anymore.
Add to that the missing stereo speakers, wireless charging, and lack of IP rating, and the Oppo Reno 6 Pro becomes a particularly hard sell. I can’t say I didn’t enjoy my time with the Reno 6 Pro. It is a well-built phone that feels luxurious to the touch, but the price is way too high for what it brings to the table.