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OPPO Reno 3 Pro review: All about the cameras

The OPPO Reno3 Pro has 5 cameras. It isn't a gaming beast, but it does put those cameras to good use.

Published onMarch 3, 2020

Oppo Reno 3 Pro

The OPPO Reno 3 Pro emphasizes camera performance over gaming performance, which is good for those who aren't into mobile gaming and instead like to capture and share life's precious moments using their smartphone.

What we like

Video stabilization
VOOC rapid charging
Battery life (if you don't play games)

What we don't like

Gaming performance
Battery life (if you play games)

Oppo Reno 3 Pro

The OPPO Reno 3 Pro emphasizes camera performance over gaming performance, which is good for those who aren't into mobile gaming and instead like to capture and share life's precious moments using their smartphone.

The line between a flagship and a mainstream smartphone can often be blurred. The good news? Features such as multiple rear cameras, hybrid zoom, Super AMOLED displays, punch hole front-facing cameras, and high-wattage charging are no longer just for premium phones. The OPPO Reno 3 Pro boasts all these and more. But is it worth your money?

Let’s find out in our OPPO Reno 3 Pro review!

About this OPPO Reno 3 Pro review: I spent a couple of weeks using a Reno 3 Pro,  which was supplied by the manufacturer. The device was running Android 10/Color OS 7, with the January 2020 security patch installed.

What is it like to use the OPPO Reno 3 Pro?

OPPO Reno3 Pro pictures 15

When you look at the Reno 3 Pro you will probably notice one of three things: The front-facing punch hole selfie camera, the color, and the cameras. The Reno 3 Pro is available in three colors: Auroral Blue (the model I have), Midnight Black, and Sky White. The choice of colors is patterned on the “beauty of the changing light of sky.”

Taking a quick tour around the device, the back of the phone is plastic, as is the chassis. Along with the normal buttons (power, volume) and the SIM tray, there is a USB-C port for charging and file transfers, plus a 3.5mm headphone jack.

As the eye is the window to the soul, so the display is the window to your smartphone. The Reno 3 Pro comes with a 6.4-inch Super AMOLED display, with two punch holes for the front-facing camera system. The screen has a resolution of 2,100 by 1,080 pixels, giving it a 20:9 aspect ratio. Blacks are deep and the colors are generally vibrant. The display is bright, and, according to OPPO, it has a maximum brightness of 800 nits. It also has Full Care Display Certification from TÜV Rheinland, which implies that it is kind to your eyes.

The Reno 3 Pro uses an under-screen fingerprint reader that OPPO calls it Hidden Fingerprint Unlock 3.0. The company claims you can unlock the device in 334ms when the screen is on, and within 358ms when the screen is off. During my time with the Reno 3 Pro I had no fingerprint misreads.

oppo reno3 pro touching the fingerprint reader

Color OS, OPPO’s take on Android, seems to be more about “color” than “OS”, which is a good thing. What you get is Android 10 with all the changes needed for features like the punch hole cameras on the front. There is a drawer mode, so you don’t have to keep all your app icons on the home screen, as is often the case with Chinese brands mimicking Apple. Last, ColorOS 7 has a Dark Mode, to take full advantage of the AMOLED display.

Is the Reno 3 Pro good for taking photos?

OPPO Reno3 Pro pictures 07

The Reno 3 Pro has no fewer than five cameras plus a depth-of-field sensor. On the back there are four cameras: a 64MP standard camera with a 1/1.72-inch sensor and f/1.8 aperture; a 13MP telephoto with a 1/3.4-inch sensor f/2.4 aperture; an 8MP ultra wide-angle with a 1/4-inch sensor and 109-degree field of view; and a 2MP depth camera with a 1/5-inch sensor.

When working together, these cameras offer you 0.6x wide-angle shots, 1x normal photos, 2x optical zoom, 5x hybrid zoom, and 20x digital zoom.

While the primary camera is listed as 64MP, it is binned down to 16MP. You can set the camera to use the entire 64MP resolution if you wish. Zoom is not available in 64MP mode, it switches over to the telephoto.

Portrait mode produces images with a computer-generated bokeh effect, a feature that has improved across all phones of late. You can get some good results as long as you are prepared to discard the images that don’t quite work.

For low-light situations, OPPO included a Night mode and an Ultra Dark mode. The latter activates automatically when the phone detects very low-light situations. Overall, the results are impressive. However, don’t expect the camera to be able to see in the dark.

oppo reno3 pro punch hole front facing camera

The front-facing camera is a 44MP dual punch hole setup with its own depth-of-field sensor for bokeh shots. Normal photos are actually 40MP (not 44MP) and portrait photos are 10MP. Interestingly, the bokeh effect displayed live during shooting is not the same as the one produced after the photo is taken. Sometimes the live version can be drastically wrong (blurring out bits of the face), but the final photo is generally much better.

The front-facing camera also has access to Ultra Dark. The idea is to make it easier to take selfies at night. However, I must confess, I couldn’t get this to trigger, instead I just got warnings about “more ambient light” needed. Maybe this will be improved in a software update.

The cameras seem to work well together and I was impressed with the results from the hybrid zoom and the portrait mode. I also liked the photos from the wide-angle lens, though personally I prefer a wide-angle lens in much of my photography. Here is a collection of sample images I took with the OPPO Reno 3 Pro so you can judge for yourself.

How is the video quality?

oppo reno3 pro camera app

You can record videos in 720p or 1080p at 30fps or 60fps; in 4K at 30fps; and slow-mo in 720p at 240fps or 1080p at 120fps. All video modes can record in either H.264 or H.265.

The Reno 3 Pro also supports bokeh effects when shooting video. Using either the rear camera or the front-facing camera, you can add a shallow depth-of-field effect and simulate out of focus backgrounds. Like the bokeh effects in the photo mode, it generally works well, but there will be situations when it just goes wrong. Also, it works best when filming just one person.

The Ultra Steady Video mode is a form of stabilization that makes your footage look more professional.

The Ultra Steady Video mode is a form of electronic image stabilization (EIS) that makes it easier to take hand-held video footage. It reduces shakes and makes your footage look more professional. The downside is that there is a crop (zoom-in). Wider-angle lenses inherently show less shake, a fact that OPPO is utilizing with the Ultra Steady Video mode. It switches to the wide-angle lens along with some less-aggressive EIS, for a larger image with less obvious software smoothing.

As an added bonus, OPPO includes its Soloop smart video editor with the Reno 3 Pro. The “smart” moniker comes from the way it can automatically put photos and video clips to music and add transitions between them.

Does it have good battery life?

The Reno 3 Pro has a 4,024mAh battery and supports VOOC flash charging. A 30W (5V @ 6A) charger is in the box. You can charge it from 0 to 50% in 20 minutes, from 0% to 80% in just over half an hour, and from 0% to 100% in under an hour (53 minutes to be precise).

Battery life is a bit of a mixed bag. For most users I would say the battery life will be good, verging on great. According to my testing, you can watch videos stored locally on the device, or streamed from YouTube over 4G, for over 15 hours on one charge. Battery life is also good for those who use a lot of social media or surf the web, delivering at least 10 hours on one charge.

However, at the other end of the spectrum is 3D gaming. Playing 3D games can drain your battery much quicker. In a worst-case scenario, you will only get about 4.5 hours of 3D gaming from one charge.

Is the Reno 3 Pro good for playing games?

oppo reno3 pro playing games

The processor in the Reno 3 Pro is the MediaTek Helio P95. The P95 is a minor upgrade to the Helio P90. It is an octa-core processor with two Arm Cortex A75 cores and six Cortex A55 cores. The graphics are processed by an Imagination PowerVR GM 9446 GPU. The P95 also includes an AI Processing Unit (confusingly called an APU, which other chip makers would call it an NPU, or neural processing unit). Supporting the processor is 8GB of RAM and at least 128GB of storage.

The Reno 3 Pro supports HDR gaming thanks to MediaTek's HyperEngine. The key features are higher frame rates and lower latency.

The Reno 3 Pro supports HDR gaming thanks to MediaTek’s HyperEngine. The key features are higher frame rates and lower latency thanks to a 60% shorter GPU rendering-to-display pipeline. In real-world tests, I was able to play PUBG on its highest settings, Fortnite in medium quality at 30fps, and Asphalt 8 in its medium visual quality setting. What this means in practice is that you will be able to play the leading 3D games, they will be smooth and fast enough for most gamers. Pro gamers, however, may be disappointed that they won’t be able to use the best quality settings.

If you are interested in benchmarks, the Reno 3 Pro scored 225,856 on AnTuTu V8.2.4 and 398/1509 for Geekbench 5 single-core/multi-core.

What I like about the Reno 3 Pro

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The Reno 3 Pro is all about the cameras. I liked the Super AMOLED display, the punch hole for the front-facing camera, and the advantages of VOOC charging, but it is the cameras that make this device interesting. There are plenty of multi-camera devices on the market (we are spoiled for choice), but the Reno 3 Pro’s cameras have a synergy, an integration that is seen in the hybrid zoom and the portrait mode. The high image quality doesn’t hurt the experience, either, and while the talk of 64MP is interesting, the binned 16MP images are where the camera setup shines.

What I don’t like about the OPPO Reno 3 Pro

OPPO Reno3 Pro pictures 14

We all use our phones differently, and we all have different budgets. The Reno 3 Pro isn’t a flagship device, but it doesn’t have a flagship price point either. If you are looking for top-tier performance, especially for gaming, you aren’t going to find it here. If you are content with playable games at good frame rates, then you are all set!

The biggest downside to the Reno 3 Pro is the gaming battery life.

The biggest downside to the Reno 3 Pro is the gaming battery life. If you find yourself playing a heavy-duty 3D game for an hour, then you might not like the hit your battery takes, especially if you are on a journey. In those cases, it is better to while away the time watching a movie or using social media, your battery will thank you.

Maybe this is more of a personal issue, but I don’t like phones that wobble when you use them on a flat surface. All that camera tech means the Reno 3 Pro has a large camera module on the rear. When laid flat, the device rocks and pivots on the camera bump. The solution is, of course, to not use it when it is flat on a table, or to buy a case.

OPPO Reno 3 Pro review: Should I buy it?

OPPO Reno3 Pro pictures 06

If you are in the market for a smartphone that emphasizes camera performance over gaming performance, then the OPPO Reno 3 Pro could be for you. Features like VOOC charging and a larger-than-4,000mAh battery increase its attraction. Ultimately it will come down to two factors: budget and the competition. Is the Reno 3 Pro within your budget and does it offer more to you than other devices in the same category? Some competing phones to consider are the Pixel 3a, the Nokia 7.2, and the Samsung Galaxy A50.

The OPPO Reno 3 Pro with 128GB of internal storage will be available from March 6 across Amazon, Flipkart, and retail stores in India for Rs. 29,990 (around $415 or €375). The 256GB model will cost Rs. 32,990 (about $455/€412). After the initial Indian launch, the Reno 3 Series will eventually reach other countries in Southeast Asia, South Asia, Middle East, North Africa, and East Europe.

OPPO Reno3 Pro pictures 04
OPPO Reno 3 Pro
Cameras galore! The OPPO Reno 3 Pro has 5 cameras plus a depth of field sensor.
The OPPO Reno 3 Pro has 5 cameras plus a depth of field sensor. It isn't a gaming beast, however it does put those cameras to good use!