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oppo reno 7 pro notification led 3
Calvin Wankhede / Android Authority

Oppo Reno 7 Pro review: Stylish design, questionable value

The Reno 7 Pro has a few tricks up its sleeve, but can it impress on all fronts?
By
August 4, 2022

Oppo Reno 7 Pro

The Oppo Reno 7 Pro prioritizes design and aesthetics over performance, just like prior entries in the series. It offers a refined eye-catching design, unique notification light, and some long-awaited quality-of-life features. Despite these upgrades, however, lingering compromises hold it back against tough competition.

Retail price: Rs. 39,999.00

Rs. 39,999.00 at Oppo

What we like

Impressive build quality
Consistent 50MP primary camera
Unique notification light
Solid performance
Fast charging

What we don't like

Underwhelming secondary cameras
Outdated display specs
Ad-infested software in default state
No IP rating
No long-term update guarantee

Oppo Reno 7 Pro

The Oppo Reno 7 Pro prioritizes design and aesthetics over performance, just like prior entries in the series. It offers a refined eye-catching design, unique notification light, and some long-awaited quality-of-life features. Despite these upgrades, however, lingering compromises hold it back against tough competition.
A newer version of this device is available. Oppo has launched the Reno 8 Pro, which features an updated design that skips the notification light, a Mediatek processor, and a sharp triple camera setup. Check out our Oppo Reno 8 Pro review for all the details.

Oppo’s Reno series of smartphones has always prioritized aesthetics over raw performance and this time is no different. The Reno 7 Pro shakes up the series’ design language and fixes some long-standing deficiencies from prior generations. With these improvements, can Oppo finally compete in the crowded and cut-throat sub-flagship smartphone segment? Find out in Android Authority’s Oppo Reno 7 Pro review.

Oppo Reno 7 Pro

What you need to know about the Oppo Reno 7 Pro

oppo reno 7 pro box contents
Calvin Wankhede / Android Authority
  • Oppo Reno 7 Pro (12GB / 256GB): Rs. 39,999 ($536)

While the design is still a key focal point of the Reno 7 Pro, it clearly eschews the Reno series’ past identity. The curved edges in particular — present since the Reno 4 Pro from 2019 — have now been replaced by a flat and boxy design. The Reno 7 Pro also offers a unique design feature we don’t see too often these days: a blue notification light surrounding the rear camera bump.

Whether you prefer a flat display over a curved one is a matter of personal preference, but Oppo was among only a handful of manufacturers to offer the latter at less-than-flagship prices. In fact, this design is very reminiscent of the base Reno 6, so it’s not a brand-new direction for Oppo. This year, the lower-end Reno 7 (Rs. 29,999) offers a curved glass back instead. Some other notable differences between the two models include a lower-end Mediatek Dimensity 900 processor, less RAM, and a larger bottom bezel.

The Reno 7 Pro is available in only one storage and RAM configuration: 12GB/256GB. As for colors, you can choose between Startrails Blue (pictured above) and Starlight Black, the latter offering a much more subdued look that some might prefer. Inside the box, you get Oppo’s proprietary 65W fast charging brick, an accompanying USB-C cable, and a transparent plastic case (more on that in a bit).

Check out: The best Android smartphones in India

Oppo announced that the Reno 7 Pro would go on sale in India starting February 2022, approximately two months after the phone’s debut in China. The Reno 7 Pro can be purchased from Flipkart and Oppo’s official website. It will also be sold across Oppo’s extensive retail network. European availability hasn’t been confirmed at the time of writing, and you shouldn’t expect it to officially launch in the US.

The Reno 7 Pro has abundant competition in its price segment, including offerings from BBK sister brands such as the OnePlus 9RT and Realme GT (soon to be replaced by the Realme GT 2). Let’s see if it does enough to stand out.

What’s good?

oppo reno 7 pro notification led with case 2
Calvin Wankhede / Android Authority

While the Reno 7 Pro’s design is a significant departure for the series, it’s still among the thinnest and lightest smartphones in its class. Build quality wasn’t sacrificed either — you get a premium-feeling aluminum frame and Gorilla Glass 5 on the back. There’s no plastic here, save for a few thin antenna lines running along the mid-frame.

The Startrails Blue colorway we tested features a matte gradient rear finish that keeps fingerprints and smudges at bay, just as Oppo claims in its marketing materials. The laser-etched lines, meanwhile, offer a slightly grippy texture and add up to a luxurious hand-feel. All in all, the Reno 7 Pro is a well-built smartphone, with the only real knock being the lack of any kind of splash resistance or official ingress protection rating.

The Oppo Reno 7's design and build quality are top-notch and the notification light is both unique and useful.

The Reno 7 Pro’s rear notification light is unquestionably its biggest design feature. From within the Settings menu, it can be configured to blink quickly for incoming calls, pulse slowly for notifications, and automatically turn off at night. If you miss the glanceability of notification LEDs from older smartphones, the Reno 7 Pro feels like coming home.

The light is easily visible, even in a reasonably bright room. Even better, the transparent plastic case included in the box is frosted along the sides. This helps the notification light achieve a soft, diffused glow (pictured above), even if you place the phone screen side up. I greatly appreciated this attention to detail.

In day-to-day usage, the Reno 7 Pro is snappy and responsive. The in-display fingerprint sensor is also plenty fast, as we’ve come to expect from past Oppo phones. And even though the device isn’t exactly built for heavy gaming, it ran casual titles like Rocket League: Sideswipe perfectly well. Make no mistake, though, the Mediatek Dimensity 1200 Max SoC isn’t a new addition — it’s a returning spec from last year’s Reno 6 Pro.

While the battery capacity and charging speeds haven’t been updated either, Oppo’s custom 65W charging is still plenty fast in 2022. The phone can be fully charged within just 35 minutes with the included proprietary charger. In my testing, the battery consistently powered through a full day of heavy use without breaking a sweat. Under normal usage conditions, you’ll likely never have to worry about battery life either — I always had a decent amount of charge around bedtime.

See also: How fast charging really works

It’s not all carryovers from the previous phone, of course. Oppo addressed one of our primary complaints with the Reno 6 Pro — the lack of stereo speakers. The Reno 7 Pro finally introduces an amplified earpiece, bringing it on par with most of the competition. The bottom speaker does get a bit louder than the earpiece, but the overall output is still a lot better than any mono speaker.

oppo reno 7 pro camera sample outdoors at night showing multicolored head sculptures in a park
Calvin Wankhede / Android Authority

The Reno 7 Pro also introduces a new 50MP primary camera. This is the same Sony IMX766 sensor that we’ve previously seen on Oppo’s 2021 flagship, the Find X3 Pro. During the day, it unsurprisingly manages to shoot great-looking images with a neutral color palette and excellent dynamic range. And even under challenging low-light scenarios, it manages to keep stray highlights under control — see the shot above for a great example. That said, images shot indoors under artificial lighting tend to look a bit underexposed and oversharpened. A manual exposure adjustment helps mitigate the former, though.

Moving to the front, the 32MP selfie shooter delivers good results with accurate skin and color rendition — provided you turn off the default smoothing effect. Edge detection in portrait mode worked surprisingly well across both photo and video modes too. You can adjust the amount of blur for a more natural look — the default setting was a bit too strong for my tastes. You can check out even more camera samples in the sections below.

Related: The best budget camera phones

What’s not so good?

oppo reno 7 pro about device
Calvin Wankhede / Android Authority

Even though the Reno 7 Pro performed well in my time with it, the default software experience on offer is far from ideal. For one, it runs Android 11. That’s quite disappointing considering that Android 12 has been out for nearly half a year. Oppo hasn’t disclosed a firm timeline for the update, but beta releases are said to land towards the end of March 2022. More worryingly, the company hasn’t offered a long-term commitment for future updates. As of early March, the Reno 7 Pro hasn’t moved past the January security patch.

For the latest updates: When is Android 12 coming to your phone?

Unfortunately, that’s not the only issue with the Reno 7 Pro’s software. After setting up the phone, you’re presented with over a dozen pre-installed apps on the home screen and abundant notification spam. The quality of these apps can range from innocuous offerings like Amazon and Snapchat to relatively unknown ones like Finshell Pay and Share Chat. Oppo’s Color OS skin also includes a lock screen “magazine” that displayed ads for the very phone I was trying to review.

It’s worth mentioning that you can uninstall or disable most of these annoyances — including many of Oppo’s own first-party apps. However, the process to do so is extremely tedious. Given the Reno 7 Pro’s positioning as a premium device, it shouldn’t be necessary in the first place.

The display is another component that Oppo hasn’t changed much since last year’s Reno 6 Pro, which itself borrowed its panel from the Reno 5 Pro. With a 90Hz refresh rate and a peak brightness of around 900 nits, the Reno 7 Pro’s 6.55-inch FHD+ AMOLED display is somewhat serviceable, but won’t win any awards as it gets thoroughly outclassed by the competition. Virtually no phone in this segment in India includes a sub-120Hz display anymore.

The unflattering peak brightness on the Reno 7 Pro’s display can also be quite apparent while watching HDR content. Compared to Xiaomi’s Mi 11x which was released in early 2021, specular highlights on the Reno 7 Pro looked muted and the overall presentation felt a lot less impactful. The display does get bright enough for regular indoor and outdoor use, but it’s a shame that Oppo didn’t spring for a better panel after two generations of similar specs. It’s also worth noting that HDR playback was enabled in Prime Video, but not Netflix, during the review period.

The Reno 7 Pro's display falls short of the competition in more ways than one.

Finally, the 8MP ultrawide and 2MP macro cameras on the Reno 7 Pro aren’t exceptional either. Images from the ultrawide exhibit a small, but noticeable color shift compared to the primary sensor. More noticeably, though, you lose quite a bit of detail in the shadows — 8MP simply isn’t a high enough resolution. We had the same gripe with last year’s Reno 6 Pro as well.

Once the sun sets, the ultrawide camera becomes practically unusable. Colors appear washed out and there’s abundant noise in darker sections. Night mode doesn’t help much at all either. While it does brighten up the image, you’re still left with an extremely grainy and flat-looking result. The 2MP macro camera, meanwhile, fails to capture any detail due to the low resolution.

Oppo Reno 7 Pro camera samples

Oppo Reno 7 Pro specs

Oppo Reno 7 Pro
Display
6.55-inch Super AMOLED
FHD+ 2400 x 1080 at 402ppi
90Hz refresh rate
Gorilla Glass 5
Processor
MediaTek Dimensity 1200 Max
RAM
12GB RAM
Storage
256GB, UFS 3.1
MicroSD
No
Battery
4,500mAh
65W charging
Cameras
Rear:
50MP, f/1.8, 1/1.56", PDAF
8MP Ultrawide 119 degree frame-of-view
2MP, f/2.4"

Front:
32MP, f/2.4, 22mm wide-angle
Connectivity
4G LTE support
5G FDD/TDD
Wi-Fi 6
Bluetooth 5.2
NFC
Operating System
Color OS 12
Android 11
Security
In-display fingerprint sensor, face unlock
Color
Starlight Black, Startrails Blue
Dimensions and weight
158.2 x 73.2 x 7.45mm
180g

Oppo Reno 7 Pro review: Should I buy it?

oppo reno 7 pro display
Calvin Wankhede / Android Authority

On the surface, the Reno 7 Pro’s design may seem like a step back from its predecessor. After all, the boxy form factor is not exactly unique — both the Motorola Edge 20 (Rs. 29,999) and Xiaomi 11i (Rs. 26,999) offer similar ergonomics, and at lower price points to boot. However, neither phone offers the Reno 7 Pro’s distinctive rear glass design, satisfying hand feel, and lightweight build. The notification light is a nice addition too. If these attributes are important to you above all else, Oppo still has a decent package on offer.

Looking past the design, however, it’s clear that Oppo continues to cut one too many corners with the Reno series. While some specifications on offer are a welcome step-up over last year’s Reno 6 Pro, the hardware package when compared to the very best out there just simply isn’t competitive.

The Reno 7 Pro introduces some long-awaited features, but it still doesn't represent a compelling value proposition.

For roughly the same amount of money, the Xiaomi 11T Pro (Rs. 39,999) offers a faster processor, a 120Hz refresh rate 10-bit HDR-capable display, 120W fast charging, newer Gorilla Glass Victus, and an IP53 rating. The default MIUI software experience isn’t a great deal better than Oppo’s Color OS, but Xiaomi has committed to three years of Android updates for that model.

The OnePlus 9RT (Rs. 42,999) is worth considering too. It retains the same capable Sony IMX766 image sensor as the Reno 7 Pro, but includes a faster Snapdragon 888 SoC and 120Hz display. Oxygen OS also doesn’t come with as much bloat.

See also: The best smartphones under 40,000 rupees

The Reno 7 Pro will face even tougher competition if it launches in Europe, where previous iterations have been priced around €800. Alternatives like the Google Pixel 6 ($599) are simply much more capable and well-rounded, particularly in aspects such as imaging. Similarly, the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE (Rs. 49,999 / $699) delivers a more consistent software experience, along with nice-to-have features like an IP68 ingress rating and wireless charging.

reno 7 pro ecommerce
Oppo Reno 7 Pro
The Oppo Reno 7 Pro continues the series' tradition of prioritizing design over performance. This generation offers a unique notification light, stereo speakers, and other incremental updates.