Oppo Reno Ace review: Taking charge

The Oppo Reno Ace is one of the first phones to support 65W charging and it can top up the battery in record time. It is also one of only a handful of devices to ship with the Snapdragon 855 Plus processor. Combine these with the 90Hz display and dedicated gaming features, and you have a powerhouse phone that brings the fight to Asus, Black Shark, and Red Magic. Can it ace the competition?

Find out in Android Authority‘s Oppo Reno Ace review.

About our Oppo Reno Ace review: I tested the Oppo Reno Ace over a period of seven days. The device was running Color OS 6, based on Android 9 Pie, and updated to Color OS 6.1 while I was testing it. Oppo supplied the review unit to Android Authority.Show More

Oppo Reno Ace review: The big picture

Oppo is ready to get its game on. The Oppo Reno Ace doesn’t come with quite all the fancy bells and whistles that some gaming phones have, such as attachable fans and gaming grips, but it has the internals necessary to power the action.

Competition in the gaming phone space is particularly intense this year. Options such as the Asus ROG Phone 2, Black Shark 2, and Red Magic 3S pack a wallop with maxed-out specs and dedicated gaming tools. The Oppo Reno Ace enters the fray after many of its competitors have released second-generation hardware. The ace up Oppo’s sleeve, however, is a surprisingly low price point. Let’s find out just how good this phone is and if delivers a killing blow.

What’s in the Box

  • 65W charger
  • USB-C cable
  • TPU case
  • SIM tool

Just the essentials, nothing more. No earbuds, but I’m sure that’s because Oppo expects gamers to use their preferred headphones.

Design

Oppo Reno Ace review in the hand angled view

  • 161 x 75 x 8.7mm
  • 200g
  • USB-C
  • 3.5mm headphone jack

I know this is going to shock you, but there’s no avoiding the issue: The Oppo Reno Ace is made of metal and glass. Yep. It has an aluminum frame and two gorgeous glass panels front and back. Oppo didn’t specify what type of glass, but it sure is pretty. The company sent us the Starry Blue colorway, which has a subtle blue/aqua/green gradient. The Psychedelic Purple (yes, that’s the real name) colorway looks better in my opinion. Both hues are luscious, glossy, and stand out in a noticeable way.

Oppo used fine materials to put this phone together. The glass surfaces are polished to a high sheen and the metal has a nifty coat of paint. Everything about the phone feels classy and expensive. There’s nothing cheap about this phone at all.

It’s a sizable piece of hardware. About the same footprint as a Google Pixel 4 XL, the Oppo Reno Ace is a tall, wide, and heavy hunk of smartphone.

Oppo Reno Ace review deep color

The glass surfaces are polished to a high sheen and the metal has a nifty coat of paint.

Oppo was able to keep the face of the phone almost 100% screen. The smallest teardrop notch dips from the top edge down into the screen area just a smidge. A broad slit for the earpiece is barely perceptible between the notch and the metal framing. The side bezels and chin are admirably thin. Oppo ships the phone with a pre-installed screen protector and the edges are easy to feel with your thumb. Otherwise, the rounded side edges and curved rear glass help the phone feel comfortable in your palm when gripping it.

Oppo Reno Ace review front with game controller
Oppo Reno Ace review against brick

The Ace has a fairly standard set of controls along the outer edges. Separate volume buttons are positioned about two-thirds of the way up the left side. The space between them is negligible, meaning it’s hard to tell up from down by feel. A power button sits on the right edge, opposite the volume keys. I really like that the button has a slim green accent, which helps it stand out visually.

The dual SIM card tray is above the power button. Sadly, there’s no memory card support to be found here. On the bottom, you’ll note the 3.5mm headphone jack, USB-C port, and bottom-firing speaker.

Oppo Reno Ace review bottom edge
Oppo Reno Ace review camoera module

Oppo could not have done a finer job shaping the rear panel glass. It has an attractive curve that bends along the side edges, where it tucks itself into the metal frame. The camera module is rather long and raised slightly to contain the four lenses. The main lens is called out by a green accent that matches the power button on the side. It’s a small detail, but a nice one. Oppo’s brand and tagline (“Designed for Reno”) are painted onto the glass in gold. Sharp.

Fingerprints mire both glass surfaces swiftly, and you’d do well to make use of the included TPU case, which provides a modicum of protection and grip.

Oppo does not call out an IP rating for the Reno Ace, so we have to assume it’s not waterproof.

See also: Best waterproof phones you can buy

Display

Oppo Reno Ace review in the hand front

  • 6.5-inch AMOLED
  • 2,400 x 1,080 resolution
  • 90Hz refresh rate
  • 1,000 nit peak brightness

Phone makers cannot enter the gaming space without a 90Hz panel on their phone. Thus, the Oppo Reno Ace includes a screen that refreshes 90 times per second — which makes it appear to be smoother than that of a 60Hz screen. The higher refresh rate is most evident when scrolling up and down or panning back and forth, as images, icons, text, and graphics remain sharp and stutter-free as they slide around the screen.

Similarly, gaming phones generally stick with Full HD or Full HD+ resolutions, given the number of gaming titles that are published in the HD format. That means the Reno Ace has a screen that’s more than twice as tall as it is wide.

It’s a clean panel that delivers crisp text, excellent video performance, and luscious colors.

The last component here is brightness, and the Reno Ace delivers in spades. Oppo claims the phone reaches 700 nits average brightness, with peaks reaching 1,000 nits. Most flagship phones tested by Android Authority rate in the 400 to 500 nit space, and the Ace maxed out at 481 nits on our equipment. In short, the Ace’s screen is crazy bright and contrasty, though it doesn’t quite deliver on Oppo’s claims.

It’s a clean panel that delivers crisp text, excellent video performance, and luscious colors that aren’t over saturated. Most people who buy the Ace will love the screen.

I can’t say the same for the in-display fingerprint reader. It was a hassle to register a print and inconsistent at best.

Performance

Oppo Reno Ace review rear with gamer controller

  • Snapdragon 855 Plus
  • 8/12GB of RAM, 128/256GB storage
  • Adreno 640
  • UFS 3.0

Oppo doesn’t necessarily pitch the Reno Ace as a gaming phone, but it satisfies most of the criteria nonetheless. Mega fast CPU? Check. Class-leading GPU? Check. Ultra quick storage? Check. Huge amounts of RAM? You betcha. Toss in a composite carbon fiber cooling system, GameBoost 2.0 (accelerates gameplay, stabilizes frame rates), and a 4D vibration motor, and you have the underpinnings of a great gaming phone. The only features really missing are triggers and advanced, fan-driven cooling.

Not only is the Ace a good gaming phone, it’s a good everyday phone.

The Oppo Reno Ace absolutely wrecks the competition when it comes to benchmarks. AnTuTu and 3DMark results stood out the most, with scores of 478,768 and 6,092, respectively. These numbers are ahead of the pack by a significant margin.

Oppo Reno Ace review AnTuTu
Oppo Reno Ace review 3D mark results
Oppo Reno Ace review geekbench

In day-to-day performance, the phone always felt swift and fluid. Nothing slowed the Reno Ace down, not even a little bit. Not only is the Ace a good gaming phone, it’s a good everyday phone.

Read also: Snapdragon 855 and 855 Plus vs Kirin 990

Battery

  • 4,000mAh lithium-ion
  • 65W SuperVOOC 2.0 charging
  • No wireless charging

Battery life is one facet that sets the Oppo Reno Ace far apart from the competition. First up, the large power cell pushes the phone from morning to night without breaking a sweat. Even with the power-hungry display, the Ace aced my daily routine of social networking, email, Slack, music, video, and browsing.

Lasting a day on a charge, however, is not the Reno Ace’s superpower: Ultra-rapid charging is.

Oppo says the Reno Ace is the first phone to ship with support for 65W charging. It does this via Oppo’s SuperVOOC 2.0 charger. The 65W gallium nitride power brick is able to fully charge the dual battery in just 30 minutes. That’s right, 4,000mAh in 30 minutes. No other phone is even close.

Ultra-rapid charging is the Reno Ace’s superpower.

Oppo achieved this by separating the charge circuit from the discharge circuit inside the two halves of the battery. This shortens the charge path and reduces resistance inside the battery, which results in a 2x improvement in charging speed. Moreover, Oppo is able to keep the Reno Ace charging at a high rate even during the last 10% of battery capacity, when most chargers and batteries reduce to a trickling charge rate. In our tests, the phone took 32 minutes to go from 0% to 100% — close enough to Oppo’s claim for me.

Bottom line, you hardly need to worry about battery life at all. With a phone that sucks in a 25% charge in just 5 minutes, you can score hours of up time in mere minutes.

See also: The best portable battery chargers

Camera

Oppo Reno Ace review camera profile

  • Rear
    • Standard 48MP
    • Wide angle: 8MP
    • Long focus: 13MP
    • Depth: 2MP
  • Front
    • 16MP
  • Video
    • 4K @ 60fps
    • Full HD slow-motion

Oppo Reno Ace review camera main UI
Oppo Reno Ace review camera shooting modes
Oppo Reno Ace review camera pro mode
Oppo Reno Ace review camera settings

The Oppo Reno Ace has the same camera configuration as the Oppo Reno 2, but it has Qualcomm’s superior flagship silicon handling the background processing. That gives the Ace a significant advantage over its stablemate.

A quad-camera setup has become commonplace for phones in this price range. The main shooter may have a huge pixel count, but it bins down to 12MP for standard shots. You can elect to use the full resolution, but I found the results to be a bit noisy. It’s most useful when zooming way in.

In basic use, the camera offers four levels of zoom: super-wide, 1x, 3x, and 5x. These are all simple to jump to thanks to a button placed near the shutter key. The super-wide also doubles as a macro lens of sorts, meaning it can capture super close-ups. It’s a versatile arrangement, particularly if you enjoy tweaking the perspective.

Oppo Reno Ace review camera sample at the hopjpeg

Most of the images I captured with the phone looked sharp and clean. Colors were good, white balance was on point, and exposure was mostly where it should be. I saw some overblown highlights here and there, but under a cloudless sunny sky that’s not unheard of.

The 5x zoom relies on the telephoto lens and 48MP sensor working together. This is often referred to as hybrid zoom. I was surprised with the sharpness of shots zoomed so far in.

Oppo Reno Ace review camera sample 5x church and fence
Oppo Reno Ace review camera sample 5x rectory
Oppo Reno Ace review camera sample 5x church face
Oppo Reno Ace review camera sample 5x at the hop

Most of the features you expect to see on a modern phone are available to the Oppo Reno Ace. That means panorama, portrait, slow-motion, hyperlapse, night mode, and so on. Each of the modes is familiar to use and delivers average results when compared to competing phones.

Portrait mode worked fairly well. In the shot below, you can see that the Ace ‘s 16MP front camera accurately blurred out the chain link fence behind me. This was a hard shot, and the phone almost nailed it.

Oppo Reno Ace review camera sample selfie
Oppo Reno Ace review camera sample selfie portrait

Shooting video is as easy as mashing the button. I checked out Full HD at 30fps and 4K at 60fps and I think the results are fine. The footage is clean, properly exposed, and mostly free of noise and color issues.

The Reno Ace keeps pace with competing phones in this price range.

You can view full-sized photo samples here.

Audio

  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Stereo speakers
  • Dolby Atmos
  • Bluetooth 5.0 aptX

Oppo covered the audio basics. The earpiece and bottom-firing speaker combine to create a stereo effect when you hold the phone sideways in landscape orientation. The sound is certainly loud enough to fill an average room with music. The quality of the speakers is just okay. I’d like deeper bass tones, but at least the mids and highs are clean.

You’ll get the best experience via the 3.5mm headphone jack, which supports Dolby Atmos. You can tune the sound to your liking via software tools. I found gameplay and Hollywood movies sounded quite good through a quality pair of wired headphones.

Last, there’s Bluetooth with support for aptX. This isn’t as good a codec as aptX HD, but it’s better than nothing.

See also: The best headphones of 2019, on sale

Software

Oppo Reno Ace review home screen
Oppo Reno Ace review home screen tools
Oppo Reno Ace review oppo apps
Oppo Reno Ace review settings screen

  • Color OS 6.1

Color OS 6.1 is based on Android 9 Pie, but it is a non-Play Store skin. In other words, the Google Play Store and Google apps are not available out of the box. The phone is absolutely loaded with Oppo’s own apps and a multitude of grating third-party junk.

Functionality of the OS is not an issue. You have all the standard UI options available to most Android phones. That means you can adjust the home screen to include an app drawer or not, organize apps into folders, drop widgets onto the home screen, and set your preferred feed to fill the left-most home screen panel. The Quick Settings drop-down menu, full system settings menu, and other typical Android functions are all here.

Oppo Reno Ace review more bloatware
Oppo Reno Ace review bloatware
Oppo Reno Ace review app suggestions
Oppo Reno Ace review web store

Importantly, the OS flies. The processor/RAM combo serves the phone well and it never felt slow.

You can get Google (and other) apps onto the phone as long as you don’t mind side-loading the APKs directly.

Specs

Display 6.5-inch AMOLED
2,400 x 1,080 Full HD+
90Hz refresh rate
1000nit peak brightness
Chassis 161 x 75 x 8.7mm
200g
USB-C
3.5mm headphone jack
Performance Snapdragon 855 Plus
8/12GB of RAM, 128/256GB storage
Adreno 640
UFS 3.0
Battery 4,000mAh lithium ion
65W SuperVOOC 2.0 charging
No wireless charging
Camera Rear:
Standard 48MP
Wide angle: 8MP
Long focus: 13MP
Depth: 2MP

Front:
16MP

Video
4K @ 60fps
Full HD slow-motion

Audio 3.5mm headphone jack
Stereo speakers
Dolby Atmos
Bluetooth 5.0 aptX
Software Color OS 6.1
Android 9 Pie
Pricing Oppo Reno Ace: 8GB/128GB — 3,199 yuan (~$450)
Oppo Reno Ace: 8GB/256GB — 3,399 yuan (~$478)
Oppo Reno Ace: 12GB/256GB — 3,799 yuan (~$534)
Colors Psychedelic Purple
Starry Blue

Value for money

Oppo Reno Ace review close up profile
Oppo Reno Ace review in the hand outside

  • Oppo Reno Ace: 8GB/128GB — 3,199 yuan (~$450)
  • Oppo Reno Ace: 8GB/256GB — 3,399 yuan (~$478)
  • Oppo Reno Ace: 12GB/256GB — 3,799 yuan (~$534)

The Ace launched in China in mid-October with some promotional pricing, but it appears that those prices are no longer available. Even so, the phone is a solid value considering all it offers and what the competition costs.

The Red Magic 3S is the Oppo Reno Ace’s most direct competitor, as it shares the same basic price of $479. The 3S is a more proper gaming phone, however, with air triggers, accessories, and such. Then there’s the Asus ROG Phone 2, a phone hellbent on delivering the best possible gaming experience. You’ll pay for it, however, at $899/€899 — or twice the price of the Ace.

The Ace is a stealth gaming phone that sneaks up on you in more ways than one. We must point out, however, that the device is not being sold in western markets directly. It is available via eBay for a bit of a price premium. 

Buy Oppo Reno Ace

Oppo Reno Ace review: The verdict

Oppo Reno Ace review face with keyboard

Oppo put together a solid offering in the Reno Ace. It’s a gorgeous piece of hardware that delivers on multiple fronts.

The metal-and-glass chassis is high quality, the 90Hz screen is bright and fluid, the Snapdragon 855 Plus zippy, and the battery life excellent. With the fastest-charging battery we’ve ever seen, the Ace is uniquely positioned as a subtle phone for gaming. Color OS is not for me, but Google apps are only an APK search away. The software works well and doesn’t hold the phone back.

The Oppo Reno Ace is an all-around workhorse that’s worth your consideration.

This concludes Android Authority’s Oppo Reno Ace review. Please be sure to tell us what you think in the comment section.

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