Reno5 brings Oppo up to speed

No longer just up-and-coming, Oppo aims to become one of the big 3 in South Africa, and the Reno5 handset leads the charge, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

It’s probably only in South Africa that Oppo is regarded as an up-and-coming brand. It only launched in this country in late 2020, but has been the number one smartphone manufacturer in China, on and off, since 2016. It became a sponsor of Barcelona FC, arguably one of the world’s three most popular football teams, in 2015. And, as far back as 2010, it even had one of South Korea’s leading boy bands of the time, 2PM, produce a promotional song for their launch in Thailand.

It tested the waters cautiously on South Africa with the release of the mid-range A72 in October, with a price tag of R6,999 firmly targeting a youth market that was budget-conscious but still specs-driven. A 6.5-inch screen, 48MP camera and massive 5000mAh battery signalled Oppo’s intention of competing vigorously for this market.

Now, it is going after the lower high end, with a similar strategy of competing strongly on a combination of price and features.

The new Reno5, an Android 5G handset launched in South Africa last month, brings specs that are comparable to the basic Samsung Galaxy S21 and Apple iPhone 12, but with a few major added extras, and a significant discount. Starting at a recommended retail price (RRP) of R14,299, versus an RRP of R18,999 and R16,499 respectively for two competing devices, it offers something no other phone has: a “Super Fast SuperVOOC 2.0” charger, which allows the phone to be charged to 100% in 35 minutes safely, or from 0 to 25% in 5 minutes, when one is in a hurry and desperate for a little power.

“You’re getting a supercharging beast,” enthuses Liam Faurie, head of go-to-market and operations for Oppo in South Africa. “At launch, this phone is the fastest charging mainstream South African smartphone. The 5 minutes charge to 25% will give you 4 hours of solid gaming, and half a day of normal usage. Five minutes.”

Faurie’s emphasis on the charge time underlines just how significant that feature is expected to be for the brand. It doesn’t stop with time to charge, however. The battery has serious smarts built-in.

“It changes your life, or at least changes the way you use your smartphone,” he says. “If you’re a typical user, you charge your phone overnight. That’s the worst thing that you can do to your phone’s battery. With the Reno5, if you do charge it overnight, it ‘trickle charges’ it only up to 50%, and it keeps it at 50% the whole night, because it knows your waking-up patterns as well. So all it will do is, 10 minutes before you usually wake up, it puts it on a flash charge to take the battery to 100%.”

And if you forget to plug it in overnight? That’s where the fast-charge comes into its own, says Faurie.

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