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Oppo Reno8 5G Audio test

We put the Oppo Reno8 5G through our rigorous DXOMARK Audio test suite to measure its performance both at recording sound using its built-in microphones, and at playing audio back through its speakers.
In this review, we will break down how it fared in a variety of tests and several common use cases.

Overview

OPPO Reno 8 5G was unveiled in China in May 2021. In July, OPPO announced the Reno 8 5G alongside other products, such as the Reno 8 Pro 5G, the OPPO Pad, and the Enco X2 TWS earbuds. It has now also arrived in Europe along with its other siblings, like the Reno 8 Pro 5G and Reno 8 Lite. In Europe, early buyers of the Reno 8 trio will get a free pair of Enco X2 buds worth 199 euros and an extended 3-year warranty.

The Reno 8 5G is priced at Rs 29,999 (~$376) in India, £419 in the UK, and 599 euros in other European countries. It rivals similarly priced smartphones, such as the OnePlus Nord 2T 5G, POCO F4 5G, iQOO Neo 6 5G, and Nothing Phone (1). Here is a full review of the Reno 8 5G to see how it stacks up against its rivals.

The Reno 8 5G has flat edges and a unibody design, meaning it does not have a separate camera module. The top edge of the device has a microphone, its right edge has a power button, and the volume buttons are placed on the left edge. The bottom edge has a SIM card slot, a microphone, a USB-C port, and a speaker grille. It lacks a 3.5mm audio jack and a second speaker for stereo output. These features were also unavailable on the Reno 7 5G.

The illuminated accent ring in the camera bump of the Reno 7 5G functions as a notification light. Sadly, there is no notification LED light on the Reno 8 5G.  Weighing 179 grams, the Reno 8 5G is one of the most lightweight smartphones on the market in its price segment. It measures only 7.67mm in thickness. Apart from Shimmer Gold, it also comes in Shimmer Black.

On the front, it has a 6.43-inch punch-hole display with an in-screen fingerprint scanner. It is an OLED panel, which comes with Gorilla Glass 5 protection. The screen supports a Full HD+ resolution, a 20:9 aspect ratio, a 90Hz refresh rate, and up to a 180Hz touch sampling rate. I used the device on a daily basis, and I did not find any issues with viewing the display in bright sunlight. The screen supports a peak brightness of 800 nits and the adaptive brightness feature works fine outdoors.

Playback

Pros

  • Decent distance rendition
  • Decent maximum volume
  • Acceptable volume dependency for Timbre

Cons

  • Mono speakers limit Spatial performance
  • Underwhelming Timbre with narrow spectrum and muffled sonority
  • Strong volume fluctuations at soft volumes, loss of information
  • Only speaker is too easily blocked completely
  • Underwhelming performance in Dynamics

Recording

Pros

  • Good tonal balance, homogeneous across apps and particularly shines at high SPL
  • Impressive Wideness in life video and memo
  • Good Dynamics performance overall
  • Almost free of artifacts

Cons

  • Audio zoom introduces phase problems and pumping issues
  • Tonal Balance lacks low mid warmth, especially in selfie video

The Oppo Reno8 5G lags behind some of the competition in its class. However, its performance is somewhat unbalanced, with a much better performance in Recording than for playback, so depending on your needs it might still be an option to consider.

In Playback the device performs on a similar level in the movie and music use cases but does slightly better for gaming. It offers decent distance rendition and maximum volume but a single mono speaker means it’s sub-par for Spatial attributes. Dynamic and Timbre also leave room for improvement. A narrow tonal spectrum is very much focused on the midrange. Strong volume fluctuations at low volume settings can result in a very frustrating loss of information and you have to be careful not to block the only speaker with your hands while holding the phone.

The Oppo does much better as a Recording device. It performs best when recording selfie videos and memos but also does a decent job with the main camera and used to record meetings. Recordings benefit from a good tonal balance across all apps as well as excellent wideness when recording main camera video and memos. It also offers good Dynamics and ist pretty much free of sound artifacts. On the downside, the audio zoom feature can cause phase problems and pumping issues and the tonal balance could do with a little more warmth in the low mid spectrum, especially when recording selfie video clips.

Test summary

About DXOMARK Audio tests: For scoring and analysis in our smartphone audio reviews, DXOMARK engineers perform a variety of objective tests and undertake more than 20 hours of perceptual evaluation under controlled lab conditions.
(For more details about our Playback protocol, click here; for more details about our Recording protocol, click here.)

The following section gathers key elements of our exhaustive tests and analyses performed in DXOMARK laboratories. Detailed performance evaluations under the form of reports are available upon request. Do not hesitate to contact us.

Playback

92

Black Shark 5 Pro

Black Shark 5 Pro

How Audio Playback score is composed

DXOMARK engineers test playback through the smartphone speakers, whose performance is evaluated in our labs and in real-life conditions, using default apps and settings.

In Playback the Reno8 5G lags overall behind many competitors, which is mainly due to the limitations of the single mono speaker. A dull treble and total lack of lower and low bass extension mean the tonal spectrum is very narrow and the hi-midrange. In terms of Dynamics, attack is ok, although not sharp, at nominal volume and loses precision at higher volumes. Bass precision is not quite up to scratch and at low volumes bass is pretty much rendered silent on occasions.

As a mono device the Reno8 inevitably does not do well in the Spatial category. Wideness, localizability and balance are null by default. On the plus side distance rendering is decent, with better results for music than for voices. The device is not particularly loud but the steps are fairly consistent as you turn up the volume.

For Artifacts the Reno performs below the average for devices in its class. Our testers notices fluctuation at low volumes, bass compression and distortion even at nominal volume and some audio glitches that occur when pressing pause and then play. The single speaker is also very easy to cover with the your fingers when holding the phone, which is especially frustrating when playing games.

Listen to the tested smartphone’s playback performance in this comparison with some of its competitors:

Recordings of the smartphones playing some of our music tracks at 60 LAeq in an anechoic environment by 2 microphones in A-B configuration, at 30 cm

Here is how the Oppo Reno 8 5G performs in playback use cases compared to its competitors:

Playback use-cases scores

Timbre

99

Black Shark 5 Pro

Black Shark 5 Pro

The Timbre score represents how well a phone reproduces sound across the audible tonal range and takes into account bass, midrange, treble, tonal balance, and volume dependency. It is the most important attribute for playback.

Music playback frequency response

A 1/12 octave frequency response graph, which measures the volume of each frequency emitted by the smartphone when playing a pure-sine wave in an anechoic environment.

Dynamics

109

Black Shark 5 Pro

Black Shark 5 Pro

The Dynamics score measures the accuracy of changes in the energy level of sound sources, for example how precisely a bass note is reproduced or the impact sound from drums.

Spatial

75

Black Shark 5 Pro

Black Shark 5 Pro

The sub-attributes for spatial tests include pinpointing a specific sound’s location, its positional balance, distance, and wideness.

Volume

110

Black Shark 5 Pro

Black Shark 5 Pro

The Volume score represents the overall loudness of a smartphone and how smoothly volume increases and decreases based on user input.

Here are a few sound pressure levels (SPL) measured when playing our sample recordings of hip-hop and classical music at maximum volume:

Hip-Hop Classical
Oppo Reno8 5G 70.4 dBA 72 dBA
Realme GT 5G 76.2 dBA 70.5 dBA
Nubia RedMagic 7 Pro 76.4 dBA 73.4 dBA

The following graph shows the gradual changes in volume going from minimum to maximum. We expect these changes to be consistent across the range, so that all volume steps correspond to users’ expectations:

Music volume consistency

This line graph shows the relative loudness of playback relative to the user selected volume step, measured at different volume steps with a correlated pink noise in an anechoic box recorded in axis at 0.20 meter.

Artifacts

72

Asus ROG Phone 5

Asus ROG Phone 5

The Artifacts score measures the extent to which the sound is affected by various types of distortion. The higher the score, the less the disturbances in the sound are noticeable. Distortion can occur because of sound processing in the device and because of the quality of the speakers.

Playback Total Harmonic Distortion (Maximum Volume)

This graph shows the Total Harmonic Distortion and Noise over the hearable frequency range.
It represents the distortion and noise of the device playing our test signal (0 dB Fs, Sweep Sine in an anechoic box at 40 cm) at the device’s maximum volume.

Recording

139

Black Shark 5 Pro

Black Shark 5 Pro

How Audio Recording score is composed

DXOMARK engineers test recording by evaluating the recorded files on reference audio equipment. Those recordings are done in our labs and in real-life conditions, using default apps and settings.

Thankfully, the Reno8 5G is much better for Recording than it is for Playback, even surpassing the Reno8 Pro in this category. Tonal balance is good across all use cases and all apps we are using for the DXOMARK Audio tests. A clean treble allows for good intelligibility of voices. It’s accompanied by a natural midrange and the lower spectrum benefits from clean bass rendering. The device is especially good at high sound pressure levels, making it a good options for recording concerts and similar events. It’s worth noting that using the Audio zoom feature results in a slightly unclear midrange and super-tele zoom also loses bass and low-midrange to a degree.

The Reno8 does well for Dynamics overall, thanks to a good envelope in all use cases, with sharp and accurate attack and good voice intelligibility. The envelope remains good, even at high sound pressure levels, generating impactful dynamics with sharpness and accuracy. The Oppo also does well in the Spatial category, with impressive wideness in the main camera video and memo use cases. It’s also pretty easy to pinpoint sound sources in the stereo field and voices appear at the correct distance from the listener. Audio Zoom does well at rejecting background noise but is a little slow to kick in which can result in unwanted effects.

Recording loudness is good across all apps but increments are quite inconsistent when using Audio Zoom. On the plus side, recordings are pretty much free from artifacts and wind noise is handled pretty well. It works better for selfie video than with main camera or memo apps, though. The tonal balance of the background is good across all apps and overall background feels natural and free from resonances and artifacts.

Here is how the Oppo Reno 8 5G performs in recording use cases compared to its competitors:

Recording use-cases scores

Timbre

136

Honor Magic3 Pro+

Honor Magic3 Pro+

The Timbre score represents how well a phone captures sounds across the audible tonal range and takes into account bass, midrange, treble, and tonal balance. It is the most important attribute for recording.

Life video frequency response

A 1/12 octave frequency response graph, which measures the volume of each frequency captured by the smartphone when recording a pure-sine wave in an anechoic environment.

Dynamics

124

Black Shark 5 Pro

Black Shark 5 Pro

The Dynamics score measures the accuracy of changes in the energy level of sound sources, for example how precisely a voice’s plosives (the p’s, t’s and k’s, for example) are reproduced. The score also considers the Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR), for example how loud the main voice is compared to the background noise.

Spatial

140

Asus ROG Phone 5

Asus ROG Phone 5

The sub-attributes for spatial tests include pinpointing a specific sound’s location, its positional balance, distance, and wideness on the recorded audio files.

Recording directivity

Directivity graph of the smartphone when recording test signals using the camera app, with the main camera. It represents the acoustic energy (in dB) over the angle of incidence of the sound source. (Normalized to the angle 0°, in front of the device.)

Volume

134

Black Shark 5 Pro

Black Shark 5 Pro

The Volume score represents how loud audio is normalized on the recorded files and the how the device handles loud environments, such as electronic concerts, when recording.

Here are the sound levels recorded in the audio and video files, measured in LUFS (Loudness Unit Full Scale); as a reference, we expect loudness levels to be above -24 LUFS for recorded content:

Meeting Life Video Selfie Video Memo
Oppo Reno8 5G -23.4 LUFS -21.3 LUFS -19.8 LUFS -17.8 LUFS
Realme GT 5G -19.7 LUFS -15.1 LUFS -14.3 LUFS -16.7 LUFS
Nubia RedMagic 7 Pro -33.6 LUFS -25 LUFS -20.5 LUFS -28.1 LUFS

Artifacts

142

Black Shark 5 Pro

Black Shark 5 Pro

The Artifacts score measures the extent to which the recorded sounds are affected by various types of distortions. The higher the score, the less the disturbances in the sound are noticeable. Distortions can occur because of sound processing in the device and the quality of the microphones, as well as user handling, such as how the phone is held.

In this audio comparison, you can listen to the way this smartphone handles wind noise relative to its competitors:

Recordings of a voice sample with light background noise, facing a turbulent wind of 5 m/s

Background

150

Black Shark 5 Pro

Black Shark 5 Pro

Background evaluates how natural the various sounds around a voice blend into the video recording file. For example, when recording a speech at an event, the background should not interfere with the main voice, yet it should provide some context of the surroundings.

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