INTRO

Kenya is not short of good phones, regardless of your budget.

Things start getting complicated when you have more money, say KES 25K and more. Over those price ranges, you will find many devices, all of them good in their own right. It is hard picking the correct choice because people have different needs. For instance, the majority would want a phone with good snappers. Others want a phone that lasts all day, and then some more. Others want fast charging. Others want clean software, and other groups want a phone that is fast that will also last the next couple of years.

These are many demands, and realistically speaking, there is no single phone that can meet them all. It is just not possible.


Which is kind of the same scenario with the two phones in the house: the OPPO Reno6 5G and the Samsung Galaxy A72.

The Reno6 costs a cool KES 60k.

The A72 is 10K cheaper.

But, is that the only comparison we need to look at? Of course not.

Which features does the Reno6 pack to guarantee the higher price tag?

What do you lose if you pick the A72?

Which phone has made more compromises?

Which is a better value, no matter the cost?

All these are interesting questions, and I will try to address them in a few sentences. Short and sweet sentences.

And before I go further into the specifics, here are the devices’ specs.

Reno6 5G Specs

SpecsOPPO Reno6 5G
ScreenAMOLED
6.43"
1080 x 2400 pixels
90 Hz
OSAndroid 11, ColorOS 11
ChipMediaTek’s Dimensity 900 (6 nm)
GPUMali-G77 MC9
RAM8 GB
Storage128 GB
Battery 4300 mAh
Fast Charging at 65W
Headphone jackNo
FeaturesUnder the display fingerprint reader
CamerasSelfie
44 MP

Main: Triple
64 MP, f/1.8, (main)
8 MP, f/2.4, (ultrawide)
2 MP, f/2.2, (macro)
ColoursMidnight Black, Aurora Blue
PriceKES 60K

Galaxy A72 Specs

SpecsA72
Weight203g
Protection IP67 dust/water resistant (up to 1m for 30 mins)
Screen6.7″ Super AMOLED, 90Hz, 800 nits max, 1080 x 2400 pixels
Operating systemAndroid 11, One UI 3.1
ChipSnapdragon 720G (8 nm)
GPUAdreno 618
Internal storage128/256 GB
RAM6/8 GB
Main camQuad: 64 MP main with OIS, 8 MP telephoto with OIS and 3x optical zoom, 12 MP ultra-wide, 5 MP macro
Selfie32 MP, 4K video at 30 fps
Battery and charging5000 mAh, Fast charging 25W
FingerprintIn-screen
ColoursAwesome Black, Awesome White, Awesome Violet, Awesome Blue
PriceKES 50000

PERFORMANCE

This is the part where the Reno6 easily comes at the top. It is equipped with a Dimensity 900 chip, which is a tad slower than the 1200 found in the Reno6 5G Pro.

Still, the 900 is more than capable and easily compares to the likes of the S770, or even higher Qualcomm equivalents.

Add to the fact that ColorOS has been improved over the years, and is actually optimized and stripped down at the same time, but keeps many features in tow to entertain you and you would see why the Reno6 is a winner here.

Apps open immediately, and navigating around the phone is a pleasurable experience.

This is also the first Reno phone that is actually performant. Previously, the Reno3, 4, and 5 were capable devices, and still are to date, but the Reno6 bests them in terms of performance leaps.

The last two Reno phones in this line, namely the Reno4 and Reno5 were equipped with the Snapdragon 720G.

This is the same the chipset running the show in the A72.

Not that it is slow by any means, but it doesn’t compare to the power that the Dimensity 900 churns.

The best way to establish this fact is if you use the two phones side by side, and you will see that the A72 takes an extra second to complete basic tasks, such as opening apps.

At the same time, the A72 generally stutters when scrolling through apps, settings or content in apps. Not something you would expect in a 50K phone, but that is where we are.

The good thing is that the A72 is cheaper by a whole 10K, so, is that something you can overlook?

Winner: Reno6

Moving on…

LIFESTYLE FEATURES

In this segment, the A72 is ahead of the Reno6 for three primary reasons:

  1. The A72 has dual speakers that sound very good, for the price. The Reno6 doesn’t, which is a shame, really, because it is an expensive phone.
  2. The A72 has a headphone socket in a world where the port is endangered. The reno6 does not, which is another bummer because there are millions of people out here with wired headphones.
  3. The A72 has an IP67 rating, meaning it can survive under water (at 1.5 metres) for a whole half hour. The Reno6 does not have such kind of protection.

We don’t know why OPPO chose to release the Reno6 without such important features, which is even sad because some of the Reno7 lineups do not have them (yes, the Reno7 series is here, it is only a matter of time before they make and appearance in Kenya, although I suspect we will only receive the SE model here).

See, some kind of IP rating and dual speakers would have gone a long way in convincing customers to see the need to spend KES 60K on the Reno6.

But we digress…

Winner: A72

SCREENS

The Reno6 has a smaller display at 6.4”. The A72’s is taller at 6.7”.

Both are AMOLEDS, and refresh at 90 Hz.

Both are very bright, with the Reno6’s screen brightness going slightly past the 800-nit mark.

However – and this is a personal opinion, or how each company calibrates their screens – I find the A72 display ‘brighter’ and easy to see when I am walking around. The Reno6 isnt just bright enough when I use it in brightly lit environments.

Winner: Tie

BATTERY

A72: 5000 mAh, 25W charging

Reno6: 4300 mAh, 65W

Looking at the numbers, you can tell a winner.

But before we get into that, let’s talk about some things.

The A72’s cell is simply larger, and this can be seen from its endurance because it can do a whole day and then some more.

The Reno6’s juicer is equally huge, and it can do a whole day, but if you tax it, it might die on you earlier.

The real truth emerges when you want to top up the cells: the Reno6 fill up from 0 to a full tank at 35 minutes thanks to that SuperVOOC tech and a 65W charging brick. The phone even has nice tricks under its sleeve, such as slowly filling up your cell at night when you are asleep to extend battery longevity.  

I don’t need to talk about the A72’s 25W because it is actually fast enough, but doesn’t simply match what OPPO offers.

Winner: Reno6

BIOMETRICS

Both phones have under the display fingerprint scanners.

Both are of the optical kind. The ultrasonic ones are usually reserved for Samsung’s high-end phones.

At the same, both phones have face unlock.

In terms of speed, and you saw this coming, the A72 scanner is just slower, and there is no sugarcoating around it.

The Reno6’s scanner is speedier and more reliable.

And when I was using the A72, I chose to use a pattern or PIN because the scanner was just too unreliable.

This is the part where I wish Samsung just used side-mounted fingerprint scanners on its phones. The one on the Galaxy Z Flip3 is class-leading, very fast and 100 percent reliable. I want to see the scanner in more Samsung phones because some of us are still convinced that capacitive scanners are being hauled out of the market when they have peaked in terms of reliability.

Winner: Reno6

OVERALL HARDWARE AND AESTHETICS

The two phones look great, and picking either is a matter of personal choice.

The A72 is slightly bigger footprint-wise because it has a larger screen and a bigger cell.

The Reno6 is more compact, although it is a big phone overall. It has flat edges like you would find in the iPhone 12 and 13 lineups. OPPO does not need to copy Apple at this point because it has already made a name for itself, but I understand why it did so because the previous Reno lines were becoming a little stale. Still, the company could have adopted another kind of design language, but here we are.

Another key aspect of this hardware comparison has already been looked at. The Reno6 does not have an IP rating, nor does it have stereo speakers.

The A72 does, bearing in mind it is a cheaper phone.

Winner: A72

CAMERAS

Reno6: Main – Triple, 64 MP main, 8 MP ultrawide, 2 MP macro

Selfie: 32 MP

A72: Main – Quad, 64 MP main with OIS, 8 MP telephoto with OIS and 3X zoom, 12 MP ultrawide, and 5 MP macro lens.

Selfie: 32 MP

The camera systems are robust in their own ways, but in terms of versatility, the A72 is simply superior.

It has a telephoto lens, which goes a long way for those zoom shots. I used the lens a lot some time back alongside the Flip3, which, like the Reno6, doesn’t have a telephoto snapper.

Also, the main sensor at 64 MP is optically stabilized, which plays a key role in stabilizing your shots or making your images look less shaky when taking images in thinly lit conditions.

The Reno6 has none of that.

In fact, Samsung didn’t have to include OIS on its main sensor, or even for its telephoto cam. But it did, and somehow managed to price the phone well.

In terms of output, it is a matter of personal taste because OPPO churns out quality images, and so does Samsung.

In my opinion, I prefer Samsung images, and while they are hardly true to life, I like them better than what OPPO does with faces (trying to brighten them even when it is not necessary). Heck, I was unable to make the Reno6 take naturally-looking images, especially for human faces, even when I turned its AI off.

Where the OPPO wins is in selfies. Samsung selfie portraits are still washed out, and this is a problem that many people have experienced. And it has been around for a long time.

The Reno6 selfies are crisp and more than good enough for sharing.

Winner: A72

CONCLUSION

I must admit that the better part of this comparison has not been fair, and that is for most people. Specifically, there are better phones out there, such as the Samsung S20 FE, which, to me, is a better buy at KES 60K or thereabouts than the Reno6.

And right now, that on both specs and price, the Reno6 is a more compelling pick.

And when you look at the Reno6, the only things it loses to Samsung A72 are lifestyle features. However, in almost every other regard, I would rather much have the Reno6.

Yet again, I still think that the A72 makes a name for itself in some way because it has lifestyle features and good cameras that even include OIS. Add that to the IP rating, and you can see why the KES 50K price is wild to me.

I can’t fail to mention that Dimenisty 900 chip running the show in the Reno6 is enough reason to buy one because everything else could be immaterial to some.


Do I wish it was priced a little more aggressively? Hell yes, but I could forgive its Apple copycat habits if it was KES 10K cheaper.

Despite their shortcomings, both are good midrange smartphones for people who want a little bit of everything.


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Kenn Abuya is a friend of technology, with bias in enterprise and mobile tech. Share your thoughts, tips and hate mail at [email protected]