Oppo has delivered a well-rounded and exciting new flagship that doesn't do as you might expect. It has the potential to take on some serious camera phone contenders too.
- Fantastic triple camera
- Impressive battery life
- Great performance
- ColorOS is still awkward
- No wireless charging
- No water resistance
- Review Price: £699
- Triple camera w/ 10x hybrid zoom
- "Reno 5G" 5G-capable version
- In-display fingerprint sensor
- Pop-up front-facing camera
- 6.6-inch AMOLED display
- Snapdragon 855 chipset
- VOOC 3.0 fast-charging
- O-Dot design element
- 4065mAh battery
- Android 9.0
- ColorOS 6
The Oppo Reno 10x Zoom boasts flagship internals, an attractive design and a killer camera setup, but does it pose enough of a threat to more established global players like Samsung, Apple and Huawei?
The Oppo Reno 10x Zoom has been a long time coming, with the company first teasing a smartphone zoom camera concept back at Mobile World Congress 2017. The company showcased a follow-up technology demo one year later, which appeared to be part of a nearly complete (but at the time still-unnamed) Reno test device.
Related: Huawei P30 Pro review
The finished article looks to bring some interesting design and hardware elements to the table beyond its titular camera feature; not to mention a new build of the company’s own software and improved Oppo staples, including updated VOOC fast-charging technology.
Update: read our Oppo Rezo Z review
Camera – The Oppo Reno 10x Zoom’s snapper is it’s biggest feature
As its name suggests, the camera is the phone’s biggest selling point. It’s actually a three-sensor arrangement, comprised of the ubiquitous 48-megapixel sensor that the likes of the Xiaomi Mi 9 and OnePlus 7/7 Pro use, a 13-megapixel telephoto sensor and an 8-megapixel ultra-wide angle sensor.
Diving deeper, the 48-megapixel IMX586 features OIS (optical image stabilisation), a half-inch sensor size, an f/1.7 aperture, 26mm focal length, 0.8µm pixels and supports pixel-binning to condense four-times the amount of image data into a more refined final 12-megapixel image. All that image data also plays a part in helping resolve fine detail when zooming in.
Speaking of zooming, the 13-megapixel telephoto sensor sits along the phone’s body, rather than pointing straight out. A unique D-cut periscopic lens rotates its line of sight through 90-degrees. It’s this that helps grant the phone its long-distance vision without adding any significant thickness or a Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom/ K Zoom-style motorised lens onto the back.
Related: Best camera phones
Similarly to its most like-minded rival, the Huawei P30 Pro, the sensor is capable of lossless optical zoom and works in tandem with the phone’s main sensor at higher magnification levels to retain as much detail as possible. The sensor sports an f/3.0 aperture and, like the primary camera, OIS too.
Last but not least is the 8-megapixel f/2.2 ultra-wide angle lens, which features a short 16mm focal length – one of the two boundaries Oppo uses to define the phone’s 10x zoom capabilities (as it can shoot between 16mm and 160mm at full 20x ‘hybrid’ zoom), there’s no OIS here, however.
Tech specs out of the way, in actual use, the raw image quality that the Reno 10x Zoom captures is encouraging. With so many phones using that 48-megapixel main sensor in 2019, there are plenty of existing samples to compare it against.
In the case of the Reno, Oppo’s imaging technicians have done a fantastic job in granting it some of the best quality imagery across the board for a phone using an IMX586 sensor. It pips both the aforementioned Mi 9 and the latest OnePlus phones to the post, based on the consistency it offers.
A testament to the quality of the camera experience, it’s so good that it even gives the Huawei P30 Pro’s similarly impressive photographic setup a run for its money.
Both have astounding maximum zoom levels and both are versatile shooters. The P30 Pro wins out for its unrivalled low light performance (although the Reno did far better than I’d expected), and generally offers a wider dynamic range. The rest of the differences fall more to preference than empirical superiority.
The Oppo Reno captures shots with a warmer, natural finish compared to the Huawei – making it better suited for those who don’t want photos to look too processed – which is evident with its softer detail capture and the flatter results it tends to produce. It trumps the Huawei in artificial light, with regards to overall composition, even if grain is more prevalent and fine detail is lacking.
So, while Huawei’s top dog might still clinch it in the eyes of the many (as the brand is far more established in the UK), the savvy few will still undoubtedly appreciate the Oppo Reno 10x Zoom’s superb camera setup.
It’s also important to mention one of the phone’s most distinctive physical features, in its ‘pivot rising camera’ – a wedge-shaped segment of the phone’s top edge that rises up by way of a motor to reveal the phone’s 16-megapixel f/2.0 front-facing camera. It’s here that you’ll also find twin LED flashes – a soft front-facing flash and one meant for use when trying to illuminate shots via the main camera on the back.
Selfies are decent but the need to raise this whole module when using the rear flash means I seldom bothered with it, preferring to shoot in Night Mode where possible instead.
Performance and software – The Oppo Reno 10x Zoom’s internals are impressive
If you opened up the Reno 10x Zoom, there’d be no doubting its flagship credentials. Head-turning camera array aside, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chipset and up to 8GB of RAM promise impressive performance.
Sure enough, in real-world use, there’s little sign of struggle whether you’re just browsing the web, streaming video or gaming. With such comparable fluidity against the gamut of similarly-specced 2019 flagships, the question really falls to whether Oppo will ensure that this phone keeps pace from a software and updates perspective.
Gamers should also take note of this phone’s robust cooling system, which makes use of a copper heat pipe, cooling gel and layered graphite to dissipate heat more efficiently than your average phone.
Speaking of software, the Android 9.0-based user experience has been overlaid with a reworked version of Oppo’s own ColorOS, dubbed ColorOS 6. Aside from the aforementioned algorithmic camera talents, it packs in a number of technologies under the ‘HyperBoost 2.0’ moniker, designed to reduce app load times, system speed and latency when gaming. There’s a dedicated gaming mode with a few notification and performance tweaks on offer too.
While steps have been taken in the right direction since last year’s Find X, ColorOS is still an undeniably heavy-handed overlay. It moves away from standard Android tropes and presents a fairly distinct user experience as a result.
Not everyone may gel with the decisions Oppo has made within ColorOS – how it handles notifications and the style and layout of elements like the quick settings and app search feature, to be specific – but it’s cleaner than it’s ever been and we hope Oppo continues to ease up on the throttle when it comes to trying to define a distinct aesthetic.
Related: Best Phone 2019
5G – The Oppo Reno 10x Zoom has it’s very own 5G version in the Oppo Reno 5G
There’s also the matter of connectivity, which by default includes support for Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac and up to 4G+ mobile browsing speeds (depending on your region). If that still isn’t enough to cut the mustard, those willing to pay a premium can live on the bleeding edge by picking up a 5G variant of the 10x Zoom complete with Qualcomm’s X50 5G modem onboard, a.k.a the Oppo Reno 5G.
Beyond the improved data speeds, Qualcomm and Oppo are hoping that the Reno can serve as a flagbearer for 5G in 2019, mainly through demonstrating the benefits of the technology on compatible networks by supporting experiences, such as virtual or augmented reality streaming and multiplayer gaming, anywhere.
Related: What is 5G?
The Reno line was originally teased in partnership with Swisscom, primarily as a result of the phone’s 5G credentials and the newly-implemented 5G infrastructure in the region, but the likes of EE in the UK now offer the Reno 5G as one of the few 5G-capable handsets.
Battery – The Oppo Reno 10x Zoom boasts a big battery and impressive longevity
To supplement the demands of that high-end chipset (and 5G, where applicable), the Reno 10x Zoom is equipped with a capacious 4065mAh integrated battery. That figure alone should instil confidence out the gate, not just because it’s paired to the phone’s Full HD+ display resolution and use of AMOLED technology.
In addition to AI-driven power management, the 10x Zoom also comes complete with Oppo’s signature VOOC fast-charging technology. While still rated at the same wattage as its predecessor, version 3.0 of Oppo’s VOOC technology addresses the trickle charging state that takes place on a device when trying to fill the last few ounces of its battery’s charge.
As a result of a more efficient algorithm, Oppo has effectively doubled the charging speed during the last stage of battery replenishment, meaning more power, quicker, without sacrificing safety (and apparently, long-term battery health).
The Reno 10x Zoom consistently granted me two days of use, landing it at the more impressive end of the current battery life spectrum. All the more impressive was that this included a whopping 6 hours of screen-on time to boot – that’s Huawei P30 Pro territory.
Design – The Oppo Reno 10x Zoom looks pleasantly clean and premium
It should be clear that Oppo has fit a heck of a lot into the Reno 10x Zoom, but the company should also be commended for the package in which it’s wrapped all this technology too. A metal frame comes sandwiched by rounded Gorilla Glass 5.0 on the back and lightly-pillowed Gorilla Glass 6.0 across the phone’s expansive 6.6-inch display.
The finish is pleasing too, with either a Jet Black or Ocean Green colourway on offer, both of which employ a mix of shiny and textured glass that play with the light in interesting ways.
As far as flagship handsets are concerned, the phone is a lot thicker than the status quo (at 9.3mm) and carries a lot of heft at 210 grams. Despite this, I really enjoyed studying the fit and finish of the 10x Zoom close up.
The body could best be described as a ‘glass tank’, and while the mechanised pop-up camera negates any chance of water resistance, the phone looks premium and feels extremely well put-together.
The company was quick to try and ease concerns about the pop-up mechanism’s reliability by stating that it’s guaranteed to operate as intended for at least five years; based on the premise of the camera being raised on average 100 times a day.
There’s also something called ‘free-fall detection’ onboard, so should the phone slip from your grasp while the front-facing camera is out, it’ll quickly retract before impact to mitigate any real damage to the mechanism or camera hardware inside.
Zero camera bump is another bonus, with the phone boasting a perfectly flat back… almost. While such cleanliness is refreshing, the phone does feature what Oppo calls its ‘O-dot’ – a small ceramic bead set into the rear that raises the phone when on flat surfaces that would otherwise scratch up the main camera arrangement up.
It’s an odd, but decidedly thoughtful inclusion, and despite its questionable name, grants me peace of mind when setting the phone down on a table ‘naked’ when I’d only ever be inclined to do the same with other handsets, so long as they were case-clad.
Screen – The Oppo Reno 10x Zoom has a beautiful notch-free display
The whole reason for the phone’s unusual pop-up camera mechanism becomes clear when you realise the screen is completely devoid of a notch or hole-punch camera and terminates impressively close to the edges of the phone’s body.
With bezels that measure just 1.35mm on either side, and a chin of just 3.5mm, the large 19.5:9 aspect ratio Full HD+ AMOLED display dominates the phone’s front – with a 93.1 percent screen-to-body ratio to boot. The technology at play grants great colours and perfectly deep blacks, while testing HDR content also yielded pleasing results.
Oppo has implemented a few extra features into the screen to score it extra brownie points too. For starters, there’s an optical in-display fingerprint sensor, which the company says is twice as fast as first-generation iterations of the technology.
I’d be inclined to agree, but I’d also flag that its reliability and consistency is far behind the tech that companies like OnePlus and Samsung have brought to the table.
Should I buy the Oppo Reno 10x Zoom?
Oppo’s moved away from the premise of its last flagship, with the Reno 10x Zoom serving to showcase absolutely every one of the company’s most innovative and impressive technologies, even at the expense of a little extra thickness and weight.
Taking into account the battery life and the impressive quality of the performance in everything from the camera to the fluidity of the user experience, I think it was the right move to make.
This is a sizeable device that’s great for media lovers, mobile photographers or those who are looking for a Huawei P30 Pro alternative that doesn’t rub the US government the wrong way. So long as you can handle its specific brand of software and some specific design quirks, Oppo’s made an impressively-strong play for one of the better phones of 2019.
Oppo has delivered a well-rounded and exciting new flagship that doesn’t do as you might expect. It has the potential to take on some serious camera phone contenders too.
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