OPPO Reno 10x Zoom Review: A New Flagship Contender with Impressive Imaging Capabilities
When we talk about flagship smartphones, OPPO isn’t usually the first name that comes to mind. The company is primarily known for producing mid-range phones such as the OPPO F series which sell very well in regions like China and the Indian subcontinent—the latest examples being the OPPO F11 and the OPPO F11 Pro which were launched earlier this year. Until last year, OPPO also used to sell the upper mid-range R series, the culmination of which was the OPPO R17 and the OPPO R17 Pro. OPPO also sells the budget A series and the online-only K series, but the company doesn’t have a consistent release record in flagship phones. The OPPO Find X in 2018 was the first OPPO flagship to be launched in four years as the successor of the 2014 OPPO Find 7/Find 7A. However, even the Find series is nowhere to be found this year. The brand has started traveling on a new road, and it’s called the OPPO Reno.
The OPPO Reno phones are intended to be the successors of the OPPO R series as well as the Find series. This year, OPPO launched two phones in the series in April: the regular OPPO Reno and the flagship OPPO Reno 10x Zoom. The regular OPPO Reno was an upper mid-range phone with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 SoC, but it had a short life cycle. The OPPO Reno 10x Zoom, on the other hand, is a full-fledged flagship with a 10x hybrid zoom telephoto camera, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 SoC, and a big 6.6-inch AMOLED display. The Reno 10x Zoom is also priced lower than last year’s Find X. In India, the starting variant of the phone is actually cheaper than the base variant of the OnePlus 7 Pro, which makes it an interesting proposition. OPPO then launched the OPPO Reno2 mid-range phones in India, consisting of the Reno2, Reno2Z, and the Reno2F. However, the Reno 10x Zoom still remains the company’s flagship phone.
In previous years, the OPPO R series had questionable value as the phones’ prices were on par with or higher than OnePlus phones of the corresponding generation while having mid-range processors and old-fashioned microUSB ports. At times, it felt like OPPO was deliberately holding itself back on flagships. This year, the OPPO Reno 10x Zoom makes no such mistakes, at least on paper, as it has a high-end list of specifications (while having a strangely long-winded name). Can it compete with the OnePlus 7 Pro head-to-head, though? Is it compelling enough to differentiate itself from the variety of affordable flagship competitors on the market, such as the regular OnePlus 7, ASUS ZenFone 6, Redmi K20 Pro, Xiaomi Mi 9, Honor 20, and more? Our full review attempts to answer these questions below.
OPPO Reno 10x Zoom Specifications - Click to expand
|Specifications||OPPO Reno 10X Zoom|
|SoC||Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
|Fingerprint Sensor||Optical In-display|
|Front Camera||16MP with front-facing LED, f/2.0|
|Android Version||ColorOS 6 based on Android 9 Pie|
|Colors||Fog Sea Green, Extreme Night Black|
About this review: OPPO India loaned me a review unit of the Indian 8GB RAM/256GB storage variant of the OPPO Reno 10x Zoom. All opinions in this article are my own.
OPPO Reno 10x Zoom Design
The OPPO Reno 10x Zoom achieves high marks in aesthetics but is let down by its excessive weight. This sums up the phone’s design in a single sentence.
The Reno 10x Zoom’s design is similar to other full-screen OPPO phones such as the OPPO F11 series. From the front, it also bears some similarity to the OPPO Find X, but it employs a completely different mechanism for the front camera. On the back, the phone has a unique design that does manage to stand out in an understated fashion.
The build quality of the OPPO Reno 10x Zoom is competitive. The phone has Corning’s Gorilla Glass 6 protection on the front and Gorilla Glass 5 on the back, just like the OnePlus 7. A matte metal frame with visible antenna bands provides structural rigidity. Thankfully, there are no sharp edges to be found here, and the fit and finish of the device are just as good as other flagships on the market.
The Reno 10x Zoom has a minimalist design on the front. Thanks to the shark fin popup camera, there is no notch or hole punch to be seen here. The slim bezels provide a very high screen-to-body ratio of 93.1%, according to OPPO. Interestingly enough, the phone uses a traditional earpiece solution instead of going with a piezoelectric solution like the Vivo NEX S or electromagnetic levitation as seen on the Huawei P30 Pro. The earpiece is placed on the shark fin popup camera, but calls can be made without activating the popup camera because there is a tiny hole at the top. The earpiece also acts as the secondary speaker.
The shark fin popup camera is unique—there is nothing quite like it on the market. Other phones have small popup camera modules that contain only the popup camera, while the Reno phones have a big triangular pop-up camera module that also contains the earpiece and an LED flash. This means that all cases for this phone have to forgo protection of the top. The inclusion of the two features is the primary functional difference between it and “traditional” pop-up cameras. OPPO refers to this as a shark fin camera, although its shape is roughly equivalent to that of a scalene triangle. The camera has survived 200,000 drop tests, according to OPPO, and it rises 11-degrees in 0.8 seconds. It also has automatic drop detection, wherein it will automatically close itself if it detects the phone is falling.
As the phone employs a shark fin popup camera instead of a full-on magnetic mechanism, there is no room for 3D facial recognition hardware on the Reno, unlike the Find X. The Find X had an automatic slider that slid up the entire top bezel which contained the hardware required for 3D face unlock such as the dot projector, flood illuminator, and IR camera. The Reno 10x Zoom, on the other hand, has no room for this because only the front camera pops up out of the body. While some may think of this as a downgrade, it’s not all bad news as the Reno 10x Zoom does have an in-display fingerprint sensor, while the Find X didn’t have any sort of fingerprint sensor.
The volume buttons are placed on the left-hand side of the phone while the right-hand side contains the power button which is colored green on the Ocean Green variant. I had no complaints concerning stiffness, actuation force, or placement of the buttons.
The hybrid SIM tray is placed on the bottom which means it can take two nano-SIMs or a nano-SIM and a microSD card. The inclusion of a microSD slot is good to see considering that an increasing number of phones are skipping its inclusion these days. The USB Type-C port, the microphone, and the primary speaker are placed alongside the SIM tray. Unlike the regular Reno and the Reno2 phones, the OPPO Reno 10x Zoom doesn’t have a 3.5mm headphone jack.
On the back, we find the triple camera setup on the center which contains the 48MP (primary) + 13MP (telephoto) + 8MP (ultra-wide angle) cameras. The 13MP telephoto camera has a square shape because of the periscope design, as it has a native focal length of 125mm (more on this later). Then we have a long glossy strip that proclaims “OPPO – Designed by OPPO.” It primarily acts as an aesthetic element, but it also contains a functional addition in the form of a nub that prevents the phone from slipping on flat surfaces.
The color variants determine the texture of the back as well as that of the metal frame. The Extreme Night Black variant has a traditional glossy finish while the Ocean Green variant applies a matte finish on both the frame as well as the back. Interestingly, this coating feels warmer than the coating applied on the OnePlus 7 Pro’s Nebula Blue variant. It doesn’t catch fingerprints, which is a plus. On the other hand, it doesn’t feel cold to the touch or as premium as the OnePlus 7 Pro’s soft-touch glass. The matte coating is appreciated, but side-by-side, the soft-touch coating of the OnePlus 7 Pro is superior. Thankfully, neither of the two color options stand out too much, but the Ocean Green variant is especially understated, which is a nice touch in a sea of flashy phones.
In terms of ergonomics, the OPPO Reno 10x Zoom will prove difficult to handle for some users. There is no way to deny that the phone is big, thick, and heavy. At 210g, it’s even heavier than the OnePlus 7 Pro while the 9.3mm thickness is pushing boundaries as well. To put it simply, the phone just doesn’t feel as comfortable in the hand as smaller phones like the OnePlus 7 or the Huawei Mate 20 Pro. At least the sides, as well as the back, are curved because a flat design would have pushed it too far. For users accustomed to smaller phones, the Reno 10x Zoom may well be tiring to hold for long periods, but at the same time, the big 6.6-inch flat display will prove to be a boon for users interested in bigger displays. In general, the size of the Reno 10x Zoom is borderline in terms of usability, but I can accept its size constraints because of the benefits the big display provides. Users’ mileage may vary.
Overall, the OPPO Reno 10x Zoom’s design is almost great. The small bezels are great to see, and the understated nature of the color finishes are welcome as well. The popup camera is unique, but it doesn’t have any major drawback for its feature additions. The one thing that disappoints me is the weight. Subjectively, it’s just a bit too heavy for me, and even a weight reduction of 20 grams would have made the phone a much more pleasant one to hold in the hand.
The OPPO Reno 10x Zoom’s box contains a 20W OPPO VOOC charger and a Type-C to Type-A cable instead of the 50W Super VOOC charger featured in the OPPO R17 Pro and the OPPO Find X Lamborghini Edition. The underlying technology is the same as OnePlus’ original Dash Charge. The box also contains a hard black case that gives the phone adequate protection on the sides. We also get USB Type-C earphones bundled in the box, unlike with OnePlus. The box could have been a full-featured one had OPPO thrown in a 3.5mm to USB Type-C adapter for users having 3.5mm earphones/headphones, but the company, just like OnePlus, Huawei, and Apple, has chosen to forgo it, which means that buyers will have to purchase it separately if needed. I still can’t get behind the (lack of) reasoning for this short-sighted decision.
OPPO Reno 10x Zoom Display
The OPPO Reno 10x Zoom has a 6.6-inch Full HD+ (2340×1080) OLED display with a 19.5:9 aspect ratio and 387 PPI. The display’s dimensions are 153 mm x 71 mm. For such a big display size diagonal, the 19.5:9 aspect ratio is one of the only aspect ratios that makes sense as it ensures that the display width is kept in check. It’s also the most prevalent display aspect ratio as of now.
The Reno 10x Zoom’s display supports HDR10. The flat nature of the display is a plus point in comparison to the OnePlus 7 Pro’s curved display as it actually has more usable screen area despite having a lower display size diagonal (6.6-inch vs. 6.67-inch). It’s also less susceptible to glare and accidental touches.
The Full HD+ resolution is arguably pushing it at the 6.6-inch display size, however. Ironically, the OPPO Find 7 from 2014 had a 5.5-inch Quad HD LCD, which means it has a higher resolution than the Reno 10x Zoom. In the years since, we have seen a move back to Full HD+ displays as only top-tier flagships have QHD+ displays these days. The OnePlus 7 Pro also has a Quad HD+ display, and it is appreciably sharper than the Reno 10x Zoom. The text rendering of the Reno’s display is good, and subpixel anti-aliasing helps a great deal to hide the flaws of the PenTile matrix. While the Full HD+ (1080p) resolution is acceptable for now, a QHD+ display would have been appreciated as the difference in clarity is visible at such a big display size, even if we keep in mind the power cost of moving to QHD.
The display’s brightness is average. In manual brightness, the display’s brightness is on par with the OnePlus 7 and the OnePlus 7 Pro, which means it reaches an approximate maximum of 400+ nits. High Brightness Mode is not activated, which is a disappointment for an affordable flagship. At the upper level, flagship phones can reach as much as 700 nits (at 100% APL) brightness, as seen on the Samsung Galaxy S10e.
The contrast of the display is theoretically infinite thanks to OLED’s deep blacks. The viewing angles, unfortunately, are not as good as the OnePlus 7 Pro’s top-tier display. It’s easy to determine that the Reno 10x Zoom has a Samsung-sourced display, even though there is no mention of the display vendor in apps such as AIDA64 or DevCheck. That’s because it’s still affected by a rainbow out interference effect at extreme angles, a characteristic of cheaper Samsung-sourced panels. The Samsung-sourced displays of the OnePlus 7 Pro and the Google Pixel 3 XL, the BOE Display panel on the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, and newer LG Display panels are not affected by this issue. It’s not a major issue, but it does mean that color shifting is higher than what is seen on top-tier flagship displays while being roughly equivalent to that of the cheaper OnePlus 7.
In terms of color accuracy, OPPO offers two display modes and a color temperature slider. The “3P” mode targets the DCI-P3 gamut for all colors by stretching them to the gamut with a cold white point. The “Gentle” color mode supports automatic color management which means it’s calibrated for both the sRGB and the DCI-P3 gamuts. The default white point is a little colder than 6504K, and it can be fixed by setting the colour temperature slider near to the extreme end of the “Warm” preset. In comparison, the OnePlus 7’s display has a warm white point (~6200K) in its calibrated Natural mode. The grayscale, saturation, and gamut coverage of the display all seem fine subjectively in comparison with the OnePlus 7 Pro’s Natural color mode.
The OPPO Reno 10x Zoom’s display has a 60Hz display refresh rate, instead of stepping forward with a 90Hz refresh rate. This means scrolling is not as smooth as the OnePlus 7 Pro’s fantastic 90Hz panel. 90Hz does have a power cost associated with it, but the significant improvements it brings to fluidity are strong enough to override its drawbacks. I wish OPPO could have placed a 90Hz panel in the Reno, and going on account of the increase in high refresh rate phones being released (the Nubia Red Magic 3 and the ASUS ROG Phone II), this is a natural addition in the to-do list for the phone’s successor.
The Reno’s display also has support for DC dimming (disabled by default) which is referred to as “Low Brightness Flicker-Free Eye Care” in the display settings. The “flicker-free” terminology refers to the fact that it doesn’t use high-frequency flickering to change brightness, unlike PWM.
The notchless display of the Reno 10x Zoom means that users don’t have to worry about cut-outs, decrease in space for the status bar icons, media, and games, etc. It just works well out of the box.
Overall, the OPPO Reno 10x Zoom’s display is good without being outstanding. Its lack of a QHD+ resolution and high display refresh rate prevent it from being a future-proof display, while the higher degree of color shifting makes it apparent that it’s not a top-tier display. On the other hand, the display posts competitive results in brightness, contrast, and color accuracy. For its price point, it provides similar quality to the regular OnePlus 7 and gets the job done, but it’s fair to say that the OnePlus 7 Pro’s display is a better quality panel.
OPPO Reno 10x Zoom Performance
The OPPO Reno 10x Zoom is powered by the flagship Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 SoC. We have gone in-depth regarding the SoC’s AI and gaming features, performance compared to the HiSilicon Kirin 980 and the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, and tested it in multiple phones: the Xiaomi Mi 9, Samsung Galaxy S10+, Nubia Red Magic 3, OnePlus 7 Pro, OnePlus 7, and the Redmi K20 Pro.
The Reno 10x Zoom, therefore, isn’t expected to post any surprising results in terms of system performance. To test this, we put the phone through its paces in PCMark, which holistically tests performance across common use cases such as web browsing, photo editing, writing, and more using a range of Android APIs. For example, the Writing 2.0 test uses the AndroidEditText view and the PdfDocument APIs.
The Reno 10x Zoom’s PCMark Work 2.0 overall score is significantly lower than the other Snapdragon 855-powered flagships we have tested, which is a bit disappointing. It’s also lower than the Kirin 980-powered Huawei Mate 20 Pro, but it does manage to beat the Exynos 9820 variant of the Samsung Galaxy S10e. In the Web Browsing 2.0 test, the phone’s score is the worst in its class, coming up even below the Galaxy S10e. In the aging Video Editing test, its score is on par for the course, but the Writing 2.0 score is a true disappointment as the Reno 10x Zoom is only slightly ahead of the Galaxy S10e while trailing the OnePlus 7, Huawei Mate 20 Pro, and even the OnePlus 6T.
The Photo Editing 2.0 score is also uninspiring, as it gets substantially beaten by the OnePlus 7 again, while the OnePlus 6T is also ahead. The Data Manipulation score is fine as it virtually ties with the OnePlus 7, but it’s clear to see that the Writing and Web Browsing tests are dragging down the overall score.