OPPO Reno Hands-on: A Mid-Ranger with a Crazy Swivel Pop-up Camera
OPPO is a smartphone brand that doesn’t appear on our radar that often, even though it’s BBK Electronics’ most successful smartphone brand overall and BBK’s top-performing brand in China and India. The smartphone brand is incredibly successful thanks to its range of budget and mid-range smartphones but in the past year, OPPO has invested in making smartphones to compete in the premium segment. They’ve also started expanding into European markets, such as earlier this month when they launched the OPPO Reno series in the U.K. and Switzerland.
Today, the brand launched the OPPO Reno series in India, so we wanted to share our first impressions of the new smartphones for our readers in Europe and India. Since OPPO is adding new phones to the Reno line-up, let’s first clarify the differences between the 3 existing Reno smartphones so we’re on the same page.
Reno vs. Reno 10X Zoom vs. Reno 5G
There are actually 3 models in the Reno series: the regular Reno, the Reno 10X Zoom, and the Reno 5G. The Reno starts at CN¥2,999 in China, £449 in the U.K., €499 in Europe, and ₹32,990 in India while the Reno 10X Zoom starts at CN¥3,999 in China, £699 in the U.K., €799 in Europe, and ₹39,990 in India. Note that pricing differs per region due to the differing availability of RAM/storage models. Lastly, the Reno 5G starts at €899 in Switzerland while pricing for this model has yet to be unveiled in the U.K. So what differentiates the 3 smartphones in the new Reno series?
The Reno 10X Zoom and Reno 5G are identical spec-wise except for the inclusion of the Snapdragon X50 modem in the Reno 5G for sub-6GHz 5G connectivity. The regular Reno has a similar, nearly bezel-less, “Panoramic Screen” front design and the same “Shark Fin” 16MP selfie camera pop-up as the Reno 10X Zoom and Reno 5G. Even though the regular Reno has a 6.4-inch FHD+ OLED panel while the Reno 10X Zoom and Reno 5G have 6.6-inch FHD+ OLED panels, all 3 devices look pretty similar design-wise. Each has an optical under-display fingerprint scanner, up to 8GB RAM, up to 256GB storage, multiple color options, and ColorOS based on Android 9 Pie.
The biggest differences between the lowest-end model and the two higher-end models are in the processors, batteries, and cameras. The standard OPPO Reno is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 while the two higher-end models feature the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 mobile platform. The regular Reno has a smaller battery at 3765mAh while the Reno 10X Zoom and Reno 5G feature 4065mAh batteries. All 3 models have the same 20W VOOC 3.0 charging but no wireless charging, though. Although all 3 devices share the same 48MP Sony IMX 586 primary rear camera with OIS, the standard OPPO Reno has a secondary 5MP sensor for depth-detection while the Reno 10X Zoom and Reno 5G have a secondary 13MP telephoto camera capable of 5X optical zoom (overall up to 10X hybrid zoom hence the “10X Zoom” in the name) and a tertiary 8MP 120° wide-angle camera.
|Specifications||OPPO Reno 5G||OPPO Reno 10X Zoom||OPPO Reno Standard|
|Size||162 x 77.2 x 9.3mm, 215g||162 x 77.2 x 9.3mm, 215g||156.6 x 74.3 x 9mm, 185g|
|SoC||Qualcomm Snapdragon 855||Qualcomm Snapdragon 855||Qualcomm Snapdragon 710|
|Storage||256GB UFS 2.1 (expandable)||128GB/256GB UFS 2.1 (expandable)||128GB/256GB (non-expandable)|
|SD Card slot||Yes||Yes||No|
|Fingerprint Sensor||Optical In-display||Optical In-display||Optical In-display|
|Front Camera||16MP with front-facing LED, f/2.0||16MP with front-facing LED, f/2.0||16MP with front-facing LED, f/2.0|
|Android Version||ColorOS based on Android 9 Pie||ColorOS based on Android 9 Pie||ColorOS based on Android 9 Pie|
|Colors||Ocean Green, Jet Black||Ocean Green, Jet Black||Ocean Green, Jet Black, Nebula Purple, Pink Mist|
OPPO Reno Hands-on
I attended the launch event for the OPPO Reno series in London where I had the opportunity to do a brief hands-on of the standard Reno and 10X Zoom model. Here’s a video showing my first impressions of the standard Reno. The lighting in the venue wasn’t suitable for video or product photography, so sadly you can’t really appreciate the color of the Ocean Green model in this video. The Jet Black color is much darker than what we could show off, so we chose not to film that one.
Since I didn’t get to spend much time with the device, I can only provide a brief summary of my thoughts on the following areas:
Design and Ergonomics: The phone feels great in the hand. It isn’t so wide that I can’t hold the phone with one hand, but it is sadly too tall for my thumb to reach the top of the display. That’s to be expected given the 6.4-inch display, though. Speaking of the display, I’m a big fan of the fact that the front has no notch or display hole. It’s almost entirely bezel-less at a 93.1% screen-to-body ratio. OPPO managed to trim off almost as much bezel as its sister brand OnePlus did on the OnePlus 7 Pro by moving the top speaker grille into the “Shark Fin” pop-up camera. The bezels are tiny even considering there’s no curved display. The phone isn’t totally flat, though, since the edges of the back cover are curved.
The OPPO Reno has a dual texture glass back and comes in Ocean Green, Jet Black, Nebula Purple, and Pink Mist finishes. The front is protected by Gorilla Glass 6 while the rear is protected by a layer of Gorilla Glass 5. In case you’re worried about the cameras, the camera bump is very small and the O-Dot ceramic point on the back props up the Reno just enough to make the camera module not touch the table. I feel that OPPO did a great job in creating a good-looking mid-range smartphone with a practical design that provides a full-screen, immersive experience.
Performance: The Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 is an upper mid-range SoC that should handle basic tasks and gaming just fine, though I’ve never used a phone with this SoC extensively so I can’t tell you how performant it really is. The phone seemed speedy enough during my brief use, but I need to use it for longer than a few minutes to see how it holds up to phones like the Google Pixel 3a XL. I’m not sure if the OPPO Reno has UFS 2.1 storage like the Reno 10X Zoom and Reno 5G, but if it does that would be a big advantage over other mid-range devices like the Pixel 3a series. Lastly, OPPO says the Reno has its new “Touch Boost” and “Frame Boost” features as part of ColorOS 6’s “Game Boost 2.0” service to improve gaming performance by reallocating system resources; again, these are features I haven’t tested yet.
Cameras: I can’t speak much for the picture quality, but we’ve seen the 48MP Sony IMX 586 in action on other phones like the OnePlus 7 Pro, Xiaomi Mi 9, Honor View20, and more. Post-processing is really important, though, so we’ll have to see how well the camera software processes images from the sensor. I especially want to test the phone’s “ultra night mode 2.0” against OnePlus’ Nightscape mode, Google Pixel’s Night Sight, and Huawei’s night mode. Sadly, the lack of a telephoto and wide-angle lens means the regular OPPO Reno misses out on the added flexibility given by those sensors.
I do like the “Shark Fin” design, though. The fact that an LED can be hidden on both the front and back of the pop-up along with the 16MP sensor means OPPO can hide a lot of components from the user’s view, making the overall design cleaner. OPPO says the “Shark Fin” rises 11° in 0.8s, which is slightly slower than the rising of the pop-up camera on the OnePlus 7 Pro but not so slow that it’ll be annoying. As for durability, OPPO says they’ve tested it for 200,000 motions and that the pop-up automatically retracts when the phone is dropped.
Software: ColorOS is cartoonish and reminds me a lot of earlier MIUI versions in a bad way. Everything is big and blocky. There are too many colors on-screen fighting for your attention. I like that ColorOS lets you choose between different sets of full-screen gestures, but I dislike that the software has unnecessary battery optimization features that plague Chinese OEM software. I hope that OPPO tones down ColorOS for Western markets and follows what OnePlus is doing with OxygenOS.
Miscellaneous: The Reno has a Goodix-made optical under-display fingerprint scanner. These modules have gotten substantially better since their first iterations in early 2018 flagships. I haven’t tested the one on the Reno, but I’m sure it’ll be quick to unlock. Whether it’s truly secure is a debate for another time, however.
While the standard model lacks microSD card support, it does have a 3.5mm headphone jack which the Reno 10X Zoom and Reno 5G lack. This is an odd dichotomy between the Reno and Reno 10X Zoom/Reno 5G. I obviously prefer the device to have both a microSD card and 3.5mm headphone jack, though I’ve grown accustomed to devices that lack both.
Value: The standard OPPO Reno is a great device, but considering it’s priced barely below the OnePlus 7 it’s hard to recommend it over the soon-to-be-released OnePlus phone. You lose a lot of what makes the Reno 10X Zoom great: the 5X optical zoom camera, the wide-angle camera, and the Snapdragon 855. We applaud OPPO for bringing the nearly bezel-less design to the mid-range, especially when considering that the OnePlus 7 has a notch and the Google Pixel 3a series have large bezels. However, plenty of other brands are trimming down their bezels in their mid-range portfolio, so you aren’t short on options if you want a great design. The OPPO Reno seems like it’s a great phone, but I’m not sure I would get it over the OnePlus 7. I’m really interested in the OPPO Reno 10X Zoom, especially in comparison to the OnePlus 7 Pro, so stay tuned for our first impressions and full review of that model.