They say “try, try until you succeed“, and OPPO seems to be a big believer of the adage. You see, the Chinese giant entered the Indian smartphone market with the super-premium N1, which despite being quite innovative, failed to find many takers. The company did find success in the budget and mid-range category, but was always vying for a pie in the Rs 30k+ segment. That’s why it went on to launch the successor of the N1 – the N3, as well as one of India’s first smartphones with QHD screen resolution in the form of the Find 7. Then after a break, it introduced the futuristic and uber-cool Find X, followed by the R17 Pro (review) in 2018. Be it due to low awareness or their pricing, these smartphones didn’t get much attention either.
Fast forward to this year however, and OPPO now seems to have done its homework well. The company has introduced an all-new Reno series which will replace the Find range, and the first two handsets in the lineup have been launched in the country as well. What works in favour of the new devices? Well, I’m glad you asked, as the phones tick all the right boxes on paper – full-screen fascia, powerful specs, great battery life, powerful cameras and attractive price points. I’ve been using the higher-end model – the OPPO Reno 10x Zoom (first impressions) – and I do believe that the brand has put its best foot forward to make a dent in the hard-to-stand-out premium category. With that said, let’s jump on to the review to understand why I’m saying this.
Specs at a glance
|Resolution||1080 x 2340 pixels|
|CPU||Single core, 2.84 GHz + Tri core, 2.42 GHz, Snapdragon 855|
|Internal memory||128 GB|
|External memory||Up to 256 GB|
|Capacity||4065 mAH, Li-ion, Non removable|
|Primary camera||48 MP|
|Secondary camera||16 MP|
|Network support||Dual SIM 4G|
|Other options||Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS|
|Operating system||Android 9.0 Pie|
Cameras: three’s company
Primary camera: 48 MP
Flash: Dual LED Flash
Secondary camera: 16 MP
Without a doubt, cameras – both the front and rear ones – are the biggest talking point of the Reno 10x Zoom Edition. Starting with what acts as a neat party trick – the shark fin-style pop-up module features a 16-megapixel front-facing sensor. While we’ll discuss the design implications and advantages in the next section, it’s worth noting that you wouldn’t have to wait for too long for clicking selfies as the mechanism is quite fast (not as quick as the normal pop-up module though).
At the back of the OPPO Reno 10x Zoom Edition, there’s an array of triple cameras aligned vertically in the centre. As is the trend with 2019 flagships, the primary shooter utilises Sony’s 48-megapixel IMX586 sensor, which comes with a wide aperture of f/1.7. The secondary camera is a 16MP f2.2 telephoto sensor, while the tertiary shooter is a periscope-style sensor with 8MP resolution and an aperture opening of f/3.0. All three sensors combine to offer a focal length range of 16 to 160mm. Interestingly, there’s no flash module here as that’s hidden away in the pop-up system.
In terms of the camera app, the OPPO Reno 10x Zoom offers a user-friendly interface. Upon opening it, you’ll find the shutter button on the bottom, sandwiched between the preview gallery and the toggle for the front camera. Above it, there’s an option to switch to video and portrait modes, with the remaining ones like Night, expert, slow-mo, etc. neatly stacked into the options menu. You can also choose AI beauty levels. There’s an onscreen button to increase the zoom levels and use the wide-angle mode, though I’d preferred a slider instead as one needs to cycle through all the levels to reach the wide-angle mode (hat tip: you can tap the button up top or use the two-finger gesture to access the wide-angle mode directly, though that means that you’d need to use the other hand as well). Speaking of that, the other options on the top are toggles for flash, HDR, Dazzle Color, and colour filters, along with the option to access settings.
Before talking about the image quality, I have to put this caveat out there that nowadays almost all smartphones offer good pictures. What differentiates them is their low-light capabilities and their versatile set of features. And that’s exactly where the Reno 10x Zoom excels. To summarise:
1) In daylight conditions, the smartphone delivers impressive results with accurate colours and good levels of sharpness. Most samples here have been taken in 12MP resolution, since the 48MP shot only appears in the Pro mode and the difference in quality isn’t substantial.
2) The HDR mode also adds to the dynamic range bringing out better detail in highlights and shadows. There’s a Dazzle Color feature as well which makes the images all the more pleasing.
3) Thanks to the f/1.7 aperture and pixel-binning tech, the phone manages to offer impressive output in poorly-lit situations. Of course, you can enable the dedicated night mode as well, which uses Multi-frame noise reduction technology and HDR to improve the images.
4) In terms of the portrait mode, the device does a good job of defining the edges of the subject and separating them from the background. The output looks natural and remains fairly sharp too.
5) And did I talk about the zoom capabilities? Well, that’s where the device gets its name from, and it does a good job of retaining detail at higher zoom levels. What’s odd however, is that even though the device has 5x optical zoom, it jumps from 2x to 6x and then to 10x zoom levels – with the latter two options being hybrid zoom. You can actually go up to 60x digital zoom levels if you want, with the feature aimed to take on P30 Pro’s (review) 50x zoom capabilities. My advice would be to not go beyond 10x zoom levels, as the quality goes down drastically if you zoom further and it gets very difficult to focus on the subject at such a high magnification.
6) The wide-angle shots with a field of view of 120-degrees are quite pleasing too with little to no fish-eye effect on the edges.
7) As far as selfies are concerned, the Reno 10x Zoom’s 16-megapixel f/2.0 snapper reproduces good colours while keeping noise levels in check. OPPO has made a name for itself for its AI-based features for enhancing selfies, and when the varied beauty modes are used selectively, the phone manages to deliver great-looking images.
8) For videos, the handset won’t disappoint you either, as you get the usual options such as 4K video recording and the ability to shoot slow-mo clips. Thanks to dual OIS and EIS, the resulting footage is smooth too, though it only works at 1080p resolution. What’s really impressive in the video recording department is the fact that the phone uses its three microphones to record the true source of the sound.
Now instead of teasing more about the imaging prowess of the OPPO Reno 10x Zoom, I’ll leave you with the camera samples.
PS: Click here to see OPPO Reno 10x Zoom camera samples in their original resolution.
Of course, as mentioned above, it only makes sense if we are able to pit the Reno 10x Zoom against the competition and see where it stands. Compared to the Galaxy S10+ (review), OPPO’s handset seems to have done a better job in terms of offering a punchy output, though sharpness levels are quite similar. Worth noting that the Samsung phone has a wider field-of-view for the wide-angle shooter. When put against the OnePlus 7 Pro — even after the latest update — the images captured by the OPPO Reno 10x Zoom look better, both in terms of colours and details.
Design and display: immersive fascia with an innovative pop-up mechanism
Size: 6.6 Inch
Resolution: 1080 x 2340 pixels
Display Type: AMOLED
Pixel Density: 390 ppi
If there’s one smartphone that resulted in a lot of raised eyebrows as well as memes this year, it would be the OPPO Reno 10x Zoom. In fact, the case designs and renders of the device that leaked before its launch were considered fake by most. I’m sure you must have guessed by now that I’m talking about the Shark Fin pop-up camera. Said to be inspired by a shark’s fin, I’ve to say that the camera module does seem intriguing in real-life usage too — beyond being a great way to break the ice in front of strangers.
So why do I like the Pivot Rising Camera design (another name given to the module by OPPO) opted by the Reno 10x Zoom? Well for one, it looks aesthetically pleasing as compared to a normal pop-up module. Secondly, it pops up and closes with astonishing speed, especially while using the face unlock feature. The face recognition feature works really well, whether it’s harsh outdoors or low light (it uses the screen to light up your face). Of course, the smartphone features an ultra-fast in-display fingerprint scanner too. I also liked the fact that you can customise the animation while unlocking the handset.
Now it’s obvious how OPPO’s design decisions result in the Reno 10x Zoom sporting an (almost) all-screen fascia. Barring the razor-thin bezels on the bottom, the phone’s 6.64-inch display dominates the front. Adding to the immersive visual experience is the punchy colours on the AMOLED panel, which is also quite sharp with its full HD+ resolution. Brightness levels are quite good, though you might struggle sometimes in trying to read what’s on the screen under direct sunlight. As far as options are concerned, you can tweak the colour settings between Vivid or Gentle, and adjust colour temperature as well. Since it’s a Gorilla Glass 6-protected AMOLED screen, you can also enable the always-on display, a feature which OPPO refers to as Off-Screen Clock (although you won’t find any options to customise the feature). For a more immersive experience, you can switch to the gesture-based navigation instead of virtual keys, and it doesn’t take much time to get used to the gestures either.
Speaking of the button and port placement, OPPO’s Reno 10x Zoom follows the norm. You’ll find the power button on the right spine and volume keys on the opposite side. What I liked about them is the fact that not only do they offer a tactile response, they are placed towards the middle, making them easier to access. The top portion has the pop-up camera system, whereas the base features the USB-Type C socket, primary microphone and a speaker grille.
Apart from its high screen-to-body ratio, the OPPO Reno 10x Zoom also impresses with its gradient finish on the back. My review unit came in Ocean Green hue, which looks downright stunning, though you can also opt for the Jet Black colourway. Another impossible feat that OPPO seems to have pulled off is that there’s no camera bump at the rear, which is all the more interesting if you consider the fact that the 8MP shooter features a complex periscope arrangement. I also appreciate the thoughtfulness of adding the O-Dot, a protrusion that raises the body ever so slightly so as to ensure that the camera lenses don’t get scratched when the phone is lying on a table. On the flipside however, it means that the phone doesn’t lay flat on the surface.
Sadly, not everything is a rosy affair with the rear of the phone. It’s extremely slippery and gathers fingerprints rather easily too. Which is why, I’d recommend you to use the bundled, sandstone-finished case. It adds to the grip too, though it does take a lot away from the looks – so the choice is yours.
Hardware and software: ruling the roost
CPU: Single core, 2.84 GHz + Tri c…
GPU: Adreno 640
RAM: 6 GB
Memory: 128 GB + Up to 256 GB
SIM Slots: Dual SIM , GSM+GSM
Battery: 4065 mAH
Being a flagship, the OPPO Reno 10x Zoom comes packing powerful internals. It’s fuelled by Qualcomm’s most powerful SoC – Snapdragon 855, which works in tandem with 8GB of RAM (in the higher-end model). The SD855 chip is special in a lot of ways, as it comes with power-efficient 7nm FinFET fabrication process along with featuring a tri-cluster architecture to activate the cores as per the task that’s being performed. And what does that mean for you? Simply put, you won’t come across at any sort of lag irrespective of whatever you are doing on the device. Multitasking is instantaneous too as the phone jumps between apps quickly.
Of course, all this means zilch if you can’t score Chicken Dinners on PUBG. Well, the OPPO Reno 10x Zoom will ensure that you get the best experience while playing Pochinki at the highest graphics settings. The Adreno 640 GPU ensures smooth graphics without any lag or frame drops. Thanks to the use of cooling gel, triple graphite layers and copper pipes, OPPO keeps thermals in check, as the phone doesn’t heat up too much even after playing Asphalt 9: Legends game for more than an hour. Then there’s OPPO’s Game Space feature, which also aids in improving the gaming experience.
The base variant of the OPPO Reno 10x Zoom ships with built-in memory of 128GB to take care of your storage needs. And if that doesn’t seem enough, then you can slot in a microSD card of up to 256GB, although you’ll need to let go of the dual-SIM functionality in that case. The device is also available in 6GB RAM version that also offers 128GB of memory onboard.
If I could change one thing about the Reno 10x Zoom, that would be its software. The device boots Color OS 6.0 which is based on Android 9.0 Pie. If you’ve used any UI from a Chinese brand before, you’d find the experience to be similar, though I did like the fact that there’s a dedicated app drawer and the left-most homescreen – dubbed Smart Assistant – is quite useful for getting at-a-glance info. Having said that, the OS is laden with bloatware like Dailyhunt, Helo, NewsPoint and more. And while these apps can be uninstalled, some of these preinstalled apps send notifications without ever being given any sort of explicit permission (that also includes default apps like Browser and OPPO AppStore). And if that’s not enough, the phone even prompts you to install more apps upon boot.
OPPO was among the first proponents of fast charging with its VOOC Charging, and that’s yet another highlight of the Reno 10x Zoom. The built-in 4,065mAh battery can go from 10 to 100 in 68 minutes. Of course, you wouldn’t need to do it everyday as the handset can easily last more than a day’s worth of use even after extensive use. PCMark 10 benchmark also showed a similar result of 10 hours and 21 minutes.
Adding to the multimedia experience are the Dolby Atmos-tuned speakers on the OPPO Reno 10x Zoom. Sadly though, due to their placement towards the base, your hands could end up covering them while using the device in the landscape mode, which is the most common way of holding a phone for watching videos or playing games.
As mentioned above, the Reno series isn’t the first attempt by OPPO to make a mark in the super-premium space. And if you’ve been following the review, it’s evident that the Reno 10x Zoom manages to do that quite well. The company has kept its bases covered to ensure that its latest can compete against the recent crop of Android flagships drawing power from Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 chipset. It ticks all the right boxes, and tops them off with an innovative Shark Fin pop-up selfie camera and 10x Hybrid Zoom – all available at a starting price of Rs 39,990.
Vs OnePlus 7 and OnePlus 7 Pro
Speaking of competition, the most obvious one is the OnePlus 7 (review) and 7 Pro (review), but like I said, OPPO has made a strategic move by slotting the Reno 10x Zoom between them in terms of the pricing. So if you’re comparing the OnePlus 7 with OPPO’s flagship, then the latter easily comes out ahead. And while the OnePlus 7 Pro does seem to be having an advantage in the form of the Fluid AMOLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate, it’s also priced on the higher side.
Vs Honor 20 Pro
Another obvious competitor to the Reno 10x Zoom is the Honor 20 Pro (first impressions). Priced similarly, it’s difficult to pick one among them as the Honor phone also has several camera-related tricks up its sleeve. That said, it can’t pull off any sorcery like the unique pop-up camera module, and at this stage, it’s hard to say how US ban on Huawei would play out in the future.
Vs ASUS 6z
With the 6z all set to launch on June 19th, it’s hard to ignore ASUS’ handset, for it also offers power-packed specifications along with boasting unique flip cameras. That means along with impressive landscapes, you can get incredibly-sharp selfies too. However, it remains to be seen how the ASUS 6z (first impressions) is priced before picking a winner between them.
So what’s the bottomline? Well, as much as I hate to not giving you a clear answer, I have to say that it depends on what you are looking for. The OPPO Reno 10x Zoom packs in everything, but it may not be for you if you’re a fan of stock Android-like experience (hint: OnePlus 7 duo) or aren’t comfortable with a device that has chances of mechanical failure. Despite that, I’m willing to bet that you can’t go wrong with the Reno 10x Zoom if you do decide to swipe your plastic for the handset.
Editor’s rating: 4 / 5
- Gorgeous display
- Impressive rear cameras with zoom capabilities
- Great selfies
- Smooth performance
- A battery that lasts long and charges quickly
- ColorOS has a lot of bloatware
- Misses out on wireless charging
Photos by Raj Rout