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Oppo Reno 10x Zoom Review: Hands-on

Oppo Reno 10x Zoom Review: Hands-on

Going by the name, there’s one thing that Oppo wants you to focus on with the new Reno 10x Zoom. Fellow Chinese rival Huawei might have beaten Oppo to the punch with the P30 Pro – which packs the same 10x hybrid zoom – but Oppo was technically the first to show the tech off

Going by the name, there’s one thing that Oppo wants you to focus on with the new Reno 10x Zoom. Fellow Chinese rival Huawei might have beaten Oppo to the punch with the P30 Pro – which packs the same 10x hybrid zoom – but Oppo was technically the first to show the tech off when it demoed it at MWC 2019.

Throw in the new ‘pivot rising’ selfie camera, Snapdragon 855 processor, and amped up VOOC 3.0 fast charging and the Reno 10x Zoom looks like a pretty compelling 2019 flagship offering from Oppo, though does it hold up in person? We went hands on at the Reno launch event in Zurich to find out.

Price and availability

Oppo hasn’t yet confirmed UK pricing or release date for any of the Reno models, but we do have European info. The 10x Zoom will cost €799 and will be available in Europe from June, so expect it to cost at least £700 when it launches in the UK – a big jump up from the £549 Oppo RX17 Pro.

It won’t be the only model available though. Slightly confusingly there will also be a €499 regular Oppo Reno that’s actually quite different – in case the name doesn’t give it away, it lacks that fancy camera, but also has a smaller display and a slower processor.

Then there’s the €899 Reno 5G, which is fundamentally the same as the 10x Zoom model but, well, has 5G support. Expect that model a little later – it’s due “this summer,” likely launching together with EE’s 5G network in the UK, and costing a bit more.

Va va zoom

So yeah, clue’s in the name: the camera is the star of the show here. The flagship Reno model boasts a triple lens set-up with a 48Mp, f/1.7 primary lens, backed up by an 8Mp ultra-wide angle and a 13Mp 5x telephoto.

It’s a similar design to the one that wowed us in the P30 Pro just last month, though this time the sensors come from Sony rather than Leica – and there’s no 3D ToF camera to back up the depth-sensing capabilities.

The 10x zoom is driven primarily by that 13Mp telephoto lens of course, but like the P30 Pro the Reno is using some clever digital trickery to make the most of the 48Mp main lens simultaneously, ultimately resulting in a lossless 10x hybrid zoom that looks about as good as if the whole zoom effect had been driven by the physical lens.

The default zoom settings are 1x, 2x, 6x, and 10x, which is when you hit the limits of the hybrid zoom effect – though you can amp it up to 20x with additional digital zoom, but this is when the quality begins to seriously drop off and stabilisation becomes a problem. It’s still a ways short of the 50x that the P30 Pro caps out at, but that is frankly unnecessary anyway.

Optical image stabilisation helps keep zoomed-in shots steady to a point, and at first glance seems slightly more effective than Huawei’s equivalent. Otherwise quality is broadly consistent between the two, and the differences actually come down less to the zoom and more to everything around it – the Reno’s sensor seemed to capture more light than the Huawei in a couple of quick side-by-side comparisons, resulting in more depth of colour.

There’s also the usual bevy of AI camera features to look forward to, along with ‘Ultra-Night Mode 2.0’ which promises to use AI, HDR, noise reduction and even face detection to produce detailed low-light shots that can even ensure a “ruddy” skin colour according to the company.

As for video, the phone is capable of shooting in 4K at up to 60fps, and there’s support for 360-degree audio recording and Dolby Atmos playback on the stereo speakers – though it’s worth noting that they sounded a little weedy on first listen. All of this is powered by a Snapdragon 855 – the latest Qualcomm processor around – so the camera and the rest of the phone should be fairly nippy.

As ever, a launch event is a rubbish way to properly test a camera, and we’ll have to wait to get our hands on a phone of our even to really push the Reno and see how it compares to the Huawei – arguably the best phone camera around right now.

Bend and pivot

The 10x zoom isn’t the only thing that’s exciting about the Reno cameras though – and the most eye-catching feature is actually shared across all three new devices.

That would be the new ‘pivot rising’ 16Mp, f/2.0 selfie camera, Oppo’s new twist on the pop-up. It’s the latest attempt to minimise the front-facing camera to give a proper full-screen effect, this time by having the whole camera-flashlight-earpiece apparatus rotate out of the top of the phone at an angle.

In practice, this is functionally no different to the vertical pop-up camera seen in the Oppo Find X, but there’s a quirkiness to the design that’s undeniably appealing.

It also at least feels like it’ll be a bit sturdier, spreading across the whole top of the phone, rather than just having a single spindly camera lens pop out. Oppo says it’s been tested to survive 200,000 pivots – over 5 years of use if you do it 100 times a day – and drop detection also means it should automatically retract if the phone falls.

What it’s really about isn’t the cool mechanism of course – though it is pretty cool – but the fact that it leaves that giant 6.6in AMOLED panel entirely undisturbed. It’s hard to overstate how appealing a properly full-screen phone is until you’ve used one in person, but it really does make it hard to go back to notches or punch-holes getting in the way of things – especially when you throw in an under-display fingerprint scanner too, as the Reno does.

It helps that the screen here is a lush one: crisp, detailed, and with gorgeous colour reproduction, made all the better by being uninterrupted. It’s not 4K, so in that sense at least lags behind the likes of Samsung or LG, but the quality of the panel itself is getting close – and it’s apparently got better blue light filtering, so it’s even good for you too.

The back of the phone looks just as good. The two available colours – Ocean Green and Jet Black – both come with gradient finishes underneath the protective Gorilla Glass 5 rear (with Gorilla Glass 6 on the front), and the rear cameras are built into the body so that there’s no camera bump at all.

There is another bump though: to keep those lenses safe from scratches when you set the phone down on a table, Reno includes the suggestively named ‘O-dot’, which the company goes so far to describe as a “ceramic gem.” That’s a very fancy name for a small raised spot on the rear of the phone, designed to prop the whole thing at a very slight angle and keep the cameras ever so slightly elevated.

The whole rear comes in a matt finish so it’s not as slippy as some glass phones, and the whole build feels reassuringly heavy. There’s a USB-C port for charging and data of course, and a lovely old headphone jack.

Finally, Oppo’s already impressive fast charging has had another upgrade. The Reno comes with VOOC 3.0 fast charging, which should top up the 4,065mAh battery pretty darn quickly – Oppo says it’s improved the algorithm so that the phone will charge faster as it gets close to full, when most phones begin to seriously slow down.

Early verdict

It’s too early to say whether the Reno will be the first Oppo phone to make a real dent in the UK market, but it’s got a lot going for it. Top specs combined with an impressive camera and a distinctive design should make it an easy sell even for those unfamiliar with the company, so long as it can deliver on its early promise.


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Susan E. Lopez

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