The OPPO Reno 10x Zoom is seemingly a one-track-minded phone. OPPO separated the standard and premium Reno models by using the biggest selling point as the moniker for the device we have in hand today. Sporting a 10x hybrid optical zoom, the Reno joins the Huawei P30 Pro as the only phone on the market with these types of abilities, but is it too focused on that one main feature to be worth the extra dough?
This review will focus on the things that might make you second guess the decision to get a Reno 10x. If you want to see all the good things about OPPO’s latest flagship, head on over to our good review.
While OPPO highlights the camera for this phone’s main selling feature, hence the ‘10x’ in the name of the phone itself, there are still some odd shortcomings to the experience. Like the OnePlus 7 Pro, the OPPO Reno 10x cannot record video from the ultra-wide angle camera, only take pictures from it. This is a frustrating limitation that seems arbitrary and without reason. To make things worse, you cannot record video from the periscope camera either. This means you’ll have to completely rely on a digital zoom crop of the main sensor while recording video, which ultimately means lower quality video in any scenario you might find yourself zooming into.
Low light performance, specifically the new Night Mode, needs a bit of work as well. Clearly designed to only help in dimly lit situations rather than true night time situations, the night mode doesn’t seem to do a whole lot of anything, and oftentimes isn’t even worth switching to over the regular auto mode.
I also found a notable number of times where dynamic range was lacking and, typically during these times, the colors in a scene would be extremely muted.
Battery Saver Can Cause Some Anger
While we’re seeing a larger battery than ever, including much better power management than ever before on an OPPO phone, there were still some annoying problems with apps not being allowed to run in the background. This automated behavior is far less aggressive than on past OPPO phones, thanks to some new algorithms introduced in Android 9 Pie, but I had a particular issue with Bluetooth connected peripherals receiving notifications in a timely manner.
Sometimes my smartwatch wouldn’t receive notifications at all, and I found that I had to reboot the phone in order to get notifications flowing correctly to my watch. These sorts of issues are probably the most annoying ones on a phone, as it’s sporadic behavior that doesn’t seem to have an easy fix without digging through settings and hanging every single app’s background behavior.
ColorOS, in general, is much improved this time around, thanks to some big behavioral and visual changes found in ColorOS 6, which is based upon Android 9 Pie. It’s still got that iOS look to it, but it’s an updated look that feels similar to the latest MIUI redesign that Xiaomi launched last year and, in general, behaves and looks quite nice.
There’s always a certain annoyance factor that comes with Android skins that mimic iOS too closely though, and without any real ability to change this visual design thanks to a weak theme engine, you’ll be using a phone that’s eerily similar to Apple’s latest visual designs in most ways.
Unfortunately for users though, OPPO didn’t keep the multitasking carousel that Apple uses (and OPPO used to use) and instead went with the far less efficient Android 9 Pie style menu. That means fewer tiles on screen and a slower multitasking experience all around, despite including some fresh gestures on this phone.
Flagship Price Without All the Flagship Features
While the new build and design of the phone are far more unique than the software looks, there are some definite setbacks to OPPO’s decisions here. While the phone retails for as much as a Galaxy S10 in many markets it does not feature the same IP-rating for water or dust resistance as most phones in this price range, and it also doesn’t feature any wireless charging abilities. These are two things that have become commonplace in phones and are an expected commodity. While the lack of IP rating makes more sense due to the slider hinge for the front-facing camera, the lack of wireless charging seems a bit cheap on OPPO’s part.
The phone is certainly thick and heavy enough to fit this in, and the glass construction doesn’t prevent wireless charging current from being sent to a charging coil if it were included.
While almost all phones are glass and metal sandwiches at this point in time, this one is particularly slippery for whatever reason and is nearly impossible to use without a case. OPPO includes one in the box but it makes the phone bulky and heavy when compared to it being naked. It also covers up the gorgeous design OPPO has crafted for this phone, which probably won’t phase too many people, but feels like a waste in some ways.
Some phones have major problems. Others simply exhibit behaviors we would rather not see, but aren’t deal breakers in the end. The OPPO Reno 10x definitely fits in the latter category but certainly doesn't offer everything you might want. While some of the hardware choices can be easy to look past, the camera's shortcomings might be enough to force some people to choose other phones over this one, and the battery saver issues certainly caused daily irritation for us, too.