OPPO is launching the Reno in two models, the standard OPPO Reno, and the OPPO Reno 10x Zoom. This 10x zoom model is the more premium variant that we're reviewing and, in this review, we’re going to look at everything OPPO got right with the phone. If you’re looking for the negative points, check out the bad review instead.
The OPPO Reno 10x’s big selling point out of the gate is the 10x zoom periscope camera on the back, which given the events over the past few months related to Huawei, probably make this the only Android phone you’ll consider buying with 10x optical zoom of any kind.
Much like Huawei, this 10x number is achieved through a hybrid zoom functionality, as the lens itself is closer to 5x optical zoom, but the results won’t make you think any less of it. I found that it traded blows with the Huawei P30 Pro, which is the only other 2019 phone with this sort of zoom level and offers a compelling alternative choice to Huawei's latest flagship.
See the Zoom, Hear the Zoom
Something that’s not often considered is the audio recording quality on a phone, as HTC was one of the only manufacturers that traditionally did a good job of focusing on these points. OPPO took that saying quite literally by adding multiple microphones on the camera to focus into the point where the phone is zoomed into. This would have worked even better if the periscope camera was usable for video recording, but the main 48-megapixel sensor at least offers some decent levels of zooming without significant quality reduction, all while offering a better audio experience than any other 2019 flagship to date, especially while zooming in.
The cool-looking shark fin pop-up front-facing camera isn’t just a unique looking part of the phone either, it actually serves a purpose of placing a larger sensor inside that fin and creating one of the best front-facing cameras on the market. No matter the lighting conditions, super bright sunlight, a backlit scene with lots of contrast, or even low light, the front-facing camera shines over most on the market.
Just like the OnePlus 7 Pro, the pop-up camera features a drop-protection mechanism that will quickly retract the camera in case it gets dropped. Handy for preventing damage, and the case that comes with the phone will also help pad the device in case it gets dropped, as it’s a rather thick and padded with a cloth-like back to ensure better grip.
That’s good and bad because this new design is simply gorgeous, with a unique stripe down the middle of the back and perfectly symmetrical design all around. There’s no camera hump and no openings on the front or back of the phone, with the exception of the little metal dot on the back, which makes it a bit easier to pick up from a table.
The case leaves an opening for that stripe, but it’s not quite as good looking in the case as it is without. This new design features zero openings on the front or back, continuing what OPPO started with the Find X last fall.
The complete lack of bezels is simply amazing. Even the proximity sensor works perfectly on this phone, unlike the one Samsung includes on the S10 series.
It’s also a full spec flagship phone, making things snappy and high-end feeling, while the regular Reno cuts costs by sticking with the more mid-range processors that many other OPPO flagships have done in the past. That means that, for once in a fair bit of time, the OPPO alternative to OnePlus’s latest device doesn’t feature a spec downgrade.
It also includes a larger battery than ever, including the ultra-fast SuperVOOC 3.0 charging method. What I like here is that the battery life is fantastic without resorting to cheating in order to achieve it. Some phones will artificially restrict background tasks and cause delayed notifications, as well as cause other problems with apps as we saw on the Huawei P30 Pro, for instance, while OPPO’s ColorOS seems to have finally shed all those silly battery saving tactics that once caused issues like this.
Some other hardware updates that have been long overdue are the inclusion of stereo speakers which, as a bonus, are now powered by Dolby Atmos for better fidelity than we’ve ever seen on an OPPO phone. The Reno 10x also has the best haptic feedback motors than any OPPO phone to date has had, and at times match LG or Google’s best motors in quality feel. Even the advanced haptics in GBoard are present and feel wonderful to use. OPPO also adds in haptics to the camera app, like OnePlus, and while the interface is a little odd, the feedback on it feels great.
An In-Glass Fingerprint Scanner that Actually Works
The in-glass fingerprint scanner is very fast and accurate, and I almost never encountered a time when it made a mistake. OPPO says it’s 30% more accurate than the previous generation in-glass fingerprint scanners due to a new lens and lighting method, which feels about right. This is a considerably better user experience than something like the Galaxy S10, for example, which I still have issues with even after the updates.
Oh yes, and ColorOS finally looks and feels good. It’s the first time in probably forever that I actually enjoyed using OPPO’s version of Android which, for the longest time now, has been relegated to a weird amalgam of iOS and Android. While it looks like an updated iOS, it functions more like Android than ever before, which is more important than anything.
While I’m not a fan of this visual style of overview, the quick swap gesture is quite nice and convenient.
Things like the quick toggles in the notification shade have actual quick toggle abilities, unlike stock Pie, which is a great enhancement over Google’s silly decision to remove it. That handy smart sidebar from the Find X is here too, which is a great way to quickly launch apps and perform actions from any screen on the phone.
All things considered, it's the most amazing flagship to come out of OPPO in a while. It not only looks and feels unique, qualities that are becoming more and more difficult to find among smartphones, but it's also a well-built and designed experience that makes everyday use a joy. It's also probably the most viable option if you're looking for a smartphone with extreme zooming capabilities, and the rest of the experience here doesn't just fall in line, it exceeds expectations.