OPPO has accomplished quite a bit in the smartphone space over the past several years. Not only is it a top brand in its native China, but it has also managed to solidify its position as a top contender in the global market as well. The firm's tenacity to push boundaries is nothing new, dating as far back as 2014, when it was challenging the likes of Apple. The firm recently debuted its Reno series a few months back in China, then in Europe, before it finally found its way to retail late last month. I've spent roughly a little over a month with the top-end Reno 10x Zoom and here are my thoughts.

Short and sweet

OPPO made thoughtful decisions with regard to the design and materials of the Reno 10x Zoom. The screen is immersive thanks to its near bezel-less look and the phone is fast, equipped with the Snapdragon 855 and 8GB RAM. Although it doesn't run stock Android, ColorOS 6 on top of Android 9.0 is pleasant to use, with the newly added app drawer being one of many options available for customization.

Perhaps the main draw of the phone is its camera. The front-facing pop-up camera is sure to turn heads and the rear with its ten times hybrid zoom is fairly unique. While the cameras are good, they aren't great, with images looking a bit soft in my opinion and video could be better stabilized. Overall, the Reno 10x Zoom is a pretty good phone if you're looking for something that can do it all. Like the title states, it's a jack of all trades and only a master in some areas.

Specifications

CPU / GPU Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 / Adreno 640
RAM 6GB / 8GB
Storage 128GB / 256GB
Size 162mm x 77.2mm x 9.3mm, ~215g
Display 6.6-inch, 2340x1080 pixels at 387 ppi, AMOLED
Camera Rear: 48MP f/1.7, 8MP f/2.2, 13MP f/3.0 | Front: 16MP f/2.0
Video Rear: 4K - 60fps/30fps, 1080P - 60fps/30fps, 720P - 60fps/30fps | Front: 1080P/720P - 30fps
Battery 4065mAh
Software ColorOS 6, based on Android 9.0
Ports USB Type-C (VOOC 3.0)
Other NFC, Geomagnetic Sensor, Light Sensor, Proximity Sensor, Accelerometer, Gyro Sensor, Laser Focus
In the box OPPO Reno 10x Zoom, adapter, USB-C charge cable, headset, SIM card ejector, case
Price €799

Display

The first thing that you’ll notice when holding the phone is the impressive display, offering a 93.1 percent screen-to-body ratio. It wasn’t easy for OPPO to accomplish this, but it did so by sliming down the bezels, and more importantly, relocating the front-facing camera and other important sensors. Although the pivot-rising camera structure is the headline piece that is most talked about, let's first dive into the sensors that are tucked away under the display.

The first sensor makes use of a “new solution that combines TP proximity (used when the screen is on) and in-display infrared proximity sensors (used when the screen is off) to replace a traditional proximity sensor”. The second is an ambient light sensor that is also under the display and is built to be as accurate as possible by filtering out light emitted from the AMOLED display. As you might expect, there is also an in-display fingerprint reader, which is an optical variant produced by Goodix, so it works extremely well and can recognize fingerprints almost instantly.

Of course, sliming down the bezels and removing components can only do so much to up the immersion factor, but having a large screen also helps, with the Reno 10x Zoom's coming in at 6.6 inches with a resolution of 2,340 x 1,080. It is an AMOLED panel, so the colors pop and blacks are deep, fading seamlessly into the black bezels that surround the display. When it comes to colors, there are options in the settings menu that will allow you to tune the image to look warmer or cooler, vivid or more gentle. Those that want to protect their eyes can do so with the “Night Shield” mode that will reduce harmful blue light, apparently filtering more than 56 percent, and has been made "official" by being certified by TÜV Rheinland.

By the way, I almost forgot to mention, the display is flat. Yes, that’s right, no curves. OPPO made the wise decision to keep things pure, which means that during my time with the unit, I had zero incidents of accidental screen presses. The unit does come with a screen protector installed from the factory and even if that manages to peel off, you can feel confident that the display can handle some abuse as it is made using Corning's Gorilla Glass 6.

Now I know that there is a lot of information above just about the display, but what I think is most important to mention is that you never have to think about all of the technology above, you can just use the phone as is and it all just works. The display looks good and responds just how you'd expect it to under bright and dark conditions. When you raise the phone to your ear to pick up a call, it without fail registers your face near the screen and turns the display off to prevent any accidental presses. I think this all really speaks volumes about how well the display with its many intricacies has been designed. Fortunately, the attention to detail doesn't stop at the screen and also expands to other parts of the phone.

Design

While the use of glass and metal used to exude the idea of a "premium experience" on a smartphone, times have changed, with the once coveted “premium” materials now finding their way into models that cost under $200. With that being said, I still enjoy the feel of metal and glass, but for a long time now, it really hasn't had the ability to impress - that is until I put my hands on the Reno 10x Zoom.

With the Reno, it really isn’t about the materials, but more so how they are being used. The phone's design is alluring because of the attention to detail and that is probably why, after a month, the phone still feels fresh every single time I pick it up. It’s hard to try and convey the feeling through images and text, but the tactile experience is second to none. OPPO should be given credit here because it is really tough to keep things feeling fresh in 2019.

The rear glass is made from one solid piece and although the Ocean Green gradient is subtle, it offers depth that is unmatched and still quite eye-catching. The firm was able to accomplish this by masking off certain parts of the glass surface, then applying a matte etching process, after which the two surfaces are polished for consistency before it goes into a final polishing process that smooths out the whole surface. Despite it having a hazy appearance, the phone feels extremely smooth, but nothing that will make you feel like it's going to slip out of your hand. As an added benefit, the matte surface doesn't seem to show off smudges like on a glossy surface.

Now, since there is just one piece of glass covering the entire surface, there are still areas that are meant to contrast the subdued matte look, like the glass area above the rear camera lens elements and also a highly reflective strip that carries the OPPO name and the ceramic O-dot. The glossy surface has been “nano-polished” which allows the lenses to function at their peak. Despite the O-Dot looking more like a design flair, it is functional, meant to elevate the rear panel of the phone when placed on a flat surface in order to prevent scratching. While this is an excellent touch, you shouldn't think the rear is fragile by any means, as it is constructed using Corning’s Gorilla Glass 6.

The chassis of the phone is made from metal, which is color-matched to the Ocean Green glass surrounding it. On the left side, you can find the volume rocker, with the right side including a power button. The power button has a nice mint colored accent that gives it a little bit of pop and both of the buttons feel clicky and responsive. The positions of the buttons are excellent, aligning with my hand in just the right way, making it easy to access the volume and power. Not everyone will find that the alignment is just right, and of course, this will depend on your hand size.

On the bottom, there is a downward-firing speaker, a USB Type-C port, and a dual SIM card slot that can also accept microSD cards for additional storage. On the top edge, you have the pivot-rising system for the front-facing camera, which is a functional conversation piece.

Camera

Whether your phone has one camera or five, what really counts is the quality of the images and videos taken and its overall usability. Every manufacturer has its own way of going about things, but very few have employed the use of a proper zoom lens. At the time of this review, Huawei and OPPO are the only two manufacturers that have implemented a zoom lens on their phones, making it a pretty unique feature, and one that actually works pretty well.

On the rear of the Reno 10x Zoom, you'll find three cameras, comprised of a 48MP, 8MP, and 13MP sensors. The 48MP is your standard shooter, the 8MP is your wide-angle, and the 13MP is a telephoto. The 48MP camera makes use of Sony’s IMX586 with the Quad Bayer filter array that features an aperture of f/1.7 with the 8MP shooter also relying on Sony hardware, making use of the IMX319 that has an aperture of f/2.2. It is unknown what kind of sensor is being used for the 13MP, but it does have an aperture of f/3.3. When you combine the lenses above, OPPO states you get a focal length equivalent from 16mm to 160mm, which is a huge spread, giving the user a lot of versatility when framing their shot.

But what the phone is probably most well-known for, besides its rising camera, is its "10x Hybrid Zoom". This will give you the ability to zoom into your subject by up to 10 times, which is quite nifty if you happen to be far away and unable to move closer. So how did OPPO manage to fit this technology into its phone without employing a camera bump? The firm made use of a periscope structure and also changed the lens group to a horizontal position. In addition, in order to keep things as stable as possible when zoomed in, the phone makes use of dual optical image stabilization and something called Prism Image Stabilization.

Now, there is a lot more to it, but rather than bombard you with the all of the technical notes supplied by OPPO, I'd rather just show you and have you make your own decision on whether this technology lives up to the hype or whether it needs a couple more years to mature. These images were all taken after the recent update which was stated to improve image quality and in auto mode. Of course, if you want more control, OPPO does offer an "Expert" mode that can adjust exposure, white balance, focus, and more independently.

Now, in standard shooting mode, you'll be producing 12MP photos due to the Sony's Quad Bayer technology, but there is also a dedicated mode that will let you shoot in 48-megapixel stills. When you engage this mode, you will no longer have the option to make use of the zoom feature of the phone, so at this point, you must decide between a higher MP count or being able to zoom. You can find the 48MP samples down below, with the higher resolution sample on the right and the standard image on the left.

Those that like taking selfies can feel confident in the quality of the 16MP fixed focus front-facing camera. The pivot-rising mechanism takes less than a second to raise the camera, and the mechanism has been rated to last at least five years with frequent use. Of course, there is no way to really know whether it will last this long, with the real world and lab testing being completely different scenarios. One thing I did notice during use is how frequently dust or lint would get stuck to it, but this didn't have an effect on the rising motion or image quality. One last thing, if you're the type that frequently drops their phone, there are safeguards in place, as the front-facing camera will retract automatically in order to mitigate damage.

As for video, the rear camera is capable of shooting up to 4K videos at 30 or 60 frames per second. Despite making use of optical image stabilization (OIS) and electronic image stabilization (EIS), the video isn't all that fluid looking, with each footstep you might be taking being easily detectable in the footage. Unfortunately, you cannot make full use of the zoom feature when shooting video, only allowing you to zoom in up to two times. There are also audio enhancements that are implemented when shooting video, with OPPO calling it "Audio Focus" technology, which takes the three microphones found on the phone and uses each to record the surrounding audio, giving your footage a more immersive quality. While the immersion aspect is top-notch, capturing the little nuances of the environment, other sounds that are more direct can sound harsh and hollow.

While I have seen examples of some impressive images taken using the Reno 10x Zoom, I haven't been able to replicate the quality when dumping images straight from the camera. So when it comes to my two cents, I think the phone's camera is a jack of all trades, but it doesn't do any one thing great. To my eyes, there is this fuzzy quality to the images that I just can't quite get over, especially when you look at the edges of photos. While the zoom quality is unmatched by most of the competition, again, I was expecting more sharpness from the photos. I'm probably in the minority here, but again, you can be the judge, since everyone will have their own preferences and opinions on the matter.

Performance

It should come as no surprise that the Reno 10x Zoom is a powerhouse with its Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor. While the combination with 8GB of RAM might not be the most out there, with some phones topping out at 12GB, it’s still certainly more than enough to keep things moving smoothly on a day to day basis. If you are someone that happens to push their phones hard, you’ll be glad to know that OPPO does make use of internal cooling elements, three to be exact, in order to keep things cool under the hood. This combination seemed to keep the phone cool during intense use sessions and gaming.

OPPO does have some thoughtful enhancements for gamers, namely, Frame and Touch Boost. The firm claims that Frame Boost can analyze mobile performance during gaming and iron out lag by adjusting frame rates creating a more stable experience. Touch Boost can assess touch interactions and accelerate the response time as necessary. Unfortunately, I’m not a high-level gamer, so during my normal playtime, I really couldn’t notice too much of a difference, but those that are more serious about it might be able to detect the differences that these “Boosts” employ.

Regardless of what you use your phone for, the Reno 10x Zoom will most likely handle it. If you're a fan of numbers, you can see how the Reno 10x Zoom scored on Geekbench 4, AnTuTu, and 3DMark by checking out the image at the top of the section.

Software

With the Reno, OPPO debuted ColorOS 6, built on top of Android 9.0. There are many small refinements here and there that make the OS a better experience but perhaps the most noticeable is the inclusion of an app drawer. Although this is quite common with phones that are purchased in the United States, in Asia, things are different, with most Android OS skins not offering the feature.

If you’ve ever used an Android phone, you’ll probably be comfortable diving into ColorOS. It isn’t all that complicated to figure out and although the settings menu does have plenty of options, it is well organized. If you can’t seem to find what you are looking for, there is a search menu in the top area of the settings menu. Since ColorOS 6 is debuting with the Reno, it only makes sense that it takes advantage of the phone’s immersive display.

In order to make this more pronounced, the firm made it a point to stick with a particular color theme in the menu system and its own included apps that would complement the effect. There are also redesigned icons, new animations, and other small UI elements that attempt to make the whole experience pop. Navigating is also more modern, with gestures being implemented throughout. But, if you want to stick with navigation buttons, you can do so as well.

As subjective as the exterior of a phone can be, the same applies to the OS and its UI. Personally, I have never had any one particular favorite, tending to adapt to whatever OS I am using, so ColorOS is perfectly acceptable. But, if you’re someone who can’t expand beyond the stock Google experience or love whatever version of the OS you’re currently using, you might not be too fond of what OPPO has to offer here. Despite it being a thoughtful update, when it comes to Android users, most in my experience seem to have a die-hard preference, which often makes it difficult for something different to flourish.

Sound / Call quality

The audio from the Reno 10x Zoom isn​​​​​​'t the loudest you'll hear from a phone, but it's plenty loud enough to crank up to max volume and have it fill a small room. It has a dual speaker setup, with one speaker firing from the bottom, while the other emits audio from under the screen. It is not using a piezoelectric speaker, but instead, there is a small slit on the front of the phone that allows audio to pass through from the bottom.

This same speaker that is under the display is also the one is used to hear audio during a phone call. There were no major complaints or anomalies mentioned when engaged in conversation with callers. This applies to standard calling and when also using the phone on speaker. Although this setup isn't all that common, it works perfectly fine, with callers sounding crisp and clear, but there is a slight lack of depth.

One thing that sometimes gets lost in these reviews is that it is, in fact, a phone. But rest assured, this unit was tested on the T-Mobile network and despite it not being a U.S. variant, signal strength was on par with other phones I have tested in the past, with no major issues arising during the time it was used. You can check the official specifications list to find all the bands the phone supports and if it will work with your preferred network.

One last thing to note, if you're a headphone user, be warned, the phone does not have a standard 3.5mm jack. While OPPO does include a pair of USB Type-C earbuds that are pretty good, it does not include a 3.5mm adapter.

Battery

I’m happy to report that the Reno 10x Zoom offers excellent battery life thanks to its 4,056mAh battery. The phone on most occasions was able to last two full days and even crawl into a third with around 20 percent battery remaining. Of course, the amount of time it will remain off the charger will depend entirely on how you use the phone. I'm certain that I am able to go such long stretches before a charge because my habits have changed dramatically since my last review.

While I used to be on my phone quite a bit, checking emails, web browsing, interacting on Twitter, watching YouTube, listening to music through Bluetooth - now, I check my phone a couple of times within a 10-hour span. I don't have any social media apps installed and on average, I'll listen to music using Bluetooth streaming for around 30 minutes a day. As for games, I do have one installed, but rarely play it, only opening it to earn the daily check-in reward. So, I'm definitely not an aggressive user, and well, let's be frank, I'd probably be overstating the fact if I called myself a light user.

I'm definitely not the norm when it comes to smartphone habits, but I think at the bare minimum, you shouldn’t have to worry when you take this phone out, as it has plenty of juice to last at least one full day with moderate use. Now, if you do manage to somehow deplete this phone in a matter of a few hours, there is a solution, and that is OPPO's proprietary charging system, VOOC, which is now in its third iteration and short for Voltage Open Loop Multi-step Constant-Current Charging.

VOOC 3.0 is quite extreme, allowing you to charge from zero to 45 percent in 30 minutes. If you leave it a little longer, you'll jump up to near 70 percent in 45 minutes, with a complete charge taking around an hour and 30 minutes. Now, as mentioned before, this technology is proprietary, and that means, if you want the speed, you'll have to use the included charger and cable. This might not be a big deal to some, but if you are a long-time smartphone user, chances are, you already have your favorite charger at home, in the office or in the car, and these will most likely not support VOOC.

Furthermore, Qualcomm's Quick Charge is not supported on the phone. That means you'll be charging at a pretty sluggish pace if you use any non-VOOC charger. The firm wasn't clear as to why this type of compatibility wasn't included, but there must be some kind of conflict with its own technology or it could be quite a challenge to implement support for both at the same. OPPO also explained that wireless charging wasn't available on the Reno, but it is something it is working to include on future phones, once it can offer a speedy solution similar to VOOC.

Conclusion

When all is said and done, the OPPO Reno 10x Zoom is a very good smartphone. The iridescent multi-layer glass finish is beautiful and manages a subtle yet eye-catching look. In hand, the phone feels well-built, and it offers a tactile experience unlike any other. Combine all of the above with its immersive AMOLED display, with a near bezel-less look without any intrusive notches or hole punches, and what you get is perhaps one of the best-looking handsets to come out so far in 2019.

From a performance perspective, it includes the best possible SoC that you can pack into a phone, plenty of RAM, and an impressive amount of internal storage, Sure, it isn’t the peak of what you can obtain at the moment from other manufacturers, but it is on par with what you would expect from a top-tier smartphone in 2019. The smooth experience is not only due to the quality of the internal components, but also OPPO’s update to its own ColorOS software, debuting version 6 running on top of Android 9.0. ColorOS 6 boasts marked improvements over its predecessor, with the addition of an app drawer, a “borderless” design meant to take advantage of the Reno’s display, and other nifty little features here and there.

This isn’t a stock or near-stock experience, so if that is all that you can use when it comes to Android, the Reno won’t suit your needs, and you’ll have to rely on the handful of phones that come that way right out of the box. For my personal needs, the Reno fit the bill, serving up a clean user interface, plenty of features, customization options, and most importantly, a speedy experience. While not as speedy to update as Google, OPPO has issued three OTA updates to the handset in a month’s time, bringing welcome security fixes and other improvements to the phone.

So what are some of the things that you might not like about the Reno 10x Zoom? Perhaps one of the features that I missed most during my time with the unit was the absence of a headphone jack. Yes, it is 2019, but more often than not, when I’m leaving the house, I still grab a pair of wired earbuds because they work and can do so for an infinite amount of time. Although I love wireless solutions, they aren’t as compact and they need a charge after five to seven hours. On long commutes, this can be a problem. Again, not a dealbreaker, but something to think about.

While I personally wasn’t too bothered by it, the lack of an IP rating might have some up in arms, along with the phone’s inability to wirelessly charge. For some, these are things that are a “must have” in a top-end smartphone produced in 2019, but for me, these features honestly don’t matter. But it is something to keep in mind if you are the type that uses their unit in a moist environment or requires the ease of use of being able to just lay your phone down on a pad and having it wirelessly charge.

As far as the camera, it's unique. The zoom feature isn't something you'll find on most phones, and it does come in handy. As far as quality, it's good but I don't think it's great. The samples presented and others I have taken look a tad soft in my opinion. Maybe that's the way OPPO wants to present its photos, but for my personal taste, I like tack sharp. The quality for its videos could use a little work, enhancing stability and also optimizing sound. But, these are all things that can probably be fixed with an update, and it really just depends on whether they will come to fruition.

The Reno 10x Zoom sets itself apart thanks to OPPO's thoughtful design choices, leading to an experience that feels bold and refreshing. Not only does it match most other devices in its segment, but it also manages to deliver certain things you just can't find on most other smartphones. While it isn't perfect, it is a jack of all trades and a master in some areas.

 

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