After unveiling their brand new 10x hybrid zoom technology at Mobile World Congress 2019 — which is now in the new Oppo Reno 10x zoom edition — Oppo now has a lot of catching up to do to reach the runaway camera King of 2019 so far: the Huawei P30 Pro.

Arguably 2019 will become the year of 5G, but extended telephoto zoom cameras will also be a major feature as we see OEMs tackle each other with in the camera department. With 10x hybrid zoom already being available elsewhere, the Oppo Reno 10x zoom is upping the ante with fresh camera tech.

Cameras are clearly key to the Reno, as the handset also introduces a striking new way to combat the notch with their angular pop-up selfie camera. We’d expect nothing less from the Chinese firm behind the Find X.

The biggest question is: can Oppo go from outside contender to Apex predator with the Reno 10x zoom?


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Design & Hardware

Firstly, the Oppo Reno offers that massive 93.1% screen to body ratio. With a 6.6-inch display and absolutely no sign of a notch, it almost feels odd — but in a very good way.

Not having that display cutout feels liberating, and although Oppo had already achieved this with the equally innovative Find X, the Reno looks much more assured.

It also has allowed for another impressive hiding technique for the front-facing selfie camera. The shark-fin camera pops-up when you switch to the front-facing camera from within the camera application in a smooth and almost soothing manner.

Oppo shark fin pop-up camera

Oppo assures us that the mechanism can withstand a solid five years of 100-times-per-day usage. While that is a bold claim, I’m sure they are well aware that it’s a difficult claim to refute. There’s an inbuilt safety mode that retracts the camera should it be dropped. Of course, as much as we would have liked to see this in action, Oppo was keen to keep tester devices in hands rather than the ground.

The build is solid, and while the curved back is great for ergonomics, the Oppo Reno has a rather slippery back glass plate. Of the two colors, the most striking is most definitely the Aqua Green.

Oppo Reno 10x zoom hardware and design

I wouldn’t be unhappy with the glossy black model, but with OEMs adopting more and more colorful options across the board, it would have been nice to have seen more color options to choose from.

Overall the main body — screen notwithstanding — the design is relatively safe. I am also a huge fan of the flush camera system at the back. It’s great to see another device forgo camera humps in favor of a smooth backplate.

It’s a clean design that is only really broken via the embossed ‘Oppo’ logo and large thin oval that houses more logos.

Software & Performance

Oppo Reno 10x zoom edition software and performance

ColorOS 6 — based on Android Pie — flies with the backing of the Snapdragon 855 and 6 or 8GB of RAM. The skin does add quite the overhaul to icons, menus and the little minute Android details, but not in a way that seems to slow the system down.

I did find the notification shade a tad overwhelming at first, but the layout and button choice would make a ton of sense to a non-techie person.

There has been a number of key tweaks made to allow the device to better manage the extra screen real estate reduced by removing the notch. Apps feel like a much more simple affair than in the past.

Animations and little touches are well handled and the Reno does feel very fluid in action. Of course, on a clean device with no applications installed or a ton of processes running in the background, this is more than expected.

I still feel like ColorOS is very similar to iOS in look and feel but more time with the software will allow us to form a fuller picture of the alterations. I will say though that I already prefer ColorOS 6 over EMUI 9.1 and it even reminds me somewhat of the Poco Launcher on the excellent Pocophone F1.

Camera

Oppo Reno 10x zoom camera array

It’s very difficult to get a grasp of the camera performance of a device simply from a short hands-on session. That said, much was made of the 10x zoom capabilities at MWC by Oppo featured on their upcoming handset.

Because of these bold claims, the Reno 10x zoom edition has a heck of a lot to live up to, especially as the Huawei P30 Pro is most definitely the smartphone zoom camera to catch right now.

The tech behind the Reno is very similar, as it uses 6x optical zoom and AI to enhance images taken at 10x zoom — hence it being a hybrid zoom.

Another touted upgrade will be the extended Night Mode, another area in which Oppo will be seeking to pit the Reno 10x zoom edition against the competing crowd.

Night photography modes are one of the core areas that we are seeing improvements to with every major OS update and hardware release. It will be very interesting to see how it stacks up against both Night Sight on the Pixel 3 and Huawei’s exceptional night shooting modes.

As for the front-facing camera found in that ‘shark-fin’ pop-up camera, it produces solid stills. Again, it’s hard to decipher just how good given the short time we’re able to get our hands-on a Reno unit. All signs point towards great selfies, and a camera that hides away super sneakily.

Be sure to tune in to see just how the Reno hangs with the market leaders in the (hopefully) not-too-distant future.

Initial Verdict

My first thoughts of the Oppo Reno 10x zoom edition is that the quirky additions might make it a popular choice for those wanting a smartphone with a little bit of everything.

The camera hardware does have the slight edge over the Huawei P30 Pro thanks to the 6x optical zoom rather than the 5x, but we’ll have to judge that once we can pit them against each other in the coming months.

I do like the design of the Reno. But you would have to say that design wise it does feel very ‘safe’. Very clean and almost understated considering the nifty tech jam-packed inside.

For someone like myself, who takes almost zero selfies, the ability to gain some screen real estate and still have the option for selfies with that hidden camera is a really attractive prospect. I can say wholeheartedly that I much prefer this method over punch-hole camera cutouts or the more commonplace notch.

Will it be as big a hit as the P30 Pro already has so far though? With that, I’m not so sure just yet. Oppo has shown previously with the Find X that they are willing to experiment with form factor to bring us hardware we otherwise might not ever see, and for that, there has to be some kudos and credit given.

As it stands, Oppo has the foundations for a solid smartphone in the Reno 10x zoom edition and one that I’m looking forward to getting a much closer look at.

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