Beautiful whale with zoom
Both models are related, they have a similar stylization and the distinguishable “shark’s fin” – but it is the 10x Zoom model that fulfils the role of a flagship and has an optical zoom. But is it the only feature that can convince us to buy this smartphone?
|Oppo Reno 10x Zoom - video review
video: GSMchoice.com, via YouTube
- Construction, set, quality of assembly
- Display, security
- Interface, efficiency
- Battery, sound, communication
- Photography and video
- Summary. Advantages and disadvantages
Construction, set, quality of assembly
For the start, as usual, let us take a look at the set. And it is a rather rich one and packed in an interesting, prolonged box. Besides the phone we can find a quick, 20-watt charger, USB cable, needle for opening the cards’ slot and decent earphones. The manufacturer added an equally decent cover, which has a nice in touch, satin texture.
When it comes to visuals, Oppo Reno 10x Zoom is not that different from its cheaper kin. It has an aesthetical housing with an interesting, matte glass at the back. In its central part there is a shiny strap, in which there are placed lenses of cameras.
And here we find the most important difference between Reno 10x Zoom has an additional, rectangular window, through which we can see the lens, which allows us to achieve a lossless zoom. The window is rectangular, because the lens is placed perpendicularly to the rest, and what we see – is the prism, thanks to which the module with moving lenses can rest horizontally.
I love the fact that lenses of cameras (just like in Reno) do not stand above the housing – and for additional protection there is a small dome from a hard ceramics, thanks to which the phone lies on it and protects lenses from scratches. It looks nice, but due to this element the phone wobbles a bit when lying on a flat surface… But definitely less than some models with cameras standing out.
On the upper wall of the housing we can see the well-known, characteristic frame of the selfies’ camera. The moving element looks like a shark’s fin – after it unfolds it has a triangle shape, that stands above the housing asymmetrically. It looks interesting and thanks to this it has a bezel-less display, without any notches or holes. The mechanism works quietly and fast, the manufacturer states that it will be durable for at least 200k cycles – but I am still worried that I will damage it by foreign bodies, like grains of sand that can go inside the cavity.
It is true – I am using the second Reno with the “fin” – and I did not manage to break it, so maybe I am too worried? I will mention that the side effect of using this mechanism is the lack of waterproofness. It is strange that the “fin” hides the LED flash of the main camera as well. It does not disfigure the back of the housing – but we need to pull it out in order to use the flash or the torch.
The power button is on the right edge, while on the left there are volume control buttons. We need to get used to their placement, but they are comfortable. On the lower wall there is the speaker and a USB-C socket. Do not ask me about a minijack – because there is none, but this is not the only problem that can be found at the bottom of the phone. There we can find the tray for cards – unfortunately, it is a hybrid one. I have not mentioned microphones yet – they are both at the top and at the bottom wall.
I have no concerns towards ergonomics. Buttons are exactly where they should be and the phone lies in hands comfortably, no matter if it is or is not in a cover. Of course it gets slightly bigger when placed in a cover, but in a case of a fall – it has better survival chances. The stiffness and the quality of assembly or materials used – are perfect. I will add that the phone is not the lightest, it weighs over 200 g. If you will ask me about the stylization – I love it. Mostly because it distinguishes the phone among dozens of similar models with backs shinning on different ways and water-drop notches.
In Oppo Reno 10x Zoom - as I have mentioned before – there is no notch. And this is great, because thanks to this the display is attractive. It has a narrow bezel (even at the bottom) and it is made in the AMOLED technology, which ensures great brightness, contrast, colour representation and a perfect black. I have no concerns towards the 6.6-inch matrix with a pixel density of over 380 ppi. The display is bright and we can use it in sunny days,, the touch panel works perfectly, the glass is resistant to scratches and dirt, there is Always-On-display and colours simply please our eyes.
The minimum brightness level could have been a bit lower (especially that the interface does not have a dark mode), but it is not the worse, because we can limit the screen flickering and turn on the night mode, with warmer colours. We can control the intensity of this filter and set the schedule of automatic activation. In addition we can modify the colours temperature and change their palette – P3 or sRGB. I definitely prefer the vivid P3…
The fingerprint scanner is hidden under the display. It is active and has nice animations – but I still prefer the classic touch fields. The one in Reno, for a display one, is decent – but it looks like that I have incompatible fingers, because the number of errors is – in my opinion – still unsatisfactory – especially when we will take traditional scanners into consideration.
Despite adding each finger twice, on many ways – I still did not manage to overcome 6-7 successful tries out of 10. It is better than in Samsung Galaxy A50 or Xiaomi Mi8 Pro, but I still do not consider this solution as a perfect one. Facial recognition works much better. Even though we need to pull out the “fin” with the front camera, which is not the fastest one – I enjoyed it much more than the screen sensor.
The facial recognition system (though it is based only on the 2D image) cannot be deceived by the “sleeping person” method, we need to have at least one eye open or remove sunglasses. Regular ones are no problems for the system, just like a slight facial hair. I tried to deceive it with a photo – and I did not manage to do so, however you need to remember that in the case of such systems there is a small risk. In the dark – it works nice, because we can light our face with the display.
The interface in Oppo Reno 10x Zoom is Color OS 6, based on Android Pie – it is basically the same as in Reno, which I have reviewed earlier. It is clear, coherent, friendly, though it is a bit different than the standard Android. The desktop is basically a classical one, but we can change the arrangement of system buttons and switch to gestures. The main screen can be flat – or a traditional one, with apps tray. In the tray – the system shows us the most often used apps – and then the rest. On the desktop we can create folders and change effects of transitions between screens, we can change the icons grid as well. By swiping the desktop to the right – we will reach a functional assistant (though not from Google but from the company) that shows us the most important widgets – we can of course select them.
The notification panel works in a specific way, because it slides down (along with main shortcuts) and covers the whole surface of the display – but it is likeable, because we can see more content. I do not like the fact that the button for cleaning the panel out of all notifications is at the beginning, at the top of the screen, and not at the bottom. On the other hand, I like the effective and comfortable panel of switches, which selection is wide – and changing their arrangement – easy.
Oppo does not preinstall bloatware apps, but in the system we can find a few useful apps, like the one for transferring data from the previous phone or for cleaning the system out of useless files. In the interface there is a separate Aquamail email client (I do not recommend it), separate music player or a recorder – there is no FM radio. On the other hand, there is the special car mode and gestures on a locked screen that is the possibility to run selected functions by drawing an appropriate sign on a dimmed display. There are classic gestures as well, like waking the display by lifting the phone or by tapping the display. In addition we can turn on Smart sidebar – an additional, configurable shortcuts panel that slides from the side.
In the interface there is of course the possibility to divide the screen and clone apps, and the other hand there is no dark mode and notifications LED. Basically – I like the interface a lot and I place it at the top of my personal ranking of add-ons. If you are interested in security updates – at the moment of writing this review, they are from 5th July 2019. Not bad, is it?
EfficiencyOppo Reno 10x Zoom has an absolutely flagship specification – Snapdragon 855, Adreno 640 GPU, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of flash. This cannot be bad. And it is not! Oppo Reno 10x Zoom scores incredible results in benchmarks, and in an everyday usage – it pleases us with a smooth and stable work.
We can literally play any title that we want – and in the full settings. In addition, we can use the effective Game Boost, that limits or “disturbances”, at the same time enhancing the hardware – I do not think that there is anyone that could be unsatisfied with Oppo Reno 10x Zoom performance…
The phone does not heat up, I did not notice any changes in its efficiency, and benchmarks results changed in a minor way. There is a lot of memory as well – 256 GB, in practice around 220 GB.
Oppo Reno 10x Zoom has a 4065 mAh battery, which can keep the phone alive without any problems for a whole day, sometimes a day and a half. With a tiny bit of help from our side, we can achieve two days, and if we will try to be more power-saving – even three. My record was over 4 days of usage, but only when Reno functioned as a secondary smartphone, I limited its usage to a few short calls and taking several photos.
We can be pleased with the battery, when we will compare the lifespan to the phone’s capabilities. It is worth noting that in the set we have a quick (but not the quickest one in the Oppo portfolio) VooC charger – that can charge the battery to half in less than half an hour. After that it charges a bit slower, it will hit 100% in an hour and a half. And even though there are phones that can charge even faster – we cannot complain about Reno 10x Zoom.
While testing the previous Reno, I complained that filtering the sound through the receiver is not the best and our interlocutor was heard all around us – though the phone was next to our ear. In the 10x Zoom model I did not notice this effect, but the sound remained great.
We can hear everything loud and clear, there are no problems with maintaining the coverage and searching for it in “troublesome” locations - Reno 10x Zoom does not give way to other flagships. There are two “external” speakers, that are supposed to provide a stereophonic effect, but it does not work well, because the “lower” one plays much louder than the receiver, and in addition – it generates more lower tones. Still – together they play loud and clear and the phone is fully “useable” in the loud speaking mode.
When it comes to communication interfaces, this phone has them all (including NFC) and they all work without any problems. It is worth remembering that the phone can use dual SIM, it has a comfortable dialler with the option of blocking numbers and it has a hotspot mode in two channels, 2.4 and 5 GHz. In addition – the USB socket supports the OTG mode. Earphones added to the set have a high quality – for an added ones – and they will please most users. Those more demanding ones need to remember about the lack of a minijack socket.
Photography and video
The name of Oppo Reno 10x Zoom reveals its photography capabilities – the phone is distinguishable with a triple camera, with a mechanical, flat-placed telephoto lens equipped with a periscope. It does not matter that the 10x zoom mentioned in the name is a hybrid one – there is a lot to brag about.
To be specific – we have a basic camera with a hybrid autofocus (laser + PDAF) and optical stabilization, 48 Mpx matrix, 26mm lens with an f/1.7 aperture, supported by 8-megapixel camera with wide-angle 16mm f/2.2 lens.
The third camera is the mentioned periscope with a 130 mm focal length, with an optical stabilization and an f/3.0 aperture. In reality – it gives a 6x lossless zoom, and further on – the hybrid or digital zoom takes place that can reach impressive 60x. In addition we have the front camera, with a 16 Mpx matrix and 26 mm lens, f/2.0. And what are the results of photography?
They are great of course! During the day – there is absolutely nothing to criticize – photos are sharp, well-lighted with natural colours. In addition, besides HDR, Reno offers the Dazzle Color mode – for those who like things a bit more colourful.
This is a good mode for taking photos of plants and the sky, but it provides eye-pleasant effects with the architecture as well. Photos taken during the night are worthy of a flagship, though sometimes we can see some noises and artefacts.
The night mode does not try to break physics – it only gives photos a nice touch, especially when there are brighter parts in the shot. Unfortunately, this trick does not work with the Moon – but photos – contrary to those taken by Huawei’s flagships – look like they are really taken at night, and not just before dawn. What is important – we can see colours even in night time shots, which is not so obvious in the market segment of top smartphones. I will add that the camera has an Expert mode – that is a manual one, there is an integration with Google Lens as well.
The wide-angle lens can be likeable as well, but in its case we must remember about the worse aperture (which is natural) and about the lack of optical image stabilization. Photos with a wide-angle lens do not leave much to be desired, though of course there is the characteristic “fish-eye” deformation effect – unfortunately, without the possibility of digital correction. It irritates me that we cannot switch with a single gesture from the main camera to the wide one – we need to switch between three levels of zoom. We can make it with a “pinching” gesture – but how can we do it when we are holding the phone with one hand? This is a nonsense…
It is time for the zoom. This big, impressive and so on. Let us cool down a bit… The useful zoom is the 6x. Then optics work and photos do not lose any of their quality. Later on, with the 10x zoom we can see a clear degradation of details representation – but let us say that it is bearable. And with an even bigger zoom – it becomes the usual, digital zoom with all its flaws.
The advertised 60x is – in my opinion – completely useless and the way I see it – it should not be in this phone because it can only disappoint the user. If you want my opinion – using zoom over 15x does not have any sense. Please remember that even though the lens has stabilization – it does not make miracles and it is best to have a tripod for zooms above 6x, and with 60x – even a tripod will fail.
I enjoyed panoramas taken with the camera of Reno 10x Zoom, just like background blurring effects – they are all right. Just like selfies – there is nothing to complain about, maybe we can be bothered with overexposing a bright background – but this is a typical feature of most front cameras, so I cannot complain about it that much.
If you like beautifying - Reno 10x Zoom has a lot of options, and all them give a rather natural effects. There is background blurring as well – but it is fully digital, because it uses only a single lens. The main camera blurs the background with the usage of two lenses – and it does a decent job.
I have a problem with assessing video recording. Everything seems to be fine, we can record in 60 frames per second or in 4K, we have slow-motion and the possibility to change the way the sound is saved. Besides a typical stereo there is surround sound and sound zoom – that is focusing the sound along with closing in on the particular object. Unfortunately, if you – just like me – counted on 6x lossless zoom while recording videos – you will be disappointed. Oppo Reno 10x Zoom records only with the main camera, so the zoom is only a digital one. Just like we cannot switch to the wide-angle one. It is a pity, because I have no concerns towards the quality of videos. They are good, even those from the front camera.
|Oppo Reno 10x Zoom - sample video
video: GSMchoice.com, via YouTube
The camera interface is rather simple, though I would have changed a few things in it. Besides the irritating access to the wide-angle lens mentioned before, I would have modified the modes list. First of all, it could have benefited from the possibility to personalize the arrangement, and second of all – why a scrolling list, when the video or portrait modes can be scrolled on the bar next to the trigger?
Of course when the list is too long and we need to scroll a lot in order to find an appropriate mode this is a bad thing, like in for example, Asus Zenfone 6 - but if you have a possibility of arranging modes the way you want, it is much more bearable than a mixture of a list with scrolling. And the best solution is to have a simple panel with icons, like in Motorola...
Oppo Reno 10x Zoom costs a lot and I do not think that every average “John Smith” can risk it, considering the stereotypical opinion that “this is just another Chinese phone”… But if you will risk it – you will not be disappointed. This is a good phone with nice features. And if you already know how powerful the Oppo company is – I do not need to convince you that among flagships from other companies, the prize is rather decent, despite some flaws of Reno 10x Zoom.
I like Oppo Reno 10x Zoom mostly due to its unusualness, uniqueness – which can be found not only in its construction, but in the stylization of the phone as well. I like features like the matte glass, the O-dot stand or the fin sliding out at the top. I like the display, I am not disappointed by the battery and the efficiency gives no room for criticizing. The sound quality, communication features or the interface – I asses them positively as well.
When it comes to photography and filming, Reno 10x Zoom is great – though I could have changed the camera interface, added to possibility to record with all lenses and dropped the unnecessary feature, that is the digital 60x zoom. And even though the zoom disappointed me a lot, I still appreciate the presence of the lossless 6x – which is much better than in the most of competition. The camera is universal – and I am not surprised that Oppo made it the main feature of their marketing campaign.
What stops me from buying Oppo Reno 10x Zoom? The error level of the fingerprint scanner and the lack of a minijack. The lack of waterproofness – though it is due to the specific construction – is a sort of disadvantage in my opinion as well. Some can be bothered by the lack of an FM radio, the lack of the fastest VooC charging or the missing notifications LED, but this is probably just me being picky…
Advantages and disadvantages
- flagship efficiency
- bezel-less AMOLED
- friendly interface
- lack of bloatware
- good battery
- cover in the set
- quick charging and an appropriate charger in the set
- universality of photography
- good photos quality
- lossless 6x zoom
- decent speakers
- unique stylization
- decent earphones in the set
- fingerprint scanner does not work well
- lack of waterproofness
- lack of notifications LED
- no inductive charging
- lack of a radio and a minijack
- digital zoom over 10x
- video recording limited only to the main camera
- some flaws in the camera interface
- it could have been lighter
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