Oppo Reno 10x Zoom Review
An unusual phone filled with quirks but still a compelling package
There’s a fair chance you haven’t heard of Oppo, let alone the Reno 10x Zoom. The Chinese company was founded as recently as 2001, and only started releasing phones in 2013. However, in the Reno 10x Zoom, it’s managed to produce one of the most interesting Android phones on sale at the moment. A word of warning, though – Oppo currently has no official sales presence in the US, despite its growing presence in Europe. You can pick up Oppo phones from Amazon, but you likely won’t get full warranties in case something goes wrong.
- Head-turning design
- Strong cameras
- Lightning performance
- Impressive battery life
- Fun pop-up selfie camera
- ColorOS takes some getting used to
- Thick and heavy
- Always slightly worried the selfie camera might break
Sadly, the Oppo Reno 10x Zoom is not the first smartphone to come out of Reno, Nevada. It is, however, a phone with some pretty impressive specs – and if you want to buy it in the US, it’ll likely cost you between $650-$750.
It also has a pop-up selfie camera. In fact, Oppo was the first company to make a phone with a selfie camera that rises out of the phone’s body. Pop-up selfie cameras are, and we cannot stress this enough, enormous fun. Plus, you get a notch-free design, meaning that you can get more screen in a smaller phone.
So, should buyers in the US lament the lack of Oppo, or are there better options available? We’ll cover all that, and more, in this review.
- Design and screen quality – All-screen design is great, but the weight build isn't
- Performance and speed – Lightning performance will keep even the fastest flagships honest
- Camera quality – Remarkable zoom and strong night sight but images tend to look waxy
- Overall ease of use – ColorOS has a bit of a learning curve, but it's not insurmountable
- Battery life – A 4,000 mAh battery gives very impressive battery life
- Cost and value for money – If you can get your hands on one, it's not a bad deal
- Oppo Reno 10x Zoom verdict – An interesting, innovative phone but we'd sooner have a OnePlus 7 Pro
Oppo Reno 10x Zoom design and screen
There are very few phones that elicit reactions like the Reno 10x Zoom. It has a 93.1% screen-to-body ratio, which is pretty hard to beat. For reference, the Samsung S10 Plus – with its small punch hole front camera – has an 87.5% screen to body ratio.
Of course, having a large screen that almost entirely fills the front of the phone doesn’t necessarily make it a good screen. Fortunately, the Reno 10x Zoom’s 6.6-inch OLED display is pretty impressive. It’s reasonably bright and has pretty strong contrast, although despite the 2340×1080 resolution, it could be a bit sharper.
However, the truly head-turning aspect of the phone’s design is the pop-up selfie camera. Oppo itself calls it a ‘shark fin’ design, as the slider rises out of the right hand side of the phone at an angle. As the slider rises out of the body, the edge of the screen lights up, adding to the spectacle of it all. You can see it in action below.
Sadly, it’s not all good news for the Reno 10x Zoom. It is unusually thick, at 9.3mm – this means that the rear cameras don’t protrude from the body like most phones, but it might be a struggle if you have small hands. What’s more, the Reno 10x Zoom is heavy, weighing in at 215g (about 7.5 ounces). Again, for reference, the Samsung Note 10 Plus – complete with stylus and huge 6.8-inch screen – weighs 196g (or just under 7 ounces).
Oppo Reno 10x Zoom performance
Now we get to the really good stuff. The Oppo Reno 10x Zoom punches well above its price tag when it comes to performance.
It uses the top-of-the-line Snapdragon 855 processor, and pairs it with either 6GB or 8GB of RAM. These are genuine flagship specs, and as a result, the Reno 10x Zoom will fly through menial tasks – as well as playing demanding games with ease.
Plus, the Reno 10x Zoom has loads of storage available. Our review sample had a copious 256GB, as well as having room for a microSD card. It’s fortunate that the Reno 10x Zoom has all this storage space, because there is a lot of bloatware. Oppo’s ColorOS has a version of almost every default Android app – from the calendar to calculator. It even pre-installs video sharing site TikTok and the UC Browser (no, us neither).
We’ve no doubt that you could learn to live with the bloat, but there would be some learning curve – particularly if you’re coming from a relatively bloat-free Google, Motorola, or Nokia phone, for example.
Oppo Reno 10x Zoom cameras
Let’s start with the rear cameras. The Reno 10x Zoom has three of them: a 48Mp wide angle lens, an 8Mp ultra-wide angle lens, and a 16Mp periscope lens.
That periscope lens is the most interesting of the three – it has a remarkable 5x optical zoom, thanks to some innovative tech that allows the lens to physically zoom in-and-out whilst remaining in the phone. This gives the Reno 10x Zoom the remarkable ability to have a combined 60x optical and digital zoom. It’s a neat trick, but it’s hard to focus and stabilize the camera at that level.
Overall, the Reno 10x Zoom takes pretty good pictures. It has a tendency to oversaturate some colors, which can make the photos look a little bit cartoonish. It also has a range of special photography modes, which can take better photos in a variety of challenging situations. There’s a macro mode, for example, which allows for very close shots to the subject – think less than 10cm. It didn’t work perfectly, though, and we couldn’t really think of a compelling reason to use it. The night sight is pretty good, with strong colour reproduction and a good amount of detail. It also avoids overexposing light sources – think car headlights and streetlamps – which many lesser phones struggle with.
So, let’s talk about that front camera. Despite all the pomp of it rising out of the phone, it’s not actually that good. Like the rear cameras, it has a tendency to oversaturate dark areas of the photo, making lighter tones look slightly washed-out.
Oppo Reno 10x Zoom ease of use
For us, ease of use comes in two forms: How easy the software is to navigate, and the ergonomic qualities of the device.
While the Reno 10x Zoom isn’t a difficult phone to use, it’s far from the straightforward simplicity of, say, a Google Pixel 3a.
Let’s start with the software. As we mentioned above, ColorOS has a lot of bloatware. However, we weren’t expecting to need to install a data transfer app on our previous Samsung review device to transfer content to the Reno 10x Zoom. Moving between the two devices was a pretty involved process, and might put some less experienced Android users off.
On the hardware front, the Reno 10x Zoom is not a bad phone. We’ve already spoken about the weight and thickness of the handset, which might put some people off. However, it’s not completely out of the woods just yet. While the pop-up camera is fun, waiting for it to open and close is a bit irritating. It doesn’t take long – barely even a second – but that wait still jars slightly.
Perhaps more annoyingly, when you close the camera app with the front facing camera open, the app has to fully close before the camera begins to retract back into the body. This adds even more precious milliseconds to the process, and it really feels like something that could be tightened up with a firmware patch.
Oh, and given that the phone is 9.3mm thick, we think Oppo could have found room for a headphone jack.
Oppo Reno 10x Zoom battery life
The Reno 10x Zoom has a large 4,065 mAh battery, and as a result, the phone’s battery life is extremely impressive.
We were able to comfortably extract a day and a half from the Reno 10x Zoom in regular use, and it was able to last for days on end while on standby. It also offers loads of handy tips for extending your battery life, as well as a load of power saving modes to eke out extra hours.
Oppo Reno 10x Zoom cost and value for money
Given that Oppo doesn’t technically sell phones in the US, it’s tricky to say exactly how much you’ll pay for a Reno 10x Zoom, and consequently whether it’s good value for money.
If we’re honest, we wouldn’t buy the Reno 10x Zoom over either of these phones, particularly if we lived in the US. What you gain in quirkiness with the Oppo, you lose by not having a proper warranty.
Meanwhile, the iPhone 11 will hold its value better, and will be just as fast with better cameras. The OnePlus 7 Pro, on the other hand, will be equally quick, will likely have better cameras as well, and also has a pop-up camera – it’s no contest, really.
Oppo Reno 10x Zoom Verdict
The Oppo Reno 10x Zoom is one of the most interesting phones on sale at the moment. Its pop-up front camera, high-zoom rear camera, and all-screen design certainly make it distinctive.
However, with limited availability in the US and a convoluted set-up, we can’t wholeheartedly recommend the Reno 10x Zoom. But, should you want to take the phone path less trodden, you’ll be getting a pretty cool phone – and you’ll certainly have the respect of the Tech.co office.
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