Watch your back, Huawei
OPPO IS ONE OF the biggest Chinese companies to enter the UK smartphone space. Looking to steal market share from the mighty Huawei as the brand wrestles with its US gov woes, Oppo has so far brought some innovative designs our way and could have what it takes to worry competitors.
Earlier this year, the firm flaunted its flagship Reno smartphone lineup, comprising the Reno, Reno 5G and Reno 10x Zoom, the latter of which took aim at the P30 Pro with a 10x lossless zoom tech and pop-up selfie cameras.
This week, Oppo just officially announced its Reno2 lineup, comprising a high-mid-range handset with the same name and the slightly more affordable Reno2Z. Both have the same hidden selfie cam tech, cutting-edge chipset, and competitive camera lineup.
We've been using the Reno2 for the last week. Here's what we think.
At first glance, the Reno2 is rather generic looking. It's got the same iridescent back that you find on many other Android phones these days, but still, it's nice enough. One thing that is unique is the quad-camera arrangement on the back, which is aligned down the centre as opposed to a square stamp on the top left side as you see on most devices.
The unibody design means the phone feels very robust but at the same time, it doesn't feel as premium as some of its high-end competitors. We can't really put our finger on why - perhaps it's the thickness that does it.
Speaking of, the Reno2 measures 9.5mm at its thickest point, so it's not the slimmest device out there but it does feel very comfortable in hand. Another nice touch is that Reno2 is quite well protected from drops and knocks; it boasts a Gorilla Glass 6 on the front and Gorilla Glass 5 on the back. Also, the raising front camera detects and retracts when the Reno2 is dropped, which we think is a nice touch.
For security, there's a fingerprint screen unlock hidden under the screen as seen on recent Huawei devices, and the phone also features a 3.5mm headphone jack.
One of our favourite features of the Reno2 is the display. This is because - unlike many on the market these days - it comes completely undisturbed. There are no notches, punch-hole cameras, nothing. It's simply an edge-to-edge 6.5in full AMOLED screen with zero interruptions.
The Reno2 also offers quite compelling visuals. It's bright, vibrant and clear, and boasts the exact same resolution and screen size as seen on the Huawei P30 Pro. For comparison's sake, it's also quite very similar to the iPhone 11 Pro Max, which features a slightly similar resolution of 2688x1242 in a comparable screen size. That's pretty impressive considering the Reno2 isn't a top-spec phone and will probably cost considerably less than those other two devices.
There's also a night shield feature on the screen, which Oppo says reduces "harmful blue light" by 37 per cent.
Powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 730 (SDM7150) chip, the Oppo Reno2 isn't packing the most powerful processor out there but it does come with an impressive 8GB of RAM. That'll explain why the device feels super nippy to operate, whether you're loading up the camera app to snap some photos of your hipster lunch or flicking through a million Instagram stories wishing your friends would STFU.
Storage isn't too bad either, coming with 256GB onboard internal memory - which is plenty to store all those thousands of selfies fails you forgot to delete.
As for battery life, this is where the Reno2 really excels. Coming in at 4000mAh, it's quite sizeable and the good news is that this translates really well in real life, too. Oppo claims it is able to deliver up to 8 hours continuous gaming or 13 hours of continuous video playback. While we didn't really have the time to test this thoroughly (over half a day of solid Netflix binging is just a little too much even for us) it did prove very impressive in the power department. It gave us almost 4 days of standby while connected to WiFi and not being used all that much, and just short of two days' use when being used frequently with mobile data connectivity.
It's also worth mentioning that the Reno2 supports VOOC 3.0 charging, a very handy feature which means can charge the device to slightly over 50 per cent of the battery in just 30 mins. Pretty sweet.
The Reno 2 runs Android 9.0 skinned with something Oppo calls the ColorOS 6 custom UI. For a Chinese manufacturer, it's surprisingly clean and doesn't look too dissimilar from the vanilla Android skin.
The visual experience is nice, with light borderless gradient colours. Swiping right will bring up the Smart Assistant, a service which aims to bring all your most vital reference points in one place. It works nicely and isn't as intrusive or irritating as, say, Samsung's Bixby offering.
Like Huawei, Oppo's software supports a range of gestures such; a double-tap on the screen to wake the phone up, draw an "O" on the screen to turn on the camera, or a "V" to wake the emergency flashlight. To take a screenshot, just slide down three fingers on the screen and slide up three fingers to split the screen. These all work very well, but not sure how much we'll use them, to be honest.
If you're a fan of the original Reno, it'll come as no surprise that Oppo has fitted the Reno2 with quite the impressive camera lineup. The rear camera features a quad camera setup, comprising a 48MP standard snapper, a 13MP telephoto cam, an 8MP 116 Ultra Wide lens angle shooter and finally a 2MP Mono Lens.
Unlike its predecessor, the Reno 10x Zoom, Oppo has only equipped the Reno2 with 5x hybrid zoom. We assume this is because those who want a better zoom can still purchase the original Reno device. Nevertheless, all the cameras function brilliantly - photo quality is exceptionally sharp and colours are well represented. Although moving through the cameras is nowhere near as smooth as you'll find on the iPhone 11 Pro. Still, we are very impressed with what Reno has managed to pack into this phone.
The true innovation, however, comes in the selfie cam thanks to the Reno2's rising selfie snapper. We were rather surprised at how well this worked. As soon as you hit the reverse camera icon, the pop-up selfie camera quickly but smoothly rises - as if by magic - from behind the screen.
It really is a great bit of engineering and we love seeing it in action. The snaps it takes aren't half bad, either. Selfie photos appear clean and of high quality - even on closer inspection. The good news is, it doesn't automatically try to beautify you, so results are natural - if you want them to be that is. (As you can imagine, there are options to change this including slimming your face and enlarging your eyes in real-time).
There's not much to not like about the Oppo Reno2. It's nippy, the OS is clean and easy to use, and the design is pleasant. Despite thinking it looked a little generic at first, the Reno2's pop-up selfie cam really makes up for this. It's quite a piece of genius engineering and it works a treat.
The Reno2 will be available to buy in the UK from 17 October in Ocean Blue and Luminous Black colourways. And here comes the best bit - a model with 8GB RAM and 256GB storage will start at just £449 SIM-free.
The black model will also be available on a pay monthly contract with EE starting at £28 per month (with £50 upfront cost) for the entry-level 500MB tariff.
At this price, it's an absolute steal considering the tech you're getting for the money. All we can say is: watch out Huawei.
Sleek design, excellent camera, innovative selfie camera set up, great full-screen display, great battery, super cheap.
Feels a tad cheap.