Oppo showed off a 10x “lossless” zoom mechanism for smartphones at MWC in February this year, confidently promising that it would be incorporated into its next flagship before the first half of the year was up. That promise has been kept, with the brand new Oppo Reno 10x Zoom now launched and available for sale internationally, including in India. Huawei has also launched its P30 Pro with a 5x optical zoom camera since then, and this is definitely the kind of feature that will force a lot of people to sit up and take notice.
Both Oppo and Huawei have come up with similar implementations, using prisms that bend light 90 degrees into a perpendicular stack with the camera's optics and sensor, which would never have been able to fit into a slim smartphone body otherwise. While the Huawei P30 Pro (Review) boasts of 5x optical zoom, Oppo's new Reno device is capable of 6x optical zoom. Both manufacturers have implemented 10x “hybrid” zoom which is claimed to be lossless, but Oppo is using this number as its primary marketing push, as you can tell by the device's name.
With Huawei's future as an Android OEM uncertain, Oppo has a huge advantage, but is optical zoom really something that smartphone buyers want? Can such a feature swing your next upgrade decision? We're reviewing the Oppo Reno 10x Zoom to bring you those answers.
As expected, the Oppo Reno 10x Zoom is a bulky phone. The periscopic camera arrangement might save some room, but the standard Oppo Reno model without the fancy optics isn't much smaller. There are also a 6.6-inch screen and 4065mAh battery to be accommodated. This device weighs 215g which is significantly higher than average, and is a hefty 9.3mm thick.
We have an Ocean Green unit for review, which is rather eye-catching. The glass on the rear looks like it has been etched with a matte texture but it is still quite slippery and fingerprints are highly visible. The colour shifts when you look at this phone at different angles. If you would prefer something more sedate, this phone is also available in Jet Black.
The glass rear panel curves smoothly to meet the metal frame, and we do have to say that the construction quality here is top-notch. The front glass also has slightly rounded edges. Had this phone been a little more compact, it would have been very comfortable to hold and use, but as it stands, we found that we needed both hands nearly all the time.
We were happy to see that there's no notch on the front. There are relatively narrow borders around the screen, and even the chin isn't too pronounced. Oppo claims a 93.1 percent screen-to-body ratio.
Oppo has introduced yet another kind of camera mechanism, an asymmetric triangular pop-up that it is calling a “shark fin”. This little protrusion accommodates the front camera, an LED illuminator, the phone's earpiece, a secondary microphone, and also the dual-LED flash for the rear camera. It takes a little under a second to deploy when you switch to the front camera or trigger face recognition.
The company says this mechanism should last through over 200,000 uses, which would equate to roughly 110 uses per day every day for five years. The fin will retract automatically if a fall is detected. Unfortunately, there's no IP rating for protection from liquid or dust ingress so we can't really say for sure how well this device will hold up over time.
The three rear cameras are arranged in a vertical strip and thankfully there's no camera bump. A laser autofocus window is to the right, and the shark fin pops up when you enable the flash.
Because the lenses are flush with the back of the body, Oppo decided to incorporate a little nub right below them so that they are slightly lifted above any surface the phone is lying on. This might help prevent scratches, but it makes the phone rock from side to side if you try using it when it's resting face-up on a table.
The vertical strip continues down the centre of the rear, with both an Oppo logo and a “Designed by Oppo” strap-line right next to it. The company includes a surprisingly thick fabric-lined rubber case with this phone, but it has a tall vertical cutout that exposes the cameras as well as the strip.
There's a USB Type-C port and a speaker on the bottom, along with the hybrid dual-SIM tray. The power button is on the right, while the volume buttons are on the left. There isn't a 3.5mm audio socket. Our unit had a plastic screen protector pre-applied, but there were tiny air bubbles along the bottom edge.
The Oppo Reno 10x Zoom is not just a variant of the standard Oppo Reno with a souped-up camera. It features superior specifications all around, starting with the flagship Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor. This octa-core SoC features Qualcomm's own Kryo 485 Silver and Gold cores running at between 1.8GHz and 2.84GHz for a balance of power efficiency and performance, plus integrated Adreno 640 graphics.
You can buy the Oppo Reno 10x Zoom with either 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage for Rs. 39,999, or 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage for Rs. 49,999. This means that Oppo is undercutting the base OnePlus 7 Pro (Review) variant by nearly Rs. 10,000 despite its 10x zoom feature. These specifications also make the Huawei P30 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S10 family look severely overpriced, not to mention all the previous-gen flagships that are currently in the market.
The 4065mAh battery is a little smaller than we expected. This phone supports Oppo's VOOC 3.0 quick charging standard as long as you use the included 20W charger and USB Type-C cable. Wireless charging is unfortunately not supported, and neither is Oppo's SuperVOOC tech.
The 6.6-inch display is huge, so the 1080x2340 full-HD+ resolution leaves small text looking just a little rough. This is an AMOLED panel so it's quite bright and crisp, with punchy, saturated colours. Oppo says the Reno 10x Zoom can display the full DCI-P3 colour gamut. There's also an in-display fingerprint sensor for authentication.
This phone supports dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5, NFC, dual-mode GPS, and of course 4G with VoLTE. You'll have to choose between a second SIM and a microSD card, but the phone's own storage space will be enough for a lot of people.
We've seen Oppo's ColorOS 6 running on several recently launched budget phones including the Realme C2 (Review) and Oppo A1k (Review). It's exactly the same on the high-end Reno 10x Zoom. Our review unit arrived running the May 2019 security patch, which is good.
ColorOS has an app drawer by default but gives you the option to have all your app icons on the home screens. We found everything a little too big and spaced out by default, and the software didn't really seem to make use of this phone's huge screen. We increased the icon grid density and reduced element and text size in the display settings to make things more comfortable for us.
There's quite a bit of bloatware including a browser that demands permissions for the file system, location, and phone app. It's full of promotional content and sent us over eight spammy clickbait notifications in one day. We were prompted to download “recommended” apps when setting up the phone, and there's more nagging in the form of Hot Apps, Hot Games, Game Center, and Oppo AppStore, which can't be uninstalled or disabled.
Other preloaded apps include a few that duplicate Google's core functionality, a Phone Manager, Facebook, UC Browser, NewsPoint, Dailyhunt, Paytm, Helo, Webnovel, and Amazon Shopping. The Lock Screen Magazine feature shows random photos with snippets of information each time you unlock the phone unless you disable it manually. There is no way to personalise this to your own interests, but at least we didn't see any ads during our review.
ColorOS does have a lot of interesting features including downloadable UI themes, customisable navigation keys, multiple options for swipe-based navigation, gesture and motion shortcuts, a Private Safe for securing private files and apps, a timed Kid Space with app and feature restrictions, Clone Apps, and Game Space to optimise performance and reduce interruptions while gaming.
There are some innovative privacy and security protections, such as the ability to spoof a blank contact list, calendar, messages app and call log when certain apps require access to these. Apps can be protected so that only you can access them using a passcode, fingerprint, or face. There's a blacklist and a whitelist for calls and messages, plus notification management to reduce harassment.
The Reno 10x Zoom is bulky and awkward to handle, especially when using the included protective cover. Its weight makes holding it up to take photos and video quite uncomfortable after a while. That said, the huge notch-less screen is very well suited to watching videos and for playing games.
Colours are vibrant and pop nicely, and viewing angles are very good. Even with the brightness only halfway up, everything is clearly visible outdoors. Widevine L1 DRM is supported so HD videos can be streamed without trouble. The only downside is that the screen surface is super reflective.
The earpiece acts as a second stereo speaker, which is always a good feature to have. Sound is loud, though not very rich or clear at high volume. Oppo includes a wired headset with a USB Type-C connector in the box, and while it might not look great, sound quality is more than adequate for music, videos, and gaming. You also get two additional pairs of rubber ear-tips in different sizes.
With a brand new flagship-class processor and loads of RAM, it should go without saying that day-to-day performance was flawless. Our review unit was the version with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.
The only times we felt even a little hesitation were when using the in-display fingerprint sensor and the pop-up front camera, both of which just make you wait just a tiny bit before you can actually use the phone. The raise-to-wake and double-tap-to-wake gestures buried in the Settings app help with this to an extent.
AnTuTu gave us a score of 3,54,928 points, which is less than what both the OnePlus 7 (Review) and OnePlus 7 Pro (Review) gave us. That score still represents the top tier of performance for a smartphone today, and beats both the Samsung Galaxy S10+ (Review) and the Samsung Galaxy S10 (Review).
Our single-core and multi-core Geekbench scores were 2,997 and 10,965 respectively. 3DMark's Slingshot Extreme test gave us 5,635 points, and GFXBench's T-rex, Manhattan 3.1 and Car Chase scenes ran at 61fps, 58fps and 36fps respectively, which is superb performance.
As for real-world gaming, both PUBG Mobile and Asphalt 9: Legends ran at the highest settings and were great fun to play, thanks to this phone's processor, screen, and speakers.
We got through a full day of heavy usage with about 25 percent power left. Starting at about 9am, we used the cameras heavily, played games for half an hour, streamed a few hours' worth of video, and spent a few more hours online. In our HD video loop test, the 4065mAh battery ran for 15 hours, 43 minutes.
Oppo's 20W VOOC 3.0 fast charger took the power level from zero to 15 percent in about 10 minutes, and we were at 63 percent in 40 minutes. A full charge took approximately 1 hour, 20 minutes.
Oppo's latest flagship boasts of not one but two camera tricks — 10x hybrid zoom with the periscopic camera on the rear, and the pop-up selfie shooter. Let's talk about the rear setup first. Along with the 13-megapixel f/3.0 telephoto camera, there's a 48-megapixel f/1.7 standard camera and an 8-megapixel f/2.2 wide-angle one. Both the standard and telephoto cameras have optical image stabilisation.
The 48-megapixel Sony IMX586 main camera on its own would be a big enough selling point, and in most situations, this is the one you'll use. It's the most versatile, and the wide aperture means that it will be the best choice in low light.
We wish the camera UI had better controls for switching between lenses, but there's a single button above the shutter release that you can tap to cycle between wide-angle, 1x, 2x, 6x, and 10x zoom levels. If you hold and drag this button up or down, you can make finer adjustments and go all the way up to 60x digital zoom. Oddly, another button in the upper toolbar always switches to the wide-angle camera.
Photo, Video, and Portrait modes are one tap away, but Night, Pano, Expert, Timelapse, Slo-mo and Google Lens are all in a spillover menu. There's a beautification slider in Photo mode, but not in Portrait mode. When using the front camera, there are additional controls for adjusting face width, eye size, chin angle, and more. Of course if taken to extremes, you'll end up looking like a caricature.
We took a series of shots at different zoom levels while standing in the same spot. The 2x zoom mode uses the primary camera, so it isn't true optical zoom but the quality is still very good. At 6x and above, you'll notice the frame getting darker and grainier as you switch to the lower-resolution telescopic camera. Fine details are somewhat lost and textures seem artificial, but shots are very usable.
At the 10x level, quality is still very good and we were able to pick out details, at least in the daytime. The phone still uses its full optical zoom range even at night, but because of the f/3.0 aperture, you won't be able to make much of anything out in your photos.
If you move your hands, it takes a while for the viewfinder view on the phone's screen to stabilise, so you might not be able to frame a shot very accurately. Every little shake of the hand is magnified tremendously, but we were still able to capture some very impressive shots.
Pushing even beyond the 10x hybrid zoom to 60x digital zoom, you can't expect good quality, but it might come in handy once in a while.
We were very happy with the quality and flexibility of cameras on the Oppo Reno 10x Zoom in the daytime. Outdoor shots were crisp and vibrant, and the level of ultra-fine detail in some of the close-ups we took was truly amazing.
The primary 48-megapixel camera managed to handle scenes with the blazing sun in the background, and did very well with tricky exposures. The portrait mode introduces a little lag but the results were usually very impressive with superb edge detection and natural-looking background blur. Focusing was quick and accurate as well.
Performance at night was also usually fairly good. Grain and noise were well within control, but we had quite a few shots come out blurry because of the long exposures needed, and details were patchy when there wasn't a lot of light around. The Night mode did brighten up some shots but is only suitable if both you and the subject are perfectly still.
The front camera is a 16-megapixel f/2.0 unit. Deploying the “shark fin” is said to take 0.8 seconds, and there's a bright animation on screen to distract you from the delay. You can even enable a sound effect in the settings if you like.
Selfies were good overall in the daytime but blurry and noisy at night. We also found that the default beautification level made us look quite fake. Portrait shots came out looking great, but the edge detection did glitch a little bit sometimes.
Video recording goes up to 4K and we didn't hit any time limits when shooting at 30fps or 60fps. You can zoom digitally to 10x but you can't shoot video through the wide-angle or telephoto cameras which is a pity. Stabilisation was excellent at 30fps but weak at 60fps. Focus was steady throughout, even with moving objects in the frame.
Oppo has delivered a smartphone with market-leading specifications and camera capabilities, and has somehow managed to do so within the “value flagship” price range. As one of the first few phones available in India with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor, the Oppo Reno 10x Zoom makes most other flagship phones look weak. Even the recently launched Samsung Galaxy S10e (Review) and OnePlus 7 Pro (Review) are more expensive with less to offer.
The Oppo Reno 10x Zoom is clearly being marketed for its 10x hybrid zoom capability, though we think 6x optical zoom is the bigger draw. Other than the much more expensive Huawei P30 Pro (Review), this phone has no competition in its niche. With the future of Huawei's smartphone business uncertain right now, we wouldn't blame people for second-guessing a purchase.
Clearly, there's a lot to like about this phone. The main drawbacks are its size and weight, but plenty of people will be fine with that. The bloatware is annoying, but not a dealbreaker. We think a lot of people who have the OnePlus 7 (Review) or OnePlus 7 Pro (Review) in mind because of their prices will find the Reno 10x Zoom a compelling alternative.