Oppo Reno 10x Zoom has a versatile design and a tall display.
It's camera is capable of zooming into distance but quality is subjective.
At Rs 49,990, it cannot be called expensive for its features.
At MWC 2019, Oppo showed what 10x zoom on a smartphone will look like. The Oppo Reno 10x Zoom is the company’s first device to feature this zoom camera. The biggest problem with smartphone cameras right now is that they don’t have optical zoom. The Oppo Reno 10x Zoom wants to fix that very pain point.
In fact, Oppo is not the only smartphone maker putting efforts into making zoom acceptable on smartphones. Chinese smartphone maker Huawei has also made ‘zoom’ a big part of its mobile camera experience with the Huawei P30 Pro. I have been using the Oppo Reno 10x Zoom for more than a week. I get the appeal of optically zooming into subjects that are far away while your friends with iPhone use digital zoom, but isn’t the camera supposed to maintain image quality at the same time. That is the biggest question surrounding these zoom lenses on smartphones. Do they aid in photography or turn photography into a gimmick?
Watch: How Oppo’s 10x Zoom works
With platforms such as Instagram, the need for a digital camera is relegated to the professional segment. For most part, a smartphone camera is all that you need to capture good images. One new trend by smartphone manufacturers is adding extra cameras.
The Oppo Reno 10x Zoom with four cameras is no different. There are three on the back of the device and one mechanically elevating camera that acts as a selfie lens. The first is a 48-megapixel optically stabilized main camera with Sony IMX586 sensor, f/1.7 aperture. The second, an 8-megapixel lens that acts as an ultrawide angle camera. The third, a 13-megapixel camera placed like a periscope capable of 5x optical zoom and OIS. The setup compares to Huawei P30 Pro, but Oppo’s zoom mechanism works differently.
It uses the main 48-megapixel capture most of the details, resulting in an 8,000 x 6,000-pixel image. Then it switches to the periscope setup to further zoom into details.
Oppo is not shying away from letting consumers know the system works this way. When you open the stock camera app, there are markers that let you select from 1x, 2x, 6x and 10x zoom options. When you switch from 2x to 6x, there is a transition that gives away the camera switching between lens. The switching between zoom is seamless and handled by the periscope camera on Huawei P30 Pro. In theory, Oppo’s implementation makes a lot of sense since one sensor is doing the heavy lifting, while the second sensor only helps bring images to life.
What lies ahead?
The results didn’t blow me away. My favorite part of this triple rear camera setup is the ultrawide camera, which captures pictures at only 8-megapixel resolution but produces good details with clean edges and little distortion. There are also little artefacts that we have seen on ultrawide angle cameras. It does not seem to be as wide as Samsung’s Galaxy S10+ but the versatility of an ultrawide angle camera cannot be dismissed easily. The other aspect of the camera that I found interesting is the macro mode.
We all take pictures of flowers and plants and macro mode comes handy at such situation. With macro mode, which gets enabled automatically, you can get much closer to your subject. The pictures, as you can see in the photo-gallery above, have nice shallow depth of field and put the subject at the centre. The main 48-megapixel camera does well while taking pictures in 12-megapixel mode but there is an imbalance noticeable with dynamic range and color temperature.
The images shot with Oppo Reno 10x Zoom seemed soft for my liking. Some might argue that it is true to source, but smartphone photography is inching towards punchy colors and some amount of saturation won’t hurt. When you zoom into pictures, the best results can be obtained at 2x and up to 6x zoom, but when you start zooming ten times or higher, the output image looks more like a painting and less equivalent to a real image. Also, you need to maintain a minimum focusing distance to get accurate results when you tap on those zoom icons.
How does the Zoom compare?
Although zooming on the Reno 10x Zoom isn’t exactly effortless, it isn’t bad either. Most smartphone users are going to use the ultra-wide and primary camera most of the time and the zoom camera will come into play only in certain specific situations. For such a use case, the Oppo Reno 10x Zoom would suffice as a good mobile shooter, but its zoom results aren’t as good as that produced by the Huawei P30 Pro.
Oppo Reno 10x Zoom, the variant we tested is priced at Rs 49,990 and it comes with 8GB RAM and 256GB storage. The Huawei P30 Pro, on the other hand, is priced at Rs 71,990. I’d concede that comparing the two isn’t ideal use case, but I can say with certainty that when it comes to zoom, Oppo‘s Chinese rival does have an edge. As I said, I like the main camera and macro mode but there is one camera I like more than everything else: the selfie camera.
A smartphone with a pop-up selfie camera is not new. You can buy one for as low as Rs 20,000 but the implementation on the Reno makes it exquisite. For the first few days, I just spent starting and closing the selfie camera and the selfies are quite brilliant. I am no judge of selfies, but the images offer good skin texture and have detail that is excellent for a smartphone. It also does not do over smoothening seen on other smartphones. If you like taking selfies, then the Oppo Reno 10X Zoom will not disappoint you.
Design, Display and Hardware
Chinese smartphone makers have far outpaced companies such as Apple and Samsung on the design front. Whether it’s Huawei, Oppo, Vivo, Xiaomi or Realme, all these companies make well designed smartphones. The Oppo Reno 10X Zoom is no exception. It features an aluminum casing with Corning Gorilla Glass back. The back glass panel is curved which gives an ergonomic fit in the hand.
Our review unit came in ocean green color but there is also a jet black variant. The green is subtle and since its fused with glass, it tends to change from bright to dark when exposed to light. Oppo’s engineers deserve credit mainly for putting the zoom camera and ensure that the camera module stays flat with the body.
Seamless accommodation of camera mechanism
Every other smartphone focused on photography, be it iPhone XS, Google Pixel 3 XL or the Huawei P30 Pro – have a bulge that makes it difficult to put them on a flat surface. There are also other design tweaks like a strip running below the camera module that shows the branding. There is distinct solid blob below the triple rear camera setup, which Oppo claims lifts the camera when placed on a flat surface.
The shark fin selfie camera adds credence to the design ingenuity of this device. The power button is on the right, while the volume rocker is on the left. The bottom of the device hosts a SIM card tray, USB Type-C port with VOOC support and a speaker grille.
There is a 6.6-inch AMOLED display with Full HD+ resolution of 2340 x 1080 pixels and taller 19.5:9 aspect ratio. Since it does not have a notch or hole punch, the display feels as if it extends to the edges. There is a chin at the bottom, but it is considerably thin and hardly comes in the way of user experience. The display itself is bright, sharp with decent color reproduction. The Full HD+ AMOLED display on the Galaxy S10e might be a bit sharper and rich in colors.
Capable, and optimised for performance
With Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 SoC, Adreno 640 GPU, 8GB of RAM and 256GB internal storage, the Reno 10x Zoom performs well. I never saw the device use more than 6GB of RAM, so the extra RAM helps keep other functions working smoothly. Whether you are a heavy-duty user who plays PUBG Mobile/ Fortnite or a casual user who juggles from YouTube to WhatsApp and Netflix, Reno 10x Zoom will keep functioning without a hiccup.
If there is one smartphone that really beats Oppo Reno 10x Zoom in performance, then it must be the OnePlus 7 Pro. Its buttery smooth 90Hz display is unlike anything else on the market but I doubt there is any real-world use case yet for 12GB of RAM on any smartphone. It is like having all wheel drive option, but you need real road to get all the wheels to push you forward. Such a road does not exist yet on Android.
If one hardware element that is ahead of the industry, then it must be the in-display fingerprint sensor. The sensor on the Oppo Reno 10x Zoom is wickedly fast and wherever you touch the surface, it unlocks immediately. It unlocked 9 out of times without much effort and I could not say the same about the sensor on Oppo F11 Pro.
Software and Battery Life
Oppo Reno 10x Zoom runs ColorOS 6 based on Android 9 Pie. The update brings a streamlined user interface when compared to ColorOS 5.2. The UI is faster and easier to access and even includes an app drawer. The quick settings have big buttons so you can enable or disable them without much difficulty. When you get a notification, you can slide on either side to dismiss them. All apps launch faster than they did on ColorOS 5 and Oppo has removed a lot of inconsistency seen with its UI in the past.
While it is fundamentally faster, there are issues that still need to be fixed. My primary issue with Android OEMs is their belief that they can preload applications. The ColorOS 6, for instance, for some apps that should not exist in first place. It comes with a native browser in addition to Google Chrome. Oppo does not stop there. It also preloads UC browser. When I handed over the phone to a friend, his first question was which browser to use. It seems Oppo is making the streamlining UI without removing bloatware.
Preloaded apps and AppStore
There are preloaded apps such as Helo, NewsPoint, Webnovel, etc which I did not even bother to open once. There are also suggestions such as Hot Apps and Hot Games from where you can quickly install popular apps and games. I do like Oppo’s Theme Store and Game Space but not a fan of Oppo AppStore. I see what Oppo is trying to do here but it seems to have convoluted its own decision in the process by adding unwanted applications.
The Reno 10x Zoom comes with a big 4,065mAh battery under the hood. While, it does not reach the territory of iPhone XR or Huawei Mate 20 Pro in terms of endurance, it delivers decent battery life. I averaged between four and five hours of screen time and on normal days, I went to bed with around 20 to 30 percent battery left. It is not the two-day device where you charge once and use it for two full days. It is the device which you charge once every day but don’t need to plug overnight.
The use of Full HD+ AMOLED display leads to less drain and the standby time is equally good. The Oppo Reno 10x Zoom ships with VOOC 3.0 fast charging, which is basically a 20W fast charger. It charges the device fast but not as fast as the 50W SuperVOOC we saw with Oppo R17 Pro. Oppo should have put that charger inside the box of Reno to make it charge faster than competition.
Verdict: Should you buy?
Devices like N1 and Find X stand out for design, but Reno 10x Zoom is about both design and imaging. It is the only smartphone other than the Huawei P30 Pro that dares to get closer to the subject like digital cameras. The camera on the Oppo Reno 10x Zoom is not as versatile as the Huawei P30 Pro.
The color science of the device is also not as good as the Google Pixel 3. But the results are good enough for posting on social media platforms. Even at zoom levels like 5x or 6x, the results are satisfactory. There aren’t many other smartphones that can pull off such a trick.
Oppo has priced the Reno 10x Zoom at Rs 49,990 and it competes with OnePlus 7 Pro. OnePlus 7 Pro with 8GB RAM and 256GB storage costs Rs 52,999, which makes it expensive, but its display is worth every single penny. However, the camera on the OnePlus 7 Pro has been inconsistent so far. Oppo Reno 10x Zoom, on the other hand, has right combination sensors.
Oppo can unlock additional capabilities with software updates. If your budget is Rs 50,000 and priority is performance and premium display, you should buy the OnePlus 7 Pro. However, if you want a better camera, then the Reno 10x Zoom would be a better bet.
- 16Apr 2019
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