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Oppo Reno 2 Full Review – The Night Photography King?

The Oppo Reno 2, a release that came just months after the first generation comes as a partial overhaul to the lineup with only the Reno, Reno Z and Reno F being updated with the 10x Zoom and the 5G variant being left intact. The global launch in London only showcased the Reno 2 and Reno 2 Z with the F being reserved for certain markets.

Oppo Reno 2
+ FOR
  • Night Mode
  • Display
  • Battery
- AGAINST
  • Speakers

Buy on Amazon UK – £469

Packaging & Accessories

Let’s start with the unboxing experience. The Reno 2’s box is almost identical to the 10x Zoom with the main differences being the silhouette of the cameras varying due to the different hardware present on both models. Inside the box, the accessories are also very similar with the phone, a set of paperwork, a leatherette case, the VOOC 3.0 power plug, a USB C cable with green coloured inserts and a pair of 3.5mm earphones which bear a striking resemblance to the Apple Airpods and finally a SIM ejector tool. 

The phone initially starts with the boot splash screen with the Oppo logo followed by the powered by Android branding in an equally large size. Let’s take a look at the specs of the phone:

  • ColorOS 6.1, based on Android 9
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G
  • Adreno 618 GPU
  • 4000mAh Battery
  • 8GB RAM
  • 256GB Storage
  • VOOC Flash Charge 3.0
  • 6.5” 2400×1080 display with a 93.1% screen to body ratio
  • Rear Cameras: 48MP & 8MP & 13MP & 2MP
  • 16MP Facing Camera
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • NFC & Google Pay

This is Oppo’s upper mid-range offering in the lineup with the Reno 10x Zoom and 5G being the variants with the higher-end Snapdragon 855. But unless you are constantly gaming and filming video it may not really that much of a difference, especially since the Reno 2 is priced pretty competitively at £449 with its competition being devices like the Samsung Galaxy A80 which is priced at £579, but it’s pricier than the Xiaomi Redmi K20 at around the £260 mark.

Design

Oppo’s design language is essentially the same across the entire Reno lineup with only the cheapest models in the range sporting the pop-up camera with the rest showcasing the shark fin design that Oppo is so proud of. The rear of the phone is embellished with a colour changing glass which is just stunning no matter which angle the light hits it. 

Earphones

The phone similar to the first generation Reno boasts a headphone jack on the base which is why Oppo supplies a pair of 3.5mm headphones, unlike the 10x Zoom which has a slightly more premium looking pair of USB C headphones. This is a feature almost somewhat reserved for the mid to low range smartphones.

The performance of these headphones are pretty decent, it would work quite well for somebody who just wants something on their commute. The volume is something that astounded me, it got painfully loud and even though Oppo has a software volume warning, the driver is pretty powerful. At about 60-70% volume it provides the perfect balance of volume and clarity. There was not too much sound leakage and as I mentioned earlier, they bear a striking resemblance to Apple’s Earpods but are ever so slightly chunkier but since those fit in my ear pretty well, these also are pretty snug and don’t fall out easily. 

One thing I got really annoyed about is the fact that this is probably one of the tightest 3.5mm jacks I have ever used and every time I tried to unplug them, I felt like I was about to rip the connector straight off especially as the cable is fairly flimsy. 

I do have a pair of Oppo Enco Q1’s which I tested alongside these but I will leave the full details of the overall experience to my separate review of those coming very soon to the site so keep an eye out. 

Display

The screen is a 6.5 inch OLED offering and what a beautiful display it is. The colours are vibrant and pop no matter which angle you look at it from. I wouldn’t say it is the brightest display with a maximum brightness of 800 nits, but in most situations, it would suffice, but if you are outside for the majority of the time I wouldn’t say this would be a suitable device.

The display is a TÜV Rheinland certified panel which emphasises on the fact that it ensures that it offers enhanced eye protection. The certification covers eleven aspects including display quality, ambient light management, eye protection technology and user health and comfort guidance. 

I didn’t notice a huge difference between a non-certified panel and certified panel, but I suppose over the long term, especially as we are spending more and more staring at screens daily, this will potentially reduce the fatigue that your eyes experience. The fact that Oppo has invested in this technology, especially since it is not something that is widespread or thought about means that they are trying to differentiate their products. 

Shark Fin

The shark fin on the top of the phone no longer has the rear-facing flash housed within it, it has been relocated to the rear of the phone on the side of the top 2 cameras. This means it now just houses the front-facing camera, earpiece and other sensors. The included case now also provides a full lip around the shark fin as it now doesn’t obstruct anything. 

The performance of this camera was very similar to the performance of the Reno 10X Zoom, I don’t believe there are any significant differences from the previous generation devices but I am definitely happy with the shots even if they are a little bit on the washed-out side.

Fingerprint Scanner

The in-screen fingerprint scanner is carried over from the previous devices and it’s ever so slightly faster but still as accurate. You can enable raise to wake in the phones settings panel and this essentially allows you to tap the phone once to activate the fingerprint scanner and unlock the phone without having to press the power button on the side. This is technically something that is supported on the Reno 10x Zoom but no matter what I did, I couldn’t get it to activate. It was a bit hit and miss though sometimes. 

I had a very high success rate with the fingerprint scanner and only rarely did the fingerprint scanner not pick up my finger and usually it was down to the fact that my finger was not placed properly on the scanner.

O-Dot

The O-Dot is also present on the Reno 2 series of devices as the cameras are still encased within a single sheet of glass which covers the entire back of the phone. I am somebody who pretty much always has a case on my phone so it does not really apply to me but it’s still nice to see that Oppo wants to protect those cameras.

Buttons

The positioning of the power button is pretty good on this device. It may be a subtle touch but having the power button on the right and volume rocker on the left is just so natural to me after using iPhones for so many years. The volume rocker is a little on the high side but I guess that after using the device for a couple more weeks, it would come as second nature. 

Charging

Looking back at the green accented USB A to USB C cable, it is required to enable the VOOC 3.0 charging since it features an extra pin on the cable to enable the full charging speed aside from the 5V 4A power brick. This is essentially the same technology that is found in OnePlus’ WARP charge as OnePlus has the same parent company as OPPO. However the OnePlus devices use the SuperVOOC standard rather than the standard VOOC 3.0 speeds, but it isn’t anything to laugh about either.

I carried out my charging test for the Reno 2 to see if there was any difference in the performance compared to the Reno 10X Zoom. I did have a bit of an anomaly in this test as I did have to shortly unplug the charging cable when I wasn’t able to monitor the charging speed. In the first 7 minutes, the charge went from 0% to 13% which I was pretty impressed about. But after the short pause, when I plugged in, the battery indicator showed at 9% which I was pretty confused about. 

This was likely just a glitch as within 4 minutes it went back up to 16% and I couldn’t replicate this again. In order to reach 50% of its charge, it took 27 minutes which is even faster than the speed that Oppo has claimed (50% of charge in 30 minutes). Obviously, it’s within the margin of error with many factors as this test was carried out with the device completely turned off and charging from a completely empty battery.

From 50% to 80% it took 27 minutes with the final 20% taking a further 34 minutes. So, in total the phone has taken 1 hour and 28 minutes to gain a full charge in the Reno’s 4000mAh cell.

Battery Life

This is probably one of the best phones in terms of endurance I have ever tested. The phone regularly gave me 7 hours of screen on time which is impressive considering I have very heavy usage with plenty of hours of video content streamed over both WiFi and 4G, this always ended up with between 40 and 20% charge at the end of the day so if I was a bit more conservative with the brightness I feel like I could easily get 2 full days out of this which is an impressive feat considering the phone feels ever so svelte. 

In-Hand Feel

The Oppo Reno 2 feels significantly smaller than the 10x Zoom which is potentially due to the .1 inch smaller display, over 25 grams lighter weight which is very significant for a mobile device, but a tad bit thicker at 9.5mm vs the 9.3mm of the 10X Zoom. Therefore the cases for the 10X Zoom won’t be compatible with this.

Call Quality

I have no major qualms about the earpiece but it does continue the tinny audio trend found in the previous generation of Reno devices which is a shame but I mean I hardly ever take calls anymore so its not that big of a deal for me however if you are somebody constantly taking calls on the seemingly metal covered grill. 

The cellular performance was never an issue with this phone, which is kind of expected from a second-generation device and even though my 10X Zoom was an international model, both of them performed pretty similarly.  I tested this phone out on Vodafone’s 3G and 4G network and it was able to match the data speeds compared to my iPhone XS Max and sustain a reliable connection to the towers.

ColorOS

The ColorOS experience hasn’t changed too much in the past couple of months since I tested it out for the first time on the 10X Zoom. I was running on ColorOS 6.1 throughout my testing but I have seen some rumours recently about ColorOS 7 being just around the corner.

Speaker

I found the single bottom-firing speaker to be worse than the 10x Zoom in some aspects, it lacks a bit on the low end and the resulting audio is ear piercing if you set the volume too high which I found to max out at 92 decibels. I would recommend keeping this to about 70% volume most of the time unless you want to cause permanent hearing damage. 

Rear Camera

The Oppo Reno 2 boasts 5x lossless zoom and 20x hybrid zoom compared to 10x loss-less and 60x hybrid with the Oppo Reno 10x Zoom. I know the comparison is biased because they are essentially 2 different devices competing for different price points but I have only tested the 10x Zoom and not the standard Reno.

The Night Mode is insane. I absolutely love it. When I initially tested a unit out in the launch event, it required an incredibly steady hand but with the retail units, it’s a different story. It did definitely result in some pretty great images from what was essentially a pitch-black room. 

I kept on going and taking pictures at night and the shutter time was reduced to about 1-2 seconds compared to the 5-10 on the demo units with the processing taking about 10 seconds afterwards meaning this probably isn’t perfect for quick burst photography but more carefully planned shots in the dark.

The phone can pretty much see in the dark and with scenes with some lighting, it accentuates the entire shot and allows you to see incredible detail in the image without losing significant clarity. There is some softness to the images and if you wanted to crop them, the images do lose a fair amount of their appeal but if you are using them straight out of the shutter then I don’t think its an issue.

As I did with the Reno 10X Zoom, I will include a series of shots at different zoom levels ranging from the ultrawide to the telephoto so you will be able to see the distortion especially since the telephoto lens is less powerful compared to the 10X. 

Overall the colours and clarity of the primary lens on this phone turned heads left right and centre. So many of my friends and families were shocked about the performance of the camera and its shots. They were impressed with the shot regardless of the price but for its £449 launch price, it gained a high number of fans. 

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Performance

The phone felt just as fluid as the 10x Zoom, I never once felt the phone slow down or stutter. Part of this is probably due to 8GB of RAM included as standard which is higher than even the recent Pixel 4 and 4XL but at a much lower price level. 

The CPU and GPU is plenty for the majority of people and I don’t expect them to feel let down by the performance as a mid-range smartphone doesn’t have the same connotation behind it as it did 5 years ago. This is visible with some of the budget-oriented smartphones we have recently tested like the Motorola One Action and Honor 20 Lite. And as the great MKBHD has said “Cheap phones are getting good. And good phones are getting cheap.” 

I wanted to see what the Snapdragon 730G could do so out come Antutu and Geekbench. 

Geekbench returned a single-core score of 540 with the multi-core score sitting at 1681. This is 120 points under the Snapdragon 855’s single-core score and the multi-core difference is 1000 points which is stark. The single-core performance is better than the Snapdragon 845 in the LG G7 ThinQ, while the multi-core performance is similar to the Snapdragon 835 in the Galaxy Note 8. This means the phone is sitting at the same level of performance as a 2-year-old high-end flagship. I would say this is probably the better choice even if you were able to find one of those devices brand new due to the fact that this will reliably get software updates for a couple of years whilst those might not ever see a major update again. 

Heading to Antutu, the overall score is 258386 with CPU having an individual score of 94128, the GPU getting 71186,  the memory getting 48685 and the UX getting 44387. This seems like a pretty average score beating between 31% and 57% of other users but I don’t think this showcases the computational and graphical performance that actually is visible within the day to day performance. 

App Duplication

There is plenty of app duplication present on the Reno 2, such as having AquaMail alongside Gmail even though Gmail can support all of the other email providers and Opera Browser alongside Chrome. This is annoying due to the fact that most regular consumers may not even realise that both exist and do the same thing but it is constantly there wasting storage on your devices. These can always be downloaded from the Play Store so I wish we just had the option rather than it being forced onto the device. 

Quick Quirks

There is also a quick tool’s shortcut which is positioned just above the power button and you can add quick access apps with things such as the camera, screenshot and screen record by swiping right on it. This is actually something that was present on the Oppo 10x Zoom but I somehow missed it. I didn’t really end up ever using this but I guess if you wanted to multi-task you could do. This is down to the fact that some of these can float on other apps such as Messages and WhatsApp. 

Initially, I did have an issue with the BBC iPlayer app as every time I closed the app after watching something and then went to watch another show, it would log me out I would have to log in again. This did rectify itself during the latter part of my testing leading me to believe the issue was due to a BBC fault rather than an Oppo fault. 

Conclusion

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time with the Oppo Reno 2, I genuinely haven’t felt the slightest bit of difference in terms of my day to day productivity and usability in comparison to the much more powerful Oppo Reno 10X Zoom and my daily driver, the iPhone XS Max. This definitely makes me rethink in a very significant way, my perception of value with a flagship-class design, stunning display and such a great camera for a comparatively low price.

About Siddu Munjal

Reviewer & Partner Outreach for MobileTechTalk - Tech is a key part of my everyday life and I would probably be extremely lost without it.

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