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.
Oppo Reno 10x Zoom design
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.
oppo reno 10x zoom fintopangle ndtv renoThe “shark fin” module contains the front camera, front LED illuminator, rear flash, earpiece, and secondary mic
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.
oppo reno 10x zoom sides ndtv renoThe power button is on the right, volume buttons are on the left, and USB Type-C port is on the bottom
Oppo Reno 10x Zoom specifications and software
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 1080×2340 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.
oppo reno 10x zoom fincameras ndtv renoThe Oppo Reno 10x Zoom features three rear cameras including a periscopic 6x optical zoom camera
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.
oppo reno 10x zoom rearangle ndtv renoThe Oppo Reno 10x Zoom has a 4065mAh battery and supports VOOC fast charging
Oppo Reno 10x Zoom performance and battery life
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.