Oppo Reno 10x zoom: Serious smartphone competition

Colour me stupid but it took me a little bit to actually cotton on to where the front facing camera was on Oppo’s new Reno 10 x zoom smartphone ($NZ1299), one of the latest handsets from the Chinese manufacturer.

I’m no fan of selfies but, you know, for the sake of a thorough review,  I had to test of the phone’s forward-facing camera, right? But try as I might I couldn’t see an obvious camera lens in the screen, like other phones. “Where the heck is it?” I thought to myself.

Then I had a light bulb moment: I pressed the on-screen camera rotate button – and voila, the front facing camera glided out of the top edge of the phone, just like magic. Here’s a video showing it in action.

OK, stupidity on my behalf out of the way, Oppo’s Reno 10x zoom is an impressive phone from a manufacturer that isn’t as well known as Samsung or Huawei – but it deserves to be.

The selling point of the 10x zoom is the phone’s three lens set up which features a 48MP Sony camera, a 13MP telephoto lens and a 8MP wide angle lens, which in layman’s terms means it can take pretty damn good photos and you can zoom in on things really far away.

I did find the camera rather good, especially when I used it to zoom in on objects in the distance, but confusingly, the Reno 10x zoom doesn’t actually have a 10x optical zoom as the name suggests: It has a 5x optical zoom backed up by a digital zoom. It’s a little confusing, to be honest, but the end result is a top-notch camera on Oppo’s flagship smartphone.

As an example, the two photos below were taken from exactly the same spot near my Christchurch home as I photographed the city’s hills from the roadside, which were a good 5km away. In the zoomed shot (on the right) you can clearly see a television broadcasting antenna as clear as day. You can zoom in set increments ie 1x, 2x, 6x & 60x but I actually found pictures more blurry at the 60x zoom.

Oh, and remember how I said the front facing camera pops up from the top edge? It means that the 10x zoom doesn’t have a notch like other smartphones to house the front camera so the front of the phone is all screen [I did notice, though, that the pop up camera  did get a little bit of dust on it that I’d have to wipe off].

The 10x zoom sports a 4065mAh battery, Dolby Atmos audio playback, packs 8Gb of memory and has up to 256Mb of storage space. It’s a big phone, too, with a 6.6-inch AMOLED screen and it has a good weight to it. As you’d expect, it features all the bells and whistles you’d expect in a modern smartphone, including a blazingly-fast fingerprint scanner that unlocked almost instantly using my thumb. I found battery life to be really good.

One thing I was especially keen to test out, though, was the phone’s gaming-specific functionality which  Oppo boasts about. The phone comes pre-installed with Oppo’s Game Space software which is said to boost gaming performance by doing things like predicting in-game lag and adjusting in-game frame rates accordingly.

So I put the phone to the test with some of my favourite mobile games: Deus Ex Go, Lara Croft Go, Alto’s Adventure & racing game Asphalt 9: Legends, as well as benchmarking tools 3D Mark and Antutu, which tests 3D gaming performance, memory performance, CPU performance and the user experience using a variety of real-world tests.

It scored a respectable 5673 using the OpenGL API with the Sling Shot Extreme demo [3D Mark actually told me the Reno 10 x zoom was too powerful for the Ice Storm Extreme benchmark so pointed me back to the Sling Shot Extreme demo] and managed 35,2371 in the Antutu benchmark, beating out phones like the Sony Xperia 1, the Samsung Galaxy S10 and the Huawei P30 Pro. Most impressive.

Deus Ex, Lara Croft Go & Alto’s adventure all played well, but then all three are relatively undemanding games. The true test would be with Asphalt 9: Legends, a graphically demanding racing game that boosts console-quality visuals and fast-paced action. Legends looked eye-wateringly beautiful on the Reno’s AMOLED screen and I didn’t not any stutter or lag during my sessions playing it. Clearly, the Reno 10x zoom has the hardware chops to make it a great gaming smartphone [it would be wasted on Candy Crush, though].

Look, I was really impressed with the Oppo Reno 10x zoom. It’s a high-end smartphone that deserves attention from consumers who are eyeing up top-end handsets from the more well-known manufacturers.

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