The Reno 10x Zoom has a quirky pop-up camera that means there’s room for a big screen with no interruptions. But is it too much of a giant?
A full, edge-to-edge screen and a pop-up camera – it’s a phone design Oppo started last year with the Find X and has refined with the newly released Reno 10x Zoom.
At the same time Oppo also released the Zoom’s sibling, the Reno Z. The Z is smaller and lighter, with a lower-specced processor, fewer cameras and no pop-up. It’s also about $600 cheaper. For this review, I’ll be talking solely about the Reno 10x Zoom.
I need to talk about how big this phone is, because it’s really big! It’s larger than similar-specced phones from Samsung, Huawei and Apple.
It would stick out of my jeans pocket and was too large to comfortably use with one hand. The reason for this bulk is the Reno’s uninterrupted screen. There’s a lot of stuff to hide behind it, so to compensate Oppo had to make the whole phone bigger.
The screen is fantastic though. It doesn’t curve or wrap around the sides like other models, which is great as it minimises the risk of touching the screen’s edge by accident. Its size makes it an excellent workspace and great for watching video.
With a case on, the Reno is even larger – and you need a case (one’s included with the phone) because of the phone’s “O-Dot”. This dot is a hardened ceramic raised dome on the back of the phone, which stops it getting scratched by keeping it up off whatever surface you put it on. However, what it mostly does is make the phone wobble, hence you need the case, to keep the phone steady.
The obvious talking point is the pop-up camera. I was curious about how it worked, so I took the Reno into Pacific Radiology and got it x-rayed.
As you can see from the pink rectangle there’s a sizeable mechanism dedicated to moving the camera housing up and down. Oppo said this will last at least 5 years without a problem.
Unlike the Find X, the Reno doesn’t use face ID to unlock (instead it uses a fingerprint sensor under the screen), so the camera isn’t in use as often. The mechanism is also completely silent.
The massive downside of a sliding camera is the phone isn’t water- or dustproof. This is a lot to give up just to have a larger screen.
While the cameras on the back don’t have a gimmick, they aren’t to be sniffed at. The quality of images I took was excellent. The software processing was great and helped me create good photos and videos. The 10x zoom and wide-angle lenses gave me a lot of creative freedom while taking photos.
Oppo’s used a similar trick to Huawei to get a longer focal length on its telephoto lens. It’s used a periscope to turn the sensor 90°, so light travels further from the lens. You can see how this works in the x-ray images (orange rectangle), where the Reno’s other cameras go front to back, the telephoto goes side to side.
The Reno’s battery life is what I expected; in that it easily lasted a day. However, its battery conservation software was very aggressive in closing apps running in the background. It would close apps I wanted to remain open, even though they’re in the background. In the end I turned that feature off.
When the battery got low, Oppo’s “super VOOC” charging technology had me up and running in no time. I was impressed by charge times – half an hour was enough to get me back to a mostly full battery.
I did have issues with Bluetooth. The connection to devices wasn’t stable and could be interrupted when I held the phone in a certain way or put it in my pocket.
All in all, this is a good phone but not a great one. It’s let down by design decisions implemented to create a full screen with no interruptions. After this phone was released, Oppo announced it now had the technology to take photos through the screen, removing the need for the pop-up camera. So, the Reno 10x Zoom may be the last of its kind.
Display: 6.6” 2340x1080
Rear cameras: 48MP f1.7 + 8MP f2.2 + 13MP f3.0
Front camera: 16MP f2.0
Colours: Jet black, Ocean green
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This phone was loaned to the writer by Oppo. Thanks to Pacific Radiology for helping with this article.