It is not enough to proudly deploy your shark fin to get a place in the sun. Oppo could learn it the hard way, who, despite his design efforts, finds himself with its price of 499 euros compared to the Pixel 3a, Xiaomi Mi 9, Honor 20 and others flagship killers particularly successful this year.
The teeth of the sea smartphone version
Oppo has decided to make originality the hallmark of its Reno range. The mid-range version is no exception to the rule by offering a fairly unique design. Obviously, the format does not revolutionize the genre since the Oppo smartphone looks like many other Android smartphones at first glance. But on closer inspection, this Reno displays some peculiarities. To begin with, there is no front camera, at least no visible front camera. It is hidden on the upper edge of the smartphone. It takes the form of a module that lifts mechanically like a shark fin.
The glass back is slightly curved around the edges which provides good grip. It is set with a small ceramic ball, the objective of which is to slightly raise the smartphone when it is placed on the rear side, thereby protecting the double photo module. It is an option as discreet as it is ingenious but whose effectiveness is difficult to judge in the space of a few days.
At the front, a 6.4 inch screen completely edge to edge, occupies more than 86% of the surface (thanks to the retractable sensor). This panel hides under its surface a fingerprint sensor which surprises by its velocity (only progress made since the RX17 Pro!). However, even if it is fast and well placed, it is nonetheless difficult to access when the smartphone, heavy enough (188 g), is used with one hand. The solution is then to use his little finger to wedge the Reno, and his thumb to unlock it. It’s doable but relatively acrobatic … and tiring.
The OLED panel is pleasant and responsive even if, with its 446 cd / m², it slightly lacks brightness compared to competitors like the Samsung Galaxy S10 or even the Nokia 9 PureView at more than 700 cd / m². This makes it a little less legible in full sun without being prohibitive. Finally, the colors displayed on the screen are relatively fair (Delta E measured at 4.16) despite the whites and grays which are slightly blue.
Her best photos are not selfies
The double photo module of the Oppo Reno offers a fairly basic approach. The 48-megapixel main sensor is supported by a 5 MP sensor dedicated to the depth of field and therefore essentially to portrait mode. However, the results of the Reno are simply excellent. We’re not at the level of a Galaxy S10 or Huawei P30 Pro, but in the mid-range category, the Reno is one of the very good references. The colors are generally respected and the sharpness is remarkable. Whether in low light or in correct lighting conditions, performance is therefore there and Oppo is only outperformed by the best photophones of the moment.
What about the front sensor, the one hidden in the shark’s fin that makes the smartphone original? Oppo promises that the mechanism of its front sensor will withstand 200,000 openings, an average of 100 openings per day for 5 years. In theory, this is huge and this figure should reassure a curious buyer of the smartphone. In fact, the dust accumulated at the hatch after only a few days of use, makes us doubt the relevance of the figure advanced by Oppo. You should know that to achieve this kind of results, Oppo like other manufacturers, is based on reviews performed in optimal conditions, in the laboratory by robots. However, use in real conditions does not always give the same results …
As for the quality of the selfies, it is relatively good, the 16 megapixel sensor providing the essentials. We regret, however, as often, the excessive smoothing of self-portraits.
An efficient Snapdragon 710 serving a frustrating ColorOS
We’ll quickly go over the Oppo Reno’s performance review. The Snapdragon 710 is now well known and the Chinese manufacturer has successfully exploited it. Unfortunately for Oppo, at almost 500 euros, its Reno is faced with monsters in the segment equipped with a Snapdragon 855, like the Mi 9, for example. Therefore, the difference could be made on the OS, especially since the Oppo chose not to be content with Android 9.0 by adding its own overlay, ColorOS. During our review of the RX17 Pro, we highlighted the lack of success of the overlay, the blatant number of translation errors and bugs in its animations. On this point, Oppo’s progress is real.
Although based on Android Pie, ColorOS draws heavily on iOS, with results that remain mixed. The Chinese automaker is moving away from Google when it comes to battery life and notifications, but in practice these choices are hard to convince. Overall the interface lacks clarity. Once again, it is legitimate to wonder why Oppo, which we remember belongs to the same group (BBK) as OnePlus, was not inspired by the latter in its choice of OxygenOS, much more accomplished.
Solid on autonomy
Thanks to its 3765 mAh battery, the Reno ranks among the very good students. It delivers results similar to the Honor 20 and is even, in video streaming, prominently between an iPhone XR and a Galaxy S10E. The results of our laboratory measurements are quite conclusive with 2:29 p.m. in versatile autonomy, 11:01 a.m. in video autonomy and 6:45 p.m. on call. As for charging, Oppo has equipped its Reno with in-house technology, VooC and a 20W charger. Here too we are in the norm but there is cause for regret because the Chinese manufacturer has decided to reserve its Super VooC charger for its Find X and its RX 17 Pro, which is only slightly more expensive than the Reno. Despite everything, the fast charge allows to go from 10% to 65% of battery in 30 minutes, and the smartphone fully recharges in 1h18, which is remarkable.