The Oppo Reno2 Z came just a few months after the Oppo Reno series debuted in India. The spec sheet and price both indicate that the smartphone is not an upgrade over the Reno or the Reno 10X Zoom. Instead, the Reno2 Z becomes the entry point to the Reno series. Oppo has kept the consistency in the series with bezel-less screens, unique color finishes and multiple cameras. Only, instead of a Qualcomm chipset, the Reno2 Z is powered by a MediaTek Helio P90 SoC. We ran our battery of tests on the Reno2 Z to find out if this device is worth your money. Read more –
Let’s go straight to the performance of the smartphone first. The MediaTek Helio P90 powering the Reno2 Z is MediaTek’s flagship chipset for the first half of the year. The performance of the chipset is comparable to the Snapdragon 710, but in terms of price, the Reno2 Z competes with the Redmi K20 Pro and the Asus 6z, which both praise the Snapdragon 855 SoC. As a result, the benchmark scores are far behind these products, but that should not be a cause for concern. Here’s how the Reno2 Z performs on benchmarks:
As the scores indicate, the Reno2 Z lags far behind the high-end flagships like the Asus 6z and the Redmi K20 Pro. But it managed to beat the Redmi K20 in some benchmarks, and in the rest they were pretty neck and neck. Despite a lag, I honestly didn’t find much of a difference in usability. The phone felt fast enough to get through the day and do all my daily tasks with ease. I used the smartphone as a daily driver on a recent trip to Dubai and it was no problem at all.
The borderless screen is a joy to play games on. Games like Asphalt 9 and PUBG Mobile take up the entire screen and at full brightness that is quite an experience. The graphics quality of these games was also top notch, making full use of the PowerVR GPU inside. The frame rates are almost as good as you’d get on Snapdragon-powered devices in that price range, but the stability is right up there with some of the best we’ve seen. We tested three games: Asphalt 9, PUBG Mobile and Call of Duty: Mobile, and all three ran without a single drop-in frame.
The Reno2 Z runs on ColorOS 6.1, the same operating system that powers Realme smartphones. It’s fast and even offers an app drawer. The UI design suits the full screen experience with spaced icons, punchy colors and slick animations. Only the settings settings are not arranged like you would normally see on other Android smartphones. I had to struggle to find the keyboard settings. Even in the camera app, the option to zoom in on the viewfinder is at the bottom, while the option to switch to ultrawide is on the top shelf, and night mode, pro mode and the rest are stacked under a menu list.
That said, the gestures on the Reno2 Z work quite well. I especially liked how Oppo makes sure you don’t go back to the home screen if you accidentally swipe from the bottom while playing a game. You have to swipe and hold to go back. ColorOS also offers a game mode where you switch between ‘Balanced’ and ‘Competition Mode’, the latter of which blocks calls, notifications and frees up memory.
However, the user interface is still quite bloated. Oppo has its own suite of apps that are basically alternatives to Google apps like Chrome, Play Store and the like. In addition, there are apps like WPS Office, ORoaming, Helo and Soloop that are more relevant to the Chinese market than in India.
The Reno2 Z comes with a 4000 mAh battery that consistently lasted more than a day during my use as a daily driver. More than that, the phone supports Oppo’s VOOC Flash Charge 3.0, which delivers 20W of power to recharge the battery in about an hour and a half. Battery consumption was also quite conservative while gaming, dropping 5 percent both while playing PUBG Mobile for 15 minutes and watching Big Bang Theory on Netflix for 30 minutes.
The camera setup on the Reno2 Z is one of the reasons to buy this smartphone. The 48MP quad camera setup is unique in that in addition to the primary 48MP wide sensor and the 8MP ultra-wide lens, there is a 2MP monochrome sensor and a 2MP depth sensor and the camera ‘intelligently’ decides which to use when. It also doesn’t have the 10X hybrid zoom of the Reno 10X Zoom or the 5X hybrid zoom of the Reno2. Instead, you only get 5X digital zoom, partly why it’s the most affordable in the Reno range. Nevertheless, the primary 48MP wide-angle camera works quite well. I took quite a few pictures during my visit to Dubai and almost all of them turned out very well. Here’s how the camera performed –
The Reno2 Z’s 48MP primary camera offers one of the best optimized performance. All the photos I took that day were super sharp with lots of detail. Even the colors and dynamic range were on point with excellent detail in the shadows and highlights.
The wide-angle lens works quite well during the day, too, but I did notice an unusual warm tint in the ultra-wide-angle shots that isn’t there in primary camera shots. In addition, the details are much softer from the ultra-wide angle lens.
The 48MP camera also offers 2x and 5x digital zoom. The first usually works well while retaining most of the detail, but at 5x zoom you can see the edges tearing and the pixels starting to show. Not recommended at all.
Glare mode on
Glare mode off
I’ve also seen you get better results with the AI-powered Dazzle mode turned off. The mode just increases the contrast in the photos and I usually have photos that looked like posters with that mode. Turn it off and the results are much more natural.
Despite a full-fledged low-light mode, low-light imaging is a weak point for the Reno2 Z. It gets the colors and clarity right, but the details and sharpness are messed up, creating a dull blur in the photo. Night mode also has an additional tripod mode where the shutter stays open longer when the phone is held steady on a flat surface or tripod. The results are slightly better, but nothing special. But the beauty is that the night mode works with both the ultra-wide-angle lens and the primary lens.
Selfies and portraits
Selfies and portraits have been a strong point in Oppo smartphones for quite some time now. They’ve literally sold phones based on selfies, and the Reno2 Z doesn’t disappoint. Yes, the pesky beautifying algorithms still work overtime, but you can turn it off and get natural-looking portraits and selfies.
But my favorite feature of the camera is the stable video mode. To be honest, it pleasantly surprised me. Despite having no OIS or even EIS, the camera was able to shoot a super stable video while I was in a car, with pristine detail and balanced colors. You can check out the clip shared above to get an idea of how good the mode is.
Design and display
The Reno2 Z looks very different from the other premium offerings in its price range. Where most tend to go overboard with the gradient design, the Reno2 Z’s gradient design is more muted, and I thought it looked quite premium. We received the Sky White variant that plays different shades of blue, highlighted along a central strip (where it’s written Designed for Reno) and around the edges. I liked that the camera module is completely flushed into the body and that there is a small dot that keeps them from getting scratched on a flat surface. Rounded edges help improve ergonomics and it’s actually quite easy to use while on the go. It’s also well protected with Gorilla Glass 5 on both the front and back. You even get a 3.5mm headphone jack and a single speaker on the edge of the screen at the top.
Speaking of which, the Reno2 Z’s display extends all the way to the edges with paper-thin bezels on all sides except the bottom. The double chin is a little too prominent. The panel itself is quite bright. We recorded 693 lux peak brightness and 7 lux at its lowest, which is quite impressive. The panel itself is AMOLED and can produce vibrant, high-contrast colors. The touch response is also pretty good and I had no problems taking headshots while gaming.
The Reno2 Z is primarily aimed at those who want a premium experience on a budget. The price is still on the higher side when you consider phones like the Redmi Note 8 Pro and the Realme X2, but for that extra premium you get a design that’s both user-friendly and beautiful to look at. More than that, the camera performance will please any casual photographer, while amateur mobile gamers will find gaming on this smartphone quite delightful. Overall, the Reno2 Z may not be the best performing in this segment, but it still manages to deliver a hassle-free, premium experience.