Oppo Reno 2 gradient and back panel

With a quad-camera system, a gorgeous design and upgraded internals, the Oppo Reno 2 is a well-equipped package that simply oozes style. However, the devil is in the details and execution matters. We spent some time with Oppo’s latest smartphone to see if it has what it takes to go up against competitors like the OnePlus 7, Redmi K20 Pro and even the Redmi K20.

Like every smartphone manufacturer, Oppo is making a big deal of the camera system here. However, for me, it is the design that really stands out. Like the first generation Oppo Reno, the Reno 2 is a stunning piece of kit with downright luxurious build quality. The entire construction is aluminium and glass — not uncommon for the category — but from the density of the materials to the tactile feedback of the buttons, there is a cohesiveness here that not many phones are able to nail down, certainly not in this price band.

Oppo Reno 2 pop up shark fin camera

The front of the Oppo Reno 2 is visually striking in its simplicity. The unhindered 6.55-inch Dynamic AMOLED display offers an expansive canvas for media consumption. The contrast-rich panel looks great and Oppo claims peak brightness levels of 800 nits; we’ll test that out in our Oppo Reno 2 review coming up soon. Remember the shark-fin from the Oppo Reno? It makes a comeback on the Reno 2. It looks unique and is just about fast enough to use for unlocking your phone.

Oppo Reno 2 in hand with display on anbd homescreen

Button placement is bog-standard and includes a power button on the right and volume rockers on the left. Along the bottom edge is the USB-C charging port as well as a headphone jack.

The back of the phone is where the action lies. The entire camera system sits flush with the body of the Reno 2. Visually pleasing, the glass has the unfortunate side-effect of being a fingerprint magnet. In my time with the phone, I found that my fingers naturally rested on the camera module and covered it in smudges necessitating some furious wiping before taking a photograph. A carefully positioned nub below the camera helps avoid scratches when resting the phone down.

Oppo Reno 2 camera modules

With Gorilla Glass 5 over at the back, the Reno 2 ships with a modicum of protection against scratches and drops. It still feels rather fragile and I would want to get a case to use with the phone. This is further exacerbated by the curved edges that are just a bit too slippery. The entire design nestles very nicely in the palm of your hand, but those curved edges had me fumbling with the phone a few times. The entire back has been polished to a sheen and the lack of an over-aggressive gradient makes the phone look mature and rather nice.

The big upgrade here is the shift to a quad-camera system over at the rear. As expected, the primary shooter here is the now common 48MP Sony IMX586 sensor. The primary camera has support for both OIS and EIS. This is paired with a 13MP telephoto lens, 8MP wide-angle camera and a 2MP macro lens. I haven’t had enough time with the phone to form a definitive opinion about the camera system, but so far the results appear to be a bit of a mixed bag.

Reno Z2 standard camera outdoors in sunlight

The camera tuning appears to have a proclivity to boost exposure giving the image a slightly washed out look. This happens across modes, and the color tuning too isn’t very natural looking. Indoors, in less than perfect lighting, the image samples have very noticeable grain.

Another feature that Oppo has talked up is the 20x zoom. This is a bit of a misnomer and appears to be purely digital cropping in effect. The images produced are blurry, full of digital artefacts and generally, unusable.

It’s not all bad though and I found the camera’s macro mode to be particularly effective at getting close to the subject. Additionally, the night mode is capable of capturing above-average looking shots in less than ideal settings.

The Reno 2 ships with a range of features to improve video capture. This includes hybrid zoom in video mode, bokeh-effect as well as macro mode for video capture. It is early days still, but if effective, the Reno 2 could be nifty smartphone for video capture, something Android phones have rarely excelled at.

Powered by the Snapdragon 730G chipset, processing power is in the same class as the excellent Redmi K20. There’s 6GB of RAM onboard and 128GB of storage, making this is a suitably powerful package for all but the most demanding users. The phone runs Color OS on top of Android Pie with a smattering of pre-installed apps. I observed that most of these can be removed.


Oppo Reno 2 specs

Display

  • 6.55-inch Dynamic AMOLED
  • 2,400 x 1,080 resolution
  • 20:9 aspect ratio
  • Gorilla Glass 6

Processor

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G

Memory 

  • 8GB of RAM
  • 256GB of storage

Battery

  • 4,000mAh
  • 20W
  • VOOC 3.0 fast charging

Rear cameras

  • Quad camera setup: 48MP
  • (IMX586+OIS+EIS)+13MP (telephoto)+8MP (wide angle) +2MP (macro lens)
  • 5x Hybrid Zoom
  • Ultra Dark Mode
  • Ultra Steady Video

Front camera

  • 16MP + Soft Front Light.
  • AI Beauty Mode, Pop-up camera

IP rating

  • No

Headphone jack

  • Yes

Security

  • In-display fingerprint sensor

Software

  • ColorOS 6
  • Android 9 Pie

Dimensions

  • 160mm x 74.3mm x 9.5mm

Colors

  • Ocean Blue/ Luminous Black

Oppo Reno 2: Is it worth upgrading from the Oppo Reno?

Compared to the first generation Reno, the Reno 2 brings some solid improvements to the table. The processing power has got a mild boost, there’s oodles of RAM and storage onboard and the camera system has got a definite hardware upgrade. I’m not quite convinced by the camera tuning, but that might change with updates over the course of the review. Overall, the Reno 2 seems to be a step forward, rather than a leap ahead and doesn’t bring enough to justify upgrading from the first generation Oppo Reno.

Oppo Reno 2 fullscreen display

Oppo is positioning the Reno 2 as a premium device. Indeed, the phone is priced right in line with the OnePlus 7 and that ships with 256GB of storage and 8GB of RAM in addition to the Snapdragon 855 chipset. Meanwhile, the Redmi K20 — with similar specs — is priced at a mere Rs. 23,999 ($330). The Oppo Reno 2 priced at Rs. 36,999 (~$520) comes across as a device that is positioned merely on the merits of its design and unique shark-fin camera, instead of internals and execution.

What do you think about the Oppo Reno 2? Is this a step in the right direction? Let us know in the comments below.

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