The Oppo Reno might be the most novel solution at a bezel-less smartphone display. It comes with no type of notch or a punch hole cut-out. So does that mean you sacrifice the front selfie camera?
Pivot rising front camera
In what is an engineering marvel, the front camera transitions up and down from the top of the phone. It almost looks a like a wedge insert and this is what houses the front camera. It is a 16MP HDR ready shooter complete with portrait mode and a variety of AI beauty effects.
There is a satisfying sound when the pivot rises up. And it automatically transitions back in once you switch out from the selfie mode. But you can even push it gently manually for the pivot to go back. Interestingly, the primary camera flash and speaker grill for calls is also housed in the pivot. You do not have to enable the pivot to take calls but the mechanism initiates when using the torchlight or flash.
The all screen front of the phone means it has a screen-to-body ratio of 93.1 per cent. It is a 6.4-inch OLED panel with good contrast levels. Because it’s all-screen, the multimedia experience is unlike any other phone with a notch or cut-out.
Its level of immersion is unparalleled with a mono bottom speaker that is good. But it does not quite have the same effect as stereo speakers. I would suggest using headphones for the best experience and with the 3.5mm jack on-board, any pair will do. Or the ones you get out of the box.
Not just for multimedia consumption, the screen also doubles for security. If you do not like the pivot constantly popping out for face unlock which works well enough, you can use the optical under-screen fingerprint scanner. It is accurate and is faster than Oppo’s previous generation.
Dual primary cameras
One of the stand-out factors of the Oppo Reno is its premium design with no camera bump. The all glass and metal build feels solid and comfortable with a glossy design and colours derived from nature. While great in the hand, it can easily attract smudges over daily use so we recommend using the unique case provided with the phone out of the box. Unfortunately because of the moving parts on the phone, there is no official ingress protection rating for water and dust resistance.
Not to be confused with the Oppo Reno 10x zoom, this variant has two cameras on the back. A primary Sony IMX 48MP sensor alongside a 5MP unit. There is no dedicated telephoto lens but the camera is still able to take portraits and has various Oppo specific options such as chroma boost, night mode and AI recognition. On the video front, the primary camera supports up to 4K video recording.
The Oppo Reno comes equipped with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 710 chipset alongside up to 8GB RAM and 256GB storage. There is no microSD card expansion support but the on-board memory is plenty. Technically, this processor is a mid-range one but its octa-cores clocked at 2.2GHz pack a punch.
There is no instance of slowing down in day-to-day tasks. And I have not missed having a top-of-the-range processor. Heavier games do take a bit longer to load but that is about it. Oppo has a dedicated HyperBoost 2.0 mode, which optimises gaming performance and effective cooling using triple layers of graphite sheets.
One thing that has definitely taken time to get used to is Oppo’s skin. The Reno comes with Color OS 6 on top of Android 9.0 Pie. This is a very heavy skin and is a significant departure from stock Android in terms of look. It does not add much bloatware but it is a visual aesthetic that many stock Android fans may not like.
Something that is impressive though is Oppo’s VOOC charging 3.0. This is a technology that can charge the 3,765mAh battery to up to 75 per cent in 30 minutes. The large screen and constant pivot usage drains a bit more battery than usual but we will have to wait and see how the phone performs in the long run.
The Oppo Reno series launched in the UAE today. The Oppo Reno retails at an impressive Dh1,899. It is up for pre-order starting April 17 with sales starting on April 22. Oppo’s Reno 10x zoom will be available next month with pricing yet to be announced. Stay tuned for coverage on the 10x zoom variant to come.