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Last Updated : Sep 20, 2019 10:22 AM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Oppo Reno2 review: Jack of all trades and master of many

Does the Reno2 have what it takes to be an all-round performer? Read our extensive review to find out.

Pranav Hegde @PranavHegdeHere

Smartphone manufacturers are ditching annual upgrade cycles to launch new generation smartphones within a span of a few months. The strategy has been adopted by Oppo, which launched Reno in India in May. The China-headquartered company has launched the second generation Reno2 series in India.

The Reno2 shares a design similar to that of its predecessor, but gets an additional camera at the back and up to 20x digital zooming capabilities. The processor of the Reno2 has been upgraded as well.

While specifications of the latest offering look great on paper, the real-world performance is what matters. So, does the Reno2 have what it takes to be an all-round performer? The answer is: Almost.

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Here is an extensive review of the Reno2.

Design and display

It's often said that one should not fix something that is not broken. The Reno2 has the exact approach in terms of design, which is similar to the original. It has an all-screen 6.55-inch Full HD+ AMOLED display with a tall 20:9 aspect ratio. It comes with Corning Gorilla Glass 6 protection and an in-display fingerprint scanner.

The display is bright even when it is set to 50 percent. You wouldn't face issues while viewing the screen from any angle. Even in bright outdoor conditions, the display of the Reno2 performs quite well. 

Reno2 Display

Streaming content shouldn't be a problem as the Reno2 does not have a notch or a punch-hole display. It offers a 93.1 percent screen-to-body ratio, which is among the highest in currently available smartphones.

To protect eyesight from the light of the screen, the Reno2 supports features like DC-Dimming,  Eye Care mode, and Night Shield. These features could reduce flickering and the harmful effects of the blue light on the eyes.

Reno2 rear panel

Coming to the back panel, the Reno2 has a curved glass body sporting a gradient finish. The downside of the device is that the fingerprints and smudges are visible on the glossy back. Oppo could well have launched the Reno2 with a matte finish like the original series.

Nonetheless, the back panel comes with a quad-camera setup which does not protrude, which reduces accidental scratches. Reno2 continues to have the small 'O-Dot' between the camera unit and the 'Designed by Oppo' vertical strip to protect the camera unit from any smudges.

The left edge of the smartphone has the volume rocker, whereas the power button, which has a neon-green accent, is positioned on the right. We found it quite easy to reach out to both these buttons, despite the smartphone's length. People with smaller hands may not face difficulties either.

The 3.5mm headphone jack, USB Type-C port and the speaker grille are located at the bottom edge.

Camera

The camera of the Reno2 is the most-talked-about feature. There is a quad-camera setup at the back with flagship specifications. If you had struggled to get good images due to limitations on your smartphone camera, the Reno2 offers a versatile package. The camera can shoot images in a variety of focal lengths.

Reno2 camera

The primary camera has a 48MP f/1.7 Sony IMX586 sensor paired with an 8MP 116-degree ultra-wide-angle lens and a 2MP Portrait lens. There is also a 13MP telephoto lens that is capable of shooting up to 20x zoom. 

Reno2 sample shots

photo_2019-09-13 11.33.12

The shots above were taken using the primary camera, which offered crisp, vibrant colours. The 48MP sensor shoots enough details when you zoom into an image. Saturation and contrast levels, too, in the pictures looked real. 

Reno2 ultra-wide sample shots

Reno2 Ultra-wide sample shot

We also loved clicking images using the ultra-wide-angle lens, which doubles up as a macro lens. Although the edges in some wide-angle shots were distorted, they weren't much of a problem for us. Even the colours were well saturated, which is often a problem in some ultra-wide smartphone cameras.

Another highlight specification is the 20x zoom. Let's make one thing very clear that the Reno2 does not shoot 20x hybrid zoom. The camera is capable of shooting 2x optical, 5x hybrid and up to 20x digital zoom. Many may have mistaken the Reno2 to shoot 20x hybrid zoom since the Reno 10x Zoom shoots 10x hybrid zoom, and may have been seen as an upgrade.

Reno2

Nevertheless, Reno2 has, by far, one of the finest zooming capabilities in a smartphone. Up to 2x zoom, you would get very good, accurate colours in crisp images. At 5x, the contrast is a bit on the higher side with less saturation. Things may get blurry at 20x if you do not keep your hands still and steady while holding the smartphone. The camera has dual OIS and EIS, but in the end, there's only a little that it can do at 20x zoom.

Another favourite Reno2 feature is the camera's Night mode. We weren't expecting a lot from the camera in low light, but we were surprised. The amount of details and sharpness in the images clicked using the Night Mode is excellent.

What's even high is that you can shoot in Night Mode even when you zoom in or ultra-wide. Take, for instance, the images below wherein we stood at the same spot and clicked the subject in ultra-wide, 1x and 5x hybrid zoom. We wouldn't mind saying that the Night Mode of Reno2 comes close to the Pixel 3a (Review), which is touted as the best smartphone camera, even in low light.

Ultra-wide Night mode

1x Night Mode

5x Zoom Night Mode

The shark-fin camera at the front pops up instantly without making any noise. The front camera is fun to play with, and you might too activate it again and again just to see how smoothly it pops in and out. The Reno2 has the same 16MP front camera as the Reno's 10x Zoom (Review). 

Reno2 front camera

We had a few complaints about the previous Reno's front camera, making the skin look too soft and smooth. Oppo seems to have worked on these complaints, and the result now is a much natural-looking selfie. 

When it comes to edge detection, hair and ears were blurred out in some cases. Overall its an 8/10 for the front camera.

Performance

Powering the Reno2 under the hood is an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G with Adreno 818 GPU for graphics. In spite of being powered by a mid-range premium processor, the Reno2 performs well even while playing popular games like PUBG or Asphalt 8. Reno2 comes with Game Boost 3.0, which adjusts the phone’s performance for an enhanced gaming experience.

While playing PUBG, the game loaded in HD graphics with 'High' frame rate set by default. Currently, playing PUBG on Reno2 in HDR or Ultra HDR is not possible and is said to be coming soon.

We played a couple of classic matches which lasted nearly 30 minutes combined (yes, we had a bad gaming day) and two TDM matches. After almost 45 minutes of intensive gaming, the phone felt slightly warm, which is quite reasonable. We did not experience any sort of lag or frame drop while playing Battle Royale.

Reno2

Playing Asphalt 8 on Reno2 is a treat. The smartphone, when held horizontally, offers an immersive experience while playing racing games like Asphalt. There wasn’t any lag or jitter in the two races we played. 

Gaming on Reno2 should be fun and long-lasting. We say that because the 4,000 mAh battery is long enough to last more than a day on a single charge. Even if you play games for nearly two hours a day, depending upon the settings, the battery should drop only by 30-35 percent like during our gaming session.

RAM management shouldn’t be a problem either. Reno2 comes packed with a single 8 RAM variant coupled with 256GB non-expandable storage. With that amount of memory, multitasking should not be a problem at all. Apps opened from where we had left them before playing PUBG. 

As far as biometrics are concerned, Reno2 has an in-display fingerprint scanner and face unlock. The fingerprint scanner is quick and unlocks the smartphone in no time. Oppo has added a bunch of animations with different effects to choose from. 

The face-unlock, in spite of a shark-fin pop-up camera, is fast to unlock the device, too. However, considering that pop-up cameras have limited durability, we would recommend using the in-display fingerprint scanner as a primary method to unlock the smartphone.

The one piece of hardware that Oppo needs to work on is the single bottom-firing speaker. Reno2’s speaker grille is located at the bottom edge and isn’t as loud as we expected it to be. We’d recommend using a pair of headphones/earphones while playing games or watching videos.

Software 

Not just the internals, even the software on Reno2 has got an upgrade. The smartphone boots on ColorOS 6.1 based on Android 9.0 Pie. It features all the stock Android features with a few customised gestures and features added by Oppo. 

The new update includes features like Digital Wellbeing which is focused on informing users about the time they spend on various apps and how to reduce smartphone usage. It also a feature called Anti-Harassment which essentially lets users blacklist or whitelist various calls and messages.

If you have used any Oppo smartphone previously, you must have had complaints about the bloatware that its custom skin comes with. With Reno2, things have changed. The smartphone comes pre-installed with some apps like Facebook, Theme store, and the essential Google family of apps like YouTube, Gmail, Google Maps, etc. There are also other apps like Soloop and Music Party, which are used to edit longer slow-motion videos or play the same song on several devices.

Verdict

The Reno2 is priced at Rs 36,990 in India for the single 8GB + 256GB storage variant. It is priced between the Reno and Reno 10x Zoom. While the Reno2 should be a definite choice over the Reno, there are a bunch of smartphones that are popular in this price range.

Reno2 competes with the OnePlus 7, which starts at Rs 32,999 for the base variant. When it comes to flagship features, Reno2 competes with the Redmi K20 Pro, which offers excellent hardware at a much affordable price.

However, what makes the Reno2 a standout device is the design and camera. The K20 Pro (Review) comes close to the design and feel of the Reno2, but we would choose the latter as our favourite.

None of the Reno2's competitors feature a quad-camera setup either. As a primary camera, you get a 48MP Sony IMX586 sensor, which is found in most flagships and even midrange smartphones now. The Reno2 completes its camera unit with an ultra-wide, telephoto, and portrait lenses, making it a versatile camera on a smartphone. The 5x hybrid zoom and 20x digital zoom would entice you to start taking zoomed-in images, too.

Where the competitors have the edge over the Reno2 is the processor. Both, Redmi K20 Pro and OnePlus 7 feature Snapdragon 855, whereas the Reno2 features a Snapdragon 730G. However, in terms of daily usage, the slightly inferior processor shouldn’t bother.

Overall, the Reno2 is a jack of all trades and a master of many. It has set high standards for smartphone design and has an excellent camera with a capable performance unit.

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First Published on Sep 13, 2019 04:47 pm
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