The Reno2 Z is one of the three smartphones that Chinese smartphone brand Oppo recently launched in India under its Reno-series. Though the phone looks identical to its elder sibling, the Reno2, it has different hardware configuration, camera modules, and features. It also compromises on some of the premium features that were part of the Reno2, such as sharkfin-shaped pop-up selfie camera module and telephoto zoom lens on the back. We appreciated the Reno2 in our review for its premium design, impressive imaging capabilities and sleek performance. With these trade-offs, can the Reno2 match its elder sibling and other smartphones in the same segment? Let’s find out:
The Reno2 Z has a premium glass-metal sandwich construction with a dual-colour-tone reflective glass on the back. The phone’s glossy glass build makes it susceptible to fingerprints that dulls its otherwise dazzling design. Thankfully, the phone has Gorilla Glass 5 on the front and back protecting it from scratches and smudges and making it resilient to everyday abuses.
The Reno2 Z has a pop-up selfie camera module that looks much subtler than the dramatic Shark Fin-shaped mechanical pop-up selfie camera module of the elder sibling. Other than the pop-up selfie camera module, the phone looks similar to the Reno2. It has an obstruction-free profile with no notch or cut-out on the front, and no camera bump or capacitive fingerprint sensor on the rear. Its overall design feels natural and it is comfortable to hold and operate.
The Oppo Reno2 Z has a 6.5-inch AMOLED screen of a fullHD+ (2340 x 1080 pixels) resolution stretched in a tall 19.5:9 aspect ratio. Though the screen is vivid, it lacks brightness which hampers its sunlight legibility and makes it difficult to use in bright outdoor environments. The screen’s unconventional aspect ratio seems good for internet browsing and social media consumption. At the same time, it is not great for multimedia, as the on-screen content does not fully utilise the screen space and leaves out thick black bars on both sides in the horizontal orientation. Thankfully, the phone supports WideVine L1 DRM services required for streaming high-definition video content from over-the-top (OTT) platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime Videos.
The Oppo Reno2 Z has a quad-camera set-up on the back, featuring a 48-megapixel primary sensor of an f/1.7 aperture, an 8MP ultra-wide sensor of a 119-degree field of view (FoV) and an f/2.2 aperture, a 2MP mono sensor, and a 2MP depth sensor for portrait shots. The phone’s primary sensor is good for everyday point-and-shoot photography and the ultra-wide sensor comes handy in capturing landscape shots. You can also use the ultra-wide screen to accommodate more objects in the frame, say for group photographs. The mono and depth sensor are limited to portrait photography and bokeh effect in videos. The bokeh effect in videos looks natural and works as intended in good light conditions. However, it requires polishing to recognise faces in low-light conditions. Talking of low-light imaging, the phone has an ultra night mode that enhances a dim-lit frame by extending the exposure time to capture details.
For selfies, the phone has a 16MP pop-up selfie camera module that comes out from the top. The module has built-in LEDs that light up when the camera comes out or retracts into the chassis. This LEDs attract attention, making it easy to capture selfies with people looking at the camera rather than anywhere else. As for the output, the selfie camera is good and its beautification mode works like a charm. The selfie camera also supports the bokeh effect in video recording, but it is not refined.
The phone is powered by MediaTek Helio P90 system-on-chip, paired with 8GB RAM and 256GB internal storage. The phone feels snappy in day-to-day operations, but shows some inconsistencies while handling processor- and graphic-intensive tasks like video editing, multitasking and gaming. The phone boots Android Pie-based ColorOS 6.1 user interface, which is not a refined UI and has several flaws like excessive bloatware, no dark mode and unoptimised notification centre. Other than its OS flaws, the phone has thermal issues; it warms up randomly even when the phone is not in use. However, these thermal issues can be contained by rebooting phone daily.
The phone is powered by a 4,000 mAh battery, which is good enough to keep it going for around a day. It supports the VOOC 3.0 fast-charge technology, which replenishes about half the battery in 30 minutes.
At Rs 29,990, the Oppo Reno2 Z seems to be an expensive smartphone that does not justify its midrange premium tag. Though the phone has a sturdy build, good ergonomics, plush design, feature-rich cameras and good on-battery time, its mediocre performance and cluttered user interface hamper the overall user experience.
In the sub-Rs 30,000 price band, the Oppo Reno2 Z does not match other premium midrange phones like the OnePlus 7, Asus 6z and Xiaomi Redmi K20 Pro, which deliver better user experience and have good combination of specifications and features, too.