Technophile

Oppo Reno2 review: Rethinking the midrange smartphone

Mala Bhargava | Updated on October 19, 2019 Published on October 19, 2019

The Oppo Reno2 has a surprising bunch of top-line features making it no run-of-the-mill mobile but it doesn’t lack competition

Mid-range used to mean big compromises. No longer. Many new phones, including the Oppo Reno2 comes with features that would sit very nicely on a premium phone twice the price. Some features are quite unique to the Reno series too. While it doesn’t use the latest fastest processor or come with cameras that beat the best at photography, it does have plenty going for it.

To begin with, if you want beautiful, you’ve got beautiful. The back of the Reno2 of the Luminous Black we have for review, is nice enough that you would want to shed the case and just look at it from time to time. The Oppo logo and tagline ‘Designed for Reno’ are bordered by a glinting blue glass that almost glows when it catches the light. This lovely and very smart looking accent give the smartphone a totally different look from others. And that’s not the only thing interesting on the back. The phone has four cameras — and no camera bumps. The back is all smooth except for a tiny nub that prevents the device from lying flat on a surface where it can get scratched, specially in the camera area. The nub has a green ring around it, making it yet another little accent adding to the design. It’s smooth, slippery and very good looking.

The Reno2 is a little chunky, truth be told. It has a 4,000mAh battery that will no doubt he making it feel that way. It’s a point to keep in mind if one buys it online without having actually held it in the hands.

A slice of camera

This is yet another device that uses a pop-up camera to free the screen of borders, but the way this has been done is another elegant aspect of this phone. It has a triangular shark-fin shaped component really gliding out rather than popping out to bring up the front camera. It barely makes a sound too. The 16MP camera is nothing we haven’t seen before and should be quite adequate for those who like taking selfies with a touch of beautification and smoothening. I didn’t find the portrait mode from the front camera producing enough of a background blur however.

The 6.5-inch FHD AMOLED display is very nice and crisp with strong satisfying colours and viewing angles. It’s just fine for watching video and movies and images. Interacting with the display is quite fast and smooth, particularly the in-display fingerprint sensor which does its job fast and consistently. The Reno2 works with the mid-range Snapdragon 730 and a generous 8GB RAM with 256GB storage.

Zoom right in

 

The Reno2 is camera-centric, just as the original Reno was. It has a Sony IMX586 48MP sensor with an f/1.7 aperture lens. It results in very good photos in good light and the colour reproduction and wide dynamic range is quite evident. If you turn on the ultra steady mode, you get very smooth video because it has optical image stabilisation — again not usual for mid-range phones. Things stay smooth even when you zoom in mid-video shooting. Q

The ultra-wide angle lens is an 8MP with 116-degree field of view. It’s really nice for shooting an entire landscape scene or a big group of grinning or pouting people, but to get to the lens you have to cycle through a the zooms on the screen first, making it just that little bit longer to reach.

The telephoto lens is more than is usual on phones at this price: it’s a 13MP with 5X Hybrid zoom. A zoom factor of 2X (either optical or digital) is usual, but on this device, the optical 2X is extended with 3X digital. After that, you can keep going until you hit a factor 20X, but now we’re essentially digital and noise kicks in. All the same, if you get into good daylight and remain nice and still, you can certainly capture objects from far away, even if clarity and sharpness takes a bit of a hit.

The Reno2 has launched pretending the OnePlus 7 doesn’t exist. While the OnePlus doesn’t have looks that are quite as unique, it is phenomenally fast and uses the Snapdragon 855 SoC instead of a mid-range processor. But it’s the Reno2 that costs more, making it difficult to recommend over it even though the OnePlus 7 lacks a pop-up camera and all that digital zoom, which in any case doesn’t make up the bulk of what people photograph. The OnePlus 7 also happens to be using its own OxygenOS interface which is much loved because of its clean closeness to unadulterated Android and its mix of simplicity with an non-intrusive layer of customisations.

Oppo Reno2
  • Price: Rs 36,990
  • Pros: Unusual styling, looks very eye catching, unique slide-out front camera, very good main camera with super steady video thanks to optical image stylisation, fast charging, large battery, good screen and sound, good performance
  • Cons: Interface not the best, many pre-loaded apps, heavy and slippery, can be uncomfortable to hold for long, over-priced given the competition

Published on October 19, 2019
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