Oppo created quite a buzz with its Reno series back in the day with many believing Reno to be a new Oppo sub-brand initially. However, the Reno 2 series is not a successor to the original Reno smartphone, but a much more affordable set of phones.
The Reno 2 series consists of Reno 2, Reno 2Z, and Reno 2F, with the Reno 2 being the most expensive and the Reno 2F being the cheapest. The Reno 2Z is a mid-range device priced at Rs 29,990 featuring a MediaTek processor and 48MP quad-camera setup. The Reno 2Z is mostly same as the Reno 2, but it cuts corners to bring down its price.
The Reno 2Z is a looker and it is hard to distinguish from the premium flagships in terms of design and form-factor. But looks are not everything. I’ve been using the Oppo Reno 2Z as my primary for more than 20 days now and here is how the phone performs.
Oppo Reno 2Z price: Rs 29,990
Oppo Reno 2Z specifications: 6.53-inch AMOLED screen | MediaTek Helio P90 processor | 48MP+8MP+2MP+2MP quad-rear camera setup | 16MP pop-up selfie camera | 8GB RAM + 256GB storage | 4,000mAh battery | VOOC 3.0 Flash Charge | Color OS 6.1 based on Android 9 Pie
Oppo Reno 2Z review: The master of design
Oppo Reno 2Z gets full marks for the design and it should act as the benchmark for smartphone design in this segment. The phone sports a clean back free from any kind of bump except for a small ceramic dot which protects the camera sensors from getting scratches when you put it on a flat surface.
The phone looks and feels premium with its deep black coating that extends to the frames. The camera sensors lie inside the glass in a vertical strip followed by another strip carrying words– ‘Oppo’ and ‘Designed for Reno’. The blue halo effect around the strip glows almost like an LED flash depending on the angle of light falling on the back.
However, the Reno 2Z is not as exciting as the Reno 2 and that is because it replaces the shark-fin shaped popup camera module with a normal pop-up camera. To make the Reno 2Z more affordable than the Reno 2, the company might have had to cut cost in some areas, and unfortunately, the pivot uplifting mechanism had to say goodbye. Also, dust sweeps into the popup mechanism and every time I need to take a selfie, the lens needs to be cleaned first.
The face-unlock is fast, but since the selfie camera is placed in a popup mechanism, it takes almost one-and-a-half second to unlock the device. The Reno 2Z features a 3.5mm headphone jack, Type-C port, single bottom-firing speakers, power button on the right edge and volume rockers on the left edge.
At the back, I did not like the placement of ceramic dot on the phone, which is placed on the top bringing the fourth camera sensor to the centre point where the index finger usually resides. Just like the front camera, the rear camera needs cleaning up before taking a picture as the lower two sensors are usually covered in smudges. In the original Reno and the Reno 2, the ceramic dot is placed below the camera sensor, which not only saves the lens from smudges but also aids in the handling of the phone.
Oppo Reno 2Z review: Screen lacks the la-la factor
The Oppo Reno 2Z sports a 6.53-inch full-screen AMOLED screen with 19.5:9 aspect ratio, fifth-gen Corning Gorilla Glass protection. Coming straight to the point, the screen is not what you would expect in a device in this price range. Even though the display produces vivid colours and blacks are very deep, it is too reflective to use outdoors. The screen doesn’t have high brightness levels and you cannot read text directly under sunlight. Also, the viewing angles aren’t as good as one would expect on phone at this price range.
The Reno 2Z comes with an in-display fingerprint sensor and it works really well. However, the animation of the fingerprint sensor lights up at maximum brightness, even if the display is set at the lowest brightness level. It doesn’t bother during the day, but at night it becomes blindly bright and really annoying.
Oppo Reno 2Z review: Louder sound?
The Oppo Reno 2Z comes with a single bottom-firing speaker, but it can easily match a phone’s sound with stereo speakers. The speaker produces really loud sound and doesn’t sound like noise at any volume level. The bass levels are good and you don’t need an external speaker or earphone to consume videos or enjoy gaming sessions. It feels as if a small external speaker is playing the sound.
The voice from the earpiece is also very loud for making calls, and I couldn’t be any happier as a number of smartphones do not pay attention to the sound levels of the earpiece. Even when outdoors I do not need to keep the earpiece volume levels at max.
Oppo Reno 2Z review: Camera is good, video recording is impressive
Oppo Reno 2Z sports a quad-rear camera carrying a 48MP Sony IMX586 primary sensor, an 8MP wide-angle, a 2MP mono lens, and a 2MP portrait lens. To put it in simple words, Reno 2Z doesn’t disappoint at the camera performance. It captures beautiful shots that carry great details and dynamic range. The colour reproduction is quite good and it handles the exposure pretty well.
The camera UI gives the option for zoom up to 10x, but even the 2x zoom is not optical and that is obvious the Reno 2Z doesn’t have a telephoto lens. It just crops out the picture to give you a close-up shot. While the zoomed-in shot is slightly better than a cropped up 12MP shot, you can have a better result if you just take the picture in 48MP resolution. To take photos in 48MP as you have to go into Camera Settings and tap on Photo Ratio to select the 4:3 (48MP) option.
It is good to have an ultra-wide sensor in a smartphone, but the lens doesn’t carry as much details as the primary sensor and the colour reproduction is a bit on the offside. Low light shots taken with the ultra-wide angle do not turn out good, but daylight pictures are comparatively okay.
Portrait shots taken on the Reno 2Z turn out quite good. They have proper edge detection and you can just the intensity of the bokeh effect. The beauty filter applies to the portrait mode without asking for it, but you can turn it off. There is a Dazzle colour mode on the camera UI, which is supposed to improve the colour reproduction and dynamic range, but I did not see any noticeable difference.
When you get too close to a subject, the camera software changes to Macro mode. Even though the focus is better in this mode, it is not as effective as the Vivo V17 Pro or the phones that come with a dedicated macro lens. Also, you cannot enter the Macro mode at will.
In low light situation, pictures lose details as the camera tries to minimise the noise but manages to produce good colours. Even during the night, the phone manages to click landscape pictures of buildings and roads with good colours. There is also a Night mode in the Oppo Reno 2Z, but it doesn’t make much of a difference and only ends up changing the colour tone of the object.
Coming to the video recording, Oppo Reno 2Z does an impressive job. It captures quite stable videos with good details and colours even in low light conditions but the magic happens in the Ultra Steady Video mode. Just a tap and you are spoiled for good. The level of stabilisation is just amazing and it is so much fun to record videos in this mode on the Reno 2Z.
The phone can shoot 720p and 1080p videos in 30fps and 60fps with the option to turn on the Ultra Steady mode. The Reno 2Z also lets you record 4K videos, but the Ultra Steady mode doesn’t work. When you tap on the steady icon, it switches the resolution to 1080p 60fps automatically.
The Oppo Reno 2Z has included the option to shoot video via the ultra-wide sensor and that is good to see. But don’t expect much from videos in this mode.
The Oppo Reno 2Z sports a popup 16MP front camera and it is capable of taking good pictures with nice details and proper colours. The beauty mode is optional and can be turned off. The front camera does a good job at keeping the skin tone close to natural and the sharpness levels are also good. You can zoom in on a selfie and see the strands of your hair. However, the selfies end up with a washed-out background most of the time.
Oppo Reno 2Z review: Performance and gameplay don’t disappoint
The Oppo Reno 2Z is powered by the MediaTek Helio P90 processor paired with 8GB RAM and 256GB of internal storage. The performance of the phone does not give any room for criticism. It handles the flood of notification with ease. Multi-tasking is smooth and it doesn’t stutter even when I push it to the extreme by using multiple apps and frequently switching between them.
It doesn’t even stutter when I minimise the graphics-heavy games to open another app. It is efficient enough to keep the game opened in the background. The Reno 2Z runs ColorOS based on Android 9 Pie and I’ve never liked the UI but it’s good to see Oppo including multiple navigation gesture styles. One issue though. I could not play PUBG Mobile and Call Of Duty Mobil at HDR graphics setting because the MediaTek Helio P90 doesn’t let me play at those settings.
The PUBG Mobile runs at HD graphics settings at High frame rates and you get the option for Ultra frame rates at Balanced graphics settings. The gameplay is smooth without any noticeable frame drops or heating issues. It doesn’t stutter and the vibrant screen colours combined with loud sound make the gameplay experience a lot better. The device supports Dolby Atmos with the headset, so that’s a plus too.
Oppo Reno 2Z review: Full marks for battery backup and charging speed
The Oppo Reno 2Z is backed by a 4,000mAh battery and supports VOOC 3.0 Flash Charge. The phone delivers nice battery backup. I start my day with 100 per cent battery mark and end up with 30 per cent after 8 hours of moderate usage and 4 hours of extensive battery usage where I push the phone to the max. I never had to worry for the battery in the phone because the fast charger comes in the box and just needs around one hour to fill the juice. To be specific, the VOOC 3.0 charger charges the battery from 8 per cent to 93 per cent in just 70 minutes, which is really impressive.
Oppo Reno 2Z review: Verdict
All things considered, the Oppo Reno 2Z is a nice smartphone. The phone has a beautiful design and treads well on the camera-performance, speed, and gameplay. The Reno 2Z is exceptionally good at video recording, battery backup, charging speed, and sound quality. The only drawback of the phone is its display. Oppo Reno 2Z competes with the likes of OnePlus 7, Asus 6Z, and Vivo V17 Pro in the under Rs 30,000 price segment. The competition is obviously tough but with its wholesome package, the Reno 2Z is not a bad choice.