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Oppo Reno 2 first impressions: A premium-looking mid-ranger with a capable quad-camera

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The update to the original Reno adds more cameras and brings other improvements as well.

Oppo only recently introduced its Reno Series for the Indian market in May this year and now it’s already ready with a successor to the original mid-range Reno.

Oppo Reno 2. Image: tech2/Sheldon Pinto

To recall Oppo launched two smartphones in the Reno series back in May, a mid-range device with a Snapdragon 710 SoC and a premium smartphone with a Snapdragon 855 inside. So why is Oppo already launching a successor to the more affordable Reno just 3 months later? Well… the answer is competition!

Oppo Reno 2. Image: tech2/Sheldon Pinto

There’s just so much happening in the budget smartphone segment, that it’s getting harder to make proper mid-range devices anymore. Devices like the Realme 5 Pro for example offer a quad camera setup with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 712 with 8 GB RAM and 128 GB of internal storage, which makes mid-range smartphones like the Nokia 8.1 and the older Oppo Reno look outdated not just on paper but to buyers as well.

So how do you rescue the mid-range?

Well, you do what Oppo did. Kind off… (more on this later).

Give the smartphone a premium design with a metal and glass construction. Paint it to look as gorgeous as a premium flagship smartphone and give it stand out features that well, budget smartphones just can’t possibly have given their budget constraints like 5X hybrid zoom or 20X digital zoom, a 6.5-inch Dynamic AMOLED display, Gorilla Glass 6, NFC, OIS VOOC 3.0 charging and features like Ultra Steady Video.

Oppo Reno 2. Image: tech2/Sheldon

While Oppo’s strategy to separate itself from the competitive budget range sounds great on paper, it’s problems are to do with its pricing, which is a bit high given the hardware you get inside. Oppo’s Reno packs in a Snapdragon 730G SoC but is priced in the sub Rs 40,000 segment (at Rs 36,990) which is dominated by smartphones promising crazy performance with Snapdragon 855 SoCs inside.

Still, what’s new in Oppo’s Reno 2?

Crazy design

The Reno 2 retains the same design elements as the original Reno launched a few months ago but adds an attractive new design for its Gorilla Glass 5 back which now looks like it has neon lights inside… no it doesn’t!

Oppo Reno 2. Image: tech2/Sheldon Pinto

OPPO showcases a multi-toned look that shows off different colour shades from different angles. We received the Luminous Black finish for review and it looks gorgeous with a dual tone black and deep purple finish that has a blue luminescent glow towards the edges and center. It gives out that “wow” effect and looks quite premium while doing it; making your forget that this is a mid-range smartphone.

The cameras at the back are again stacked clean under the glass back cover and protected by O-Dot ceramic bead that will prevent the camera from getting scratched.

Dynamic AMOLED display

Oppo has gone with a Dynamic AMOLED display with the new Reno. 6.55-inch display runs from edge to edge with extremely thin bezels at the top, left and right sides of the display. The bottom still has a chin, but it’s gotten thinner as well. Thanks to the shark fin rising camera, there’s no display notch here, which means that your video viewing or gaming experience is like it was meant to be with no holes or notches getting in the way.

Oppo Reno 2. Image: tech2/Sheldon Pinto

That camera!

There’s new upgrades to the camera as well. You get a 48 MP+8 MP+13 MP+2 MP rear camera setup which now gets 5 X hybrid zoom that can also be stretched to 20 X (which is mostly the software at work).

Oppo Reno 2. Image: tech2/Sheldon Pinto

I tried out the camera and the image samples looked pretty good and sharp and showcased plenty of detail even in low light shooting scenarios.

(Click on each picture to view the full-scale image)

Sample 1

Sample 2

Sample 3

Talking about low light there is an Ultra Dark Mode as well, that lets you click some impressive photos and can even capture details that are not visible to the human eye. The algorithm kicks in when the lighting in the scene goes below 5 lux (like street lamps a little away from the scene, or the limit to where it gets hard to read a newspaper) and is expected to deliver noise-free photos. We will put this to test in our detailed review.

Oppo has not only managed to deliver the hybrid zoom features with video but also adds a new Ultra Steady Mode like what we first saw on the Samsung Galaxy S10 this year. It uses EIS and OIS along with a high sampling rate to deliver stable video even if you are shooting using the ultra-wide-angle lens.

A bigger battery

Oppo Reno 2. Image: tech2/Sheldon Pinto

The Reno gets a big upgrade from a 3,765 mAh battery to a 4,000 mAh unit. This combined with Oppo’s improved VOOC 3.0 charging should see better battery times in out review.

A great mid-ranger, but everything banks on its camera performance

During my short hands on time I sure came out impressed with the Oppo Reno 2 both in terms of performance and it’s camera capabilities. While I was convinced about it’s design, we will have to put it through its paces to find out how its camera, performance and battery life stacks up against competitors in the sub Rs 40,000 price segment. 

This would include smartphones like the camera-friendly Asus 6Z (Rs 31,999), the performance focussed OnePlus 7 (Rs 32,999) and the powerful and value for money, K20 Pro (Rs 27,999) as well.

The Reno 2 is honestly in a tough spot given its high pricing, because all the phones feature top-end  Snapdragon 855 SoCs. So everything really banks on its camera capabilities. Stay tuned for our detailed review that should be out soon before you head out and buy one.

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