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Oppo Reno 2 review: Flagship features for less

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £449
inc VAT

Packed with features but rough around the edges – there are better mid-range phones


  • Decent cameras
  • Long battery life
  • Thoughtful design


  • Camera afflicted with delays
  • Unreliable auto-brightness
  • Over-warm display colours

OppoSlap a 2 after a thing and, whatever that thing might be, you might expect it to be a sequel to something that did pretty well. You know, like Terminator 2, Jaws 2 or Superman II. Not the Reno 2. Oh no.

The Reno 2 isn’t really the second Reno at all, or even a successor to the rather excellent Reno 10x Zoom. Oppo should really have slapped a “Lite” on the end instead – or something else to indicate that it’s a similar phone but with a cut-down feature set. 

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Oppo Reno 2 review: What you need to know 

So, what are those differences? Instead of a superfast Snapdragon 855 chipset, the Reno 2 uses a Snapdragon 730G chip, which means slower performance. And the Reno 2 has only a 2x telephoto zoom where the Reno 10x Zoom has a 5x optical telephoto. These are the big differences.

Elsewhere, the cut-down Reno 2 doesn’t want for very much. The screen is barely any different in size, measuring 6.5in compared with the Reno 10x Zoom’s 6.5in, and it uses AMOLED tech, too, so it looks great. Thanks to Oppo’s “shark fin” motorised pop-up selfie camera, there’s no notch to interrupt it, either, so it looks just as opulent at first glance as the original.

And, despite lacking the extra reach of the 10x Zoom, the Reno 2 does have an ultra-wide-angle camera. In fact, there are four cameras on the rear of the Reno 2: the primary camera, the ultrawide, the 2x telephoto and an extra monochrome “portrait” camera.

Alongside the Reno 2, Oppo launched an even “liter” version, the Reno 2 Z, which employs an even less powerful processor and lacks the telephoto camera, but costs £100 less.

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Oppo Reno 2 review: Price and competition 

The attraction of the Oppo Reno 2 over the flagship Reno phones is, of course, a lower price. At £449, the Reno 2 goes head to head with the Google Pixel 3A XL, which costs £479, runs a Snapdragon 710 and has just one camera. It’s a good camera, though.

If you’re willing to spend a touch more, the OnePlus 7T is a cracking phone at £549. But you don’t even have to spend that much for better performance: the Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro costs only £399 and has a Snapdragon 855 inside, an edge-to-edge display with a motorised pop-up camera and three cameras on the rear.

Oppo Reno 2 review: Design

That’s pretty tough competition, but the Reno 2 doesn’t prove a letdown when it comes to design, looks and build quality. It’s worth noting that the Reno 2 has no kind of IP water-resistance rating, though. You can blame that on the pop-up camera. No company so far has figured out a way to create a seal around the mechanicals of these cameras.

Other than that, the Reno 2 is a lovely thing to behold. It’s clad in fingerprint- and crack-resistant Gorilla Glass 6 at the front and Gorilla Glass 5 at the rear, and the colours are very attractive indeed. The review sample provided to me was finished in a gorgeous deep purply, greeny-blue colour, but the “luminous” black – which has a slight tint of dark blue to it – looks just as great.

As noted above, the selfie camera is housed, rather neatly I think, in a motorised fin that rises up automatically when you unlock the phone (if you’re using face unlock) and when you switch from the main camera into selfie mode. Otherwise, it stays hidden away, even retracting into a safe position if you drop the phone.

There’s also an optical in-screen fingerprint reader, which keeps the rear panel free of clutter. Overall, this isn’t a phone you’d look at and immediately think was cut-price. It’s certainly much nicer than the Pixel 3A XL, and that edge-to-edge AMOLED display tops it off nicely.

And it doesn’t just look good. Aside from the lack of water-resistance, the Oppo Reno 2 is also a very practical handset. A small raised nubbin on the rear protects the glass and flush camera lenses on the rear from getting scratched (I wish more manufacturers would do this). There’s a 3.5mm headphone jack on the bottom edge and a USB Type-C port means you get fast charging, too. In fact, Oppo’s 20W fast VOOC charging system promises to top up the battery to 50% in half an hour.

Oppo Reno 2 review: Display

The Reno 2’s display is a good ‘un, too. It measures 6.5in across the diagonal and has a resolution of 1,080 x 2,400, which is perfectly sharp enough at this size. It’s not as good as more expensive phones like the iPhone 11 Pro at displaying HDR material – footage takes on slightly too much of a warm tinge for my liking – but it’s far from an unpleasant experience. Importantly, the tone mapping seems spot on, with dark scenes not so dark you can’t make out what’s going on.

As usual with Android devices, you have to switch between colour modes to get the best performance on web content and HDR TV or movie streaming. Here, Gentle means sRGB, while Vivid displays the wider P3 colour space that’s better for HDR content. I measured coverage of 99.3% sRGB coverage in Gentle mode and 98% DCI-P3 coverage in Vivid mode, which is pretty much bang on. The accuracy of individual colours in those modes isn’t the best I’ve seen, though.

Peak brightness is fine. I measured it at 628cd/m2 and, although it can’t match the brightness levels of, say, a Samsung Galaxy S10 – which peaks at over 900cd/m2 in extremely bright conditions – it should remain readable in most types of ambient light.

One thing to note, though, is that auto-brightness seems to be all over the place on this phone. Enable it via the toggle in the pull-down menu and it adjusts quickly enough but, thereafter, whether it alters brightness or not seems to be completely random. I also found that the screen would occasionally, and very suddenly, become incredibly bright when switching apps, even with the brightness slider down low. This is far from ideal and I found myself disabling the auto-brightness entirely as a result.

Oppo Reno 2 review: Performance

With a mid-range Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G processor inside, you’re not going to see the same level of performance as the Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro with its Snapdragon 855. The good news is that it is distinctly quicker – in benchmarks, at least – than the Google Pixel 3A XL, which uses the slightly less powerful Snapdragon 710.

The Oppo’s 730G is an octa-core chip with two cores running at a frequency of 2.2GHz and six that run at a slower 1.8GHz to save power during less demanding tasks. There’s also an Adreno 618 GPU, 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage (expandable via microSD).

Here’s how it performs in the benchmarks. As you can see, it’s notably quicker than the Google Pixel 3A XL, particularly for GPU-bound tasks. That means demanding titles such as PUBG Mobile and Call of Duty Mobile, while not unplayable, don’t feel quite as responsive to play as on more powerful hardware.

You also see the hardware hitting its limits in the camera software and in video recording in particular. You can’t, for instance, record 4K video at 60fps; it’s limited to 30fps. And if you want smooth, handshake-free stabilisation, you have to drop down a further setting to 1080p at 60fps.

That’s quite apart from the infuriating delays that seem to accompany virtually every single mode change you make in the camera app. The pause when hitting stop during video recordings is particularly irritating; on more than one occasion I ended up pressing the button twice because I thought it hadn’t registered, which then promptly restarted the recording.

Fortunately, these issues don’t accompany day-to-day tasks such as scrolling through web pages and panning and zooming around Google Maps. It doesn’t feel quite as responsive as the Pixel 3A XL here, but that’s mostly down to the Google phone’s superb Pixel Launcher software. Plus, if you didn’t have the two phones next to each other, you’d not know any better.

And in terms of battery life, the Reno 2 is actually a lot better than the Pixel 3A XL, its 4,000mAh cell helping it to last a smidge over 20 hours in our video rundown test compared with the Pixel 3A XL’s 16hrs 58mins. 

Oppo Reno 2 review: Camera

You get a lot of cameras on the Reno 2. There are four in total, running the full gamut from ultrawide to telephoto. The main camera is the same one as in the Oppo 10x Zoom: this is an f/1.7 48-megapixel camera with phase-detect autofocus and optical image stabilisation.

The ultrawide camera is an 8-megapixel f/2.2 unit with a 116-degree field of view, and the f/2.4 13.4-megapixel telephoto camera gets you close to the action with a 2x optical zoom and a 5x hybrid zoom.

The fourth camera is what Oppo calls a monochrome portrait lens. This has a resolution of two megapixels and is used only for depth mapping – improving the accuracy of the fake-bokeh portrait images, in other words. If it has any effect, though, I couldn’t see it. There was very little difference between portrait and non-portrait images on the main camera. Yes, the background was a touch more blurry but not significantly so, and I was less than impressed with the way skin tones came out. They looked flat and overprocessed.

Otherwise, the camera is perfectly competent. Oppo has improved the night mode over the original Reno and it’s pretty good. It’s not on the same level as the Pixel 3A XL, the Pixel 4 or indeed the iPhone 11, though.

Photographs captured in good light are better, especially those shot with the 2x telephoto. It takes photographs full of detail with nicely balanced colours. In fact, in good light I’d say it was slightly better than the Pixel 3A XL. The 5x hybrid zoom is effective, too. It doesn’t add an awful lot of detail, but it is slightly better than capturing at 2x and then cropping in afterwards.

The most impressive thing about the Reno 2, however, is its ultrawide camera, which snaps zoomed-out 0.5x photographs – that’s the same field of view as the iPhone 11’s ultrawide camera. There’s very little distortion here and no sign of the odd, bendy lines you get with the OnePlus 7T’s ultrawide camera. Although images look a little noisy and soft in low light, you can at least employ the camera’s night mode – that’s not something the iPhone can do. Images captured in this mode can look a little dark, though. There’s also a pretty decent macro mode available on the ultrawide camera, although this isn’t hugely practical as you have to get really close to your subject to make the most of it.

As for video, that’s a little more limited. As I highlighted above, you can’t shoot 4K at 60fps at all, and 4K at 30fps isn’t stabilised. However, it is at 1080p and, if the subject you’re shooting is well lit, you can use the super-stable video mode to capture footage that’s so steady it looks as if you have the phone sitting on a gimbal. Image quality indoors in low light is a little grainy at 1080p, though, since it’s cropped in so heavily.

Oppo Reno 2 review: Verdict

There are many things to like about the Oppo Reno 2. It looks great, it has a pretty good triple camera, the display is decent for a phone of this price and even performance from the Snapdragon 730G is okay. The phone’s ColorOS software, which I’ve moaned about before, has seen an improvement, too, with far fewer installed-by-default apps and folders. The Pixel Launcher software on the Pixel 3A XL is cleaner and more elegant but it’s good to see Oppo taking note and upping its game here.

The problem for the Reno 2 is, quite simply, the opposition. For a mere £399, the Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro includes a more powerful processor, an equally good triple camera and a notchless AMOLED display. The Reno 2 is perfectly competent phone and a longer-lasting, faster alternative to the Google Pixel 3A XL, with a more flexible camera setup, but you can’t ignore the brilliant Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro.

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