Hands-On, Smartphone

The Sleek Oppo Reno with All-Screen Design Arrives in Malaysia for RM1,999

Oppo Malaysia confirmed a couple weeks ago the new Oppo Reno smartphones are coming to our shores. Well, the most affordable device in the series, the standard Reno, was launched here yesterday; the Reno 10x Zoom Edition will makes its way here on 27 May instead.

Sporting a modest set of hardware, sleek design, and promising camera performance, the standard Reno is quite an attractive mid-range smartphone. However, retailing at RM1,999, it’s a bit of a tough sell. Without further ado, let’s get to the hands-on.

Powering the Reno is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 chipset paired with 6GB of RAM, putting it in the upper mid-range smartphone segment. While it’s not as powerful as the flagship-tier Snapdragon 8 series, it’s still a reasonably capable SoC. Besides that, it also comes with a very generous 256GB storage, which somewhat explains its high asking price.

Other specifications of the Reno include a 6.4-inch 1080p OLED display, a big 3,765mAh battery, a 48MP f/1.7 + 5MP f/2.4 dual camera system, a 16MP f/2.0 front-facing shooter, and ColorOS 6 based on Android 9 Pie.

If there’s any standout element of the Oppo Reno, it would be the phone’s design. Featuring a sleek, almost all-screen design, the Reno looks quite stunning. There’s still a bit of a chin at the bottom of the display, but it is small enough to not be a distraction.

The all-screen design is possible thanks to the use of a motorised, wedge-shaped 16MP pop-up selfie camera. Unlike other phone makers’ implementations, the unique “shark fin” pop-up camera is a lot quieter when activated. However, it’s also noticeably slower to rise up.

Nonetheless, if you were to drop the Reno while the pop-up camera is activated, the phone would automatically retract the camera module. Although it’s a feature that’s present on almost all phones with a similar camera mechanism, the fall detection works quite well on the Reno.

Build quality of the Reno, on the other hand, is excellent. Even though it has a smaller display than the flagship Reno 10x Zoom, both devices essentially share the same chassis. The metal frame is nice to the touch, it has a good heft to it, and the glass back panel looks and feels great.

There are two different textures to the back panel, depending on which colour you get. The Jet Black colourway has a glossy finish, while the Ocean Green variant (my personal favourite) has a matte, frosted glass-like appearance that’s more resistant to fingerprints. In fact, it reminds me a lot of the Oppo R17 Pro‘s back panel.

Coming back to the display, the Reno’s 6.4-inch 1080p OLED screen looks really good. It has vivid, punchy colours, very deep blacks, and although it’s “only” a 1080p display, it looks plenty sharp. Basically, you won’t be disappointed with the screen quality.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the Reno’s in-screen fingerprint sensor. Oppo claims it is 28.5% faster, but from what I can tell, it’s…well, quite average. It works as intended, no doubt, but the sensor’s speed and accuracy will not blow you away.

And then we have the Reno’s camera performance. In my brief time testing the 48MP + 5MP dual camera system, it feels capable. The camera interface is very responsive, there’s little to no shutter lag, and the image output has good detail preservation.

But I only tested the camera under good lighting; the real test for smartphone cameras lie in low light photography. It will be interesting to see how the Reno’s camera system would fare in less than ideal lighting, especially the “Ultra Night Mode 2.0” feature, which promises “stunning detail in low light conditions.”

The Oppo Reno may not be quite as powerful or feature-packed as its higher-end sibling, but it’s still a very respectable mid-range smartphone. After all, you’re getting mostly the same design and build quality here, giving the Reno an edge over other mid-rangers.

However, it also carries a steep price tag. Retailing at RM1,999, it’s in the same price category as certain flagships, and it costs much more than another Snapdragon 710 smartphone: the Realme 3 Pro. Granted, the 3 Pro doesn’t feel or look as premium, and the Reno definitely has superior camera performance.

At the end of the day, RM1,999 is still a lot of money for “just” a mid-ranger like the Reno, even if it has the look and feel of a flagship smartphone. It’s the same conundrum with the R17 Pro – it has style in spades, but it doesn’t offer particularly good value for money.