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Oppo Reno 10X Zoom review

The most powerful camera phone zoom around

(Image: © Digital Camera World)

Our Verdict

The Oppo Reno 10X Zoom undercuts the Huawei P30 Pro, making it the most affordable superzoom smartphone around. With a max zoom range of 130mm, it also gets you that bit closer to your subject and captures excellent images for the most part. We would still pick the P30 Pro’s camera given a choice - the Reno 10X Zoom has its quirks and isn’t as strong when it comes to video. If you can get past its shortcomings, however, you won’t find a more versatile, harder working stills camera on a smartphone for the price.

For

  • Versatile camera system
  • Excellent zoom for photos
  • Gorgeously immersive screen

Against

  • Optical zoom inaccessible in video
  • Plenty of bloatware
  • Selfie camera collects dust

The Oppo Reno 10X Zoom’s camera features a mighty optical zoom, with an equivalent focal length of 130mm. It’s in good company, with the likes of the Huawei P30 Pro, our current best camera phone able to achieve its 125mm telephoto range with a similar periscopic tech to that Oppo uses.

The phone is the first mainstream flagship from Oppo in the UK. That said, it’s been a big player in China for years, and is the company behind OnePlus and Realme.

Trying to break into a new market is never easy - but can the Reno 10X Zoom act as Oppo’s breakthrough device, competing with the likes of Google’s Pixel 3, Apple’s iPhone XS, the Samsung Galaxy S10 and the Sony Xperia 1?

Oppo Reno 10X Zoom specs and features

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Out now, the Oppo Reno 10X Zoom can be picked up for £699 SIM free for the 256GB version in the UK with 8GB RAM (and at a subsidised price with an airtime contract); a US release date has still not been announced.

 The Reno 10X Zoom is a well put together phone; made of metal and Gorilla Glass 6, it feels premium, has a soft curve to the back, and a frosted finish that repels fingerprint smudges nicely. That said, the phone is big, so be warned if you have small hands or tight jeans. 

The Reno’s also a flagship through and through, with a Snapdragon 855 chipset coupled with 8GB RAM. It’s got an immersive 6.6-inch screen features AMOLED tech and no notch, thanks to a nifty pop-up camera, which feels pretty secure when compared to the likes of the flip camera on the Asus Zenfone 6. The under-display fingerprint scanner is a nice touch, is fast and responsive, and with a 4065mAh battery under the hood, it lasts for over a day with pretty heavy use. It also charges quickly too - under 90 mins from 0-100%.

Not quite packing every flagship feature we’d like to see, the Reno 10X Zoom isn’t waterproof and doesn’t offer wireless charging. While it runs Android 9, with Oppo’s custom UI over the top, there’s a fair bit of bloatware that you’ll have to disable to get the most enjoyable experience out of the phone from a UI point of view. 

The Reno 10X Zoom ticks almost every flagship checkbox, and it’s a joy to use once you get past the size. App support is excellent, the under-display fingerprint scanner works well, there’s a 5G version for extra speed and futureproofing, and it also has a big, 4065mAh battery that lasts all day. This is also combined with 25W VOOC 3.0 fast charging, so you can go from 0-100% in less than 90 mins. 

(Image credit: Digital Camera World)

Camera specs
The Reno 10X has a triple camera around the back and a single selfie pop-up camera. This pop-up module packs two flashlight LEDs, one for the front and one for the rear cameras. The main camera array features a primary 48MP camera (f/1.7, 26mm lens, 1/2.0” sensor) and a 13MP telephoto camera (f/3.0, 130mm), which both pack optical image stabilization (OIS) and phase detection/laser autofocus. The additional 8MP ultrawide camera (f/2.2, 16mm lens) and the 16MP selfie camera (f/2.0, 26mm) however don’t feature either.

Shooting modes
Before you even take a picture on the Reno 10X, the shooting modes set you up for success. In addition to automatic, video, and portrait modes - staples for flagships today, there’s a night, panorama, expert, time-lapse and slo-mo mode.

The 10x zoom in action…

Ultrawide lens

(Image credit: Basil Kronfli/Digital Camera World)

2x zoom setting

(Image credit: Basil Kronfli/Digital Camera World)

6x zoom setting

(Image credit: Basil Kronfli/Digital Camera World)

10x zoom setting

(Image credit: Basil Kronfli/Digital Camera World)

Camera performance

When shooting stills, despite its 48MP sensor, the Reno 10X Zoom shoots 12MP images, grabbing detail from 4 pixels and creating one ‘super pixel’. This technique works to great effect - broadening tonal range and reducing noise in tricky environments, but you can override it if you just want that extra bit of detail, and the lighting is on your side.

Results across the three main cameras impress, but the phone does have its quirks. Feed the Reno 10X Zoom good light, and it can produce excellent shots with a healthy amount of detail. It can even handle more challenging conditions, with auto-HDR, producing competitive dynamic range when compared to the competition. Skin tones are also more natural on the Reno 10X Zoom when compared to some smartphones like the Huawei P30 Pro, and photos it takes seem to have less sharpening applied - leaving you more scope to edit shots yourself.

When the lights drop, the Reno 10X Zoom also competes with Huawei’s finest, only in a more natural way. Rather than ramp up exposure, it takes the Sony Xperia 1 approach and keeps darks looking dark. While it can’t pull the level of detail the P30 Pro can, it does keep noise at bay for the most part and create a good looking shot. To brighten things up, you can also fire up the long exposure night more. This doesn’t work as well as Huawei’s but still helps very dark scenes with a handful of highlights.

Macro shots also impress, with impactful depth of field, and plenty of detail at the focal point - in a direct comparison, the Oppo Reno 10X Zoom beat out the OnePlus 7 Pro specifically in this respect. Saturation is optimised for the zingy AMOLED screen, so looks punchy on the phone but more natural when taken off. You can also customise the default saturation and contrast levels in the settings prior to shooting, which is great. Unfortunately, RAW shooting isn’t an option though, which is a real setback for anyone who’s serious about picking up the Reno 10X as a photography phone.

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10x zoom setting

10x zoom setting
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Ultra wide setting

Ultra wide setting
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Ultrawide setting..

Ultrawide setting..
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10x zoom setting

10x zoom setting
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Moving onto the zoom camera, and when it comes to photos, shooting far away objects is a dream on this phone. The Reno 10X Zoom gets you closer to your subject than the P30 Pro, and the 6x zoom that a couple of taps of the zoom button jumps to delivers impressive detail. When going to 10x (hybrid) zoom and beyond, however, picture information starts to crumble, so we’d advise against getting too ‘zoom happy’.

Unlike the P30 Pro, which can focus throughout the zoom range, intelligently switching cameras, the Reno 10X Zoom cannot focus closer than around 1.5-2m, when the telephoto camera is engaged. While its zoom shots have some advantages over the P30 Pro, therefore - more background blur and less sharpening, between this fact, and the lack of RAW support, the P30 Pro edges ahead overall.

As for the wide-angle camera, it doesn’t perform brilliantly in low light, but for everything else, it’s a convenient addition that adds versatility. The same can be said of the selfie camera, which could have benefited from autofocus, but still manages to deliver flattering shots with strong detail. 

When it comes to video, the Reno 10X Zoom falls way behind the P30 Pro, solely because it doesn’t engage the telephoto camera when zooming, instead, cropping in on the image generated by the main camera. This makes the phone a ‘superzoom’ for stills only. That being said, the fundamental video quality is good, and the fact it can shoot at up to 4K 60fps is a boon too. Combined OIS and EIS (electronic image stabilization) keep things steady too.

Oppo Reno 10X Zoom verdict

The Reno 10X Zoom is a great phone considering it costs less than most of the main players out there – undercutting the P30 Pro by a significant sum, for example. It delivers an excellent stills camera with an incredible zoom – though it isn’t without its quirks, especially when it comes to capturing video. The screen is beautiful and immersive, despite not being the sharpest on the block, and it’s also well put together, delivering a tremendous in-hand feel – despite its size. 

If you don't have an unlimited budget, and camera power is your priority, the Oppo Reno 10X Zoom is the obvious choice, even with its nuances. If screen and design are more of a priority for you, then we’d suggest you go with the OnePlus 7 Pro

Finally, if you just want the best camera phone around and don’t really care about the cost, then spend the extra and pick up the P30 Pro. 

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