Oppo Reno 2 Z full review

Oppo has revealed a handful of smartphones at an event held in London. In addition to Oppo Reno 2, the Asian company has revealed the second-generation Oppo Reno Z, the latest mid-ranger set to come to the UK, Spain and other countries in Europe.

Both smartphones already launched in India in August, but it’s only now that we’re seeing them in the UK. In any case, the Oppo Reno 2 Z arrives only a few months after the premiere of the original Reno Z, so is it worth the upgrade?

A few days before the official launch in London, we were able to go hands-on with the new Oppo Reno 2 Z to see what it’s all about. Here’s our hands-on impressions of the design, cameras and the internal components of the Reno 2 Z ahead of our full review in a few weeks’ time.

Price and availability

The Oppo Reno 2 Z is set to be released on 18 October in the UK and parts of Europe, with no word yet on US availability. The good news is that the Oppo Reno 2 Z is even more budget-friendly than the standard Reno 2 at only £329 in the UK. It's not available for pre-order at the time of writing, but you'll be able to buy it directly from Oppo once the smartphone is released. 

For more smartphone inspiration, take a look at our selection of the best mid-range smartphones. 

Design and build

At first glance, there aren’t many differences in terms of the design of the Oppo Reno 2 Z when compared to the original Reno Z. However, the new smartphone is somewhat taller, wider and thinner measuring in at 161.8 x 75.8 x 8.7 mm.

It’s also somewhat heavier (195g instead of 186g), although you probably wouldn’t notice the difference unless you had both in your hands. It’s still light, although with a 6.5in display you might struggle to hold it if your current smartphone is smaller.

Despite the expected mid-range price tag of the Reno 2 Z, it has a premium look thanks, in part, to Oppo’s decision to feature glass on both the front and rear of the smartphone.

The move to glass may have some worried about durability, but that’s why the company has opted to use Corning Gorilla Glass 5 glass on both sides. You should protect your Reno 2 Z with a case if you are concerned that it may get scratched, or even just to avoid fingerprint marks. We imagine that, like other Chinese manufacturers, it’ll come with a basic case in the box, but we’ll have to confirm this once we get a sample back to Tech Advisor towers.

The Oppo Reno 2 Z will be available in two models: the classic black (Luminous Black) and the much more interesting white (Sky White) in place of the Jet Black and Aurora Purple of the original Reno Z.

The latest-gen Reno Z retains the same basic design with curved edges, but we noticed during our hands-on that the side buttons are slightly more centred. The most obvious aesthetic change is the addition of two new lenses on the rear, turning the dual cameras into quad cameras, but we’ll discuss that in more detail below.

Display

The Oppo Reno 2 Z has a 6.5in AMOLED screen (0.1in larger than the original Reno Z) with a resolution of 2340 x 1080 pixels at 394 ppi. According to Oppo, the screen can display 16 million colours and boasts a maximum brightness of 430 nits.

We were not disappointed by the quality of the display during our hands-on session, featuring vibrant colours and decent levels of light. We must admit that we’ve only been able to use the new Reno Z under artificial light, but we’ll be sure to test outdoor performance once we get a sample back to the office.

Cameras

As we said, the main difference between the new Reno 2 Z and the Reno Z is the configuration of its rear camera. Having more lenses has become a trend in the mobile market, but is it necessary?

Oppo's smartphone has gone from having two rear lenses (48Mp + 5Mp) to a total of four. It has retained the main 48Mp snapper and added an 8Mp ultra-wide angle lens, a 2Mp telephoto lens and a 2Mp mono lens.

The quality of photos taken on the Reno 2 Z should be better than the original, and although it’ll be difficult to overcome the capabilities of the Huawei P30 Pro or the Samsung Galaxy Note 10, it’s nice to see Oppo trying.

Oppo has reinforced the photographic capabilities of the Reno 2 Z with key features including a dedicated dark mode, macro mode and portrait mode. Video should also be improved with Ultra Steady mode for further stabilization, but this is something we couldn’t really test during our hands-on.

If we flip it over, we find a display with virtually no bezel and, as such, no room for a selfie camera. While the original Reno Z had a teardrop display, Oppo has opted for a pop-up camera system this time around, bringing the Reno 2 Z in-line with the rest of the Reno brand.

It’s not the angled pop-up used in the original Reno, but instead a 16Mp camera embedded in a square module that rises from the body of the phone when required. While the introduction of a pop-up camera is welcome, it is surprising that Oppo has decided to ditch the higher-res 32 Mp lens of the original Reno Z.

Performance, internal components and battery

On paper, the performance of the Oppo Reno 2 Z should be faster thanks to a RAM upgrade, from 4- to 8GB. It has the same MediaTek Helio P90 CPU and IMG 9XM-HP8 GPU as the original, though, so it’s more of a performance step than a jump.

Still, according to Oppo, it should provide enough power to play as many games and binge as many Netflix shows as you want. We’ll be sure to put that to the test when we get a sample back to the office.

The original Oppo Reno Z offered 128 GB of storage as standard and while that’s not to be sniffed at, the new Reno 2 Z offers a slightly more expensive 256GB variant too.

With a capacity of 4000 mAh, the battery should last all day with average use, although if it’s anything like the original then it’ll probably last a bit longer. It’s still compatible with VOOC 3.0 technology which, according to Oppo, should charge 50% of the battery in just half an hour.

Connectivity and audio

You’ll find a 3.5mm headphone jack alongside a USB-C port on the Reno 2 Z. While the 3.5mm headphone jack was once a standard feature in smartphones, the recent explosion of wireless headphones mean many manufacturers are now ditching the port, so it’s nice to see it still present in the Reno 2 Z.

The new Oppo offers a biometric fingerprint recognition system located beneath the display. While we couldn’t test it during our hands-on, the sensor of the Reno 10x Zoom was impressively fast, so let’s hope that we see the same performance here.

In terms of connectivity, the Reno 2 Z features Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS and a Nano SIM card tray.

Software

The Oppo Reno 2 Z is set to ship with ColorOS 6.1, based on Android 9. With most mid-range smartphones still shipping with Android 9 this isn’t much of a surprise, but that is worrying is that Oppo isn’t promising future compatibility with Android 10.

The latest ColorOS update brings a new visual design with an eye-catching, clear interface, but as before, we didn’t get enough time during our hands-on to properly delve into the software to see what else has changed.

Initial verdict

Only five months after the release of the Oppo Reno Z, the Chinese company has launched the Reno 2 Z. It’s not a complete overhaul of the device, but it does boast a new camera configuration, more RAM and snazzy new colour options too.

On paper, it seems that Oppo has improved the photographic capabilities of the Reno 2 Z with a quad rear camera (48 Mp + 8 Mp + 2 Mp + 2 Mp) and a new 16Mp pop-up camera on the front, but it’s not as high-res as the 32Mp front-facing camera of the original.

The Reno 2 Z also offers excellent value for money at little over £300 in the UK. We’ll provide a more thorough verdict and star rating once we’ve got a sample back to Tech Advisor Towers, so check back soon for more in-depth analysis of the Oppo Reno 2 Z.

This review has been adapted from an original written by Alba Mora on our sister site PCWorld Espana.

Specs

Oppo Reno 2 Z: Specs

  • Operating system: ColorOS 6.1 (based on Android 9)
  • CPU: MediaTek Helio P90
  • GPU: IMG 9XM-HP8
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 128 GB/256GB
  • Display: 6.5in AMOLED (2340 x 1080, 20:9, 394 ppi)
  • Rear camera: Quad camera 48 Mp (f/1.7) + 8 Mp (f/2.2) + 2 Mp (f/2.4) + 2 Mp (f/2.4)
  • Front camera: 16 Mp (f/2.0) pop-up camera
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS, USB-C
  • Battery: 4000mAh
  • Dimensions: 161.8 x 75.8 x 8.7mm
  • Weight: 195g

Best prices today Includes Early Black Friday Deals

Retailer Price Delivery