Oppo Reno2 Z review: A feature-filled, mid-tier masterpiece

Oppo Reno2 Z
  • Oppo Reno2 Z
  • Oppo Reno2 Z
  • Oppo Reno2 Z
  • Expert Rating

    4.25 / 5

Pros

  • Flagship features
  • Slick software

Cons

  • Camera can be inconsistent
  • Slow Face Unlock

Bottom Line

It’s easy to spot the bargain that Oppo have smuggled into the mid-tier with the Reno2 Z

Would you buy this?

  • Price

    $ 599.00 (AUD)
Credit: Oppo

Performance - Specs, Software, Benchmarks and Battery Life

Specs

  • Processor:  Mediatek Helio P90

  • Operating System:  Android 9 

  • RAM:  8GB

  • Storage: 128GB

  • MicroSD slot: Yes

  • Headphone Jack: Yes

  • Fingerprint sensor: Yes

  • SIM: Yes

  • NFC: Yes
  • Battery:  4000mAh

  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 5, Wi-Fi, 4G, 

  • Rear Camera: 48-megapixel (f/1.7) wide lens, an 8-megapixel (f/2.2) ultrawide, 2-megapixel (f/2.4) and 2-megapixel (f/2.4)

  • Front-Facing Camera: 16-megapixel (f/2.0)

  • Dimensions: 162.4 x 75.8 x 8.7 mm 

  • Weight: 195g

Software 

As with other Oppo devices, the Oppo Reno2 Z runs on Color OS. 

The company’s attempt to fuse together the Things People Like About iOS with the Things People Like About Android. In its latest incarnation, Color OS 6.1, Oppo’s Android skin leans more towards the latter than the former. You’ve finally got an app drawer, improved notification management and a set of swipe-based navigation controls.

Credit: Oppo

There remains a nifty balance that’s been struck between offering comprehensive functionality - filling over the gaps that stock Android leaves exposed - and delivering fluid performance. 

It feels like Oppo have packed the latest version of ColorOS to the brim with features - which may not be everyone’s cup of tea - but, to their credit, it rarely feels like those features are weighing the performance of the Reno2 Z down in any meaningful way. If anything, I was struck by just how smooth and responsive the software running on the Reno2 Z was to use despite the decidedly mid-tier hardware involved. 

I often feel like the only tech reviewer in Australia who genuinely likes ColorOS, so your mileage may vary. However, in its latest form, I found little to complain about here. 

Benchmarks

When it came to the benchmarks, the difference between the Snapdragon hardware found in the Reno2 Z’s biggest competition and the MediaTek processor found in Oppo’s latest made itself known. The Reno2 Z excelled when it came to PC Mark but fell short on most of the other fronts.

Credit: Fergus Halliday

Battery Life

When it came to battery life, the Reno2 Z proved genuinely endearing in a way I didn’t expect. Sure, this particular front of the smartphone experience has always been Oppo’s forte. Nevertheless, after the underwhelming Pixel 4 XL, the Reno2 Z’s reliable and long-lasting 4035mAh battery proved itself a breath of fresh air. 

Aside from really late nights where I’d be taking lots of photos or watching way too much TikTok, I’d reliably get a full two-days of use out of a single charge. As always, your individual mileage may vary but I had a great time testing the Reno2 Z. 

The Reno2 Z supports 20W fast charging via USB Type-C. It’s hardly unique among Oppo devices in that it doesn’t support wireless charging but this remains something I’d like to see. Still, it does have Oppo’s VOOC 3.0 fast-charging - which nets you 51% battery capacity in 30 minutes of charging. 

The Bottom Line

The Reno2 Z is everything the previous model was and then some. It’s better where it counts, distinguishes itself from the competition in some key ways and it manages to provide more than enough value to stand out in a post-Pixel 3a world of mid-tier phones. In an alternative timeline where Google's budget phone didn't force the world to re-calibrate what smartphone photography at this price-point can look like, the Reno2 Z would be a slam dunk for the year's best mid-tier device.

More than that, the Reno2 Z was a refresher on everything I dig about Oppo’s approach to smartphones. Regardless of whether we’re talking about the performance, battery life, camera or design, the Reno2 Z looks to raise the foundations rather than the ceiling. It’s both an admirable approach and a case of Oppo turning up the dials on the things that they do best. 

Inevitably, value is a fickle thing to measure. But you know it when you see it and it’s easy to spot the bargain that Oppo have smuggled into the mid-tier with the Reno2 Z.

Credit: Oppo

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Read more on these topics: Oppo, Oppo Reno2 Z, Reno2 Z, Oppo Reno 2Z, Reno 2Z
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