The Oppo A9 2020 is an affordable phone with a huge array of features. It has a big screen, an even bigger battery, four rear cameras, a lot of storage and even one of the better budget chipsets.On paper the Oppo A9 2020 seems almost bafflingly good, but there are three obvious shortcomings. Its screen is not as advanced as those of the Moto G series and the outer shell is plastic. The only glass sits on the screen and cameras, the only metal around the camera housing.This is one of the best budget phones for those who tend to hit their phone hard with video streaming and gaming on the way to work. It has the screen inches and battery life to make the most of these jobs.
If that describes you then you can probably safely buy it, while if you’re looking for other things from your phone then read on to see if the Oppo A9 2020 fits the bill.
As we say, there’s no clear US release date for the phone and considering it landed in the UK and Australia the end of 2019 we wouldn’t expect Oppo to debut it there anytime soon.
Clad in plastic but looks good from a distance
Big and thick
Lacks water resistance
The Oppo A9 2020 could pass for a more expensive phone from arm’s length. Its back looks almost like curved glass, and has a finish that reacts to light. A color-shifting ‘S’ snakes across the light’s path like some older Moto G mobiles.
It’s large too, and has a slim screen notch. If you told someone you paid twice the price for the phone, they would probably believe you.
That illusion largely falls apart when you pick the Oppo A9 2020 up. The sides and back are plastic. You can tell the rear isn’t glass just by looking. Plastic tends to distort reflections around areas like the fingerprint scanner and camera housing, as the pressure flexes the rear just slightly. Glass does not bend so easily.
The Oppo A9 2020 has curved sides for comfort, but it doesn’t feel remotely as high-end as Oppo’s own Reno 2. That phone is twice the price, though, and this year even Motorola has reverted to using plastic on the rear instead of glass in the Moto G8 Plus.
Size is the other part to bear in mind. Oppo has made a budget powerhouse here, but the large screen and battery mean the A9 2020 may seem intimidatingly large to some of you. It’s also 9.1mm thick, although the slight curvature of the back does take the edge off this.
The use of plastic ceases to matter if you use the included silicone case, and you probably should probably use a case. However, the bundled one is not as good as those bundled with the Reno 2 Z and Reno 2.
The silicone plastic is stiffer, and a lack of attention to detail in its construction leads to the power button losing its click. This is oddly upsetting, and led us to removing the case – you’ll likely be able to find something better online.
Thankfully, Oppo has not also messed up the screen protector. Like most other Oppo phones, a plastic protector is attached in the factory. It saves the heartbreak of scratching your phone within two days.
The Oppo A9 2020 lacks water resistance, like almost every phone at the price. We did at one point accidentally dip the bottom of the phone in some soya milk and it’s still working fine, but this proves nothing more than that it won’t explode on contact with liquid.
6.5-inch 720 x 1600 screen
Display could be sharper but this isn’t too much of an issue
Color temperature is cold out of the box
The Oppo A9 2020 has a very large 6.5-inch screen. This is significantly larger even than the Moto G8 Plus’s 6.3-inch screen.
Those looking for problems will notice this is not a Full HD screen. It’s a 720 x 1600-pixel panel. The first limitation we noticed was something else, though.
Fresh out of the box, the Oppo A9 2020’s color temperature is quite cold, which in turn makes the just-okay color saturation look worse. One of the first things we did was to go to the Display part of the Settings menu and switch the temperature to its ‘warmer’ setting.
This doesn’t make its color reproduction a match for a high-end mobile, but does give the screen a more pleasing character.
Does the screen resolution matter? Lower pixel density is more obvious on a huge screen like this than the iPhone 11, which only has around 10% more pixels in each direction. But this usually manifests in a slight softness of text, rather than cruder-looking pixelation.
That’s thanks to Android’s excellent resolution scaling and that the panel is advanced enough to avoid making the pixel structure at all visible. We’re truly surprised by how legible tiny fonts are when you zoom out in a browser window.
In old versions of Android, text would become ugly and blocky when made of this few pixels, but it now looks good.
The Oppo A9 2020’s screen compared to the Reno Z’s
Sure, we’d prefer a Full HD screen, but that is the Oppo Reno Z’s job. And crucially, we would rather a 720p+ LCD (as seen here) than a 720p+ OLED.
OLED displays for phones use a PenTile sub pixel arrangement, in which pixels share subpixels. That means the lower pixel density clarity we see here just isn’t possible in an OLED of the same resolution (yes, an OLED would offer better contrast and color).
It’s also important to appreciate what the Oppo A9 2020 can still do very well. Even a 720p+ screen like this is perfect for YouTube streaming. Video footage still looks excellent at this resolution, and the very large canvas makes watching video more enjoyable. We thought we’d dislike this screen, but we like it, quite a lot in fact.
There’s one other thing to bear in mind too: did you know Netflix doesn’t actually stream at resolutions above 720p on most Android phones? Still, if only the sharpest text will do, consider the Moto G8 Plus.
A big screen, an almost everlasting battery and solid specs make the Oppo A9 2020 one of the best affordable phones for those who stream a lot of video, and a still great option for almost everyone else on a limited budget.
Superb battery life
Better than average night photos
Good-quality stereo speakers
Two of the four rear cameras seem to do very little
The Oppo Find X2 Pro flaunts a chunky camera assembly on its back, compromises and gets a punch hole in the display, and limits its moving bits to just the vibration motor. So it must have lost all the charm that the Find X from mid-2018 had – its elevating camera assembly was plenty cool on its own, but it also kept the back flush and the display cutout-free, only whirring up swiftly when needed. Ah, but it’s a different kind of charmer the Find X2 Pro.
For this generation, Oppo has shuffled up the priorities, and we don’t mind the new ones. For starters, an all-around impressive camera setup with big sensors and capable lenses, entirely unique to the Find X2 Pro, beats the Find X’s limited (if good for what it was) stow-away outfit. You get a 48MP 1/1.43″ f/1.7 primary cam and another 48MP 1/2.0″ f/2.2 ultra-wide, each outspeccing competitors’ offerings in one way or another. And the cherry on top of all that is the 13MP telephoto cam with a 5x periscope lens that beats the Galaxy S20 Ultra in zoom power, if not in resolution and sensor size.
Keeping the cameras static has meant a hole in the display, which isn’t ideal, particularly when the previous generation had no such blemishes. But what a display it is, indeed – high resolution, high refresh rate, high brightness, high dynamic range, high color fidelity – high everything. We’d take all that and live with the punch hole.
And that is one of very compromises on the Find X2 Pro. It doesn’t have wireless charging, but that’s not really a make or break feature, the lack of a headphone jack is hardly news at this point, and who is really going to lament the missing microSD card slot with half a terabyte of built-in UFS 3.0 storage?
The Find X2 Pro also has an IP68 rating, the ‘8’ being a first for Oppo with water and dust protection quite rare in the company’s lineup to begin with. Stereo speakers get a check mark in the specsheet too and the 65 watts in the charging section are among the most watts you can get on a phone these days.
Oppo Find X2 Pro unboxing
You get the fast charger needed to make use of all the 65W inside the box too, not at an extra cost. The adapter is quite the chunky unit, but power goes together with size. Mind you, it’s not 65 watts of PowerDelivery-compliant output, so you won’t be using that to power your laptop, nor can you expect your 65W PD charger to pump 65 watts to the Find X2 Pro. It’s a proprietary SuperVOOC 2.0 solution and you need both the adaptor and the supplied cable to achieve the full power. With another phone, it’ll do 10W max, while the Find X2 Pro itself can draw 18W from QuickCharge/PowerDelivery bricks.
The bundle includes a set of earbuds ending in a USB-C connector. Another welcome sight is the silicone case, though you may not be so keen to opt for that cheap-ish feel as opposed to the handset’s own finish, be it Vegan leather or Ceramic.
The Oppo Find X2 Pro goes for €1200 in Europe, and that’s not a modest amount of money. The all-out Galaxy S20 Ultra runs for €1350, and that relative price difference is mostly the same in other markets where the two are available. Despite the premium for the Ultra, we still feel it’s the Find X2 Pro’s main competitor.
The number above is for 128GB storage version Ultra (as others don’t seem to be in stores just yet) versus a 512GB Find, which makes it look like an even worse deal though the Galaxy does come with the option to expand that storage with a microSD card. Battery life is hardly a differentiator, with neither managing to impress, though the Find’s 36 minutes to a full charge could be key to the right buyer. Oppo‘s display is no worse than Samsung’s, which is saying something, and it even outdoes it by offering 120Hz at 1440p (the Galaxy is capped at 1080p at the HRR). The software could decide it for you as both custom jobs have their own quirks, but Samsung’s is arguably more polished.
Ultimately though, it’s the camera that sets the Ultra apart and warrants the extra money. The two are closely matched in this respect upon first glance, but the Galaxy tends to outperform the Find in most areas, with a particular advantage in low light. The Find’s ultra wide-angle cam isn’t quite the beast we hoped it to be, but even so, it, in particular, could sway you into the Oppo direction if you’re adamant about autofocus.
Other alternatives are available as well. The iPhone 11 Pro Max comes to mind, and even though it’s already more expensive in its base 64GB trim, there’s something that will justify its price to brand loyalists. The iPhone doesn’t have a periscope telephoto, but you can hardly call it a bad cameraphone. It’s missing a high refresh rate on its screen and has a notch the size of a continent, but those two aside, it’s one of the best panels you can buy. The Pro Max will outlast the Find in an endurance race, and that’s probably the one objective victory it can snatch here.
A few upcoming phones may be worth waiting for before you jump up for Find X2 Pro. The OnePlus 8 Pro should be quite intriguing if rumored specs are anything to go by, plus we can’t imagine it’ll be quite as expensive as the Find. Huawei’s P40 Pro family is the pipeline too, with a Pro (or a Pro Premium?) posed to be a fine Find alternative if you can learn to live without Google services. And an already real Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro is offering competitive specs at a little over the Find X2 Pro‘s price – this one can’t arrive at the office soon enough.
A lot of people may have bought the original Find X from 2018 simply for its one-of-a-kind elevating camera even though it wasn’t spectacular as an actual camera for its time. The Find X2 Pro from 2020 takes a whole different approach and makes for a winning combination of top-level hardware in a conventional body.
While it can’t quite compete with the Galaxy S20 Ultra in absolute image quality at the long end of its triple-cam setup, in most other cases, it delivers images and video that are hard to beat. And if we take that same Galaxy as a reference, the Find X2 Pro can teach the Ultra a thing or two.
If you’re looking for a high-end device today, we reckon you can’t go wrong with an Oppo Find X2 Pro.
Standout design, particularly if you opt for the Vegan leather version. IP68 rating is a welcome addition.
Possibly the best display on the market.
Class leading charge times, battery life you can live with.
Oppo’s fairly new Reno series has a midrange member – the Reno Z which offers all the essential features from a phone in its price range and even some improvements compared to the more expensive Oppo Reno. The device recently made its way to our office and we got to unbox it and take a look at its key features.
Starting with the design the Reno Z feels really similar to the vanilla Reno. In fact, the two devices are nearly identical as far as dimensions go with 6.4-inch AMOLED displays and a dual-layer glass build.
What you do notice with the Reno Z though is the waterdrop notch which replaces the signature shark fin pop-up mechanism from the other two Reno models. On the flip side, the selfie camera on the Reno Z comes in at 32MP which is double that of the regular model.
The paint job on our review unit is called Aurora Purple and it’s a predominately blue color with a purple tint towards the top part of the back. Speaking of the backside we have the same dual-camera setup from the Oppo Reno here with a 48MP main shooter utilizing a Quad Bayer filter and a 5MP depth sensor.
One of the biggest changes comes under the hood with the new Helio P90 SoC paired with 4GB RAM and 128 GB storage. The phone comes with Color OS 6 which is a heavily skinned version based on Android Pie with a lot of room for tinkering and customization. Audio heads will also enjoy the added Dolby Atmos support which was absent on the vanilla Reno.
Another welcome addition is the 4,000 mAh battery which should translate into ample running times. At around €300/£300 here in Europe, the Reno Z is a compelling package but we’ll have to go through our review procedure before we give out any judgments.
Oppo Reno Z specs
A few years ago, if you paid £300 for a smartphone you’d be treated to a boxy slab of plastic that was about as alluring as a trip to Slough or Milton Keynes. To this day, lazy design remains an issue at this end of the market – even the Pixel 3a is a little on the dull side visually.
Oppo’s decided to try and buck this trend, and make the Reno Z look as jazzy as possible, loading it with a wealth of flashy colour options and a few design flourishes that are normally reserved for more expensive phones. For a start, it has a glass back. This, plus my review unit’s snazzy purple colouring, instantly make it more alluring than most £300 phones. Be warned, though. As Bon Jovi sang, it gets slippery when wet and will crack if dropped without a case.
It also has a few top-end features including a Huawei P30-style dewdrop notch, dinky bezels and an in-screen fingerprint scanner. The scanner’s not quite as nippy as the P30’s but the fact the tech’s even in a phone this price is seriously impressive.
At first glance, under the hood things are also solid. Powering up the phone I was instantly stunned by how good the 6.4-inch AMOLED screen is, when compared to other phones this price. The 2340 x 1080 is suitably sharp and colours, while a little warm to the naked eye, generally look great. This, plus the Dolby Atmos stereo speaker setup, make it a great phone for Netflix bingeing in bed.
The Oppo Reno Z’s battery
Battery life is also great thanks to Oppo’s decision to load the Reno Z with a giant 4035 mAh cell and its custom VOOC Flash Charge 3.0 tech. With regular use, this combo let me easily get at least two days’ use out of the Oppo Reno X as my main work and personal phone.
This entailed listening to music on my commute, taking and making a few calls, constantly checking my social media and message feeds, plus a game of PUBG and a quick hour on Netflix before bed.
It dealt with demanding tasks like video streaming and gaming pretty well. Streaming video on Netflix with the phone screen at 150 nits (the level most people will be comfortable with), the Reno Z lost an average of 6-8% of its charge per hour, which is excellent. Most phones lose at least 10% running the same process. Gaming was the same – it lost around 12-15% per hour, which again is not to be sniffed at.
The Oppo Reno Z’s camera
On paper the camera’s a similar story. Oppo’s loaded the Reno Z with a dual-sensor rear camera setup that pairs the 48-megapixel Sony sensor seen on the OnePlus 7 with a secondary 5-megapixel “depth” snapper. Up front you’ll find a 38-megapixel selfie camera. The specs put the Reno X on a par with its arch-rival, the Motorola One Vision, which has a near-identical rear camera setup.
With real-world use I found camera performance between the two is fairly comparable. This means it’s good, but not Pixel 3a level, particularly in low light.
The camera app is fairly stripped down, but it has most of the features you’d expect, including auto, panorama, night, portrait, slo-mo and Google Lens options. The only minor issue is the fact there’s no RAW shooting option, which will annoy enthusiasts, but at this price that’s far from a deal-breaker.
Shots taken in normal light look good and match, if not beat, the One Vision for quality, though be warned – like the Motorola, shutter speeds can be a little slow and the camera can sometimes push the bokeh effect too far, giving portrait shots a slightly soft feel.
A few years ago I’d have praised the Reno’s low-light performance at this price. The phone can actually take usable images in low light. But hold it next to the Pixel 3a and the difference is clear. Pictures taken on the Pixel 3a in low light have better contrast, are less prone to noise and generally look more realistic than those taken on the Reno Z.
Though again, this is forgivable as it matches, if not beats, nearly every other competing £300 phone’s low-light performance.
The front camera paints a similar picture. For the money, you get great image quality that’s more than good enough to chronicle most drunken students’ clubbing adventures or finding-themselves trip around Europe. The only slight annoyance is that the app seems to softly “beautify” you even when the beauty mode is turned off and, once again, it can be a little aggressive when applying bokeh.
The Oppo Reno Z doesn’t have a unique selling point like the Pixel 3a’s camera. But it earns a spot as one of 2019’s leading mid-range Android phones by getting all the basics right, offering solid battery life and a great screen for bingeing on Netflix.
Great screen for the money
Solid battery life
ColorOS adds bloatware and will delay software updates
Oppo’s Reno 5G has 5G mobile internet and some of the most advanced cameras you’ll find in a phone, including a cheese wedge selfie camera that is anything but cheesy. This is a bold phone. If you have big money to spend and want cutting-edge tech, the Oppo Reno 5G deserves your attention.
And the bad bits? Oppo’s software is not the best and you need to have a long, hard think before investing in a 5G phone and contract right now. It may not be worth the extra cash just yet, and the Oppo Reno 10X Zoom otherwise gets you everything here, minus the 5G.
The first one you experience blows you away, but then you realise they’re all a bit similar, and get a bit obsessed with turrets and minarets to stop them blurring into one.
The Oppo Reno 5G has some pretty tasty minarets, mind. Sure, it has the same glass and metal framework you see everywhere, but the rear glass is matt rather than glossy. You see the same effect in some versions of the OnePlus 7.
Its cameras are also completely flush with the back. This is a slick look, but does, rationally or otherwise, make the lenses seem about 10x more vulnerable.
Oppo has an answer to this too. See that little bright dot on the Reno 5G’s rear? This is a raised dot that makes sure the phone doesn’t lie flat on its back. The super-picky might get annoyed at the very slight wobble it introduces. But we’d much rather put up with it than pick it up the Reno from an unexpectedly rough surface and see a great streaky pattern of scratches down the glass.
The pop-up selfie camera is the bit you’ll have noticed first if you’ve visited the Oppo website. Meet the cheese wedge: a motorised triangle of metal and glass that holds the selfie camera on the front, and a camera flash on the back. It’s the most unusual part of the Oppo Reno 5G, but unless you’re obsessed with selfies or use face unlock, you’ll barely see it.
We’d suggest using the in-screen fingerprint scanner anyway, as it’s just about the quickest we’ve ever used. It trashes the Samsung Galaxy S10’s, and may even outpace the already-quick OnePlus 7 Pro’s. A little circle glows green when you pick the Oppo Reno 5G up, and more-or-less the very instant thumb meets display glass, you’re on the homescreen.
Still, the Oppo Reno 5G doesn’t look quite as flash as some £900-plus phones like the Huawei P30 Pro or Samsung Galaxy S10. It doesn’t have truly curvy front glass, one of the most expensive design features around.
Some of you may be relieved at this. Such curves tend to pool reflections, and the Reno 5G’s front is all about letting the screen image fill out as much of the area as possible. This is a 6.65in 19.5:9 AMOLED display with no notches or punch holes. The Reno 5G doesn’t need them thanks to the motorised pop-out camera. It’s just what you’d expect from a great big OLED screen: bold, colourful and incredibly contrasty.
It does not go quite as bright as a Galaxy S10+ in very bright conditions and isn’t as sharp either, but you won’t notice that as often as you will a double punch hole eating into your Netflix picture. You also get a choice of vivid or relaxed colour, and there’s a colour temperature slider. This is a great screen, if not the most aggressively bright or customisable around.
The most important feature of the Oppo Reno 5G is something you can’t really see or feel, which is strange to say about a phone with a pop-up camera. We’re talking about 5G.
It’s why you can only currently buy the phone from EE in the UK, as part of the 5G contract. We got to try out EE’s 5G service at its launch a few weeks before this review. And, unsurprisingly, it hasn’t changed that much since.
If you’re dead lucky and live in one of the “fast streets” in London or the other handful of cities that have received 5G so far, it’s great. We saw speeds of up to 360Mbps while testing the Oppo Reno 5G (New Cross, if you’re wondering), but coverage is patchy. And sometimes you’ll see distinctly 4G speeds even if the phone reports a 5G connection.
5G hardware is worth getting. Coverage will only improve over the months. The problem is you’ll also be paying for a 5G service every months while you wait for it to mature. That will take a while.
Oppo seems to have positioned the Reno 5G as one of the more affordable 5G phones. That still means it’s not really affordable at all, but a world of £1200 phones, everything’s relative.
What do you miss out on besides a curvy glass front? There’s no wireless charging and no official water resistance. It is also quite heavy at 215g, but not significantly more than the OnePlus 7 Pro.
All the other fancy extras are here. You get 256GB storage, pretty loud and beefy stereo speakers, and an absence of headphone jack. Apparently that’s a feature these days.
Our Oppo Reno 5G is also much less bogged-down with awkward software than the Oppo Reno 10X we reviewed at the beginning of July. But there is still some.
Who interested in a phone this high-end is really going to use Aqua Mail or the Opera browser? We can’t imagine many takers for them. Still, the other extra apps are inoffensive tools like a file manager, and a game mode that lets you fiddle how the phone reacts to notifications and so on as you play.
Even with most of the bloat sucked out, liposuction-style, the Reno 5G’s software still isn’t the best. It runs Android 9 with the Color OS interface on top.
There are a few sensible choices, like using five columns of apps in the drawer so the Reno 5G doesn’t look like a giant kids’ toy. But it’s just not as slick or pretty as some other third-party interfaces, or as clean as Google’s own.
The Oppo Reno 5G does run well, though. It has a Snapdragon 855 processor, which would have been the fastest around had the Asus RoG Phone II not just popped up with the slightly faster “Plus” version.
It scores a mega 10191 points in Geekbench 4, and runs any Android game like a dream. If it didn’t, that’d be a sign of a badly programmed game, or one made for phones that don’t exist yet.
At a certain point talking about a phone’s power gets boring. Everything above a certain price feels fast and responsive, unless something has gone seriously wrong. Cameras are always of interest, though, and the Oppo Reno 5G has some of the most interesting yet.
It has the same setup as the Oppo Reno 10X Zoom. This may make you think it has a 10x optical zoom, but it actually has a “normal” 48MP camera, a 5x optical zoom like the Huawei P30 Pro and an 8MP ultra-wide.
Oppo fiddles with this hardware in the software to let you shoot 6x and 10x zoomed images using a button right next to the shutter.
Why 6x? It suggests the zoom lens’s extreme edges may not be as sharp as the rest of the frame. Or perhaps Oppo wants the zoomed view to look even more stabilised than it is through OIS, using the buffer to smooth out the preview image and make it easier to hold your subject in position.
We’d bet on the latter. Techy navel gazing aside, the Oppo Reno 5G offers an ultra-fun shooting experience similar to the Huawei P30 Pro. Some photography bores like to harp on about how you shouldn’t need to use a zoom, you can just use your feet. Try that at a packed gig, or when shooting the London skyline on a bridge over the river Thames. No photo of the Shard is worth a dip in that water.
The 6x lets you capture scenes other phone simply won’t. Not without a load of vague digital zoom blur. Don’t overestimate the power of the 10x mode, though. This does use digital zoom, and its images are not incredibly sharp or detailed. There are other limitations too. The zoom lens can’t focus on anything closer than about 1.2m. And you can’t use the zoom for video either.
The Oppo Reno 5G lets you shoot 2x video, but that’s a crop of the standard camera, so detail takes a hit. Still, there’s a lot to like. You can shoot stabilised video at 4K resolution, normal shots look pretty great and shooting sharp 6x photos is quite easy. Low-light handling is reasonable too.
The Oppo Reno 5G is up there with the best, if not quite a match for the Huawei P30 Pro. Image quality doesn’t reach quite the same heights at its best, and there are a few more technical roadblocks. Still, once you’ve experienced a super zoom like this, you won’t want to go back. 16MP selfies are solid too, although again not quite a match for the best from the Google Pixel 3 XL. And slightly blurred shots are more common than the high-end average.
You get great battery life as well as unusual cameras.
The Oppo Reno 5G has a 4065mAh battery with fast charging, and its real-world stamina is excellent. The day before writing this, for example, it had 48% charge left by 11:30pm. It lasted until 4pm the next day before needing a recharge, having hit the 3% charge danger zone. And that was following a good amount of audio streaming.
Wireless charging is the one missing battery element, just like the OnePlus 7 Pro. A fairly large frame and high weight may make the Reno 5G seem a techy burden, but after a few days you realise this is actually quite a low maintenance phone.
OPPO RENO 5G VERDICT
The Oppo Reno 5G is a great phone, and one of the more affordable first-wave 5G models.
We’re just not sure you should buy this instead of the Oppo Reno 10X Zoom, which is largely the same but without 5G. If it was £50 extra SIM-free and you were planning on keeping it for several years before upgrading, it’d be no contest. 5G is the way forwards.
But in the UK at least you have to buy the Oppo Reno 5G as part of a 5G contract. They’re expensive for now and, if you have not hit the geographical jackpot, not necessarily all that useful just yet.
162 x 77.2 x 9.3 mm
6.6-inch 2340 x 1080 pixel AMOLED
Snapdragon 855 CPU
8GB RAM (internal) 256GB
48 MP wide camera 13MP 5x zoom camera 8 MP ultrawide 16MP selfie camera
The Oppo Reno2 Z came just a few months after the Oppo Reno series debuted in India. The spec-sheet and the price both indicate the smartphone is not an upgrade over the Reno or the Reno 10X Zoom. Instead, the Reno2 Z becomes the entry point into the Reno series. Oppo has maintained consistency in the series with bezel-less displays, unique colour finishes and multiple cameras. Only, instead of a Qualcomm chipset, the Reno2 Z is powered by a MediaTek Helio P90 SoC.
The MediaTek Helio P90 powering the Reno2 Z is MediaTek’s flagship chipset for the first half of the year. The chipset’s performance is comparable to the Snapdragon 710, but price-wise, the Reno2 Z competes with the Redmi K20 Pro and the Asus 6z among others, both of which tout the Snapdragon 855 SoC.
the Reno2 Z lags well behind the high-end value flagships like the Asus 6z and the Redmi K20 Pro. But it did manage to beat the Redmi K20 in some of the benchmarks, and in the rest, they were quite neck to neck. Despite lagging behind, honestly didn’t find a big difference in usability. The phone felt fast enough to get through the day accomplishing all my daily tasks with ease.
The bezel-less display is a delight to play games on. Games like Asphalt 9 and PUBG Mobile take up the entire screen and at full brightness, it’s quite an experience. The quality of graphics on these games were also of high quality, making full use of the PowerVR GPU inside. The frame rates are almost as good as you’d get on Snapdragon powered devices in that price range, but the stability is right up there with some of the best we’ve seen.
The Reno2 Z runs on ColorOS 6.1, the same operating system that powers smartphones from Realme. It’s fast and even offers an app drawer. The UI design suits the full screen experience with spaced-out icons, punchy colours and slick animations. Only, Settings options are not arranged the way you’d usually see in other Android smartphones. I had to struggle to find the keyboard settings. Even in the camera app, the option to zoom at the bottom near the viewfinder, while the option to switch to ultrawide is on the top shelf, and the night mode, pro mode and the rest are stacked under a menu list.
Having said that, the gestures on the Reno2 Z works pretty well. I particularly liked how Oppo keeps you from going back to the home screen if you accidentally swipe from the bottom while playing a game. You have to swipe and hold to go back. ColorOS also offers a gaming mode where you switch between ‘Balanced’ and ‘Competition Mode’, the latter of which blocks calls, notifications and release memory.
The UI is still quite bloated though. Oppo has its own suite of apps that are basically alternatives to Google apps like Chrome, Play Store, and the likes. More than that, there are apps like WPS Office, ORoaming, Helo and Soloop that are more relevant for the Chinese market than in India.
The Reno2 Z comes with a 4000mAh battery that consistently lasted over a day during my time of use as a daily driver. More than that, the phone supports Oppo’s VOOC Flash Charge 3.0 which delivers 20W power to top up the battery in around an hour and half. The battery drain was also quite conservative during gaming, dropping 5 percent both while playing PUBG Mobile for 15 minutes and watching Big Bang Theory on Netflix for 30 minutes.
The camera setup on the Reno2 Z is one of the reason to get this smartphone. The 48MP quad camera setup is unique in the sense that apart from the primary 48MP wide sensor and the 8MP ultra-wide lens, there’s a 2MP monochrome sensor and a 2MP depth sensor and the camera ‘intelligently’ decides which to use when. It also doesn’t have the 10X hybrid zoom from the Reno 10X Zoom or the 5X hybrid zoom from the Reno2. Instead, you only get 5X digital zoom, partly why it’s the most affordable in the Reno lineup. Nevertheless, the primary 48MP wide camera works quite well.
The Reno2 Z’s 48MP primary camera offers one of the best optimised performance. All the shots I took in the day came out super sharp with lots of details. Even the colours and dynamic range were on point with excellent details in the shadows and highlights.
The wide-angle lens is also works quite well in the day, but I did notice an unusual warm tinge in the ultrawide photos which isn’t there in photos from the primary camera. More than that, the details are much softer from the ultrawide lens.
The 48MP camera also offers 2x and 5x digital zoom. The former works mostly well retaining most of the details, but at 5x zoom, you can see the edges tear and the pixels starting to show. Not recommended at all.
Also, I observed you get better results with the AI-powered Dazzle Mode turned off. The mode simply boosts the contrast in the photos and I mostly got photos that looked like posters using that mode. Turn it off, and the results are much more natural.
Despite a full-fledged low-light mode, low-light imaging is a weak spot for the Reno2 Z. It gets the colours and the brightness right, but the details and sharpness are messed up, giving a dull haze in the photo. The Night Mode also has an additional Tripod Mode where the shutter is kept open for longer when the phone is kept steady either on a flat surface or a tripod. The results are slightly better but nothing extraordinary. But the good thing about it is that the night mode works with both the ultrawide and the primary lens.
Selfies and portraits have been a strongpoint in Oppo smartphones for quite some time. They have literally sold phones on the basis of selfies, and the Reno2 Z doesn’t disappoint. Yes, the pesky beautifying algorithms still work overtime, but you can turn it off and get natural looking portraits and selfies
Despite not having an OIS or even EIS, the camera was able to take a super steady video while I was sitting in a car, with pristine details and balanced colours. You can check out the clip shared above to get an idea how good the mode is.
DESIGN AND DISPLAY
The Reno2 Z looks quite different from the other premium offerings in its price range. Where most tend to go overboard with the gradient design, the Reno2 Z’s gradient design is more muted, and I found it quite premium-looking. We received the Sky White variant which plays varying shades of blue highlighted along a central strip (where it’s written Designed for Reno) and along the edges. I liked the fact that the camera module is completely flushed to the body and there’s the tiny dot that keeps them from getting scratched on a flat surface. Rounded edges help in improving the ergonomics and it’s actually quite easy to use while on the go. It’s also well protected with Gorilla Glass 5 on both the front and the back. You even get a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a single speaker housed on the edge of the screen on top.
The Reno2 Z’s display stretches all the way to the edges with razor thin bezels on all sides except the bottom. The bottom chin is a bit too prominent. The panel itself is quite bright. We registered 693 lux of peak brightness and 7 lux at its lowest, which is quite impressive. The panel itself is AMOLED and can produce vibrant colours with high contrast. The touch response is also quite decent.
The Reno2 Z may not be the best performer in this segment, but it still manages to offer a hassle-free, premium experience.
The Reno2 Z is primarily aimed at those who desire a premium experience on a budget. The price is still on the higher side if you take into account phones like the Redmi Note 8 Pro and the Realme X2, but for that extra premium, you get a design that’s both easy to use and nice to look at. More than that, the camera performance will please any casual photographer while amateur mobile gamers will find gaming on this smartphone quite delightful. Overall, the Reno2 Z may not be the best performer in this segment, but it still manages to offer a hassle-free, premium experience.
The Oppo Reno 10x zoom is exceptionally looking glass-sandwich phone, building on the maker’s increasingly solid record of designing phones that stand out for the right reasons. It has a notch-less AMOLED at the front and a shark fin pop-up selfie camera that’s unlike anything we’ve seen before.
The triple camera over at the back is this Reno’s centerpiece, in case you somehow forgot about phone’s full model name. It has the large-sensor 48MP primary module, with bright and stabilized lens, an 8MP ultra-wide-angle snapper, and a 13MP snapper with periscopic lens for 5x optical and 10x hybrid zoom, ergo the Reno 10x zoom. That’s a setup very similar to the Huawei P30 Pro, which we found to be the most versatile cameraphone around, so color us intrigued.
The rest of the Reno is standard as flagships go these days – a Snapdragon 855 chipset with lots of RAM and storage, a 4,000+ mAh battery with VOOC fast charging, optical under-display fingerprint reader (spoiler alert: it’s blazing fast!), stereo speakers, and Android Pie with the newest Color launcher.
Oppo Reno 10x zoom specs
Body: Aluminum frame, Gorilla Glass 5 back, Gorilla Glass 6 front, 162×77.2×9.3mm, 210g; Ocean Green and Jet Black color schemes.
The Oppo Reno 10x zoom has a motorized pop-up selfie camera that makes it pretty much impossible to secure against water. Not that Oppo had IP-rated phones before that, but in case you were wondering – the Reno is neither water, nor dust protected officially. The teardowns are yet to reveal if there are some ingress sealings as was the case with the OnePlus 7, though we still would keep the phone away from water just in case.
Unboxing the Oppo Reno 10x zoom
We have to admit we are already spoiled by other Oppo phones and we always expect a rich retail package from each new Oppo flagship. The good news is the Reno 10x zoom‘s managed to deliver.
The Reno is bundled with a 20W VOOC charger and a VOOC-compatible USB-C cable. There is also a premium-looking pair of in-ear headphones ending on a USB-C jack. Some extra buds are supplied, too.
But that’s not all. Oppo is also throwing a very nice case and the Reno also comes with an applied screen protector.
This year the pop-ups are thriving as the makers are getting rid of the unsightly notches. And while the Reno 10x zoom is hardly the first one to utilize a motorized pop-up, its solution represents a completely new take on the otherwise fast spreading technology.
The company has a rich history with moving parts starting with the manually rotating camera of the Oppo N1 in 2013 and the motorized rotating snapper of the Oppo N3 the year after that. The Find X and F11 Pro both have different kind of motorized pop-ups – the X’s entire top part slid up revealing all cameras, while the F11 Pro had a small pop-up for the selfie shooter only. And yet just a year later the Oppo Reno 10x zoom brings another novelty solution.
The phone looks like a regular glass-sandwich flagship. The front is all screen glass, no notch; the back is all frosty glass with many cameras; and a one metal frame holds everything together.
But the closer look reveals the maker’s own touches and its personal take on the design.
The whole front is occupied by a 6.6″ AMOLED with nicely rounder corners and minimalistic bezels. There are no eyesores around, be it a cutout or a punch hole. It’s as immersive as it can get these days.
Keeping the OLED panel safe is the latest Gorilla Glass 6, also known as the toughest glass on Earth as per Apple’s PR claims. It’s almost completely flat, aside from the almost unnoticeable 2.5D edges existing only ensure smooth sliding of your fingers towards the edges.
In the lower part of the screen is an optical fingerprint reader, which is the fastest we’ve tried to date. It’s super accurate and is a good match for the conventional sensors in terms of speed. We’d guess it’s the same one used on the OnePlus 7 Pro, though in our experience it behaves a little bit better on the Reno even if at this point the differences are small enough not to matter.
The pop-up piece has a triangular shape this time around and takes up most of the top part of the Reno. It holds the actual earpiece that also doubles as a speaker, the 16MP selfie camera, and a very-well disguised LED flash. Don’t worry though – you don’t need to raise the pop-up for every call as sound does seep in through almost invisible tiny gaps.
Interestingly, on the back of this pop-up is the another flash – the dual-LED used by the main camera. We can understand why Oppo has put it there – with all these new modes for shooting in the dark, the flash is seeing less usage and here it sits hidden from sight until needed.
The motor-driven pivoting module opens in 0.8s seconds – that’s quick enough to even be usable for face unlocking purposes although it’s hardly the quickest solution. Oppo guarantees up to 200,000 actuations without fail translating into 11 years of raising it 50 times a day, and that’s plenty.
The mechanism also has some smarts behind it and will retract automatically if the phone senses it’s falling, protecting the shark fin from impact. Additionally, it won’t try to open if it feels resistance and will instead try again a moment later.
The back of the Reno 10x zoom is really interesting as well. It’s made of Gorilla Glass 5 and is slightly curved towards its longer sides. Most of the glass on the Green model has this very familiar frosty finish, which we’ve grown to like for the past two generations of Oppo and OnePlus phones. It almost feels like metal, but it actually is glass and the feeling on touch is pretty cool and unique.
The Reno 10x is available in two colors – Ocean Green and Jet Black – only the first of those has the frosted finish we talked about, while the Black is just regular glossy black. Both options have some special layer that adds up for gradient effects under different light, so the Reno would be pretty cool either way.
There is no camera hump on the back of the Reno. All three snappers are sitting flush with the glass, which is such a rarity these days and we had to check this twice. You can easily notice the glossy accents around the snappers and the thin line with the Oppo logos. These interruptions work very well for the rear and even if we’ll never stop being amused by the “Oppo, designed by Oppo” labels, we find them to work well to diversify the back.
The camera setup itself includes a 48MP snapper on top, the an 8MP ultra-wide-angle shooter in the middle, and the end of the 130mm periscope lens for the 13MP sensor are the third thing you can see.
You’ve probably noticed the tiny circle surrounded by a green paint. We thought it’s purely for decoration, another design accent if you will, but we realized it does serve a purpose – it protrudes just enough to keep the camera glasses from scratching when the Reno is lying on a flat surface.
The frame of the Oppo Reno 10x zoom is made of metal and matches the green paint of the back. It has the same frosty finish and some sharper carvings, which not only boost the looks, but the grip as well.
The Oppo Reno 10x zoom has stereo speakers – the earpiece doubles as a loudspeaker, while the other one has a grille at the bottom of the phone, next to the USB-C port. Also at the bottom is the hybrid-SIM slot.
There is no 3.5mm audio jack on the Reno, nor an IR blaster.
The Reno 10x zoom measures 162 x 77.2 x 9.3 mm – about as compact as a phone with a 6.6″ screen. It’s 4mm taller and 4mm wider than the Huawei P30 Pro with its 6.47″ display. The Reno is quite heavy at 210g though, about 20g heavier than the P30 Pro.
The Oppo Reno 10x zoom is a large phone, no two words about that. But it also offers one of the most immersive experience you can get today thanks to its uninterrupted AMOLED screen.
Handling the Reno 10x zoom is reasonably comfortable with the frosted finish and sharper frame delivering a nice boost. Even without the supplied case, the Reno isn’t slippery and overall we never felt we’d drop it while shooting pictures, playing games or just browsing on it.
The Oppo R17 Pro or RX17 Pro as it’s known in Europe for trademark reasons is the latest arrival in our office. It offers a premium design and feel with a gradient color finish on the back that unlike anything else in the market. On this occasion we got the Emerald Green variant which looks a bit more conservative than the so-called Radiant Mist color.
A Snapdragon 710 chipset is ticking under the hood, so we expect great CPU performance combined with high power efficiency. You get 8GB of RAM with 128GB of internal storage and unlike the OnePlus 6T, which shares much of the design, the R17 Pro offers expandable storage if you sacrifice the second SIM slot.
A gorgeous 6.4-inch AMOLED display sits on the front with 1080 x 2340 pixel resolution (tall 19.5:9 aspect ratio) and a minimalist notch on the top. The bezels all around are super slim including the bottom chin.
A 25MP shooter sits on the notch with f/2.0 aperture while the back packs a rather unorthodox triple camera setup. The main module has variable aperture f/1.5-2.4 and a 12MP sensor with OIS. The secondary camera has 20MP resolution, but its usage mostly boils down to sensing.
The third unit is a 3D TOF (time-of-flight) stereo sensor that we’ve previously mostly seen in advanced face unlock implementations. However, putting it on the back means that’s not the case here – you get some Animoji-style gimmicks for now, while a precise ruler for the camera app is coming through a software update.
Yet, the two centerpiece features of the Oppo R17 Pro are certainly the optical in-display fingerprint reader and SuperVOOC fast charging that can top up the 3,700 mAh battery in just 35 minutes. The appropriate 50W charger is included in the retail package so you can enjoy the hard-to-believe charging speeds right out of the box.
The Oppo R17 Pro will now go through our extensive testing so we can make a better assessments of its market prospects.
The Oppo F9/F9 Pro is yet another installment in the hugely popular Oppo mid-range series. It’s the first phone in the family with a dual-camera on the back and backtracks on the screen cutouts by moving to a tiny waterdrop notch.
You have probably noticed we are using the F9/F9 Pro inscription for this review and there is a reason for that. Oppo has chosen a rather awkward approach to the naming of its mid-ranger.
In India – one of the key markets for the F-series – the F9 is available in two versions. There is the F9 Pro with 6GB of RAM, a 25MP selfie camera and VOOC flash charging, and the regular Oppo F9 with 4GB of RAM, a 16MP selfie shooter, and no VOOC charging.
Yet in every other market Oppo is selling only the F9 but with specs matching the Indian pro version(6GB, 25MP, VOOC). So, the phone we got for review is called F9, but specs-wise it’s identical to the F9 Pro as seen in India. We hope this clears it up and we’ll refer to the phone as just F9 from here on.
Looking beyond the confusing naming, the Oppo F9 is actually a very attractive phone that comes with the trendy gradient paint jobs freshened with star or diamond patterns.
The internals are well chosen too – the Helio P60 chip has already proven as a solid mid-range performer, you get a dual-camera on the back with bright lens and a super high-res selfie snapper. Add the large battery with VOOC support and it looks like a great package. Sadly we are still seeing a dated microUSB port.
The Oppo F9 is also among the first to come with the latest and toughest to break Gorilla Glass 6. The new glass is shatter-proof for a dozen of drops from one meter, giving you some welcome peace of mind.
Oppo F9 (F9 Pro) specs:
Body: Gorilla Glass 6 body, plastic frame, 156.7 x 74 x 8 mm, 169g
Memory: 4 or 6 GB RAM, 64GB of storage, (dedicated) microSD slot
Camera: Dual: 16MP (f/1.8) + 2MP for depth sensing, phase detection autofocus; 1080p @ 30fps video
Selfie cam: 25MP (f/2.0), 1080p video
OS: Android 8.1 Oreo with ColoOS 5.2
Battery: 3,500 mAh, 20W VOOC flash charging
Connectivity: Dual Nano-SIM; microUSB (USB 2.0), Bluetooth 4.2, GPS, GLONASS, FM radio
Misc: Rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, bottom-firing loudspeaker, 3.5mm audio port
The Oppo F9 stopped short of implementing the under-display fingerprint reader of its vivo V11 cousin, but at this point of the development of the technology it’s unclear if we should count that against it. The F9‘s rear mounted sensor may lack the geeky appeal, but is always-on, accurate, and blazing-fast – three things you can’t say for the V11’s reader.
We have the cool Twilight Blue model of the Oppo F9 Pro for this review and it’s time we proceed to unbox it.
Unboxing the Oppo F9
In addition to the Oppo F9 unit, you will be getting a VOOC-compatible microUSB cable, the 20W VOOC charger itself, and an EarPod-like headset. The non-VOOC supporting non-Pro Oppo F9 in India comes packed with a 10W regular charged instead.
If your want a beautiful mid-range smartphone has to be beautiful and an instant eye-catcher, the Oppo F9 is the right device for the job.
The almost bezelless front is a welcome sight and the waterdrop-like notch is far less objectionable than the large cutout on the F7. It wastes far less screen estate and some might even argue that it looks like a cool accent.
Just don’t put too much faith in those official press renders as they show the screen going nearly edge to edge, which is not quite the story in real life. Still, the F9 offers some of the highest screen-to-body ratios in the price range and that’s already a huge thing the phone has going for it.
Upon closer look next to the 25MP selfies camera you can also notice a tiny aperture for the proximity sensor.
The earpiece grille is almost invisible up at the top – in-between the frame and the display itself.
Moving on to the back, the Oppo F9 manages to impress again. A gradient paint job, a diamond-like pattern, and besides the Oppo logo – no inscriptions to spoil the looks.
The colors also change depending on the available light with our Twilight Blue model going from light cyan to dark blue and even black. The shimmering diamond pattern is clearly visible if sufficient is available but disappears almost completely in the dark.
The same is valid for the Sunrise Red model, though it looks a bit flashier with a palette of lilac, pink, orange and red.
The Starry Purple has a lot in common with the vivo V11 – it also has a gradient in the purple shades, but instead of a diamond pattern it has tiny dots, which look like thousands of stars.
The always-on fingerprint scanner and the dual-camera are the only things of real interest at the back. The snappers are accompanied by a single LED flash and while it all forms a small hump, it’s not big enough to make the phone wobble.
The Oppo F9 is among the first smartphones to make use of Corning’s toughest Gorilla Glass to date – the sixth revision. It’s supposed to survive a dozen of drops from up to one meter.
The frame holding those pieces of Gorilla Glass, is made of plastic but painted in the same cool gradient as the back, sans the diamond-pattern, of course. It has a glossy finish and is slippery, but its slightly curved shape and the bulging screen enclosure improve the depth of the phone and help provide decent overall grip.
The Oppo F9 has everything as far as connectivity features are concerned – there is a 3.5mm audio port and it features a triple card slot. The latter accommodates two nanoSIMs and a microSD card slot, so you won’t have to choose between dualSIM functionality and memory expansion.
The only letdown is the old-school microUSB slot, but it supports VOOC flash charge, so at least from a functionality standpoint it’s not too bad.
The Oppo F9 spreads at 156.7 x 74 x 8 mm and weighs 169g – almost identical footprint to the F7, but 11g heavier.
Handling the Oppo F9 is a pleasure, but not as immersive as looking at it. You can tell the frame is plastic, and the grip is mediocre. The F9 is also a fingerprint magnet and it will be smudgy all the time – maintaining those great looks will take some effort, we are afraid.
The Oppo F9 packs a 6.3″ IPS LCD screen of 1080p resolution with a very decent pixel density of 409ppi.
The native resolution is 1,080 x 2,340 – that’s 19.5:9 aspect – one of the tallest among the most recent smartphones. While we’ve seen other screens of such tall ratio, they typically have much larger notches, so the usable area is still close the 18:9 ratio of yesteryear. Here however the waterdrop notch leaves more of the height available to the UI.
The Oppo F9/F9 Pro display proved to be an excellent performer in our display test, pumping out north of 520 nits of maximum brightness. Combined with the deep blacks the F9’s display posted an excellent contrast of 1800:1. The minimum brightness level of 3.4 nits is also nice, meaning you can comfortably use it in complete darkness.
Oppo R15 Pro
Xiaomi Mi A2
Xiaomi Mi A2 Lite
Xiaomi Pocophone F1
Oppo Realme 1
Oppo Realme 2
Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 AI Dual Camera
The Oppo F9 did well in our sunlight legibility test, posting a fine score for an LCD panel. In real-world terms, the handset remains perfectly usable outdoors.
Sunlight contrast ratio
The color rendering is all over the place with an average deltaE of 6.9 and maximum deviation of 12.3 at point white – the screen has a noticeable blue tint and everything looks colder than it should be. If you set the color temperature all the way to Warmer end of the temperature slider, you’ll get one more accurate color presentation with an average deltaE of 4.9 and maximum deviation ot 7.8 at point white (still towards blue).
The Oppo F9 is powered by a large 3,500 mAh battery. It offers Oppo’s custom solution called VOOC Flash Charging and requires using the bundled 20W charger and special cable combo, which can be limiting.
The 20W adapter can bring the Oppo F9 battery from 0% to about 57% in around 30 minutes, which is quite rapid.
The Oppo F9 scored an excellent result in our battery test with a 94-hour Endurance rating. It did a great job in all tested scenarios – video playback, calls, web browsing and even stand-by
Our endurance rating denotes how long a single battery charge will last you if you use the Oppo F9 for an hour each of telephony, web browsing, and video playback daily. We’ve established this usage pattern, so our battery results are comparable across devices in the most common day-to-day tasks. The battery testing procedure is described in detail in case you’re interested in the nitty-gritties. You can also check out our complete battery test table, where you can see how all of the smartphones we’ve tested will compare under your own typical use.
There is one speaker on the Oppo F9, and it’s at the bottom. It posted a Very Good score in our loudness test – 2db shy of the Excellent mark. The sound quality is excellent with rich and deep sound.
Pink noise/ Music, dB
Ringing phone, dB
Oppo R15 Pro
Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 AI Dual Camera
Oppo Realme 2
Oppo Realme 1
Xiaomi Mi A2 Lite
Xiaomi Pocophone F1
Xiaomi Mi A2
Oppo F9 did great when hooked to an active external amplifier – it delivered very loud output that was perfectly accurate too. There’s really little else we could want here.
Plugging in a pair of headphones delivered a blow to volume levels, which sunk to average levels. Some intermodulation distortion and a moderate amount of stereo crosstalk crept in too, so the performance is not really worth writing home about here. It should still do just fine if you are not a huge audiophile, though.
IMD + Noise
Oppo F9 (headphones)
vivo V11 (headphones)
Xiaomi Mi A2
Xiaomi Mi A2 (headphones)
Samsung Galaxy A6+ (2018)
Samsung Galaxy A6+ (2018) (headphones)
Android Oreo and Color OS
The Oppo F9 runs on ColorOS 5.2, based on Android 8.1 Oreo. The launcher benefits from a so-called AI engine with real-time translation, fast Face Unlock, navigation gestures, and split-screen multi-tasking. Introduced with v5.0 are also new app shortcuts (long tap), new security features including safe, and better gaming mode with WeChat integration.
ColorOS isn’t as bloated as it used to be, but it’s still very far from stock Android. It comes pre-loaded with social networking apps, a document editor, and some minor-footprint apps.
The so-called AI builds on-device user behavior models for faster app startups and better resource management. It also uses this behavior to show relevant information on the left-most homescreen pane – calendar appointments, quick shortcuts, weather, world clock, package tracking, flight info, among others. You can configure those, or just leave them to the “AI.”
The user interface is your typical Chinese manufacturer’s launcher familiar. There’s no app drawer on the default launcher. Instead, every app you install gets dumped onto the homescreen. A long tap on some of those app will reveal some quick shortcuts – a feature that failed to get momentum but many makers still decided to “borrow” from Apple.
The Lockscreen features a continually changing slideshow of images. You can subscribe to several different channels (e.g., photos of nature or cars or others) or provide your own imagery.
There is a proper fingerprint scanner on the back of the Oppo F9. It’s always-on, very fast and accurate. You can also set up face unlock in addition to it – it’s equally fast as the F9 wakes up the moment you pick it up.
As any other Oppo, you can spruce up the UI with Themes. The Theme Store features both whole themes and just wallpapers, sorted into categories (including free and paid ones).
The notification shade features notifications, quick toggles, and a brightness slider.
One of the most notable additions to Oppo‘s custom ROM has to be the Full-Screen Gesture model. Bigger display and diminishing bezels tend to cause some ergonomic issues and while the F9 might not be there yet, the company is already trying its best to get you used to what’s coming.
When enabled, Full-Screen Gesture navigation positions three small lines at the bottom of the UI but you can choose to hide those lines. Swiping up from the middle one acts like a home button but if you stop the gestures mid-way – you’ll summon the task switcher (like on the iPhone X). Swiping on the left or right ones acts as Back. You can change one of those to open the recent apps manager if you like – we sure did.
If you don’t want to go there you get the option of standard Android navigation bar to fall back to.
Clone apps and file safe functions are on board, as well as real-time translation thanks to an improved voice assistant.
There is a Phone Manager that handles memory cleaner functions, app permissions and encryption, and virus scanning.
Naturally, multimedia is handled by Oppo‘s default apps. There are feature-rich Gallery, Music player, Videos, and even FM radio.
An improved Game Center allows you to handpick which notifications to pass through when you are gaming. It now supports WeChat Voice integration, so no more switching to WeChat if you get a call.
Finally, there are various screen-off gestures available, allowing you to launch apps without even unlocking the phone. Those are hardly more than a gimmick though, particularly given how quickly the Oppo F9 unlocks.
Performance and benchmarks
The Oppo F9 employs the same chipset powering the Oppo F7 and R15 – the Helio P60. The MediaTek’s P60 packs an octa-core processor with 4x Cortex-A73 @2.0GHz cores and 4x Cortex-A53 @2.0GHz cores. The presence of A73 cores is a serious boost the Android’s day-to-day operations.
There is a triple-core Mali-G72 GPU to handle graphics. We already know this is not the best in the mid-range class, but it’s no disaster either.
The Oppo F9 comes with either 4GB or 6GB of RAM in India with the latter being sold as F9 Pro there. Outside India the F9 is available only with 6GB RAM much like our unit.
As usual we’ll start our benchmark tests with Geekbench. A single Cortex-A73 core ticking at 2.0GHz is only bested by the 2.4GHz A73 one inside the Honor Play’s Kirin 970, and the Kryo 385 inside the Pocophone’s Snapdragon 845.
GeekBench 4.1 (single-core)
Higher is better
Oppo F9 also has enough power for multi-core tasks. The only phone that’s noticeably faster than the F9 in its price range is again the Pocophone with its Snapdragon 845.
GeekBench 4.1 (multi-core)
Higher is better
The three of those Mali-G72 cores make up for a decent mid-range performer – its scores falls somewhere between the flagship graphics of the Honor Play with the same Mali-G72 GPU but with 12 cores, and the mediocre punch of the S625 (Mi A2 Lite). The GPU scores close to Snapdragon 660’s Adreno 512 (Mi A2, vivo V11).
GFX 3.1 Manhattan (onscreen)
Higher is better
GFX 3.1 Car scene (onscreen)
Higher is better
The F9 ranked lower in BaseMark OS, though its score is not much behind its key competitors.
Basemark OS 2.0
Higher is better
The benchmarks show the Helio P60 is a very decent performer for a mid-ranger. It has a great processor and adequate graphics, which is what we expected from it. We ran all kinds of games and we spotted almost no issues whatsoever with lag or graphics. Hiccups might occur here and there, but not often enough to ruin the overall experience.
The Android + Color OS combo duo runs blazing fast and the phone remained cool, even after extensive benchmarking. There were no signs of throttling as a result of that, which is nice.
All-round camera experience
The Oppo F9 packs a dual camera on its back, although the 16MP primary sensor behind bright f/1.8 lens does all of the lifting with the 2MP secondary unit being a mere depth sensor. Phase-detection autofocus is available, and there is a single LED flash next to those cameras.
The main sensor is nothing to phone home about really – 1/3.1″ in size with 1.0µm pixels. In fact it’s smaller than the 25MP selfie snapper with its 1/2.8″ size and 0.9µm pixels.
The camera app offers the so-called AI-boost, which is a fancy name for scene recognition. You’ll see a small icon when a scene is successfully recognized, and the software will tweak all settings accordingly. Food, snow, pets (dogs and cats), sunsets, grass, among other scenes, are identified mostly correctly.
The interface of the camera app has borrowed a lot from the iOS app. Most settings are on the left (or top, depending on the orientation), while different modes are selected on the right (or bottom) next to the shutter key.
The app offers two trendy modes – 2x telephoto zoom and blurred background. The 2x mode have a dedicated shortcut on the viewfinder, but the zoom is purely digital zoom. The Portrait Mode is on the rolodex and it uses the secondary 2MP cam for depth information.
There are a few settings, including location tagging and guidelines, separated out in their own menu in the phone’s settings. There is a total lack of any clear resolution control for stills. All you get is a choice of aspects, between the standard 4:3 one, 1:1 and 16:9. At first glance it’s unclear which aspect ratio is native to the sensor, and you have to go through some trial and error until you see that 4:3 shots give you the most resolution.
Expert mode is available for those seeking more manual controls. It comes with a handy horizon level and can change most settings on the primary camera (this mode doesn’t work with the selfie cam). The shutter speed control offers fine adjustment and it’s good mostly for very low-light shooting – it starts at 1s and increments at full stops to a maximum of 16s. Manual focus adjustment is present as well.
In good light the Oppo F9 images turned out nice with enough resolved detail, excellent contrast, and accurate colors. The dynamic range is slightly above average – there are clipped highlights here and there, but nothing that the Auto HDR can’t fix. The noise is all well controlled – an improvement over the Oppo F7. The foliage presentation also got better since the F7, but the grass is still often smudgy.
The Oppo F9 offers you a 2x zoom shortcut in the camera app, even if it doesn’t have a telephoto lens. This means the 2x samples are just cropped and then digitally upscaled to 16MP, which means they have poor detail and are generally useless.
As we said, the Auto HDR mode is pretty good at catching the contrasty scenes and will fix those blown highlights for you at the expense of a minor decrease in contrast.
The 16MP camera on the Oppo F9 has bright f/1.8 lens and it does help the pictures at night but the lack if stabilization is taking its toll. Half of the low-light samples we took with the F9 came out blurry, while the usable ones are still far from spectacular – the noise-reduction algorithm wipes away most of the fine detail.
If you have a tripod or you can stabilize the Oppo F9, then you can snap pictures like these using the manual mode.
Feel free to pixel peep in our Photo compare tool – we’ve pre-selected a couple of phones we found relevant, but those can easily be replaced from the drop-down menus.
The Portrait Mode spits high-res 16MP images. The photos are very good – subject separation works well, there aren’t many abrupt transitions from sharp to blurred, the bokeh is nice, and overall – those are among the better portraits we’ve seen.
The F9 offers a few Portrait Lightning modes if you are into that kind of effects.
Oppo F-series phones used to go be self-named Selfie experts, but the company has dialed down on the use of that particular title. Despite this, the F9 features a high-res 25MP selfie cam identical to the one on the Oppo F7. It doesn’t have autofocus, which is rather disappointing though.
The Oppo F9 supports the so-called 3-HDR tech for the selfie camera. It’s a combination of tricks that results into better HDR selfies with the HDR effect applied in real-time and visible on the viewfinder. You can turn that off if you like (disable the HDR Auto), but we’d recommend leaving it on – it does a good job.
The 25MP resolution might sound impressive, but the actual resolved detail is hardly great and if you miss the sweet spot of the fixed focus, you’d get slightly blurred images. The colors and contrast are great, though. And whatever the shortcomings, those pictures would look perfect once downsampled to any other size thanks to the impressive 25MP resolution.
Disappointingly, the Oppo F9 records videos in 1080p and 720p at 30fps. There is an always-available digital stabilization which does an excellent job in stabilizing the footage. Unfortunately, there is no option for 4K video capture.
The standard 1080p/30fps mode is encoded at about 17Mbps. Audio is recorded in stereo at 128Kbps – an improvement over the F7’s mono recording.
The resolved detail is low, and even if the colors and dynamic range aren’t bad, this is far from a stellar video recording phone.
The Oppo F9 has a 2x telephoto switch for videos, too, and it captures those with the same quality as the regular ones. The sensor is big enough to allow for lossless zoom in the 1080p videos.
As usual, we’ve provided unedited samples straight out of the camera for you to download – 1080p@30fps (10s, 22MB), and 1080@30fps telephoto (11s, 23MB).
You can also head over to our Video compare tool and see how the Oppo F9 stacks up against the competition.
The Oppo F9 is yet another smartphone trying to find its place in the crowded mid-range market. It’s a looker, which is a rather rare sights around these parts and has a new take on the notch that almost makes it a feature rather than an eye-sore. The 25MP selfie snapper and blazing-fast charging are also earning it a bunch of points and so does the impressive battery life.
Now, the F9 isn’t a huge upgrade over the F7 – and that’s hardly a surprise given that its predecessor is just six months old. We can’t see F7 owners jumping ship, but the F9 was never meant to entice those – instead it was meant to keep the line relevant in a segment where new competitors are coming in every week.
Here’s a quick overview of the most noteworthy alternatives.
The Pocophone F1 by Xiaomi clearly managed to shake things up around the mid-range, offering a flagship-grade Snapdragon 845 chipset without at an unbelievable price. You also get 4K video recording, an IR-camera-powered face unlock and stereo speakers, so if you are a power user it’s hard to ignore it. Yet, the F1 doesn’t come even close to matching the F9 looks, nor its 20W VOOC charging.
The Honor Play also costs the same as the Oppo F9 and is another handset obsessed with performance. It has metal to the F1’s plastic but again isn’t attractive in the same way the F9 is. Oh and the notches on that one, much like the Pocophone F1 is huge and unsightly, so it’s not just about the looks of the back.
The vivo V11, an in-house rival, has a better Super AMOLED screen with a similar notch and under-display fingerprint scanner to brag about, in addition to the equally cool body and arguably better camera. It misses on the Gorilla Glass 6 protection though, and that futuristic fingerprint reader is rather unreliable.
Finally, the Mi A2 is all about the stock Android experience. It’s got an equally capable chipset and better cameras on the back, but a far less imaginative design and no microSD card slot.
The Oppo F9 is among the most attractive in the mid-range today. Unique with that waterdrop-like notch and beautiful with the gradient back with cool pattern underneath.
If you are a power user, you will certainly find better phones than the F9 for the same price, but if you also care about design Oppo’s latest will certainly fit the purpose better, while still providing a solid smartphone experience.
Gorilla Glass 6 protection for the screen
A large display with excellent contrast and beautiful notch
Excellent battery life, VOOC charging
The Helio P60 isn’t a beast, but it gets the job done
Need help with your new Oppo A57? Is Color OS alien to you? Well, here’s some tips and tricks to get you up and running without the need to struggle using the device.
This will enable you to customize how each app pushes notifications to your dropdown notification panel. Simply drag the notification panel down and tap on Manage Notifications then go to an app that you want to mute or prioritize in terms of notifying you of something.
Blue Light Filter
You can have a warmer hue of backlighting when you go to Eye Protection setting from the notification panel. Drag down the notification panel down and enable Eye Protection. This will give your display a much warmer feel to it so you won’t have to stay up late at night because of the blue light that is coming from your smartphone is preventing you from getting sleepy. You can also long tap on the Eye Protection quick setting so you can set the level to Low, Medium or High.
You can have a different lockscreen magazine every time you wake up your device’s display. Enabling it in the settings (Settings -> Lockscreen Magazine and Wallpaper) will lead you to download, if you want, more lockscreen items that you can use. You can even add your own photos as the lockscreen so you won’t get bored of the default ones in case you don’t like them.
Dirac Audio Technology
You can enable high quality audio experience if you use the proprietary Oppo earphones that comes in the box. Dirac Audio Technology is a collaboration of Oppo and Dirac to deliver various presets and customizable channels for those people who want their audio well-suited to their audio taste.
Screen Off Gestures
These are gestures geared toward making actions even while the display is off or the phone is locked. You can double tap the display to wake it up. Draw an O to launch the camera. Draw a V to turn on the flashlight. Or you can have your own custom gesture to do a specific action.