Oppo's budget phone doesn't make many sacrifices at all but there's a definite emphasis on one aspect of the phone over everything else. If you're a camera nerd but can't afford to be, the Reno 10 should scratch an itch or two with its 32MP telephoto lens. It'll also hold its own in the other departments just enough to make your final choice a difficult one.
We’ve already seen what the headliner in Oppo’s Reno 10 series can do, now it’s time to check out the performance at the base level. You might ask yourself why we’re doing this in this particular order. That’s because the Oppo Reno 10 turned up in South Africa later than the 10 Pro + did. We’re not entirely sure why.
As it turns out, it was a plan to wait for the stock version of Oppo’s 10 lineup and not just because it’s a much more affordable proposition. The 10 Pro + features speedy enough hardware but it was priced outside of where we felt comfortable. Here, it feels like you’re getting more than you pay for.
A curve and a bump
Our Reno 10 review unit arrived in a shade we persistently think of as Unicorn Blue. Oppo calls it Ice Blue but we can see the wavering pinks and silvers in the backplate well enough. You can’t fool us. The look and feel are classic Oppo. The rear panel is treated plastic that looks better than it feels (and it feels… pretty decent, actually). The phone curves to a metal frame from both directions, borrowing some of the design language from older Samsung smartphones. Hey, it’s not like the Korean giant is using it any more.
Oppo has stuck as much as is feasible into the Reno 10. USB-C takes care of charging, bracketed on the bottom edge by a SIM tray and speaker vent. The physical keys are along the upper right edge and there’s a lonely little IR blaster at the top. If you were hoping for some wired headphone love, you’ll have to snag yourself a USB-C-to-3.5mm adaptor, unfortunately.
Around back is a chunky bevelled camera bump that, if this phone were coloured yellow, would put us in mind of one of Despicable Me‘s Minions. Stuart, specifically, because he’s always got that goofy grin on his face. The three rear cameras live inside that bump and we’ll get to them in a bit.
You’ll have no cause for visual complaint from the Reno 10’s 6.7in AMOLED display. It ticks just about every box — 120Hz refresh rate, HDR 10+ support, and 950 nits of peak brightness — but the panel doesn’t live behind especially well-toughened glass. Oh, well. When you see the price, you’ll understand. The screen is bright enough and is stuffed with enough pixels to keep you media-happy. Maybe even gaming-happy, if your chosen entertainment isn’t too high-end.
That’s the Dimensity 7050 in action. It’s a decent enough processor, offering snappy navigation and swapping between apps if you’re being reasonable with your usage. It’s less accomplished when it comes to rendering epic Fortnite wins but who’s expecting that sort of performance from a R10,000 smartphone? Oh, all right, there’s always that one guy but you really can’t have everything.
The Reno 10’s Dimensity CPU and 8GB of RAM don’t do much to detract from the overall experience but the same can’t be said of Oppo’s ColorOS Android 13 skin. We understand why it’s so annoying compared to vanilla (or near-vanilla) Android. That doesn’t mean we’ve got to be happy about it.
The fact remains that there’s plentiful bloatware on the phone on the first boot. The stuff that’s not installed will look for any excuse to do so but at least you can delete the folders full of shortcuts from the main screen in short order. Unless you mispress and accidentally install the lot. Some decent apps are installed from the outset but not as many as we’d expect. Facebook is there but not Instagram or WhatsApp. Ayoba stands alongside Booking.com (what is this, an Acer laptop circa 2014?) and LinkedIn is also a default app. Then there’s Genshin Impact… but there’s also plenty of dross that you should avoid.
Behold, the Stuart-camera
The rear camera bump that looks like a grinning, one-eyed purveyor of mischief hosts a fairly serious lens setup. Serious for this price point, at any rate. There’s a main 64MP sensor that handles the day-to-day lifting by spitting up 16MP images. Pixel-binning is the answer to this and it makes for clearer shots in general. If you like, you can set the Reno 10 to snap at full resolution and then crop down yourself but you’ll have to know what you’re doing for that.
It’s the secondary cameras that are of particular interest. Or, rather, one of them is. The 8MP lens is an unexciting ultrawide that does what it’s supposed to but the 32MP telephoto lens is remarkable. A remarkable feat for a R10,000 smartphone. There’s some true telephoto skill in the Reno 10 as a result, even if it’s only 2x optical zoom. Oppo is adamant that you’re not supposed to be sneaking up on wildlife with it anyway. Instead, the minor zoom is designed to facilitate better portrait shots.
It works, as it happens, though we can see how a whole telephoto just for that might be considered overkill. We’d think so too, if the phone wasn’t available so cheaply. There’s a 32MP sensor up front as well, in case you’d like to get in on the action. It’s a shade less capable at convincing foreground/background separation but it’ll do the job.
Oppo Reno 10 verdict
If called upon to choose between the Oppo Reno 10 and the 10 Pro+, our vote would have to go to the Reno 10. It’s not as powerful, sure, but it’s also about half the price of its bulkier sibling. Combine that with an ambitious camera, capable if not outstanding performance, and enough battery uptime to keep you going through a day and a bit (with 67W wired charging to keep your messages and feeds alive), and you’ve got yourself a nifty lower-mid-range smartphone. If telephoto lenses are showing up at this point in Oppo’s lineup, it’s only a matter of time before we see them proliferate elsewhere. That’s going to make life harder for flagships looking to stand out and buying choices harder for the folks who have to watch where their money goes. Your money won’t be wasted here but if you’ve got more to spend, you’ll obviously do better.