OPPO just recently launched the Reno 2 in the Philippines. Its two other iterations, the Reno 2f and 2z are also out in the market but only the 2f is being launched in the country. The Reno series, on a whole, is all about creating. OPPO made sure to make it central with their Marketing with the Reno Collective—a group of hand-picked artists who’ve made names for themselves in their respective fields.

And so while the Reno 2 retains the Reno’s trademark look, it’s completely moved away from its photography focus, ditched the killer zoom, and went straight to video—as the Bob Dylan song goes: “the times are a-changin’”

Tipping the balance

It seems that as OPPO ditched the 60x zoom of the Reno 10x Zoom, it also let go of its photography prowess. Sure, it’s still marketed with having a 20x zoom but taking photos on the Reno 2 prove to be a bit lackluster—especially when you consider its price point. The zoom quality tends to be noisy and not something that exceeds expectations when pushed to its limits. Normal shooting in good lighting isn’t a problem and it delivers beautifully but it encounters difficulty with focusing and in low light (when in normal mode) and throws off the color. Other phones below its range perform better on the photography side overall and while the video quality is of the Reno 2 is definitely impressive, a more balanced photo and video setup would have been more appreciated.

 OPPO does really well in some areas and it does excel primarily in three things—selfies, portraits, and night mode. It’s equipped the Reno 2 with an improved Ultra Dark Mode that really takes night photography to a new level—capturing images even in near darkness. Its 16MP sharks fin elevating front camera comes with Oppo’s signature spread of beauty filters. I must admit, I’ve been a fan of their selfie prowess (because it gives you so many options rather than just a single, do-it-all beauty mode) ever since I got to use the F11 Pro back in April and the Reno 2 gives you the same #nofilter-filter look (check out my review and the in-depth discussion on its selfie camera!). And OPPO’s front cameras have been one of the bests that I’ve got to try out so far.

If you prefer telling stories through videos then the Reno 2 will be your new best friend. Its video performance is hands-down amazing. I took the Reno 2 through an ATV ride across seriously bumpy terrain and the resulting footage made it all look like a piece of cake when it really was quite the ride. The ultra steady mode cannot be used alongside the wide angle or macro modes, though. There is also a pre-installed video editing app, Soloop, that you can already use to edit your videos. Additionally, the Reno 2’s front camera can also shoot bokeh-video—a first. I love this feature as the blurred background draws the attention of the viewer to you, making for a much more polished look overall. Its AI also does very well in differentiating the background from the subject. While you can see a slight break when something enters the foreground, it does it seamlessly and appears barely noticeable.

Here’s a sample clip:

Sample Shots:

portrait mode (front camera)
Ultra Dark mode

Beauty, Brains, and Brawn

The Reno 2 runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G chip paired with an Adreno 618 GPU. The Snapdragon 730G is much like the 730 but optimized for gaming with a graphics boost—it’s just a shame that OPPO put in a FHD+ display instead of QHD+ and failed to maximize the Snapdragon 730G’s capabilities. You can’t have it all, I suppose. But with the 6.5-inch AMOLED notch-free full screen, it is still a dream to game and stream on. The display is crisp and bright as well. Supported with 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of ROM, playing demanding games like Call of Duty even at the highest setting is no issue, though it does heat up quite uncomfortably near the top after a while. Its 4,000 mAh battery goes the distance and the VOOC 3.0 fast charging can get you up to full juice in no time. The chipset also enables shooting in 4K and is Wi-fi 6 ready.

Aesthetically, the Reno 2 is a gorgeous smartphone. Its design is subtle and thoughtful. It employs an in-screen fingerprint scanner so the rear is completely smooth save for a tiny, raised, ceramic nodule—or the O-bump—that keeps the phone slightly elevated when placed back down to avoid scratching the glass. As a result, its cameras (that are arranged large to small) blend fluidly onto the back of the phone and it really makes such a difference looks-wise. It’s also a tad chunkier than your usual phone (because of the retracting front camera) which I don’t really mind and my relatively-small hands can easily reach both the volume and power buttons. Another plus of the Reno 2 is that it still includes the 3.5mm jack (which forever will be a crucial judging criteria for me) and I know, there are type-c headphones and of course, wireless earphones which are growing ever more popular.

Another thing I really appreciated was that the included case wasn’t the usual plastic jelly case. Instead, it came with a very classy faux leather and hard plastic case which frames the phone’s four cameras and at the same time offers a good grip. It looks premium while not being overly flashy about it. My test unit has a midnight blue glossy back that is black enough for those who prefer a simpler look but adds a little touch of blue around the edges and also along the brand name. The case came in a complementary dark teal shade—much like a stormy sea. For those who prefer a lighter, more playful shade, there is also a sunset rose color that is a pastel dream.

Our Opinion:

The OPPO Reno 2 presents strong selling points in terms of design, performance, and videography. Plus, it’s 5G enabled—all at a mid-range price—while looking much more luxurious. You may also consider the 2f as a cheaper alternative if you’re not a heavy user as it brings in most of the functions and features of the Reno 2 at a competitive price point.

Full Specs:

Display: 6.5” AMOLED Full View screen, 2400 x 1080 resolution

SIM: Dual nano

Operating system: ColorOS 6.1, based on Android 9 Pie

Processor: Qualcomm SDM730G

GPU: Adreno 618

Memory: 8GB RAM

Storage: 256GB internal, expandable up to 256GB via microSD

Cameras: Rear – 48MP long focus (f/1.7 aperture) + 13MP telephoto (f/2.4 aperture) + 8MP ultrawide (f/2.2 aperture) + 2MP depth sensor (f/2.4 aperture), PDAF, OIS, dual LED Flash; Front – 16MP motorized pop-up, LED flash

Connectivity: & I/O ports: Wi-Fi 2.4/5 GHz 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot; 4G/4G+; Bluetooth 5.0, A2DP, LE; NFC; A-GPS, GLONASS, Beidou, GALILEO, BDS; USB type-C; 3.5 mm audio jack

Other features: In-screen fingerprint sensor, face detection

Battery: Non-removable 4,000mAh, 20W VOOC 3.0 fast charge

Dimensions & weight: 160 x 74.3 x 9.5 mm, 189g

Color: Luminous Black, Ocean Blue, Sunset Pink

Price: P28,990

OPPO Reno 2 Full Review: Made to Create
Build Quality 9.5
Form Factor 9
Ease of Use 9
Performance 8.5
Value for Money8.5
8.9Overall Score

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