Oppo Reno 2 review: this could be the best-value phone in Oppo's line-up

Worthy of your consideration if you're shopping in the mid-range market

Oppo Reno 2
(Image credit: Oppo)
T3 Verdict

Another mid-range phone rolls into town offering an appealing balance between price and performance. Oppo gets a lot right with the Reno 2, but in a section of the market that's increasingly crowded, it perhaps doesn't do enough to be really compelling for buyers.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Notch-free screen is fantastic

  • +

    Flexible, decent camera

  • +

    Good battery life for video streaming

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Mid-range processor inside

  • -

    No waterproofing

  • -

    Software could use some work

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The flood of affordable, well-designed, well-specced phones from the east continues, with Oppo joining the likes of Huawei, Xiaomi, Honor, OnePlus, Vivo and others in sending high-quality Android handsets in our direction. In this case, we've got the Oppo Reno 2.

You can think of the Oppo Reno 2 as a less powerful, more affordable variation on the Oppo Reno 10x Zoom – that's the phone to get if you want the best that Oppo can offer right now, but if you want to save yourself some money, then this might suit you better.

Besides the less powerful processor running everything though, you wouldn't really know this was a mid-ranger – it's got a stylish design, an excellent screen, and a quad-lens camera on the rear. It's even got a gimmick, in the 'shark fin' style pop-up selfie camera.

The widgets on this page will show you the latest deals and pricing for the Oppo Reno 2, but officially it retails for £449 in the UK – that's a sub-flagship price, but it's not exactly what you'd call budget either. Does it do enough to provide good value for money?

Oppo Reno 2 review: design and screen

Oppo Reno 2

(Image credit: Future)

The Oppo Reno 2 is a stylish enough smartphone, if a bit on the bland side – there's nothing really to make it stand out in terms of its looks, unless you're counting that 'shark fin' style selfie camera pop-up – and we think that's just a bit odd-looking (the OnePlus design is better). Your mileage may vary.

At least the pop-up selfie camera means a notch-free screen, and what a screen – the 6.5-inch, 1,080 x 2,400 pixel resolution, 20:9 aspect ratio, AMOLED display is a real eye-catcher. Fire up something like Netflix on the Oppo Reno 2, and high-resolution movies and shows look gorgeous. It's probably the high point of the phone, design-wise.

At 9.5 mm or a little over a third of an inch thick, the phone is a little thicker than the best flagships out there, and it feels a little bulkier in the hand than smartphones from the likes of Google, Apple and Samsung. There's absolutely no problem in terms of the build quality or the finish though.

The four lenses that make up the rear camera are vertically arranged on the back, together with a little bump underneath: apparently it's there to protect the lenses when the phone is laid flat, but to us it seems a bit unnecessary. Black, blue and pink are your colour choices, though we've only seen black and blue on sale in the UK so far.

Oppo Reno 2 review: camera and battery

Oppo Reno 2

(Image credit: Future)

With its four lenses (though one is just a depth sensor), the rear camera on the Oppo Reno 2 packs in plenty of optics – from the 0.5x ultra-wide lens to the 2x telephoto (you can get up to 5x of what Oppo calls "hybrid zoom", which we found to get mostly good results). Dedicated night and portrait modes are included on the software side as well.

The lenses top out at 48 megapixels, impressive for a camera at this price point, but we found the snaps the phone produced were decent rather than spectacular. It's not going to trouble the best camera phones on the market – and that's fine. You do get plenty of detail and accurate colours in good lighting, as well as some respectable results in night mode, if you can hold the phone steady for a second or two.

At least the software is straightforward, which isn't always the case on phones from Chinese manufacturers. Overall, it's a camera that's going to give you good results, most of the time – the results are on a par with the other phones we've tested around this price, though we think the likes of the Motorola One Zoom and Google Pixel 3a have the edge here (though the Pixels all lack an ultra-wide lens).

In terms of battery life, that bright, sharp screen does seem to suck up battery juice quite quickly – we still had battery life left at the end of an average day, but it was less than 20 percent usually, so you're not going to get more than a day out of the Oppo Reno 2. That said, the hour-of-Netflix-streaming test we always run on phones only dropped the battery by 7 percent – from 100 percent to 93 percent – which is among the best results we've seen. It may depend on what exactly you're doing with your handset.

Oppo Reno 2 review: specs and features

Oppo Reno 2

(Image credit: Oppo)

It's in the specs rather than the design where the Oppo Reno 2 shows its mid-range credentials. There's a Snapdragon 730G chipset, 8GB of RAM, and either 128GB or 256GB of on-board storage under the hood, and you can expand that storage with a microSD card – an option we always like to see.

There's also a 3.5 mm headphone jack here, so the Oppo Reno 2 is one of a dwindling number of options you've got left if you want to keep on using wired headphones without the aid of a dongle. The phone isn't waterproof or dustproof though, and you don't have the option of wireless charging.

In terms of software, you're already a version behind, because the Oppo Reno 2 comes with Android 9. Oppo's own rather forgettable Android skin is put on top of that – it's fine, but it's not quite the pure Android experience you get with the Pixel or Nokia phones, and doesn't match the quality of the best variations on Android on the market (which include Samsung and OnePlus in our opinion).

In use, we didn't notice much in the way of lag or delays, though occasionally longer loading times and unresponsiveness meant that we were always aware that we weren't using a blazing fast phone right at the top end of the market. It's a phone that'll do everything you need it to, though not at the fastest possible speeds.

Oppo Reno 2 review: price and verdict

Oppo Reno 2

(Image credit: Future)

As you may have noticed from recent phone reviews on T3, this is a part of the phone market that's getting very, very competitive – that space between budget phones and top-end flagships. Perhaps the biggest problem for the Oppo Reno 2 is that there's so much strong competition at this price, from the likes of Honor and Xiaomi.

There's lots that we like about this phone. In terms of streaming Netflix movies for example, the Oppo Reno 2 is one of the best handsets we've used lately – crisp, bright colours, punchy audio, thin bezels, the whole package. For day-to-day mobile tasks, you're not really going to notice the less powerful Snapdragon 730G fitted inside this phone.

Despite all those lenses, we've seen better camera performance at this price (though there's not a huge amount in it), and the software on board Oppo phones can be a bit fiddly. There's no waterproofing or wireless charging, and the Reno 2 is carrying a touch more bulk than some of its competitors too.

Those are minor drawbacks really though, and if £400-500 is your budget for a new smartphone, then the Oppo Reno 2 deserves some consideration. It hits a nice balance between price, performance and features, though if you do like the Oppo approach to smartphones, you might want to save up and get the Oppo Reno 10x Zoom instead.

David Nield

Dave has over 20 years' experience in the tech journalism industry, covering hardware and software across mobile, computing, smart home, home entertainment, wearables, gaming and the web – you can find his writing online, in print, and even in the occasional scientific paper, across major tech titles like T3, TechRadar, Gizmodo and Wired. Outside of work, he enjoys long walks in the countryside, skiing down mountains, watching football matches (as long as his team is winning) and keeping up with the latest movies.