OPPO Reno Z - as satisfying and cheap as hot chips - mmmm.
4.9Overall Score
Name: OPPO Reno Z
Price (RRP): $OPPO
Manufacturer: 499

The OPPO Reno Z is part of the new Reno series – joining its 4G lossless 10X zoom and its well-priced 5G model. Reno is pronounced Ree-No like OPPO is Ohh-Po…

The Oppo Reno Z, however, is a $499 phone. I wondered if it was not a little cheeky of OPPO to call it a Reno when its Reno 4G and 5G siblings cost $1,199 and $1,499 and use the current flagship powerhouse Qualcomm SD855. This uses a MediaTek Helio P90 processor. And it is missing the uber-sexy, shark fin pop-up selfie camera. Instead, it has a centre teardrop. Reno’s brother by a different mother perhaps.

Don’t get me wrong – OPPO can call it whatever it likes just as Google has done with the Pixel 3a/XL and Huawei with its P30 Lite (that bears little resemblance to its P30/Pro siblings). As John Laws used to say, “When you are on a good thing, stick to it”.

Interesting, however, is that the OPPO Reno Z has caused so much excitement. Several readers now report having bought one, and I set out to discover why.

Spoiler alert: This is a terrific phone with a 6.4-inch gorgeous AMOLED screen, 6/128GB, Wi-Fi AC and a pretty amazing camera. And it is $499, repeat $499 dual sim unlocked.

How rate smartphones

We develop paradigms – what it needs to do – and slot them into market segments.

Our original four categories have grown to seven, and we review against different paradigms for each category.

  1. Foldable $2500+
  2. Premium Flagship $1600-2499 (usually a flagship with more memory/storage, additional camera lens and now 5G)
  3. Flagship $1000-1599 (account for about 10% of sales)
  4. Premium mid-market $800-999 (10% and often last year’s flagship at run-out price)
  5. Mid-market $500-799 (about 25% of the market)
  6. Mass-market $200-499 (about 25% of the market)
  7. Value pre-paid <A$199 (about 30% of the market – good for pre-paid and children)

The OPPO Reno Z is $499 and competes squarely with the Motorola One Vision (review here), the new Nokia 7.2 (when available), Samsung Galaxy A50 and the Huawei P30 Lite. Each phone has strengths and weaknesses.

Buy here – or you will regret it

We issue the standard warning that you must buy the genuine model CPH1979AU dual sim with Australian firmware as it works on all Australian Telco carrier LTE bands and can make a 000-emergency call (not 911) without a SIM. These also have Google Pay that works with Australian PayWave readers.

How to tell: Printed under the box it has the words ‘OPPO Mobile Australia’ and the warning that this product is only for sale and use in Australia. It will also have a C-tick.

OPPO Reno Z Model CPH1979AU 8/128GB dual sim

Australian Website here

In the box

  • OPPO Reno Z Handset
  • VOOC 3 fast charger 5V/4A
  • VOOC ‘green’ USB-A to USB-C cable
  • 3.5 mm OPPO earbuds and mic
  • Pre-fitted screen protector
  • Silicon bumper case – Smokey black

The first impression

I like the OPPO style, so I am always happy to see a new model. The review unit, however, came in basic dull, boring piano black albeit that OPPO calls it Jet Black (and it is a fingerprint magnet). The only other Australian colour is Aurora Purple. Both are gradient colours – change as you view them from differnt angles.

OPPO Reno Z

By the way, if you see it in Star Purple, Extreme Night Black, Coral Orange, or Bead White – warning – these are not Australian models.

The 6.4-inch centre teardrop screen is big, bright and almost bezel-less. The rear has a subtle OPPO branding and the wording ‘Designed by OPPO’ which is a shot over Huawei’s bow that has ‘Designed by Leica’.

It has a dual rear 48/5MP camera, dual-LED flash and the now famous ‘nub’ that raises the body ever so slightly to protect the camera.

OPPO also puts effort into the box – its worthy of finding under the Christmas tree.

But above all remember that this is a $499 phone and there must be cost compromises somewhere. Our job is to find them and let you know if they matter.