Screen

Size: 6.4-inches
Resolution: 2340 x 1080
PPI: 402
Ratio: 19.5:9
Type: AMOLED (Samsung sourced)
AOD – clock, missed calls, SMS and selected notifications
S-T-B-R: 92%
Colour depth in bit/colours: 16m
Brightness: measured from 440 to 455 nits
Contrast:  infinite due to OLED producing true blacks
HDR:  HDR10
Colour gamut: 97% NTSC (95% sRGB) Delta E 4.82 (no adjustment)
Notch: Centre small half teardrop
Under glass 3D fingerprint
Screen protection: type: Gorilla Glass 5
Daylight readability: Superb

It is a bright AMOLED screen, easily readable in sunlight. You can alter the colour temperature from cool 6500K to warm 7500K – default is half-way.

OPPO Reno Z

As usual, the auto-brightness setting is too aggressive towards battery life, and I turn it off. Then set the slider to about 80% before it displays the high-power consumption warning.

There are no colour adjustment options, but under Developer Options, you can enable sRGB, and it achieves ABOUT 95% sRGB.

Summary: The best screen so far on a $499 phone – its AMOLED!

Performance

Processor MediaTek MT6779 Helio P90 12nm
2×2.2 GHz Cortex-A75 & 6×2.0 GHz Cortex-A55
GPU PowerVR GM9446
OpenGL ES 1.1, 2.0, 3.0, 3.1, 3.2
Vulkan 1.0, 1.1
OpenCL 1.1, 1.2
Android NN HAL (Android neural networks)
RAM RAM: 8GB LPDDR4-1866Mhz
Storage: 128GB eMMC 108GB free
OTG Support: Yes
Micro-SD card expansion: No

Here is the first of the compromises. The MT Helio P90 12nm is quite a good chip for mid-to-high-end handhelds, lets alone debuting in this mass-market device. But it is no Qualcomm. Its closest and more powerful rival is the Qualcomm SD730 or SD710 that OPPO uses in the R17 Pro.

It uses six smaller A55 at 2.0GHz (for most things) and two A75 cores at 2.2Ghz (for grunt). These idle at 774/850Mhz and this means excellent power efficiency. GeekBench gives it a single/multi/compute score of 2017/6979/5635.

We loaded the phone with multiple apps and browsers – it was silky smooth.

What you lose is Qualcomm’s tech like the superb Hexagon Digital Signal Processor, AI, Aqstic sound/aptX and its X series modems. Is it a deal-breaker? Apparently not and it saves valuable pennies.

The GPU’s forte is low power use, photo rendering and video compression – it can encode/decode MP4 and decode HEVC H.265. It also supports Google’s AR extensions.

Game use: OPPO has a Game Boost 2.0 mode with Frame Boost and Touch Boost. It should play most FHD+ mobile games. However, MediaTek has just released its games focused, Helio G90, and it uses the Mali G76 MP4.

The 8/128GB ram/storage is unheard of in a mass-market phone. Another compromise is no MicroSD slot for memory expansion. Still, for this price who cares.

Heat load: Under 100% load for 15 minutes it went between 122,466-134,283 GIPS. It averages 95% performance, so there is no throttling under load. The rear cover temperature was just on 32° – perfect.

Comms

Wi-FI Wi-Fi AC, dual-band, MIMO
Wi-Di, Hotspot
BT Bluetooth 5.0
SBC codec
NFC Yes
USB USB-C 2.0
GPS A-GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, BDS

Wi-Fi strength on 5Ghz is -47dBm compared to our reference Galaxy Note9 at -48dBm (lower is better). Both phones achieve 866Mbps at 2m from our D-link AC 5300 router. At 5m the Note9 is 195Mbps versus 173Mbps for the Reno Z. It has an excellent Wi-Fi antenna setup.

GPS has fast satellite acquisition and more than enough speed for turn-by-turn navigation and recalculations.

4G/5G/LTE

LTE Cat 12 600/100Mbps
Bands 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/18/19/20/26/28/ 29/40/41
Sim Dual sim unlocked – no microSD slot
(note Vodafone, Optus and Telstra are single SIM)
Dual active SIM can support both 4G and VoLTE at the same time
Other VoLTE and VoWiFi depends on carrier

Both the Reno Z and Note9, were -97dBm. But where the Reno Z shines is finding the next nearest tower at -99dBm – the Note9 cannot –  that reflects later tech.

LTE Bands cover all Australia carriers and many international ones.