Operating system

OS Android: 9
Security Patch: July 2019 (excellent)
UI: ColorOS 6
Google Assistant

My son is an OPPO fan using its phones since 2014. He has seen ColourOS grow up. “ColorOS, when I fist started using it, was very Apple-like and that was OK as I had come from Apple. But OS5 and now OS6 are more Android-like, and that is a good thing. OS6 (based on Android 9) has so many more smarts, and I can see why it needs its camera app (for AI and added features). I really like it – it adds much value to pure Android, and you sill have all the Google services and apps.”

It is now a minimal learning curve, but for the most part, Android users will love the added functionality of ColorOS6 – more here. BTW – you can set the home key layout to Android 9, Apple or Android 8 styles.

Build etc

Colours Jet Black and Aurora Purple
Build Gorilla Glass 6 back over alloy frame.
Slippery – use the bumper case
Dimensions 157.3 x 74.9 x 9.1 mm x 186g
IP Rating Not rated (rain resistant)

The last thing you expect is Gorilla Glass (any version) over an alloy frame. OPPOs build quality is excellent.

IP ratings are always nice but not expected for $499.

What’s missing

Missing microSD slot

I must take a point off for no Micro-SD, but with 128GB I have to add it back on in a $499 phone.

Camera

Rear Camera 1
Primary
48MP (pixel bins to 12MP)
Sensor brand/model: Sony IMX586
Pixel Size: .8um (pixel bins to 1.6um)
F-stop: f/1.7
Stabilisation: Gyro EIS for 1K video
Focus type: PDAF
HDR: Auto
Zoom: 10X digital
Flash type: dual,
Saved images: Bayer RAW or JPEG
Video:[email protected] with stereo recording
Google Lens:
Rear Camera 2 5MP Depth sensor
F/2.4
Camera features AI Low-light Shot, Ultra Night Mode 2.0, Backlit Selfie
AI scene recognition, Photo, Portrait, Video, Night, Pano, Expert, Time-lapse, and Slo-mo
Selfie 1 32MP
F/2.0
.8um
HDR
Face unlock
No screen fill flash

Why the detail?

While 48MP sounds impressive and it is the same primary sensor as the Reno 5G, and 4G 10x zoom. The reality is that it defaults to a pixel binning 12MP camera in all but the brightest light. There is nothing wrong with that – most high MP cameras do that including Google’s Pixel series.

In terms of luminosity, HDR and colour reproduction of the OPPO Reno Z camera is much better than its competitors for the price. But I think it needs a firmware update to its post-processing algorithms to make images a little sharper (compared to the Qualcomm powered Reno 4 and 5G)

There are small differences between the Sony 48MP IMX586 sensor and the Samsung 48MP SK5GM1 used in the Motorola One Vision.

Sony has gyro-EIS and can shoot at 48MP or 12MP. Samsung has OIS and only shoots at 12MP.

From what I read, the Sony Sensor has the edge

it gives sharper resolution and only pixel bins when necessary, e.g. low light. The Quad-Bayer arrangement allows three modes, e.g. two-exposures HDR, Quad-binning (12MP), and normal (49MP).

The Samsung has Tetracel Plus (really Quad-Bayer), but its 12MP output means digital zoom is not as crisp as it extrapolates to 48MP.

Whatever both the OPPO Reno Z and the Motorola One Vision

AI software

Suffice to say OPPO is a leader in AI for photography and has almost every conceivable feature. Now they have added night mode.

Tests – all auto

Daylight, outdoors

Perfect colour, contrast and detail. 10-out-of-10. 1/1250 sec. ISO114
A 10X Digital Zoom shot and lets face it – digital zoom is not optical zoom.

Indoors Office Light (400 lumens)

Good detail in the fur, great color accuracy 1/50sec, ISO 160
Same shot with bokeh. The rear camera’s second depth sensor makes it easy.

Low light (room with less than 100 lumens)

Standard shot in a near dark room. Particularly impressive detail on the dual monitors.
Night mode really pops and brings up colours to almost daylight levels.

Selfie

32MP detail is excellent, but contrast is not quite there. Still its a sharp and colourful shot.

Bokeh

See toy dog shot above. The rear bokeh works flawlessly. It is OK for the singlelens front camera as long as you are now wearing things that break your silhouette.