Oppo Reno Z Australian review (2019)

Oppo Reno Z
  • Oppo Reno Z
  • Oppo Reno Z
  • Expert Rating

    4.00 / 5

Pros

  • Sleek design
  • Swift software

Cons

  • Underwhelming camera
  • No flagship perks

Bottom Line

If $499 is all you have to spend, you’re probably not gonna complain too much about what the Reno Z has to offer.

Would you buy this?

Should I buy the Oppo Reno Z (2019)?

Oppo’s new Reno Z apes the look and feel of the company’s first 5G handset to great effect but there are more than enough compromises for the latter to hold its value. Though ultimately held back by a merely good camera and key omissions like 5G connectivity, water resistance and wireless charging, the Reno Z has pretty much all the essentials you need and enough charm to distract you from what you’re missing. 

If you spend more, you’re gonna get more. However, if $499 is all you have to spend, you’re probably not gonna complain too much about what the Reno Z has to offer. 

Price when reviewed

In Australia, the Oppo Reno Z comes with a recommended retail price of AU$499. 

Oppo Reno Z (2019) full review

Oppo’s new Reno Z attempts to bring the look, feel and featureset of the brand’s latest flagship down the more-affordable mid-tier of the market. It’s great when it comes to the first thing, good enough at the second and middling at the third. 

Still, Oppo are mostly successful in what they’re trying to do here. There are plenty of compromises but few outright dealbreakers. 

Under the hood, the Oppo Reno Z comes powered by a MediaTek MT6779 processor, 8GB of RAM and ColorOS 6.0, Oppo’s take on Android 9 Pie. The device comes kitted out with a notched AMOLED display, dual Dolby speakers, an in-display fingerprint sensor, USB Type-C charging, 2D Face Unlock plus a 3.5mm headphone jack. 

Credit: Oppo

Then, the back of the Reno Z brings to bear a dual-lens camera configuration that’s billed around a 48-megapixel (f/1.7) lens and a 5-megapixel (f/2.4) depth sensor. At 32-megapixel (f/2.0), the Reno Z’s front-facing camera is no slouch either. 

Unfortunately, in context, the results that the Reno Z’s camera delivers are a little predictable. They’re by no means bad but they do fall short against the Pixel 3a - which is this device’s biggest competitor and, arguably the only metric that matters in the mid-tier right now. 

Regardless, if you can look beyond that specific shortcoming, the Reno Z is affordable as all get out and offers a delightfully smooth take on the usual Android experience. 

Unless you’re keen to spend that little bit more and nab yourself a Pixel 3a (review here) or Samsung A70 (review here), it’s probably the best smartphone phone you’re gonna find for $499. 

Price

In Australia, you can buy the Oppo Reno Z outright at the following retailers:

The Oppo Reno Z is also available on any postpaid mobile plans via Woolworths and Vodafone. Check out the widget below for more.

Design - Look, Feel, Features and Camera

Oppo’s new Reno Z does its best to bring the look and feel of the more expensive Reno and Reno 5G to a more affordable price-segment. To the device’s credit, it’s mostly successful at doing so but that’s not to say there aren’t compromises here. 

The Reno Z comes powered by a MediaTek MT6779 processor, 8GB of RAM and the latest version of Color OS - which is Oppo’s take on Android 9 Pie. The device features an AMOLED display with a teardrop notch, NFC connectivity, USB Type-C charging, 2D Face Unlock and a grill speaker that’s tucked away next to the headphone jack. 

Like the regular Reno, there’s no wireless charging or formal water resistance ratings to speak of. There is, however, an in-screen fingerprint sensor located underneath the screen. The experience of using this sensor was broadly consistent with how the feature fares in other Oppo handsets like the R17 Pro - though I did find it attracted an alarming amount of scratches in short order.

Credit: Oppo

It’s also worth noting that the Reno Z doesn’t have the 5G connectivity found in its big brother. For more on 5G and 5G phones, check out our guide here

The back of the phone touts a dual-lens camera configuration to the sum of one 48-megapixel (f/1.7) lens and one 5-megapixel (f/2.4) depth sensor. Meanwhile, the teardrop-shaped selfie camera on the Reno Z is a hefty 32-megapixels (f.2/0) but only utilises a single lens. Those numbers might sound impressive at first blush, but comparisons to fare like the Motorola One Vision (review here) find it closer to this new median for what a phone at this price gets you.

On paper, the Reno Z’s photography kit feels like it easily eclipses what you’d usually expect from a $499 device. However, in a post-Pixel 3a world, I found it a little less convincing.  

The native camera app that comes pre-installed on the Reno Z is snappy enough to use at a moment’s notice but I was never really taken aback - or even mildly impressed - by the results it delivered. 

If you’ve looked at buying a mid-tier smartphone in the last year or so, this next bit is gonna sound familiar. The Reno Z is occasionally awesome but mostly just solid when it comes to daylight and outdoor photography.

Credit: Fergus Halliday | IDG

Despite a dedicated night mode, it lags a little when it comes to nocturnal shots.

Credit: Fergus Halliday | IDG

Portrait mode works more-or-less as advertised but the inability to go beyond 2x optical zoom without a major drop in image quality remains a clear drawback versus more expensive smartphones. 

Credit: Fergus Halliday | IDG

Even if it might look the part at a glance, the Reno Z just can’t come close to delivering the kind of shots that the mainline Reno can. 

Credit: Fergus Halliday | IDG
Credit: Fergus Halliday | IDG

Sure, you get the same curved glass found in the regular Reno. The Reno Z even features the same nifty nub on the back. However, the material design feels noticeably cheaper and you’re also missing out on the Reno’s iconic shark fin pop-up selfie camera. 

In addition, I wasn’t super won over by the palette of the Aurora Purple model we reviewed. Your mileage may vary but I found it just doesn’t convey the same cool confidence and colloquial charm I got out of the Jet Black and Ocean Green Reno.

Eagle-eyed consumers may notice the downgrade in material design and screen quality compared to its namesake but the Oppo Reno Z has still nice specs, clean looks and a feel-factor that’s far from cheap. You wouldn't confuse it for the kind of premium fare that Samsung and Apple are making in 2019. Stuff from a few years ago though? The Reno Z would probably pass muster.

Performance - Specs, Software, Benchmarks and Battery Life

Specs

  • Processor:  MediaTek MT6779

  • Operating System: Android 9.0 Pie with Color OS 6

  • RAM: 8GB

  • Storage: 128GB

  • MicroSD slot: No

  • SIM: Dual

  • Battery: 4035mAh

  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 5, NFC, 

  • Rear Camera: 48-megapixel (f/1.7) lens + 5-megapixel (f/2.4) depth sensor 

  • Front-Facing Camera:  32-megapixels (f.2/0)

  • Dimensions: 157.3 x 74.9 x 9.1 mm

  • Weight: 186g

Software

Much like the mainline Reno, the Reno Z runs on ColorOS 6, the latest version of Oppo’s attempt to fuse together the friendly aesthetics of iOS with the raw functionality of stock Android. 

If you’ve already made up your mind about ColorOS 6, feel free to skip ahead but, if you’re on the fence, there are a handful of changes and new features to note.

The biggest of these is the addition of a proper app drawer. Obviously, other Android brands have had this for ages. However, ColorOS 6 is more-or-less the first time that Oppo’s devices have come with it enabled fresh out of the box. In my opinion, it makes for a much better experience overall. 

Credit: Oppo

There’s also a new Game Space app and a Game Assistant feature that allows for streamlined notification management and screen recording without closing you out of a game you’re in the middle of playing.

The new version of ColorOS also supports a total of three different gesture navigation setups. None of these are quite as mature as Google’s pill or as reliable as Huawei’s own take on the concept but it’s nice that you have options here. 

Overall, it feels like ColorOS is fast maturing into one of the better Android skins out there. The competition around might be intensifying but the software experience you get out of a device like the Reno Z is much closer to something like OnePlus’s Oxygen OS than it used to be, and in the best possible way. 

Benchmarks

When it came to the benchmarks, the Oppo Reno Z lagged behind on more intensive gaming experiences but excelled on most fronts. In particular, it smashed the competition on PCMark’s Work test and Geekbench’s Multi-Core benchmark. 

Credit: Fergus Halliday | IDG

Anecdotally and moment to moment, the experience of using and relying on the Oppo Reno Z was incredibly smooth for a mid-tier device. I had no stuttering, lag or crashes to speak of. Everything worked like a charm and even frantic multitasking failed to slow the Reno Z down. 

Battery Life

The Oppo Reno Z might be a mid-tier device but it doesn’t cut any corners when it comes to battery life and fast charging. You get the full VOOC 3.0 treatment here and the 4035mAh battery inside the Reno Z goes the distance.

Pretty much no matter what I threw at the Reno Z, I’d manage an easy day and a half on a single charge. Getting to two-days per charge? Not much of a challenge either. 

In fact, it might not even be hyperbole to call the Reno Z one of the longer lasting mid-tier handsets out there. On this front, It delivered in a way that alternatives like the Motorola One Vision just couldn’t match.

The Oppo Reno Z supports VOOC 3.0 fast-charging via USB Type-C but does not offer any form of Qi wireless charging. 

The Bottom Line

The Reno Z subtracts much of what makes the mainline Reno such an exceptional device. However, for less than half the price, it manages to carve out a compelling balance between nailing the essentials and being good enough at everything else that you rarely think about what you’re missing out on. 

There’s a sleight of hand at play here but, at $499, it’s hard to complain too much about the Reno Z. 

Credit: Oppo

What do you think of the new review format? Let us know in the comments

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Read more on these topics: Oppo, Oppo Reno Z
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?