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  • Soon Kai Hong

Oppo Reno 7 Z 5G Review: Too Little Too Soon

So here we are, taking a full lap of the Oppo Reno series with their latest instalment — The Oppo Reno 7 Z 5G, stocked with Android 11 and 8GB of RAM. While it may not excite most of us as much as experiencing the newest flagships, entry-level to mid-range phones can sometimes land on that sweet spot for both practicality and affordability which could make you think otherwise. And while the Reno 7 and 7 Pro has its own place in the market, the Reno 7 Z had us believe it would be left behind by its counterparts losing out on some specs yet carries over some design details that distinguishes itself well from other mid-to-entry level phones. Could this just be yet another Oppo release that could have been scrapped? Or can it justify a cheaper price tag sitting alongside the Reno 7 and 7 Pro? Let's find out.

Aesthetically, it takes an almost identical approach with sharp-box-like features as the Reno 7 Pro. Its design fits in with this current age of phones and probably was carried over from the pro variant's design to achieve cost effectiveness. We also get the signature Breathing Lights around each camera module which lights up for notifications, incoming calls or when charging — which was first featured in the Reno 7 Pro

It doesn’t feel off putting in the hands, weighing exactly the same as the standard Reno 7 of just 173g. To some extent, it feels light even with a 6.43 inch display — to its own respect, it might be the first tell-tale of a cheaper display installed in the Reno 7 Z, hinting at a slight chin at the bottom.

But something about this colourway just felt like it's been overdone and would've appreciated to see it come with more colour options rather than the current two of Rainbow Spectrum and Cosmic Black, something that could have given this version its own character.

Thankfully it's still equipped with an 6.43inch AMOLED but doesn't quite resemble the likes of one, with only 60Hz as standard and might feel jarring if you're used to interacting with higher refresh rate displays, provided there are some phones in this price range which comes with 90Hz at the very least. Colours however look vibrant and more than enough pixel densities (409ppi) for watching content online with deep blacks and rich tones but oddly isn't compatible with Netflix at the time of this recording. This could be a software update coming soon but surely something we haven't experienced before.

Sound quality is decently loud for a mono speaker– similar in the standard variant, reaching up to 80dB in our audio tests and still supports a headphone jack or bluetooth 5.2 if you choose to use wireless headphones instead.

Internals is equipped with 8GB RAM, Snapdragon 695 and Adreno 619, — scoring a 689 for Single-core and 1982 for Multi-core on our Geekbench tests. Considerably a standard result but is still outpaced by the likes of a POCO X4 Pro which also sits at a much cheaper price range.

Graphic computations not surprisingly averages only 7.3 frame rates per second with lower refresh rates but does a decent 1215 overall Vulkan score on our 3D Mark Wild Life tests, managing temperature levels as expected and didn't seem to feel hot to the touch after a few rounds on Call of Duty. Gaming experience isn't as enjoyable however despite some of the results supporting good graphics rendering. It just doesn't quite match up, with the max display refresh rate of only 60Hz even when scrolling through socials.

Photos are pleasing for most occasions in sufficient lighting with its 64MP main camera, portrait modes that produce good fall offs thanks to the 2MP depth camera, available HDR & AI functions, a 2MP macro camera and a 16MP front facing camera. Computations are managed well, treating most colours quite consistently and has a pretty decent natural depth of field when you get close enough to a subject, while also keeping most textures nice and sharp. Videos are also just decent but we'd give it a commendable pass for image quality despite it only topping at 1080p30fps. Thankfully though, it still supports EIS for stable footage and manges most colours consistently, and captures good dynamic range when shooting outdoors. Exposure compensations aren't too abrupt when transitioning from outdoor to indoor, but it does lack sharpness and detail for most of these footage examples.

Battery life sits at a 4500mAh capacity and got us up to about 2 days worth of casual use - performing better than the reno 7 and 7 pro with the most minimal power consumption.

The Oppo Reno 7 Z comes with Android 11, 8G RAM and has a standard storage capacity of 128GB priced at RM1699 or $S549.

As the Reno 7 Z covers the basics as a daily driver, we fear it might get overshadowed by other phones out in the market with higher refresh rates and for some, a less monotonous design. An unfair place to be in for the Reno 7 Z, fending off the likes of a POCO X4 Pro which comes with an AMOLED 120Hz display, stereo speakers and what’s also worth a mention is the standard Reno 7 which understandably had a better overall user experience, noting the very missed 90Hz refresh display and 4K recording.

While it arguably deserves a spot for a budget-friendly option in the Reno series, we feel it doesn't quite have a unique appeal to users looking around in this price range, especially if they'd consider spending a little more to compensate for the setbacks in this phone. We can't say for sure as to why Oppo needed to release another version in the Reno series in a bid to stay competitive, as well as the timing of it all. Adding a third option of the Reno 7 Z to their lineup shortly after the main releases, it could have worked out better in renewing interest if it were given some breathing room before announcing this phone.

In our books, it's just a bit of a case of "too little, too soon".

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