Launching a new phone no longer involves simple boasts about the camera or swanky design. There's got to be a gimmick or two.
Take Oppo. To mark the local launch of the Reno 10x zoom smartphone, the Chinese phone manufacturer is offering people the chance to stay in a luxury glass cabin in Canterbury's Waipara Valley for a discounted price. There is, of course, a catch. They have to use the phone provided to take and post plenty of pics. For every ‘like’ they get on Instagram, they get a dollar off the overall price.
Baring body and soul in a glass box (what a thrill for trampers who stray off the beaten path) fills me with as much horror as it does trying to get ‘likes’ in return for cash off. Aren’t our egos fragile enough? But each to their own and back to the phone. If you’re after new one, I would suggest that Oppo's latest offering is well worth a look.
The Reno has a Snapdragon 855 processor, so nice and fast, a good haptics system and very respectable battery life but it’s the camera set-up that will sell this phone.
The Reno is similar to the Huawei’s P30 Pro but it’s noticeably cheaper. The periscope style camera is 5x optical zoom and its camera comes with wide-angle, 2x, 6x and 10x presets that you tap to cycle through. You can also move a slider to get the desired amount of zoom, up to 60x (that’s higher than the P30 Pro).
Besides the telephoto camera, the Reno has a 48-megapixel primary camera and an 8MP wideangle (120 degrees) camera. The Sony image sensor is 48MP.
The selfie camera is very quirky. It pops out like a shark fin which means there’s room for a separate LED flash alongside the camera.
Of course there are inevitable downsides. I found 60x zoom incredibly hard to use (pictures are shaky) and the Reno doesn’t match the extreme low light performance of other premium offerings including the P30 Pro. The pop-up selfie camera also stops the phone from being properly dust and waterproof.
The Reno goes on sale in New Zealand from June 28th for around the $1,300 mark.
I asked Oppo New Zealand's managing director, Kevin Cho, whether he thought Huawei’s recent woes would either benefit or hurt Oppo's own reputation and sales but unsurprisingly, he passed little comment. (It’s worth noting that though they might be rivals, the two tech firms share the same building space and it wouldn’t be good for lift and stairwell relations.)
"Oppo is a smartphone manufacturer and does not develop network infrastructure, so this question doesn’t really apply to us," said Mr Cho.
"However, our customers can rest assured their data will always remain safe. As a private company and smartphone manufacturer, Oppo takes customer privacy and security very seriously. We work with leading regulators around the world to ensure we are compliant with data privacy regulations."
Oppo has been in New Zealand since 2017. Mr Cho wouldn’t be drawn on how many units have been sold here which suggests the figures are still fairly low, but he did say the company is experiencing triple growth this year.
He also noted that Oppo won a Consumer New Zealand award last year for being the top-rated mobile brand in the country.
"We are looking forward to drive further growth in the New Zealand market, as well as show consumers what we are capable of and, ultimately, earn their trust," he said.