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Google Pixel 8a review: more future for less money
6:22 pm | May 17, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Google Pixel Phones Phones | Tags: , | Comments: Off

Google Pixel 8a: Two-minute review

Google Pixel 8a in aloe green showing

Pixel 6a, Pixel 7a, and Pixel 8a (left to right) (Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)

The Pixel 8a is the best budget option for Android enthusiasts, and especially Google fans. It makes a case for itself against the pricier Pixel 8, and if you've been dying to try all of Google's coolest new Android and Gemini AI features, the Pixel 8a is the cheapest entry into this virtual world. You can find slightly better specs in a phone this cheap, but you can't find Google's innovative software and seven years of promised software updates.

I've been using the Pixel 8a with Gemini Advanced, Google’s premium AI and large language model, and it works just as well as my Pixel 8 Pro. I get the same cool AI wallpapers feature that I love. I even have Gemini baked into the Gmail app on this phone, so Google's AI can compose an email right in the proper text box. 

For the Pixel 8a’s price, there are Android phones to consider from Motorola and OnePlus, but Apple and Samsung don't make anything worth buying in the $500 / £500 / AU$800 range. The iPhone SE is cheaper, but I'd avoid that old phone since it's fairly out of date (home button?!).

Samsung Galaxy S23 FE in purple with books behind

For only $100 more you can have the Galaxy S23 FE with DeX (Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)

Samsung's Galaxy S23 FE is a bit more expensive, and it has tons of business and professional features, if you're going to be mixing work and personal life on your phone. It's also a bit overcomplicated, and it won't get the latest AI features like the Pixel 8a (probably) will. 

If history is any guide, the Pixel 8a will eventually get some compelling deals and this great price will drop even lower, but for $499 / £499 / AU$849, I think the Pixel 8a is worth what Google is charging. The Pixel 8 is only a little more expensive, which makes sense because it's only a little more great; it has better cameras, and marginally better battery life and charging, but that's it. 

The Pixel 8a performed well across the board in our tests, matching and occasionally beating the Pixel 8 on our metrics for processor speed, graphics performance, even display quality. If the Pixel 8a uses a cheaper display than the Pixel 8, I certainly couldn't tell.

Google Pixel 8 review back angled case

It's much harder to recommend the Pixel 8 these days (Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

That's great news because the Pixel 8a also gets the same seven years of Android updates that Google promised for the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro, and all of these phones use the latest Tensor G3 chipset. The Pro model has more RAM, but the two cheaper Pixel 8 phones are identical in RAM and storage.

If you're considering the Pixel 8, you might just save money and buy the Pixel 8a, unless you need a better camera (or you really prefer the Pixel 8 colors). But that's the only reason to spend more on the Pixel 8. You'll probably be just as happy with the Pixel 8a, and even happier when you have money leftover to spend on cases and accessories.

Google Pixel 8a review: Price and availability

Google Pixel 8a in aloe green showing cameras

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)
  • $499 / £499 / AU$849 for 8GB RAM, 128GB storage
  • Available in sweet Bay blue and Aloe green (also black and white-ish)

The Pixel 8a costs $499 / £499 / AU$849, which is a relief for our American readers but now Australia knows how we felt last year. In the US, that’s the same as the Pixel 7a cost a year ago, but £50 more in the UK and $100 more in Australia. Google raised the price for the Pixel 7a in the US, but kept things stable for Americans this year, and that's great because the Pixel 8a feels like a better value than ever before. 

Google is offering seven years of Android OS updates for the Pixel 8a. Let's be honest, you probably won't have this phone in seven years, but somebody might, and they'll get the latest software. Whether you pass this down to a kid or trade it for your next phone, the Pixel 8a should last longer than before, and that's a huge vote of confidence from Google.

Android phones don't hold their value as well as Apple iPhones, and while longevity isn't the biggest reason, having longer support could help Android’s reputation, which could improve value in the long run.

Google Pixel 8a in front of Pixel 7a and Pixel 6a

You can barely see the two-tone greens on the Pixel 6a (left) (Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)

The Pixel 7a and the Pixel 6a were continually offered at a discount, usually at Amazon first, and it's likely that you'll find the Pixel 8a available cheaper, eventually. 

Don't wait, the Pixel 8a is worth buying now. In the past I recommended waiting for a sale, but this feels like a phone that performs above its price range, so there's no reason to wait if you want one now. 

For the same price, you can get a OnePlus 12R. While there is much to recommend that phone, I think most people should stick with the Pixel 8a. The OnePlus 12R is faster, with a bigger, better display. It has a huge battery, and it charges much faster than almost any other smartphone you can buy, let alone the Pixel 8a.

The OnePlus 12R isn't water resistant, though, so it's less durable, and that makes a huge difference to me. It also doesn't get the same seven years of Android OS updates, and OnePlus isn't even trying to make AI features that compete with Google. In terms of software, OnePlus does a nice job, but Google still rules the Android roost.

  • Value score: 5 / 5

Google Pixel 8a review: Specs

Google Pixel 8a in aloe green showing lock screen always-on display

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)

The Pixel 8a has the same Google Tensor G3 chipset as the two more expensive Pixel 8 phones. It comes with 8GB of RAM, just like the Pixel 8. In processor and graphics benchmarks, performance was effectively identical between the Pixel 8a and the Pixel 8.

The Pixel 8a also has a bright display like the Pixel 8, and in our tests both phones reached above 1,450 nits at 100% brightness. 

Where the Pixel 8 pulls ahead and earns its premium, aside from the improved cameras, are in the smaller details. The Pixel 8 uses Gorilla Glass Victus, which is stronger than the Gorilla Glass 3 on the Pixel 8a. The Pixel 8 has Wi-Fi 7, though that's only useful if you also have a new Wi-Fi 7 router.

Google Pixel 8a review: Design

Google Pixel 8a in aloe green showing USB-C port and speakers

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)
  • It’s a Pixel, and every Pixel looks the same
  • Plastic back holds its own against glass

If you wanted a cuter, more curvaceous version of the Pixel 8, the Pixel 8a delivers. Sure, it looks like every other Pixel phone since the Pixel 6, but that's brand identity. I actually like the camera bar, I prefer its symmetry to the camera bump on most other phones. 

The Pixel 8a has nicely rounded corners, and some flashy color options, including the brighter-than-expected Aloe green of my review sample, a nice step into the light from the more subdued Mint green Pixel 8.

Google Pixel 8a in aloe green from side showing SIM card slot

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)

The back is plastic, not glass, but the matte finish and great colors make it look much more premium than the ugly plastic phones of yore. Glossy plastic is out; the Pixel 8a is in. 

Otherwise… it's a Pixel, and you know what that looks like by now. It looks like every other Pixel. I miss the two-tone options of the Pixel 6 phones (check out the green and yellow-green Pixel 6a in my photos), but it's still a pretty phone that’ll stand out just enough from the herd of Galaxy and iPhones.

  • Design score: 5 / 5

Google Pixel 8a review: Display

Google Pixel 8a in aloe green showing bright AI wallpaper

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)
  • Bright display matches the Pixel 8
  • You can find bigger (and brighter) on competing phones

Google's new so-called ‘Actua’ displays were a key selling point for the Pixel 8 family, so I'm pleased to report the Pixel 8a earns its spot in the lineup with a bright, colorful display that doesn't skimp on specs. It has a 120Hz refresh rate and the same 2,000-nit peak brightness potential as the Pixel 8.

The bezel is a bit thick, but you won't notice unless you hold it up next to another phone. The smaller size of the Pixel 8a, with its 6.1-inch OLED display, is one of my favorite aspects of its design; it's a nice, compact phone. 

In fact, the phone was so easy to hold and use that I decided to use the Pixel 8a to write the first draft of this review on my flights back from Google I/O 2024. I wrote a few thousand words on the Pixel 8a display, and it was comfortable thanks to the smaller size. 

I had some trouble seeing the display in the bright California sunshine in Mountain View, which made some photography hard, but this was only a problem on the clearest day with the sun overhead. Indoors, the display seemed exceptionally bright, so perhaps it just needed a better reflective coating.

Google Pixel 8a in front of OnePlus 12R both showing TechRadar home page

OnePlus 12R (6.7-inch) behind the Pixel 8a (6.1-inch) (Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)

The OnePlus 12R does have a larger, 6.7-inch display, and OnePlus claims it can hit an eye-piercing (no, seriously) 4,500 nits of brightness, but we haven’t seen it achieve this in our tests. Still, for the same price you can get a larger display, but the compact size is part of the Pixel 8a appeal.

  • Display score: 4 / 5

Google Pixel 8a review: Software

Google Pixel 8a in aloe green showing Quick Settings Menu buttons

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)
  • All of Google’s cool AI features are here, for now
  • Google’s Android is clean and easy to use

Google makes the best Android phone software, much better than Samsung’s OneUI. While OnePlus and Motorola stay close to Google’s designs, you can't beat the House of Android for simplicity and ease of use.

Maybe it's getting too easy? Android used to have many more customization options to organize your home screens and your app list. Most of these are gone now. You can't even put apps into folders in Google's app menu.

On the other hand, Google does the best job with things like notifications. If I get a notification I don't want, I just hold my finger on the message and I get a robust settings tool that lets me turn off all notices from an app, or just certain categories of interruptions. I get to pick what each app notifies me about, and I don't have to dig to find the options. They just appear with a press.

Google Pixel 8a showing AI wallpaper creation tool

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)

The new AI tools keep getting better. I make a new AI wallpaper every few days. Even better, I now let Google's AI answer most of my impersonal phone calls, and I can see what my caller says in a live transcript as the AI handles them. 

The Gemini AI features are good, and it isn't a perfect Google Assistant replacement, but Gemini can use Google Assistant as one of its tools, to make up the difference. 

The AI features are constantly growing. Gemini can now help compose email messages in the Gmail app, and I'd expect it will soon offer help in the mobile Docs, Sheets, and maybe Slides apps. 

Unfortunately, the Gemini app stopped working for me suddenly a few days before this review published. I have reached out to Google to make sure that this is an isolated issue, and I will update if I get a response.

The Pixel 8a also carries forward the best of Google's AI image editing in Google Photos. You get the classic Magic Eraser and the newer Magic Editor AI features as well.

Google Pixel 8a showing Gmail app with Gemini AI prompt

Google Gemini will offer suggestions in apps like Gmail (Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)

The reason it can handle all these features is because the processing is done by Google in the cloud. You’ll eventually be able to load the Gemini Nano language model onto the phone to handle some generative writing locally, but it will be hidden as a developer option. I suspect that's more because of the audience and target market for this bargain phone, and not because of any performance deficit. 

Will Google really support the Pixel 8a for seven years? I had concerns, so I spoke to Google before this phone arrived at my door. Google’s Pixel reps assure me they have a roadmap for Tensor G3 phones that will last 7 years. In 2031, the Pixel 8a will retire with Android 21 on board, because Google has a plan. Android yellowcake, perhaps.

  • Software score: 4 / 5

Google Pixel 8a review: Cameras

Google Pixel 8a showing camera app focused on living room

All the photo modes from the Pixel 8 Pro are here (Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)
  • Photos look very similar to shots from the Pixel 8 Pro
  • A bit grainy close up, and blurry at night

Google’s Pixel A-series phones are usually an easy pick for the best bargain camera phone because they are unfussy and produce great images that are perfect for sharing online. By that, I mean they don’t look great if you zoom in too close, but for viewing on smaller screens, the Pixel 8a makes photos that look surprisingly good. 

How good? To test the Pixel 8a camera, I compared photos against the Pixel 8 Pro, Google’s best camera phone and one of my favorites. The photos were remarkably similar. If I didn’t zoom in on a shot, I often couldn’t tell which photo was taken by the Pixel 8a and which by the Pixel 8 Pro. Google’s color and light balancing are nearly identical on both phones. Only in the darkest conditions was the Pixel 8 Pro advantage clear. 

To compare with the Google Pixel 8 Pro, here is a sample that shows more detail from the Pro camera, but both images look good. The color and lighting is very similar across both devices. 

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Google Pixel 8a camera sample photo of a tile mosaic with leaves

Google Pixel 8a photo (Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)
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Google Pixel 8a camera sample photo of a tile mosaic with leaves

Google Pixel 8 Pro photo (Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)

This low-light photo shows the clearest distinction between the Pixel 8 Pro and the Pixel 8a. The Pixel 8 Pro is clearly better in dark conditions, but when I looked at the photos on my phone screen, this was the only photo I found easy to determine which phone took the shot. 

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Google Pixel 8a camera sample showing a Diner sign Open 24 hours

Google Pixel 8a photo (Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)
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Google Pixel 8a camera sample showing a Diner sign Open 24 hours

Google Pixel 8 Pro photo (Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)

That’s a pretty remarkable feat, and good for Pixel 8a buyers because these phones both take great photos. You’ll see the difference in fine details, though. The Pixel 8 Pro has a 50MP sensor, after all. 

The Pixel 8a uses a 64MP sensor but it only outputs 16MP images. It combines four pixels into one in a process called 'pixel binning,' and there’s no way to get full-resolution, 64MP shots from the Camera app. Even RAW image files (why on a bargain A-series phone?) only have a 16MP resolution. 

The Pixel 8a offers all the same shooting modes as the Pixel 8 Pro, including Night Sight for nighttime shots around town, and long exposure, for cool shots of moving traffic and running water. 

It also has all of the same AI editing tricks in the Google Photos app. You get Magic Eraser, to remove unwanted people, and Magic Editor, to turn them into giants or move them to one side. There’s Best Shot, which replaces faces in a group photo when somebody has their eyes closed. It even has the amazing Audio Eraser for videos, to remove background noise and distractions. 

What’s especially cool, if you’re new to Pixel phones, is that you can edit photos and videos that you didn’t shoot with your Pixel phone. Anything in Google Photos is fair game. Upload all of your old iPhone photos to Google, go buy a Pixel 8a, then use Unblur to make them all as sharp as new. 

  • Camera score: 3 / 5

Google Pixel 8 Pro camera samples

Here are samples taken around New York City and at the Google I/O 2024 conference in Mountain View. 

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Google Pixel 8a camera image samples

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)
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Google Pixel 8a camera image samples

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)
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Google Pixel 8a camera image samples

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)
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Google Pixel 8a camera image samples

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)
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Google Pixel 8a camera image samples

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)
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Google Pixel 8a camera image samples

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)
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Google Pixel 8a camera image samples

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)
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Google Pixel 8a camera image samples

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)
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Google Pixel 8a camera image samples

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)
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Google Pixel 8a camera image samples

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)
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Google Pixel 8a camera image samples

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)
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Google Pixel 8a camera image samples

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)
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Google Pixel 8a camera image samples

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)
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Google Pixel 8a camera image samples

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)
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Google Pixel 8a camera image samples

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)
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Google Pixel 8a camera image samples

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)
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Google Pixel 8a camera image samples

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)
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Google Pixel 8a camera image samples

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)
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Google Pixel 8a camera image samples

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)
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Google Pixel 8a camera image samples

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)
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Google Pixel 8a camera image samples

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Google Pixel 8a camera image samples

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)
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Google Pixel 8a camera image samples

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)
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Google Pixel 8a camera image samples

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)

Google Pixel 8a review: Performance

Google Pixel 8a showing Android 14 screen with Android figurines beside

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)
  • Google’s Tensor G3 isn’t winning any contests
  • Seven years of Android support means Google trusts the chipset

Admittedly, the Pixel 8a and all of the Tensor G3 generation of Pixel phones are not top performing phones. Any phone with a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 or newer Snapdragon, and any recent iPhone will outperform the Pixel 8 in benchmark tests. What does that mean in the real world? Not much. 

Unless you're playing the most-demanding games or using advanced photo or video editing tools, the Pixel 8a will be enough to keep up. It ran all of my games, including Call of Duty and Marvel Snap, with no trouble. It just didn't run games as smoothly as the Galaxy S24 can run them.

There was some delay with many of the AI features, but that's because the Pixel 8a needs to talk to Google before it gives you an answer. Even AI Wallpapers rely on Google's cloud for help, and there is a back and forth delay. My phone does not have access to Gemini Nano yet, so I'm curious to see if that speeds up any generative writing. 

I had some trouble using Bluetooth on the Pixel 8a. The phone kept finding and refinding my Pixel Buds Pro. I had to reconnect them three times in a week. It had trouble holding the connection with my car stereo, and twice it lost my Ray Ban Meta smart glasses. In a week or so of testing, I had only a small handful of issues, but it was annoying. 

  • Performance score: 3 / 5

Google Pixel 8a review: Battery

Google Pixel 8a in aloe green showing USB-C charging port

The USB-C charging port is 'faster' than before (Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)
  • The Pixel 8a’s biggest weakness
  • Also the Pixel 7a’s weakness, and the Pixel 6a’s weakness

Battery life is the Pixel 8a’s biggest letdown, which isn't a surprise considering the Pixel 7a and Pixel 6a suffered the same shortcoming. A compromise must be made to bring the price down, and Google apparently compromises on battery life. 

In my real-world testing, the Pixel 8a never lasted a full day of use. I used the phone at home, for work, and traveling by plane to Google I/O. It usually needed a top-up on the battery after dinner, if I was going to keep using it. 

Future Labs is still testing the Pixel 8a, but early rundown tests put battery life at just over 11 hours of use. To compare, the OnePlus 12R, our pick for best battery life, topped 19 hours of life on the same test, and it charges much faster. The phones cost the same, too. 

The Pixel 8 also charges a bit faster than the Pixel 8a, whether wired and wireless, and the Pixel 8 can charge other devices wirelessly, which the 8a can't do.

  • Battery score: 3 / 5

Should you buy the Google Pixel 8a?

Google Pixel 8a in front of Pixel 7a in white and Pixel 6a in two-tone green and yellowish green

Pixel 6a, Pixel 7a, and Pixel 8a (left to right) (Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)

Buy it if...

You were considering the Pixel 8
The Pixel 8a gives you just about everything you get with the Pixel 8, for less. The cameras aren't as good, but if the 8a gets a good discount, it's game over for the Pixel 8.

You want to try Google’s AI stuff
The Pixel 8a is the cheapest entry into Google's new AI world, with generative AI writing tools and image editing on board. And it will keep getting better, we hope. 

You care about durability and longevity
You can find better specs at this price (hello, OnePlus 12R), but the Pixel 8a is more durable than the competition, with 7 years of Android updates – unheard of at this price. 

Don't buy it if...

You want a big, fast flagship killer
For the same price, the OnePlus 12R gives you better performance, a bigger screen, and the best battery life. Just don't get it wet.

You need amazing cameras
The Pixel 8a took solid photos that were satisfying to share. It doesn't have long zoom or the fine details of the Pixel 8 Pro, however. 

You're really going to keep a phone for 7 years
Even if Google updates this phone with a new Android every year, in seven years this phone will be astronomically underpowered. Go for a faster device if you want to finish that marathon.

Google Pixel 8a review: Also consider

Google Pixel 8
The Pixel 8 has better cameras than the Pixel 8a, and you can see the difference. There aren't many other advantages that matter, but the cameras may justify the extra cost for some folks.

OnePlus 12R
You want power and performance over software smarts. OnePlus isn't offering AI features or seven years of updates, but the OnePlus 12R gives you much faster performance and incredible battery life for the same price. It looks snazzy, too.

How I tested the Google Pixel 8a

I received the Pixel 8a from Google a few days before Google I/O 2024, so I used this phone as my only work phone for the conference, as well as the days before and after. 

I used the Pixel 8a to take product photos and news photos for our I/O live blog, to keep connected on Slack and Gmail, and to stay entertained on my flights.

I connected the Pixel 8a to a number of peripherals, including the Pixel Watch 2, Pixel Buds Pro, and Ray Ban Meta smart glasses.

I also wrote all of the copy for this review in Google Docs using the Pixel 8a and its on-screen keyboard. I don't usually bother with a stunt like that, but I had seven hours of flying ahead of me and I wanted to write on the plane, and the Pixel 8a is a great size for using in a crowded space like a middle seat.

Read more about how we test

First reviewed May 2024

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Author: admin | Category: Mobile phones news | Tags: | Comments: Off

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Author: admin | Category: Mobile phones news | Tags: | Comments: Off

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2:48 pm |

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Oppo Reno 10 two-minute review

If there’s one phone brand with whom you never know what you’re getting, it’s Oppo, but with its latest mid-range mobile it’s managed to make a phone that’ll (mostly) wow you, especially if you’re looking for a great device without spending too much.

The Oppo Reno 10 is the latest of Oppo’s mid-tier mobiles to launch globally, after the Oppo Reno 8 in 2022 – the brand tends to alternate between global releases and China-only ones. And for the first time in many generations, this is a Reno phone that’s really worth checking out.

At its core, the Oppo Reno 10 is a premium phone with a price tag that’s a lot lower than one would expect. It's easily one of the best cheap phones on the market, embarrassing rival handsets from the likes of Samsung, Apple and Google by just how far ahead it is. It feels better in the hand, performs faster, offers a better display, lasts longer and looks more appealing, though it does have two major weaknesses that keep it away from a higher score.

The design is a large draw of this phone. Oppo has brought the curved-edge display design back to low-cost phones, yet has managed to avoid many of the issues common to this feature, like accidental side presses.

Oppo Reno 10

(Image credit: Future)

The Reno 10 may not have a top-end chipset but it works wonderfully for gaming, and streaming videos is just as much of a treat thanks to its top-spec screen. Its battery lasts a long time, and it charges quickly. What’s not to like?

Well, some things aren’t to like; one of them is the camera. Oppo has aped top-end mobiles by introducing a telephoto camera for zoom photography – this is such a rarity that I wish I could be singing from the rooftops about the Reno 10’s camera prowess, but it joins an utterly underwhelming camera line-up. Photos taken on the Reno 10 are dull, grainy and lifeless. 

In its software, Oppo decided to copy not premium phones, but the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. ColorOS is absolutely littered with pre-installed bloatware apps – I counted 30 on my phone when I first booted it up! At its core, the software is great, with easy navigation and handy customization features, but it’s hard to sail through without getting yourself caught on all its trash.

If you scarcely use your phone camera, and don’t mind spending a good chunk of your phone set-up time wearing out your thumbs by deleting countless random games and shopping apps, then the Oppo Reno 10 will be an absolutely fantastic pick for you. Even those two major pitfalls are easy enough to forgive when you consider the phone’s competitive low price.

But don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Oppo Reno 10 review: price and availability

  • Released in August 2023
  • Costs £399 / AU$749 (around $500)
  • On sale in UK and Australia, not US

Oppo Reno 10

(Image credit: Future)

The Oppo Reno 10 was unveiled in August 2023, and like many of the brand’s phones, it’s available in the UK and Australia but not the US.

You can pick up the phone in its sole configuration for £399 / AU$749 (around $500), which is a small but welcome discount from the Oppo Reno 8’s £419 / AU$999 – that was the last Reno mobile that launched globally, as Oppo generally reserves odd-numbered entries for Chinese markets.

At that price, the Reno sits at the cheaper end of the vaguely defined ‘mid-range’ mobile market. In the UK it undercuts some big-name rivals like the Google Pixel 7a (starts at $499 / £449 / AU$749) or the most recent iPhone SE (starts at $429 / £419 / AU$719), though as you can see its Australian price is on par with its peers. 

  • Value score: 4 / 5

Oppo Reno 10 review: specs

A budget phone with premium specs, here's how the Oppo Reno 10 looks on paper:

Oppo Reno 10 review: design

  • Curved-edge display adds premium feel
  • A touch on the big side
  • Camera bump protrudes quite far

Oppo Reno 10

(Image credit: Future)

Oppo is one of a small number of mobile phone companies offering curved-edge smartphones at low prices – that’s right, the Reno 10 has a display that tapers at the edge. This makes it more comfortable to hold in your hand than many other rival devices, and gives it a premium sheen – plus, in the Reno, it’s not so curvy that you’re at risk of accidentally pressing the sides. Not once in my testing period did I incur the ‘accidental side press’ that can plague so many curved-edge mobiles.

If anything, your issue here is going to be hand strain, because the Reno 10 is a pretty big device. It measures 162.4 x 74.2 x 8mm, and weighs 185g, so while it’s relatively thin and lightweight for a phone of its size, people with smaller hands may struggle to use its extensive display size.

Talking of big, the Reno 10’s rear camera bump is pretty huge. It’s a large lozenge-shaped protrusion that houses all three of the lenses and a flash, and it sticks out a fair way from the phone too. You won’t be putting this mobile down flat on a surface, unless it’s in a case.

Glass houses the back and front of the phone, making this mobile feel pretty premium compared to most same-price rivals. But it’ll be a little more fragile than a plastic device, so a case is advised. In the UK, it only comes in a pretty plain gray color too, imaginatively titled Silvery Gray, so a case will give it some life too – more vibrant alternatives are available in some countries though.

The volume rocker and power button are both housed on the right edge of the mobile – I could reach both at a stretch, though to unlock the phone you need to use the in-screen fingerprint scanner that felt too low-down on the display to use naturally. 

The Oppo has a USB-C port on its button edge for charging and data transfer but no 3.5mm headphone jack in sight. You’ll have to use an adaptor if you want to use wired headphones or speakers.

  • Design score: 4 / 5

Oppo Reno 10 review: display

  • Chunky 6.7-inch screen
  • FHD+ resolution and 120Hz refresh rate
  • Max brightness could be a little higher

Oppo Reno 10

(Image credit: Future)

The Oppo Reno 10’s size is partly because of its large display: at 6.7 inches diagonally, this is a big display, and you won’t find bigger on phones at this price.

It’s a good-looking screen, with a FHD+ resolution (1080 x 2412 pixels) making your games or videos look clear, and the 120Hz refresh rate makes motion appear smooth. 

The HDR10+ certification is just a cherry on top – whether you’re binging a TV show, playing a game, checking out pictures you took or just scrolling through social media, this big and bold display is one of the best you’ll find on a phone at this price point.

If I have a gripe, it’s that the maximum brightness is a little low. At 950 nits, it’s fine for if you’re inside or out and about on an overcast day, but even in this latter circumstance I had to turn the brightness to max to see the screen easily. On a sunny day, you may find it a little hard to see.

  • Display score: 3.5 / 5

Oppo Reno 10 review: software

  • Horrendous bloatware issue
  • Quick to navigate and handily laid out
  • Lots of customization options

Three screenshots showing the user interface of the Oppo Reno 10 as soon as it was set up for the first time.

Three screenshots showing the user interface of the Oppo Reno 10 as soon as it was set up for the first time. Note how some of those icons are actually folders, hiding even more pre-installed apps. (Image credit: Future / Oppo)

The Oppo Reno 10 comes with the newest Android 13 software pre-loaded, with Oppo’s own ColorOS plastered over the top. This Android fork has a similar layout to stock Android, but with a distinctive design to give the software a more playful and energetic tone. Oh, and it has a few choice changes over the base Google-designed software.

I’m talking about bloatware – the Reno has loads. For those that don’t know, bloatware refers to pre-installed apps on the phone beyond the basics that you need for functionality (like a camera app, photo library, Play Store etc). Some companies choose to pack their phones with their own apps, or third-party licensed ones, and in this phone Oppo seems intent on taking that to the logical extreme.

When I first booted up the phone, it was already jam-packed with random games, shopping apps, entertainment platforms, and more – I counted over 30. Some of these are ones I’d choose to install, and it was useful not having to manually download Netflix, but the time I saved in having the streaming service pre-installed was more than made up for in all the unknown apps I had to delete.

Once you’ve worn out your thumbs deleting ‘June’s Journey’ and ‘Portal Parkour’, ColorOS is actually a pretty great operating system. Its buttons, both on the swipe-down quick settings and notifications panels, as well as on the home page, are bold and easy to understand at a scan. Navigation is easy thanks to a handily-accessible app drawer plus well-placed search options. And there’s lots of customization with bespoke widgets, plenty of built-in wallpaper options and ‘style’ options that let you change the always-on display, font, icon and fingerprint animations.

Thanks to the 120Hz display and powerful internals, navigating the phone’s software is a breeze. ColorOS is great to use for people who find stock Android a bit plain – it’s just a shame about the bloatware.

  • Software score: 2.5 / 5

Oppo Reno 10 review: cameras

  • 64MP main, 32MP zoom and 8MP ultra-wide cameras
  • Pictures are unimpressive: lack color, detail, are blown out
  • 32MP snapper on front which suffers from same traits

Oppo Reno 10

(Image credit: Future)

The Oppo Reno 10 makes a staggering leap in the area of budget camera phones: it’s the first low-cost mobile in roughly five years that comes with a telephoto lens, for optical zoom photography (usually when you zoom in on a phone camera it just zooms digitally, via cropping, which quickly loses detail).

This is a 32MP f/2.0 snapper with a lens for 2x optical zoom, and it joins the main 64MP f/1.7 and 8MP f/2.2 ultra-wide cameras to round out the trio. It’s understandable to get excited about this lens tripartite – it’s the same combo that premium mobiles from Samsung and Apple use – but it sadly doesn’t save the Oppo from camera mundanity.

There’s nothing offensively bad with photos taken on the Reno 10, but they’re noticeably lacking. The colors look washed out, darker areas lack detail, and images could look surprisingly grainy – this is all with HDR turned on. You also have to hold the phone still for longer to capture a picture than you’d think, as my camera reel was full of blurry misfires.

Talking of misfires, there’s Night mode, which somehow makes night-time pictures look a lot worse. You’ll see two pictures taken at night below; the first is using the normal camera without tweaking settings. As you can see the water is sharp, the light reflecting in it is distinct and fades out, and the contrast between the darker and brighter areas brings your attention to the center. Then there’s the night mode image which turns it into an oil pastel painting. 

Image 1 of 2

Oppo Reno 10 camera sample

The River Thames at night captured on the Oppo Reno 10's standard photo mode. (Image credit: Future)
Image 2 of 2

Oppo Reno 10 camera sample

The River Thames at night captured on the Oppo Reno 10's Night photo mode. (Image credit: Future)

To give Oppo props for anything, it’s that there’s parity between lenses: you can zoom in to 2x and all the same issues from the main camera are present. Still, it’s nice to have this option for versatile photography. That’s not so true for the ultrawide lens which, with its 8MP sensor, loses too much information to be worth using.

The front of the phone wields a 32MP f/2.4 wide camera, and photos on this bore better fruit than on its rear siblings, but only slightly. Snaps are sharp and, in Portrait mode the digital bokeh is accurate to the body. However, brighter backgrounds in selfies were often blown out, and again colors weren’t rich enough. You’ll see two selfies in the camera gallery below – the shirt I’m wearing is meant to be forest green.

The Oppo Reno 10 records video at 4K/30fps or 1080p/60fps, and it also packs all the standard phone camera options: slow-mo (1080p/480fps or 720p/960fps), panoramic photography, time lapse and Pro mode. It also has an Extra HD mode so you can take pictures at 64MP instead of its default pixel-binned option.

  • Camera score: 2.5 / 5

Oppo Reno 10 camera samples

Image 1 of 8

Oppo Reno 10 camera sample

A standard picture taken on the Oppo Reno 10, kicking off the camera samples with an acceptable one. (Image credit: Future)
Image 2 of 8

Oppo Reno 10 camera sample

Here's another 1x picture, taken to contrast the next two. (Image credit: Future)
Image 3 of 8

Oppo Reno 10 camera sample

An ultra-wide shot of the same scene. (Image credit: Future)
Image 4 of 8

Oppo Reno 10 camera sample

A 2x zoom shot of the same scene. (Image credit: Future)
Image 5 of 8

Oppo Reno 10 camera sample

A close-up image. The phone focuses quickly on close-up subjects. (Image credit: Future)
Image 6 of 8

Oppo Reno 10 camera sample

A selfie. Note the shirt color, as mentioned earlier, and also the subject's positioning. (Image credit: Future)
Image 7 of 8

Oppo Reno 10 camera sample

A Portrait selfie. Notice how some of the fringe has been blurred, though overall it's not catastrophic. (Image credit: Future)
Image 8 of 8

Oppo Reno 10 camera sample

No, the sun's not setting in the background - this snap was taken at midday, and it misses all the vibrancy of the actual scene. (Image credit: Future)

Oppo Reno 10 review: performance and audio

  • Handy Dimensity 7050 chipset plus 8GB RAM
  • Handles games and other tasks well
  • Bluetooth 5.3, adequate speakers but no headphone jack

The Oppo Reno 10 performs just about as well as you could hope a low-cost smartphone to – unless you spend more time playing mobile games than you do outdoors, you’ll find this phone absolutely fit for purpose.

The phone packs a mid-range Dimensity 7050 chipset, paired with 8GB RAM and 256GB storage. You can boost the RAM by an extra 8GB by using a RAM boost feature that temporarily converts your storage into extra mobile power, which will give you some extra oomph until you fill up your phone’s data.

In the Geekbench 6 benchmark test, the phone returned a middling multi-core score of 2,360, but in actual use, it worked perfectly well. In popular games like Call of Duty: Mobile and PUBG Mobile, the device performed admirably, never overheating, lagging or stuttering. If you’re a mobile gamer, you won’t feel let down here.

Oppo has a games mode that lets you boost processing power, monitor your phone’s vital signs and block notifications, but even without enabling this, the device felt great to play games on.

As previously stated there’s no 3.5mm headphone jack. Instead for audio, you can use the handset’s Bluetooth 5.3 connection for phones or speakers, or rely on its in-built speakers. These latter are nothing to write home about but they’re fit for purpose for games, calls, voice notes or other tasks like that.

  • Performance score: 3.5 / 5

Oppo Reno 10 review: battery life

  • Big 5,000mAh battery
  • Up to two days of use
  • 67W charging is lovely and fast

Oppo Reno 10

(Image credit: Future)

Like the vast majority of budget phones, the Oppo Reno 10 packs a 5,000mAh battery, which is about as big as you’ll get on a mainstream phone.

This is more than enough power to last the device through the day under normal use, and even heavy game-playing sessions won’t jeopardise its lasting power (well, to an extent). If you’re frugal, you’ll be able to see the phone through two days of use before a charge is required, but most people won’t last that long.

Thankfully, powering up the phone is swift, thanks to one of the fastest charging speeds you’ll see in a budget phone. That’s 67W, and your phone will power from empty to full in just over half an hour with it. An additional promise Oppo is throwing your way is that the phone should keep its battery capacity high for longer, which is often an issue with fast-charging phones; according to the company, the capacity will still be above 80% of its maximum after 1,600 charges and discharges, or about four years of use.

  • Battery score: 4 / 5

Should you buy the Oppo Reno 10?

Buy it if...

You wish you weren't on a budget
We all have a certain limit we'd spend on a phone, but if you wish yours was a lot higher, the Reno will let you pretend that it is.

You like streaming games and movies
Between its good-looking screen, powerful chipset, plentiful storage and big battery, the Reno 10 is great for streaming TV, movies, games and music.

You like easy software
ColorOS has a smart layout, easily-understood buttons and handy navigation tricks... once you've got rid of all the bloatware.

Don't buy it if...

You're a mobile photography fan
We've gone into lots of detail as to the Oppo Reno 10's camera issues. While the telephoto lens may be a big draw, it's not worth it!

You're not adept with user interface tweaks
Due to its bloatware, we'd only recommend the Reno 10 to people who are comfortable enough with phone software to quickly delete a huge number of apps.

You have smaller hands
Due to its size, you might have trouble operating the Oppo Reno 10 if you have smaller hands, as it'll be a stretch to reach the volume rocker or upper half of the display.

Oppo Reno 10 review: also consider

Considering other mobiles beyond the Oppo Reno 10? Here are some others you could look into, that all cost the same as, or a tiny amount more than, the Reno.

Google Pixel 7a
Google's pint-sized Pixel 7a has the clean stock Android software and a focus on camera chops, so it's basically the opposite of the Reno 10. In the UK it's a bit pricier though.

Samsung Galaxy A54
Samsung has made a handy low-cost jack-of-all-trades device with the Galaxy A54. It falls a little short in the performance department but makes up for it with fun color options.

How I tested the Oppo Reno 10

  • Review test period = 2 week
  • Testing included = Everyday usage, including web browsing, social media, photography, video calling, gaming, streaming video, music playback
  • Tools used = Geekbench 6, Geekbench ML, GFXBench, native Android stats

The testing period for the Oppo Reno 10 was roughly two weeks, which doesn't time before the fortnight for setting up the device and getting it through a few battery cycles, and time spent using the phone while writing the review.

To test the phone, I used it as a normal owner would: I took it on walks to test the camera, watched TV shows using it, played games at home on it. I also put it through some limited benchmark and timing tests, though kept these to a minimum as they don't usually reflect actual use.

I've been writing about phones at TechRadar for over five years now, after joining in early 2019, and have used Oppo's Reno phones since the first-gen Reno 10x Zoom up until the present day, including the last Reno phone to release in the UK, the Reno 8. I've also used phones from every other mainstream company, which helps with comparisons and with understanding all the phones out there right now.

Read more about how we test

First reviewed January 2023

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