Just over a year ago, the Oppo Find X Lamborghini Edition took the crown as the fastest-charging smartphone we’d ever tested. Oppo’s Super VOOC charging technology charged the 3,400mAh cell from 0 to 100% in just 35 minutes. It’s an incredible performance that hasn’t been bested — until now.
Which company has stolen the title? Well, it’s Oppo again — this time with the new Oppo Reno Ace smartphone. How much has it beaten the Lamborghini phone by? While the time difference isn’t gigantic, it still surpasses the Lambo’s performance, and what’s more, the battery size is actually bigger this time around.
Testing the amount of time it takes a smartphone to charge isn’t difficult. Ensure the battery is empty, plug it into the included charger, set a timer, make tea, and wait until 100% shows on the display. To help illustrate the amount of time the Reno Ace takes to charge, and to get an accurate result, an Apple Watch was called into action — to tell time, of all things — and test the phone’s charging performance.
The secret to Oppo’s fast-charging success is the included Super VOOC charging block, which pumps energy into the battery cell at 65W. To put that into context, the fast charger that comes with Apple’s iPhone 11 series delivers 18W to the iPhone, while the cube that comes with all previous iPhone models puts out just 5W. The 18W charger takes the iPhone’s battery to about 50% in 30 minutes. So, what can the Oppo Reno Ace and Super VOOC achieve in the slightly less time? A full charge. Within 30 minutes, the phone’s 4,000mAh battery was at 100%.
In our test, the Reno Ace’s battery was full in just over 28 minutes, reaching 88% in 20 minutes. In fact, because the percentage is shown on the screen, you can watch the number quickly rise, which is a bit surreal. Oppo’s Super VOOC charger, which comes in the box with the Oppo Reno Ace, is no larger than a regular power brick that comes with most phones and, crucially, remains cool and composed throughout the charging process.
This 0 to 100% fill-up in 28 minutes makes the Reno Ace the fastestcharging phone we’ve ever tested. It’s transformative tech, as the fastcharging capabilities combine with a solid day’s worth of battery life to remove battery anxiety almost completely.
If the fast charging is the Reno Ace’s standout feature, what about the rest of the phone? If you’ve paid attention to Oppo’s Reno series phone designs recently, the Reno Ace doesn’t really stand out from the crowd. It’s made from glass and aluminum, has a 6.5-inch AMOLED screen with a 90Hz refresh rate, and a quad-lens camera at top center on the back. It’s not very slim at 8.7mm, and it’s quite heavy at 200 grams.
That aside, it’s a monster performer. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus chip powers the phone with 8GB or 12GB of RAM, and drives Android 9.0. This is a slight disappointment, although an update to Android 10 will come in the future. Oppo’s Color OS user interface is over the top, and it’s quite different from Android installed on a Google Pixel 4, Samsung Galaxy S10, or even Huawei’s EMUI 10. There’s a learning curve involved when you start using the phone; the design differences are jarring at first, and the notifications don’t always show up or even arrive.
The camera is good. It has a 48-megapixel main lens with optical image stabilization, a 13-megapixel telephoto lens, an 8-megapixel ultrawide lens, and a 2-megapixel monochrome lens. The camera has a wide-angle setting, a 2x zoom, and a 5x optical and hybrid zoom feature — then a 10x and 20x digital zoom — providing plenty of versatility. Photos are decent, and the specification puts it somewhere between the Realme X2 Pro and the OnePlus 7T.
The Oppo Reno Ace is a great smartphone with a genuinely helpful, world-beating title feature. The screen looks fantastic, the 90Hz refresh rate makes using it a joy, and the 20:9 aspect ratio allows my hand to fit around the body comfortably. It offers fast and smooth performance, the camera takes good photos in almost all situations, and the big battery is charged up at a crazy speed.
What’s not to like? The software could be better, but Oppo’s recently announced Color OS 7 may fix some of the issues when it arrives. However, if you’re in the U.S., the worst part is you can’t buy one very easily. You’ll have to import one from the U.K., Europe, or China. At the time of writing, importer GearBest has the Reno Ace on sale for $550 — a great price for what’s inside.
It’s currently the fastestcharging phone you can buy, a record Oppo has taken from itself. When will it be beaten next? Battery and charging technology are constantly developing, and although we are now seeing phones that take about an hour to charge up — the OnePlus 7T, for example — and Huawei is pushing the boundaries with fast 27W wireless charging, the Reno Ace may keep the fastcharging crown for a while yet.
- Fitbit Charge 5 review: A truly advanced fitness tracker
- I’ve used MagSafe for a year. It’s useful, but here’s why I wouldn’t miss it
- The best USB charging stations for 2021
- Apple iPhone 13 buying guide: Release date, price, specs — everything we know
- The best folding phones for 2021: What’s available and what’s coming