OPPO A5s Review; Fails to stand out from the crowd

In the past few months, the battle to dominate Pakistan’s budget smartphone market is getting fiercer. In a short span of time, many mobile phone brands have introduced new entry-level devices to rope in the users who are looking to upgrade from a feature phone or want a good looking smartphone in a budget and OPPO A5s is one of them.

The new Oppo A5s comes as the successor to the last years Oppo A3s (Review) and offers almost the same specs that it’s predecessor offered, like a huge 4230mAh battery, 2GB RAM, dual 13MP + 2MP camera, 6.2 inches of screen, 8MP selfie shooter, etc.

OPPO has upgraded the chipset in the new entry-level phone in A5s which now comes with A Helio P35 SoC along with a larger 32GB of internal storage,

The price of the smartphone at the time of the launch is Rs. 23,999 in Pakistan and in a market where both A3s and A5s are available, is there anything special about this year’s smartphone? Let’s find out.

Design

From the first look, OPPO A5s may seem like its predecessor, OPPO A3s but you can spot subtle design changes by placing the two phones side by side. While the latter has borrowed some design elements from OPPO F7, the former feels similar to OPPO A7.

The entry-level smartphone comes with a plastic body but the glossy shine and the design makes it look like a mid-range device. It has an aluminum body and fits perfectly in one’s hand due to the curvy sides. It is recommended that you keep it in a plastic case to prevent fingerprint smudges from ruining the phone’s beauty.

At the back, we get the standard placement of dual camera setup at the top left and a traditional fingerprint sensor in the middle, a feature which was not available in last year’s A3s.

The fingerprint sensor is surrounded by a golden ring and due to its slightly higher placement, we had to stretch our index fingers to unlock the smartphone. It may not be a problem for other users as it solely depends upon how you hold your device.

On the right side of the smartphone, you get a power button while there are volume rocker and SIM tray with dedicated microSD slot on the left.

At the bottom, there is a micro USB charging port accompanied by speaker grill, microphone, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. We did not like the placement of the phone’s speaker as our hand rests naturally over it while playing games in landscape mode.

We get more screen space at the front of OPPO A5s thanks to the waterdrop notch. The bezels on the sides are quite minimum but the chin is quite similar to its predecessor. It is slightly heavier than OPPO A3s (2g to be exact) but you cannot tell the difference while holding the two phones in your hands.

Display

Oppo A5s features a 6.2 inch IPS LCD display with a 19:9 aspect ratio and 720 x 1520 pixels screen resolution along with a small waterdrop notch up at the top of the display to host the camera and the earpiece. Even though the small notch is unintrusive, it is still annoying to not have an option to hide it.

OPPO A5s display

The smartphone’s display offers bright and vivid colors and we did not have any problems regarding the viewing angles and the color reproduction while using the phone indoors.

In outdoor scenarios, the display gets bright enough to clearly show the phone’s contents under direct sunlight. Moreover, the screen is also covered with Gorilla Glass 3 protection which means cannot be scratched easily.

Software

Oppo A5s ships with the company’s proprietary skin Color OS 5. 2 based on Android Oero. It is disappointing that the phone is not using Color OS 6 which has already made its way to many OPPO phones.

Oppo A5s OS

Despite being old, the Color OS comes with a very clean interface and offers many useful features, similar to OPPO A3s, including a smart sidebar that can help you access a range of shortcuts by just swiping from right to left and Smart Assistant to provide all the useful widgets in one place.

Oppo A5s Shortcuts

It also comes with Oppo Secure keyboard that helps you to keep what you are typing private when you are entering sensitive information such as passwords or when accessing the private safe. The secure keyboard does not record your input and thus protects your sensitive information.

OPPO A5s also has a Kids Mode which allows your child access only those apps that you approve and requires a password if you are trying to leave this safe space. It also has a dedicated Game Mode which helps to boost the performance of the smartphone during your gaming session.

Performance & Battery

Oppo A5s is equipped with the Helio P35 chipset coupled with 2GB RAM variant with 32GB internal storage but during testing, it did not show any significant difference in performance when compared to its predecessor OPPO A3s  which is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 450. Here are the Antutu and Geekbench benchmark scores of Oppo A5s.

OPPO A5s benchmarks

In real life usage, the phone handles general day to day tasks very well. It provides great performance in moderate usage and for simple actions like calling, texting, binge-watching movies and using social media apps, this phone is a good choice which is not a burden on the user’s wallet.

As smooth as it works in moderate usage, the smartphone cannot handle the heavy tasks due to its 2GB RAM and constantly stutters when you play heavy games like Deer hunter, Real Racing 3, etc. It was surprising to see that Asphalt 9 which could be played in OPPO A3s is not compatible with OPPO A5s.

OPPO A5s Asphalt 9

Unlike the predecessor, A5s also heats up during heavy usage and sometimes it becomes difficult to hold it even with the protective case.

Oppo A5s is fueled by a huge 4230mAh battery which is even better than the more expensive Honor 8C. In an hour of light usage which includes texting, calling, browsing social media and occasional camera usage along with watching YouTube videos, the phone consumed only 11% of battery.

Oppo A5s 3 Hours Battery Test

In heavy usage, however, as the phone started to heat up a little bit, it leeched out more battery and consumed 15% battery in a one-hour session of gaming and multitasking. Also, keep in mind that both the light and heavy usage tests were done with 4G LTE connectivity.

Camera

OPPO A5s comes with same camera setup as the A3s and features a 13MP primary lens and 2MP depth sensor at the back. You will also get only HDR, auto and portrait modes in the camera interface.

Though the camera specs are the same, the performance of A5s is much better than A3s. It captures more details of the subject and even though it softens the picture from the edges, it does not blur them or mash them with the background.

Picture at Railyway Station at night with auto mode on Oppo A5s
Auto Mode

The auto-focus mode of the camera also tends to overexpose the images as you can see below:

Picture with Auto Mode on Oppo A5s
Auto Mode

The HDR mode of OPPO A5s helps to further retain details and helps to control light so you do not have to worry about taking overexposed images. You can see how the picture of Badshahi mosque is more on the cooler side in the HDR mode below as compared to the one taken in auto mode.

Picture of Badshahi Mosque at day with auto mode on OPPO A5s
Auto Mode

Picture of Badshahi Mosque at day with HDR mode on OPPO A5s
HDR Mode

Here’s another shot which was taken in HDR mode:

Picture at Railyway Station at night with auto mode on Oppo A5s
HDR Mode

Though the camera of A5s struggles during night time, the result is much better than OPPO A3s. It does not completely blow up the surrounding lights in auto mode and HDR can help to further darken the excessively light areas.

Havlie Building Picture with auto mode on oppo A5s
Auto Mode

Havlie Building Picture with HDR mode on oppo A5s
HDR Mode

In the following shot, you can also see how the smartphone is trying to control the light at night.

Picture at night with HDR Mode on OPPO A5s
Auto Mode

The smartphone also comes with an 8MP camera at the front for taking selfies and unlike its predecessor, it does not come with a bouquet mode.

You can take some good natural-looking selfies with OPPO A5s smartphone in the daylight and the software does not aggressively soften the skin tone of the subject.

Selfies with Oppo A5s

The camera is the only category where we can see the clear distinction between OPPO A5s and A3s. The former excels in taking decent shots without too much of an effort.

Verdict

Just like OPPO’s other budget smartphones, OPPO A5s comes with the formula of good design accompanied by lasting battery life. Most of its specs are the same as the last year’s OPPO A3s apart from the improved chipset and larger storage capacity.

We can see a clear improvement in the camera department as the images have preserved more details of the subject and have not rebelled against the light during night time but at the time when all companies are trying to innovate in this price segment, OPPO A5s has failed to hook us with any of its features.

We cannot deny that A5s is a decent smartphone that works flawlessly during light usage but if you are looking for a phone that can offer better value for money in a budget, you should turn towards Tecno Camon i4 (Review) that offer 4GB+64GB variant at Rs. 25,999 (launch price) in Pakistan.

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