On to what matters: Should you invest in Oppo’s first official device in South Africa? The Oppo A72 comes in at just R7,000 -- which is a steal if you consider the specs alone. We would have liked to see an OLED display here, and possibly a slightly more powerful processor. But you get a whole lot of phone in a pretty package for that price, so we’re happy.
It looks like we have our first Oppo smartphone in SA to review, so tickle us fairly impressed.
Oppo devices have been available in a select few countries the world over. Now, it has finally decided to launch into South Africa with a decent budget device in the form of the A72. We had some time to play with the R7,000 Oppo A72 recently.
You know what we found? Oppo succeeds in bringing us dashing good looks, capable cameras and a battery that is impossible to kill in a day. As with any budget device, there are a few drawbacks, especially when it comes to raw power and performance. Problem is, you may run into certain points where the phone becomes a tad frustrating to use — but we’ll take the price point into consideration here. It also has some performance issues that means it’s a tad frustrating to use.
Nevertheless, if you’re looking for a sub-R10,000 smartphone, the Oppo A72 should be way up there on your list, as long as you don’t plan on pushing it too hard.
We got an Aurora Purple model to review that catches the light that radiates across the plastic backing with purple-to-yellow hues. It’s pretty sleek and looks beautiful when clean but pop a few fingertips on the backplate and you get a whole lot of smudges.
Another issue with the design of the phone is that the plastic back picks up lint and dust like no other phone we’ve ever tested. You’ll find yourself constantly wiping it down, trying to stop it looking like a shagpile rug. Luckily you can wrap the supplied transparent phone cover around the back and hope for the best. But strangely even the display picks up dust like it’s no-one’s business.
That aside, it’s got everything you’d expect from a 2020 smartphone, from the front-facing camera cut out to four cameras on the back, giving it the appearance of a phone that costs at least twice as much. Add to that the USB-C port, fingerprint sensor under the side-mounted power button and a headphone jack (headphones included in the box!) and you are getting a lot of phone for the money.
High-def on the lowdown
Upfront you get a bright 6.5in LCD panel that features an HD 1080p resolution. This is one of the standout features, although we all know LCDs aren’t great in the long run — the shiny display makes up for any preconceived ideas.
It’s also got slight darkening around the edges and camera punch hole, which gives away the budget-ness of the device. But it still looks good. Any images or video you can throw at this screen looks crisp and vivid. The colours, however, may come across as quite saturated, which isn’t ideal, but everything will look impressively bright. You can change the saturation in the display settings, however.
It’s got a cap
Although the A72 tries its damndest to be a flagship phone, there’s one spot where it fails the test. When you start putting its specs under increasing stress. It has a Snapdragon 665 and 4GB RAM, enough to play all but the most demanding games. We got to play a few bouts of Asphalt 9 and Mario Kart Tour with no issues save for some slow loading screens – actual gameplay was solid, even though the phone drops frames in some more frantic instances.
It comes with a whopping 128GB storage though, which is a nice addition if you’re an avid app-collector like we tend to be. You can also take advantage of dual SIM slots at the same time as the MicroSD slot, a rarity on any phone let alone one this cheap.
Daily use is fine as well. You’ll rarely run into issues if you use the phone for light social media browsing. Videos look great so you can easily binge your favourite show or YouTube channel without a hiccup. We found that apps may hang a bit when switching, but that’s not a deal-breaker. Our favourite feature on this bad boy is obviously the gigantic battery which’ll have it last a full day without question.
Another point we have to focus on (because that has been one of our gripes with Chinese-manufactured devices) is the Color OS skin on Oppo’s devices. Although we’ve never really played with it, it comes across very similar to Vivo’s FunTouch skin (which we loathe, for lack of a better word).
But the Color skin isn’t as bad as we expected, These come pre-loaded with Color OS 10, a skin optimised for Android 10. And they’ll be Android 11 ready come launch of the update. Something that boosts the A72 in our estimations is Oppo’s much-improved software skin.
You get some strange instances where you cannot swipe right to dismiss a notification, but otherwise, it’s a decent Android skin that tries to make your life easier through small software tweaks.
The A72 has four cameras but the bottom line is that it might as well only have two. The 48Mp f/1/7 main sensor is actually very good, as is the addition of the 8Mp f/2.2 ultrawide. Together we captured some decent shots in good lighting with fine detail and vibrant colours, though there is a degree of saturation going on here.
You can also record video in 4K at 30 frames per second, which is a boon. Unfortunately, the 2MP depth and 2MP black and white sensors don’t bring much to the party. Portrait mode shots are a little shoddy, as is the night mode, and there’s no macro mode. But again, for the price, you’ll be more than happy snapping away.
The front-facing 16MP camera is nothing to write home about, and it over-softens photos even when you turn off the software beauty modes.
Oppo A72 Verdict
On to what matters: Should you invest in Oppo’s first official device in South Africa? The Oppo A72 comes in at just R7,000 — which is a steal if you consider the specs alone. We would have liked to see an OLED display here, and possibly a slightly more powerful processor. But you get a whole lot of phone in a pretty package for that price, so we’re happy.
Its plastic build shows a lot of dust and lint but the 1080p is great at this price and the cameras are decent. Battery life is also stunning, and there’s a fast charger in the box. Just don’t push it too hard. Honestly, it’s a decent budget pick if you’re keeping a keen eye on spending this time of the year.