Gadget Enthusiast

The OPPO A9 2020 May Look Premium, But Can It Prove That It Has More Than Just A Pretty Face?

  • The OPPO A9 2020 available in Malaysia in its 8GB / 128 GB variant, priced at RM1,199.
  • It comes with a massive 5,000mAh battery, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 655 processor and a 48MP quad-camera setup with 119-degree ultra-wide lens.

The smartphone battleground may be moving to the mid-tier market as demand for entry-level and mid-range phones remain strong.

It is in this market that the OPPO A9 2020 joins other brands, leveraging on OPPO’s experience in camera tech to carry it ahead of the competition.

So, let’s take a look at how this ‘2020’ phone does in the year 2019.

Specifications
Display 6.5 inch IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 720 x 1600 pixels, 20:9 ratio
Dimensions 163.6 x 75.6 x 9.1 mm, 195 grams
Camera Ultra Wide Quad Camera Setup
Rear: 48MP, 8MP, 2MP & 2MP
Front: 16MP
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 665
Memory 4GB / 8GB RAM
Storage 128GB
Battery 4880/5000mAh with reverse charging

A Premium Look

First off, it is a pretty phone, I will give it that.

Seemingly taking a page out of their own Reno 2’s design book, OPPO gave the A9 2020 a sleek gradient coloured back. It makes you almost forget that this is a mid-tier smartphone.

The huge 6.5-inch waterdrop display, coupled with a crisp Dolby Atmos dual stereo speaker system, makes it a great platform to watch your favourite shows on or to play games on the go.

Don’t expect it to hold a candle to gaming phones, but it can run games like PUBG and Mobile Legends at low settings, with acceptable framerates.

I’ll chalk that up to the Snapdragon 665’s integrated Gameboost 2.0 doing its job well.

Some Bang For Your Buck

If I were to justify the slightly higher price range for this phone, I would say that you would be paying for OPPO’s patented camera tech and higher battery life.

We’ll get to the camera soon, but first let’s start with the inclusion of a 5000 mAh battery, which you can expect to last you for up to 3 days, without heavy app usage.

A plus point here is that the phone supports reverse charging, for that one friend who keeps forgetting to charge his own phone (like me!)

But be warned, as the battery does not support fast charging, a strange design choice considering the battery’s large capacity.

And Now The Camera

Here we have the core feature of the phone, which comes as no surprise since this is OPPO we are talking about.

What did surprise me, is how disappointed I was by a glaring flaw that I just could not ignore.

Don’t get me wrong, the initial test shots I took with the phone’s 48MP rear camera were impressive at first.

It does a great job at taking sharp, detailed images, and the 119-degree ultra-wide-angle lens is capable of amazing semi-panoramic shots.

However, after taking the time to compare the photos with those taken by other phone cameras, the one thing you will notice is that the OPPO A9 2020 is lacking in colour vibrancy.

This is a shame, as no matter how sharp the image, if the majority of photos end up looking like it has had the vibrancy sucked out of it, it makes for some dull-looking shots.

Compared to my Samsung S9’s camera, the A9 2020’s shot on the right looks washed-out

Some colour-correcting may be required on your part if you want more vibrant colours in your photos.

Moving on to selfies, The A9 2020 offers a 16MP camera with AI beautification software.

While the front camera was just as crisp as the rear, again I have to bring up the issue of colour. Here, I would blame the AI beautification feature for doing its job too well.

Here are two selfies from the OPPO A9 2020 with the AI Beautification at work

While I get that the camera is intentionally smoothing and brightening up your skin, I think it does too much, which ends up making you look almost unnatural.

Admittedly, I’m not really a selfie person myself, so I had to differ to my significant other’s opinions on this, who said, and I quote: “I look so fake!”

That being said, those who are more beauty-minded may love this feature, if you want to imitate your favourite Korean popstar.

Verdict

The OPPO A9 2020 is a good phone but a few noticeable flaws in its key features keep it from being a stand out star in its price range:

Its impressive 5,000mAh battery does not support fast-charging, and while the quad-camera is great with capturing detail, it does not quite fully understand how colours work.

The OPPO A9 2020 certainly came dressed to impress, but in such a competitive industry, it’s the little things like this that leave the market open for similar phones like the Realme 5 Pro and Xiaomi Mi A3.

If cameras aren’t your thing (or if you just like more natural-looking shots), it might not be worth the extra couple hundred ringgit to get the OPPO A9 2020 over other phones of its tier.

ProsCons
Huge, clear displayCamera has poor colour accuracy
Great speakersSlightly pricier than average
Long-lasting battery No fast charging
Reverse charging

VP Verdict is a series where we personally try and test out products, services, fads, and apps. Want to suggest something else for us to try? Leave a comment here or send the suggestion into our Facebook page.

  • Find out more about the OPPO A9 2020 here.
  • Read our other VP Verdicts here.

 

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