Oppo’s been churning out quite a few good smartphones as of late and the new Oppo A9 2020 is no exception. While the quadruple rear camera setup and the dazzling backplate make some delectable statements out of the box, would that be the A9 2020’s only claim in the “budget-premium” category or does the device have more to offer than its predecessors and competitors?
The back of the phone has the same eye-catching colour tricks you’d find on other Chinese smartphones, but unlike most of these finishes, the space purple finish is subtle and the shimmering is kept to a minimum. While the back is made of plastic, Corning Gorilla Glass 3+ covers the LCD display. The display was bright and better than what you’d find on lower-tier smartphones. Adaptive brightness settings were responsive too, adjusting the screen’s brightness to the lighting conditions of your surroundings. Oppo claims that the phone has an 89% screen-to-body-ratio and looking at the chin on the bottom of the screen and the teardrop/waterdrop selfie camera, I think that about checks out. My biggest gripe with the design of the phone would have to be the positioning of the volume buttons and the power button. While I understand why the power button is placed in the middle of the phone, since no one would want to reach high with their thumbs, and therefore, having it in the middle makes it easier; placing the volume buttons on the same position on the other side has led to many unintentional screenshots with this phone. Having the volume rockers placed a tad bit higher on the other end would have solved the problem. Moving over to the back of the phone we have the neatly organized cameras and the fingerprint sensor, the latter not being as satisfactory as I would’ve liked it to be. The fingerprint sensor, despite being responsive most of the time still struggled whenever it thought it was dirty and it registered my fingers as grimy when neither of which was the case. It was fast and functional when it did work. The cameras, however, did feel as advertised.
The phone features a primary 48MP lens, 8MP wide-angle lens, 2MP mono lens, and 2MP portrait lens, and so naturally, pictures taken in natural light have a pronounced sense of depth and clarity to them. The camera app has the same cookie-cutter interface you’d find on last year’s Oppo devices, portrait mode, beauty mode, expert mode but the addition of a wide-angle lens now lets you capture wide-angle selfies and pictures. The portrait mode, while nowhere near the top flagships, is serviceable and works well on tiny objects and such. While the colour grading and sharpness of pictures all have a touch of AI beautification to them, it doesn’t go overboard with corrections as we saw with some of the Chinese AIs from last year or the year before. And while most of the camera did perform as advertised, I was disappointed with night mode. Despite not going in with any expectations (given the fact that the phone isn’t a flagship) I still felt like I should have been getting more light out of the pictures, instead, it was the same grainy pictures you’d find on phones without night mode.
At the heart of this phone is a Snapdragon 665 processor, Adreno 610 GPU and yes it can run PUBG and other demanding games. While PUBG defaults to medium settings on the device, it ran smoothly and the phone was cool to the touch. The battery had drained about 8 to 9 percent during an hour-long game. The phone remained lag-free, fluid and functional for almost all the time, except for the one time when it hanged on the camera app for a solid minute.
Aside from nit-picking, the A9 2020 has been a really smooth operator with virtually no performance hiccup on any app. Split-screen viewing also pairs really well with the gigantic 6.5-inch display.
The A9 2020 comes with a 5000 mAh battery and that’s not just a buzzword to get you to throw money at it, this phone lasts. Like over 24 hours in my case with standard usage for 15 of those hours. I’m also glad that it features a USB-C port and not micro USB, meaning that the phone charged fast too.
To be frank, I did not expect the battery life to be as good as it was but I was pleasantly surprised when I would come back home after a full day to only find that the A9 2020 had only lost about 20% charge. If you’re looking for a phone in this price range with a good battery, then this phone is a strong recommendation from yours truly.
The Oppo A9 2020 is a solid device and perhaps a strong contender in the sub 30,000/- category. Great battery life, reliable performance, the phone has all the basics covered. If you’re looking for a bang for your buck kind of device, then this could be the device for you, if of course, you’re willing to adapt to the minor hiccups that come with “budget premium” devices of this sort.
Processor: Snapdragon 665
OS: Color OS 6.0.1, Android 9
GPU: Adreno 610
Rear Camera: 48M (f/1.8) + 8M (f/2.25) + 2M (f/2.4) + 2M (f/2.4)
Front Camera: 16-megapixel (f/2.0)
Display: 6.5-inch IPS LCD, 1600x720 pixels
Memory: 8GB RAM
Storage: 128GB internal
Battery: 5000mAH lithium-ion
Price: BDT 24,990/-