OPPO A9 2020 Review; Setting The Grades Higher - TeknoGadyet
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Sunday, October 13, 2019

OPPO A9 2020 Review; Setting The Grades Higher

INTRODUCTION:

The OPPO A Series was once considered as the entry-level offering from the Chinese manufacturing giant, but that was before. Things changed just recently, with OPPO unveiling their first-ever endorser for this line-up along with its flag carrier, the OPPO A9 2020.

OPPO A9 2020 Review; Setting The Grades Higher
OPPO A9 2020 Review; Setting The Grades Higher

Yes, we know it is only 2019, but OPPO named their device as such because they believed that the OPPO A9 2020 would remain relevant until next year or so, not to mention this kind of naming scheme is becoming the norm these days. And, of course, there was an A9 released earlier this year. The real question now is, does it have things that consumers will love? Let's all find out in this review!


PHYSICAL:

The front of the OPPO A9 2020 is pretty much similar to that of the previous A9 as well as the OPPO F11; all of them have Waterdrop Display that measures 6.5-inch diagonally and has a small notch up top. The new A9 2020 has a 20:9 aspect ratio as compared to the 19.5:9 of the other two phones, albeit it has a lower count of pixels per inch. This is because its panel only has 1600 x 720 pixels, which translates to just 270 PPI density, versus the 2340 x 1080 pixels and 395 PPI of the A9 and F11.

OPPO A9 2020 Front
Front

If your eyes are very keen, you can spot the difference in the sharpness of the display, especially when you are spoiled with UHD or even at least FHD screens. However, when you are not comparing it side by side to other phones with higher resolution, it is hardly noticeable. The texts and images still look good even under direct sunlight, and viewing angles are great too. Nonetheless, it would be more awesome if OPPO just threw it more pixels, 1080p would be lovely.

OPPO A9 2020 6.5-inch Waterdrop Display
6.5-inch Waterdrop Display

Moving on, the notch holds the front camera, and directly above it is the earpiece grille that blends with the frame's border. The top has nothing on it, the right has the power button, the left side is where the triple card tray and volumes keys are located, and the bottom is pretty much busy accommodating the loudspeaker grill, 3.5mm audio jack, microphone, and the USB Type-C port.

OPPO A9 2020 3D Aesthetics Back Design
3D Aesthetics Back Design

Flipping the phone over reveals the 3D aesthetics design of the back panel with color gradients inspired by nature, which are Blue-Violet Gradient (the one that we have for review) and the Dark Green Gradient. It looks premium and seems to be highly inspired by the OPPO Reno Series. However, the glass-like finish is smudge and fingerprint magnet, and the bump of the 3 cluster cameras is about 1mm or so. Thankfully, the fourth camera, the LED flash, and the fingerprint sensor are not protruding and are in line with the back's surface.

It measures 163.6mm x 75.6mm x 9.1mm, which is slightly taller and thicker than the A9's and F11's 162mm x 76.1mm x 8.3mm, and weighs a little heavier too at 195 grams as compared to 190 grams and 18 grams respectively.


OPPO A9 2020 Unboxing and Hands-on

Meanwhile, the retail box consists of the unit itself with a pre-applied protective film, wired earphones, 10-watt charger, USB Type-C cable, ejector tool, free clear case, and paper documents. To know more about its physical appearance, you can watch our unboxing and hands-on video above.


SOFTWARE:

The OPPO A9 2020 runs on ColorOS 6.0.1 that is based on Android 9 Pie, which is the latest operating system for almost all OPPO phones released in the Philippines to date. It brings an upgrade on looks and performance to the previous ColorOS5.2. We made a long post about it with our Realme 3 review before, which is the first device both from OPPO and Realme to have such OS. That said, we will not discuss it further here. Instead, you can read our Realme 3 Review; Rediscovering Value for Money to know more, or better visit https://www.oppo.com/ph/coloros6/.

OPPO A9 2020 User Interface
User Interface

As we always say, proprietary OS is not everyone's cup of tea, some will like it, and some won't. Honestly, we prefer the clean look of the stock Android. However, we also like the usability that is built-in to OS build such as ColorOS. In addition, having different look and feel of the interface is one of the things that separate one Android phone maker to another.


PERFORMANCE:

The OPPO A9 2020 is the first device that we reviewed with Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 chipset. The said chip was launched around April of this year, and it is based on the 11nm FinFET process. It comes with octa-core Kryo 260 CPU with up to 2GHz frequency each plus Adreno 610 GPU, and comes with 3rd generation Qualcomm Artificial Intelligence Engine. According to Qualcomm, it provides better performance in the areas of gaming, camera, and security as compared to Snapdragon 660. It is the 3rd most powerful chip in the 6 Series just behind the SDM675 and SD670.

OPPO A9 2020 CPU-Z Information
CPU-Z Information

To test its raw performance, we run it through our favorite benchmark applications, and the results are as follows:

Benchmark OPPO A9 2020 Vivo S1 Samsung A50s
Antutu 133,922 147,097 150,201
Geekbench 5 (Single-Core) 314 346 276
Geekbench 5 (Multi-Core) 1,287 1,313 1,206
Geekbench 5 (RenderScript) 373 894 1,418
PC Mark 6,809 8,372 5,901
3D Mark Sling Shot 1,748 1,469 1,560
3D Mark Sling Shot (Vulcan) 1,040 1,106 1,456
3D Mark Sling Shot (OpenGL) 1,109 1,086 1,399
3D Mark Ice Storm Unlimited 23,261 16,655 16,589
3DMark Ice Storm Extreme Max Max Max

OPPO A9 2020 Benchmark Scores
Benchmark Scores

Based on the table above, the scores of the A9 2020's SDM665 is less superior when compared to Vivo S1's Mediatek Helio P65 and Samsung Galaxy A50s' Exynos 9611. In fact, it got the lowest grades in some tests, such as the Antutu, probably because its CPU clock frequency is slightly lower, and Geekbench 5 Renderscript.

In real-life scenarios, though, we are happy to report that there is barely nothing to complain about its performance. We are satisfied with how fluid navigating the interface is, the smooth opening and running of resources-hungry apps, and the almost lag-free gameplay. We tested two of the hottest games today, the Mobile Legends and Call of Duty Mobile, and both of them are highly playable, even under heavy graphics settings. Thanks to its huge 8GB of RAM and the Game Boost 2.0 that combines Frame Boost and Touch Boost for smoother and more responsive gaming.

Moreover, gamely is also immersive with the A9 2020's Dolby Atmos and Dual Stereo Speakers. Another thing to note is that we did not encounter heating issues even if we played 3 ML rank games continuously that lasted for more than 1 hour.

OPPO A9 2020 Game Boost 2.0
Game Boost 2.0

In terms of storage, there are about 104 gigabytes available to the users upon boot up, which can be further expanded up to 256GB by simply inserting a MicroSD card on its dedicated slot. Yes, this phone has a triple card tray, meaning it can accommodate two Nano SIMs plus MicroSD.


CAMERA:

One of the major features of the OPPO A9 2020 is the quad-camera setup on its back, which is composed of a 48MP f/1.8 main sensor, 8MP f/2.2 119-degree ultra-wide lens, 2MP f/2.4 mono lens, and another 2MP f/2.4 portrait lens.

OPPO A9 2020 48MP Quad Cameras
OPPO A9 2020 48MP Quad Cameras

Having four cameras mounted at the back is becoming the norm these days for smartphone makers, especially in the midrange department. We have seen this kind of thing in the Huawei Nova 5T, Vivo V17 Pro, Realme 5 and Realme 5 Pro as well as in the recently announced Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 and Redmi Note 8 Pro. In fact, we saw a similar set up early this year with the Huawei P30 Pro and late last year with the Samsung Galaxy A9, although these two are a bit expensive when compared to other phones mentioned.

OPPO A9 2020 Camera Interface
Camera Interface

Meanwhile, a fifth camera is mounted on the front with 16MP resolution and f/2.0 aperture for taking selfies and video calls. It is also equipped with AI Beautification that automatically identifies age and gender, then smoothens and beautifies pictures accordingly.

Camera Samples:

OPPO A9 2020 Camera Sample - 1x Zoom
1x Zoom
OPPO A9 2020 Camera Sample - 2x Zoom
2x Zoom
OPPO A9 2020 Camera Sample - 5x Zoom
5x Zoom
OPPO A9 2020 Camera Sample - Normal
Normal
OPPO A9 2020 Camera Sample - Ultra-Wide
Ultra-Wide
OPPO A9 2020 Camera Sample - Night, Normal
Night, Normal
OPPO A9 2020 Camera Sample - Night, Night Mode
Night, Night Mode
OPPO A9 2020 Camera Sample - Macro
Macro
OPPO A9 2020 Camera Sample - Selfie
Selfie
OPPO A9 2020 Camera Sample - Portrait Selfie
Portrait Selfie

Based on the results above, we can honestly tell you that the 48MP main shooter produces great quality images when there is proper lighting. The same can be said truly when using the Ultra-Wide lens. By the way, switching from the main sensor to the ultra-wide lens is a bit tricky at first, since the latter is not located in the shooting mode, but instead placed beside the HDR on-screen button at the upper portion of the interface.

Moreover, the default camera resolution of the main shooter is 12MP with 4:3 aspect ratio, you need to select the 4:3 (48MP) to take advantage of the large numbers of pixels. But you have to keep in mind that it takes a bigger space too, which is an average of 7MB compared to just 2MB when shooting on default. You can also shoot with Full Screen at 7.2MP or 1:1 ratio at 9MP.

At night or when less light is entering the lens, the images captured are still good enough for lots of purposes you can think of. However, zooming in the picture would reveal digital noises embedded in the output. This is where shooting in full 48MP resolution becomes very useful, as it gives more, a lot more details than just the 12MP. In addition, selecting the dedicated Night mode also provides a better dynamic range and helps recover tons of details lost in the dark.

As for the front camera, it does its function very well, which is taking beautiful selfies. The outputs look more natural when beautification is off or at a minimum, and portrait shots offer more dramatic images by blurring the background. When AI Beautification is turned on, it is a bit aggressive adjusting the face contour and applying makeup, don't get us wrong, we are not complaining, we actually like it.

Meanwhile, shooting 1080p or 720p videos with the A9 2020 are quite satisfying, outputs are highly stabilized, thanks to the internal gyroscope and Electronic Image Stabilization technology. However, gyro-EIS is not present when shooting in 4K resolution, that is why we recommend using lower pixels, unless you have an external gimbal to do the job.


CONNECTIVITY:

Having the freedom to use two SIM cards without sacrificing storage expansion is one of the many things consumers are looking in a smartphone, and if you are one of them, then you are in luck as the OPPO A9 2020 supports 3 card slots - 2 for Nano SIMs and 1 for MicroSD. Both SIM 1 and SIM 2 are LTE capable, including the 700MHz frequency or band 28. Based on our experience, signals on both SIMs are stable, whether you are using it for calls, texts, or internet. The same is true with its dual-band WiFi module.

For location-based applications, we can say that it is also pretty accurate, especially on Waze and Google Maps. Using GPS Test, we got a signal lock in under 10 seconds in the first try, and almost in an instant after that, with an accuracy of 5 meters, 25 satellites in used out of the 45 on sight. Other connectivity includes Bluetooth v5.0, FM Radio, 3.5mm audio jack, and USB Type-C port.


BATTERY:

Aside from the 48MP quad-camera setup, another key selling point of the A9 2020 is its large 5,000mAh battery capacity. In PC Mark Battery Test, it got a whopping score of 25 hours and 40 minutes, which is more than 1 day! And, as far as we can recall, this is the highest grade we got from all our battery tests in the past. In actual day to day use, it usually lasts more than two days under light to medium usage, and a day or so under heavy utilization.

OPPO A9 2020 Battery Info and PC Mark Test Result
Battery Info and PC Mark Test Result

The included wall charger in the box has a 5V by 2A rating, or 10 watts output, which is considered as fast charging. However, with the A9's huge battery, the word "fast" is relative to the user, as it takes more than 3 hours to fully charge the phone from an empty battery. If OPPO equipped it with their VOOC Flash Charge or at least a power adapter with higher wattage, that would be more awesome.

OPPO also mentioned that it also supports reverse charging, albeit it depends on the device being charged. We have tested this feature on our Samsung Note9, Cherry Mobile Flare S8 Prime, and Huawei Mate 9, but it does not work, instead, it is the one drawing power from the said devices. We also tried it on Realme 5, but nothing happens. We have tried different cables, but the results are still the same.


FINAL WORDS:

OPPO has created a phone with attention-grabbing features - the 48MP ultra-wide quad rear cameras and 5000mAh battery with the A9 2020. And, we can agree that these two things are great for marketing purposes, with the exception that they also perform well. Yes, the OPPO A9 2020's strong performance in the camera and battery departments are indeed highly commendable. Moreover, overall performance is pretty good too!

OPPO A9 2020 Philippines
OPPO A9 2020

With its pretty attractive pricing combined with OPPO's exceptional marketing strategies, we can say that the Chinese phone maker has another winner in their arsenal, and the Php100M worth of devices sold in just the first two hours in the first day of selling is a testament to that.

OPPO A9 2020 Specs (Philippines):

  • Dual Nano-SIM, dual standby, supports LTE connectivity
  • 6.5-inch Waterdrop (1600 x 720) capacitive touchscreen display, 20:9 aspect ratio, Corning Gorilla Glass 3+ protection
  • Dimensions: 163.6mm x 75.6mm x 9.1mm
  • Weight: 195 grams
  • Color OS6 based on Android 9 Pie
  • 64-bit octa-core (4 x 2.0GHz Kryo 260 Gold + 4 x 1.8GHz Kryo 260 Silver) CPU, Adreno 610 GPU, Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 chipset
  • 8GB RAM
  • 128GB internal storage, expandable up to 256GB via MicroSD card, uses dedicated slot
  • 48MP f/1.8 + 8MP f/2.2 + 2MP f/2.4 + 2MP f/2.4 quad rear cameras with LED flash, 2160p video recording at 30fps
  • 16MP f/2.0 front camera, 1080p video recording at 30fps
  • Multimedia Player
  • FM Radio
  • 3.5mm audio jack
  • WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band 2.4GHz+5GHz
  • Bluetooth v5.0
  • GPS with A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS, Galileo
  • USB 2.0 Type-C with OTG support
  • Sensors: fingerprint, accelerometer, light, orientation, proximity, gyroscope, sound, magnetic
  • Battery: 5000mAh Li-Po, supports reverse-charging
  • Colors: Blue-Violet Gradient, Dark Green Gradient
  • Others: face unlock
  • Price: Php15,99

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