The smartphone market in South Africa became even more competitive after Huawei was kicked off Google’s platforms last year. Subsequently, Vivo, Tecno and Oppo have joined the growing list of affordable handsets in the mid-range segment.
The newest entrant to the market, Oppo have given me their launch device, the A72, to review for a couple of weeks. While I didn’t get to review it extensively as it is a crazy time of year, I have spent a fair amount of time with it and here’s what you need to know.
The Oppo A72 will be sold bundled with the W11 wireless earbuds, which might be a drawcard for some.
INSIDE THE BOX
– A72 smartphone
– plastic cover
– charging cable
– USB plug
– wired earphones
– SIM tool
– warranty card
DESIGN AND LOOK
The A72 I received on review comes in Aurora Purple, an ombre hue of blue and purple. It seems to be the trend with mid-range phones, targeting the youth who want something that stands out. It has a large display with narrow bezels but the selfie-cam is on the left, which is weird because almost every other camera I’ve used this year is in the centre. I love that the power button on the right also doubles up as the fingerprint sensor. A much better design than any on-screen sensor. Its dimensions are 162 x 75.5 x 8.9 mm and weighs 192g.
It has a large 6.5-inch display, which seems to be the norm these days for mid-range handsets as people look for more value. It’s perfect for consuming multi-media content. It does not let me go into screen resolution settings, but it is 1080×2400 pixels.
UNDER THE HOOD
It is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 chipset, 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. The Snapdragon chip is typically a drawcard for handset in this segment. The phone unlocks instantly using the fingerprint sensor on the power button and it didn’t stutter when switching between apps. I opened a lot of them!
COLOR OS AND APPS
Oppo has its own Android overlay, in the form of ColorOS. The A72 runs on Android 10 and ColorOS 7.1. You can customise the icon looks, instantly share photos and videos, built-in Text Scanner when you take pictures of documents and even connect to printers directly from Android. At times when I searched for things it didn’t show up so it got tricky finding stuff within Settings as I’ve never used it before.
ColorOS also has a Private Safe feature which turns your phone into a mobile vault to keep stuff safe; has App Lock; a smart sidebar and smart assistant. It also supports split screen mode with Android 10.
As far as apps go, it comes with its own video editor, Soloop great for content creators; and has Google Mobile Services with Google’s full suite of mobile apps (YouTube, Chrome, Gmail, Maps, Podcasts, Files, Google One, etc) and a Vodacom folder of apps like VodaPay, DStv Now, Showmax, SuperSport, and Video Play.
The A72 has a quad camera set-up, with a 48MP main shooter; two portrait style lenses; and a 119-degree ultra-wide angle lens. You can toggle the HDR mode, and it has night, portrait, pro, pano, time-lapse, slow-mo and Google Lens built in.
When you’re in regular Photo mode and you go close into a subject, it will switch to Macro mode. There’s also a “Dazzle” colour mode to make colours pop. If you’re shooting with the 48MP lens, you cannot zoom. Selfie mode has options to edit you face: smoothen, thin face, bigger eyes, smaller nose, chin size, smaller face and touch ups. Scary, but I guess this is a big selling point for some.
The main camera shoots 4K videos at 30fps and slow-mo in 1080p. The front video shoots in 1080p HD and up to 30fps; it also shoots in slow-mo. You can choose encoding to most compatible or high efficiency (H.265).
It’s a decent camera but it’s just weird to look into the selfie-cam on the left. Most cameras I used it is centred so it can feel odd.
The A72 really shines with its massive 5000mAh battery that has an 18W fast charge. It is impossible to run out of power at the end of each day. And given its large screen, you can play games or watch TV series on the go and you’ll be fine.
PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
The Oppo A72 is R6999 and to sweeten the deal, they paired it with the W11 wireless earphones, and Oppo Rewards vouchers. You can choose from Superbalist, Google Play, Netflix and Go Gamers. It is also available on contract for R399p/m on Vodacom.
It’s getting difficult to buy mid-range handsets because the market is flooded with choices. It really comes down to personal preference though and I think the ColorOS has a neat interface. You should also consider Xiaomi’s offerings and compare them side by side for spec and price to see what fits your budget.
Recharged is an independent site that focuses on technology, electric vehicles, and the digital life by Nafisa Akabor. Drawing from her 16-year tech journalism career, expect news, reviews, how-tos, comparisons, and practical uses of tech that are easy to digest. firstname.lastname@example.org