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  • Fitri Aiyub

Oppo A95 Review : Left In The Past?

After transitioning to a new year, we did have one last phone from 2021 which came with an AMOLED screen, a triple camera setup and a desirable design that could have captured the attention of some users looking for an entry-level phone. But where some may argue that limitations in hardware could be a dealbreaker, some may choose to appreciate the "if it's not broken, don't fix it" approach.

Built around a flat-edged display with a slight chin at the bottom and aluminium side rails, the form factor of this phone feels nice in the hands measuring 7.95mm thin and weighs 175g. One of the few phones we've reviewed that feels better without a phone cover. It also has a really nice and smooth back texture which eliminates fingerprints. So if you're on the lookout for something right out of the box without the need of a phone cover, the Oppo 95 might be a phone to consider. There are also two colour choices of Starry Black and Rainbow Silver like the one we have here, shifting tones under different lighting conditions.

Unfortunately it only comes with Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity and does not come 5G ready.

Otherwise, the AMOLED 6.43 Inch display should distract you from some of it's setbacks with 800 Nits peak brightness, contrasty outputs and variable viewing angles with it's flat-edged display at a standard of 60Hz. The front camera hole punch on the left side of the screen isn't as intrusive as it looks but comes with options that lets you hide the front camera by blacking out the top part of the screen when watching wider aspect ratio movies. While this does take away some screen real-estate, it's nice to know that there are adaptive options for certain apps such as Netflix that could take advantage of this feature.

As far as security is concerned, the Under-display optical fingerprint sensor reads accurately for most attempts and is snappy enough to quickly unlock the phone. Even at odd thumb placements, it manages to still read the thumb print consistently. Even though optical under-display fingerprint sensors have been around for a while now, there are still some phones which have troubles being reliable enough to not miss an old fashioned fingerprint sensor, such as the new Pixel 6 Pro which seemed to have this issue and a slower read-out speed, so we have to give credit where it's due.

The Mono Speakers on the Oppo A95 sound decent in quiet environments but would have done better with dual-speakers, firing at least one side using the earpiece. Although some entry level or mid range phones don't come with this feature, there is the advantage of it coming with a headphone jack! Which is close to its extinction phase for most manufacturers and we're glad to still see it here.

As for cameras, the A95 comes with a triple camera construction consisting of a 48MP Main Camera, a 2MP Macro lens and a 2MP Depth Sensor. On the front, you get a 16MP selfie camera which illuminates when it's enabled and a nice touch for privacy and security purposes.

As for the 48MP main camera, images are as expected with contrasty and vibrant colours, great detail and exposure compensations when taking photos in bright daylight using HDR and AI functions, capturing the background and subject in front of the camera evenly. Image quality itself is decent enough without over processing issues particularly with certain textures, even when taking close-up images with the 2MP macro camera. There are also composition tools within the settings menu to help users take better photos when prioritising leading lines and filling out negative spaces within an image. A feature that is most commonly used by photography professionals but something most phones haven't explored and we would really hope other manufacturers adopt this feature especially for camera focused builds.

Video outputs however only tops at 1080p30fps and is probably a step behind compared to most phones coming out in 2021 with at least 4K capabilities. While it might not be a deal breaker especially in this price range, and while a full HD experience is more than sufficient, the A95 has a recurring theme that seems as if it was made to be stuck in the past.

Despite this setback, it manages well for highlights, mid-tones and shadows, and gives a clear look when shooting outdoors but unfortunately does get grainy and noisy in low light environments.

Probably a decision to keep the price low enough when considering 4K footage will ultimately require higher processing speeds and power which comes with 8GB RAM, Snapdragon 662 and an Octa-core Adreno 610. Our Geekbench scores record a 311 for Single-core test and 1340 for Multi-core test. Surprisingly a lower-end performer compared to even by cheaper standards of a POCO M4 Pro that is priced at RM899 and with only 6GB of RAM. But nonetheless, we didn't experience it feeling slow from a real-world perspective as optimisation for the A95 seems to keep up with necessary needs such as casual gaming or having multiple apps running in the background.

After having experienced ColorOS 12, we can't help but wonder why it didn't come as standard instead of ColorOS 11.1 that came out of the box with this phone. This means it misses out on some neat updates in the overall user interface, which has better animations in ColorOS 12 and a much more timely design benefiting from certain features such as the camera app. At the time of this review, we were left uncertain on when the A95 would get a software update, but Oppo’s China rollout plan has accounted for the A95 5G version for the beginning of the year, so it’s possibly just a matter of time.

Last but not least, if battery life is your concern then the 5000mAh battery should get you through a full day and a half of use and also supports 33W Fast Charging which should get you to 75% in 30 minutes.

The Oppo A95 comes with128GB storage capacity priced at RM1,099 or S$399.

As far as setbacks go, the Oppo A95 seemed as if it were sitting on the fence when it came to future proofing itself. Carrying over some good attributes that came before it and misses out on newer and refreshed user interface.

We’re left with the impression that this phone could quickly feel outdated and whether you should consider looking elsewhere in Oppo's lineup with ColorOS 12 coming as standard. But hey, you could very well be in the“if it's not broke, don't fix it" camp and for an entry-level phone, it still looks good, it works, and it gets you through the day.


Editor - Melissa Tan

Written by Fitri Aiyub

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