The OPPO A15 2021 is a $239 value 4G phone. It meets or exceeds all expectation for the price. It joins the OPPO A53 ($299) and A53s ($349 reviews here 10/10) as the beginning of the new 2021 line-up. And believe me, there are lots of models coming – new A-series (including a 5G), Reno5 (4G and 5G), Find X3 5G and more. OPPO also has lower-cost phones like the run-out 2020 AX5s ($189), A52s ($229 review here 9.6/10) and models like it’s amazing Find X22 Pro up to $1599.
OPPO A15 2021 Model CPH2185
We wanted to get this out quickly, so it’s a brief review. We still test everything but only report if it fails or exceeds our test expectations.
Screen – 6.52” 1620×720, 60Hz, A-Si LCD
Great maximum brightness (480nit) and contrast (1500:1). If anything, it is sRGB colour accurate but a little overbright. You may want to select a darker background or wallpaper to make white text stand out.
MediaTek Helio P35, eight-core, 12nm, 3/32GB (15GB free) and dedicated microSD slot to 256GB. It is often compared to a Qualcomm SD439 mass-market SoC although it compares pretty favourably to an SD625. The MicroSD is a nice addition.
Geekbench 5 single/multi-core was 157/991. It is good for normal phone use but not for multitasking or gaming. It is not a gamer’s phone but will play any lower-level games well. Throttling was average – Max 102,727GIPS, Average 89,988GIPS and a 17% loss over 15 minutes. It did not go over 39°.
Battery – two days
4230mAh hours and a 5V/2A/10W micro-USB charger. It will give two days use, but the charging is a little slow at over two hours. It has micro-USB because it does not need sophisticated USB-C PD circuitry.
Netflix streaming (50% screen, Wi-Fi) gave a massive 18 hours (OPPO Claim 16 hours)
Manhattan 3.1 558.6 minutes and 827.3 frame
T-Rex 510.8 minutes and 1589 frames
Battery discharge idle screen-on approx. 250mA
Battery discharge standby screen-off – 5% a day or 20+ days
It will give up to two days of typical use.
Wi-Fi 5 AC dual-band. 5GHz was -36dBm/433Mbps (excellent) at 2m from the Netgear Nighthawk AX router.
BT 5.0 supports SBC, AAC, and LDAC. It is supposed to support Qualcomm aptX but being a MediaTek Soc we doubt that. We could not enable LDAC either.
GPS is a single band, but at speeds, over 60kph the accuracy jumps to well over 10-metres, so it is not for turn-by-turn navigation.
Dual sim, single ring tone. LTE bands 1/3/5/7/8/20/28/38/40/41 – fine for Australia. VoLTE or Wi-Fi calling depends on your carrier. Our test is in a three-bar zone (not good Telstra!). It managed -100dBm/100fw and DL/UL of 19.2/12.2Mbps. It found the second tower at -99dBm/79.4fW. In fact, it found several mini-towers about 2km away at from -55-60dBm but as in other tests seems to prefer the closest tower on the other side of a mountain (not good Telstra!). Overall, it’s a good city and regional towns phone.
A top-firing earpiece and bottom-firing mono speaker. We don’t measure sound signature on mono devices. Volume is 75dB (media), and 80dB (ringtone and alarm). It is fine for hands-free, but the single bottom mic needs protection from any wind.
Gorilla Glass 3 front, plastic frame and metallic looking back (NCVM vacuum coating) with OPPOs high-level finish. It is 164 x 75.4 x7.9mm x 175g. Colour choices are: Dynamic Black and Mystery Blue.
In the box
TPU protective case
5VC/2A charger and USB-A to micro-USB cable
Standard 3.5mm buds
Android 10 and ColorOS 7.2 – a great overlay on Android makes it easier to use and enhance the hardware. It is unlikely to get an OS upgrade but should get quarterly security updates.
OPPO A15 Camera
Outback it is a pretty basic with one sensor/lens doing 90% of the work:
13MP, f/2.2, 1.12um PDAF, 81.3°, 5x digital zoom Samsung S5K3L6
2MP f/2.4 Macro FF, GC02K0
2MP f/2.4 depth camera GC02M1B
with a single LED flash.
5MP, f/2.4, FF, 77.9° GC5035
With screen fill flash
Still, it comes with a truckload of OPPO camera enhancements, basic AI, HDR and OPPOs age-defying beautification.
Overall its a better than social media standard and very good in daylight and office light.
Video is strictly 1080p@30fps with no stabilisation.
It is refreshing to see a good, honest, well-made, locally supported and ‘unpretentious’ phone. The camera is just above social media standard, and the screen is the stand-out. Yes, it has micro-USB, but that is to save money. Offset that with a headphone jack, buds, charger, and great value. Given our new ratings out of 10, we have a little more room to be granular with scores. 8/10 is a pass, but every EXCEED gets a point, and every FAIL vice versa. The score reflects value, screen and 4G signal strength.