Oppo A18 review
Image: Adam Turner.

Oppo A18 review: the bare necessities


Blessed with a large, bright display and the ability to survive a splash, the Oppo A18 offers the bare minimum to those who are shopping on a very tight budget.

As with most things, there is a law of diminishing returns when it comes to spending more and more money on a smartphone. For example, the improvement when upgrading from a $200 smartphone to a $400 smartphone is likely to be much more striking than when upgrading from a $400 smartphone to an $800 smartphone, so and on.

What that means is that, down at the cheap end of the market, spending even a little bit more on your smartphone is likely to deliver a big benefit. If your budget will stretch from $200 to $400, for example, you’ll get a lot more bang for your buck.

So where does that leave the Oppo A18 at a mere $219? To be honest, it sits in an awkward position, mainly appealing to those with basic needs and a strict spending limit.

Oppo A18 review

Oppo A18 first impressions

Out of the box, the Oppo A18 has a look and feel that exceeds its humble price tag. It’s a tad heavy and bulky, although you can look past this considering that it has a 6.56-inch display with a narrow aspect ratio so it’s not difficult to hold.

The vibrant Glowing Blue glass back also looks more stylish than you might expect considering the price, yet the handset features retro-style thick edges rather than the tapered edges typically featured on more expensive handsets.

One of the biggest signs of the A18’s budget price is the 1612 x 720 resolution, which is barely enough to do 720p video justice. You don’t get the benefit of High Dynamic Range for extra detail in the brightest highlights and deepest shadows. Nor can you take advantage of the “Always On” display feature found on other Oppo handsets.

The low resolution means you can’t fit as much text on the screen when looking at a website. While this might frustrate some people, older users who tend to bump up the font size might not notice the difference.

Either way, you’ll appreciate that it’s an extra-bright “Sunlight Display” which is easier to read when outside. Thankfully the auto-dimming in dark environments isn’t as aggressive as some devices (Apple, I’m looking at you) so it still remains bright enough to read even in a darkened room.

Sticking with the typical Oppo design, the A18 features the power button in the middle of the handset on the right, below the volume buttons, so it sits comfortably under your thumb (or pointer finger if you’re a leftie). The fingerprint reader is built into the power button, so it’s easy to reach.

On the left side of the handset, you’ve got a dual SIM port which can also take a microSD card. As a basic handset, it only supports 4G and can’t take advantage of Australia’s faster 5G mobile networks.

Flip the phone over and you’re presented with a large rear camera array, but don’t mistake quantity for quality – once again you’re getting the bare necessities. It has an 8 MP main lens alongside a 2 MP secondary depth camera for bokeh effects, accompanied by a 5 MP punch hole selfie camera on the front. 

You don’t get advanced features like telephoto, ultrawide or macro lenses, or even optical zoom.

The A18 follows on from last year’s A17. Oppo has managed to bring down the A18’s price by $40 but it’s also sacrificed the A17’s 50-megapixel main shooter.

At the bottom of the handset, you’ve got a USB-C port, alongside an old-school headphone jack.

The handset only features a single speaker, rather than using the earpiece speaker to create a stereo pair. The ultra-boost volume setting is to be avoided though, as the result is certainly louder but also rather distorted.

Oppo A18 specifications

Display size6.56 inches, 19.5:9 aspect ratio
Display resolution1612×720, 269 ppi
Display technologyIPS LCD, max 720nits, 100% DCI-P3, 100% sRGB, 90/60Hz refresh rate
Bands2G, 3G, 4G
CPUMediaTek Helio G85, 8 cores, up to 2.0GHz
GPUMali G52 MC2 @1000MHz
Rear camerasMain camera: 8MP; f/2.0; FOV 78°; 4P lens; AF supported
Mono camera: 2MP; f/2.4; FOV 89.1°; 3P lens; fixed-focus
Front camera5MP; f/2.2; FOV 76.8°; 3P lens; FF supported
RAM4 GB LPDDR4x + 4 GB extended
Onboard storage128 GB
SIMDual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)
microSD slotmicroSDXC
ChargingUSB-C 10 watts
Wi-FiWi-Fi 5 (802.11ac), 802.11a/b/g/n/;WLAN 2.4G/WLAN 5G;WLAN Display; WLAN tethering; 1x1SISO; Wi-Fi 5GHz 80MHz
BluetoothBluetooth 5.3, Bluetooth Low EnergySBC, AAC, aptX HD, and LDAC
Operating systemAndroid 13 (with Oppo’s ColorOS 13.1)
SecurityFingerprint, Face Unlock
RuggednessIP54, dust and splash resistant
Dimensions163.74 x 75.03 x 8.16 mm
Weight188 gm
ColoursGlowing Black, Glowing Blue
Price$219 RRP
Warranty2 years
Official websiteOppo Australia


The Oppo A18 runs Android 13, customised with Oppo’s own ColorOS UI which adds a range of tweaks including a “shelf” of dropdown widgets and a reconfigured quick settings menu.

Oppo says the handset will receive two Android OS updates and three years of security patches, which is less generous than what you get with some more expensive Oppo handsets like the Oppo Reno 10 5G.

Under the bonnet, the Oppo A18 packs the MediaTek Helio G85, which is supposedly a mid-range gaming chipset but is working very hard here with not much to show for it. It’s accompanied by just 4 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage, with the option to convert 4 GB of that storage into virtual RAM.

As for ruggedness, the handset’s got an IP54 ruggedness rating, which means it’s splashproof and dustproof but not really waterproof.

On the plus side, the handset does feature a generous 5000 mAh battery, although the large and bright screen will have an impact on battery life. Even so, you should easily get through a day if you don’t push it too hard, although its specs don’t let you push too hard in the first place.

The phone only supports 10W wired charging, so you’re not going to recharge it in a hurry. As you’d expect, there’s no support for wireless charging.


That Sunlight Display certainly delivers on its promises, making it easy to read text even in the harsh midday sun. If that’s all you care about then the Oppo A18 might be for you.

Look closer and the Geekbench 6 benchmarks tell a story consistent with entry-level phones at this price. The Oppo A18 produced a score of 435 on the CPU single-core test and 1454 on the multi-core, plus 565 on the GPU test. These results are almost identical to Motorola’s $229 Moto G14, which also has a sharper 2400 × 1080 display.

In practice, the Geekbench results indicate a phone suited to everyday use, but not much else. At times, the A18 felt sluggish, not helped by the fact it’s only packing 4 GB of physical RAM.

The handset is basically for people who want to make calls, check their messages and perhaps browse the web and social media. Anything more is likely to be a frustrating experience.

It’s a similar story with the cameras, not just due to the low megapixel count but also Oppo’s trademark overly aggressive image processing. Low-light performance is disappointing, but photos look over-processed and overblown even outside on a sunny day. The sky looks too blue and the trees too green, as if the phone is trying too hard to create an idyllic scene rather than an accurate portrayal.

Likewise with beauty mode on the selfie camera, which insists on “retouching” your face in the pursuit of an Insta-worthy portrait with no character. Even when you kill the AI trickery, the results are still mediocre.

Who is the Oppo A18 for?

Oppo is perhaps to be admired for delivering a functional smartphone at such a low price point, but its appeal is limited.

It’s for people who want to use a smartphone for the bare essentials. There are more versatile phones available if you can spend just a little bit extra. Otherwise, the Oppo A18 mainly suits those on a very tight budget.

Oppo A18
With a budget price tag and spec sheet to match, the Oppo A18 is only for those on a very tight budget.
Value for money
Ease of use
Large screen
Bright screen in direct sunlight
Occasional sluggishness
Mediocre photos with no advanced lenses