Just when you thought it was safe to go in the water again along comes this weeks value king – the OPPO A52 and A72 2020. it is a $299 smartphone with a Qualcomm SD655 SoC, 4/64GB, 6.5″ screen, Wi-Fi AC, NFC and 5000mAh QC 3.0 battery. And it is very good.
Now, with the greatest apologies to Motorola and its excellent SD655 based g8 at $329 (reviewed earlier this week here), the OPPO A52 2020 is $30 cheaper and adds things that are unheard of at $299. Damn – the bang-for-buck index gets lowered again.
So, let’s look at what is under the bonnet and how the OPPO A52 2020 has just topped the Motorola g8, Xiaomi Mi A3, Vivo Y17 and realme C3. BTW – all these phones are excellent, and you would be happy with any of them. And of course, all are built to meet a price, so you have to expect some compromises. The trick is to get the one with the least!
OPPO has taken lessons from rabbits
The A52 and A72 share the same internals, screen, physical size and specifications. The A52 is for wider retail sale. The OPPO A72 exclusive to Optus.
It has a primary 48MP camera binning to 12MP – instead of the 12MP in the A52 and storage is bumped to 128GB.
Both are $299 but as the A72 (website here) is an Optus exclusive locked to its network on a pre-paid there is some degree of cross-subsidisation. Optus unlock fees depend on the time you use it on the network. If less than 6 months it is $80 and over that $25.
Price: $299 from JB Hi-Fi, The Good Guys and Woolworths Mobile (on a plan from $34 per month)
Colours: Twilight Black and Stream White
Warranty: 24-months with local service and support from OPPO
Country of origin: China
We are rating this as a $299 smartphone and use the words Fail, Pass or Exceed against the relevant paradigms for a phone at that value.
A word about OPPO
OPPO (Est 2001) is a privately owned Chinese consumer electronics and mobile communications company headquartered in Dongguan, Guangdong.
It is a subsidiary of BBK Electronics Corporation (Est 1995) along with OnePlus, Vivo, and Realme (and other brands including VSun, XTC, and IMOO). Its executives and long-term staff own many of the shares. BBK is currently the second-largest smartphone maker in the world (Source CounterPoint – see below BBK has 17+% on February 2020).
BBK founder and chairman, Duan Yongping (born 1961), emigrated to Palo Alto, California in 2002 to ensure his freedom and family’s safety. He is billionaire, philanthropist, and a ‘big-time’ investor in, and admirer of, Apple.
BBK is not a state-owned enterprise, and there are no known links with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). There have never been accusations that OPPO spies for the CCP.
OPPO freely admits it is subject to the laws of any country it works in. In Australia, all certified C-Tick models have the IMEI registered to the Australian carrier network that keeps metadata under Federal Laws. OPPO devices have the full suite of Google Android and Mobile services so that data resides with Google. There is no requirement to set up an OPPO ID or cloud account.
GadgetGuy has covered OPPO since it came to Australia in 2014. We have been consistently impressed with its innovation and handset quality. We have confidence in its integrity.
Screen – EXCEED
It is a 6.5″ Neo-Display, 2400×1800, 405ppi, 20:9, LTPS with a 90.5% STBR with Eye Protection Certification by TÜV Rheinland. It has Gorilla Glass 3 screen protection and a pre-fitted screen protector.
Brightness is 480 nits (typical) and contrast 1500:1 (typical). Our tests show the peak brightness is higher, and it has a slider control to adjust to warmer or cooler white. It is fine for outdoor readability. Screen AI will learn your habits and adjust to ambient light.
What is Neo-Display? It is more an OPPO marketing term for LTPS (Low-Temperature Polysilicon) that is superior to IPS/LCD. It has higher, more uniform pixel densities, faster refresh, lower power consumption and better-controlled colour temperatures. Premium phones like the iPhone have used it.
It is a mid-range SoC with 3rd generation AI including 2D face unlock. It incorporates an X12 LTE modem (600/150Mbps), Wi-Fi AC dual band 1×1 MIMO, BT 5.0/aptX and supports Quick Charge 3.0 technology.
To OPPOs credit, it has implemented most of these, unlike its competitors that save a few dollars by not fully using the processor’s capabilities.
It did not throttle in a 15-minute 100% load test.
RAM and Storage – EXCEED
4GB of LPDDR4x (still the fastest) and 64GB UFS 2.1 (44GB free and faster than eMMC) is fine for Android. It has a dedicated micro-SDXC slot to 256GB
GPU – PASS
Adreno 610 for playback of H.265 (HEVC), H.264 (AVC), VP8, and VP9.
It has OPPO Hyperboost to give maximum available CPU speed to apps, but it is not a gamers GPU.
LTE – PASS
Dual sims (standby – one active at a time). You can only set one ringtone
Bands 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 20, 28, 38, 39, 40, 41. Full Australian coverage.
VoLTE, HD Voice and
It picks up the nearest 4G tower at -101dBm. It does not find adjacent towers. Let’s just call it a city phone.
Comms – EXCEED
Wi-Fi 5 AC 1×1 MIMO. It has a strong -21dB 433Mbps at 2 metres from our reference NETGEAR AX12 router. Almost unheard of at this price
BT 5.0 has a good reach to about 30 metres. Being Qualcomm based it has SBC (default), aptX/HD, AAC and LDAC that you can enable in developer mode
NFC: Yes and almost unheard of at this price
GPS: single band suitable for turn-by-turn navigation.
Fingerprint sensor (on power button), e-Compass, accelerometer, gyroscope, proximity, pedometer, ambient light
USB-C 2.0 OTG for up to 2TB external drives.
Audio – EXCEED
Maximum Volume: Ring tone: 83dB, System tones/Alarm 85dB, Music 80dB, handsfree 75dB
3.5mm combo port: Yes
Stereo speaker: It has an earpiece speaker and a bottom-firing speaker. OPPO claims these are dual stereo speakers, but the sound volume and quality from each did not match. The sound signature is mid-centric for clear voice.
But for headphones, it has Dirac 2.0 (Smart, movie, game, music pre-sets) that, “Delivers an original sound in full fidelity and creates a spatial 3-D sound arena to provide you with a listening experience that’s just like being at a live performance.”
It also has a Hi-Res 24-bit/192kHz DAC for cable and BT headphones.
FM Radio: Yes
It is a 5000mAh battery that is very large for this class.
The charger is 5V/2A or 9V/2A (18W) – a standard Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 (supports QC 3.0 as well).
Tests: (we did not run all the usual suite due to time constraints, but OPPOs claims are quite reliable)
Video loop – over 7 hours
Audio MP3 – 50 hours
Talk time – 34 hours
200mA at idle means it should go 25 days on standby.
Recharge time: 0-100% in two hours
We only tested the phone for three days, but we had at least 50% left each evening and went 37 hours without a charge.
Gorilla Glass 3 with plastic back and chassis. There is no flex, and it presents well above its price.
162×75.5×8.9mm x 192g
In the box – USB Charger and cable, earphone, clear case, and pre-fitted screen protector
Android – EXCEED
Android 10 and Colour OS 7.1
OPPO’s Colour OS is easy to use, supports Android Dark mode and has a full complement of Google apps and services. OPPO offers quarterly security updates on the A-series.
OPPO’s camera prowess is well known, and this did not disappoint. It was well above any of its competitors in this price bracket.
Mass-market phones are turning to Omnivision sensors <16MP that offer good performance and lower cost than Sony or Samsung alternatives.
GadgetGuy’s take – The OPPO A52 2020 made me reevaluate the bang-for-buck-index – yet again!
This is now the best value for $299 – until one of its siblings (realme and vivo) try to outdo it. In part, the price has come in lower due to the recent strengthening of the Australian dollar against the Yuan.
At $299 there is nothing more you could ask for. Highly recommended.
Value for money
Ease of Use
Reader Rating165 Votes
Best camera in class
Best battery/charger in class
NFC, Wi-FI and BT 5.0 best in class
Great, bright screen
Qualcomm SD655 processor
Non really - its got mor than you can expect at $299