We mentioned Oppo’s new entry level phone a couple of months ago. And now I’ve been able to use if for a week or so. Let’s see how it went.
At $328 this is definitely a budget model, but it feels pretty solid in the hand. For years I’ve struggled with trying to tell the difference between plastic and metal. These days plastics can look so similar you’d have to start scratching to be certain, and vendors tend not to like it when you do that to their products.
The case on this phone – I had the black finished model, but it’s also available in a gold finish – looks and feels like anodised aluminium. And it’s a sealed phone, too. You can’t remove the back to change the battery. So I would have been happy accepting it as metal. But I asked to be sure, and apparently it really is plastic. There is a metal chassis and I’m guessing no one will ever notice unless it gets smashed enough for the case to come apart.
So it looks and feels more like a premium phone. And it has conveniences like the ability to expand the storage from the built in 32GB by 256GB via microSD. And it has two high resolution cameras: 13 megapixels on what we would normally consider the “main” camera at the rear, while the front camera gets an astonishing 16 megapixels. (And “beautifying” effects in the app.)
And it has Corning Gorilla Glass 4 over the touch screen, supports 4G/LTE, has Bluetooth 4.1, and can use its Micro-B USB charge port as an OTG connection … albeit in Oppo’s weird, limited way (see below).
But of course there must be savings somewhere. Underneath the Gorilla Glass, the 5.2 inch display sports HD resolution – 720 by 1280 pixels – not something higher. I’m not sure how much that matters unless you have really sharp eyes and read old fashion websites which don’t reformat for mobile screens. The WiFi conforms to the 802.11n standard and works only in the 2.4GHz band.
The Bluetooth does not support NFC (Near Field Communications), but it does support tethering so you can use the phone as an access point for other devices. The phone also works as a WiFi hot spot.
The phone runs a Qualcomm MSM8940 Octa-core processor (with 3GB of RAM). That processor is, according to the Internet, otherwise known as a Snapdragon 435 processor. According to the Qualcomm spec sheet, it supports Cat 7 data downloads up to 300 megabits per second, and Cat 13 uploads to 150Mbps.
But, then, that spec sheet also says the processor supports NFC and 802.11ac dual band WiFi, neither of which the phone supports.
The phone runs Android 6.0.1, overlaid by Oppo’s ColorOS 3.0. The battery is rated at 2900mAh.
The Oppo A57 provides support for the Google Setup Nearby Device feature, so I was able to easily transfer my Google credentials across. That’s all that went over, though, so there was a lot of time after that in the Play Store finding all my essential apps and installing them.
Oppo arranges the three control buttons in the Samsung fashion: Apps to the left of Home, Return to its right. The home button is also the fingerprint scanner. And indeed, isn’t really a button as such. It’s merely a marked touch sensitive area, like that on a current model iPhone. For feedback it gives a brief buzz or vibration (not the almost real feeling click with the iPhone).