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The fingerprint feature worked properly with a couple of the banking apps I use. In addition, you can assign apps to particular fingers so that they start up automatically. I set my left thumb to invoke the camera app.

The screen delivered a colourful, bold and fairly high contrast picture, so there’s no fear that it would make things look cheap. Indeed it was pretty impressive.

I guess one can’t expect the sheer raw performance of a premium phone at $328. According to Basemark OS II the overall performance was 943, compared to 2816 for the Samsung Galaxy S7. The Basemark X 1.1 gaming performance score was 15523 versus the Samsung’s 41050. Those are performance levels of 33% and 38% respectively of an S7.

This one is cropped down to 1:1 resolution on your screen. Good focus is possible.

I don’t play performance-demanding games on phones so I can’t really judge how much that impacts on things. But it turned out that for all my general use the CPU and graphics speed was quite fast enough. Certainly not so slow as to draw attention to itself.

With regard to OTG, I noted that Oppo’s implementation is weird. That’s because for some reason it switches OTG off after ten minutes of non-use. I assume for reasons of power management. That makes it inconvenient to use because you have to dive into the settings menu to get it going again next time you want to use it. That said, it did work. I used a Lexar C20m JumpDrive to copy files to and from the A57.

Nice colour graduations on a winter rose

I had no problems with all day use of the phone in terms of battery life. It doesn’t seem to support the fast charge feature of some other Oppo phones, but charging was not unduly slow either.

The ColorOS 3.0 interface is a bit limiting. When you swipe down from the top of the screen you don’t get both shortcuts and notifications, just a full page of short cuts, and they aren’t editable. Since they didn’t include a short cut for the hotspot function – which is something I always like to have close at hand – the phone was a little less convenient to use than I’d prefer.

To get to notifications you have to swipe the shortcuts aside, so that’s another unnecessary step.

The camera software offered several useful features, including panorama shooting, a “beauty” mode and an expert mode. The latter lets you adjust things manually, such as ISO, white balance, exposure compensation, shutter speed and so on. The metadata in the resulting pictures suggests the camera has a maximum aperture of f/2.2 and a focal length of 3.46mm. Videos could be taken at 720p and 1080p resolutions. The only size changes for photos were changes in the shape of the frame.

Picture taking results were variable. Sometimes the auto focus locked on well and sharp, clean images were the result. Other times it didn’t. You can touch the screen to have the camera optimise the picture taking – focus and exposure – for that point.

Respectable geometry

There’s also a HDR mode – auto and manual supported – which did a decent job of bringing up detail in dark areas of the picture, at the cost of having to hold the camera still for longer.

Generally, the better the light the better the results. Things became noisy as the ISO auto-advanced in low light, non-flash shots. The flash, though, was fairly bright and quite usable.