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While on the things that I don’t like, it’s mostly aspects of the user interface. For example, you can’t use a PIN for unlocking. It’s pattern or fingerprint. The notifications and shortcuts are on separate screens, so you need two swipes to get to the shortcuts.

And you can’t edit the shortcuts, which meant in my case I couldn’t get ready access to a couple of things I like. For example, there’s no shortcut for making the phone a WiFi access point. As we’ll see, it performs that function very well, but to get to it you have to go to Settings, Other Wireless Connections, Personal Hotspot. If you’re planning on using the personal hotspot, do change the password. It defaults to something like 12345678. Not good.

Likewise, the phone does a nice job of casting its screen. It worked fine with the Microsoft Wireless Display Adaptor, and with an Android-powered projector I happened to have around. But to do it, no simple swipe and touch. It was Settings, Other Wireless Connections, Wireless Display. You get used to these things, but they seem so unnecessary since a bog-standard Android implementation makes things easier.

Oppo A77 smart phone

Late afternoon snow … a touch soft but the brightness and contrast hold together

Finally, my regular Oppo whinge: why does the On the Go connection switch off after ten minutes of non-use? To get it going again needs another deep dive into the menu system.

Okay, whinge off.

In everyday use as a phone, device to access the Internet, run everyday apps and all the usual stuff, this was a fun, fine phone. The screen was clear and bright. Indeed, I took a bunch of photos, repeating with a Samsung Galaxy S7 for comparison, and for all those out in daylight, the screen on the Oppo A77 was clear and easy to see for framing, while the S7’s was washed out and difficult to frame.

I thought that with Android 6.0 it might be a bit limited compared to Android 7, but around the time – less than a fortnight ago – I was celebrating the S7 finally receiving the upgrade from Google Now to Google Assistant, I noticed that the Oppo A77 was also using Google Assistant.

And it, of course, worked very well. The A77 has quite sufficient grunt to run that.

The Basemark OS II benchmark gave the phone a score of 1010, which is a bit higher than the 943 of the Oppo A57, and a bit lower than the 1094 of the Moto G5 Plus. Its bigger weakness seemed to be with the Basemark OS X gaming benchmark. The graphics in that were rich and detailed, but the animation was slow – I’d say around 12 frames per second – allowing a clear judder to show. On that test this phone scored 12955, well below that of the 15523 of the A57 (I’d say the lower resolution of the A57’s screen gave it a boost there – much less data to manipulate) and even further below the 21390 of the Moto G5 Plus.

Oppo A77 smart phone

Panoramas are around 270 degrees

Oppo A77 smart phone

Stitching is a bit wonky – and there really are no short bricks in that wall

Perhaps not the best choice if graphics rich gaming is your main interest.

I was doing a little bit of travelling while using the phone, and so using it to hook my computer into the Internet. My wife was getting low on data, so her phone was using it as well. It gave me a very nice 44Mbps download using an Optus SIM. But there were a couple of presets that needed fixing. Specifically, the downloads of my podcasts just stopped, mid-podcast, as the phone issued a warning that it had gone past a pre-set limit. I think it was of 500MB for a day. The notification took me to the SIM settings where I could bump up the “Daily Data Reminder”. Up to 5000MB maximum. There is no option to switch it off. I got another interruption around the same time, this time for monthly usage.

The main camera did an average job. There were some shots I took for comparison which came out close enough to the same quality as the Samsung Galaxy S7. But in general they were a little softer, a little less detailed. The main thing seemed to be the need to take your time and make sure you’ve selected your focus point.