If you have been following the local smartphone space of late, you’ll know that Chinese brand Oppo is now officially available in South Africa. While its launch comes at a less than ideal time during lockdown, one of the first devices to enter the market is the Oppo A72.
An Android-powered mid-range device, the A72 is rather important given that it will be many consumers first experience of the brand.
We recently got to spent the past couple of weeks with the A72 to find out whether it is a worthy addition to an already saturated mid-range smartphone market, along with what kind of lasting impression it leaves.
Before we delve into the various elements of the A72, it is worth mentioning that Oppo clearly wants you to know that this phone is running Android.
Android 10 in the case of this device, with Oppo’s own ColorOS layered on top of it. This is not evident when you initially power it up, there’s also a large Android sticker visible on the packaging of the phone, to serve as a not so subtle reminder.
As such, it’s clear that Oppo wants to hammer home that it has access to the Google Play Store, which another high-profile Chinese smartphone maker does not currently.
Now that’s out of the way, let’s talk more about this mid-range offering from Oppo.
There is a lot to like about the A72. It has a well-sized 6.5″ FullHD (2400×1080) display that delivers a crisp visual experience. The back cover on this review model is in an eye catching Aurora Purple, which should prove popular locally given the success of devices like the Huawei P series and its Twilight option.
ColorOS is also rather pleasing from a UI perspective, with a clean design language. Our only issue is that this model is heavy on the pre-loaded Vodacom apps, which we quickly deleted as unnecessary. This isn’t a deal breaking element, and more of a symptom of the carrier having earlier access to the A72 than other retailers and carriers in the country.
Internally Oppo has kept things solid from a silicon perspective. An octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 chipset is present, along with 4GB RAM and 128GB storage on offer.
Interestingly, this setup is similar to the one HMD Global has employed with the Nokia 5.3, so it serves as a good reference point for benchmarking.
On this front the Nokia is the better performer. The single-core and multi-core scores on GeekBench (5.2.0) for example are slightly higher on the Nokia for example, which recorded 311 and 1 332 respectively. Contrastingly the A72 got 307 on single-core and 1 254 on multi-core.
We always try to caution against placing too much value in smartphone benchmarking, especially when the margins here are so small, but the in-hand experience on the A72 does not feel sluggish or hampered in any way. The only time we noted a slight lag was when using the search bar in the settings application.
Other than that though, the Oppo A72 did not leave us wanting.
Shifting to the rear of the device, it is worthwhile taking about the photography experience on the A72. Here the smartphone is well appointed, with a quartet of lenses onboard – a 48MP wide-angle, 8MP ultra-wide, 2MP depth sensing and 2MP monochrome.
The mix yields solid pictures in a variety of environments, with shooting indoors being well lit and snapping away at nature in particular yielding good results. The camera system also shifts between lenses depending on the distance from the object, and also adjusts settings on the fly based on what is being photographed.
At the mid-range price point then, this is one of the better camera experiences we encountered in 2020.
One of the other elements that sets the A72 apart from other devices in the same space is its battery. Here, a mammoth 5 000mAh battery is present, which delivered up to two days of life under mixed use during our time with it.
At R6 999 (RRP) the Oppo A72 is well priced, but in a competitive mid-range space, there are cheaper similarly-specced options available too. What the A72 has going in its favour though, is the massive battery onboard, as well as a solid all-around photography experience.
As such it feels like a device that you’ll need to pay a little extra for, but should definitely stand you in good stead for the next couple of years. As a starter for the main course of future Oppo flagship devices then, the A72 is well worth considering.