What we liked:
* Good build and design
* Good camera
* Decent performance and battery life
What we disliked:
* Stuck in Android Lollipop
* Not a compelling option given its price tag
OPPO released in the country last month one of its newest smartphones with a premium-looking build, 5-inch display, Snapdragon 410 quad-core CPU, LTE, and a price tag under Php9K – the OPPO A37. WIth tons of smartphones cramming in this price range, does it have enough to attract consumers who are on a hunt for a bang-for-the-buck device? Let’s find out.
Design and Construction
Right off the bat, the OPPO A37 is a standard-sized smartphone with a 5-inch display up front. Above it are the earpiece, the 5MP camera, and sensor. Down below are three unlit capacitive buttons for Recent apps, Home, and Back.
To the left are the volume buttons, while on the right are the power/lock button and the tray for the SIM and microSD card.
Up top is the headset jack, while down below are the microUSB port, and two sets of holes for the loudspeaker and microphone.
Flip it on its back and you’ll see the 8MP camera, LED flash, and the shiny OPPO logo etched at the upper center.
As mentioned earlier, the A37 looks premium thanks to its metallic finish. It also feels solid and sturdy – no creaking or bending. The 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass 4 is also a good addition as not only it provides protection but also gives a nice feel when gripped.
Display and Multimedia
The OPPO A37 sports a 5-inch IPS display with HD resolution which equates to 294ppi. It has a very decent resolution for a screen this size. Colors and viewing angles are good with sufficient brightness for outdoor use. Overall, there’s no problem with this department aside from the screen size if you prefer larger displays.
As for sound quality, the loudspeaker can produce decent sound good for casual listening. Audio is a bit tweaked towards mids and highs so vocals are emphasized during hands-free or video calls. Loudness could use some boost though, but should suffice if you’re in a quiet room.
Like we usually recommend, if you want a good listening experience, especially if you want to take advantage of its Dirac HD Hi-Fi sound feature, better plug in a good pair of headphones or a Bluetooth speaker.
OS, UI, and Apps
While most newly released smartphones come with Android Marshmallow, the A37 uses the older Android 5.1.1 Lollipop, which can be a downer as it misses out on some newer features like improved battery management and security. On the bright side, OPPO regularly releases updates to improve its features and fix bugs.
The OS is skinned with OPPO’s ColorOS v3.0.0i. Layout is simple and easy to navigate. Design is colorful and easy on the eyes so we had no problems when it comes to this department. You can always install your favorite launcher in case you prefer a different look.
When it comes to features, it has a Security Center, Screen-off gestures, Quick gestures, and Smart call features (Easy dial, Auto-answer, Switch the speaker by motions, Flip to mute).
Storage-wise, it has 16GB built-in but with only 9GB as usable. On the bright side, it has a dedicated microSD card slot and supports USB OTG.
The 8MP sensor on the A37 doesn’t sound much as it doesn’t give much resolution to work with especially when you’re cropping. But overall, it’s actually pretty decent – autofocus is fast even when shooting in macro, and details and colors are good even in dim environments. The front camera, on the other hand, has a modest 5MP sensor which is good enough for casual selfies. It even has Screen flash if you’re desperate to do it in low-light.
As for in camera features, it has quite a few yet handy ones – Timelapse, Beauty, Panorama, Ultra HD, GIF, Expert Mode, Double Exposure, Filter.
As for video, it can record up to 1080p at 30fps. Watch the sample below:
Performance and Benchmarks
Packing a Snapdragon 410 CPU, Adreno 306 GPU, and 2GB RAM, the A37 is easily categorized to be in the entry-level side. Still, it was able keep up with our tasks even gaming. We loaded Asphalt 8 and it ran smoothly, although we noticed some longer than average loading times but it’s not really a big deal. Check out the benchmark scores below.
* AnTuTu – 25,001
* Quadrant Standard – 14,538
* Vellamo – 1,407 (Multicore), 967 (Metal), 2,056 (Chrome)
* 3D Mark – 52 (Sling Shot using ES 3.0)
* PC Mark – 3,661 (Work performance)
Connectivity and Call Quality
The OPPO A37 got the basic connectivity features covered. We have LTE, WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, and FM Radio. There’s dual-SIM support for two nano-sized cards, but the best part is it’s not hybrid, meaning you have a dedicated microSD card slot. There’s no NFC which is understandable for its class.
As for call quality, it works as advertised and we didn’t encounter any problems. Calls are loud and clear while mobile data locks in fast. Like with any other phones, just make sure you’re in an area with healthy coverage.
The OPPO A37 sports a 2,630mAh battery which can be considered below average in today’s standards. But since it has modest specs it can last a user a whole day if mostly used on WiFi connection, social media apps, and moderate calls and texts.
Using PC Mark’s battery bench it was rated at 8 hours and 16 minutes. While on our standard video loop test (1080p clip, Airplane mode, 50% brightness and volume with headset) it lasted for 9 hours and 55 minutes which is not bad.
At this point, the OPPO A37 is turning out to be a good phone for its class. Priced at Php8,990, it is aimed towards users who want a standard-sized smartphone with a nice build and design, decent performance, and good camera, for a not so heavy price tag.
However, given its asking price, it’s going to have a hard time persuading buyers especially if we consider its alternatives in the sub-Php10K price range – the ASUS Zenfone 3 Max (Php8,995), ASUS Zenfone 2 Laser 5.5S (Php8,995), Flash Plus 2(Php6,490), and Infinix Note 2 (Php5,999). To conclude, the OPPO A37 is a good phone, but bang-for-the-buck? We’ll reserve that title for something else.
OPPO A37 specs:
- 5-inch IPS LCD display @ 1280 x 720 pixels, 294ppi
- 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass 4
- 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 quad-core CPU
- Adreno 306 GPU
- 2GB RAM
- 16GB internal storage
- microSD card slot (dedicated, up to 128GB)
- 8MP 1/3.2-inch sensor AF rear camera w/ LED flash
- 5MP front camera w/ screen flash
- 4G LTE
- WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n
- Bluetooth 4.0
- GPS, A-GPS
- FM Radio
- Dirac HD Hi-Fi sound
- 2,630mAh battery
- Android 5.1 Lollipop (ColorOS 3.0)
- 143.1 x 71 x 7.7 mm
- 136 g