What we liked about it:
* Good display
* Dedicated microSD card slot
* Great battery life
* Fast fingerprint scanner
What we didn’t like about it:
* ColorOS (Is a Nougat update coming?)
The OPPO A57 with a 5.2-inch display, a Snapdragon chip, and 3GB of RAM is billed as a phone for ‘unstoppable selfies‘, but does it have a performance that goes beyond taking photos? Here is our full review.
First announced last November in China, the A57 was brought here in the country just this past week with much fanfare. We were able to use it as our daily driver for around a week, and have given you some of the basics in our hands-on just a few days ago.
Design and Construction
Our unit dons a black color all over, which the company has been releasing for its smartphones since the F3 Plus back in April. The front part consists of a 16-megapixel rear camera, a few sensors, a call speaker grill. a 5.2-inch display and a fingerprint scanner below that also serves as the home key. Two buttons are also at the sides of the fingerprint scanner (multitasking switch button and back button), which does not illuminate. A screen guard over the whole 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass 4 is pre-installed and serves as a protection against front-facing bumps, falls, and scratches.
On the left side of the device are two keys that let you operate the volume, while the power/lock button is located at the right, Just right above it is the SIM/microSD card tray. The buttons are easy to reach given its size, and the are very easy to press. We’re also happy to find out that the A57 has dedicated slots for both two nano SIM cards and the microSD card, which is something we don’t see in most newly-released smartphones nowadays.
At the bottom are the 3.5mm audio jack, microphone, microUSB port, and a mono loudspeaker grill. The edges are chamfered for a better hand grip.
The 13-megapixel rear camera is at the upper-left corner along with the accompanying LED Flash, while the OPPO logo is at the center, and two gap lines at opposite ends remind you of the company’s current device design.
Do not be mistaken, the body is made of polycarbonate but of good quality. The matte black color gives off a modest yet luxurious feel, however, it still attracts fingerprint smudges from time to time. The device also has a good grip and feels comfortable to hold even for a long period of time.
Display and Multimedia
The A57 has a 5.2-inch IPS display that has emits vivid colors, whites that are quite on the cool side, and great viewing angles. Automatic brightness is also present as is constantly changing depending on the environment you’re in, not to mention the built-in eye protection you can use at nighttime. The display also has good outdoor legibility– details can be seen clearly outside on a sunny day. Despite the HD resolution it possesses, the details are still decent and remain adequate with the naked eye.
A mono loudspeaker sits right at the bottom of the device and is sufficient for notifications as it could reach as loud as 76db using a sound meter. Entertainment is also good — loudspeaker sound is average and nowhere near high-quality, the stock player can play a variety of formats and the audio player can play high-bit FLAC. The headset included in the package is not noise-cancelling but is decent enough for the average user.
OPPO takes pride in the camera built on its phones, and the A57 is no exception with a 16-megapixel front camera for selfies, and a 13-megapixel one for the rear with an accompanying LED Flash.Both cameras offer the beautify feature, as well as a wide panorama, Ultra HD photo, Full HD video recording, and a variety of aspect ratios for your photos — be it 1:1 for Instagram, the usual 2:3, or a wide 16:9 full-screen shot.
Both cameras are quite good in delivering photos in great detail, color, and sharpness. They work best at daytime and outdoor scenarios with less noise, which becomes prominent when you fire the camera indoors. The LED Flash at the back emits a warm hue contrary to what we’re accustomed to and does not help that much in low-light scenarios. Here are some sample shots:
Likewise, the A57 is good for capturing moments on video with great light but deters in quality once low light kicks in. It does not offer optical or electronic image stabilization features, which does affect your video clips with shakes, especially for those who does not have steady hands like this author do. Here’s a sample clip:
OS, UI, and Apps
ColorOS 3.0 is the star of the show, and OPPO shows a lot of uniqueness in it. It is very reminiscent of Apple’s iOS with no app drawers, app groups in translucent packages, quick toggles being highlighted once you drag down the notification bar, and the colorful icons and smooth transitions in the settings menu. Notifications and quick toggles are separated, as you’ll need a swipe to access those update bars. This device is still based on Android Marshmallow, and the last security update fed on the device was as recent as March 2017.
As a longtime user of Android who’s been used to the usual vanilla-baked goodness of the platform, it did require a learning curve to maximize the whole experience. Simple tasks such as taking a long press to access your home screen widgets now require a pinch in, for example.
Pre-installed apps include pretty much a lot of Google’s app suite and a few social media ones such as Facebook, and it leaves your phone with around 22GB of free space as a result. There’s a dedicated microSD card, thankfully, that supports up to 256GB for all your media.
Performance and Benchmarks
The A57 is powered by a Snapdragon 435 chip coupled with an Adreno 505 GPU and 3GB of RAM. Multitasking is not a problem given that the device has its own dedicated button to switch apps. We have not experienced hiccups or lags in the system despite playing graphic-intensive games such as Hungry Shark Evolution, although noticeable heat can be experienced at the upper rear part, reaching up to 50 degrees when using the phone intensively for long periods of time. Here are some benchmarks we took with the device:
AnTuTu – 43,270
GeekBench CPU – 667 (Single Core), 2811 (Multicore)
Geekbench Compute – 2,232
3DMark (Slingshot Extreme) – 298
PCMark Work 1.0 – 5,101
PCMark Work 2.0 – 3,516
Connectivity and Battery Life
You’d also get dedicated Dual nano-SIM slots with the A57, and one is capable of 4G LTE speeds. As such, we have not encountered any issues connecting to mobile data as it was quick. Other functions work well — the Bluetooth connection is consistently good with my wireless devices, WiFi is stable and does offer a further connection range than my current phone, and GPS is accurate most of the time.
The call speaker is clear and audible, while the audio sample we’ve recorded using the phone’s microphone has this somewhat airy sound while still being audible.
The fingerprint scanner embedded as the home button can store up to five fingerprints and is fast in capturing marks. It has been very useful in unlocking the phone once pressed with the registered finger and authenticates as fast as 0.05 seconds.
Despite being near 8mm thin, OPPO has managed to squeeze in a 2,900mAh battery inside the small A57. We’re glad to report that the A57 was able to last almost a whole day of consistent connection with either WiFi or mobile data, as well as using it moderately with calls, texts, and a bit of gaming on the side. Our PCMark Battery Test gives the A57 a whopping 9 hours and 59 minutes, while our standard video loop test is a bit longer with around 14 hours and 44 minutes.
OPPO delivers a good device experience with the A57, a 5.2-inch device that goes beyond delivering unstoppable selfies, and prides itself in offering a good display, a fast fingerprint scanner, and a great battery life tucked beneath its slim profile. It helps that the phone is packed with a Snapdragon chip, which does great in optimizing phone use for better battery consumption, and has dedicated slots for both two SIM cards and a microSD card which seem to be fading away with the other brands’ recent releases.
At Php11,990/$240, one can already get a hold of better OPPO devices such as the F1s (at Php12,990/$260), F1s Upgraded (at Php13,990/$280) or even the Vivo V5 (at Php12,990/$260) or the V5 Lite (Php9,990/$200) with almost the same specs sans the processing chip, but the A57 has a market it wants to capture in a sea of 5.5-inch phones: those who want devices with smaller profile that offer similar power and punch at a decent price.
OPPO A57 specs:
- 5.2-inch HD IPS display @ 720 x 1280 px, 282ppi
- 2.5D curved glass
- Corning Gorilla Glass 4
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 1.4GHz octa-core CPU
- Adreno 505 GPU
- 3GB RAM
- 32GB internal storage
- up to 256GB via microSD (dedicated)
- 13MP rear camera, f/2.2 aperture with PDAF, LED flash
- 16MP front camera, f/2.0 aperture, 1.12 µm
- Dual-SIM, Dual Standby (nano)
- 4G LTE
- WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
- Bluetooth 4.1
- GPS, A-GPS
- Fingerprint scanner
- OPPO ColorOS 3.0 (based on Android 6 Marshmallow)
- 2,900mAh battery
- 149.1 x 72.9 x 7.65 mm (dimensions)
- 147 grams (weight)