Oppo A92 review: So good

The Oppo A92 is the second Oppo smartphone I have used this year. The first one, the Oppo Reno3, left such a good taste in my mouth that the A92 only had one job: to not disappoint.

Not disappoint it did.

See what you get in the box here.

So, if you’re looking for the short of where this is going to be, here is a quick conclusion: if you have Kshs 30,000 and don’t know what you should go with then I can make the work easier for you. The Oppo A92 makes such a strong case for itself that it is almost a no-brainer.

I’ll tell you why.

Of course, as just with any other phone, the first thing that will either impress or infuriate you is the design. In that department, the Oppo A92 manages to blend the old with the new.

READ:  Oppo A92 specifications

A noticeably chunkier chin flanked by slim bezels and, to make sense of the trim on the sides and the top, a punch-hole to accommodate that 16-megapixel selfie camera, dominates the front. At the back, the centre of attraction is the quad-camera array which is in the arrangement that we’re now pretty much familiar with as it’s what everyone is going with. The good news is that it’s implemented in such a way that is flush in line with the rest of the device and there is no wobble when the device is placed on a flat surface, a pet peeve of mine.

Interestingly, the one thing that has been last in my mind throughout my monthlong stay with the Oppo A92 has been worrying that I will need to take care of the back. Its no fingerprint magnet – the ugly type, that is. I have the Twilight Black colour model and whatever material is in use here is just the best.

Another thing I noticed is that the Oppo A92 is a bit heavier. Heavier than the Oppo Reno3 I was using before it. And thicker. That beefy battery has to account for something, after all.

The display, what Oppo calls a “Neo-display” is just fine. It helps that it is a Full HD panel when it comes to the kind of content you can consume. Its other aspects, like colour reproduction and viewing angles, are good enough that you won’t be stuck noticing details you shouldn’t instead of enjoying and contextualizing the crisp text you’re reading or digesting the videos you’re watching. You might have a bit of a concern when outdoors and the device’s screen struggles to keep up with all that brightness but that’s a pip blip.

There was no way I was going to use the Oppo A92 without being heavily influenced in my view of it from my usage of the Reno3 for weeks earlier. As such, I have been looking at the device like, “what am I getting for Kshs 10,000 less and, is it worth going for this instead of topping up and going for the other device?”

That viewpoint led me to a few interesting discoveries: the things, both in the hardware and in the software, that set apart the two devices and if they matter that much.

There are obvious ones like the cameras, for instance. The Reno3 is the superior device, and obviously, it has better optics but that doesn’t mean much if you go for the A92. You still get acceptable low-light shots, very good snaps in sufficient lighting (crisp and clear and, if you’re taking selfies, you’ll be wise to play around with the beauty mode slider, probably turn off the whole thing) and macro shots that will stand any test. In short, you’re not missing much.

Now, what about the competition? Well, if we’re comparing the Oppo A92 to its elderly sibling with better specifications that I believe is easily the most complete mid-range smartphone available in the local market right now then guess what? The competition may as well be toast. Seriously.

Here are some samples (resolution lowered and images compressed, as usual):

The Oppo A92 is fast and stable, just like I’d want it, or any other phone, for that matter, to be. Its ability to take just about anything you throw at it will have you questioning why you’d pony up a lot more in the name of getting better performance on another device. It’s 2020 and what we call “mid-range smartphones” are showing us that they are really meant for any range. Where the Oppo Reno3 leads that pack, the Oppo A92 follows closely.

While part of the impressive performance can be attributed to the device’s solid hardware feature-set – I mean, there’s an octa-core Snapdragon 665 from Qualcomm in there for all that on-device machine learning that can be found in the camera app, in the battery optimization and more, 8 gigabytes of memory, which is very generous at this price point – the role of the software and its optimization to play nice with the aforementioned hardware cannot be downplayed.

Everything I observed about my software experience on the Oppo Reno3 also applies here. There are few things, like the swapping of Oppo’s messages application for Google’s (which I actually prefer for blocking all those scammers and spammers who can’t give me a break) and the omission of the Oppo Smart Assistant which I am indifferent about its presence and/or absence.

The good performance and good interplay between the hardware and software, even with all the optimizations, still has a strong bearing on the battery. At 5,000mAh and with the Smart Power Saver turned on, I still had much higher drain than I expected. The device lasted me a full day (24 hours) on a single charge but I always felt it could go an extra mile. My constantly paired smartwatch – and, when I’m on the move, the wireless earbuds that Oppo offered as part of a sales promotion with the device recently – may explain this particular pattern which is to say that your mileage may vary.

The good

  • Design
  • Stable performance
  • Good cameras
  • Good stereo speakers
  • Fast side-mounted fingerprint sensor
  • Fast face unlock – works even in very low lighting

The bad

  • Despite packing a big battery, the battery drain is a little on the higher side especially if, like yours truly, you are really pushing the device

The lowdown

If you are looking for a smartphone and not willing to stretch your budget beyond the Kshs 30,000 mark then this is it. Simple as that. It’s so good!

Have something that you believe I need to have a look at? Hit me up: echenze [at] androidkenya.com