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OPPO A9 2020 Review

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OPPO is facing intense competition from emerging brands. Even from Realme, which is under their own umbrella. The release of the OPPO A9 2020 is their attempt to scare off the adversary.

The specs sheet for the OPPO A9 2020 is pretty packed, making it appealing at first look. From its large screen, big battery, and stereo speakers — it looks like the device has got it all covered.

We’ll dissect all of its features here in our OPPO A9 2020 review to see if it’s worth your time and money. Let’s start!

OPPO A9 2020 Specs

  • Android 9 Pie, ColorOS 6
  • Dual SIM
  • 6.5-inch HD+ IPS display, 1600 x 720 pixel resolution, ~270ppi
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 3
  • 2.0GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 octa-core processor
  • 8GB RAM
  • Adreno 610 GPU
  • 128GB UFS 2.1 storage, expandable via microSD up to 256GB
  • 16-megapixel front camera
  • 48-megapixel (f/1.8, PDAF) + 8- megapixel (ultra wide) + 2-megapixel (mono) + 2-megapixel (depth sensor) rear cameras
  • Stereo speakers, Dolby Atmos
  • Rear-mounted fingerprint scanner, Face unlock
  • 4G LTE
  • WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • GPS
  • Headphone jack
  • USB Type-C
  • Dimensions: 163.6 x 75.6 x 9.1mm
  • Weight: 195g
  • Colors: Space Purple, Marine Green, Vanilla Mint
  • 5,000mAh battery, Reverse charging support

Design and Build Quality

The OPPO A9 2020 is a ‘thicc boi’, no doubt about that. It’s 9.1mm thick and weighs at 195g. If you’re coming from a smaller device, you’d notice the heft on this device.

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On the upside, we’re getting few benefits out of its enormous body. For starters, there’s the aforementioned 6.5-inch display. Plus, a generous 5,000mAh battery that can double as a power bank with its reverse charging support.

The back panel has a chick design to make up for its weight. It has a shiny surface with an S-shaped reflection greets you as it reacts to light. It does suffer from random hairline scratches over time, so I suggest to slap a protective case on this thing.

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You can get the OPPO A9 2020 in three flavors. The one that we have is the Space Purple option — a color gradient of Blue and Purple. There’s also the darker Marine Green variant, and the recently released Vanilla Mint Limited Edition model.

OPPO’s signature dewdrop notch is on the top of the screen. A home for the 16-megapixel selfie camera. The top and side bezels are relatively thin. Although, the bottom one is slightly thicker to make room for the IPS panel’s controllers. The display is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass.

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The lock/power switch is on the left side, with an OPPO-green accent for some personal touch. Separated volume control is on the left, below the SIM tray that can house two nano SIMs and a microSD card (up to 256GB) at the same time.

You can also notice a thin, etched strip on the sides that transcends to the top and bottom of the OPPO A9 2020. We definitely appreciate small details like this.

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Speaking of, the top is clean, while on the bottom you’ll find the loudspeakers, headphone jack, microphone, and thankfully, a USB Type-C port.

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On the back, the triple camera setup is on a vertical orientation on the middle, with the depth sensor and the LED flash in its right. The camera bump is substantial, but typing on a flat surface is still comfortable since it is centered.

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The OPPO A9 2020, despite its large footprint, offers a pretty and sturdy design.

Display Quality

As stated earlier, the OPPO A9 2020 features a large 6.5-inch display. Partnered with its decent stereo speakers, it provides an immersive video watching and gaming experience.

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However, this is also where the device’s biggest flaw is at. Despite its mid-range price, the OPPO A9 2020 only has a 1600 x 720 HD+ resolution. The worst part is since the panel has been stretched out to 6.5-inches, sharpness is not the best. You can easily notice it when reading small texts.

Performance and Hardware

The OPPO A9 2020 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 octa-core processor. Not the best processor choice for the price. But on the upside, it comes with a generous 8GB of RAM and 128GB of fast UFS 2.1 storage. Expandable via microSD by up to 256GB.

OPPO A9 2020 benchmark scores

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It’s no surprise that it handled basic apps and multitasking fast, thanks to its roomy memory. Applications load fast, taking pictures is ‘snappy’, and unlocking the device is speedy. Pretty much all of your usual tasks would run seamlessly on this thing.

The OPPO A9 2020 also handled most game titles well. Call of Duty Mobile and Mobile Legends ran at playable frame rates under medium to high settings. For more details, and the results of other games that we’ve tested, you can check out our dedicated gaming review.

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Overall, despite the underwhelming processor choice, the OPPO A9 2020 was able to provide satisfactory performance in multitasking and gaming.

Software and User Interface

OPPO has already promised an Android 10 ColorOS 7 update for the OPPO A9 2020. But until the second quarter of 2020, we would have to settle with its Android 9 Pie operating system with ColorOS 7 on top.

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With that, the interface looks familiar. The home screen looks neat, although the time is oddly vertically oriented. Swiping up reveals that app drawer, with a search tab on top for faster access on wanted apps.

Meanwhile, swiping on the far left reveals the Smart Assistant. It shows the weather, date, step tracker, and more.

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The control center has large shortcuts that are more intuitive to tap. The settings menu is organized and easily searchable. The font that OPPO uses on the UI looks a little geeky, although I like the borderless design that most native apps have.

OPPO also optimized the interface when gaming. Swiping on the left while in-game will show the Game Assistant. It shows a small tab for quick access on select apps, screen recording, or taking a screenshot.

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Speaking of which, the screenshot animation is less distracting while in-game. Game Space is also present, which allows you to personalize certain settings while running certain games.

You also have an option to choose between different navigation keys styles or enable the iOS-like navigation gestures. Smart Driving options like Driving mode or Riding Mode (motorcycle) are present for a simplified UI while you’re driving.

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The OPPO A9 2020 also has Digital Wellbeing, a stock feature of Android Pie that shows you your daily smartphone usage. Plus, Parental Controls if you plan on handing this brand new device to your kids.

It uses Google Keyboard that’s easy to get used to. The camera app is intuitive to use, although I wish that the ultra-wide toggle was incorporated on the zoom switch.

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Bloatware is inevitable at this point. Thankfully, most of them are can be uninstalled here in the OPPO A9 2020 to save you some precious space.

Camera

The OPPO A9 2020 has four cameras on the back. It starts with a 48-megapixel primary camera, 8-megapixel ultra-wide, 2-megapixel mono, and a 2-megapixel depth sensor.

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They are the same sensor that’s found in almost all of the devices in this price range. That’s why the quality that we got was familiar.

Let’s start with the 48-megapixel main shooter, which has phase-detection autofocus (PDAF) and a wide aperture of f/1.8.

The image quality looks good. Colors are life-like and not oversaturated, dynamic contrast is fine, although the contrast looks a little flat. This shall provide you more room to work with on editing. Also, the wide aperture gives a shallow depth-of-field.

The night mode is also here. The quality is not the best. Unsurprising since it doesn’t have an optical image stabilizer to aid for the long-exposure shot. But better software optimization could have smoothened it out.

The 8-megapixel ultra-wide camera offers identical color and contrast, although the details are not the sharpest.

Thankfully, it takes clean ultra-wide shots, free from distortions that the others suffer from. It lets you frame large subjects on a single shot. Great for architecture photography and other related fields.

OPPO has nailed the selfie game for years, and we’re seeing that on the OPPO A9 2020. It takes sharp selfies with acceptable colors and contrast.

Of course, we have the AI Face beauty to smoothen your facial features. It does a great and believable job, although the overall image quality becomes smoother along with it.

Connectivity

OPPO covered all the bases in terms of connectivity on the OPPO A9 2020.

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It comes with 4G LTE, dual-band WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 5.0, and GPS. All of them performed as they should in our testing with no problems. The USB Type-C port also passes in today’s standard.

The call quality is also fine. We can’t see a secondary microphone for noise-isolation, but it was able to pick up my voice fine. The earpiece also provides clear and audible audio.

Battery

One of the biggest features of the OPPO A9 2020 is its large battery. At 5,000mAh, this is one of the biggest you can get for the price.

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We manage to pull 14 hours and 35 minutes of screen-on time off the device. That’s after a loop of synthetic workload using PCMark. With the WiFi off and the screen brightness and volume set to 50%.

You can also share this battery with your friends, thanks to its reverse charging feature. All you’d need is a USB Type-C OTG cable to turn this device into a power bank.

Verdict

The OPPO A9 2020 is easily the best device that the company offers for the price. Especially now that it has become cheaper since its initial release.

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It features a large display, that allows you to have an immersive movie experience when partnered with its stereo speakers. It also offers a great gaming experience with its capable processor.

The cameras are also good. The best part is, you can enjoy all these features for long thanks to its large battery.

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However, it still has its shortcomings. For one, the HD+ resolution is just underwhelming considering its price and screen size. The night shots could also be better. Lastly, we just hope that it was a bit smaller and easier in the hands.

See also: Vivo S1 Pro vs OPPO A9 2020: Specs Comparison

Still, the OPPO A9 2020 is a welcome attempt from OPPO in bringing a value-oriented device to the market.

OPPO A9 2020 price and availability in the Philippines

The OPPO A9 2020 initially became available in the Philippines for Php15,990 back in September. But only a few months after its release, it was discounted by Php2,000 and now retails nationwide for only Php13,990.

Pros

  • Enormous screen
  • Capable gaming and multitasking performance
  • Stereo speakers
  • Decent cameras
  • Great battery life

Cons

  • Large footprint
  • Night mode shot could be better
  • Disappointing screen resolution

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