The midrange OPPO A series has always put importance on entertainment and photography, and the new OPPO A98 5G appears to be no different.
On paper, it looks great for binge-watching thanks to the large display and stereo speakers. It also looks like a great photography machine thanks to its sharp cameras. Plus, as a cherry on top, it has flagship-level charging. But how does it hold up with everything combined? We’ll find out in our OPPO A98 5G full review.
OPPO A98 5G Specs
- Android 13, ColorOS 13.1
- Dual SIM, Dual standby
- 6.72-inch FHD+ LCD display, 2400 x 1080 pixel resolution, 391ppi
- 120Hz refresh rate, 240Hz touch sampling
- 100% DCI-P3, 100% sRGB, 690-nits
- Panda tempered glass
- 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 octa-core processor
- Adreno 619 GPU
- 8GB RAM
- 256GB UFS 2.2 internal storage, expandable via microSD
- 32-megapixel front camera
- 64-megapixel (f/1.7) + 2-megapixel (mono) + 2-megapixel (microscope) rear cameras, LED flash
- Side-mounted fingerprint scanner, Face unlock
- Stereo speakers, Headphone jack
- HSPA+, 4G LTE, 5G
- WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band
- Bluetooth 5.1
- GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, QZSS, A-GPS
- USB Type-C
- Dimensions: 165.6 x 76.1 x 8.2mm
- Weight: 192g
- Colors: Dreamy Blue, Bold Gold, Cool Black
- 5,000mAh non-removable battery, 67W SUPERVOOC charging
Design and Build Quality
OPPO is still using the same design language as its other products. Don’t get me wrong, the OPPO Glow design looks really cool, as the shiny surface adjacent to the camera looks like moving meteors when it catches light reflections. However, it’s starting to feel boring as it’s the same look we saw on the A78 5G, Reno8 T 5G, and other previous midrange OPPO devices.
It may look like a lot of OPPO phones we’ve already seen, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t look clean with a touch of grandeur. The unit we got is the Cool Black, which feels more elegant than the Dreamy Blue and Bold Gold options.
More than aesthetics, the special design also made the panel free from fingerprint marks, scratches, and wear so you can use it without a case — unless you have butterfingers.
With its large display, the A98 5G is not the most comfortable smartphone to hold, even with users with bigger hands like us. It’s also not the lightest, but thankfully the flat edges and 3D curved back help improve grip.
The included case is also relatively thick, which is forgivable as it gives us the confidence that it can really protect the device. You can use the A98 5G with one hand if you’re only swiping through social media feeds or making calls. But if you’re typing or doing anything that requires you to touch the whole screen, a second hand is required.
Taking a tour, we have the said 6.72-inch display on the front with a clean punch-hole for the selfie camera. The bezels are the usual standard, no worries here.
There’s the SIM tray on the left, which is sadly hybrid as the second slot can only house either a SIM tray or a second microSD card.
Below it are the volume controls, which are separated from each other unlike what the others have. They are adjacent to the flat lock/fingerprint scanner on the left. The buttons are tactile and clicky, but I wish they protruded higher, so they are easier to find and press.
The top only has the second microphone for voice isolation on calls, while at the bottom, we have the primary mic, the 3.5mm headphone jack, the USB-C port, and the loudspeaker.
It looks clean, premium and feels sturdy. We have no complaints here other than its slight bulkiness, which was inevitable with its huge battery.
Display and Sound Quality
The OPPO A98 5G has a large 6.72-inch FHD+ IPS display with a 2400 x 1080 pixel resolution, with a high 120Hz refresh rate and 100% DCI-P3 color gamut.
Display quality is fine for an IPS screen. We kept the screen color mode to Vivid for an extra splash of color, which is great for consuming content. But if you like photo editing or you want a softer color, set it to the Natural setting.
Screen brightness for outdoor visibility is also ample. The screen is really smooth, but not as smooth as other phones with the same 120Hz refresh rate and a more powerful processor. It also lacks adaptive refresh rate, so you have to manually dial it down to 60Hz if you want to save a trivial amount of battery.
It also has a stereo speaker setup. It offers decent audio with audible bass, but a slightly sharp treble. Still, everything is clear, whether you’re listening to music or watching YouTube and Netflix videos.
The stereo separation is also noticeable, which we really find helpful in shooter games like Call of Duty Mobile and Farlight84.
Hardware and Performance
The OPPO A98 5G is powered by the trusty Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 octa-core processor clocked at 2.2GHz, with 8GB of RAM, Adreno 619 GPU, and 256GB of expandable storage.
OPPO A98 5G Benchmark Scores
Like in all Snapdragon 695-powered phones we’ve tested before, the performance is really decent. Things run smoothly whether you’re just scrolling through social media, on video conferences, or editing photos.
There are some occasional lags and jitters, especially when opening apps again after a long while.
We were also able to comfortably game with the OPPO A98 5G. Farlight 84 ran smoothly under Balanced graphics and Very High frame rates; Call of Duty Mobile was fine under High graphics and Max frame rate; and finally, Mobile Legends was smooth at Ultra graphics and Super refresh rate.
There’s the inevitable rise in temps after about 25 minutes of playing, but not to the point of overheating. There’s also no noticeable drop in frame rates due to throttling after extensive gaming.
Software and User Interface
The OPPO A98 5G runs on Android 13-based ColorOS 13.1. It’s not clear if it’s one of the lucky OPPO smartphones that will get 4 years of major software updates, but it should be eligible to get the upcoming Android 14.
Overall, the interface is satisfactory, especially now that OPPO has introduced new features to ColorOS like the Auto Pixelate to hide profile pictures and names when you take screenshots on select messaging apps. There’s also a built-in screen translator when taking a screenshot. You can easily access both the Pixelate and Translate features when you tap the image immediately after taking the screenshot.
The gesture controls are also intuitive and easy to get used to. However, if you’re coming from an older phone or prefer the traditional three-button navigation, you can enable that option in the settings.
Like any other Android device, it lets you customize a lot of things like wallpapers (with built-in Live, Static, and more), Themes, Font, and even mess with icons.
You can also choose to have an app drawer or not, set a home screen layout, play with the lock screen magazine if you want different wallpapers every time you turn it on, play with the clock style, and more.
There’s also an App Cloner that literally clones an app so you can manage multiple accounts from the same app easily. However, it only works on most social media and messaging apps.
Privacy features include App Lock, Hide Apps, and Private Safe, which work as their names suggest. Once enabled, they can only be accessed using the fingerprint scanner or face unlock. Both biometric features worked fast and accurately, by the way.
There are tons of accessibility features like the classic Assistive Ball, one-handed mode, different gestures and motions, and shortcuts to taking screenshots or screen recording. You can even apply software retouching in video calls.
Split Screen mode is also available if you really want to multitask. Plus, there are floating windows, Smart Sidebar, Kid Space, and Simple Mode for those who have accessibility issues.
The camera app is still as convenient as ever and the default Google Keyboard is easy to type on.
Clearly, ColorOS has matured over the past few years. We have no complaints about this year’s installment and are optimistic it will only get better from here.
OPPO knows that you’d only be using the primary and selfie cameras. So, they beefed them up on the A98 5G. There’s a 32-megapixel sensor on the front for selfies. On the back, we have a sharp 64-megapixel main camera but is only joined by a 2-megapixel depth sensor and a 2-megapixel microscope.
Shots from the main camera are good, especially if you like lively social media posts. The post-processing adds a bit of extra colors to make images pop, but without being over saturated. Dynamic range is not the best, but it’s sufficient. Contrast is passable, albeit focusing can be tricky at times.
Low-light shots are clean, but we’ve seen similarly priced devices perform better in challenging lighting conditions. Enable Night Mode for a brighter and more colorful image, but make sure you have steady hands as it can easily get blurry.
The 2-megapixel depth sensor does a good job of separating the foreground for a DSLR-like background blur. Just make sure you check the face beauty modes when you enter Portrait Mode as having too much will result in lost details.
We also have a 2-megapixel microscope lens, which really lets you get up close to a subject. It’s a cool party trick for those who don’t need it, but can be useful if you’re into insect photography or other things that require extreme close-up shots.
The 32-megapixel front camera takes decent selfies with apt skin tones and exposure. But having that many pixels, we were expecting sharper details. Portrait Mode also works well here.
Overall, the OPPO A98 5G has a decent set of cameras. Still, we wish the low-light performance was better. Also, going with an ultra-wide or a telephoto lens would’ve been better than having two less useful lenses.
The OPPO A98 5G has a 5,000mAh battery with the brand’s Battery Health Engine that promises to extend the battery’s lifespan by four years or more. OPPO also threw in a flagship-level 67W SUPERVOOC charging.
Thanks to the efficient software, it has a really reliable battery life. We were able to go through a day of web browsing, flicking through social media, and casually playing games with still 10%-15% of juice left before going to bed.
In PCMark’s battery test, it was able to last for 14 hours and 14 minutes. That’s the average score we get in our reviews. The test runs a different workload until 100% drops to 20%. We ran it with the WiFi and Bluetooth off and screen brightness and volume set at 50%.
Charging speeds are obviously insane. A quick 15-minute charge managed to do 20% to 60%, another 15 minutes and we’re at 90%. That said, a full 0 to 100% charge takes about 40 to 45 minutes.
The OPPO A98 5G sure is a great multimedia machine thanks to its enormous and smooth display and loud and decent stereo speakers. More than that, it’s a good daily driver overall because of its decent performance in both games and basic tasks, reliable battery life, admirable cameras, mature software, and flagship-caliber charging.
But despite all that, it’s hard not to look at other brands who, for a similar price, offer a more powerful processor, as well as better display and cameras.
Still, the OPPO A98 5G is a decent contender for those who want a reliable daily-driver, especially when you consider availability and after-sales support.
OPPO A98 5G price and availability in the Philippines
The OPPO A98 5G has a price of Php18,999 in the Philippines. It’s available for pre-order until September 21, 2023 with free wireless earbuds. You can also get it via Home Credit or at 0% installment plans for 6 or 12 months on all major credit cards.
- Large and fast display
- Good stereo speakers
- Decent day-to-day and gaming performance
- Good cameras
- Polished software
- Flagship-level charging
- Boring design
- Competition offers better chipsets
- No ultra-wide or telephoto lens
- Low-light camera performance could be better