We are seeking cut-throat competition in various smartphone segments and more and more brands are deviating from their business models. We saw Vivo enter the sub 15k market with the well-crafted Vivo Z1 Pro and OPPO did the same with the K3. Now OPPO is back with a new product called the OPPO A9 which is aimed at the offline market.

Priced at INR 15,500 the OPPO A9 promises to offer a lot to the offline consumer. The closest rivals to the phone in terms of pricing will be the OPPO K3, Realme X, and the Vivo Z1 Pro. We got on our hands on the unit and after close to a week of usage, here is what we feel about the phone.

OPPO A9 Specifications

  • Display: 6.53-inch LCD, FHD+ 
  • Software: Android 9 Pie, ColorOS 6 
  • Fingerprint Scanner: Yes 
  • CPU: MediaTek Helio P70 Processor 
  • RAM: 4 GB 
  • Storage: 128 GB internal, microSD support 
  • Main Camera: 16 MP + 2 MP LED Flash 
  • Selfie Camera: 16 MP 
  • Connectivity: micro USB, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS 
  • Cellular: 4G LTE, Dual SIM 
  • Battery: 4,020mAh, Li-ion Polymer, removable

Box Contents

A complete list of items you get inside the box: 

  • OPPO A9 smartphone 
  • Silicon case 
  • USB Cable 
  • Charger 
  • Warranty and User Guide 

Design 

The OPPO A9 build on the same design as the previous OPPO A7 and A5s. We would have liked the new flushed design language, that the brand is using on the OPPO K3 and the Reno series, but nonetheless, this works too. You get the dual rear camera setup placed vertically in the center with the LED flash. Instead of going with an in-display fingerprint sensor, the brand has gone with a physical one which is placed under the rear camera module. 

The construction of the smartphone has entirely been done using high-quality plastic, just like other smartphones in this price bracket. Turing the phone, reveals the massive 6.53-inch display with a sizable chin on the bottom. While the OPPO K3 uses a pop-camera module in the same price-point, OPPO went with a drop notch on the A9. There is Corning Gorilla Glass 5 for protection, which should help the display resist scratches to an extent. 

Talking about the button placement, the power button is placed on the right, while the volume rockers are moved to the left side along with hybrid SIM slot. At the bottom, the phone sports a Micro-USB port which is a little disappointing considering, all the smartphones in this price bracket do come with a Type C port. There’s also a 3.5mm headphone jack and a bottom-firing loudspeaker. 

OPPO A9 Display

OPPO A9 is compact up to some extent and yet packs a 6.5-inch Full HD+ display. The dewdrop notch has been carried over from the last generations of the smartphones. The bezels are quite slim on the top and the sides but the same cannot be said for the bottom, as it features a massive chin. The colors are bright and vivid, and the display gets pretty bright outdoors. The screen is protected with Gorilla Glass 5, so it could handle some abuse. 

There are no issues with the viewing angles, thus this phone turns out to be a really good option for media consumption. 

Software and Performance

OPPO ships the A9 with Color OS 6 on top of Android 9 Pie just like the rest of the newer OPPO models. The UI is similar to what we have seen on earlier phones from the brand and their sister brand Realme. The newer ColorOS version, brings a handful of visual changes, like the boxier toggle switches, changes to the app drawer and bunch of pre-installed apps. The pre-installed apps include UC Browser, Facebook, WPS Office, NewsPointDailyhuntHelo, Paytm, Wynk Music, Webnovel, and Amazon Shopping. 

There’s also Game Center, Game Space, and an OPPO AppStore. The Game Space organizes all your games in one place and offers options to lock the brightness and priorities system resources to the running game. Apart from this, you get usual features like Face-Unlock, navigation gestures, memory boost, just to name a few. 

Coming to the performance, the OPPO A9 comes powered by the MediaTek Helio P70 SoC. Now we have seen this chipset in the past on a number of OPPO and Realme smartphones and have a fairly decent idea about the performance in general. Being a mid-range chipset, the Helio P70 is capable of undertaking day-to-day tasks without any issues. Launching and switching between apps was a breeze. Our unit came with 4GB RAM and it was enough to deliver a smooth experience. 

We did run some games on the A9 and the results were satisfactory. While playing PUBG Mobile, the game was set to medium graphics by-default and ran without any issues. There was no type of stutters and frame drop noticed and the thermal levels were in the safe limit as well. The pre-supplied game modes did help boost performance and manage notifications as well. 

Camera and Battery

Following the current norm, OPPO went with the dual rear camera setup, with the main 16-megapixel f/1.8 aperture sensor and a 2-megapixel depth sensor with an f/2.4 aperture. For selfies, it has a 16-megapixel front camera with an f/2.0 aperture. The camera is fairly simple and similar to the one found on other OPPO offerings. You get standard Photo and Video mode along with Portrait, Night, Pano, Expert, Time-Lapse, and Slo-Mo. There are quick toggles for changing and applying filters which are baked in the camera app as well. 

The Helio P70 has a dedicated AI chip which handles the AI scattered all around the software. AI Scene Recognition in the camera app helps with taking the right picture with the desired settings for a particular object. Photos taken with the OPPO A9 turned out well in daylight. The phone is capable of taking good macros with a decent background separation and accurate colors. 

In low light, the camera performance drops slightly. Photos lacked detail but the phone managed to keep noise under control. Here the AI mode came in handy and did all the heavy load. Selfies taken with the 16-megapixel front shooter were good and contained a fair amount of detail. There are some issues with edge detection but that can be fixed via software updates. 

Coming to the battery, the phone packs in a massive 4,020mAh cell which gives the phone good battery life. With our medium usage pattern, the phone lasted a day and a half with close to 15% charge still left. However, charging is slow when using the supplied 10W charger and it takes over two hours to fully charge the device.

Pricing 

OPPO A9 – INR 15,500 

Pros 

  • Good display 
  • Excellent battery life 

Cons

  • Micro USB port 
  • No fast charging 

Verdict – Should you go for it?

The OPPO A9 is a decent smartphone, but the current options in the market make it a less appealing deal. For the 15,000 INR price tag, the seams to a little over-priced when looking it purely in terms of raw hardware. You get a good display, a large battery, and a mid-range processor. The bloatware included in the software side doesn’t make a good case either. The phone will sell in the offline market, thanks to OPPO’s marketing machine, but for people looking to buy this product online should look elsewhere. 

The good alternatives to the A9 would be the OPPO K3, Realme X, and the Vivo Z1 Pro. If you rethink your budget, you could also get the Redmi Note 7 Pro for much less.

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Build & Design
Display
Performance
Software
Camera
Battery
Price