Oppo A9 2020 Smartphone REVIEW
PAT PILCHER’s Oppo A9 2020 review finds you don’t have to spend a fortune to get flagship smartphone features.
With its massive battery and decent quad cameras, I discovered during my Oppo A9 2020 review that this mid-range smartphone is proof that you don’t need to spend up large to get premium smartphone features.
As is par for the course these days, the A9 comes in a glass chassis sandwiched between an alloy band. Its front sports an all-screen design with only a notch for the front shooter marring the effect. The back of the review unit was finished in a slick reflective aquamarine glass rear that is home to a vertical camera bump.
Annoyingly, the fingerprint sensor, although very accurate and fast, is situated directly under the rear cameras and almost begging for smudged lenses (as Samsung learned with the S9+).
The A9 2020 packs a decent amount of heft, and a curved back makes it very comfy in hand. Oppo also wins brownie points for bundling a transparent silicon case with the A9, which is a good thing, as glass/aluminium phones don’t tend to bounce when dropped.
Photo And Video
Perhaps the big selling point of any smartphone nowadays days is photography/videography. This wasn’t lost on the Oppo, who have given the A9 a quad rear camera setup and a 48MP main rear camera. There’s also an 8MP wide-angle lens and 2MP monochrome/2MP portrait lenses with which to capture even more detail.
The A9 comes with what Oppo calls Ultra Night Mode 2. It snaps multiple photos at different exposure settings and combines them, applying image processing. Around the front, there’s also a 16MP shooter.
The A9 has the same rear camera specs as the considerably more expensive Oppo Reno 2Z. With test photos I shot, the A9 acquitted itself well. Exposure was accurate, and my snaps didn’t look too saturated or over-sharpened. Shots taken using Ultra Night Mode were not bad at all, but Oppo still has a way to go before they can match the Huawei P30 Pro’s night shooting chops.
Battery life is one of those things that is always mentioned in reviews, but rarely gets given the importance it deserves. I say this because there is nothing worse than having a dead phone which, let’s face it, is about as useful as a brick.
The good news here is that the A9 comes with a stonking 5,000mAh battery, and this, Oppo says, gives around 19 hours of use. I found this to be accurate, getting just under two days of life with moderate to light use. Reverse charging is also supported, and available using a USB C cable – which proved far quicker than what you get using inductive reverse charging.
Under the hood, the A9 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 chipset. While I wouldn’t expect it to decode the human genome, it is very battery friendly and packs enough power for most games and apps. Oppo says that the Game Boost 2.0 accelerator technology baked into the A9 offers improved frame rates and lowers touch screen latency, both of which can, in theory, improve gameplay. Testing this out with GTA, things ran smoothly with no noticeable jitter or lag.
The A9 runs ColorOS 6, which is Oppo’s Android 9 Pie overlay. The A9’s UI looks much less IOS-like this time around. It seems to hark back more to its Android roots and feels a little more sophisticated and a lot less cartoony. In my books, this is a good thing.
The A9 is available in 64GB and 128GB versions and storage is expandable via microSD up to 256GB. Equally good is the inclusion of a three-card tray. This means dual SIM use can happen alongside a microSD card, which is something other phone makers should emulate.
Oppo A9 2020 Review – Summary
If you’re on a tight budget but want a phone with decent cameras, the A9’s sub-$500 sticker price makes it a good way to get features you’d only normally find on a flagship phone at a significantly higher price.