Sunday, 28 July 2019 17:04

Review: OPPO AX5s shows that good things need not cost the earth

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Review: OPPO AX5s shows that good things need not cost the earth Courtesy OPPO Australia

There are two very good reasons why the OPPO AX5s is a good buy: the price, $299, is somewhat unbelievable in an age when a good smartphone costs in excess of $500 unless one is willing to settle for something that lacks features.

The second major plus point of the AX5s is the battery, a large-capacity 4230mAh which lasts and lasts and lasts. I used the test device supplied by OPPO Australia for 18 days and only charged it thrice.

Indeed, the price is the main reason why I asked for a device for review; it costs the same as my first smartphone, an LG Optimus Black, which I picked up back in 2012. I was curious to see what one could get for the same price today.

The AX5s was released in April but it took a while for the manufacturer to send through a device for testing.

The good points do not end there; about the only latest features it lacks are a fingerprint sensor and USB C charging. It has a mini-USB charger and offers a number lock plus facial recognition.

dog oppo

Taken with the OPPO AX5s indoors.

The AX5s has an 8-megapixel (f/2.0) front-facing selfie camera with a waterdrop screen. The near-fullscreen 6.2-inch LCD display means a 89.35% screen-to-body ratio. There are dual rear cameras, 13-megapixel (f/2.2) and 2-megapixel (f/2.4), which take reasonable pictures.

The quality of the photos can be seen from those within this article, though one must be aware that comparing the camera on the AX5s to that on a Pixel 2XL — a device I have been using — is somewhat unfair.

dog pixel

Taken with the Pixel 2XL indoors.

The Pixel 2XL is said to be among the top three smartphones when it comes to photography. Still, one can get some idea of how good the camera on the AX5s is through the comparison. But the Pixel 2XL costs $1399!

The manufacturers claim that the AX5s can play video for up to 13.5 hours; I never got that far, with the maximum time spent watching videos at one stretch being 3.5 hours during which time the charge ran down from 51% to 30%. The device has two SIM slots.

There are three new apps in this version of ColorOS: Smart Bar, Smart Scan and video editing. Smart Scan can transform paper business cards into electronic versions and document and image translation for overseas travel. Smart Scan also converts images into editable text.

house oppo

Taken with the OPPO AX5s.

Smart Bar allows quick switching between apps, conveniently replying to text messages and transferring files while playing games or watching videos.

The AX5s has an MTK MT6765 processor, 64GB of storage and 3GB of memory. An additional 256GB of storage can be added via an SD-card. Two tablets which I used previously also had MTK processors and both were characterised by the occasional slowing down when scrolling, The AX5s does not suffer from this disease; it is fast and responsive.

OPPO, one of the three brands sold by BBK Electronics — the others are vivo and OnePlus — has its own customised version of Android, which it calls ColorOS. On this device, the version is 5.2.1 and while I was using it there were a couple of updates, though the Android version itself stayed at 8.1.

pixel house

Taken with the Pixel 2XL.

In what is a departure from recent phone models and in what appears to be a touch of common sense, the AX5s has a headphone jack.

ColorOS has some weaknesses: sometimes a text arrives late. The little square on the front, which one touches to close applications, sometimes does not react at the first touch. The network connectivity is a little slower, with Cat 4 LTE, and the clock speeds are somewhat slower (1.5Ghz) as well.

But at this price and with these features, the AX5s is a steal.

Available in red and black, the AX5s has been available from JB Hi-Fi, Telechoice, Yes Distribution and Mobileciti from 16 April while Optus has been selling the device from 29 April.

SPECS

Screen

  • Screen size 6.2"
  • Touch screen TFT LCD capacitive touchscreen
  • Touch panel technology in-cell
  • Screen resolution HD+ @ 720 x 1520
  • Screen ratio 89.35%
  • Touch panel glass type Gorilla Glass Version 3

Network

  • 4G Support Yes
  • SIM card type and size Nano SIM+ Nano SIM+Micro SD are independently placed
  • Network type GSM,WCDMA,TD-LTE,LTE FDD
  • WLAN Display YES
  • Bluetooth version v5.0 + EDR2.1

oppo red backDisplay

  • Physical Keyboard No
  • Body colour Black
  • Size About 155.9*75.4*8.2mm
  • Weight About 170g (with battery)

System

  • Android version Android 8.1
  • OS version name ColorOS V5.2.1 based on Android 8.1
  • Face recognition YES
  • Clone Apps YES

CPU

  • CPU core 8
  • GHz per core 2.3GHz*4+1.8GHz*4

Storage

  • RAM 3GB
  • ROM 64GB
  • External memory 256GB

Battery

  • VOOC flash charge NO
  • Wireless charge NO
  • Size (mAh) 4100/4230mAh(Min/Typ) Lithium Battery
  • Talk time (max hours 3G) Max WCDMA: 28 hours

Hardware

  • Headset jack 3.5mm
  • USB jack Micro USB 2.0
  • Built-in battery YES
  • GPS Yes
  • Map Apps YES
  • Flashlight YES
  • Magnetic induction YES
  • Light sensor YES
  • Proximity Sensor YES
  • G-sensor YES
  • Acceleration sensor YES
  • Other sensors YES
  • Pedometer YES
  • OTG YES
  • WLAN YES
  • Connection and sharing YES
  • Design of card slot Dual nano-SIM + microSD card

Rear Camera

  • MP 13.0M AF + 2M FF
  • ƒ-stop 13M F2.2+ 2M F2.4
  • OIS Digital
  • Flash Yes
  • Video (max resolution @ fps) 720P,1080P @30fps

Front camera

  • MP 8M FF
  • ƒ-stop F2.0
  • OIS N/A
  • Flash N/A
  • Video (max resolution + fps) 720P,1080P @30fps

In-box materials

  • Handset 1
  • Adapter 1
  • Headset NO
  • Micro USB Cable 1
  • Important Info. Booklet with Warranty Card 1
  • SIM Card Tool 1
  • Screen Protect Film 1 (Attached on the screen)
  • Case 1
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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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