Tuesday, 11 May 2021 17:41

Review: Price just one plus for OPPO A54, Australia's cheapest 5G device

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The OPPO A54 Fluid Black model. The OPPO A54 Fluid Black model. Supplied

Even before one starts casting a critical eye over the OPPO A54 5G, there is one feature that is sure to grab the attention, especially in these times: it costs just $399 and easily qualifies as Australia's cheapest 5G smartphone at the moment.

The descent of 5G phone prices into the sub-$400 bracket has taken some time, given that Australia is considered a market where manufacturers can charge higher prices compared to other countries. But now that it has come, one can expect at least a couple more companies to land their devices Down Under and duke it out for sales.

When Qualcomm announced earlier this year, that it would be bringing 5G to its 480 series, the company also predicted that this would see an era of much cheaper 5G smartphones. OPPO is among the first to release models based on this SoC.

light and shade

Both light and shade are handled adequately as seen in this image.

The A54 has a 90.5% screen ratio on a 6.49-inch FHD punch-hole LCD display and is a little heavier in the hand than some of its other 4G models. Weighing in at about 190 grammes, it is a good 18 grammes heavier than the OPPO A91, the model which I currently use.

The body style is a little different from other OPPO models, with the off-on switch in a little depression on the side, much like some of the earlier realme models.

The device has a 90Hz refresh rate, complemented by a a 180Hz touch sampling rate, which makes the visual experience very smooth. The 5000mAh battery lasts about a day, with this feature switched on. Using the standard 60Hz rate, it lasts twice as long.

The 10W Fast Charge feature means that one can charge to a decent level pretty fast. The manufacturer claims that a full charge can allow for 13 hours of video viewing, 27 hours of call time, and 40 hours standby. That last stat is one I can verify, though the longest I watched videos was about three hours.

autumn leaves

This is Melbourne dressed up in all its autumn finery.

Being built atop the Qualcomm 480 5G platform, the A54 supports both Standalone (SA) and Non-Standalone (NSA) networks. The SoC is fast and there is no lag at all when scrolling.

The A54 has 64GB of storage space and 4GB of memory. These about the only areas in which it differs from its older brother, the A74, which has 128GB storage space and 6GB of RAM. But that older sibling costs $50 more. One can always add storage to the A54 as there is an SD-card slot which will accommodate a card of up to 256GB.

The A54 has an AI Quad Camera, which includes a 48MP main camera, 8MP wide-angle camera, 2MP monochrome camera, and 2MP macro camera. Selfies are handled by the 16MP front-facing camera.

The pictures are a bit mixed; as one can see from the images on display, some are very sharp, and others not so much. That could be due to the fact that they were taken in the morning in Melbourne where winter is fast approaching.

horizon clear

Long-range shots like this come out very clear.

One area which I did not expect the A54 to perform as well as it did was its sound. The supplied earphones provide a very pleasant listening experience, no matter whether one samples slow or fast-paced melodies. And the bass is simply outstanding.

Like many other OPPO models, the A54 comes with a protective cover. A few days back, I noticed that this cover has a minor difference from those that come free with other devices, like the Pixel. There is a slight overhang at the top boundary, protecting the glass from taking the impact were one to drop the phone. Of course, a fall from a big height will break the glass.

I noticed this while looking at two devices with cracked screens: a Samsung Galaxy S20 and a Pixel 3XL. The cover in both these cases ends flush with the top boundary of the device. And given that a genuine replacement screen for either of these devices costs in excess of $500 (the two devices both cost well in excess of $1000), it is a big deal.

About the only certified features absent from the OPPO A54 are water- and dust-resistance. Those are available on higher-priced OPPO models. But at $399, with 5G — and that technology is improving steadily (compare the speed readings that I obtained last month with those taken for this review) — I have no hesitation in giving this device the thumbs-up.

indoor shot

Any image taken indoors these days is depressing. Not that the quality of the image is bad.

The OPPO A54 5G sells for $399 and is available in two colours: Fantastic Purple and Fluid Black. It has been on sale since 13 April at Harvey Norman (Fluid Black), Optus (Fluid Black), JB Hi-Fi, Woolworths Mobile, Officeworks, and The Good Guys.

SPECS

Height: about 162.9mm

Width: about 74.7mm

Thickness: about 8.4mm

Weight: about 190g

4GB RAM +64GB ROM

RAM Type: LPDDR4X @ 2133 MHz 2 x 16 bits

ROM Type: UFS 2.1 @ 1lane

External Memory: Supported

USB Version: USB 2.0 USB OTG: Supported

Display

Size: 6.5"(16.5 cm)

Screen Ratio: 90.5%

oppo longResolution: 2400 x 1080 (FHD+)

Refresh Rate: Up to 90Hz

Touch Sampling Rate: Up to 180Hz

Colour Gamut: 100% DCI-P3

Pixel Density: 405 PPI

Contrast Ratio: Static contrast ratio: 1500:1

Brightness: Default value (typical): 480 nits, HBM value (typical): 550 nits

Panel: LCD (LTPS)

Camera

Rear

48MP Main Camera: f/1.7; FOV 79°; AF supported

8MP Ultra-wide Angle Camera: f/2.2; FOV 119°; fixed focus

2MP Macro Camera: f/2.4; FOV 88.8°; fixed focus

2MP Mono Camera: f/2.4; FOV 88.8°; fixed focus

Front

16MP (f/2.0); FOV 79.3°; fixed focus

Shooting Mode

Rear:
Photo, Video, Night, Expert, Panorama, Portrait, Time-lapse, Slow-motion, Text scanner, Google Lens

Front:
Photo, Video, Panorama, Portrait, Night, Time-lapse, Sticker

Image Size

Rear:
Maximum size: 6000 x 8000 (48MP)

Front:
Maximum size: 3468 x 4624 (16MP)

Video

Rear Camera: 1080P/720P (30fps)Support EIS, video digital zoom and slow motion

Front Camera: 1080P/720P (30fps)

SoC

Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G

CPU Speed: Up to 2.0 GHz

CPU Cores: Octa-core

GPU: Adreno 619 @ 650MHz

Battery: 5000mAh

Charge 5V/2A (MAX)

SIM 2:
Open Version: Supported
Carrier Version: Not Support
Nano-SIM card

Functions available on the live network depend on the situations of carrier's network and related services deployment.

SIM Card 1 GSM: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz

WCDMA: Bands 1/2/4/5/6/8/19

FDD-LTE: Bands 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/17/18/19/20/26/28/66

TD-LTE: Bands 38/39/40/41

5G NR: n77/78/38/40/41/1/3/5/7/8/20/28

SIM Card 2 GSM: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz

WCDMA: Bands 1/2/4/5/6/8/19

FDD-LTE: Bands 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/17/18/19/20/26/28/66

TD-LTE: Bands 38/39/40/41

5G NR: n77/78/38/40/41/1/3/5/7/8/20/28

Connectivity

WLAN: Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac), 802.11a/b/g/n/

Fi-Fi 2.4G/5.1G/5.8G

Wi-Fi Display and Wi-Fi tethering

Bluetooth Version: BT2.1 + EDR, BT5.1, TWS+

Bluetooth Audio Codec: SBC, AAC, APTX HD, LDAC

USB Interface: USB Type C

5g speed

The NBN is very much in the past when one contemplates speeds like these.

Earphone Jack: 3.5 mm

NFC: Supported

ColorOS 11.1 based on Android 11

Location: GNSS: Built-in GPS, A-GPS, BeiDou, GLONASS, and QZSS positioning systems supported

Others: Wi-Fi positioning, network-based mobile positioning, and electronic compass

Maps: Supported

In the box

Phone ×1

Charger ×1

Earphones ×1

USB data cable ×1

SIM Ejector Tool ×1

Safety Guide ×1

Quick Guide ×1

Protective 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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