Sunday, 23 July 2017 15:18

OPPO A77 – impressive performance for $448 (review)


OPPO keeps rolling out new models in its bid to conquer the smartphone market – at least in its homeland of China where it is now #2. The A77 is a definite conqueror in the mass-to-mid-market sgement.

OPPO A77 headerOPPO’s A77 sat a little forgotten on my review bench – there were too many other tasty morsels like the HTC U11, Motorola Z2 Play, Sony XZ Premium, and the photo studio in my pocket, the Huawei P10. My apologies for the delay OPPO because after putting it through the test paces this could be mass-market, pre-paid phone everyone wants. OPPO you have done it again.

I was speaking to Michael Tran at this week’s launch of the new R11 – it is a $649 mid-range priced phone that shames some flagships, especially in the camera department. “We are going to change our branding to a ‘camera phone’ because that is where we believe we really can make the biggest difference,” he said.

So, what do you get from a $448 phone? The best camera in its class, great battery life, and a build quality that frankly would meet an iPhone user’s fastidious requirements. Oh, and it is a pretty good phone too.

Smart phone sales show that about 10% of the market buys an $800+ flagship, 20% buy a $500-799 mid-market, 40% buy a $200-499 mass market phone and 30% buy the value end – almost a burner and whatever is cheap.

This phone fits into the mass-market category where a 5.5" IPS TFT screen, 4GB RAM, 64GB storage, microSD to 128GB, 3200mAh battery with fast charge, and a 16/13MP camera is so far out of the ball park it is not funny! The A77 has totally redefined that market and it is going to be a top-seller.





5.5”, 1920 x 1080 HD, 401ppi, IPS TFT
in-cell, Gorilla Glass 5



MediaTek MT6750T
Eight-core- 4 x 1.5GHz, 4 x 1.0GHz



Up to 128GB (see image at end of this new three slot device)

Camera rear

13MP, f/2.2
Oversized 1/3” sensor, 1.12 µm
PADF phase detection autofocus
Ultra HD mode for combined 50MP image
Dual tone LED
Anti-shake 2.0 (EIS) using pixel binning
1080 @30fps

Camera Front

16MP, f/2.0, 1/1.31” sensor, 1.12 µm
76.4° wide angle
Beautify 4.0
Bokeh focus effect
Palm shutter
Single LED fill flash
1080 @30fps

IP rating

Not stated


Solid state on front


Wi-Fi N dual band




3.5mm jack
Single speaker
Dual mics (top and bottom)



Triple slot
2 x 4G
Dedicated microSD slot to 128GB


Cat 6 (300/50Mbps), VoLTE, ViWiFi


FM radio


with micro-USB charger


6.0 with Colour OS 3.0


153.3 x 75.2 x 7.3mm


Gold, Rose Gold - Metal unibody

In the box

Phone, earphones, charger and cable, bumper cover


The A77 is available from 10 July, in black and gold. Retail partners include JB Hi-Fi, The Good Guys (from 17 July), and Office Works.


Black or Gold


OPPO A77 side on


OPPO generally uses SONY sensors so you can be assured that colours will be neutral, details sharp, and it will show decent definition in shadows and bright light. It uses Phase Detection Autofocus (PDAF) for fast focus.

As seems usual for OPPO these days, the front selfie camera has a higher 16MP rating than the 13MP rear. Simple – its predominantly Asian market has a predilection for selfies.

It is equipped with “palm shutter” and a Beautify 4.0 function that smooths skin, reduces blemishes, and added Bokeh – where you can change the focus after you have taken the shot. I found the selfies perfect, especially on my aged and blemished face – took years off me and should be compulsory for passport and drivers licence photos!

Selfies are amazing – the wide-angle lens is perfect for small groups and the LED flash is just what you need in low light. In the first look article I wrote, “As seems usual for OPPO lovers, the front camera is more highly specified than the rear – it is a 16MP, f/2.0 with large 1.12 µm pixels and a substantial update to “Beautify 4.0” to help users make silk purses out of sow’s ears.”

Seriously, the Beautify software can do what other beauty products can’t – reduce visible signs of aging, remove wrinkles, and produce a smoother complexion.

The 13MP uses the MediaTek ‘smarts’ to:

  • add pixel binning (takes multiple images and compiles the best from each – Google Pixel does this).
  • Anti-shake 2.0 (the CMOS and MediaTek gather shake data and adjust the image during post processing – kind of an electronic image stabilisation). The result is less likelihood of a blurred image.
  • Ultra-HD mode – like pixel binning but it shoots several shots consecutively and overlays to provide a 50MP UHD image.
  • Phase Detection Autofocus (PADF) allows fast focus even on moving subjects.
  • 1/3” oversized sensor and 1.2 µm make this a surprisingly good low-light camera – no, it won’t do what the low-light leader Samsun Galaxy S8 does but it is pretty respectable.
  • Both flash and HDR can be set to auto (it is no longer one or the other) and it really makes a difference in low light shots although it favours flash (which is best in low light).
  • It has 3x digital zoom – use it sparingly as sharpness will suffer.

Daylight: Can’t go wrong – great, crisp, accurate colours and images

Late afternoon/evening subdued light: HDR does a great job in preserving shadow details and getting the best from the shot at the expense of a longer exposure so crispness can be sacrificed unless you use a tripod. Flash gives a sharper shot but will wash detail out a little. But set flash and HDR to auto and the shots are amazing for a $448 camera.

Office (500 lumens): brilliant shots regardless of settings.

Low light: With Flash and HDR on auto it will capture good shots to about 2.6 metres away.

Video: 1080p @ 30fps. Could not fault it for happy memories – it is competent. My only complaint was recorded audio was a little low.

It does Panorama, has expert mode etc.

Summary: Camera quality is at least a 9 out of 10 for mid-market and a 1 0 out of 10 for its mass-market price.


It uses a micro-USB connector supplied 5V/2A charger. I forgot to pack these (I am so used to USB-C and wireless charge now) for a weekend away as its final test.

I was concerned as it had to last from 5pm on Friday to 8am on Monday. I “optimised” battery hogging apps like Facebook, Instagram, and a few other background tasks turned off Bluetooth (Wi-Fi was required) and was prepared to use low power mode if it got to 20%.

It indicated that I was using 17mAh at idle so in theory, 3200mAh should give me 188 hours. With normal use, some calls, some SMS, about 50 photos, about 10 x 5-minute videos, some web browsing etc., I got to Monday morning with 37% left – pretty amazing.


OPPO's A77 used a MediaTek MT6750T, eight core, 4 x 1.5GHz and 4 x 1GHz in a big/little configuration – it fires up cores as needed or idles along on as little as one. The GPU is a Mali-t860 MP2 (OK for Android games), dual image signal processors, PADF, Wi-Fi N, Wi-Di and Cat 6 (300/50Mbps) LTE with 2CA, VoLTE, WiLTE, and VoWi-Fi.

It is described as a “SoC for the super-mid-market" and is used in several phones costing well over $500. It is often compared to a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 SoC in terms of performance. OPPO uses it in the F3 so it is familiar with tuning it to Android. LG use it in the K10, 2017 series.

In tests around Sydney on the Telstra network, it ranged from 65-260Mbps (near its 300Mbps theoretical maximum) and Wi-Fi N from 200-400Mbps.

In all, this processor is a good choice offering higher mid-market performance in a mass-market phone.


It is a 5.5”, 1920 x 1080 HD, 401ppi, IPS TFT, in-cell panel and provides excellent, if perhaps slightly saturated colours. OPPO has been using the “in-cell panel” for a while as it reduces screen thickness by 25% and gives brighter images that are good in sunlight too.

It is covered in Gorilla Glass 5 – again something usually found on flagships at twice or thrice the price.


  • Punches well above its price class – at $448 it offers features/performance found in handsets at twice the cost. You will find that an OPPO trait.
  • Its iPhone-esque design is what people want.
  • Great build quality from a company that is trying very hard in Australia to be “perfect” with excellent local support.
  • Free bumper case and Gorilla Glass 5 make it tough.
  • Dual 4G SIM and dedicated micro-SD slot.
  • Remarkable camera for the price – Beautify should be mandatory.


  • Android 6.x – Colour OS is fine once you get used to it and you can totally avoid Google.
  • Sorry, none other to speak of.


If everyone had this camera phone they would be happy – it has the right blend of features and specifications and we could stop worrying about iPhone killers or Samsung slaughterers and spending obscene amounts of money.

Sure, it does not have IP ratings, wireless charging, amazing AMOLED 4K screens, or dual cameras – it’s a good honest phone that is going to give excellent service.

OPPO A77 three sim


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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!



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