Friday, 13 November 2020 20:36

Review: OPPO A53 has many premium features and a price that does not match

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The OPPO A53. The OPPO A53. Supplied

The OPPO A53 is another one of those nicely built 4G smartphones to emerge from the belly of B.B.K. Electronics, with plenty of premium features but a price that will not break the bank.

At $299, the device is hardly a strain on the pocket. Exactly how a phone with this many features is sold at this price remains a mystery to me – but then I'm not complaining.

About the only area where one can pick a bone with the A53 is when it comes to storage; the phone has 64GB storage. But there is always scope to expand that through the provided SD slot which will take a card up to 256GB. There are two nano SIM slots. One must add that Apple and Google also offer only 64GB on their entry-level devices which cost an arm and a leg.

long shot park

A distance shot taken on a cloudy day.

One of the shortcomings that some readers of the vivo Y20s review cited as a reason for not expending their hard-earned on it was the lack of NFC. The A53 does not lack NFC and is the same price as the vivo device.

The LCD screen has a resolution of 720 x 1600 and a screen area of 6.5 inches. The additional lure to buy this device is that it has a screen refresh rate of 90Hz, in addition to the bog standard 60Hz.

I've been using the device at the higher refresh rate for the last seven days and there is a perceptible difference when watching videos or playing games. Battery drain is not all that much either; I charged the A53 just twice during that testing period.

flower colours

Bright colours even this was taken in poor light.

The device has a big battery at 5000mAh, among the bigger sizes on modern-day smartphones.

But the rate of charging will not break any records, seeing as the charger is 18W. One has to set by at least 75 minutes for a full charge. The connector is USB-C.

Even at this price level, OPPO has managed to put in a premium SoC, a Qualcomm SM4250 which, with the 4GB of memory, makes for smooth scrolling and no lag at all.

In this model, the fingerprint reader is at the back, similar to the way it is on the Google Pixel 4a. Facial recognition is also available.

dogs

And no, he was not asked to strike a pose.

The operating system is OPPO's ColorOS which is layered over Android 10. As in some other models from the same company, there is no crapware of note and the phone comes with very little luggage on board.

The device has an AI triple camera with portrait mode (13MP + 2MP + 2MP) plus an 8MP front camera and comes in two colours: Electric Black and Mint Cream. Close-ups come out very clean and with no blur at all, no matter if they are taken outdoors or inside.

The camera system also provides very good pictures outdoors, even in cloudy conditions as can be seen from the pictures embedded in this article.

another closeup

The flowers marry well with statues from the east.

The sound is excellent and the headphones that come with the phone are well made, with buds that stay inside the ears no matter how one contorts one's jaws. As I have mentioned before, this is a tick in my book any day given that most buds refuse to stay inside my ears.

There is no vibration even when one turns up the volume to the maximum, no matter what music is being played. Some devices in the low-budget category often have this issue.

Having reviewed models from vivo, OPPO, realme, TCL and Huawei, one is sure that sooner or later the snobs among the reviewers will have to stop limiting themselves to considering that only Samsung, Apple and Google are smartphone brands worthy or attention, and start giving Chinese models some airtime.

birds

No phone review is complete without a picture of some of our feathered friends. At bottom right, is a shot taken indoors at dusk.

Indeed, were it not for the volume sales and the cut-throat competition among the various Chinese vendors — and some are unheard of outside China because they have their hands full coping with the tsunami of local buyers — devices such as this, which provide the best of both worlds, would not be available at these prices.

The A53 is being sold at JB Hi-Fi, Woolworths, Mobileciti, Bing Lee and Amazon.

SPECS

Device A53

Colours Electric Black / Mint Cream

Chipset (make/ model) Qualcomm SM4250

Dimensions 163.9x75.1x8.4mm

Operating System/ColorOS Android 10 / ColorOS 7.2

plant closeupDISPLAY

Screen Size (inches)/Pixels 6.5" HD+ A-Si LCD 720x1600

Screen Refresh Rate 90Hz

Max Brightness 480 nit

MEMORY

System Memory (RAM) 4GB

Internal Memory (ROM) 64GB

External Memory Up to 256 GB

CAMERA

Rear Camera Setup 13MP + 2MP +2MP

Rear Camera Sensor 13MP(OV13B10) + 2MP(GC02K0-YA) + 2MP(GC02M1B)

Rear Camera Sensor Size 13MP(1/3.06″) + 2MP(1/5") + 2MP(1/5")

Rear Camera Field of View 13MP(81.3°) + 2MP(88.8°) + 2MP(88.8°)

Rear Camera Zoom Type 10x Digital

Rear Camera Video Mode 1080P/ 720P @ 30fps

Rear Camera Additional Features "PDAF Macro Mode"

Front Camera Setup 8MP

Effects "Normal/ HDR/ Panorama/ Beautify/Time-lapse photo/Potrait"

CONNECTIVITY

NFC Yes

SIM

SIM Lock "Telstra & Optus Yes Others No"

Dual SIM Yes (Open Channel)

POWER MANAGEMENT

Battery Size/ Type 5000mAh

GSM Talk Time 30hrs (Screen off)

GSM Standby Time 500hrs

UMTS Talk Time 30hrs (Screen off)

UMTS Standby Time 500hrs

a53 black article

The A53 black variant.

LTE Talk Time 30hrs (Screen off)

LTE Standby Time 500hrs

Charger details 9V2A, 18W

Packaging (in-box content)

Wall Charger Yes

Data Cable Yes

Headphones Yes

Case Yes

Screen Protector Yes

Warranty Card Yes

Mobile Muster Card Yes


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Sam Varghese

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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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