Chinese phone maker OPPO has been releasing some good phones that go in line with modern design trends. Their latest midrange device, the A83 was announced a month ago and we are glad to see it in store shelves already.
Our review unit arrived a few days ago, and similar to expectations, it looks and feels good for a handheld that costs around KES 23,000. It adopts an 18:9, 5.7” screen that has a resolution of 720 by 1440 pixels. Three gigs of RAM and 32 GB of media hoarding space come in tow, not to mention a set of capable cameras at 8 MP and 13 MP on the front and rear.
Should you pick the device at Safaricom, you will get a single SIM model. However, we are glad to inform you that ours came with two SIM trays; one that takes a standard nano SIM and a microSD card, and a non-hybrid tray that takes two nano SIMs and a microSD card. Terrific.
Powering the device is a 3180 mAh battery and Android 7.1.1 that runs under a heavy skin dubbed ColorOS. The rest of the specs can be read here.
I’m glad the A83 packs a nice set of necessities at no extra costs: a clear case and mediocre earphones (we are glad they are there though).
It is worth noting that OPPO targets a demographic that has criticized its pricing model. Some A series, admittedly, cost a lot of money for a set of features they bring to the table, and this has made us question the OEM’s strategy for locals who tend to consume budget devices. Remember, its high-end line, the R series has never graced local store shelves (at least officially) and even if it did, we are fairly certain many of us couldn’t afford them based on the fact that the high-end market is a trusty forte for the likes of Samsung and Apple.
Back to the A83: I like it but I can’t help but feel a little short-changed. The screen, for instance, is capped at 720p, which is a crime for a KES 23,000 device. Secondly, the battery could be bigger but considering the footprint of the device, I will let this slide. Perhaps my biggest gripe is software. This is my first time I’m using an OPPO device and boy, isn’t ColorOS a shameless copy of iOS. The skin has dropped an app drawer, icons are shaped like those of the fruit phone, notifications are iOS’s exact replica and, wait for it – the existence of a Control Centre that has an array of shortcuts that usually populate the notification shade like normal Android devices.
Software is a subjective thing for most folks, and I’m sure the people buying the phone will have no problems with OPPO’s approach here. I can live with it because of my accommodative tendencies, but a little creativity could have gone a long way.
The A83 makes up for bad software with kickass cameras that are equipped with AI elements, which is a surprise for the price. These are features we see in +40K devices, and we are glad see them trickle down to budget segments. At the same time, the handset drops a fingerprint sensor for Face Unlock that works exceptionally well (save for dark places where you need to punch in a PIN). The feature uses the phone’s selfie shooter and not a fancy set of sensors like Apple’s iPhone X. I don’t miss the fingerprint scanner at all, so, kudos OPPO.
We will give the phone a spin, so expect an in-depth review in a fortnight or less.