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OPPO A57 Review - Affordable Selfie Machine!

Built to be the selfie centric phone for the masses, the A57 is looking to be the best phone for those who are looking for an affordable but capable smartphone from OPPO!
OPPO A57 Review - Affordable Selfie Machine!
OPPO A57 full review

In our first impressions, we found that we really like the phone out of the box and it did some compromises to bring the price down but it can do most of what the F3 and the F3 Plus can. Without further ado, here is our review!


Display Quality

Decent 5.2 inch 720p screen
Decent 5.2 inch 720p screen

The A57 touts a 10 point multitouch, 5.2 inch 720p, HD curved glass display that may be outclassed by the likes of the GR5 with a 1080p panel. 

Either way it is still fairly sharp 282 pixels per inch with an good IPS panel that makes color rich in saturation and widened dynamic range. It gets fairly bright even outdoors but depending on how bright the sun is, it may be insufficient in some circumstances.

The touch screen is also quick and responsive where we almost have never had an imprecise input. We are happy with the display and the touch screen!

Audio Quality

Single speaker grille below
Single speaker grille below

The A57's audio game is good. The volume reaches loud levels that can overpower noisy crowded rooms to a certain extent. What makes it even better is that even at the highest volume, the trebles, the bass and the mids are preserved and there is no distortion. I would however keep it at one level below max to keep the depth and definition of the tones at its best.

Music output through earphones sounds great with both stock earphones and third party. We used our RHA S500i with it and we found it above average. The warmth is there, bass is above average, while the mids and the rest of the spectrum is clean but could use some more prominence. There are even times where voices will sound crystal clean, has proper audio decay, and nearly everything is well separated.

The microphone is great for recordings and calls. We've never had a concern where the caller from the other line found our voice uninviting.

Battery Life

Above-average battery performance
Above-average battery performance

The 2,900 mAh battery performance of the A57 is great! We were reaching 20% battery levels at the end of a 8 am to 5 pm work day where we spent most of it texting, calling, GPS navigation, LTE, e-mail, chrome browsing, YouTube streaming and instant messaging! Benchmarks are even higher than most of the competition clocking in at a whopping 8 hours and 19 minutes!

It even has an low power mode that will lower processing performance and lower the brightness of the screen to maximize power consumption.

Charging time would take up 90 minutes to two hours depending on how much battery is left.

Camera

The camera behind
The camera behind

At the back is a 13 MP f/2.2 Sony IMX258 w/ PDAF and dual tone LED flash. OPPO kept the user interface as simple as possible where it is clear that iOS was the clear inspiration.
Camera interface and modes
Camera interface and modes

It has time-lapse, video, photo, beauty and panorama modes. The beauty mode is great for selfies because it beautifies the subject and adds a out of focus background (Bokeh) effect. The rest are standard with smartphones today and each works as they should.

It also offers an expert mode where you can set your ISO, exposure compensation, white balance, shutter speed and Focus. The ISO can get up to 1600 and the shutter speed can last up to 16 seconds but only works for the main camera.

Autofocus is fast but hesitates a bit. It has HDR mode and packed with several filter modes that also work with the selfie camera. Each has its own appeal. 

There is also a fun feature called double exposure that basically takes two pictures and blends the two into one. It works for both the selfie camera and the main camera. 

Decent Image samples from the main camera!

It takes decent photos with good color saturation and high resolution. We do find that the pictures need a little more contrast but otherwise, we are very happy with the main camera for this price point.

Rear Camera Samples

Daylight sample
Daylight sample
Bokeh shot
Bokeh shot
Indoor dim lighting
Indoor dim lighting
Indoor close-up
Indoor close-up
Flash test
Flash test

For selfies, 16 MP f/2.0 w/ screen flash and is the main feature of this phone! In fact, when we handed this phone to the sibling of one of our writers, the sibling could not stop taking selfies. Images are good with good color saturation and deep contrast that is made even better because of the high resolution.

Images are great in brightly lit situations and loses some quality in low light. Beauty mode helps even in low light and it is the only mode where the bokeh effect is accessible. Even then, the images are good and the phone really does make you not stop to take selfies. 

We do feel that the display based selfie flash works but could use more power. We hope that next time, they consider adding a dedicated true tone flash for the selfie camera as most pictures taken with this phone will be selfies.

Selfie Camera Samples

Outdoor shot
Outdoor shot
Indoor shot
Indoor shot
Max beautify
Max beautify featuring Athena
Bokeh mode
Bokeh mode

For videos, the A57 is almost the same with the F3 and the F3 Plus where they focused on stills which left the stock video options to just a flash toggle and a choice between 720p or 1080p video resolution. You can't even choose the framerates. 

The videos produced are decent but it would have been a lot better if they had given us more freedom with video recording.

Performance

Antutu and Geekbench score
Antutu and Geekbench score

The A57 is no slouch! The benchmark scores are good which is helped by the 720P screen. This coupled with the Adreno 505 in paper makes it potentially a gaming powerhouse for the sub 12K price point!


Great benchmarks!

This resulted in smooth performance for most tasks. Multitasking with its 3 GB of RAM is great. We can comfortably browse with 4 chrome tabs with out problem! It loads several apps with multiple background processes with ease. Inside is 32 GB of storage that can be expanded by up to 256 GB. 

We've never experienced hiccups or hardware caused force closes. The minimal times where we did experience lag or forced closes were we suspect was software based. 


NBA 2K17 is playable on all high settings. There will be frame drops in non air-conditioned places though. Fortunately, heating won't be a problem with this handset.
User interface
User interface

Under the hood is the Color OS which is OPPO's own skin of Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Performance wise it is lightweight and snappy while the design is clearly inspired by iOS and loses some of the advantages of stock Android like push to hold the quick toggles in the notifications to get to deeper settings or the lack of an app drawer. This leads to some learning curves when coming from another version of Android. Otherwise, it is usable.

One of the added features we really liked about the A57 is the gesture shortcuts where you can double tap the screen when it is turned off to light it up or you can draw a circle to immediately start the camera which is convenient especially when you are in a hurry when you are in a commute or when there are important but fleeting moments that you wanted to capture.

Connectivity is great. We've never had problems in terms of Telephony, Bluetooth, LTE, WiFi, and WLAN. We've also never gotten complaints from callers on the other end with regards to call quality via Telco.

Pros - Sturdy and beautiful design, good main and selfie camera performance, battery is above average, gaming capable
Cons - Video capabilities is barebones, we wished there was a dedicated flash for the selfie camera, Color OS UI needs to incorporate quality of life features of stock \Android, 720p display

Verdict

The OPPO A57 is built well with sturdy materials that all work together in unison to bring a great affordable smartphone experience that focuses on selfies! It even has above battery performance with the added bonus of being able to play games with ease for the price bracket. Though the video capabilities are barebones and the resolution is less than the competition and with the UI feels dated, we can't really complain too much given the price.

OPPO has brought great selfies and more to the masses!

Build / Design - 4
Display - 3.75
Audio - 3.75
Battery - 4
Camera - 4.25
Performance - 4.25
Average - 4 / 5
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