Oppo recently launched the A5s in India at a price of Rs. 9,990, pitting it against some of the best value-for-money smartphones in the market including the Asus ZenFone Max Pro M2 (Review) and the Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 (Review). The Oppo A5s is powered by the new MediaTek Helio P35 SoC along with 2GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. The smartphone also packs in a big 4230mAh battery that should help it outlast the competition. Is the Oppo A5s worth considering for its asking price, or should you take a look at alternatives? We put it to the test to find out.
The Oppo A5s is light and has a plastic body. The first thing that will grab your attention is the big 6.2-inch display with its waterdrop notch. It has thin bezels on the sides but the bottom chin is comparatively thicker. The earpiece is placed right above the waterdrop notch and it has been moved towards the frame of the smartphone to maximise space for the display.
The back panel of the device is made out of glossy plastic and is a fingerprint magnet, but you also get a clear case in the box that you can use. Oppo offers the A5s in two solid colours, black and red. The frame of the Oppo A5s is rounded which makes it comfortable to hold.
The power button is on the right side of the device and is well positioned. The volume buttons are on the left and are also within reach. All three buttons offer good feedback, so you won't be second-guessing any input.
At the bottom, this phone has a loudspeaker grille, a Micro-USB port, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The top of the phone is bare, and the SIM tray is to the left. Oppo has equipped the A5s with dual Nano-SIM slots and a dedicated microSD card slot. The Oppo A5s has a dual camera setup and a fingerprint scanner at the back.
Oppo has managed to keep the weight and the thickness of this phone down despite its big 4230mAh battery. Unlike some other Oppo smartphones, this budget offering does not come with a VOOC rapid charger in the box, instead you'll have to make do with a 10W charger.
The 6.2-inch in-cell display on the Oppo A5s sports an HD+ resolution and has a 19:9 aspect ratio. It has decent viewing angles but doesn't get very bright outdoors. You do have the option to adjust the colour tone of the display in the settings. Powering the Oppo A5s is the MediaTek Helio P35 SoC. This is a new processor with eight Cortex-A53 cores clocked at up to 2.3GHz, and is based on a 12nm manufacturing process. It has an integrated Imagination PowerVR GE8320 GPU for graphics.
Oppo has launched the A5s with only one configuration, which is 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. The dedicated microSD card slot allows for storage expansion if needed. The Oppo A5s supports for dual 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS, GLONASS, Beidou, Galileo, FM radio, and USB-OTG.
In terms of software, the Oppo A5s runs ColorOS 5.2 on top of Android 8.1 Oreo. This is a dated version of Android and we would have preferred the newer ColorOS 6 which runs on top of Android 9 Pie. Our review unit was running the March 2019 security patch when we first started using it, but received an update to the more recent April security patch during our review. ColorOS does not have an app launcher and all the app icons are on the home screen.
Oppo does ship the A5s with some bloatware in addition to the usual Google apps. Our unit had Facebook, Opera, Phone Manager, Theme Store, Music Party, and Game Space preinstalled. Game Space adds compatible games automatically and gives you the option to lock screen brightness and block banner notifications so your gaming sessions aren't interrupted. You can go ahead and uninstall some of these apps to free up space.
You can change the way the UI looks with themes that are free to download. Smart Sidebar is a pop-out tray with app shortcuts that can be launched from any screen. There are also gestures that let you launch apps by drawing alphabets on the screen when the phone is in standby.
The Oppo A5s offers decent performance considering the hardware it has on board. It is capable of handling easy tasks such as scrolling through the menus and launching apps without any issues, but multitasking isn't that snappy. We found that the phone had to relaunch apps often since it can't keep a lot of them running in the background.
The fingerprint scanner positioned at the back of the Oppo A5s is easy to reach and quick to unlock the phone. The Oppo A5s also has face recognition using the selfie camera, which also worked quickly in our experience.
We liked the display on the Oppo A5s but found the sound coming from the loudspeaker to be hollow. Sound quality is below average compared to the other smartphones we have tested in this price segment.
We ran our standard set of benchmarks to see how this new processor performs. In AnTuTu, we got a score of 84,079 points, and it scored 924 and 3,894 in Geekbench 4's single and multi-core tests respectively. As for graphics tests, the A5s managed 26fps and 11fps in GFXBench's T-Rex and Manhattan 3.1 tests respectively.
Based on these results we can say that the MediaTek Helio P35 is slightly more powerful than the Helio P22 SoC powering the Redmi 6 (Review). Compared to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 SoC powering the Redmi Y3 (Review) and the Redmi 7 (Review), the Helio P35 scores slightly lower in CPU and graphics benchmarks.
We played PUBG Mobile on the Oppo A5s, and it defaulted to the lowest settings. Since Game Space was enabled, the phone would clear RAM every time the game was launched. However, it still took longer than usual to load the game. We did notice occasional lag and stutter while playing, and had to set the Frame Rate to Low to make it run smoother. After playing PUBG Mobile for 20 minutes we observed a 4 percent battery drain which is acceptable.
The 4230mAh battery on the Oppo A5s coupled with the efficient Helio P35 SoC delivers excellent battery life. In our HD video loop test, the smartphone managed to go on for close to 24 hours. With our usage, which consisted of regular use as well as playing PUBG Mobile and using WhatsApp and Google Maps for navigation through the day, we were able to use the Oppo A5s for two full days before it needed to be plugged in. The supplied charger took over two hours to charge the phone up completely.
The Oppo A5s has a dual camera setup at the back, consisting of a 13-megapixel primary sensor with an f/2.2 aperture, and a 2-megapixel depth sensor with an f/2.4 aperture. On the front, it has an 8-megapixel sensor with an f/2.0 aperture.
We found the camera app on the Oppo A5s easy to use. It has Portrait and Pano modes apart from the standard photo and video modes. The default photo mode has quick toggles for the flash, HDR, the timer, and filters that you can apply before taking a shot. There is a Face Beauty toggle as well. This is off by default but you can set it to “AI” or manually decide the level of beautification you want. There's also a button for 2x digital zoom.
In daylight, the Oppo A5s is capable of metering light correctly. Photos had the right exposure but objects at a distance were missing details. The Oppo A5s was quick to focus when shooting macros, and managed decent separation between subjects and their backgrounds. Macros had average amounts of detail and were not very sharp, though. While taking photos in portrait mode, we found that edge detection wasn't consistent.
Camera performance took a dip in low light. The phone would take slightly too long to lock focus, and the resulting shots weren't bright enough. The Oppo A5s managed to keep noise under control but fine grain was visible on zooming in and detail was lacking.
Selfies taken with the Oppo A5s had good detail though, and the phone managed to set the exposure right. These selfies are good enough to go on social media directly. Video recording maxes out at 1080p for both the primary as well as the front cameras, but there's no video stabilisation so you will have to deal with shaky recordings.
The Oppo A5s is positioned in the sub-Rs. 10,000 segment in India but faces very stiff competition. The highlight of the Oppo A5s is its battery life, and it can go on for close to two days before needing to be plugged in. We found the camera performance to be acceptable but we have seen better even at this price point. Finally, having just 2GB of RAM is a bottleneck and this is lower than what the other options currently in the market have to offer.
If you won't be gaming on your smartphone and you value battery life above everything else, the Oppo A5s could be a good phone to pick. However, if performance is important, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 (Review) and Asus ZenFone Max Pro M2 (Review) are better options at the same price.