OPPO A71 (2018) Review – Powerful Budget Smartphone

The OPPO A71 2018 is the next generation version of last year’s OPPO A71. It has a better chipset, newer software, and a more affordable price.

OPPO A71 (2018) Review - Powerful Budget Smartphone
OPPO A71 (2018) Review

Interested? Here’s our full review! Read on!

For our review part 1: OPPO A71 (2018) Unboxing and First Impressions

Display Quality

Good screen
Good screen


The OPPO A71 2018 has the same display as before with a 5.2-inch HD TFT display at a 1280 x 720 resolution and a 282 ppi pixel density. Again, at a smaller screen size the HD resolution still looks sharp.

Color reproduction is a tad over saturated still but it is not to the point that it’s becomes a bother. The brightness could use a little work as it can be a struggle to use outdoors on a sunny day.

On the previous version of the A71, what I loved is the great viewing angles it has and I am happy to say that they retained it. I never struggled to watch videos from YouTube and NetFlix. This is a great multimedia phone if you are looking to use this phone for that.

Overall, it has a very decent display which is what you would expect from this price point. It still has 10 points of touch for those who are looking to game on the A71 2018.

Audio Quality

The speaker is found at the bottom of the device. The OPPO A71 2018 still have the same audio quality as before. Meaning it has the same issues we had with it before.

The loudspeaker is pretty loud in a small room with little to no noise but when you use it in a place where background noise is an issue then you will see the main problem. It is barely audible in a busier place which is what you will encounter in a day-to-day basis. Notification sounds can be easily missed due to its softer volume.

Headphones experience is no different as well. The volumes are pretty low especially with the included OPPO free earphones. I find myself exceeding 75% volume most of the time to make the experience enjoyable. While we can appreciate that during the times that we need to be aware of our surroundings like in commutes but during the times that I use it for entertainment it became an unfortunate flaw.

Microphone quality is still okay. Pretty average in performance. Decent for calls!

Battery Life

Add caption


The battery life of the OPPO A71 2018’s 3,000mAh battery looked promising during our battery benchmark. The benchmark showed more than 15 hours of battery life using daily workload emulation.

Best battery performance for the price!


On real life usage, I got around 9 to 10 hours of normal usage with LTE such as basic communications such as text and calls, social media, and even some YouTube. However, at heavier loads such as straight gaming, you can expect 7 hours tops.

The charging time took 2 hours from 0% to 100% with OPPO’s bundled charger.

Cameras

13MP main shooter
13MP main shooter


The OPPO A71 2018 has decent cameras still. It still has a 13MP f/2.2 sensor that has PDAF and LED flash. The camera UI remains the same from the previous version which is still iOS inspired.

Camera modes include time-lapse, panorama, normal photo, expert, beauty, and video. The expert mode expands on the manual setting controls including ISO, shutter speed, white balance, exposure, and focus.

There is still no live preview for your settings adjustment during expert mode which is a problem especially when you are adjusting the ISO levels. In short, the expert mode is not user-friendly or to say the least, not beginner friendly. 

OPPO lived by the golden rule in tech which is if it’s not broken don’t fix it. The focus speed is really good here. It’s quick and you can get really close to the subject but it will still focus. 

The shutter speed has improved a bit. It is faster than the previous A71 in my opinion. But, it still lives a lot to be desired though.

Respectable camera performance!


Image quality is great when shot with great lighting. It has decent details and good color reproduction. Indoor shots are also respectable with not much grain.

Lowlight photography is possible if you know how to optimize the settings in expert mode. It also has flash when needed.

Rear Camera Samples

Daylight with auto HDR
Daylight with auto HDR
Daylight 2
Daylight 2
Indoor shot
Indoor shot


The selfie camera has a 5MP f/2.4 with A.I. beauty recognition, HDR, selfie bokeh mode, beauty mode, and selfie panorama. 

In great lighting conditions, the pictures were good. The face beauty mode will beauty your face just right on A.I. mode.

The portrait bokeh mode is also impressive. Edge detection is quite nice on this one. Thanks to the power of A.I. tech.

However, under lowlight with artificial lighting, colors come out washed out.

Selfie Camera Samples

Selfie portrait bokeh
Selfie portrait bokeh
Well-lit indoor selfie
Well-lit indoor selfie

Related: OPPO A71 (2018): First Camera Samples ^(http://www.appmarsh.com/2018/03/oppo-a71-2018-cameras.html)

For videos, it can shoot up to 1080p videos at the back and in front. The videos taken using the main camera is a bit better than the selfie video. Both are not stabilized though. It would have been better if it has OIS. But for the price, this type of video shooting performance is acceptable.

Performance

Benchmark scores
Benchmark scores


The performance during my usage is a step up from the previous gen. Thanks to its mid-range grade Snapdragon 450 SoC with Adreno 506 GPU.

Best processor for the price!


It feels snappy and multitasking is a breeze. OPPO may have done some great optimization to make sure that the good, speedy performance we had last year will be faster and better.

However, its 2GB of RAM is a step down from last year’s 3GB. The sweet spot of 3GB/32GB setup would have made it so much better.

Gaming-wise, casual games performed well. But, more complex and resource heavy games such as PUBG mobile yielded sub par gaming experience on high-settings.

It still got hot under heavy load as well. Just like before, a better thermal management system can help with the performance hits during gaming sessions.

OPPO's custom UI
OPPO’s custom UI

The software which is OPPO’s ColorOS 3.2 is still the same iOS inspired UI. Personally, I am not comfortable using it. The notification panel can be accessed with the usual swipe down gesture but the toggles can be accessed from the bottom with a swipe up gesture.

Users can definitely get used to it. It is snappy and responsive. The navigation buttons at the bottom of the device still doesn’t light up which is a bummer.

For security, you will have to use the old pattern or pin to unlock the phone. Unfortunately, it has no fingerprint scanner. It has no face unlock as well.

The rest of the telephony experience is quite nice in our experience. Calls are okay, Bluetooth works, 4G LTE is speedy when the signal is strong in your area, OTG is present, and it has gyroscope sensor for VR or AR apps.

Pros – Great speed, strong battery performance, good back and front cameras, almost complete sensors, speedy LTE connectivity
Cons – No fingerprint scanner, RAM decreased to 2GB, thermal management needs improvement, UI improvements are a must

Verdict

If you are on the market for a smartphone under PHP 10K, the OPPO A71 is still worth your money. At PHP 7,990, the performance is great enough.

But, we will be repeating ourselves with our suggestions on what OPPO can focus on for improvement. The UI can be shifted to a more original take.

Go back to 3GB of RAM and partner it with at least 32GB of storage. Lastly, the audio drivers and speakers can be improved in terms of volume especially on notifications.

Other than that, the OPPO A71 2018 gets our recommendation for a speedy phone with strong battery performance and good cameras on a budget!

Build / Design – 4
Display – 4
Audio – 4
Battery – 4.5
Camera – 4
Performance – 4.5
Average – 4.17 / 5

Author: Marshmallow

Marshmallow Android is BT Ireland’s Head of Sales for Republic of Ireland domestic multi-site companies, indigenous MNCs and public sector accounts. He is responsible for the direction and control of all sales activity in the region. He has over 10 years management experience from high growth start-ups to more established businesses. He’s led teams in Ireland, India and China across various industries (ICT, On-Line Recruitment, Corporate Training and International Education).

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