Oppo A53s Review: An Interim Solution

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Earlier this year we reviewed the Oppo A72. It was our first experience of the Chinese brand’s devices, with it having recently launched in South Africa. It also made quite the impression, which is why we were keen to give one of its other well priced mid-range offerings a go – the Oppo A53s.

So does this device leave as good an impression? We spent two weeks with the A53s to find out.

To be expected

Starting with design, as we usually do, the Oppo A53s looks much like its brethren.

As such a generous screen is on offer with a punch hole to house the front-facing camera, a rectangular camera housing on the rear, along with a fingerprint sensor on the back cover and nice gradient colour option.

When it comes to modern mid-range smartphones then, the Oppo A53s bares all the usual elements you expect to see.

Diving a little deeper, the 6.5″ HD+ screen is well sized, offering up more than enough screen real estate.

This also happens to lends itself to the ColorOS user interface of the device, which is clutter-free from a design perspective and allows icons to breathe. Of the non-Pure Android options out there, this one has quickly become one of our favourites.

There is also enough brightness, even at 50 percent, to make content pop on the screen, which isn’t always the case when it comes to mid-range phones at this tier.

All in all then, the solid design is matched by an equally solid display.

Big battery, but that’s it

Added to this is exceptional battery life, which is to be expected given that the A53s sports a massive 5 000mAh unit internally. In our time with it over two weeks, visits to the wall to charge were few and far between. As such, you can get at least two days worth of battery life without needing to worry.

There’s also the welcome fact that there are no sharp drop offs on battery life, which too is rare once most phones get below the 50 percent mark.

While the battery is large and in charge (sorry, it’s been a long year), the rest of the internal specifications onboard provide a mixed experience.

 

There is 4GB of RAM, as well as 128GB worth of onboard storage, but the A53s can feel a little sluggish at times.

This is particularly evident when quickly switching between apps, multitasking or trawling through settings and search.

Is it a deal breaker right now? No, but six months down the line it just might be.

When we benchmarked the octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 460 chipset onboard, it scored as expected.

To that end, GeekBench yielded 253 single-core and 1 233 multi-core marks for example, which is comparable to the A72, things seem to be in order. In hand, however, it feels like the A53s is a yard or two off the pace for some reason.

 

Ready to capture

One area that did not leave us wanting, however, was the camera experience. Oppo has opted for a trio of lenses for the rear camera housing – 13MP main, 2MP macro and 2MP depth sensing, along with a 16MP selfie camera.

The latter works well enough, but it was the main camera array that got most of out attention.

Here content looked particularly rich and detailed, but it must be said that different light sources yielded wavering results depending on the environment. Indoors, for example, at night, we were able to snap some solid pics, but capturing the sunset proved a little more difficult to muster.

That said, overall the shooting experience was welcome, and compared to similarly specced smartphones, the A53s is deserving of a recommendation.

Final verdict

At R4 999 (RRP) the Oppo A53s is indeed well priced. It also performed solidly at most tasks, with the battery and camera in particular getting our praise.

One area that did not, though, was the processor, which felt a tad sluggish. Whether this is just an issue with our review unit is unclear, but down the line should performance falter further, you may soon find yourself wanting to upgrade earlier than expected.

With Oppo devices featuring a pleasant UI and generally all-round good build quality, you may be better off opting for one of the A53s’ bigger brothers in the A72, which only costs R2K more.

With the exception of mixed in-hand multitasking, the Oppo A53s is a good mid-range device, but perhaps not one for a long-term investment.

 

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Robin-Leigh Chetty

When he's not reviewing the latest smartphones, Robin-Leigh is writing about everything tech-related from IoT and smart cities, to 5G and cloud computing. He's also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games.

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