OPPO A79 5G Review: Good but lacking oomph

OPPO has made a name for itself in the crowded South African phone market with its range of higher end Reno devices that routinely score high from all reviewers, including us. For those who want something at a lower price point OPPO also has customers covered with its range of phones indicated by the A naming convention and the newest here is the A79 5G that we have in for review.

The unboxing of the OPPO A79 5G is a real treat because of just how much you get inside the box.

Aside from your phone in either Mystery Black or Dazzling Purple (we have the former in for review), there’s also a pre-applied screen protector, a case, a 33W SUPERVOOC charger, and a USB Type-A to USB Type-C cable to make use of that charger.

We’ve long mentioned that one of the drawbacks of buying from a brand like OPPO is that you may struggle to find accessories for it, so we’re very happy to see all the accessories you could want included right there in the box. While other manufacturers can’t even be bothered to give you a charger anymore, it’s this plucky attitude to give you so much that really endears us to OPPO.

The phone itself, like past OPPO offerings, feels solid and well made in the hand. The sides are less rounded than you may expect but it feels good in the hand and, even with the included cover on, it’s well balanced to stay in your hand for hours of use.

Before we actually boot the phone up, here’s what’s inside this phone:

Display6.72″ (2400X1080)
ProcessorDimensity 6020 Octa-core
RAM8GB (Expandable to 16GB)
Battery5 000mAh
Rear Camera50 MP wide-angle, 2 MP depth
Front Camera8MP wide-angle
ConnectivityWiFi 802.11, 5G
PriceR7 999 (RRP)

You may notice expandable RAM which isn’t what you’d expect.

Again this is a feature OPPO offers in many of its phones where the base RAM (8GB in this case) can be expanded by using up some of the available, regular storage. You can add four, six or eight GB in this way, only requiring a phone restart to make it work.

This is as close to “downloading” more RAM that we’re ever going to get and – we’re really repeating ourselves here – it adds to the sense of value you get from OPPO.

Once we’re booted into Android we’re again faced with the ColorOS skin from the company. After you’ve deleted some apps you won’t use and declined some account creations, you never really have to interface with ColorOS again and just get along with your day as a regular Android 13 device.

During the Android setup we enrolled our fingerprint on the the side, button-mounted sensor. After using underscreen sensors for so long it’s a bit weird going back to a button sensor, but we kind of miss it. Activating the sensor and pressing the button which unlocks the phone, all in one motion, just makes sense and we didn’t feel like we lost any time between this solution and the new norm of underscreen options.

That being said it can be an irritating if you’re holding the OPPO A79 5G while you’re just walking around and the sensor keeps trying to read a fingerprint, all while buzzing. Ignoring position, the sensor is incredibly quick and we had no issues with registering a use after hundreds of unlocks.

That aside we loaded up the usual suite of apps we like and first jumped into one of our favourites – YouTube – to see what the video consumption experience is like. The large 6.72-inch screen isn’t a 16:9 aspect ratio so you will have to stretch 16:9 content to fit, but it looks great either way. Video is bright and the colours are deep, and we were never really irritated by the underscreen front-facing camera. When watching 16:9 content that section of the screen is blacked out anyway too.

One of OPPO’s big selling points with video on this phone is the dual stereo speakers and the “Ultra Volume Mode” that can boost volume to 300 percent. We can definitely confirm that you can put out some serious noise with this mode and it’s actually quite helpful for content that hasn’t been balanced properly and would be too soft otherwise. It’s also nice for situations like, for example, doing chores in the house while still enjoying a video or music.

We only ask that owners of this phone keep it down in public and just use headphones.

The next app we loaded up was Geekbench 6 for synthetic tests. In terms of the CPU it scored 735 on the single-core and 1 940 on the multi-core. The GPU score, on the other hand, was 1 287.

If you look at the results from competitors like the Xiaomi Redmi Note 13 Pro+ 5G and Samsung Galaxy A54 you’ll see that OPPO gets left behind even though all three devices are priced similarly, making the OPPO a more difficult sell.

We saw this lack of raw power when playing games too. The main games we tested during the review period, and their average performance numbers, were Mighty DOOM (30FPS), Diablo Immortal (30FPS) and Asphalt 9: Legends (60FPS). All of these fell well below the capabilities of the 90Hz screen on this phone and, with even high framerate video content going up to 60, the only place the 90Hz display makes sense is to make general use feel snappier.

Outside of synthetic tests and games, however, general use was very snappy and we never experienced any real hitches or slowdowns.

The upside of a slightly less powerful processor is very impressive battery life and thermals. Even under heavy load, either synthetic or in regular use, the OPPO A79 5G rarely got noticeably warm and the 5 000mAh battery had no issue lasting more than a day.

To really test the battery we did a test by letting it continuously run videos off of YouTube in full screen mode (stretched to fit every pixel of the screen) with max brightness and 100 percent volume. This is similar to the battery test we did on the Huawei MateBook D 16 (i9-13900H) recently.

Under these conditions the OPPO A79 5G lasted nine hours and 47 minutes which, we’re sure you’ll agree, is incredibly impressive. To reiterate this is a continual test so that means the phone managed to last that long with the screen on and playing content.

Also of note is the fact that we were able to run the phone completely dry, all the way down to zero percent battery. Some phones will automatically switch off some time before then to preserve the overall health of the battery, a feature we always found strange as if you’re really using a battery down to zero percent, you most likely need every second you can get, even if it may make a small dent into the battery’s life.

Charging the phone back up to 100 percent from zero took 77 minutes using the included 33W charger. Quite the feat as charging a phone up after it has switched off from lack of battery is usually a much lengthier process.

We also tested OPPO’s claims that said charger can provide you with 51 percent charge in just 30 minutes. We got very close to that number, achieving high forties in the allotted time. We believe OPPO’s claim here as we still had apps in the background sapping power and the battery was in constant use during our testing period, which can also hamper these numbers.

Our last stop in testing was the camera where the OPPO A79 5G was rather impressive. For the test shots you can see below we had the AI Scene Enhancer turned on, even though this isn’t the default when you first open the camera app. We got some decent snaps in all manner of lighting conditions and even managed to capture an impressive amount of fur detail in the very important cat pictures.

We found that the colour reproduction was an issue with shots looking a bit blown out. This problem is even worse when lighting isn’t as good and you can get a dark picture that still looks blown out. We’re sure that those with better photography and / or editing skills can get better results with the same hardware, but this is a good representation of the results a regular person would get.

At R7 999 the OPPO A79 5G has so much competition from the big brands as well as the smaller ones too, all vying for this lucrative mid-range market. If the phone was slightly cheaper we’d give it a recommendation as, even though the raw performance and camera aren’t outstanding, the overall experience is still very good and this does everything that was asked of it.

On top of that the added value of everything we get in the box goes a long way towards making your Rand stretch even further.

If you like what the OPPO A79 5G has to offer definitely keep your eye on specials. If the price drops and these features are what you want, jump on it. On the other side of things stay away from overpaying for this phone. We’re a bit surprised to see it priced at R9 999 on Takealot, albeit through a third party seller, which makes the value even worse.



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