This OPPO A9 2020 review is totally unnecessary, to be honest. But I am expected to publish a review because I am Mister Mobility. The damned phone is so good that all I should say is, “Go buy one for yourself”.
But then, there are one or two things that might mean something to you, so buckle up and come along with me to find out exactly what the A9 2020 brings to the table.
OPPO A9 2020 Review: Quick Specs
- Body: Polycarbonate;
- Screen: 6.5-inch, 720 x 1600 pixels, 20:9 aspect ratio, waterdrop notch, IPS LCD screen with Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3 protection against scratches and drops.
- Rear Camera: quad camera – 48MP + 8MP + 2MP + 2MP, auto-focus; LED flash; up to 4K@30fps video recording with EIS (Electronic Image Stabilization).
- Front Camera: 16MP, f/2.0 aperture, up to 1080p video recording
- Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 665, octa-core CPU clocked at 2.0 GHz with Game Boost 2.0, Adreno 610 GPU
- Memory: 8GB RAM / 128 GB storage, plus dedicated microSD slot for up to 256GB expansion
- OS: Android 9 Pie + ColorOS 6.0.1.
- Battery: non-removable 5,000mAh with 18W fast charging.
- Connectivity: Dual SIM (4G), Bluetooth 5.0, GPS/A-GPS/GLONASS/BDS, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, FM radio, microUSB 2.0 Type-C
- Colors: Blue-violet gradient.
- Misc: Reverse charging; Stereo speakers.
OPPO A9 2020 Review: Quick Pros And Cons
Before we dive into the review proper, starting with the major pros and cons of this device.
- Exceptional battery life
- Beautiful gradient paint job.
- 20W fast charging
- Reverse charging: ability to charge other USB devices.
- Rear, quad camera takes really good photos.
- 8GB RAM is great for multitasking.
- The selfie camera is its weakest link.
- Low resolution display.
- Overall package is superb value for the price.
OPPO A9 2020 Review: In the box
- the OPPO A9 2020 phone itself
- getting started, and product and safety info pamphlets.
- SIM ejector pin
- 3.5mm audio headset.
- USB Type-C cable.
- 20W fast wall charger.
- Transparent rubber silicone case.
OPPO A9 2020 Review: Hardware And Design
OPPO A9 2020 is a well built phone that catches attention with its fluid gradient paint job and feels solid in the hand. It is made of polycarbonate.
This phone has some of its physical buttons placed in unconventional locations though. The power button is on the right edge, and the volume up and down buttons are on the opposite side of the phone. It takes some getting used to, as the volume buttons on most phones are placed above the power button.
At the bottom edge is the 3.5mm audio jack port, microphone, USB-C port, and speaker grill. There are no holes on the top edge at all.
OPPO A9 2020 Review: Software
OPPO’s Custom software, ColorOS is in version 6.0.1 here on the A9 2020. ColorOS is a fairly heavy skin of Android OS and changes the look and feel of the OS, as well as adds some useful tools.
Setup was smooth and easy, and during that, OPPO would like you to sign in with your OPPO ID to use their services. But if you would rather not, simply skip and move on. It isn’t mandatory.
I looked for a toggle in the phone Settings to hide the display notch and couldn’t find it. It just might be hidden somewhere, which would be a shame. Such a toggle should be easy to find.
ColorOS has a helpful tool called Smart Assistant built-in. It is available as a homescreen pane and can be accessed by swiping to the right on your homescreen. It is OPPO’s take on Google’s feed. Smart Assistant functions like an organizer, helping you keep track of things like the weather, your calendar, your quick functions, fitness schedule and more.
One of the things I found intriguing about ColorOS is how it gives the user a greater deal of control over what details get synchronized to the phone. Let me explain.
Usually, on other Android phones, once you sin into your Google account, your Google Contacts are synced to the phone. Not in the case of the OPPO. You have to manually take an extra step to : In the Contacts app. select “Sync with Contacts of Other Accounts”, next page -> select your Google account and make sure that the Auto-sync Data toggle is enabled.
Then on the next page, you get to select what gets synced from your Google account – Calendar, Contacts, Drive, Gmail, Google Fit Data, People details. Once you have selected what you want, tap “Sync Now” at the bottom of the page.
It is quite a number of extra steps, but I see its privacy benefits. If you are a user who does not want all your Google details on your device, OPPO’s software gives you control. It gives you the freedom to pick and choose what gets synced to your phone.
Security Features in ColorOS
Also baked into ColorOS are some other nifty security features – Secure Keyboard, Screenshot & Screen Recording Prevention, and Prevent Background Recording of Audio/Images.
You can toggle Secure Keyboard to auto-activate when you need to enter a password. It will take over from your default keyboard, which often tracks your input and can leak your secure info. Secure Keyboard does not track or record your keystrokes, it does not connect to the Internet, and it does not give suggestions when you type.
When using Secure Keyboard or OPPO’s Private Safe, screenshots and screen recording are disabled, so your secure information cannot be captured. Lastly, anytime an app or service starts using your phone’s microphone in the background, you get notified in the status bar. And should any background app try to use the camera, you get a prompt too.
There is the Anti-harassment/Fraud feature too, which is another name for OPPO’s call blocking feature. You can create a Blacklist as well as a Whitelist of numbers. I really love the security-focused features of ColorOS.
Game Space is built into ColorOS to enhance the experience for mobile gamers. It not only boosts gaming but helps conserve battery consumption during gameplay. It provides options of Competitive Mode, Balanced Mode, and Low Power Consumption Mode for you to pick from, depending on the game you want to play.
What of software and security updates? We have no information about any future Android version updates for the A9 2020, so it is not certain if and when it will get Android 10. However, OPPO keeps up fairly well with Android monthly security patches. During the period of this review, the phone got the October 2019 Android Security Patch.
OPPO A9 2020 Review: Network And Telephony
It has dual 4G LTE support, which is great. But then, 4G support is one of the few areas where you have to pay attention to the A9 2020 should you be interested in buying one. The supported bands can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Okay; that isn’t quite true. You need two hands.
In all, there are 7 LTE bands supported. Glo subscribers will be unhappy to hear that their 4G network is not supported. Bummer. But 4G SIM cards from the other members of the Big Four – Airtel, MTN, and 9mobile – all work fine in the A9 2020.
Voice calls are of superb quality, as is the phone’s Internet connectivity.
OPPO A9 2020 Review: Display And Multimedia
First up, the 720 x 1600 pixels resolution of the A9 2020 is on the low side of the equation, so you won’t get the sharpest views of images and videos. But the good news is that the experience is not bad or horrible. Having less pixels to push contributes to the OPPO A9 2020’s exceptional battery life. In all, it is a good screen and unless super sharp images and video is high up your priority list, you probably won’t notice it.
Being LCD IPS, you also won’t get the deepest blacks on this display. But it is clear and bright and does not spoil your viewing experience. Users who are particular about blacks on their phone displays go for phones with an AMOLED screen.
Audio from the stereo loudspeakers is great. I would have been disappointed if it were otherwise. I am a huge fan of stereo speakers, and the one on the A9 2020 doesn’t disappoint.
OPPO A9 2020 Review: Photography
It is time to examine what the cameras on the A9 2020 have to offer. The selfie camera is a 16-megapixel snapper embedded in the waterdrop notch at the top of the display. At the back of the phone is a quad camera that includes a 48 MP wide sensor, an 8 MP ultrawide lens, a 2 MP, and a 2 MP depth sensor.
Solid specs. But how do they perform? Come take a look!
The selfie photos have a good level of details, though colour reproduction is sometimes not as accurate as it should be.
The quad camera at the back of the A9 2020 is superb, capturing rich details sharply and with clarity. The pictures are pleasant to the eyes, even if the colours are a little off. Indoors or outdoors, this is a dependable camera to have on you.
OPPO A9 2020 Review: Multitasking And Performance
With a Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 chipset and a whopping 8GB of RAM, performance on this phone is dreamy. SD665 is not the most powerful processor around, but it is more than adequate for all but the most demanding tasks use. The A9 2020 is a solid performer. If interested in benchmark scores, we ran a few and they returned the following results:
OPPO A9 2020 Benchmark Scores
- Geekbench 5.0: 313 single core; 1279 multi-core.
- AnTuTu: 166,964.
Thanks to the processr, plenty of RAM and the Game Space feature built into ColorOS, OPPO A9 2020 is quite capable for mobile gaming. All but the most demanding games run well.
With 128GB of internal storage, there is more than enough space for all your files. The fingerprint scanner does not break a sweat either for unlocking the phone.
OPPO A9 2020 Review: Battery life
This OPPO has a monster battery of 5000mAH capacity, but it gets even better: there is 20W fast charging built in. It is also capable of reverse charging i.e. being used as a power bank to charge other USB devices.
We got over 3 days of light use and almost two full days of heavy usage. This is one of those smartphones that you do not have to worry about charging it too often. Once you have a full charge, you are covered for the day, unless you live and work on your phone.
There isn’t much to say other than that there are not many modern smartphones that deliver the kind of exceptional battery life that OPPO A9 2020 does. If that is important to you, this droid was made for you.
OPPO A9 2020 Review: Final Words
Bang for buck, the A9 2020 is hard to beat for its ₦89,500 price tag. It has a big display, decent rear camera, decent processor, oodles of RAM, a massive battery that lasts and lasts, fast charging, and also reverse charging.
It has just two weak points, as far as we can tell, namely the low display resolution and the selfie camera. But those may not be dealbreakers for most people. The display is not bad at all and most phone users will not notice the resolution.
In closing this OPPO A9 2020 review, my conclusion is that this is one of the best value for money devices you will find in its class right now. Nothing from the competition comes close – well, except Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro, and even that device loses a few points to the A9 2020.
If you are shopping for a smartphone in its price bracket, you should seriously have a look at the A9 2020.