Hands-On, News, Smartphone

Oppo A96 Unboxing & Hands-On: Sleek Looks, Big Battery, but for How Much?

The Oppo A96 will be launched in Malaysia next week on 18 April. Ahead of its official launch, Oppo Malaysia sent over a review unit of the mid-range phone, so here’s our unboxing and hands-on of the A96!

First, let’s talk about the specifications of the A96. Some of the phone’s headline features include 256GB of internal storage and 8GB of RAM – pretty generous capacities – a sizeable 5,000mAh battery with support for 33W SuperVOOC charging, along with a rather sleek-looking design dubbed “Oppo Glow.”

This is a reference to the gradient-like finish on the back panel of the A96 in Pearl Pink you see in this article. Though there are quite a number of other phones that sport a similar-looking design, it’s still a nice design element. Depending on the angle you’re looking at the A96’s back panel from, the colour shifts accordingly.

Okay, now to the unboxing. The A96 comes in a rather big box; that’s because a charger – a 33W unit, to boot – is bundled with the phone. Naturally, a charging cable (USB-A to USB-C) is also provided, along with a silicone case.

On top of that, the A96 has a pre-applied screen protector too. Paired together with the silicone case, you’ve got yourself a pretty well-protected phone.

If you’ve missed the headphone jack on a phone, well, the A96 has just that on the bottom of the phone. It also has a side-mounted fingerprint sensor, which is much faster than the in-screen sensors of other mid-range smartphones. It doubles as the power button as well.

In the performance department, the A96 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 680 chipset. It’s a decidedly mid-range processor, but it should be fast enough for everyday use. In my brief time with the phone so far, it does feel fast and zippy, though it’s worth noting that this applies to most modern mid-rangers.

And then we have the A96’s 6.59-inch 1080p LTPS display, which looks decent. It is by no means as bright or as vibrant as an AMOLED panel, but given the positioning of this phone (the budget segment), it’s definitely a good enough screen. The 90Hz refresh rate also helps in the overall responsiveness of the device.

Another hardware that’s worth mentioning again is the battery capacity of the A96. Rated at 5,000mAh, it should be able to provide above average battery life. Oppo also said that the 33W SuperVOOC charger that’s bundled with the phone can provide 50% charge in 26 minutes of charging; decent speed for a phone in this segment.

But given the budget nature of the A96, it does have some shortcomings in certain aspects. Its design, for one, could use some work. Yes, I do like the unique aesthetic of the rear panel, but the large hole-punch cutout on the screen for the 16MP selfie camera and equally large bottom bezels don’t look particularly sleek.

Speaking of which, the plastic back panel of the A96 also feels a tad too soft and plasticky. In fact, I can physically see and feel the panel being depressed as I apply some light pressure to it. This, in turn, doesn’t make for particularly solid build quality, though it’s a non-issue if you do decide to slap on a case to the phone.

Last but certainly not least is the camera performance of the A96. It features a dual camera system, which only consist of a 50MP primary shooter and a 2MP bokeh lens. No telephoto sensor to be found here, let alone an ultra-wide angle camera.

To be fair, the sole 50MP camera does seem to be able to take decent-looking shots, but I have yet to put it through its paces in more challenging lighting situations. It’ll be interesting to see how the camera would perform in low light conditions; stay tuned to the full review for that.

While the Oppo A96 has a few shortcomings, it’s important to look at the phone for what it is: a budget-friendly offering. If priced right, these negatives can be overlooked, in my opinion, though it remains to be seen just how much it will cost here.

For the sake of comparison, its direct predecessor, the Oppo A95, went for RM1,099 at launch, and it only offered 128GB of storage and 8GB of RAM. Although the A96 has the same amount of RAM, it comes with twice the amount of internal storage at 256GB, so…there’s a chance it will not retain the same price tag.

Nonetheless, we’ll find out for ourselves just how much the A96 will go for once it is launched in Malaysia next week on 18 April. Hopefully, it won’t be priced out of the market – anything above RM1,500 would be too much.

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