Hands-On, Smartphone

The Oppo A95 Is a Surprisingly Good Mid-Ranger for RM1,099

For most folks, shopping for an affordable Android smartphone is about finding the best hardware for the money; this is the strategy I usually employ, anyway. However, sometimes it’s not all about hardware – it’s important for a device to be good in other aspects too, especially in the software department.

And that is one area (among others) where the Oppo A95 particularly excels in. Not only does it offer a good software experience, it is also quite a well-rounded mid-range phone. Of course, it does fall short in some regards, but for the most part, the A95 is a solid phone for the money.

First, let’s talk about the hardware of the A95. It features a 6.43-inch 2400 x 1080 AMOLED display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 662 chipset paired with 8GB of RAM, 128GB of expandable storage, a triple camera system (48MP primary + 2MP macro + 2MP depth), and a 16MP selfie camera.

These specifications are par for the course for a mid-ranger, but what I find particularly interesting about the Oppo A95 is its generous 5,000mAh battery with support for 33W fast charging. See, despite this sizeable battery – which should provide above average battery life – the A95 is still quite a slim phone, measuring 7.95mm thin. Tipping the scales at 175g, it’s quite lightweight too.

Speaking of which, I do like how the A95 feels in my hands. Despite its frame and back panel being made out of plastic, it still has solid build quality. While I wouldn’t say the phone is premium by any means, it definitely doesn’t feel “cheap,” which is always a good thing in my book.

The software experience of the A95 is one of my favourite aspects of the phone. Unlike the software of most Chinese phones – especially Xiaomi – ColorOS 11.1 feels polished (despite the bloatware) and intuitive to use. I’m especially fond of the always on display: it looks sleek and functional.

Speaking of display, the A95’s Full HD+ AMOLED panel looks great too. It offers vibrant colours, deep, true blacks, and wide viewing angles; inherent characteristics of an AMOLED screen, basically. Sure, it’s “just” a 60Hz display, but I’ll take an AMOLED panel over, say, an LCD screen with a higher refresh rate for a superior viewing experience.

While we’re still talking about the display of the Oppo A95, the in-screen fingerprint sensor of this phone is worth a mention as well. Though it’s not the quickest one I’ve come across, the optical sensor can still recognise my fingerprint fairly quickly and accurately. Not something that can be said of many other phones with a similar sensor at this price point.

One area where the A95 is a little lacklustre compared to its competition is the chipset powering the phone: a Snapdragon 662. While it’s not exactly a “bad” chip per se, it certainly doesn’t match the RM1,099 price tag of the phone.

After all, you can get the Snapdragon 860-powered Poco X3 Pro for RM100 less. Yes, this markedly more powerful phone costs only RM999.

But of course, there’s more to a phone than just raw performance, and it’s not like the Oppo A95 is a slow phone. Granted, it does feel a little sluggish when I’m switch between multiple apps on the phone, but it still feels fast enough for everyday use. I can even play PUBG Mobile reasonably smoothly with the A95.

Last but certainly not least is the camera performance of the A95, which is…a mixed bag. For the most part, the triple camera system headlined by the 48MP main camera can take good-looking shots, but this is only the case under ideal lighting. Once the sun goes down, so does the camera performance of the phone.

As you can see in the sample images above, the detail preservation of the A95’s camera in low light conditions are not great; this is especially evident in the trees. The phone can also do 2x and 5x zoom, but this is done through digital zoom only – the A95 doesn’t have a telephoto lens.

And that’s the other shortcoming of the A95. Despite the fact that it has three camera sensors (48MP primary + 2MP macro + 2MP depth), they’re not as versatile as an ultra-wide angle lens or telephoto shooter. The 2MP macro camera does enable you to take close-up shots more effectively, but in terms of practicality, an ultra-wide angle sensor would’ve been better.

All things considered, the Oppo A95 doesn’t offer the best value for money when it comes to raw performance, and its camera system isn’t the most versatile either. But what the A95 excels in is a refined software experience, a large battery capacity, good quality AMOLED display, and a sleek-looking design in a thin, lightweight chassis.

If these are the qualities that you look for in a smartphone, then the A95 is definitely worth considering. It may not immediately wow folks with its modest spec sheet or RM1,099 price tag, but once you start using the phone and get a feel for the refined software experience, you may be surprised by this mid-ranger.

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