One cannot deny that the sub-Rs 10,000 smartphone segment in India is among the most competitive categories. Companies constantly try to outdo each other by offering feature-packed smartphones while keeping the price tag in check. To further increase competition, Oppo is also looking to penetrate this packed segment. Just recently, the Chinese company launched its Oppo A5s, and then followed it by launching the Oppo A1k. Also Read - Best smartphones for photography under Rs 20,000 to gift for Father's DayAlso Read - Best 5G smartphones with top MediaTek processors under Rs 30,000 in June 2021
The newer smartphone carries a price tag of Rs 8,490, and differentiates itself from the Oppo A5s by offering a single rear camera, latest Android OS, and a slightly smaller battery. It also lacks rear fingerprint reader. The latest Oppo A1k brings a lot of things that are identical to the Realme C2. So is it worth your consideration? Find out in our review. Also Read - Android 12 beta 2 rolling out: New privacy features, tweaked design and more
Oppo A1k design, display
The Oppo A1k follows a generic design design, but manages to be a tad snazzy. It flaunts a plastic shell with matte finish. On the bright side, a plastic-clad phone is tough to break when compared to glass. While it’s more resistant to cracks, it does tend to attract scratches. The Oppo A1k looks pretty good and “hot” in red color, but a subtle gradient finish or some kind of patterned design would have been cherry on top. Nevertheless, the smartphone is built well.
At the back is a single rear camera setup placed horizontally, which is aided by an LED flash. The setup on the Oppo A1k also slightly protrudes from the chassis. The fingerprint sensor is a notable omission here. So you will have to rely on face unlock or on the usual passcode to unlock the device. The face recognition feature works decently most of the time. Furthermore, the Oppo A1k also offers dedicated slots for two Nano-SIMs and a microSD card.
You also get a large screen, which is accompanied by a dewdrop-style notch as is the trend these days. There’s a small chin on the bottom as well. The device packs a big HD+ display that measures 6.1-inch and has 19.5:9 aspect ratio, identical to the Realme C2. The Oppo A1k’s panel leverages Gorilla Glass 3, while the competition in the segment offers Gorilla Glass 5 layer on the front. The handset offers adequate brightness indoors; however, under direct sunlight, the screen isn’t clear enough even at the full brightness levels. Additionally, it lacks alternative display calibration options, but you can at least change the color temperature of the display as per your preference.
Oppo A1k performance, software, battery
Similar to the Realme C2, the Oppo A1k is powered by an octa-core MediaTek Helio P22 chipset, which is based on a 12nm process. It is superior to Samsung’s old school Exynos 7870 SoC currently powering the Galaxy M10. But, the same cannot be stated for the Snapdragon 632 SoC, which is inside the Redmi 7. The Oppo A1k comes with only 2GB RAM option, which is quite disappointing both in terms of performance and competition wise. Oppo could have offered at least 3GB RAM variant.
The smartphone performs decently during day-to-day usage, but there is a visible lag when loading heavy apps. You will get a smooth experience most of the time with general usage. But, don’t expect the phone to handle graphics-intensive games.Unlike the Oppo A5s, the Oppo A1k ships with the latest Android 9 Pie operating system. With ColorOS 6 on top, you will get an app drawer and a bunch of bloatware as well. The smartphone comes preloaded with apps such as Opera browser, DailyHunt, ShareChat, UC Browser, Webnovel, NewsPoint and more. But, thankfully you can uninstall these apps if you want to save some storage space of your phone and even desire a clean UI. There is also smart sidebar, which makes multitasking more convenient.
The Oppo A1k is backed by a 4,000mAh battery, similar to the Realme C2 and Oppo A5s. With a little bit of binge-watching, texting, browsing, photography session, the device managed to last over a day and a half on a single charge. There is also Super High Power Efficiency option, which helps saves battery up to a certain extent. But, this option could be annoying for some as the system regularly kills background apps automatically.
Oppo A1k camera performance
Oppo has added a single camera sensor at the back of the phone with an 8-megapixel sensor, and a 5-megapixel sensor on the front for selfies. It is equipped with features like Panorama, Time-lapse, Portrait, Expert, HDR and more. In good lighting conditions, the phone’s camera performs moderately. The images clicked in daylight offer enough details, considering the price. You will get better colors if you keep the HDR mode on.
Moreover, both the rear and front cameras also support Portrait mode using software algorithms, which works just fine. But in low light, the performance meter goes down, and you get dull and grainy shots. The front camera takes decent selfies only in a good light and the AI beautification feature is too aggressive. Furthermore, you can also record videos up to 1080p using both the front and the rear cameras.
Oppo A1k: Should you buy it?
The Oppo A1k follows the latest trend and offers a waterdrop-style display design. It not only ships with the latest Android Pie software, but also packs a big display, which is good for binge-watching and casual gaming. It also comes with a large 4,000mAh battery. Having said that we do feel that a 3GB RAM variant would have been a better option. The device also lacks a fingerprint sensor, which is not only more secure than face unlock, but also a standard feature these days.
With a price tag of Rs 8,490, the Oppo A1k also feels overpriced, especially when the competition is considered. Most of the specifications and features that Oppo A1k is offering, you can also get on the Realme C2 smartphone that is priced at just Rs 5,999. If you don’t mind stretching the budget a bit, then there are good all-rounders available, including the Realme 3, and the Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 to name a few.