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Review

Oppo A83 Review: A phone for the masses

The Oppo A83 hopes to take on established and critically acclaimed devices with its attractive price tag and design. Will it emerge from this review victorious?

oppo a83 review logo

Oppo A83 3 5
BGR Rating :
3/5

Highlights

  • The Oppo A83 is priced at Rs 13,990.

  • The phone comes with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage, and is powered by a MediaTek Helio P23 SoC.

  • The front camera comes with AI-based depth-of-field for the bokeh effect on selfies.

Thanks to what I do for a living, I use a lot of smartphones. While I’ve certainly formed my personal preferences in recent times, the early days of smartphone growth in India didn’t offer much of a choice. Those were the days when Amazon and Flipkart primarily sold books. Back then, if you wanted to buy a new smartphone, you had to step into a physical store. And something I’m particularly proud of today is having used an Oppo N1 smartphone as my primary device long before the logo was plastered on practically every local mobile dealer’s storefront.

It was one of the first smartphones to officially support Cyanogen OS. It laid the roots for what is today OnePlus, thanks to its radical approach to making smartphones. Apart from the ability to load Cyanogen OS (which I promptly did), you also got a single camera module that rotated to function at both the front and the rear. This also meant you got flash for selfies long before it became a thing. The phone was many steps ahead of the competition, but faced criticism because there weren’t enough stores where you could actually buy the phone.

From the Oppo N1 to the Oppo A83

Today, we’re reviewing the Oppo A83. Priced at Rs 13,990. It sits in one of the most popular price segments among smartphones in India, the sub-Rs 15,000 space. Although I could compare it directly to the online-first Xiaomi Mi A1 and Moto G5S Plus, that would be futile. Let me elaborate in my review.

Oppo A83 Design and Specifications

The Oppo A83 looks good, you can’t deny it. Usually what makes a phone look good is the use of elements other than plastic – glass and metal not only make the phones look great, but also good to hold. The Oppo A83 is plastic, which is what makes its good looks surprising. The finish is metallic, and you’re almost fooled into thinking the phone is made of metal. The fact that it is plastic also keeps it light and handy.

While the construction is unibody-style and the sides and edges have gentle curves for better grip, the front of the phone is raised and has sharp edges as a result. It’s an attempt by Oppo to make the phone seem slimmer than it really is, and it isn’t a very good one at that. You’ll feel the sharp edges a lot, particularly when you’re tapping somewhere near the edges of the screen, and even when you pick it up off a flat surface. It’s awkward, to say the least.

The Oppo A83 has a 5.7-inch HD+ screen, with a resolution of 720×1440 pixels and an aspect ratio of 18:9. Since the screen is stretched with narrower bezels and slim non-screen space, the phone feels more like a phone with a 5.2-inch screen. This gives it compactness that will be agreeable for people who want a smaller phone without sacrificing screen real estate. The phone is powered by the MediaTek MT6763T Helio P23 SoC and comes with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage.

The phone has a 3,180mAh battery, and comes with a 10W charger. Charging isn’t fast, but it isn’t slow either. A little over two hours of charging will get you a topped-up battery. On a single charge, it’s possible to get a full day’s use with moderate use, but heavy usage may need you to charge before you tuck into your bed. Overall, the specification sheet is fairly ordinary, with only the 18:9 screen offering any value addition for buyers.

Oppo A83 Performance and Software

While in the old days there were clear differences in performance based on the SoC in use, this isn’t really an issue anymore. Experts and reviewers generally believe that Qualcomm chipsets are superior to Mediatek options, and high-end Android smartphones generally favor the former. However, the Mediatek Helio P23 SoC that powers the Oppo A83 is a decent chipset. It’s fabricated on a 16nm process and uses eight A53 cores clocked at a rather high 2.5GHz.

As a result, performance is decent enough, and I had no problems at all during my time with the device. While 3GB of RAM may seem a bit short considering that similarly priced options are available with 4GB of RAM, it’s sufficient for mid-range use. You shouldn’t expect stellar performance with graphics-intensive tasks or heavy multi-tasking, and indeed frame rates weren’t as high as they could be with graphics-intensive games. However, you’ll still get a smooth-enough experience, that’s almost entirely free of flaws. This is a mid-range smartphone and functions as such.

The Oppo A83 runs on Android 7.1, with the company’s custom user interface Color OS 3.2 on top. It’s a single-layered interface with only a couple of bloatware apps that can be uninstalled, and take an iOS-like approach to navigation and toggles. Pulling down from the top will only bring up a list of notifications, while pulling up from the bottom shows you quick toggles and shortcuts to a handful of functions. You get a few useful features as well, including clone apps which lets you have two instances of certain apps such as WhatsApp so you can enable two accounts at the same time, split screen mode and night shield, which is a blue-light filter for eye-friendly night use.

While practically all smartphones in this price segment (and even in more affordable segments) come with a fingerprint sensor, the Oppo A83 does not have one. However, you do face face unlock. Once you’ve saved your face identification data, the phone can unlock directly to the home screen if it can identify your face on waking. It’s quick and works well most of the time, including in somewhat dull conditions. It predictably doesn’t work in absolute darkness, and you’ll have to input the passcode in those cases.

Oppo A83 Camera

When it comes to the camera, there’s nothing fancy on the Oppo A83. You get a 13-megapixel primary camera with single-tone LED flash and an aperture of f/2.2 which can record video at up to 1080p resolution. The front camera is an 8-megapixel shooter with f/2.2 aperture and can also record full-HD video. You can tweak the aspect ratio to shoot in full-screen mode, which takes 18:9 ratio pictures that use the entire screen as a viewfinder.

(Camera samples shot on the Oppo A83)

Interestingly, the front camera has a depth-of-field mode which uses software algorithms to detect depth. Results are surprisingly good, creating a decent depth-of-field effect for a device that has a single camera setup. Although the borders aren’t quite as defined and there are visible flaws in the images, they look decent enough on the phone’s screen and are perfectly usable for social media posts.

The rear camera isn’t fantastic, but it isn’t too bad for the price either. You will get decent pictures in regular light, which are fairly devoid of noise. However, zooming in shows that detailing isn’t quite as good as you’d like from a Rs 13,990 smartphone. The phone also has a hard time maintaining detail over long distances, but does an acceptable job with standard photos.

Verdict

The Oppo A83 does have a fair bit going in its favor, including decent looks, efficient performance, a large 18:9 aspect ratio screen and a surprisingly good front camera. You also get a face unlock feature that works well, and almost lets you forgive the phone for its lack of a fingerprint sensor. However, there’s nothing special about the Oppo A83; it’s a functional, efficient and entirely tolerable phone, but nothing more.

However, it’s also a phone you don’t have to go too far to buy. It’s compact, and it sits in a price bracket that sees serious attention. The design will appeal to a lot of people, as will having a large screen in a small form factor. But above all, the ease of purchase is this phone’s biggest advantage. So if you’re looking to buy a phone quickly and securely, the Oppo A83 is well worth considering.

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  • Published Date: February 2, 2018 11:50 AM IST