No-frills and dependable
I must admit, it’s hard to get excited by cellphones nowadays. Amazing screen? Ok. Multiple cameras? Hmm, alright. Long battery life? Thanks. Smartphones have reached a level of ubiquity that for a lot of people, new features aren’t at all what they’re looking for, especially during a pandemic where we are all (hopefully) at home. For them (and me), we just need a reliable workhorse that has some decent specs because we don’t need to be spending more time looking at our phones than we already do. Enter the Oppo A92.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it
The Oppo A92 has no illusions of being a flagship phone, though at first glance, you wouldn’t know any better. It has a humongous 6.5-inch, full-HD LCD display that’s plenty bright with 405 ppi and gives off good contrast. It has a clean, punch-hole design for its front-facing camera, not unlike the Samsungs and Huaweis of the world. In fact, unless you’re a techie person or review gadgets for a living, the only real hint that this is a midrange phone is the slightly thicker bezels, particularly at the bottom. Slap a case on it though and that won’t be noticeable.
The rest of the phone is made from plastic that looks like glass, so it looks elegant but also attracts fingerprints. Again, minor notes for people who actually use their phones for work instead of looking at their phones all day. My only gripe is that people with smaller hands will have to use both of them whenever they use it. A fair trade-off for a bigger screen for Netflix.
The back is rather clean, with only the camera area breaking the smooth lines. And you will really notice the camera as it has not one—not two or three—but four cameras. The quad-camera assembly protrudes a couple of millimeters, but nothing to make your phone super wobbly when placed on a desk.
Decent power, good battery
Okay, it looks decent (just like any other smartphone right now, really) but how does it perform? The A92 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 655 octa-core processor with 8GB of RAM and UFS 2.1 storage. Purists will scoff at the specs compared to flagships, but for regular people who couldn’t be bothered with numbers, it just means that this phone doesn’t slow down or lag under normal use. Opening up multiple apps is speedy, and the generous RAM means you can multitask reasonably well. In my use, I found that save for playing graphics-intensive games at ultra-high settings, it did just fine.
And the lower-end processor is actually a blessing-in-disguise in one other aspect: battery life. The Oppo A92 has a huge 5000mAh battery, capable of giving you a full day of fairly heavy use (mobile data on, around an hour each of YouTube, browsing and a bit of gaming) without breaking a sweat. And this is especially great since the big and bright screen would entice you to watch online videos more than you should.
One thing that may standout is the quad-camera setup. It does have the numbers: 48-megapixel main shooter with f/1.7 aperture, 8-megapixel ultrawide lens, 2-megapixel mono lens and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. The selfie cam is also 16 megapixels. Big numbers, sure, but performance is good to decent at best. Use it in well-lit environments and it does give sharp (albeit slightly oversaturated) images. Ditto for the 4K at 30fps video, which tends to get a bit mushy once there is less-than-bright lighting.
The wide angle is, as expected, much softer than the main shooter, but provides surprisingly minimal warping in the corners, which is something even flagship phones sometimes have. Finally, the selfie cam is great, if not a little too detailed for faces with that much megapixels.
Overall, the camera is definitely great for those IG and FB posts, as well as documentation for work. However, you shouldn’t use it for professional work, even though it has manual modes in the camera app. The crispiness and details on photos quickly diminish in less-than-ideal lighting. But for probably 80% to 90% of people who just want decent phone cameras for posterity, then the A92 is mighty fine.
More of the same
On the software side, the Oppo A92 runs Oppo’s own ColorOS skin over Google’s Android 10. It’s my first time to use this overlay, and I’m happy to say it’s one of the cleaner skins out there. It retains much of Android’s stock aesthetic, which is a good thing as other manufacturers tend to overdo it when it comes to adding features.
As mentioned before, the middling chipset (at least on paper) does a good job flying through menus and settings without problem. There’s no noticeable lag, though when put side by side to a higher-end phone, you will see a difference. But then again, who does that on a regular basis?
As someone who’s gone through more phones than I care to admit, the Oppo A92 doesn’t stand out to me and that’s actually a good thing. See, when you’re busy working, whether at home or outside, you want your mobile phone to essentially disappear and become what it’s meant to be: just a tool.
The Oppo A92 kept up with my usual work-from-home day, which consists of constant messaging, regular emails, a bit of YouTube and a bit of gaming during breaks. And with a good battery, it won’t give you anxiety while you’re on an hour-long conference call. If you want the latest and greatest smartphone you want other people to admire, look elsewhere. But if you’re a busy guy or gal who wants a no-frills workhorse, then the Oppo A92 might just be the one for you.
Words Cyrian Agujo
Art Alexandra Lara