Oppo A57 phone: full, in-depth review

This cheap Android smartphone is a mid-range winner.

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Oppo A57 phone
  • Oppo A57 phone
  • Oppo A57 phone
  • Oppo A57 phone
  • Expert Rating

    4.50 / 5

Pros

  • Dceent at everything
  • Instantaneous fingerprint reader
  • Cheap

Cons

  • Low-res screen
  • Audio on video

Bottom Line

This is a great mid-range phone and yet it's one of the cheapest we've ever tested.

Would you buy this?

Last year Moto’s G4 Plus and Oppo’s F1s battled it out for the best value phone crown. Both were great-value phones but they had their weaknesses. We recently reviewed Moto’s subsequent G5 Plus and found it to have no weaknesses at all – a sign that 2017’s budget phones had reached a point where the question had to be posed, “Why pay more?” Now here’s Oppo’s successor to the F1s, strangely called the A57. Once again, it offers features that we’d expect in a much more expensive phone and yet it’s one of the cheapest modern smartphones we’ve ever reviewed. Does it make the G5 Plus look expensive? Let’s find out.

Key specs

5.2in, 720 x 1280 LCD screen, 3GB/32GB RAM, 1.4GHz Octa-core Snapdragon 435 CPU, Adreno 505 GPU, 13MP rear and 16MP front cameras, microSD or dual SIM, Micro USB, Android 6, 2900mAh battery, 149 x 73 x 8mm, 147g. Full specs here.

Design and handling

While it’s not as thin as Oppo’s svelte R9s flagship phone, the 5.2-inch A57 isn’t chunky at 8mm and its similar livery of matte black with a silvered logo belies the fact that this is a very cheap phone (in this market). As usual, Oppo supplies a clear, silicon case which offers decent protection and makes it easier to grip.

[Related: Oppo A57 Unboxing, Detail Shots and Gallery]

Also as usual, the fingerprint reader at the bottom of the screen is almost-magically instantaneous. It will unlock the phone no matter what angle you rest your finger on it and, in this respect, is noticeable more convenient than all of the biometric options provided by the recent Samsung Galaxy S8. The reader also doubles as a responsive home button and in this respect offers a better use of space than Motorola’s competitors.

Oppo is raving about the inclusion of an octa-core processor with the A57 along with 3GB RAM. It’s not the fastest octa-core (1.4GHz in a market where most top phones are around 2GHz) but we still found that most general-usage apps started up and functioned without any delay. Playing games didn’t faze it either with the likes of Angry Birds and Pokemon Go happily ticking along without dropping frames.

The screen is adequately bright but has comparatively low resolution for a smartphone at just 1280 x 720. This doesn’t make it hard to operate and frankly, casual users probably wouldn’t notice unless you told them. Pictures and videos can look a bit pixelated (but mainly when zoomed in). Don't expect VR apps to look any good on it. It doesn’t make the phone unusable by any stretch. Colours aren’t the most vibrant either but at least the screen gets bright.

Oppo’s Colour OS software sits on top of Android version 6. We’re actually fans of this. It’s not as intrusive as it used to be and the power-saving features (and SMS message backup) can make a difference. There’s little else there (beyond various gesture-based shortcuts) that can’t be mimicked by Android itself or third-party apps, but again, for casual users, it’s harmless and adds more than it takes away.

All in all, it’s comfortable to use and fast enough for most tasks we threw at it.

In terms of audio, there’s one speaker at the base (as with many phones). There’s very little bass response (there rarely is) but treble at least remains distinct. The speaker doesn’t get very loud for multimedia or voice calls though.

Next: Camera, Battery Life and Conclusion

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