Oppo A77 smartphone: Full in-depth review

One of the best cheap Android phones we've seen

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Oppo A77
  • Oppo A77
  • Oppo A77
  • Oppo A77
  • Expert Rating

    4.50 / 5

Pros

  • Fast
  • Looks good
  • Good low-light camera
  • Free case

Cons

  • Minor video issues

Bottom Line

Oppo has once again redefined the low-end phone by offering a good mid-range model at a very-affordable price.

Would you buy this?

We’ve reviewed a bunch of lower-mid-range phones recently and they’re all getting harder and harder to distinguish from much-more expensive phones. Oppo’s new A77 is a step up from the cheaper A57 which impressed us a couple of months ago. There’s big competition from the impressive Moto G5 Plus and the Huawei GR5, so how does this fare? And do you really need to pay more for a phone these days?

Key Specs

5.5in, 1080 x 1920 LCD screen, 64/4GB RAM, Octa-core 1.5GHz Cortex A53 CPU, Mali T860MP2 GPU, 13MP rear and 16MP front cameras, microSD/dual SIM slot, microUSB, Android 6, 3,200mAh battery, 153 x 75 x 7mm, 153g. Full specs here.

Design and Handling

Oppo’s ‘We copied the iPhone’ design has been a familiar sight for some time, but who’s complaining when the phone costs one-third as much? It’s as solidly-built as ever and comes with a useful silicon case which offers some decent protection and grip without adding bulk or spoiling the looks.

Even without distractions, few will even notice the included silicon case.
Even without distractions, few will even notice the included silicon case.
There's a white and gold version or black. As usual.
There's a white and gold version or black. As usual.

The 5.5-inch Full HD screen is crisp, clear and gets bright, but colours are a bit washed out compared to top-end phones.

A 1.5GHz Octa-core processor keeps everything ticking along and there’s virtually no lag when launching general apps. Sporting 4GB/64GB or RAM is something we'd expect from much-dearer rivals. Angry Birds was fully playable, as was Pokemon Go. We only started seeing frames dropped with the 3D-rich, fast-paced Asphalt 8 but it was still playable.

The main ‘button’ at the bottom doubles as the fingerprint reader and, as usual with Oppo phones, is one of the fastest and most accurate on the market.

Oppo's fingerprint readers are the best on the market. A bottom-mounted headphone jack is an interesting choice, though.
Oppo's fingerprint readers are the best on the market. A bottom-mounted headphone jack is an interesting choice, though.

The main speaker at the bottom gets impressively loud and distinct for any phone. There’s not much bass but it’s certainly punchy when playing music. This translates to conference and video calls which are also loud and distinct.

Android 6 is used and Oppo’s Color OS sits atop it. This isn’t too intrusive and offers decent features like gesture controls, cloud backups, memory management to keep things ticking along nicely, security features including app lock plus antivirus. Not being Android 7 means that there’s no Google Assistant though.

Color OS' "Security" features keep your phone ticking along well, private and securely.
Color OS' "Security" features keep your phone ticking along well, private and securely.

All in all, it’s comfortable to hold and use and everything just flies along. All good.

Camera

The A77 is equipped with a rear-mounted 13-megapixel camera plus a front-facing, 16-megapixel, Selfie camera. And we were impressed.

The camera is quick to start and handles very well. There aren’t very many settings to play around with but as a happy snapper it punches well above its weight.

General landscapes were well exposed, sharp and exhibited an impressive degree of dynamic range – there was plenty of detail in light and shadowy areas. There’as an HDR mode that we expected to exacerbate this performance but in reality, we found it did very little.

Landscapes were sharp and offered decent dynamic range.
Landscapes were sharp and offered decent dynamic range.

General people pictures were mostly good and in most lighting conditions too – this is a very good low light camera and better than many expensive rivals. The issue that we kept having was focus – when the autofocus worked it was great, but too many photos were blurry where it hadn't locked on properly. Simply touching the screen fixes this but we expect more from any level of phone these days. It was an issue that translated into movies too.

When in focus, portraits were sharp and impressive.
When in focus, portraits were sharp and impressive.
Even in low light, portraits could be sharp and usable.
Even in low light, portraits could be sharp and usable.
Colours were neutral and detail impressive, even in moderate light.
Colours were neutral and detail impressive, even in moderate light.

Nonetheless, colours, while not super punchy, were natural and most subjects were very sharp.

Still-life shots exhibited good colours and accurate exposure.
Still-life shots exhibited good colours and accurate exposure.

Foodie shots require a boost in colour saturation, though.

A colour saturation filter would help with Foodie shots.
A colour saturation filter would help with Foodie shots.

Panorama shots were impressive with decent stitching, dynamic range and a high resolution.

The sweep-panorama function worked better than some much-more expensive phones.
The sweep-panorama function worked better than some much-more expensive phones.

Tricky, super-bright lighting was generally impressive although some highlights turned into white blobs a bit too easily.

Even in super-bright sun, good images were captured.
Even in super-bright sun, good images were captured.

The Selfie camera is high resolution and sharp. There’s a beauty mode which can add a bit of airbrushing or rosie/whiten your complexion.

The 16-megapixel Selfie camera is very sharp. It also offers some impressive, subtle Beauty Mode enhancements (right).
The 16-megapixel Selfie camera is very sharp. It also offers some impressive, subtle Beauty Mode enhancements (right).

Video is Full HD and actually impressive. Dynamic range is generally good but moving into dark areas quickly brings out impressive detail at the minor expense of grain. There’s not much in the way of image stabilization but the main issue is with autofocus – if you or your subject is moving you’ll need to tap the screen to focus regularly. 

Video is better than some phones that cost twice as much. However, recorded audio can be a bit robotic if there's background noise.
Video is better than some phones that cost twice as much. However, recorded audio can be a bit robotic if there's background noise.

It’s certainly no deal breaker and the low-light performance is some of the best on the market. However, in our office, the background noise came out as very robotic.

Next: Battery Life and Conclusion

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