The Indian market is starting to get inundated with affordable 5G-capable phones and the latest one comes courtesy of OPPO. The Chinese smartphone giant unveiled the OPPO A74 5G recently, a phone that comes as the first to be powered by the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 chipset. For a price of Rs 17,990, the A74 has to contend with numerous established devices in the segment such as the Redmi Note 10 Pro, Realme 8 (review), and others. Let’s find out in this review how the OPPO A74 fares.
The OPPO A74 5G doesn’t seem to have the goods to face the intense competition in the affordable smartphone category. Its cameras leave one wanting for more, and while the performance is decent, the design is pretty standard and the battery life is just about adequate. OPPO’s pricing of Rs 17,990 needs to be adjusted according to the specs on offer.
OPPO has not used fancy build materials on the A74, using standard polycarbonate construction for the chassis. The colour changes with the angle of light falling on it but that’s hard to appreciate considering how easily the back of the phone gets smudged. The phone does have a slight weight to it but the sides are quite grippy and the narrow design makes it easy to operate with one hand. A speaker grille, USB-C port, and 3.5mm headphone jack are present on the bottom. The power button has a capacitive fingerprint sensor embedded inside it while a tactile volume rocker and a dual-SIM slot is present on the left of the phone. A triple-camera module is placed on the top-right corner on the back, arranged vertically. On the front is a decent 6.5-inch IPS LCD panel, though the bezels surrounding the display are quite noticeable. With a refresh rate of 90Hz, the OPPO A74 does conform to the viewing metrics I have come to expect from affordable smartphones. The brightness levels are slightly on the lower side, but overall the screen outputs decent colours. The presence of the WideVine L1 certification enables you to view OTT platform content in HD quality.
The phone gets a 48MP primary shooter while the supporting cast comprises a 2MP macro shooter and a 2MP monochrome sensor. The OPPO A74 can be termed as a decent device for daylight photography. The focusing and shutter speeds are quite snappy, while the wide depth of field allows for a larger plane of focus. Details are soft in some cases and the dynamic range can falter, but the average user will hardly notice these niggles. There is no ultra-wide sensor which is a bummer, and the two remaining macro and monochrome sensors are just not up to the mark. At night the photos churned out by the cameras are quite soft, with the detail and colours looking washed out. There is excessive noise as well, though the dedicated night mode remedies some of the problems. The selfie shooter is an 8MP sensor that also takes passable photos which show some facial oversharpening.
On paper, it seems that the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 chipset can rival chipsets from higher tiers. The phone scores a respectable 250,140 on Antutu, which is much more than what I would’ve expected from a 400 series chipset. In comparison, the Realme 8 5G, powered by the Helio G95 gets a score of 297,216 while the 732G-powered Redmi Note 10 Pro logged a score of 281,443. Benchmarks aside, the OPPO A74 is a snappy phone and the chipset also runs relatively cool even under sustained loads. Gaming titles such as Call of Duty: Mobile run at medium settings and don’t stutter even after about an hour of play. The 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage are quite adequate for your daily needs. There’s a fast fingerprint sensor and a decent face unlock system on the device. The speaker is quite tinny, but the microphone and earpiece quality are up to the mark. The Snapdragon 480 also has a 5G modem which should come in handy once India’s 5G networks become operational. Software-wise, the A74 5G runs ColorOS 11.1 which is based on Android 11. The overall UI is quite intuitive but not as clean as I would like, with the usual bloatware problem plaguing the phone. Customisability is ample and a few tweaks in the Convenience tools options make for a good user experience. Lastly, the phone is powered by a 5,000mAh battery that supports up to 18W of fast charging and lasts for about a full day with normal usage.
The OPPO A74 5G is a decent device and offers acceptable performance metrics, but in the overall scheme of things, it’s outclassed by the competition. It seems clear that most competing devices outperform the A74 in all departments of a smartphone experience. The cameras on the A74 are not great and the night photography capbilities have a lot of ground to cover. For Rs 17,990, I would recommend the likes of the Realme 8 Pro (review), the Redmi Note 10 Pro, or the POCO X3 Pro (review) as better alternatives.
Editor’s rating: 3.5 / 5
- Decent display
- Smooth performance
- Good battery life
- Camera performance could be better
- Priced on the higher side