“The OPPO A9 boasts impressive gradient finish design, respectable MediaTek Helio P70 chipset, and a beefy 4,020mAh battery”

OPPO recently took the wraps off its latest A series handset called OPPO A9 in the country. The mid-range handset is available on both online platforms and offline stores across the country. With features like a waterdrop notch-toting screen, MediaTek’s Helio P70 processor and dual rear cameras, the A9 does seem like an interesting option in the Rs 15k segment. We recently got the chance to briefly examine the OPPO A9, and here are our initial impressions.

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Starting with the unboxing, the OPPO A9 comes in a rectangular white box that has handset’s image and its branding up top. As soon as you open the package, you’ll find a cardboard enclosure that holds a SIM-ejection tool, product documentation, and a soft, rubberised cover. Beneath that, you’ll find the OPPO A9 unit lying face up. Lastly, there’s a 5W wall adapter, a micro-USB cable, and a pair of earphones — all in a white hue.

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In terms of looks, the OPPO A9 is nothing short of a premium smartphone. The shiny gradient finish design, with gold accents around the fingerprint scanner and camera cut-out, is eye-catching. We got the Marble Green colour variant, but can bet the Fluorite Purple of the OPPO A9 looks equally impressive. The phone has polycarbonate back with a glossy finish, which makes it slippery and a fingerprint magnet. While we have started seeing pop-up selfie camera design in this price category, the OPPO A9 is sticking with the dewdrop display. This isn’t necessarily bad, but it takes the extra screen real estate that the display with no cut-out offers.

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Speaking of which, the OPPO A9 packs a 6.53-inch FHD+ display with 19.5:9 aspect ratio and a waterdrop notch that houses the selfie camera. The screen isn’t entirely bezel-less, but it delivers crisp and vibrant colours. However, since the handset packs an LCD panel, it lacks the contrast and deep blacks that the AMOLED screens offer. 

Coming to the positioning of the ports and buttons, the OPPO A9 features a micro-USB charging socket at the bottom edge, which is sandwiched between the speaker grille and a headphone jack. The volume rocker is placed on the left spine of the handset, while the right edge has the power button.

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At the heart of the OPPO A9 lies the MediaTek Helio P70 SoC paired with 4GB RAM and 128GB user-expandable storage. There is no other RAM and storage variant of the handset, and from the little time we had with the phone, it was smooth and the apps loaded in a jiffy. That said, I’m not sure how the device would handle intensive tasks or HD games such as PUBG Mobile.

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In the camera department, the OPPO A9 packs a 16-megapixel f/1.8 primary sensor coupled with a 2-megapixel f/2.4 depth-sensing shooter and dual-tone LED flash at the back. For selfies and video calling, the device gets a 16-megapixel unit with an f/2.0 aperture. The cameras are backed by AI scene recognition mode, HDR, panorama, and Ultra Night Mode, among others to further enhance the results.

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OPPO’s A9 is fuelled by a beefy 4,020mAh battery that should last up to a day on moderate-to-intense usage. Sadly, the phone doesn’t come with the fast charging support, but the company has backed it by AI power management. On the software front, the handset boots Android 9 Pie-based ColorOS 6.0 out of the box. The rear-mounted fingerprint scanner of the handset is fast and responsive, though you can also unlock the device via face unlock.  

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The OPPO A9 price in India is set at Rs 15,999. While the handset impresses with its design, beefy battery, and respectable chipset, it faces fierce competition from the likes of the Realme X (review), Redmi Note 7 Pro (review), and Vivo Z1 Pro (review) to name a few. In fact, OPPO recently introduced the online-only K3 (review), which also seems to offer better specifications over the A9. To sum up, the OPPO A9 is a capable smartphone, but unless you’re looking for a device that’s easily available offline, there are better choices in this segment. 

Photos by Raj Rout