Oppo is another Chinese brand, alongside Xiaomi, who recently established base in South Africa, on the back of a range of smartphones that have been performing well overseas (currently Oppo is ranked 5th when it comes to worldwide smartphone market share). The Oppo A72 retails for just below R7k – does it have what it takes to compete in a strong midrange market?
For R7k you receive a pretty much glitch-free smartphone experience, starting with a 6.5” screen with a decent 2400x1080 pixel resolution. It’s not quite edge-to-edge but I actually prefer the bit of space on the bezel, with the power button on the right doubling as the fingerprint unlock button - a nice touch.
Next is the 4 GB of RAM and the Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 (SM6125) chipset, which allows for decent performance without hassles. This combo might not be the fastest out there, but it’s certainly not the slowest, and there were no noticeable slowdowns as with the Xiaomi Redmi Note 9. A standard 128 GB of storage is on offer which, unless you are capturing or storing lots of video, should tide you over nicely.
The quad camera setup on the Oppo A72 is not to be frowned at, with an 48MP AI main camera coming with an f/1.7 aperture (great for low light), plus a 119 ° ultra-wide angle lens, and two 2MP portrait-style lenses. For selfies you get a 16 MP punch hole camera at the top left corner of the A72. Focus is quick and the setup allows for a range of different shooting situations - it will comfortably gather likes for your Instagram feed.
I like the gleaming colour of the device, which Oppo calls Aurora Purple, fading from deep purple at the top, to silver at the bottom. It immediately draws attention, and Oppo kindly provides a plastic case to keep the phone in good shape. Oppo notes you do get dual stereo speakers onboard the A72, and these performed well with YouTube videos.
Oppo’s ColorOS (7.1) offers a decent user experience free of serious distractions, while running on Android 10 with full Google apps and services. ColorOS is not flashy or intrusive and provides a few nice extras, such as night mode.
Finally, I expected the decent 5000 mAh battery to perform a bit better than it did, lasting for a full day, although I was hoping it could push charging to at least midday of the next.
At R7k, the Oppo A72 is a decent enough smartphone which will serve its user well. However, its asking price lines it up against some serious competition, including the Samsung A51 with 6 GB of RAM (but smaller battery), the Huawei P40 Lite (R6k and 6 GB RAM, although no Google services) and the Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 Pro (R6.5k, 6 GB RAM). With the brand still pretty much unknown in South Africa, it might have done Oppo well to have dropped the A72’s price by at least R1 000. As it stands now, I doubt it will get tongues wagging.