5G smartphones continue to spread in India, although there is no clear picture of when 5G services will actually be available. We tested recently Oppo F19 Pro +, which was the company’s first F-Series 5G phone, and today we have the first A-Series 5G phone, Oppo A74 5G.
Prices below Rs. 20,000, Oppo A74 5G competes with other 5G offerings such as Realme Narzo 30 Pro 5G,, Samsung Galaxy M42, and the recently launched one Realme 8 5G. What makes the A74 5G special is that it is one of the first phones in India to use the Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 SoC. It’s time to see how this chip compares to MediaTek’s offerings and whether the Oppo A74 5G is actually worth buying.
Oppo A74 5G design
The design of the Oppo A74 5G is quite simple. It has a plastic body with a plastic back and noticeably thick borders around the display. The fantastic purple color I have looks pretty nice, thanks to the double colors that are visible in the light at certain angles. This phone feels a bit heavy at 188g and not too thin at 8.42mm, but after a few days of use I found it manageable. However, the plastic back is a major magnet for fingerprints and is very difficult to keep clean.
The built-in power button on the right side has a built-in capacitive fingerprint sensor. It worked well every time I used it. There is also face recognition, which was equally fast and responsive. Oppo A74 5G has a headphone jack, USB Type-C port and a single speaker placed at the bottom.
The Oppo A74 5G uses a 6.5-inch Full-HD + LCD panel. It has a refresh rate of 90 Hz, which makes navigating and scrolling through the lists feel smooth and fast. The cutout with a hole for the selfie camera is bigger than usual and a little noticeable at the beginning in the applications, but this is something I got used to after a while.
In the retail box of the Oppo A74 5G you get a USB cable, a SIM card removal tool, a case and an 18W power adapter.
Oppo A74 5G specifications and Software
The Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 SoC is what sets the Oppo A74 5G apart from the competition. It was initially easy to dismiss this SoC as part of the entry-level due to its positioning in Qualcomm’s low-end 400 series, but this is not the case. It is built on an 8nm manufacturing process, which means it has to be quite energy efficient. Next to the central cores there are two Kryo 460 Gold cores and six Kryo 460 Silver cores. These are the same cores used in Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 678 SoC, but run a little slower.
The GPU in the Snapdragon 480 SoC is the Adreno 619, which is also used in the Snapdragon 750G SoC, although it is a bit slower again. All this suggests that it must be more powerful than the model number can make you believe.
Oppo A74 5G is available in one configuration with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. ColorOS 11.1 allows you to use up to 5 GB of internal memory as RAM, although I didn’t notice much difference with this enabled during my use. There is dual-band Wi-Fi ac, Bluetooth 5.1, FM radio and the usual set of sensors.
ColorOS is rich in features and is familiar with many options to customize the look and feel of the Oppo A74 5G. It is still full of many pre-installed applications and many of them tend to generate unwanted notifications. They also include merchandise applications, such as the browser and music player, that cannot be uninstalled.
Oppo A74 5G performance and battery life
The performance was generally good during the week I used the Oppo A74 5G. The OS works well without any lag or hiccups, and interactions feel fast thanks to the high refresh rate screen. The call quality and speaker volume are also satisfactory. The display becomes bright enough and the content is displayed well, with good sharpness and colors. The videos also looked good, although the camera hole was a bit distracting when watching something in full screen.
Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 keeps its test. The Oppo A74 5G scored 3,118,144 points in AnTuTu, as well as 518 and 1,726 points in the eponymous and multi-core Geekbench tests. These numbers were roughly equal to MediaTek’s Dimensity 800U SoC, and the Snapdragon 480 even traded hits with Qualcomm’s own Snapdragon 732G SoC found in Redmi Note 10 Pro Max.
The Oppo A74 5G also handles games quite well, whether it’s simple titles like Orbia or heavy titles like Call of Duty: Mobile. I noticed some missed shots in a few games after long game sessions, but that wasn’t a constant problem. The phone also does not heat up much, which may be due to the graphite tubes used inside to dissipate heat.
The battery life was quite solid in my experience, thanks to the capacious 5000 mAh battery. I easily got a day and a half of regular use and even more when I didn’t use the camera a lot or played a lot of games. However, charging this battery is not the fastest and even with an 18W charger it charges to about 66 percent in an hour. It takes another 40 minutes to complete the charging cycle.
Oppo A74 5G cameras
The cameras of the Oppo A74 5G are nothing fancy and strange, Oppo has not included an ultra-wide camera. I’d be happy to replace the macro and monochrome cameras with ultra-wide ones, but that’s not what you get. The Realme 8 5G is another recent smartphone at about this price that doesn’t have an ultra-wide camera. We can only hope that this trend is not caught. The main sensor is a 48-megapixel camera with an aperture of f / 1.7, and in front you get an 8-megapixel selfie camera.
To break it carefully, the cameras on this phone are simply not up to standard. The performance was quite disappointing, especially in low light. In good light, the main camera took decent close-ups, but the landscapes lacked detail, and even a slight movement in the subjects caused blur. Macro shots looked good, provided there was enough light during shooting.
The images taken at night also lacked detail and the colors were not reproduced well. The night mode actually makes a big difference, but only for the exposure and on closer inspection the details do not improve at all. This applies to both close-ups and landscape photos. The selfies were also quite disappointing. Those made in daylight can work for social media, but in low light the image quality is poor.
Video recording is limited to 1080p for both front and rear cameras. The quality is again not great even in good lighting and I found that the stabilization is not very effective. The quality decreases even more in low light, with a lot of flicker and grain.
Oppo A74 5G is located in a very inconvenient place, given its current prices. The Realme Narzo 30 Pro 5G is better in almost every way at the same price. If you’re not too worried about having 5G right now, there’s a buffet of other great options like Redmi Note 10 Pro and Poco X3 Proto name just a few. By comparison, the A74 5G simply doesn’t offer enough value to make it a serious contender.
However, not everything is bad. Oppo A74 5G has a good display, interesting color scheme, decent performance of applications and games and a very good battery life. Unfortunately, these factors are simply not enough in my opinion to stand out.