Oppo A57 phone: full, in-depth review

This cheap Android smartphone is a mid-range winner.

Oppo A57 phone
  • Oppo A57 phone
  • Oppo A57 phone
  • Oppo A57 phone
  • Expert Rating

    4.50 / 5

Pros

  • Decent at everything
  • Instantaneous fingerprint reader
  • Cheap

Cons

  • Low-res screen
  • Audio on video

Bottom Line

This is a great mid-range phone and yet it's one of the cheapest we've ever tested.

Would you buy this?

Oppo A57 camera review

The Oppo A57’s main camera is an improvement on the F1s thanks to improved low-light performance. The rear unit is (a low-light friendly) 13-megapixels while the Selfie camera is 16-megapixels.

In good lighting, shots were colourful and sharp. Focusing was quick and there was minimal shutter lag.

In decent lighting the Oppo A57 quickly and easily captured a good, colourful image.
In decent lighting the Oppo A57 quickly and easily captured a good, colourful image.
A well exposed landscape shot despite tricky lighting.
A well exposed landscape shot despite tricky lighting.
In bright light it could struggle, though. This was the best attempt at this image and it's still washed out with some blown-out highlights.
In bright light it could struggle, though. This was the best attempt at this image and it's still washed out with some blown-out highlights.

In low light, things became more challenging. It’s capable so long as you are very still when taking the shot and your subjects don’t move around too much. We saw usable results when indoors in moderate light (better than some, worse than others) with grain appearing but detail remaining.

It's amazing how many cameras struggle in this amount of light, but despite non-optimal conditions, the low-light performance is above average.
It's amazing how many cameras struggle in this amount of light, but despite non-optimal conditions, the low-light performance is above average.
The A57 made a decent fist of this bright stage in a dark arena although detail was lost in the dark. Dynamic Range isn't a strong point but you can't have everything on a $300 camera.
The A57 made a decent fist of this bright stage in a dark arena although detail was lost in the dark. Dynamic Range isn't a strong point but you can't have everything on a $300 camera.
In very low light it could struggle. After several attempts, this was the sharpest shot we shot.
In very low light it could struggle. After several attempts, this was the sharpest shot we shot.

Video goes up to 1080p and is reasonable. It’s not the crispest image and the lack of image stabilisation is noticeable. However, focusing is reasonably fast and accurate and images are still very usable when holding steady. If there are bright elements in shot, the rest of the image can go rather dark. But it still managed to capture reasonable detail in uniformly low-light environments despite the inevitable increase in grain. The main downside is the audio which is a bit tinny and background noise can be captured gets ever-so-slightly robotic. Ultimately, it’s not bad for video but it’s not particularly good either.

The high-resolution Selfie camera was impressive, though. Images were sharp and colours neutral while Beauty Mode added a flattering touch of airbrushing.

The Selfie camera was impressive. It's sharp and offers a high resolution. The Beauty Mode filter (right) adds just a hint of airbrushing.
The Selfie camera was impressive. It's sharp and offers a high resolution. The Beauty Mode filter (right) adds just a hint of airbrushing.
Video was OK but favoured bright areas much more so than dark. We've seen better metering and Dynamic Range elsewhere.
Video was OK but favoured bright areas much more so than dark. We've seen better metering and Dynamic Range elsewhere.

All in all, it sports very usable cameras which will please most users. Unlike other cheap phones, there are no glaring weak spots here. The F1s really struggled in low light (letting the side down) but this represents a small-yet-significant improvement. Hardcore photographers should look elsewhere, though.

Battery Life

We managed to eke three days out of the F1s’ battery but that wasn’t what we experienced here. Despite days of using navigation, web browsing, games and social media it really only comfortably lasted a for a full day. That’s a shame considering the similar specs to the F1s. We expect Oppo’s Power Management features to improve on this slightly over time, but we’d be surprised if it ever stretched out to two full days.

Nonetheless, we did find that the 2,900mAh battery did charge very quickly.

While we’re disappointed, performance in this area is still above many other smartphones, including the Google Pixel XL and Samsung Galaxy S8.

Conclusion

The Oppo A57 is a very capable phone which doesn’t really have any weak points. It’s generally fast to use and comfortable to hold, the battery is decent and the stills cameras are adequate. That this all comes in at just $328 is amazing. While the Moto G5 Plus is marginally better in some areas it’s hard to justify the extra $70-to-$120 price increase.

The next phone we review will be the Moto G5 which costs just $300. We recommend waiting for that (in a few days) before deciding on this. Nonetheless, this is a decent mid-range phone regardless of the bargain-basement price.

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Read more on these topics: smartphones, Android, mobile phones, Phones, android phones, Oppo
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