2020 was an extremely productive year for Oppo and it released many handsets for all budgets. While its not one of the more popular brands in the UK, internationally Oppo has built up quite a reputation for well-priced and feature rich handsets that are attractively designed. The A15 is one of the most affordable smart phones produced by Oppo, but is it any good and have any corners been cut to achieve its low price-point?
Among its low-cost competitors, the Oppo A15 certainly stands out for size, if nothing else. It’s fronted by a 6.5-inch 1,600×720 pixel LCD display, a little larger than you might expect at this price point. It’s big, but as that pixel count reveals, it’s not astonishingly sharp, with a maximum 720p resolution for anything you’re going to look at on it. Having said that, most users will not notice any image deficiency, and when used for either reading text or websites or for viewing videos there is no noticeable pixilation or image blur. The body of the device is mostly plastic, and it is available in a range of colours including a metallic blue model.
- AI triple camera: 13MP Main Camera + 2MP Depth Camera + 2 MP Macro Lens
- Lightweight feel: 7.9mm thickness and 179g weight.
- Comfortable screen: 6.52' screen with AI brightness , adjusting to your habits and preferences for your comfort.
- Battery capacity: A large 4230 mAh battery and superb Power Saving Mode function for longer battery life.
- No need for a second phone, as the A15 comes with up to 256GB expandable memory, as well as dual sim functionality, so you will never miss another call.
The front of this phone has a teardrop notch for the front facing camera which means that the screen extends to cover almost the entire front of the device with minimal bezels or other obstructions. On the rear, there is a 3-camera array and a fingerprint sensor for security which works well and is responsive enough. The side of the unit features power and volume controls and for music afficionados who prefer to use wired headphones you will be happy to hear that unlike most manufacturers Oppo has decided to retain the 3.5mm port.
One of the highlights of this unit is its photography capabilities. At the rear, the Oppo A15 houses 3 sensors, led by a primary 13MP f/2.2 sensor. That’s backed up with a 2MP f/2.4 macro lens and 2MP depth sensor. There’s an included night mode, but the photos you get out of it tend to be slightly murky. The Macro lens fairs a little better and results are passable with decent detail given that it is only a 2MP sensor. The main camera produces bright and detailed images that are more than acceptable, however there are no bells and whistles as found on more expensive handsets. This will be a suitable camera set-up for quick point and click and will produce a reasonable picture to upload onto social media but there are photography apps free to download that you can play around with to make a picture stands out that a lot of people use even on the most advanced of camera phones and that would also be the case on this handset.
In recent times, we’ve seen some budget phone makers opt for Qualcomm’s cheaper processors, but this is still an area where MediaTek’s deliberately low-cost silicon tends to predominate. That’s precisely the case for the Oppo A15, which runs off a MediaTek MT6765 SoC with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of onboard storage. You can upgrade that with microSD storage cards, and you don’t even lose a SIM card slot doing so, which is a nice touch. Performance is acceptable with little lag or noticeable degradation with multiple processes running. You can play most Android games on the Oppo A15, but nothing that requires high fidelity or particularly fast action as you may experience lag. For the casual gamer this will suffice.
Usually, only flagship phones have high capacity batteries. This is one area where the Oppo excels with the inclusion of 4230mAh battery which can power the device during normal use for around 2 days without the need to charge.
Connectivity wise, this model has both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi and a dual sim slot. Charging is via micro-USB instead of the more recent USB-C, but other that a slight reduction in charging speed this should not cause many issues and the unit is supplied with a 10W rapid charger. For sound, the built-in speaker is loud and clear, and the device sounds good for music when used with either wired or wireless headphones.
Oppo use their own proprietary overlay on the Android 10 operating system which they call ColorOS. This is a lightweight skin that does not hog resources and adds some extra features that some may find useful, an example being the quick launch function and off-screen gesture control which can be used to lock the screen or activate the cameras or flashlight. This overlay is one of the fastest available and Oppo devices can feel snappier and more responsive than those from other manufacturers of Android phones. Luckily, Oppo frequently update their firmware so the device should remain current for a couple of years at least. The phone is unlocked and can be used with any UK network.
In summary, this is a good budget smartphone with an excellent battery life, decent screen, good sound output options, and a reasonable camera set-up. It performs well for everyday tasks although it can struggle if pushed. This handset is best suited for a non-demanding user that does not like having to sit by a charging point and someone who is conscious of the price point. Out of the box, the built-in storage is limited, and users should purchase a micro SD card to enhance the device if they plan to store music or video or download lots of apps. Despite the limitations in the specifications of this device, users are overwhelmingly pleased, especially with the battery life and screen size.