My experience with the Oppo A9 2020 after three weeks of use

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At the end of last year, Oppo launched the renewal of its mid-range. The Oppo A9 2020 is the best exponent of the company within the range of 200 euros. A priori, the phone does not keep many differences with its predecessor, especially if we talk about the design. The terminal improves some of the shortcomings of the original model by sacrificing some features along the way, as is the case with the screen. In front we find brands such as Xiaomi, Samsung or even Realme, a company that shares a group with Oppo. Will the Oppo A9 2020 be enough to conquer this year's mid-range? Let's see what the terminal offers after three weeks of use as a personal phone.

Data sheet

Oppo A9 2020
screen6.5 inches with IPS technology, 20: 9 ratio and HD + resolution (1,600 x 720 pixels)
Main chamber48 megapixel main sensor and f / 1.8 focal aperture

Secondary sensor with 8 megapixel wide-angle lens and f / 2.2 focal aperture

2 megapixel tertiary sensor and f / 2.4 focal aperture for depth functions

Quaternary sensor with 2 megapixel macro lens and f / 2.4 focal aperture

Camera takes selfies16 megapixel main sensor and f / 2.0 focal aperture
Internal memory128 GB UFS 2.1
ExtensionVia micro SD cards
Processor and RAMQualcomm Snapdragon 665

GPU Adreno 610

4 GB RAM memory

Battery5,000 mAh without fast charging
Operating systemAndroid 9 Pie under ColorOS 6
Connections4G LTE, WiFi 802.11 b / g / n, GPS, Bluetooth 5.0, FM radio and USB type C 2.0
SIMDual nano SIM
DesignPolycarbonate construction

Colors: Purple and Green

Dimensions136.6 x 75.6 x 9.1 millimeters and 195 grams
Featured FeaturesFingerprint sensor, software facial unlocking, 3.5 mm headphone port, FM radio ...
Release dateAvailable
Price236 euros

Unpretentious design

The Oppo A9 2020 does not exactly stand out for its design. Except for the back, the appearance of the device does not differ much from that of other competing terminals and even that of its own predecessor: notch in the shape of a drop of water and frames that could be better used .

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Its construction is based entirely on polycarbonate, something that is especially appreciated in the weight of the device. It is true that the inclusion of glass or aluminum is missed, but we must bear in mind that the phone has a battery of no less than 5,000 mAh .

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Without cover, the weight is 195 grams. Had he opted for other materials, he might have exceeded the 210 gram barrier. Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of its appearance is the design of the back, with a color whose hue varies depending on the incidence of light , as we can see in the images.

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I would also like to highlight the solidity of its construction, something that can be seen in the buttons and the curve of the back. Generally speaking, the whole is well built and its rear makes it a really nice device.

The lack of resolution is noticeable, despite everything

I had been anticipating it at the beginning of the article. Oppo has missed some aspects of the original Oppo A9 by the way and the screen is one of them. Unlike the 2019 model, the device has a panel with HD + resolution . Its size is 6.5 inches, a size not suitable for all people (and hands).

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The experience when viewing content through the A9's panel has been somewhat bittersweet, precisely because of the size-resolution ratio. At 270 pixels per inch, the screen's lack of resolution  is especially apparent when navigating through app content .

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Color calibration does not help either, as it is somewhat cold for my taste. The brightness level is correct, making it possible to use the phone both outdoors and indoors. In this sense, I would have liked to see a slightly higher level of brightness to improve the visibility of the panel when the light falls directly on it.

The experience with the touchpad has also left me a bit cold: the response time is not immediate and the calibration is not the best. On more than one occasion I have been forced to rewrite several sentences due to the lack of precision of the panel . This happens with both the native keyboard and third-party keyboards.

ColorOS still has a lot to improve

It was the first time I tested a mobile with ColorOS, Oppo's customization layer. The experience, although positive in general terms, has left me with a somewhat bittersweet taste in my mouth.

The optimization of the software in terms of reaction times is commendable. This is appreciated when switching between applications and using the multi-window. Also when interacting with the different options of the applications. In short, the operation is fluid and fast and the mobile has not given me any problems during the three weeks that I have been testing it. The room for improvement comes with the design lines of the cape and the functions and options it offers compared to those of other manufacturers.

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On the left, the Oppo A9 2020 score in Antutu. On the right, the maximum sequential and random read and write speed. The integrated memory is of type UFS 2.1, according to the manufacturer's data.

The version that the Oppo A9 2020 has is ColorOS 6.0.1. Although its operation is agile, the appearance of the cape is somewhat rough for my taste. Quick settings, for example, waste much of the screen surface. Likewise , the notification system discards part of the charm of the Android system , something that we can see in the application icons that are displayed in the top bar and in the content of the notifications itself.

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ColorOS appearance: Desktop, application dock, Settings and notification bar.

As if this were not enough, the launcher forces you to slide the notification bar from the upper corner of the screen . The camera application, although quite complete, does not follow homogeneous patterns, causing confusion between the different modes and options available. Nor do we find a dark mode that allows us to play with the color of the interface, a function that does integrate ColorOS 7.0 based on Android 10. Yes, the phone has Android 9 Pie, a version dating from 2018 . In short, Oppo still has to improve to adapt to the European market.

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Regarding the performance of the device in games and heavy applications, the experience is expected in a mobile of this price . If we refer to the technical specifications, the phone has a Snapdragon 665 processor along with 4 GB of RAM and 128 GB of internal storage of type UFS 2.1. How well does the terminal perform with these specifications?

In games like Call of Duty Mobile and Asphalt 9 we will have to opt for a medium graphic configuration to obtain a correct experience . If we opt for more advanced settings, the FPS rate will drop slightly, with the occasional jerk in scenes with moving textures. All in all, I have to admit that I would have liked to see a more capable processor and a higher amount of RAM. Opting for a Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G along with 6GB of RAM would have been the winning option, though I do emphasize again that the phone's gaming performance is not lacking .

Cool Features of ColorOS

  • Application cloner to duplicate application instances.
  • Screenshot extended to capture the content of a certain application.
  • Games space to optimize gaming performance.
  • One-handed mode to adjust the virtual size of the screen.
  • Screen recording to capture the screen on video.
  • Smart driving mode to limit notifications and incoming calls.
  • Distraction-free mode to limit app notifications.
  • Kids Space to adapt the applications and the system to children.
  • Oppo Share to exchange files with other brand mobiles.

Cameras: Oppo's algorithm makes the difference

We come to one of the most interesting sections of the phone. The fight to offer the best camera in the mid-range has resulted in the maximum "quantity is better than quality", with phones with up to four and five cameras. This Oppo A9 2020 was not going to be less, with four sensors of 48, 8, 2 and 2 megapixels and wide-angle and macro lenses in two of the cameras of the terminal . The result, although not one of the best, has nothing to envy other more expensive mobiles. And that is due to the photographic processing that Oppo performs on the photographs.

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During the day, the quality of the images is good. The highlight of the photographic results comes from the hand of the color calibration. If we opt for the Automatic mode of the camera application, the colors are quite faithful to those of reality . In case of opting for the HDR mode or the Dazzling Color mode, the results are somewhat more garish in terms of color but more attractive to the human eye.

Photos taken with the main sensor.

Special mention to HDR, which manages to save the majority of backlights made during the day. This also carries over to videos, where the stabilization work by the brand is surprising. The same does not happen in night scenes or in low light. In both scenarios, the room for improvement is significant, with results where the level of detail is conspicuous by its absence, as well as the level of brightness and stabilization of the scene when recording video.

On the left, photos taken with HDR enabled. On the right, photos taken with HDR disabled.

The lack of focus is most likely due to the absence of an optical stabilizer. Night mode also fails to save scenes . Although it manages to raise the exposure of some areas of the images, the general noise of the textures makes the photographs not very usable.

On the left, a photograph taken with Night mode activated. On the right, pictures taken with Night mode off.

Where the phone does shine is in portrait photography. The Oppo algorithm manages to identify the limits of the body with relative ease , although the level of blur is somewhat unreal for my taste. If we use this mode during the night again we will find disastrous results, especially in the contours of the figures. It is worth saying that the results during the day are the best that we can find in this price range.

On the left, photos taken with Portrait mode on. On the right, photos taken with Portrait mode off.

Oppo's good work with the main camera is overshadowed by the secondary camera, which is accompanied by a wide-angle lens. The general feel of this sensor is that the lack of dynamic range messes up most daytime scenes. The excessive processing of the device causes us to lose detail of the textures , something that comes out in scenarios where light is scarce. It goes without saying that its use at night is, to say the least, not recommended.

Photographs taken with the secondary sensor with a wide angle lens.

Although the most curious thing about this sensor is that we cannot record video . The native camera app only enables video recording with the main sensor. Another detail that is worth mentioning is that the camera application does not integrate this mode in the lower roulette, but we have to resort to the upper bar of the interface to switch to the secondary sensor. The same happens if we want to use the Expert mode. I've mentioned it before and I'll mention it again: ColorOS lacks a hint of consistency in the design lines of its  applications .

The latest sensor that complements the Oppo A9 2020 camera tandem is accompanied by a macro lens. Against all odds, the results have been better than expected. The images of nearby objects are clear, with a quite natural blur and a dynamic range that is improved if we activate the HDR or Dazzling Color mode .

Photographs taken with the tertiary sensor with a macro lens.

Once again, the use of this sensor at night is made unfeasible , precisely because of the focal aperture and the size of the lens. Interestingly, the change to the macro lens is done automatically. In this sense, I would have preferred a photography mode dedicated exclusively to that sensor.

Photos taken with the front sensor.

If we move to the front, the terminal has a 16 megapixel camera and focal aperture f / 2.0. The sensations are similar to those of the main sensor: good results during the day, with a fairly effective Portrait mode and a somewhat limited dynamic range in backlighting . At night the lack of focus and brightness blurs most photographs.

All the camera modes of the Oppo A9 2020

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Appearance of the native ColorOS 6.0 camera app.

  • Video mode
  • Photo mode
  • Portrait mode
  • Night mode
  • Panoramic mode
  • Expert mode
  • Time lapse
  • Slow motion
  • Sticker
  • Google Lens

All the camera options of the Oppo A9 2020

  • Flash
  • HDR
  • Wide angle
  • Dazzling color
  • Filters in real time
  • Volume button (Volume, Shutter and Zoom)
  • Shutter sound
  • Location
  • Rotate selfie
  • Photo aspect ratio (4: 3, 1: 1, Full Screen and 4: 3 (48 MP)
  • Timer (3 s and 10 s)
  • Press to take a photo
  • Use gestures to take a photo
  • Grid
  • Scene recognition AI
  • Watermark (Phone model, Custom and Date and time)
  • Video resolution (4K, 1080P and 720P)
  • Slow motion video resolution (1080P and 720P)
  • Video Coding (High Efficiency and More Compatible)

Biometrics at the level of the rest of Oppo mobiles

There are two biometric methods that the Oppo A9 2020 has. On the one hand, we find the fingerprint sensor, a sensor that is located on the back of the phone. Its performance is really good. The waiting time is practically invaluable if we hit the first one, since its size is not excessively large.

These same sensations are transferred to the facial unlocking that the device implements through software. Despite the fact that the phone lacks an infrared sensor to make a 3D recognition, the unlocking is practically instantaneous if the light accompanies .

Sound: when quantity exceeds quality

I have to admit that I did not expect great feats from Oppo with this A9 2020 in the sound section. I am pleased to say that the experience has been radically different from what I expected .

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The phone has two speakers located on both sides of the chassis: one next to the USB Type-C port and the other where the call speaker is usually located. Both offer stereo sound certified by Dolby Atmos and the truth is that the sensations are really good , especially if we take into account the range in which we find ourselves.

The volume is high, exaggeratedly high . This is especially appreciated when viewing multimedia content on your screen. When it comes to playing music, the general experience is not so good and leaves a lot to be desired, precisely due to the absence of nuances in some high frequencies. In rock and metal songs, the singer's voice and guitar solos become invaluable at times. All in all, I would dare to say that we are possibly facing the best exponent of the mid-range in this section.

And what about headphones? Although the quality of the materials encourages us to think otherwise, the truth is that the experience has been positive. The maximum volume is not excessively high, but it does have the nuances that the device's speakers lack , especially in low and medium frequencies. To this must be added that the phone has a 3.5 mm port to connect any headset compatible with this connection.

Autonomy and charging: the best and worst of the Oppo A9 2020

The strong point of this Oppo A9 2020 is undoubtedly its autonomy. With a 5,000 mAh battery capacity, the phone is capable of providing us with up to two days of use without major problem . Three if the use of the device is somewhat moderate and we limit ourselves to connecting to WiFi networks.

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Average screen hours using applications such as YouTube, WhatsApp, Instagram, Slack, and Gmail have far exceeded expectations. Around 10 and a half hours with two and a half days of duration . It also has the possibility of transferring power to other mobiles through a USB adapter. But its strong point is also its weakest point. The reason has to do with its charging system.

Despite the fact that the phone has a USB Type-C port, we do not find any type of fast charging. The time it takes the battery to charge  from 0 to 100% comfortably exceeds 2 hours , something inconceivable considering that the company itself has the most advanced fast charging system in the world. It is not something excessively serious if we take into account the autonomy that the terminal provides us, but I could not fail to point out this point, especially when there are other manufacturers with more capable charging systems in more contained price ranges.

Correct connectivity with some absences

In the connectivity section, the Oppo A9 2020 comes to replicate part of the configuration of last year's model. Bluetooth 5.0, USB type C 2.0, NFC, FM radio… In short, the phone has all kinds of connections. Perhaps the greatest absence of the terminal is the compatibility of WiFi with 5 GHz networks , something that is not understood taking into account the type of processor it integrates.

It is worth saying that the operation of the WiFi has been correct at all times: good range and good connection stability. Also that of the mobile network, with coverage in the average of the rest of mobiles in the same price range . Opting for an infrared sensor to do the remote control functions would have made him earn money. Unfortunately we do not find a sensor of this type.

Conclusions and opinions of the Oppo A9 2020

After analyzing all the points of the Oppo A9 2020, it's time to draw conclusions, which largely depend on the price. Despite the fact that the official price of the phone is 236 euros, we can currently get it for just over 200. From the general experience that the terminal provides, I would dare to say that we are facing one of the best exponents of the mid-range .

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Although Oppo leaves some aspects of the inkwell with this year's model, the set of its characteristics make it a round mobile . Outstanding autonomy, more than worthy sound section, photographic experience at the level of the rest of the brands and a performance commensurate with its price, despite the fact that the customization layer presents some other design and support problems on the part of the manufacturer.

The screen and the charging system are the most objectionable points of the device, without a doubt. Photographic results also have room for improvement , especially in situations where the light is not exactly abundant. In this price range there are more capable phones in this regard.

The conclusion after almost a month of using the Oppo A9 2020 is that we cannot ask for more from the company for the price at which it is at the moment , which is close to 200 euros in some stores, as I mentioned above. We will have to wait for the rest of the brands to see if it maintains the type throughout this year.