colorful phone sets a few accents

The OPPO A94 is OPPO’s low-end phone. The device offers support for 5G and comes with a number of functions that we usually only find on more expensive devices. Is he recommended? We explored it in this review.

OPPO A94

The OPPO A series consists of devices from the budget to mid-range, and in April the Chinese manufacturer released a series of new devices from this series. Then the OPPO A94, OPPO A74 5G, OPPO A74 4G and the A54 were introduced. There are a lot of differences in the specifications of these phones, but it is certain that the OPPO A94 is the most powerful of this foursome.

Jibbe Schiettecatte is a young Androidworld reader and smartphone enthusiast from the very beginning. He was already able to review more phones with the AW Beta Team and was already on our podcast. There we got to know 16-year-old Jibbe a lot better and we discovered, among other things, that he now uses the Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro daily. A phone that scores especially with its strong price-quality ratio. What does Jibbe think of this OPPO A94?

Specifications

OPPO A94
Housing: Plastic
Dimensions and weight: 160.1 x 73.2 x 7.8mm, 173 grams
Screen: 6.43 inch LCD (FHD 2400 x 1080 pixels), 20:9, 409 ppi
Processor: MediaTek 5G Dimension 800U
Random access memory: 8GB
Storage Memory: 128GB
Rear cameras: 48MP main camera, 8MP wide angle camera 2MP macro camera, 2MP portrait camera
Cameras for: 16 MP selfie camera
Battery: 4310 mAh, 30 watt fast charge (VOOC)
Android version: ColorOS 11.1 based on Android 11
Extras: 3.5 mm jack, Bluetooth 5.1, in-screen fingerprint scanner
To colour: Fluid Black, Cosmo Blue
Recommended retail price: 369 euros

Nice design, everything you need

The OPPO A94 is a nice, fairly light and handy phone to hold. That makes it pleasant to use. The back and the edges of the phone are made entirely of plastic, but that’s not bad at all in this price range. We even see that smartphone brands are reverting to plastic with their premium devices.

The phone does have a clear chin, but otherwise the screen edges are limited. OPPO already installed a screen protector on the device at the factory and that is of course a plus. The camera island of the phone also looks very spectacular with four lenses.

At the bottom we find a single speaker, a headphone input and the USB-c port. The speaker does not perform badly, but I would have preferred to see stereo speakers, since other smartphones in this price range offer this. The A94 has room for two SIM cards and another SD card to expand the storage.

Highs and lows screen

The A94 from OPPO has a nice 6.43 inch Super AMOLED panel from Samsung with a fingerprint scanner under the screen. It works flawlessly, and it’s nice to see such a scanner with a phone in this price range.

The screen itself offers infinite contrast, beautiful and bright colors, and real black due to the pixels that can be turned on and off individually. The panel has a hole punch at the top left for the 16 MP selfie camera. The brightness is good, but I do have a point of criticism when it comes to refresh rate. It is a 60 Hz screen and you will feel that if you are used to a higher refresh rate. The image does not flow as smoothly as other smartphones in this price range with refresh rates of 90 or even 120 Hz. The automatic brightness did its best, but was often wrong.

OPPO A94 review: colorful phone puts a few accents

Smooth performance

OPPO’s A94 has a generous 8 GB of RAM and works with 128 GB of storage. That’s not bad for a phone from the low mid-range. As the engine, OPPO installed the MediaTek 800U chipset, a 2.4 GHz processor that is also intended for middle class and enables 5G with its modem.

The OPPO A94 worked smoothly in the apps and games that we released on the phone, and multitasking is also excellent. The phone is not the fastest and has more trouble with the really demanding games. If you put down just a little more money for, for example, a Poco F3 or a OnePlus Nord 2, you will get significantly faster phones that are close to the flagships.

Durable and fast charging

The 4310 mAh battery of the A94 5G performed very well. You can easily get through the day with it and also a little longer. We are therefore satisfied with an average screen time of 6 hours. The phone can charge with the 30 Watt VOOC charger, as OPPO calls it, and this will charge the phone within the hour. That is certainly nothing to be ashamed of, because there are brands that also dare to present such performance with high-end devices.

OPPO A94 review: colorful phone puts a few accents

The A94 also has built-in software to protect the battery. The phone then waits to fully charge until early in the morning, in order to extend the battery life in the long term. That is certainly an added value for this device, and you can read here why that is so important.

Camera image processing too diligent

We already noted that the camera setup on the back looks spectacular, but do the cameras also take spectacular photos? Because that’s what it’s all about. Well, that is somewhat disappointing. There are a total of four lenses: a 48MP main camera without optical image stabilization (OIS), an 8MP wide-angle camera and two 2MP cameras? One serves as a macro lens and the other is a depth camera.

The photos are beautiful at first sight and have fairly nice colors, but if you look more detailed, you also see other things. The software intervenes very strongly, both with the 48 MP main camera and the 8 MP wide-angle sensor. Although the images often suffer from blur because OIS is missing. Which is not strange for midrange devices. You will often encounter blurry photos, especially in less favorable lighting conditions.

Main camera
OPPO A94 review: colorful phone puts a few accents
2x digital zoom
OPPO A94 review: colorful phone puts a few accents

The wide-angle camera is a nice addition, by the way, and offers a nice extra perspective. There is also a color difference between this camera and the photos that the main camera takes, but you see that more often in this class. It won’t bother everyone either.

8 MP wide-angle camera
OPPO A94 review: colorful phone puts a few accents

The added value of the 2 MP cameras remains limited due to the lower quality. As far as the features of the camera app are concerned, there is nothing to complain about. Almost everything you expect is there and more than that.

macro
OPPO A94 review: colorful phone puts a few accents

ColorOS 11.1

The A94 works with version 11.1 of OPPO’s ColorOS shell, which is based on Android 11. OPPO uses a mix of its own applications and the apps from Google, but it also adds a number of its own bells and whistles. For example, there is an extended game mode that helps you not to get distracted when you play mobile games.

ColorOS also comes with a lot of personalization functions and options to customize the home screen. The software runs smoothly on OPPO’s mid-range and the layout of menus and settings seems logical. And then there’s the manufacturer’s update policy, which was recently adjusted. Every OPPO A-series device, regardless of price, can count on three years of quarterly security updates. The A94 can only expect one version update, and that will be the update to Android 12. That policy around version updates offers less than what some other brands promise.

OPPO A94 review: colorful phone puts a few accents
The A94 in the colors Cosmo Blue and Fluid Black

Conclusion

The OPPO A94 5G is a nice and handy phone to use. The performance is good both when we look at the battery and the speed it shows in apps. In addition, the cameras seemed promising at first glance, but the image processing made images unnatural.

The screen also has nice colors and good brightness, but comes with a low 60 Hz refresh rate. Quite strange if you know that last year the A53 was almost the first budget phone with a 90 Hz refresh rate. if you are looking for an affordable 5G phone in this price range, and the camera and the refresh rate are less important to you, then you can definitely consider this one. But there are plenty of competitors for the A94 that are pushing.

Alternatives to the OPPO A94 are: the OnePlus Nord 2 (399 euros), the Samsung Galaxy A52 5G (429 euros), the Xiami Mi 11 Lite 5G (369 euros), the Motorola Moto Edge 20 Lite (369.99 euros) and the Poco F3 (299 euros)

OPPO A94 review: colorful phone puts a few accents

Buy OPPO A94

The OPPO A94 is available in the colors Fluid Black and Cosmo Blue and for a suggested retail price of 369 euros. You can find it at the following stores, among others.

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