The Mid-tier segment of smartphones has been flooded for a while, and not for the right reasons. With so many mid-tier phones get the short end of the stick, it’s becoming more harder to recommend. But one brand that has launched a smartphone that just might be a good pick from the shelves if you do it now and in this Oppo A96 Review we will tell you exactly why.

Oppo A96 Review

Essentially the same design but a nice one

Oppo A96

Just like the previous Oppo A series we have reviewed that had a nice design and all that, the Oppo A96 gets a pretty simple design that surely isn’t going to turn heads. But it is a practical design that works well with none of the faux touch ups going on. It comes in two different colors, and we received the Starry Black that has a nice glittery shine.

Not to forget, the feel of the phone is nice without the case. The camera bump on the back isn’t significantly thick. Which means placing it on the desk, it will sit flat, well, almost. The buttons fall right into place when you hold the phone regardless of which hand and its convenient to press without making some odd magical hand gestures.

Specification isn’t too shabby either

The Oppo A96 specification isn’t going to blow minds away but it has a nice improvement overall. There are some similarities with the Oppo A76 like the processor, which is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 680, followed by 33W SUPERVOOC Fast Charging that gets the 5000mAh battery from 20 to 100 percent in a good one hour+ and the 90Hz display. The main difference is in the RAM and Internal Storage where the A96 gets an extra 2GB, totalling up to 8GB RAM and double the storage at 256GB respectively.

In comparison to the recent Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G we reviewed, where the processor is superior and so is the charging speeds, the Oppo A96 puts up a surprisingly good show for something that has a one-step-lower processor. Now don’t expect the A96 to give you like the best gaming experience and all that. Given that it’s a mid-tier smartphone, the performance is okay for light gaming and anything more like cranking Genshin Impact at maximum quality will make the phone suffer.

The camera is one of the best I’ve tried

On the back, the phone has two cameras where one of it is a dud, and that’s the 2MP Bokeh Camera. The main camera on the other hand is a 50MP with f/1.8 aperture. We have said this before, and we will say it again. In a smartphone, the software department is equally, if not more important than the hardware to give the best experience and offer consistency over the time. Oppo, has done a respectable job with the software, so much so that I loved every picture that came straight out of this camera.

It brings out good colours, may be a little too vibrant but the details are intact followed by well-balanced exposure through and through. If you do choose to pixel peep a bit, it doesn’t disappoint. Without the HDR On, the phones are very natural, which is what I love. We did take some low light pictures, which it did do quite a neat job with keeping the composition intact. Not to forget, no areas were overexposed.

1/10
HDR On
HDR On
HDR Off
HDR Off
Day
Day
Night
Night

Now, the only thing I wished this phone had, is OIS and if it did come with one – the Oppo A96 would totally be a better contender to the other smartphone in this price range. Nonetheless, with some steady hands, this camera doesn’t disappoint.

Good Compromises and Better Experience

When I say compromises, it’s not in a bad way. Sometimes choosing something older but performs better over something newer but performs poorer is good. Starting off with the fingerprint sensor. Unlike some other mid-tier phones that has under display fingerprint, which can be ridiculously slow and sluggish, the Oppo A96 uses a proper fingerprint sensor embedded into the power button. Neat.

Other better experience that came out of this phone is the display. It’s genuinely nice to use, with and without the 90Hz turned on. Following that is the quality of the phone, which now it has a IP54 rating – meaning that the phone can take some splashes (don’t dip it into water) and protected against dust as well. The speaker is okay for a mid-tier but could be better.

Gets two ColorOS and Android Update

One of our concerns to justify the price tag is that some mid-tier smartphones have been stepping up in the software division to offer better longevity. This is a key selling point as most people purchasing phones like these would end up using it for longer duration. After checking with Oppo Malaysia, it’s exciting to see that the Oppo A96 gets two major ColorOS Updates which is also the Android Update. Out of the box, the phone runs ColorOS 11 (Android 11). So, over the time it will get 12 and 13. Not just that, an extra year of security updates.

Conclusion

There are things that the Oppo A96 does better in more ways than one and at RM 1299, it sure is a lot to pay. But in the recent times where we have reviewed other mid-tier phones, the Oppo A96 brings a better experience in its User Interface and OS. That combined with the hardware they offer; makes this phone a viable recommendation and you will leave the store as a happy customer. So, if you want to get your hands on one, you can do so right now.