OPPO A74 5G Review – A Surprise in Performance

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My first thought on the new Snapdragon 480 chip is how it will perform with gaming. Will it be the same or better than the Snapdragon 600 series? The new SD480 is based on 8nm processing and it comes with 5G capability. Too bad Malaysia has not started on 5G connectivity for public use but eventually it will be once everything is in place. I hope it’s soon. 

Then it comes to the latest smartphone that I reviewed. I received the new OPPO A74 5G a few weeks ago and I got to play around with it for about 2 weeks. The OPPO A74 5G is targeted towards the mid-entry level users and it is powered by the new SD480 chip. As we all know, the SD400 series are for entry level phones. It is and should be the cheaper option when you’re getting a new phone or a second phone. But I might change your mind about it being a secondary device. Read on.

OPPO A74 5G – First Look

OPPO A74 5G Review

The OPPO A74 5G comes in a clean look, but rather large box. In the box, you will find the phone itself, some documentations, a charger brick, USB type-C data/charging cable, an earphone that doubles up as a hands-free kit and a clear silicone case. Those are the basic stuff that you will get from many other smartphone brands anyway. 

I received the Space Silver colour variant. I’m not a fan of grey/silver coloured phones but the OPPO A74 5G’s colour is actually very nice. Best of all, it’s not shiny. You will get the matte surface that made it look premium. Shiny surfaced phones tend to be a fingerprint magnet and I dislike that. I’ve always preferred a matte design which to me, feels good in the hand. 

OPPO A74 5G Review

The screen size is 6.5” with 90.5% screen to body ratio which has a 1080 x 2400 pixels, 20:9 ratio and at 405 ppi density. The display is an LTPS IPS LCD that goes up to 480 nits full brightness. It’s not the brightest but it does the job well enough under direct sunlight. The overall size of the phone is just right for me. I don’t like it too big and the OPPO A74 5G is just at the sweet spot. I’m a fan of smaller sized phones so the size is good for me. 

Right at the top left of the display you will find the selfie camera nested inside a punch hole instead of a notch. A big thumbs up for this. Around the back, there are 4 camera modules sitting on the top left corner. This is also a standard location for cameras in any phone nowadays. I don’t have many complaints about this. It’s something we all are used to now. 

On the right side on the phone, there’s the power button that doubles up as a fingerprint scanner. The indent around the power button makes it easier to locate the button without looking at the phone. On the opposite side, there’s the volume rocker located close to the middle for easy access. It may be a little too low for me because I tend to unintentionally press the volume up or down while holding the phone. Above it, there’s the SIM and microSD slot. 

On top, there’s nothing much to see and it is kept simple. But around the bottom, you will be pleased to find the 3.5mm headphone jack. Yes, I prefer my phone to have this. I always play games on my phone and I prefer to use a wired earphone while doing so. Next to it is the larger than usual microphone hole, the USB type-C port and a bottom firing speaker. Pretty standard design there. Also good to note that the 3.5mm port is at the bottom instead of being at the top.This is a better layout for me. 

Performance and User Experience 

Right. The OPPO A74 5G is powered by the new Snapdragon 480 chipset. It is supposed to be power efficient and provide better performance than its predecessors. Only a full test and daily usage can prove this. So I have used the OPPO A74 5G for 2 weeks and this is my findings. 

OPPO A74 5G Review

For my daily use like social media, multi-tasking, work related, photo editing and emails, it performed way above my expectations. The SD480 is supported by 6GB of RAM and a good 128GB of internal space. Nowadays, 128GB of space is the baseline for phone storage. 64GB seems too small for today’s standards. And I have installed many apps on the OPPO A74 5G and still have ample storage left – about 80% of empty space yet to be utilized. 

It runs on Android 11 out-of-the-box with OPPO’s own ColorOS 11.1. There are many novelty apps installed too that you can use to download other apps and games. It is very user friendly, making it ideal for beginners and older folks. You can download themes, wallpapers and notification sounds too.

I managed to push the OPPO A74 5G to last me the whole day on a single charge. The large 5000mAh battery performs well even when I push it with tons of gaming sessions and YouTube. After charging it to 100%, I still have about 70% of power after an hour or two while playing my usual PUBG Mobile game. And it comes with quite fast 18W charging capabilities. Most flagships nowadays can go up to 30W or 50W charging but the OPPO A74 5G can charge up to 100% from 20% in less than an hour. 

For a full performance test, I installed Antutu 3D benchmark for this. This is my usual benchmarking app for such tests and we can also see how it performs alongside other phones in its class. During the test, I don’t feel any heat coming from the back panel or anywhere near the battery. That’s a good sign. And the OPPO A74 5G got a good performance score of 259544. Since this is a mid-entry level phone with a SD480 chip, the score is commendable. It is even placed on par with Mediatek’s Helio G95 that is made for gaming. 

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And as for gaming, my usual gaming benchmark will be PUBG Mobile. After installation, I can actually use the high graphic settings and although it does not support full HD, it is still awesome. The OPPO A74 5G also has a performance mode setup. There are 3 options to choose from – Pro Gamer Mode, Balanced Mode and Low Power Mode. Obviously for my gaming sessions, I choose the Pro Gamer Mode. 

I am quite surprised at the performance. I don’t notice any game lags or sluggishness. The whole experience is buttery smooth and I’m able to play on for a long time thanks to the large battery. Some of the other flagships that I’ve used before tend to be too smooth that I felt dizzy after a while. Yes, it’s weird. But that is not the case with the OPPO A74 5G. I have to say that the whole gaming experience with this phone is superb. 

If you’re looking for a phone for gaming, you should give the OPPO A74 5G a go. Not only will you have a smooth gaming experience, you will be pleased with the battery life too. I will highly recommend this if you love gaming. 

Camera Performance

OPPO A74 5G Review

Now as I said earlier, the OPPO A74 5G comes with a 4 camera setup. Below are the camera specifications: 

Main Camera:

  • 48 MP, f/1.7, 26mm (wide), 1/2.0″, 0.8µm, PDAF
  • 8 MP, f/2.2, 119˚ (ultrawide), 1/4.0″, 1.12µm
  • 2 MP, f/2.4, (macro)
  • 2 MP, f/2.4, (depth)

Selfie Camera:

  • 16 MP, f/2.0, 26mm (wide)

There are a few hits and misses with the camera here. But my overall findings are okay. Shooting with the main 48MP camera is generally good. Most of the photos that I captured are good without too much post-processing sharpening. The images turned out smooth and vibrant, although can be too dark in some instances. I would turn off the auto HDR when this happens. Without the auto HDR, the colours will be more neutral. 

As for the ultrawide camera, colours are slightly better. And the focus area around the edges are good without any obvious distortions. The overall focus is good and you will be pleased to use this camera setup when shooting outdoors. But when I use the macro mode, the image turns out to be a little too soft. Focus is just right, but not great. At least it is usable in most cases.  

Selfies are surprisingly good, in my opinion. The focus on the details are not bad. Colours are spot on and I am pleased with the overall selfie camera performance. You can shoot normal photos or as portrait mode to get a little bokeh effect. It is done nicely without it looking awkward. Some entry level smartphones can’t get the portrait mode to work well enough. But selfies with the OPPO A74 5G is good. 

Have a look at some of the photos that I took with the OPPO A74 5G below: 

Normal and zoom shots.

Normal, close-up and ultrawide shots.

Portrait and normal shots.

HDR and normal shots.

Portrait and normal selfies.

Like I said, there are some hits and misses but overall, I consider it to be good especially coming from a mid-entry level device. You don’t have to worry about getting bad shots for your IG posts because the overall camera performance is good. 

Conclusion

First of all, I love the size of the OPPO A74 5G. It fits nicely in my hand and the grip is good, thanks to the matte surface at the back. And I’m loving the colour too. The display is sharp and vibrant, it navigates smoothly between apps and swipes. And with the 90hz display, the smoothness is pleasing. It is a cool feature to have on a mid budget phone. I’d say that the SD480 chip has now become one of my favourites, surpassing the SD600 series. 

Who is it for? Well, if you’re into gaming, this is a phone for you. If you’re looking for a phone that can last the whole day and still have some left before bedtime, this is for you. You don’t have to splurge on a mid range phone anymore because this OPPO A74 5G can give what you need, without breaking your wallet. 

The OPPO A74 5G has officially become one of my favourite phones. Too bad I have to give it back after my full review, else I would’ve kept using it for a very, very long time. I would also say it’s future proof, thanks to it being 5G ready. Once the 5G service is rolled out for us Malaysians, you don’t have to switch phones (again) just to use the 5G network. 
You can now check out more details on the new OPPO A74 5G at their official website and it is retailed at RRP RM1,099.00.

OPPO A74 5G Full Specifications:

  • SoC: Qualcomm SM4350 Snapdragon 480 5G (8 nm)
  • GPU: Adreno 619
  • OS: Android 11, ColorOS 11.1
  • Memory: 128GB 6GB RAM
  • Display:
    LTPS IPS LCD, 90Hz, 480 nits
    6.5 inches, 102.0 cm2 (~90.5% screen-to-body ratio)
    1080 x 2400 pixels, 20:9 ratio (~405 ppi density)
  • Battery: Li-Ion 5000 mAh, non-removable, 18W fast charging
  • Camera:
    48 MP, f/1.7, 26mm (wide), 1/2.0″, 0.8µm, PDAF
    8 MP, f/2.2, 119˚ (ultrawide), 1/4.0″, 1.12µm
    2 MP, f/2.4, (macro)
    2 MP, f/2.4, (depth)
  • Selfie Camera: 16 MP, f/2.0, 26mm (wide)
  • Sensors: Fingerprint (side-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
  • Colours: Fluid Black, Space Silver

OPPO A74 5G

RM1,099.00
8.8

Design

9.0/10

Performance

9.0/10

Price

9.0/10

Camera

8.5/10

Functions

8.5/10

Pros

  • Solid performance
  • Good battery life
  • Future proof
  • Affordable
  • Good display

Cons

  • Camera is just okay
  • Charging speed just okay

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