Last month, we got an opportunity to test out a new member from OPPO’s renowned A-series lineup – OPPO A94 (Review) – which impressed us tremendously not just in terms of it’s design, but also the amount of value it puts to the table.
As such, we’re extremely thrilled to try out another recently launched A-series smartphone known as the OPPO A74 this month which shares many resemblance to the OPPO A94, but at an even more attractive price of just S$299 (US$222).
Despite it’s bargain-basement price, the OPPO A74 continues to put forward some juicy features like an AMOLED display, in-display fingerprint scanner, 48MP triple-camera system, as well as 33W fast-charging capability. These are stuffs that we typically see only among smartphones which are priced way above the S$300 mark.
However, does the OPPO A74 has everything it takes to fill the role of your next smartphone? Let’s find out in our OPPO A74 review!
Like what I’d mentioned in many of my past reviews, OPPO smartphones always have some of the sleekest design across all segment. This stays true for the OPPO A74 which features a super slim chassis measuring just 7.95mm, that’s pretty much as thin as the OPPO Reno5 Pro (Review).
Having blessed with such slim body, it comes natural that the OPPO A74 is extremely light at just 175 grams too. This, along with it’s rather compact size, makes the phone ideal for single-handed use even if you have tiny hands.
For the Midnight Blue variant that we received for review, it comes with a cool and funky iridescent sheen that changes color under different angles of incident light. Such color certainly looks way more lively and energetic than phones that settle with a matte finish.
However, the bad thing with having a glossy back panel is that it really picks up fingerprints and smudges pretty easily. Still, I believe that the visual treat it offers is worth a second of your time to wipe those smudges off.
Moving on to the frontside of the phone, we’ll be greeted by a vibrant 6.43” AMOLED display surrounded by some fairly slim bezels along the sides. It’s really impressive how OPPO managed to draft in an AMOLED panel at this price point, since such panels generally incur higher production cost than the more widely-used LCD panels.
Gaming and video playback appear sharp and realistic on the front display which supports FHD+ screen resolution, as well as 92% DCI-P3 and 100% sRGB color gamut coverage. Similarly, scrolling and navigation also feels pretty smooth on the OPPO A74 thanks to it’s well-optimized software.
With an impressive peak brightness which goes all the way up to 800 nits, the OPPO A74’s front display is probably the brightest among any other smartphones within it’s price range. This is actually a crucial feature that’s always overlooked by consumers since it determines whether the screen can remains visible under a harsh sunlight when commuting or during an outdoor photo shoot.
Rounding out the package will be none other than it’s responsive in-display fingerprint scanner which unlocks fairly quickly and accurately. In fact, this is another notable feature that we don’t normally see among budget phones which typically opt for a rear or side-mounted fingerprint scanner instead.
Under the hood, the OPPO A74 is driven by an octa-core Snapdragon 662 chipset which certainly holds more than sufficient processing power to handle every day’s usage for an average user.
Multi-tasking feels adequately smooth on the OPPO A74, without any notable lags that would otherwise tarnish user experience on the phone. Even when dealing with more resource intensive tasks like gaming (under default settings), the phone also shows any sign of stuttering too.
Speaking of gaming, the OPPO A74 is pre-loaded with a dedicated Game Space application that offers you more control over your gaming experience with a wide range of tools and settings which you can toggle according to your needs – whether you are gaming casually or competitively.
Among the most useful ones include the option to turn off notifications and automatically reject calls while gaming. If you happen to be a vivid gamer, then you certainly know what kind of tragedies popup notifications could cause during gaming.
Also, Game Space allows you to easily customize the performance of the phone during gaming with three different modes including low power mode, balanced mode, as well as pro gamer mode.
Those who prefer longer game time can opt for the low power mode, while hardcore gamers probably crave for utmost performance with the pro gamer mode.
In the memory department, the OPPO A74 also features 6GB RAM alongside 128GB onboard storage that can be further expanded via a microSD card if you need more storage for photos or games.
For photography, the OPPO A74 do have a reliable triple-cam system at the back comprising of a 48 megapixels (f/1.7 aperture) main camera, 2 megapixels (f/2.4 aperture) macro camera, as well as a 2 megapixels (f/2.4 aperture) depth sensor.
In most occasion, it’s main camera is able to click pretty amazing photos with accurate color reproduction that results in natural-looking photos. Level of details are also aplenty thanks to it’s pixel dense sensor which allows the photos to retain fair amount of texture details when pixel peeking.
Shooting in the HDR mode might makes photos look unnatural to a small extent, but it really helps in improving the vibrancy of the photos, making them look away more flattering in certain scenes. So, the HDR mode remains one of the most handy feature within it’s camera interface.
Coming to low-light shots, the large aperture of it’s camera lens definitely helps to improve exposure, allowing the phone to capture impressive low-light shots with good details and adequate sharpness.
Of course, for extremely dark environment, the OPPO A74 do have a highly usable night mode which did a pretty remarkable job in brightening up the scene and preserving shadow details, considering it’s price.
For zooming, the phone do support up to 10x digital zoom via it’s main camera. Although this is feature that we hardly use in our daily usage, but it’s worth pointing out that the phone do offers a really impressive 2x zoom for those who love to take close-up photos of nature or insects. Details are ample with excellent edge detection – though the photos may occasionally appear slightly oversaturated.
As for selfies, the OPPO A74 relies on an 16 megapixels front-facing shooter which takes decent selfies with good details and acceptably wide dynamic range. By default, some of the beatification features like smoothening are preset to 30%, but you can easily switch over to the “natural” option within the beautification settings if you favor a more realistic-looking selfie.
Battery & Charging
Despite it’s relatively slim design, the OPPO A74 is actually fitted with a huge, 5,000mAh battery that can easily gives you 1.5 days worth of battery life under normal usage.
And with the super power saving mode turned on, you wouldn’t be surprised if it managed to last you for a full 2 days. That’s exactly how enduring the OPPO A74’s battery life is.
To sweeten the deal, OPPO also equipped with OPPO A74 with 33W flash charging that’s capable of filling a flat battery beyond the halfway mark in just 30 minutes.
That’s really impressive for a phone of it’s price since flagship phones that cost four or five times more like the Sony Xperia 5 III or the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra (Review).
From it’s external design to it’s internal specs, there are plenty to love about the OPPO A74 including it’s punchy AMOLED display, reliable performance, great photography capabilities, enormous battery capacity, as well as super fast charging speed. As such, the OPPO A74 is no doubt one of the most value-for-money smartphone you can snap from the market.