The Oppo A15 was the brand’s lowest Western smartphone offering towards the close of a hectic 2020 for Oppo. As a result, you should adjust your expectations.
The phone’s all-plastic shell seems well constructed, although unspectacular, and the existence of a micro-USB connector is a throwback to a simpler time. While its rear-mounted fingerprint scanner isn’t very innovative, it’s pleasingly speedy and dependable.
Turning to the front of the phone, such a large display on a low-cost gadget is unusual. It definitely makes an impression at 6.52-inches and with a pretty high peak brightness.
It’s simply a shame that the 720p resolution of this monitor doesn’t sweeten the deal. Media and online pages are grainier than anyone would prefer.
When it comes to media content, serious gamers should avoid this device. The Oppo A15’s MediaTek MT6765 CPU is among the most basic on the market, with only 3GB of RAM to back it up. As a result of these little elements, even general navigation suffers slightly.
Battery life is one of the areas where the Oppo A15 excels. A pretty substantial 4,230mAh battery supports those modest components admirably, cheerfully carrying you through the second day of usage before needing to be recharged.
While it’s tempting to contemplate such a low-cost, well-built phone from this trusted brand, it’s important to distinguish between price and value. Simply said, for the same – or slightly more – money, there are many better phones available, such as the Moto G8 and the Oppo A5 2020.
What will you see here?
Price and Availability of Oppo A15
The Oppo A15 has started getting available in the United Kingdom on November 26, 2020, for £119.
This is the cheapest phone the Chinese maker has produced in the West, priced far lower than the Oppo A53 and the Oppo A72. When you add in the Oppo A9 2020 and the Oppo A5 2020, it’s been a busy year for this dependable brand’s budget range.
The Oppo A15, on the other hand, finds itself in a precariously narrow sub-section of the cheap market, where essential price reduction might cripple a phone. Phones like the Nokia 3.4 and the Alcatel 3L have made comparable difficult sacrifices to achieve their sub-£130 price tag, with variable outcomes.
Design of Oppo A15
There’s no getting around the reality that the Oppo A15 is a low-cost phone. Its all-plastic design is virtually entirely devoid of ornamentation.
The device’s back is a basically featureless expanse of plastic that is glossy right up to the point where it will be coated with greasy fingerprints. The square camera module inside the top-left corner, encased by a faux-metal ring, will most likely catch your attention.
An actual fingerprint sensor is located just below this, indicating that this is not a high-end phone. It is, however, relatively quick and trustworthy, which is critical.
With all that plastic and a 7.9mm casing, you’d think the Oppo A15 would be a bit lightweight. However, at 175g, it is fairly heavy. That isn’t too hefty, but you’ll be aware that you’re carrying it.
By late 2021 standards, the bezels around the front are very thick. The phone’s chin and forehead, in particular, are bigger than we’ve become accustomed to. Meanwhile, the teardrop notch makes the phone appear antiquated at a time when hole-punch notches have become increasingly common in the budget segment.
The low-cost options continue when we move our focus to the phone’s bottom, where a micro-USB connector sits beside a 3.5mm headphone socket. While the similarly cost Alcatel 3L has a creaking micro-USB connector, the Nokia 3.4 tries to go full-on USB-C, proving that it is doable.
According to Kevin Cho, general director of Oppo Mobile UK, the Oppo A15 was “built with customers’ online social and entertainment demands in mind,” which explains the inclusion of a huge 6.52-inch IPS LCD screen.
At 480nits, it’s pretty bright (for the price), and the colors are well-balanced. However, the screen’s sharpness does not benefit media content.
With a resolution of 720 x 1600, this is HD+/720p rather than the FHD+/1080p that most phones aim for. You won’t be able to stream Full HD video material natively here, and online content and photographs won’t stand out either, with a pixel density of just 269ppi.
With a conventional 60Hz output, there is no increased refresh rate. We wouldn’t anticipate greater refresh rates from such a low-cost phone, but we’ve started seeing 120Hz screens in phones under £200, such as the Poco X3 NFC, so it’s worth noting.
Of course, finding such a low-resolution monitor at this pricing isn’t rare. This specification is shared by the Alcatel 3L, Nokia 3.4, and Moto E7 Plus.
However, it does encourage you to propose that you examine phones a bit higher up the market if your budget allows you to get closer to the £200 threshold. When it relates to the screen, a little more money may get you a lot more bang for your dollars.
Cameras of Oppo A15
The Oppo A15 has an apparent triple camera configuration, which includes a primary 13-megapixel lens, a 2-megapixel macro, and a 2-megapixel depth sensor.
This is a standard cheap setup. Also, the inclusion of the low-megapixel macro is difficult to defend. Extreme close-ups are so blurry and unappealing that doubt many people would utilise the Macro option beyond their first attempt.
It’s worth noting that both the Nokia 3.4 and the Alcatel 3L include an ultra-wide lens. However, it’s fair to say that inexpensive ultra-wide are rarely really good. With that in mind, the case for a single, good wide lens is compelling at this end of the market.
In any case, the onus is entirely on that main sensor to work properly. Given the modest price tag, the results are just about satisfactory in normal, evenly illuminated settings. The images are well-balanced, with Oppo’s usual natural color science.
In terms of deeper inspection, we discovered that close-up portrait images, both in regular photography mode and in the specialised Portrait mode, failed to acquire our subject in complete focus.
In HDR scenarios, the camera also suffers, overexposing features such as the sky in the backdrop. Nonetheless, given the correct conditions, it is feasible to achieve beautiful, useful results in daylight.
Low-light photography, on either hand, is a complete waste of time. The inclusion of the specific Night mode here is doubtful because you don’t even get the forced brightness ramp-up found on somewhat more costly phones – just a lot of fog and noise.
The front-facing 5-megapixel selfie camera isn’t much better. Even with the Beauty slider, it smudges skin tones.
Specifications and Performance
We wouldn’t expect the Oppo A15 to be a standout performer at a price of £120. However, if there is a minimal quality that you would demand from a phone, the A15 falls short.
The problem is the modest MediaTek MT6765 CPU, which is supported by only 3GB of RAM.
Benchmarks, of course, do not reveal the entire picture, but they do offer a general idea of what to expect. And, indeed, using the Oppo A15 is a jerky experience, with slight but regular lags while switching between applications and scrolling across websites. Apps like Netflix can take a bit to open, and even Oppo’s own separate Settings menus take a beat to load.
Gaming on the Oppo A15 is possible, but not optimum. The graphics options in PUBG Mobile are limited to Balanced/Medium and even then, the gameplay is far from silky smooth. Even a simple, well-optimized game like Bullet Boy flickers when you play it.
Other than that, you get 32Gb of storage, which isn’t much when sub-£200 smartphones are starting to come with 128GB as standard. This may be expanded by up to 256GB via the integrated microSD card slot.
The Oppo A15 ships with ColorOS 7.2, which is a proprietary skin that runs on top of Android 10. It’s a relatively clean and fluid take on Google’s OS, although with colorful icons and a confusing menu system.
It may sometimes be irritating, such as the inability to delete programmes immediately from the main screen. Having to navigate through the Settings section to see your battery status percentage is a nagging annoyance for us as well.
Battery life of Oppo A15
The Oppo A15 comes with a 4,230mAh battery, which is sufficient for a phone at this price point. Given that little CPU, you’re hard to be engaging in hours of gaming, and even if you’re a true video-streaming junkie, the 720p output shouldn’t be too demanding.
With moderate use, you’ll be able to go through a whole day on a single battery charge, and potentially even a second. Media will deplete your battery capacity, but not by as much as you may imagine.
Recharging takes a while using the included 10W charger and the creaking micro USB port. In our experience, going from 17% to 91% took 90 minutes, whereas a short 30-min top-up starting low only resulted in a 27% boost.
Oppo unveiled an ultra-affordable smartphone, the Oppo A15, towards the close of an extremely busy 2020. It’s a decent effort with a wide display and steady battery life, but a slew of sacrifices. After including poor performance, a low-resolution display, and a mediocre camera – reduce the sensation that you’re getting a good deal.