The OPPO A94 5G is a smooth and powerful cheap smartphone, masquerading as a premium device aesthetically. The A94 5G is surprisingly powerful, smooth to the touch and perfectly capable of replacing a high-end smartphone, despite average camera quality, writes Zachariah Kelly.
OPPO A94 5G features and specs
Here’s what you can expect from the OPPO A94 5G:
- $599 RRP (Available from Telstra and select online retailers)
- 5G compatible
- 6.43 inch, AMOLED display at 60hz
- Available with 128GB storage capacity and 8GB RAM
- 4310mAh battery
- Mediatek MT6779V Helio P95 processor, PowerVR GM9446 GPU
- Fingerprint and facial recognition for unlocking
- Quad rear camera setup (48MP main, 8MP Ultrawide, 2MP Macro, 2MP Depth)
- Single 32MP selfie camera
- Night, panorama, portrait, time-lapse and slow-motion camera modes included
- Runs on ColorOS, based on Android 11
- Available in Black or Fantastic Purple (from some retailers)
- Includes a headphone jack
|OPPO A94 5G Pros||OPPO A94 5G Cons|
|Great performance||No IP rating|
|Long battery life||No wireless charging|
|Great display||Average camera performance|
Design and functionality
The OPPO A94 is a mid-range smartphone, sitting at the $599 price point but with the feel of a much more premium smartphone, despite the inclusion of a 60hz refresh rate. If it weren’t for this low refresh rate, this phone might be able to stand up to the OPPO Find X3 Lite, OPPO’s $749 smartphone, but for now it stands as one of the best devices of the lower-end of the mid-range phone catalogue.
Aesthetically, the phone doesn’t look over the top, but it follows OPPO’s phone chassis style, with its cameras in a protruding bump, and the OPPO logo on the lower-right side of the back. The AMOLED display is a nice touch as well, showing great colour depth. AMOLED is slowly becoming the new standard for smartphone displays, so it’s great to see cheaper phones use it. The two colours of this phone also look quite nice, with your choice of the suave Black or the extravagant Purple.
Size-wise, this phone fits into your hand nicely, with a transparent plastic case included in the box. It’s an easy device to hold, with buttons in reach of where your fingers would grip the phone. Fingerprint and facial recognition are quick to respond, with the fingerprint reader under the surface of the lower side of the screen, and the selfie camera located in the top-left corner of the screen.
I’m very impressed with the performance of the OPPO A94 5G. I’ve found its performance on par with the iPhone 11, which offers the same refresh rate and a similar performance in resource-demanding games like Call of Duty: Mobile and League of Legends: Wild Rift.
That should speak to the rest of the quality of this phone – if it can handle these heavy-duty games, then there’s not a lot the A94 can’t do. Every challenge I threw at this phone (from using it intensely on the go, to having multiple apps open at once, to simply scrolling through social media) it breezed through, and although it’d sometimes choke with the odd freeze when scrolling, this was ultimately quite rare. Put simply it feels high quality, and up to the OPPO standard.
Don’t take that as a guarantee if you want to compare it to a premium smartphone in 2021. It won’t hold a candle to the OPPO Find X3 Lite’s 90hz screen or the ASUS Zenfone 8’s 120hz screen, or the processing power of these two phones, but the A94 in no way offers bad performance.
Battery-wise, I managed to get a fully recharged battery from 2% to 100% in just an hour when using OPPO’s VOOC charger, which is included in the box. That is very impressive, especially considering the phone runs through a full battery with intermittent use over the course of two days. It takes about thirty minutes for the phone to drop by about 2%, and the phone uses a USB-C port to charge. A headphone jack is also included, which is always a nice touch.
The cameras on the OPPO A94 5G leave little to be desired. If you want to capture happy memories and photos of friends and family, the A94’s range of cameras will do generally well. OPPO’s camera operating system is very easy to use, although detailed portrait and macro shots do struggle slightly. Selfies are also a breeze, with a white light ring forming on the screen whenever you’re in a low light environment, using the phone’s brightness to lighten up the scene.
Colours are well shot on the OPPO A94 5G, and ultimately I had very little issues working the camera. OPPO gives you a fair amount of AI trickery to play with on the A94 5G, such as an easy to use AI beautification slider and an ‘AI scene enhancement’ button that does all the hard work for you. There’s also a Bokeh shot slider when using the cameras in portrait mode.
But this is where praise for the A94’s cameras run flat. Average photo performance isn’t a surprise to see at this price point, but the phone could do with some changes to its artificial depth technology. Blur was a persistent issue in several shots, both in macro and portrait photos, and the low-light technology was underwhelming.
Perhaps this isn’t the phone for the camera lover, but that’s fine, because the price and performance is easily the selling point.
Should I buy the OPPO A94 5G?
I recommend the OPPO A94 5G to anyone buying a smartphone on a budget. The A94 5G’s performance is deceptively powerful at its price point, capable of all the challenges presented to a modern smartphone, with the only downside being the camera performance.
At $599, the A94 5G takes on rival mid-range smartphones well. You can pick it up directly through Telstra (outright or on a plan) or through some select online retailers.
If you’d like to compare this smartphone to others in this price range, consider the more powerful OPPO Find X3 Lite (which started at $749, but now commonly retails for about $600), the Samsung Galaxy A52 ($599), or the Motorola Moto G 5G Plus ($499).
Consider the OPPO A94 5G if: You’re after a powerful mid-range smartphone.
Don’t consider the ROG Phone 5 if: You want a flagship phone in 2021 or above average camera performance.
Phone plans for the OPPO A94 5G
The OPPO A94 5G is available on a 12, 24 or 36-month phone plan from Telstra. Alternatively, you can purchase the A94 outright, although you’ll have to sign up for a Telstra upfront plan at the checkout. You can leave this plan at any time, however if you do, you’ll need to pay out the remaining phone cost in full. You can find Telstra Upfront plans below.
The following table shows selected published Telstra Upfront plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.
- Samsung releases the latest cheap A Series phone for under $400 — the Galaxy A22 5G
- Telstra now stocking cheap Nokia phones — the new Nokia C30 and Nokia G20
- Motorola launches new Edge 20 phone range
- Google announces the Pixel 5a 5G, a new mid-range smartphone
Product used for review/testing was a free sample provided by OPPO.