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OPPO A9 2020 unboxing and first impressions: a promising phone that’s priced on the higher side

OPPO recently launched its mid-range A9 in India, which flaunted a waterdrop notch screen, MediaTek Helio P70 processor and dual rear cameras as its highlights. The company has now gone ahead and launched the A9 2020 in the country, which is a massive upgrade to its predecessor. The number of cameras have been doubled on the latest launch, along with an upgrade to the overall spec sheet. I received the smartphone recently and here’s my initial impressions of the OPPO A9 2020.

Let’s get the unboxing out of the way first. The OPPO A9 2020 comes in the same white cardboard box that OPPO is known for. As you lift the lid of the packaging, you will find a cardboard sheath containing the documentation, SIM ejector tool and a clear protecttive case. OPPO has pre-applied a screen protector on the smartphone, so props for that. You will find the phone lying atop the wall charger, USB Type-C cable, and a pair of earphones (props for that too). This is all there is to the packaging, so let’s move on to the smartphone.

OPPO A9 2020 seems to be borrowing its design cues from the Reno lineup, as you get a similar build and gradient finish on the back panel. However, the material used this time around is polycarbonate and as expected, it’s a smudge magnet and I would suggest slapping the provided protective case on. You will find three cameras in an oblong camera module and a fourth one with the LED flash right beside it. Below the camera setup is a pill-shaped fingerprint scanner, which was fast and accurate but due to smaller size was hard to locate at times. The fact that it’s not recessed enough isn’t ideal either. There’s a face unlock feature as well for security, which was also pretty fast and accurate in my experience.

Other design elements include volume buttons with the ejectable SIM card tray on the left, and the power button with a green highlight on the right. The top edge is bare while the bottom is home to a 3.5mm audio interface, USB-C port and speaker grille.

On the front, the OPPO A9 2020 features a 6.5-inch HD+ display panel with a resolution of 720 x 1,600 pixels and a screen-to-body ratio of 89 percent. The display features a waterdop notch with a slim slit for the earpiece. OPPO has equipped the latest launch with features like screen colour temperature adjustment, night shield and auto brightness. I found the screen to be sufficiently bright and punchy with good viewing angles. The brightness is also good enough that users can comfortably see the content on the display under direct sunlight.

As for the performance, the OPPO A9 2020 comes packing the Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 octa-core processor with 4GB/8GB of RAM. The onboard storage is 128GB, of which 104GB is available to the user and it can be further expanded up to 256GB using a microSD card. During my time with the phone, it rarely encountered a lag or hang despite heavily multitasking. The phone boots Android 9 Pie with ColorOS 6.0.1 on top, which has enough bloatware but thankfully most of it can be removed. Powering the device is a 5,000mAh battery, which also features reverse charging.

Coming to the quad camera module on the back, the setup comprises of a 48MP primary sensor, 8MP ultra-wide lens, 2MP depth sensor and a 2MP macro lens on the back. For selfies and video calling, the OPPO A9 2020 offers a 16MP sensor inside the waterdrop notch on the front. The camera app is loaded with features like night mode, panorama, expert, portrait, Dazzle colour, HDR and more. The shots taken using the rear cameras as well as the front selfie snapper were all pretty good, but I say this based on my initial usage.

The OPPO A9 2020 is an ambitious attempt by the brand, and is a solid offering under Rs 20,000. However, the device is positioned smack in the middle of the Redmi K20 and Realme XT (review), both of which offer superior cameras, design and spec sheets.

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