Hands on: Oppo A5 2020 Review

The Oppo A5 2020 is one of the main reasons a lot of people are likely to get better acquainted with Oppo in 2020.

First Impressions

The Oppo A5 2020 is just the kind of phone I end up recommending most often to friends. Its cost is low enough to make a SIM-free buy perfectly reasonable, it looks good and should have the CPU power, RAM and battery capacity to make use headache-free.

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £179
  • 6.5-inch 1600 x 720 pixel LCD screen
  • Snapdragon 665 CPU
  • 3GB RAM
  • 64GB storage
  • 12/8/2/2MP rear cameras
  • 8MP front camera
  • 5000mAh battery
  • Android 9 with ColosOS 6

The Oppo A5 2020 is one of the main reasons a lot of people are likely to get better acquainted with Oppo in 2020. Many have no experience with Oppo phones to date, but this brand is absolutely huge in countries like India and China.

Why? This phone is affordable, perfect for a SIM-free buy or a low-cost contract.

For £179 you get a lot of phone too. The Oppo A5 2020 has a huge battery, a large modern-looking screen, a processor from market leader Qualcomm and a rear camera array with both standard and ultra-wide views. It’s similar to the Oppo A9 2020, but costs a little less.

The Oppo A5 2020 sounds like a smart buy. We spent a day with it ahead of our full review to get an early insight into whether you should consider it.

Buy a budget phone and you have to weigh up the price against either the missing features, or the parts that just aren’t that good. This calculation is why I’ve been such a fan of the Moto G series since its launch in 2013. The bad and missing parts always made sense.

I’ll run you through the Oppo A5 2020’s lesser bits later on. But it is cold and wintery in Trusted Reviews’s HQ London so let’s start on a positive note with the good aspects.

Oppo seems to have followed a similar approach to Motorola and its G series. It has made sure the basics are sound.

You get 64GB storage, enough for a lot of games and photos, there’s a headphone jack and a fast fingerprint scanner sat in a handy position on the back. I used the £900 Samsung Galaxy A90 5G before the Oppo A5 2020, and its in-screen scanner is actually slower and less reliable than this “old” style pad.

The phone isn’t water resistant, but Oppo does supply you with all the protective bits you need. A plastic screen protector comes pre-applied and you get a no-nonsense silicone case in the box.

The Oppo A5 2020 also looks surprisingly similar to one of OnePlus’s phones. Its back is curved and there are no attempts to make it stand out with loud colours or finishes, but other elements could easily trick you into believing this is a higher-end phone.

It has a subtle teardrop notch, an 20:9 aspect screen and the display is massive for a budget Android at 6.5 inches. Once your eyes settle into the just-OK panel quality, Netflix movies and those long YouTube videos won’t look much worse than they would on a phone four times the price.

One day in, the Oppo A5 2020 seems to run perfectly well too. It has the Snapdragon 665 CPU and 3GB RAM, nowadays the least we like to see in an Android phone. I’ll test it out with high-end games and put it through the full Trusted Reviews test process ahead of the full review.

The battery is the part I’m most keen to check out, though. This is a 5000mAh cell. Not only is this a higher-capacity battery than many top-end phones, but it also doesn’t have to keep an ultra-powerful processor or extremely high-resolution screen going.

If Oppo has not messed this part up, the A5 2020 should be very easy to live with.

Some of you may be drawn to the phone for its cameras. There are four of them on the back, which seems ridiculous at £175, and one on the front.

Here’s where we get to the first of the Oppo A5 2020’s “bad” bits. Only two of the four cameras are particularly useful here. One is a 12-megapixel “normal” camera. The other is an 8-megapixel ultra-wide.

You have two real views with which you can shoot photos. The other two cameras? One is a depth sensor, the other a macro lens. Both have 2-megapixel sensors.

However, I’ve found they don’t do a great deal in previous Oppo cameras using the same setup. From a quick play I have found nothing different here. You can still take background blur “portrait” photos with the depth lens covered. And as both of these additional cameras are very low quality, the idea you can take quality macro images with the Oppo A5 2020 is optimistic.

Check back for the full review for the full verdict on image quality, video, and whether those macro and depth cameras really do more than they seem to.

Night photos are quite soft, but this is normal at the price

Here’s the wide angle view…


…versus the primary camera

There are two other major drawbacks to the Oppo A5 2020. It has a 720p screen and the back is plastic rather than glass. Do they matter?

At 6.5 inches you can tell the difference between 720p and 1080p. Text looks less sharp and, in a few third-party apps, kinda blocky. However, Android’s anti-aliasing makes fonts look soft rather than pixellated in most places.

The problem is you can now do better. Motorola’s G7 Plus cost £100 more than the Oppo A5 2020 at launch. But nowadays it’s almost the same cost online, and has a sharper (if smaller) 1080p screen.

Comparing new phones to one almost a year old that is effectively “on sale” is not entirely fair, and the Oppo A5 2020 does seem great value. But that only gets you so far when you reach the checkout, and the newer Moto G8 Plus is only a little more expensive.

Why might you still buy this Oppo instead? It has a much larger battery and a bigger screen. I’ll dig out any other less obvious benefits in our full review.

You may have noticed from the photos in this preview that the Oppo A5 2020’s software looks quite “square”. This is ColorOS 6, Oppo’s Android skin. Android 9 sits underneath, and it’s now a little out of date. Android 10 was released in September 2019.

The lag makes sense when you look a little closer and realise the Oppo A5 2020 was originally announced in September 2019 for other markets across the world, ones in which Oppo is already a household name.

Oppo A5 2020 – Early Verdict

The Oppo A5 2020 is just the kind of phone I end up recommending most often to friends. Its cost is low enough to make a SIM-free buy perfectly reasonable, it looks good and should have the CPU power, RAM and battery capacity to make use headache-free.

Come back for the full review to see if this early promise pans out. But don’t focus too much on the quad rear camera, as two of the four use very basic hardware and are unlikely to add too much to the phone’s real photographic power.

A ’hands on review’ is our first impression of a product only - it is not a full test and verdict. Our writer must have spent some time with the product to describe an early sense of what it’s like to use. We call these ‘hands on reviews’ to make them visible in search. However these are always unscored and don’t give recommendations. Read more about our reviews policy.

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