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Oppo A53 Review: A budget smartphone for the binge-watcher in you

Is the Oppo A53 the best smartphone under Rs 15,000? Check our review to find out.

August 29, 2020 / 06:50 PM IST
Oppo A53 is the company's latest offering under the A-series for the Indian smartphone market. Priced under Rs 15,000, the budget smartphone goes against the likes of Redmi and Realme, which are quite popular in this segment, courtesy of the value-for-money offering. While the Oppo A53 may not be the champ in terms of on-paper specifications, the company has paid some attention to those tiny aspects that help improve the overall user experience. We have used the smartphone for a few days and in our Oppo A53 review, we will let you know if you should consider buying the smartphone under Rs 15,000.
Oppo A53 is the company's latest offering under the A-series for the Indian smartphone market. Priced under Rs 15,000, the budget smartphone goes against the likes of Redmi and Realme, which are quite popular in this segment, courtesy of the value-for-money offering. While the Oppo A53 may not be the champ in terms of on-paper specifications, the company has paid some attention to those tiny aspects that help improve the overall user experience. We have used the smartphone for a few days and in our Oppo A53 review, we will let you know if you should consider buying the smartphone under Rs 15,000.
 Oppo A53 review: Display  - Oppo A53 has a 6.5-inch HD+ LCD upfront. The screen has an average brightness of 480 nits, which is just good enough for outdoor conditions but you may want to keep it to full for a better viewing experience. Colours are well saturated and the temperature too is on the neutral side of the spectrum. The screen also refreshes 90 times per second, which means you will have a smooth experience while scrolling through your social feed or while playing games that support a high refresh rate. Oppo A53 is the most-affordable smartphone currently in the segment to offer a 90Hz display. The next-best offering is Realme 6 which starts at RS 13,999 at the time of writing this. You get an almost all-screen experience on the Oppo A53 with an 89.2 percent screen-to-body ratio and a punch-hole notch. The chin is reasonably thick compared to the sides and the top bezel.
Oppo A53 review: Display - Oppo A53 has a 6.5-inch HD+ LCD upfront. The screen has an average brightness of 480 nits, which is just good enough for outdoor conditions but you may want to keep it to full for a better viewing experience. Colours are well saturated and the temperature too is on the neutral side of the spectrum. The screen also refreshes 90 times per second, which means you will have a smooth experience while scrolling through your social feed or while playing games that support a high refresh rate. Oppo A53 is the most-affordable smartphone currently in the segment to offer a 90Hz display. The next-best offering is Realme 6 which starts at RS 13,999 at the time of writing this. You get an almost all-screen experience on the Oppo A53 with an 89.2 percent screen-to-body ratio and a punch-hole notch. The chin is reasonably thick compared to the sides and the top bezel.
Oppo A53 comes with a stereo-speaker setup wherein the earpiece doubles up as a secondary speaker. it is almost as loud as the bottom-firing speaker. This is quite rare in the segment and will certainly aid in a better audio-video experience while you are streaming content on your smartphone. Besides, a recent CMR report suggested that consumers are  more concerned about ‘audio quality’ , possibly driven by the additional time users are spending at home, seeking a more immersive entertainment experience. So if you are looking for a budget smartphone under Rs 15,000 with a stereo-speaker setup, the Oppo A53 should be your pick.
Oppo A53 comes with a stereo-speaker setup wherein the earpiece doubles up as a secondary speaker. it is almost as loud as the bottom-firing speaker. This is quite rare in the segment and will certainly aid in a better audio-video experience while you are streaming content on your smartphone. Besides, a recent CMR report suggested that consumers are more concerned about ‘audio quality’, possibly driven by the additional time users are spending at home, seeking a more immersive entertainment experience. So if you are looking for a budget smartphone under Rs 15,000 with a stereo-speaker setup, the Oppo A53 should be your pick.
 Oppo A53 review: Battery life -   Oppo A53 also has a massive 5,000 mAh battery packed inside that plastic body which is 8.4mm thin. Despite weighing 186 grams, Oppo A53 did not feel very heavy when in hand, which could be due to the curved plastic back that aided in a snug fit. The battery can easily last a day even with heavy usage that includes binge-watching shows or playing some games. You can also charge the phone from zero to 100 percent in roughly two hours via a USB Type-C port sandwiched between the 3.5mm audio jack and the speaker grille.
Oppo A53 review: Battery life -  Oppo A53 also has a massive 5,000 mAh battery packed inside that plastic body which is 8.4mm thin. Despite weighing 186 grams, Oppo A53 did not feel very heavy when in hand, which could be due to the curved plastic back that aided in a snug fit. The battery can easily last a day even with heavy usage that includes binge-watching shows or playing some games. You can also charge the phone from zero to 100 percent in roughly two hours via a USB Type-C port sandwiched between the 3.5mm audio jack and the speaker grille.
 Oppo A53 review: Design  - Coming back to the curved plastic back, the Oppo A53 has a glossy finish that reflects patterns and gradient colours when light is thrown at it. Oppo calls it a 3D Iridescent wave design. The back of this Fancy Blue colour option is quite friendly with fingerprint smudges and we would recommend slapping a case on to avoid cleaning the rear panel again and again. Another reason to use a case is to ensure that the marginally-bumpy camera module does not let the phone wobble on the camera.
Oppo A53 review: Design - Coming back to the curved plastic back, the Oppo A53 has a glossy finish that reflects patterns and gradient colours when light is thrown at it. Oppo calls it a 3D Iridescent wave design. The back of this Fancy Blue colour option is quite friendly with fingerprint smudges and we would recommend slapping a case on to avoid cleaning the rear panel again and again. Another reason to use a case is to ensure that the marginally-bumpy camera module does not let the phone wobble on the camera.
 Oppo A53 Review: Camera  - Oppo A53 has triple-camera setup on the back with a 13MP main camera sensor, a 2MP macro lens, and a 2MP depth sensor. For the price, the inclusion of an ultra-wide camera would have been great considering the competition offers it. Regardless, let's shoot directly at what we have with us.
Oppo A53 Review: Camera - Oppo A53 has triple-camera setup on the back with a 13MP main camera sensor, a 2MP macro lens, and a 2MP depth sensor. For the price, the inclusion of an ultra-wide camera would have been great considering the competition offers it. Regardless, let's shoot directly at what we have with us.
The camera app on Oppo A53 is quite similar to what you find on most smartphones. Right above the shutter button is an array of options like the Video mode, photo mode, portrait mode, and 'More' where you get more options like Macro, Expert mode, etc. Above the viewfinder is another row of features to enable or disable HDR, colour filters, and Oppo's Dazzle mode.
The camera app on Oppo A53 is quite similar to what you find on most smartphones. Right above the shutter button is an array of options like the Video mode, photo mode, portrait mode, and 'More' where you get more options like Macro, Expert mode, etc. Above the viewfinder is another row of features to enable or disable HDR, colour filters, and Oppo's Dazzle mode.
Oppo A53 clicks decent images with its 13MP main camera. Colours are well saturated but the overall image is a tad bit soft. Dynamic range too is average.
Oppo A53 clicks decent images with its 13MP main camera. Colours are well saturated but the overall image is a tad bit soft. Dynamic range too is average.
Another sample image shot using the Oppo A53. While the overall image is colour accurate, chances are you would notice some loss of detail when you zoom in.
Another sample image shot using the Oppo A53. While the overall image is colour accurate, chances are you would notice some loss of detail when you zoom in.
One more example of the 13MP main camera. Overall, the main camera shoots saturated images which are detailed enough for social media uploads. Pixel-peep and you might notice lack of detail.
One more example of the 13MP main camera. Overall, the main camera shoots saturated images which are detailed enough for social media uploads. Pixel-peep and you might notice lack of detail.
Camera performance is below average during the night as the phone does not have a dedicated night mode. We would not expect great results anyway from budget smartphones in the price range and this is the best we could get out of the Oppo A53's main camera in the night.
Camera performance is below average during the night as the phone does not have a dedicated night mode. We would not expect great results anyway from budget smartphones in the price range and this is the best we could get out of the Oppo A53's main camera in the night.
For selfies, you get a 16MP camera sensor housed inside the display punch-hole. Disable the beauty mode and you will get some detailed shots. The front camera does smoothen the skin a bit but overall the image is quite detailed.
For selfies, you get a 16MP camera sensor housed inside the display punch-hole. Disable the beauty mode and you will get some detailed shots. The front camera does smoothen the skin a bit but overall the image is quite detailed.
 Oppo A53 review: Performance  - Oppo A53 gets powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 460 processor, which is an entry-level chip. We played PUBG on this phone which supports Smooth graphics + High frame rate and Balanced + Medium at max. The latter setting introduced us to quite some lag and we switched to Smooth graphics for a slightly better gaming experience.
Oppo A53 review: Performance - Oppo A53 gets powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 460 processor, which is an entry-level chip. We played PUBG on this phone which supports Smooth graphics + High frame rate and Balanced + Medium at max. The latter setting introduced us to quite some lag and we switched to Smooth graphics for a slightly better gaming experience.
The processor is paired with 4GB (our review unit) and 6GB RAM options, coupled with up to 128GB internal memory. Apart from an occasional stutter, we did not experience any major issues while performing basic tasks like switching between apps or scrolling through the feed. To our surprise, the phone did not close many apps while they were running in the background as most of them opened where we left them. However, there was an instance where all other apps froze after we played PUBG. Android 10-based Color OS 7.2 comes with very few bloatware apps that can be useful to some. These include Amazon, Facebook, WPS office, etc.
The processor is paired with 4GB (our review unit) and 6GB RAM options, coupled with up to 128GB internal memory. Apart from an occasional stutter, we did not experience any major issues while performing basic tasks like switching between apps or scrolling through the feed. To our surprise, the phone did not close many apps while they were running in the background as most of them opened where we left them. However, there was an instance where all other apps froze after we played PUBG. Android 10-based Color OS 7.2 comes with very few bloatware apps that can be useful to some. These include Amazon, Facebook, WPS office, etc.
For securely unlocking the device, you get a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner that is very fast in detecting the finger and unlocking the device. As an alternative, Oppo A53 also has face unlock.
For securely unlocking the device, you get a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner that is very fast in detecting the finger and unlocking the device. As an alternative, Oppo A53 also has face unlock.
 Oppo A53 Review: Verdict  - Should you buy the Oppo A53 if you are looking for the best smartphone under Rs 15,000? We would recommend buying the Oppo A53 to the ones who consume content on their phones and want a big battery. The stereo-speaker setup, coupled with a tall 90Hz display, is a very good combination for the RS 12,990 price tag. The only area, we feel, where the Oppo A53 struggles is the processor. A faster 6-series chip or a MediaTek Helio G80/G90T processor could have made the Oppo A53 a far better value for money smartphone.
Oppo A53 Review: Verdict - Should you buy the Oppo A53 if you are looking for the best smartphone under Rs 15,000? We would recommend buying the Oppo A53 to the ones who consume content on their phones and want a big battery. The stereo-speaker setup, coupled with a tall 90Hz display, is a very good combination for the RS 12,990 price tag. The only area, we feel, where the Oppo A53 struggles is the processor. A faster 6-series chip or a MediaTek Helio G80/G90T processor could have made the Oppo A53 a far better value for money smartphone.
As an alternative, you can opt for the  Redmi Note 9 (review) . Redmi Note 9 starts at Rs 11,999 and gets good points for its big battery, decent display and an above-average performance unit. The camera too performs quite well in well-lit conditions but struggles a lot during the night.
As an alternative, you can opt for the Redmi Note 9 (review). Redmi Note 9 starts at Rs 11,999 and gets good points for its big battery, decent display and an above-average performance unit. The camera too performs quite well in well-lit conditions but struggles a lot during the night.
Another option to consider as an alternative is  Realme Narzo 10 (review) . The display is above-average but as an overall package, you get a decent processor, a capable camera system and an amazing battery life. The smartphone suits best for people who want maximum performance from a good-looking device within a budget.
Another option to consider as an alternative is Realme Narzo 10 (review). The display is above-average but as an overall package, you get a decent processor, a capable camera system and an amazing battery life. The smartphone suits best for people who want maximum performance from a good-looking device within a budget.
Pranav Hegde
first published: Aug 29, 2020 06:50 pm

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