If you were thinking that OPPO had a phone positioned at virtually every single price point then you’d be right. A few months ago we reviewed the A54 5G and the A74 5G, priced at $399 and $449 respectively. Since then they have launched another mid-range phone, clocking in at the next price point above these — problem being that there is already an OPPO mid-ranger here, more on that below.
At $599 the OPPO A94 5G is still priced well within the mid-range, these days you could argue it sits at the lower end of mid-range still. OPPO sent us an A94 5G to see what we thought of it compared to the A54 5G and A74 5G.
Comparing the A94 5G to its closest OPPO rival, the A74 shows that the phones are extremely similar. The A94 is slightly smaller with a slightly smaller display (6.43in compared to 6.5in) but the difference is in the display itself. The A94 comes equipped with a Super AMOLED display which in real world situations offers a much more pleasing experience on the eye.
The A94 comes with a Mediatek chipset, which is the octa-core MT6853 Dimensity 800U 5G and arguably a lot better than the Snapdragon 480 5G in the A74. The RAM also gets a bump, up to 8GB from 6GB but the storage is the same at 128GB but there is support for a microSD card if you need more than 128GB.
The camera setup is virtually identical to that in the A74, which is a little disappointing because although it performs well for its price point you would expect a bump in the camera specs given the bump in the price.
The A94 also offers a slightly smaller battery at 4,310mAh compared to 5,000mAh in the A74 but the big difference here is that the A94 comes equipped with support for OPPO’s 30W VOOC flash charging. It would have been nice to see their 65W trickle down to this level but when hitting a price point something has to give I suppose.
The design — same but different
The A94 does not differ from the A-series design language — not one iota. It effectively looks exactly the same, although the camera island does look slightly different in the way its cameras are arranged.
This time OPPO has included the fingerprint sensor under the display instead of being incorporated into the power button which is a more premium solution. The result is a much faster and reliable fingerprint sensor — this I have no doubt contributes a lot to the increase in price.
The OPPO A94 5G is available in Fluid Black only and although the name of the colour is fluid black I’d go as far as to say it’s more like a fluid grey where it starts out as a light grey finish at the top of the phone and progresses to a much darker grey at the bottom of the phone. Either way it’s a decent looking phone which does not look cheap but instead looks well made.
The camera — more of the same
As mentioned above the A94 5G offers the same rear camera makeup as the A74 %g, which is camera module housing a 48MP wide main camera, an 8MP ultrawide camera and two 2MP cameras (macro and depth).
As you would expect the results are clearly the same as for the A74 5G. The pictures are good but not great. Don’t expect the high-level imaging you see in OPPO’s flagships but at this price that’d be Earth-shattering.
OPPO save their higher end performance for their Find series — we’ll call it the premium series although the Find X3 Lite comes in at a tick under $600 itself. It makes you wonder why the Find X3 Lite can house a 64MP lens to go with the 8MP and two x 2MP cameras in the rear camera module at the same price. The Find X3 Lite also has a 32MP selfie camera compared to the 16MP in the A94 5G.
Software + Performance — much better
Just last week I was lamenting certain parts of my experiences with ColorOS. Although ColorOS has improved remarkably over the last few years there are still a few things that irk me. One of them though they seem to have fixed — on the A94 5G at least — Android Auto.
Late last year OPPO broke Android Auto on their phones when they updated them to Android 11 so that Android Auto was unresponsive while the ambient display was on or the screen darkening (just before it turns off to the ambient display). Not anymore. With the A94 5G OPPO have fixed this issue and if they are listening to me, which is highly unlikely, OPPO should start rolling this out to ALL of their current Android 11 devices before people start giving them the flick. Android Auto, including wireless Android Auto, now works seamlessly, no matter what status your display is in.
The displaying of Home controls on the power menu still doesn’t work but unfortunately with OPPO it seems we just can’t have everything — maybe next update?
The rest of the OS skin is the same as in the other A-series phone with the usual great software tweaks that are designed to make your life and controlling your smartphone easier — and in my opinion, they certainly do. There are numerous tweaks they offer that I wish all manufacturers offered — but then we can’t have everything can we?
The skin, powered by the Mediatek chipset is fast and reliable and I did not see any slowdowns at all. Sure, it doesn’t have the speed of the ultra-premium smartphones but for your average person you really aren’t going to notice that.
Battery life — better than average
Although there is not much around at the moment for me to stream to really push the battery life on the A94 I did manage to drive it with a fair bit of YouTube and more and came off impressed. Although it lacks quite the length of the battery in the A74 5G it more than easily lasted a day with me getting home from work with over 40% of battery life still available. Anything over 20% I consider great.
Remember though, if you do run low you have access (assuming you took your charger) to 30W VOOC charging to quickly top up the battery. Plug it in for 20-30minutes for over 50% extra — enough to last close to a day.
Even with 5G the A94 5G offered all day battery life and until we get that big leap to over two days that is good enough. It’s easier to charge it overnight while sleeping than having to plug it in during the day.
Should you buy the OPPO A94 5G?
The OPPO A94 5G offers a lot in comparison to its A-Series stablemates, however there is an elephant in the OPPO room — the OPPO Find X3 Lite 5G.
Priced at the same $599 price point as the A94 5G, the Find X3 Lite 5G has a more premium look and feel as well as an improved main camera, Qualcomm processor, faster charging (65W SuperVOOC 2.0) and a display with higher refresh 90Hz refresh rate. There are small bonuses with the A94 sporting a slightly brighter Super AMOLED display, but it’s a difficult sell in the face of this competition.
Customers looking to renew, or start a contract with Telstra are likely the target market for the OPPO A94 5G. Telstra are currently offering the A94 5G on 12 or 24 month contract, as well as giving the option to purchase outright, while the Find X3 Lite can only be found on Optus or purchased outright.
If you can afford to purchase the mid-range phone outright I’d say skip looking at this phone and go straight to the Find X3 series. If you are looking to grab the phone on a plan from Telstra I can recommend it — it’s a good phone and works well without any issues. The camera is decent, and the software is good too. Battery life and charging are good but not great.
You can pick up the OPPO A94 5G from Telstra for a tick under $50 a month for 12 months or just under $25 a month over two years (obviously). Don’t buy it outright if that is your plan.