OPPO A74 Review
After releasing some of their latest high-tier smartphones this early 2021, OPPO seems to now be focusing on their more affordable A-series line that now includes the OPPO A74, which is the cheaper version of the OPPO A94. We’ve been using it for a few weeks now, and here’s all you need to know.
Design and Construction
The OPPO A74 sports a polycarbonate back with a curved-glass illusion, or what we like to call “glasstic.” It has a somewhat prism effect instead of a mirror-like style, and it feels sleek and light to hold. However, it is very prone to fingerprint smudges, so it’s best to use the free jelly case right away.
The unit we have is in color Midnight Blue, and it’s more of like a light summer blue that gradients with a hint of silver. The midnight blue tones show up when it hits direct light. The 4G variant, like the one we have, is also available in Prism Black if you’re interested.
Other things you’ll find at the back are its protruding camera module that houses its triple rear shooters and the LED flash, while on the lower part of the rear is the OPPO branding.
Located on the right side is the power button, while on the left are the volume rocker plus a triple card tray for two nano-sized SIM cards and a microSD card that’s expandable up to 256GB.
The buttons are firm and are well-positioned near the middle of the frame, so they’re easier to reach.
There’s nothing on top, but at the bottom are its 3.5mm audio jack, primary microphone, USB Type-C port, and a loudspeaker.
Display and Media
The OPPO A74 has a vibrant 6.43-inch AMOLED display, specifically with a 2400 x 1080px resolution and a pixel density of 409ppi. Similar to the OPPO A73, it has Gorilla Glass 3 for protection and a pre-installed screen protector on top.
Found on the upper left corner of the screen is its punch-hole notch; that’s not much of a distraction for us, while on top of that is the speakerphone. On the screen, you can also find its in-display fingerprint scanner, which is quite oddly placed lower than what we’re used to.
Quality-wise, as expected from an AMOLED display, we get punchy colors, deep blacks, great contrast, and nice viewing angles. But since this is the 4G variant, it doesn’t have a 90Hz refresh rate option; instead, we only get the standard 60Hz—which is honestly not that big of a deal unless it’s something you’re specifically looking for.
In the display settings, you can manage the screen color temperature, switch between the Gentle or Vivid color mode, and you can also turn on the low-brightness flicker-free eye comfort to reduce visual fatigue. There’s an Always-On display feature, but it’s pretty basic as it’s not as customizable as the one we’ve seen on the higher OPPO Find X3 Pro.
As for audio, the downward-firing loudspeaker can be loud enough for a small room with clear highs and mids but of course, expect it to lack some bass. If you want better audio quality, we still recommend connecting to an external speaker or headphones.
Moving to cameras, at the back, the OPPO A74 has a triple camera module consisting of a 48MP f/1.7 (wide), a 2MP f/2.4 (macro), and a 2MP f/2.4 (depth). Meanwhile, upfront is a 16MP f/2.4 selfie camera.
Quality-wise, using the standard mode gives you sharp and accurately colored shots with a very good dynamic range. To get more vibrant outputs, you can leave the AI mode turned on as it provides some subtle color boost to your photos. There’s no ultrawide mode available, but you can zoom in to 2x, 5x, and up to 10x.
Its macro mode can be a hit or miss, but it does a decent job. On the other hand, if you want to take advantage of its 48MP lens, then you can turn on the Extra HD mode under the More menu. Using it gives out almost the same quality as the standard mode, but with the added sharpness and details, of course. Portrait shots with the rear cameras look great with on-point subject-background separation in most of our use.
As for night photography, its dedicated night mode provides a small boost in brightness and details, but somehow the grain parts look more visible.
When it comes to selfies, it does a fair job. It has some tendency to get overexposed under direct sunlight, but once you get good lighting, selfies can look very well with great details and colors. The beauty mode is a lot adjustable if you’d like to use it.
For other features, there’s a panorama, pro, sticker, text scanner, time-lapse, and slo-mo.
When it comes to videos, you can shoot up to 1080p at 30fps, and the quality is pretty good under well-lit scenarios. You can toggle the zoom views on a single roll; however, it’s noticeable that it lacks some stabilization—which is quite expected for its price.
Software: OS, UI, and Apps
Software-wise, the OPPO A74 runs on Android 11 skinned with their own Color OS 11.1. We find it highly customizable and convenient.
Of course, there are some bloatware and a few pre-installed apps like the usual Google apps, Lazada, Facebook, Netflix, and even iQiyi that you can always remove if you’re not going to use them.
One of the things we really like about it is its enhanced dark mode theme. Besides the typical dark mode fill all over the interface, you can also choose how black you want it to be, either Enhanced, Medium, or Gentle style if you don’t like the full-blown dark mode. It also has a beta dark mode theme for apps that don’t have native dark modes like Lazada or LinkedIn.
Other notable features are the option to navigate with gestures, drawer home screen mode, app clone, digital wellbeing, and floating window for multitasking.
We get 128GB of internal storage, with a usable space of 101GB that you can easily expand via a microSD card.
Hardware: Performance and Benchmarks
Powering this device is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 662 processor paired with an Adreno 610 GPU and 6GB of RAM. Now the Snapdragon 662 was just released last year, and it is meant for lower mid-range phones like this OPPO A74. It performs well for basic activities like social media scrolling, taking photos, video streaming, and some light gaming. However, keeping a lot of apps running in the background can make it a bit sluggish, so make sure to remove them when not in use.
You can play heavy games, but be ready to experience some stutters every now and then. For smoother gameplay, we suggest using the Pro Game Mode in the Game Space app and switching the graphic settings to the lowest available.
Check out the benchmark scores we got:
• AnTuTu V8 – 173,534
• Geekbench – 306 (Single-Core), 1,042 (Multi-Core)
• PCMark – 5,379 (Work 2.0)
• 3D Mark – 1,142 (OpenGL), 381 (Vulkan)
• AndroBench – 508.39 MB/s (Read), 254.39 MB/s (Write)
Quickly on security, you can unlock the phone via the in-display fingerprint scanner, and the face unlock. Both work accurately, although we still find it odd when the fingerprint sensor is placed on the lower part of the display. There will really be times when you’ll have to adjust your finger to tap it.
Connectivity and Battery Life
As for connectivity, this OPPO A74 4G variant is equipped with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS, dual-SIM 4G LTE, screencast, and even FM Radio.
It packs a large 5000mAh battery with a 33W Flash Charge. And when we ran it through the PCMark’s battery test, it yielded a total of 20 hours and 37 minutes. Meanwhile, in our standard video loop test wherein we loop a 1080p video at 50% brightness, and volume with airplane mode turned on and earphones plugged in, the OPPO A74 got a complete 26 hours and 16 minutes.
For real-world usage, it will really depend on how much you use the phone. Nonetheless, with that massive battery and efficient cheapest, it can last you a whole day of continuous use even with minimal gaming.
Speaking of price, we’re now down to our final thoughts. The OPPO A74 has an official price of PHP 11,999. With this, you get that dashing AMOLED display, massive battery, deliverable performance, and decent camera capabilities.
On its own, it’s quite a well-rounded device for casual day-to-day use. There are better-performing smartphones out there if you’re willing to shed out PHP 1-2000 more, but I’d probably choose this over because of its outstanding display and battery life.
It also has a 5G variant that will be exclusively available at OPPO’s Lazada and Shopee official stores, as well as via Globe and Smart postpaid plan offerings if you’re interested.
OPPO A74 specs:
6.43-inch FHD+ Neo-Display AMOLED
Qualcomm Snapdragon 662
Adreno 610 GPU
Triple rear cameras:
• 48MP f/1.7 (wide)
• 2MP f/2.4 (macro)
• 2MP f/2.4 (depth)
16MP selfie camera
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, BDS
In-display fingerprint scanner
Dedicated SD Slot (up to 256GB)
3.5mm audio jack
Android 11 (Color OS 11.1)
5000mAh battery w/ 33W Flash Charge
160.3 x 73.8 x 7.95mm
Prism Black, Midnight Blue