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OPPO A94 Unboxing, Review: Better Every Generation

by Duey Guison  March 26, 2021

Review Verdict: As a follow-up to last year’s A92, the OPPO A94 improves on some key features that include a better processor, faster wired charging speeds, and an AMOLED display. Despite a few compromises like returning to a mono speaker, the A94 still feels like a proper upgrade over its predecessor in the Philippines.

OPPO A94 Review Specs:

  • Helio P95 processor
  • 8GB RAM
  • 128GB storage
  • 6.43-inch Full HD+ AMOLED display, 20:9 aspect ratio
  • 48-megapixel f/1.7 main camera with PDAF, 8-megapixel f/2.2 ultra-wide-angle camera, 2-megapixel f/2.4 macro camera, 2-megapixel f/2.2 mono camera
  • 32-megapixel selfie camera
  • 4G, LTE
  • WiFi, Bluetooth 5.1, in-display fingerprint scanner
  • 4310mAh battery
  • 30w fast charging
  • Android 11, ColorOS 11.1

Pros

  • Helio P95 actually performs better than the Snapdragon 665
  • AMOLED display at last
  • Fast charging speeds

Cons

  • Back to a mono speaker
  • Smaller battery
  • Has to compete against a stacked mid-range segment

OPPO has been upgrading its A-series line for the past few years, and the A94 is the first phone in their particular lineup to sport an AMOLED display. Also known as the Reno5 F/Lite in other countries, is the A94 the best OPPO A-series phone to date?

Unboxing and Packaging Contents

This time around, OPPO went for a more minimalist approach for the A94’s box. The outer sleeve is bathed in OnePlus Nord-like turquoise green, and you get a stylized A branding on top and a simple OPPO A94 branding on the bottom. Upon closer inspection, there’s s tonal OPPO branding on the top right part of the box.

The main box, which is decked in black, contains the phone itself, documentation, silicone case, USB-C cable, headset, and a 30w VOOC charger–the latter being a first for the A-series.

Design

Compared to the A92’s Shining White color, the OPPO A94 Fantastic Purple color is more subtle, making it premium looking despite still using polycarbonate for both the frame and back panel, at least for the review unit we got in the Philippines. You get a bigger camera bump on the A94. The module is a bigger version of the one we saw on the Reno4 Z, with the LED flash placed outside the module and a stylized AI branding below the four cameras.

The A94 is thinner than the A92 because it uses a smaller battery (more on that later). As for the button and port layout, the A94 shares the same layout as its predecessor, with the exception of the power button–this time, the A94 now gets an in-display fingerprint scanner thanks to its upgrade to an AMOLED display.

Display and speakers

The biggest upgrade on the A94 compared to the A92 is its shift to an AMOLED panel. While it is a tinge smaller, the A94’s AMOLED panel showcased deeper blacks and more vibrant colors compared to the A92’s IPS panel. As an additional upgrade, the A94 comes with WideVine L1, which lets you enjoy your favorite Netflix shows in Full HD.

Since you are getting an AMOLED panel, the A94 now gets an in-display fingerprint scanner that works smoothly and accurately, along with an Always-On Display feature.

You still get a punch-hole on the A94, though the camera module this time is a higher-resolution 32-megapixel snapper. While the display is a definite upgrade, the A94 lacks the stereo speakers found on the A92 and A9 (2020). We definitely miss this feature–the A92 rocked really good stereo speakers–but the A94’s single speaker is decent for casual listening. Like the A92, you still get a headphone jack on the A94.

Camera

OPPO used the same rear camera setup found on the A9 (2020) and A92 with the A94. That being said, you still get a 48-megapixel main camera, an 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera, and a pair of 2-megapixel sensors.

Overall image quality is identical to the A92, though the A94 adds a few software tricks like Extra HD. That being said, the A94’s digital zoom is decent at 2x and usable at 5x, and colors appear to be more vibrant with the main camera VS the ultra-wide-angle camera regardless of lighting conditions.

As for videos, OPPO incorporated its Ultra Steady feature for more stabilized footage at Full HD (at the expense of a slight crop). You can still shoot videos at up to 4K (up to Full HD with the ultra-wide-angle camera), though Ultra Steady is very useful in keeping your footage as stable as possible.

You also get creative features like AI Color Portrait and Dual View video–the latter letting you use both the main rear camera and selfie snapper simultaneously.

Performance and Battery Life

After using the Snapdragon 665 on both the A9 (2020) and A92, OPPO shifts to an Helio P95 for the A94. While the Helio P95 uses a 12nm processor (vs 11nm on the Snapdragon 665), the Mediatek chip performed better in both synthetic benchmarks and games–and that’s despite still using the same 8GB RAM and 128GB internal storage configuration.

Compared to the Snapdragon 662, Snapdragon 460, and Helio G85, the Helio P95 and match and outperform them in GeekBench and PCMark Work.

When it comes to games, we’re happy to report that our GameBench results show that the A94 can handle Asphalt 9 properly at the maximum 30FPS with very minimal frame drops. If 60FPS gaming is your thing, the A94 can handle Wild Rift and Call of Duty Mobile even at the highest possible settings.

Compared to our stats with the A92, I noticed that I could not go beyond 30FPS on NBA 2K20–we manage to do around 42FPS on the basketball game with the A92 so it might be more of a chip optimization issue.

As for Genshin Impact, the A94 is good enough for the game, as I was hitting 29FPS with 90% stability while doing a few domain runs. I did notice the phone throttle a bit when I was doing co-op battles with my friends but other than that, the A94 does fine in running one of the most demanding mobile games out there.

Another compromise with the A94 compared to its predecessor is the smaller battery, which is at 4310mAh. Despite the smaller cell the A94 managed to do a little over 15 with PCMark’s battery endurance test, which is still decent. To make up for the battery, you get a fast 30w VOOC charging solution, which easily topped up the battery to 100% in just an hour.

Wrap up and Conclusions

Our OPPO A94 review for the Philippines shows that the brand is definitely keeping up the pace in upgrading its A-series to be better for every generation. The AMOLED display, processor upgrade, and better wired charging speeds make the A94 a vastly better offering than its predecessor.

However, its pricing would mean that the A94 has to contend against a stacked mid-range crowd that includes rivals offering a better set of specs for roughly the same price.

OPPO A94 Review Philippines Price

The A94 is priced at Php 13,999 and is available on OPPO’s official Shopee and Lazada stores as well as through OPPO concept stores and partner dealers nationwide.

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