At $328 this is definitely a budget model, but it feels pretty solid in the hand. For years I’ve struggled with trying to tell the difference between plastic and metal. These days plastics can look so similar you’d have to start scratching to be certain, and vendors tend not to like it when you do that to their products.
The case on this phone – I had the black finished model, but it’s also available in a gold finish – looks and feels like anodised aluminium. And it’s a sealed phone, too. You can’t remove the back to change the battery. So I would have been happy accepting it as metal. But I asked to be sure, and apparently it really is plastic. There is a metal chassis and I’m guessing no one will ever notice unless it gets smashed enough for the case to come apart.
But of course there must be savings somewhere. Underneath the Gorilla Glass, the 5.2 inch display sports HD resolution – 720 by 1280 pixels – not something higher. I’m not sure how much that matters unless you have really sharp eyes and read old fashion websites which don’t reformat for mobile screens. The WiFi conforms to the 802.11n standard and works only in the 2.4GHz band.
The Bluetooth does not support NFC (Near Field Communications), but it does support tethering so you can use the phone as an access point for other devices. The phone also works as a WiFi hot spot.
The phone runs a Qualcomm MSM8940 Octa-core processor (with 3GB of RAM). That processor is, according to the Internet, otherwise known as a Snapdragon 435 processor. According to the Qualcomm spec sheet, it supports Cat 7 data downloads up to 300 megabits per second, and Cat 13 uploads to 150Mbps.
The fingerprint feature worked properly with a couple of the banking apps I use. In addition, you can assign apps to particular fingers so that they start up automatically. I set my left thumb to invoke the camera app.
The screen delivered a colourful, bold and fairly high contrast picture, so there’s no fear that it would make things look cheap. Indeed it was pretty impressive.
All of which is me being picky about the camera in a phone which is a quarter of the price of the likes of Samsung Galaxy S8s and iPhones. In reality, the careful, thoughtful user should get respectable photos out of the Oppo A57 phone camera. And get respectable overall performance in most other ways as well.