Almost all of OPPO’s smartphones are touted as having great front cameras for beautiful selfies. The F1s certainly lived up to those expectations in our review, as it managed to take high quality selfies, even in low light conditions. OPPO has another selfie smartphone in their lineup, the 5.2 inch A39. It’s smaller, and cheaper than the F1s; though it instead has a 5 MP front camera, compared to the 16 MP shooter on the aforementioned F1s. Can it still take good selfies? And more importantly, will it perform just as well? Here’s our review of the OPPO A39.
OPPO A39 specs:
- Processor: Mediatek MT6750 Octa-core 64-bit
- RAM: 3GB
- ROM: 32GB / MicroSD (Expandable up to 128GB)
- Display: 5.2 inches IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 720 x 1280 pixels (282 ppi)
- GPU: Mali-T860MP2
- Front Camera: 5 MP
- Rear Camera: 13 MP, autofocus, LED flash
- Battery: 2900 mAh (non-removable)
- Network / Wireless Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth v4.0
- SIM: Single SIM (Nano-SIM) or Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)
- Connectivity: MicroUSB v2.0
- OS: Android Lollipop 5.1 with ColorOS 3.0
- Protection: Corning Gorilla Glass 4 2.5D
- Dimensions: 149.1 x 72.9 x 7.65 mm
- Weight: 147 grams
- Colors: Gold, Rose Gold
Design and Feel
From the back, the OPPO A39 looks almost exactly like the F1s, in that they share the same iPhone stylings that can be found in almost all OPPO smartphones. Though it’s slightly smaller, as it has a 5.2” display, and it feels just a tad less premium; the back might not be fully-metal like the F1s.
The front is also identical to the F1s, they both have the same front camera placements, and both have a 2.5D Gorilla Glass 4 for display protection. Though the A39 differs in that it loses the rectangular home button/fingerprint sensor; replacing it are three capacitive buttons for home, recent apps, and back. The said capacitive buttons are not backlit, which isn’t optimal for first-time users.
At the A39’s right side is the dual-SIM and microSD card tray, along with the power button.
At the left side are the volume rockers.
And at the bottom are the speakers, the headphone jack, and the micro-USB slot.
The OPPO A39 feels fine overall, and it looks nice too, especially if you’re a fan of the OPPO F1s design (or OPPO/Apple designs in general). Though it would’ve been better if the front capacitive buttons are backlit.
Display and Sound
The A39 has a 5.2” 720p display, which has 282 pixels-per-inch. For a 5.2” display budget/midrange smartphone, a 720p resolution is still common, as only a few phones in the said price range are made with a 1080p resolution. And for the A39, 720p isn’t a problem; the display is still clear, colors are reproduced well, and it gets bright even under bright lights.
As for the A39’s audio, the speakers are of decent quality, though far from the best. It gets loud enough for light video watching, and doesn’t get distorted too much when near max volume. Its placement isn’t the best though, as it can easily be blocked when playing games. Output from the headphone jack meanwhile, is similar to the F1s, in that the bass is a bit too boomy which is a result of the Dirac HD Sound feature. Turning it off makes for a more balanced sound, but bassheads might like it. Dirac HD Sound can be tweaked or turned off form the A39’s music app, and not from the settings app.
UI and Performance
OPPO’s A39 runs on ColorOS 3.0, based on Android 5.1 Lollipop. Yes, the software is a few years behind, and there’s still no news on whether the A39 will get a Marshmallow update. Android enthusiasts will surely be disappointed in this regard, but for users who don’t really use features from Marshmallow (or Nougat for that matter), ColorOS 3.0 wouldn’t be a problem.
A good thing about ColorOS though is that it’s not heavy on the phone. Because of this, A39 performs well for day-to-day tasks such as social media and chat applications. And since the phone has 3GB of RAM, multitasking doesn’t slow down the A39 much, if at all. For games, the A39 is also rather good. Asphalt 8 for example, can run on the highest settings fluently; Real Racing 3 is very much playable; and less-demanding games like Candy Crush will have no problems running.
For benchmarks, the OPPO A39 got a 41281 score at AnTuTu. It might not be the highest at its price point, but the score is as expected.
The OPPO A39 is packed with a 13 MP rear camera, and a 5 MP selfie shooter. The rear camera produces shots that are of good enough quality, much like the F1s.
(Left: HDR off | Right: HDR on)
In the outdoors with great lighting, the A39 can take great shots. The camera app’s HDR is quite useful in making photos appear brighter (see the image above).
For indoor photos, the A39’s shots are clear, with just a tad bit of grain. Provided of course, that there is ample lighting.
Indoor shots taken when lights are dimmer appear grainier, and there’s a noticeable lack of sharpness.
The A39 won’t do miracles in low light conditions. Though for photos like the one above, only flagship smartphones can manage to take them well.
For selfies, the 5 MP shooter is surprisingly good, compared to other phones in the price range. Selfies have good colors and details, and are social media ready. And of course, the camera app has the usual OPPO Beautify feature, which can be adjusted from levels 1-8.
Though the 5 MP camera shows some weaknesses in lower light conditions, as selfies appear a bit soft and blurry.
In typical OPPO fashion, the A39 has a good selfie shooter, which is surprising considering it’s only has a 5 MP sensor. Rear camera performance meanwhile, is pretty similar to the F1s, in that outdoor shots are great, while indoors and low light photos are just decent.
The A39’s 2900mAh battery enables it to last for around a day. Though with extremely heavy use, it would be better to bring a power bank with you. On medium use, expect the phone to have around 30% (more or less) by the end of the day. Charging is not the fastest, as it takes around 2 and ½ hours to fully charge.
OPPO’s A39 is a capable smartphone; it performs smoothly in day-to-day use, and it can run games well enough for some light gaming sessions. It also looks nice, provided you don’t dislike the iPhone-style design. And finally, the cameras are good, with the front shooter producing great selfies.
One of the main drawbacks of the A39 though is ColorOS, as Lollipop is quite the outdated OS now; several phones are actually being given Nougat updates now. Another is the lack of backlighting on the capacitive buttons, considering that the button markings are hard to see when lights are dim.
Throughout the review, we’ve continually compared the A39 with the F1s; that’s because the A39 is like a slightly smaller version of the F1s, as they look alike, and they have almost the exact same specs. Though the F1s has a fingerprint scanner, backlit capacitive buttons, and an even better front camera. If you can spare a bit more cash, the F1s is gives a more compelling package. If not, then the A39 is still a great buy, especially at its new SRP of PHP9,990 (it was priced at PHP10,990 previously).