An Underwhelming Phone | Oppo A18 REVIEW! [Part 1]


It’s like a game with good graphics but barely any game at all.

The Oppo A18. The most basic of all the A-series. It’s the third time we visited the series and the first time we got to hold something even more basic than the A57 or A58. In our press release, Oppo constantly brags about its “sunlight” display, like the A58. We already tested how absurdly bright the display is on the A58, can the A18 be on the same level?

Aside from that, there’s also the “Ultra Volume Mode” which compensates, supposedly, for its lack of stereo speakers. It has got a few similarities as well from the A58, including a similar “Oppo Glow” design and MediaTek Helio G85 chipset. However, this has lower RAM at 4GB and half the storage. That could be problematic especially if you’re gaming on a budget.

Roll spec sheet!

SPECS:

  • 6.56″ HD+ (1612x720px) IPS LCD, 90Hz refresh rate
  • MediaTek Helio G85 (12nm)
  • CAMERAS:
    • 8MP (Primary), f/2.0, 78┬░
    • 2MP (Secondary/Mono), f/2.4
    • FRONT: 5MP, f/2.2
  • ColorOS, Android 13
  • 5000mAh, 10W charging
  • USB-C, 3.5mm jack, MicroSD Card Slot, Virtual RAM, Side-mounted fingerprint scanner
  • 4G LTE, Dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.3 LE
  • Glowing Blue, Glowing Black
  • PRICE:
    • 4/64: PHP 5,999

DESIGN:

The phone comes in two colours: Glowing Black and Glowing Blue. Oppo must have known that we’re somehow getting tired of all the black and grey phones we’re getting so we got the blue one instead. Just like the A58, the A18 looks pretty even from a far view and the Oppo Glow design is remarkably one of the best design languages the company has to offer. It is beautiful, no matter the price range. Hopefully they don’t go overboard if they ever plan on making a new design language for the A-series.

The buttons are all located on one side, at the right. The power button also functions as a fingerprint scanner so it’s nice to have that included on this very basic phone. We like this way because you can put the phone flat on one side and it won’t rattle. We also have no problems to how high these are placed because you can still hold the phone and the volume rockers with one hand at the same time.

By the way, the phone does have a USB-C port, if you were wondering. It’s a USB-C 2.0 port which is the same type as the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus. It’s up to you to interpret what this means.

Oh, if you’re wondering why we put this section in our main review instead of At a Glance like we usually do, that’s because this is a phone that needs no teaser so we have decided that it’s best to do it here right away.

UNBOXING:

The unboxing experience is your usual affair. Not much to say here. It’s got that classic A-series box with a monochromatic look (the previous blue box was more outstanding honestly) and inside are your documentation, a SIM Ejector tool, a 10W charger and USB-C cable, a clear case, and the phone itself.

We noticed that the 10W charger is a lot smaller and a lot lighter than the 33W charger the A58 came with. There’s really nothing much in there than a board and a USB-A port to communicate with the phone. The cable is of the same width and length.

DISPLAY:

It’s pretty strange to see that this cheaper phone has a higher refresh rate than the A58. The A18 has an HD+ display with 90Hz refresh rate but the A58 has more resolution but it’s stuck at 60Hz. In this time and age, you can actually have both. Just look at Tecno for example.

While it is marketed as a “sunlight display”, it is dimmer than the A58 but it’s still visible enough out in the sun. Or at least, you can still partly tell what’s going on outside. The phone ran smoother with higher refresh rate at the cost of some power. We recommend turning this on always because the phone itself doesn’t exactly have the smoothest performance despite the optimized chipset.

It uses the boring waterdrop notch and a huge bottom chin. This display feels straight out of 2018 but somehow, it ended up in 2023. We’re not a huge fan of waterdrop notches but considering its cost, it’s understandable.

INTERFACE:

Companies like Realme and Xiaomi have a lighter version of their Android skin for their bottom-tier devices. However, Oppo is keen on keeping its default ColorOS even for phones priced at a sub-6K point. Like the A58, it’s saturated and full of bloatware. The App Market fills up of whatever is left of the 64GB storage of this phone. And because it’s so crammed, there’s very little space even for basic social media apps like Twitter and Facebook.

So, imagine that! We have to put games, photos and videos, and benchmarking tools here. We have to delete many of the apps after using it because of the lack of space. Although it has a MicroSD Card slot, it’s not that useful outside of photos, files, and videos but at least you have the option.

For some weird reason, our test unit has the tendency to open up the debug mode and it can be difficult to close it unless you restart the phone. It can appear out of nowhere and we have no idea what we did to activate it.

After one software update, the phone ran smoother and more comfortable, even at 60Hz refresh rate. It worked even more fluidly at 90Hz. Though it will still stutter at times, especially if the phone’s used for a very long time. Phones at these prices are not intended to last. It’s nice that it’s got software updates but remember those require space too.

And thus we end part one of our review of the Oppo A18. There is a single 8MP camera and there may not be a lot to say about it. We’ll let you know. Stay tuned!