A low-cost 5G phone that’s perfectly adequate.
OPPO A94 5G review
The OPPO A94 5G isn’t going to blow your socks off, but for a 5G-capable phone it’s definitely an adequate and affordable option. Not too big, not too small, not too flashy, not too technologically advanced. It sits comfortably in the middle of midrange. That being said, it was launched the same time as its (cheaper) siblings - the A54 and the A74, and while they’re all decent Android phones, the A94 isn’t necessarily the frontrunner, despite its higher price.
OPPO A94 5G price
The OPPO A94 5G sails in at $599 for the 128GB model, and $348 for the 64GB model. Telstra offers the 128GB model, with options to purchase it outright, or on a plan. Of course, if you’re buying the OPPO A94 for its 5G capabilities, you’ll need a plan that gives you access to the 5G network:
Otherwise you can buy it outright from OPPO and pair it with a SIM-Only plan.
To compare, the OPPO A54 is available for $399, and the OPPO A74 is $449.
OPPO A94 5G design and display
The OPPO A94 has a 6.43-inch display and comes in a plastic Fantastic Purple or Fluid Black finish—the second of which looks gorgeous despite sounding like something you should talk to your doctor about.
Still, it’s a nice looking phone that’s a comfortable size for your hand. It's big, just not iPhone 13 Pro Max big.
There’s a plastic protective case in the box—as is the standard with low to midrange Androids these days—which cheapens the look, but out of the box the OPPO A94 looks slick and shiny. Shiny is usually an indication that it’ll attract fingerprints. And it does, particularly with the Fluid Black model.
Following the latest divisive trend in fingerprint ID, the sensor is found behind the display and isdesigned for your thumb rather than index finger. The downside to OPPO's implementation is that it’s also where the 'end call' button is when you’re on a call and I found myself accidentally hanging up on people when I was trying to unlock my screen. Unlike the Google Pixel 6, the A94 mercifully offers Face ID as an alternative, if that’s your preference (and in my experience, it probably will be).
You’ll find the 3.5mm headphone jack, USB-C charging port and speaker down the bottom of the OPPO A94 5G, with volume controls on the left side and the power button on the right.
OPPO A94 5G camera
The OPPO A94 5G boasts a 48MP main camera, 8MP wide-angle camera, 2MP macro lens and 16MP front camera - comparable to other phones in this price range and, in fact, the exact same as the OPPO A54 and A74. Video can record in (up to) 4K at 30fps.
I was pleasantly surprised with the camera capabilities and only really let down by the 10x digital zoom. It doesn’t give you a crisp picture when zoomed in that far by any stretch of the imagination (most of my zoomed photos looked more like abstract paintings a la Van Gogh) but it's not the worst example of a digital zoom. I snapped a blurry photo of an Azure Kingfisher hiding in the mangroves on one of my walks, which was cool, but it’s not going to win me any photography awards. The issue is, OPPO's website doesnt advertise any type of optical zoom at all which would be odd even at this price range.
Another funky feature is the Dual Screen Video function. You can record video using the front and back camera at the same time. Fun if you need to film something, and also your face, at the same time. Maybe your reaction when you find an Azure Kingfisher in the mangroves?
What I didn’t love was the default settings on the front camera for selfies. I couldn’t work out why my skin looked so… weird. With the rise and rise of filters permeating our social media, it still shocks me that phone cameras have airbrushing features built in now. But I want the choice, damnit. I felt uneasy that the default option was already applying an AI beautification filter. Likewise, portrait mode also airbrushes—sorry, ‘AI Beautifies’ you—as well as blurring your background and bringing you into focus.
The colours are sharp and bright though. The Night Vision mode is decent, and I managed to get a considerable difference in the quality of the poison ivy climbing in my dark bathroom. For posting pics on your Insta story, the OPPO A94 is perfectly adequate. However, there are other midrange phones that offer the same or better cameras.
OPPO A94 5G photo gallery
OPPO A94 5G features and performance
The OPPO A94 5G opts for a MediaTek Dimensity 800U chipset over the Snapdragon 580 5G chipset used by it’s A54 and A74 siblings.
It’s snappy and doesn’t lag and while I’m no avid gamer I did play a few casual rounds of Among Us and online Settlers of Catan with no issue. The phone kept up and felt zippy which is really all that matters for multiplayer mobile games that aren't big on graphics.
The screen looks vivid too, thanks to the AMOLED tech that the A94 uses.
OPPO A94 5G battery life
The OPPO A94's 5,000mAh battery easily lasts the day with medium use on the 4G network. Listening to Spotify, checking my emails, scrolling through Insta every now and then, watching Netflix and taking lots of photos saw the OPPO A94 last well into the evening and often overnight before it needed a charge. Being connected to 5G zaps its battery much faster, and if you’re a heavy social media user (or love gaming on your phone) you might find the battery doesn’t quite last the distance. But if you’re not planning on putting it through its paces, the battery will get you a day at minimum.
Lastly, there's no wireless charging in the A94 5G which isn't too surprising at this price range but still a bit disappointing (especially if you've already forked out for a Qi wireless charger).
Is the OPPO A94 5G worth it?
If you want a decent 5G phone at an affordable price? Sure. Is it your best option? Maybe not, especially when OPPO churn out plenty of decent midrange phones. While there isn't really anything wrong with the A94, there’s nothing especially remarkable about the A94 either, though that suits some people fine. If you have to choose though, our money is on the OPPO A74 for $499; you'll miss out on 32MP front-facing camera (the A74 has 16MP), the ability to record video in 4K, it's a slightly smaller battery and you'll have the Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 chipset rather than the MediaTek Helio of the A94, but unless all of those are worth $150 extra to you (and hey, they might be!) then we reckon the A74 might just squeeze ahead as the handset that's better value for money.