Camera, build, conclusion
Despite not being in the “selfie-expert” category, OPPO’s R9s actually sports formidable selfie camera specifications. It’s got a 16-megapixel f/2.0 aperture camera in front that takes pretty detailed high-resolution images.
Over on the Samsung camp, the Galaxy A5 also comes with a 16-megapixel selfie camera but it comes with a slightly faster f/1.9 aperture lens instead. Here’s a simple comparison I threw together of the selfie shooters. Both were taken at pretty much the same time, from roughly the same angle in exactly the same lighting. (click to view the full resolution)
Samsung Galaxy A5:
Keep in mind these are just two photos. I do intend to do a full test of the selfie camera before giving you any concrete judgement on performance.
On to the back camera, OPPO is really pushing the capabilities of their new 16-megapixel Dual PDAF f/1.7 aperture primary camera this time. While, again, we haven’t had the chance to really shoot with it in a variety of situations, our initial impressions are rather positive.
The dual PDAF is certainly fast to focus, which is a stark — almost jarring — contrast to the slow (and sometimes inaccurate) focusing of the Galaxy A5’s camera.
Although Samsung’s Galaxy A5 has a 16-megapixel f/1.9 aperture camera, it just doesn’t feel satisfying to use. It’s slow to focus and often inaccurate to lock onto subjects. Things fall apart even further in low light as the lack of optical image stabilisation seems to hurt his phone a lot.
Still, these are my initial impressions and I intend to test the smartphone a little more before giving you my final answer on how good the camera is. For now, I’ll leave you with a quick photo comparison between the R9s and Galaxy A5 shot in identical conditions. (click to view the full resolution)
Samsung Galaxy A5:
If I had to pick an aspect that both these phones excel at, it would be their build qualities. OPPO’s R9s is by far the most refined smartphone we’ve ever seen from them with a nice metal build, slim profile and a beautifully anodised finish on the all-metal body. OPPO has even tried to hide the the antenna bands by opting for six super-thin lines instead of two thick ones, and it looks pretty good.
Samsung’s Galaxy A5, on the other hand, reminds me of a flagship Galaxy S7 when it comes to build quality. The glass and metal finish is exquisite, and I particularly like the black metal rails compared to the silver ones on the S7. It hides the antenna lines better, and I think it also makes the smartphone look sleeker. You’ll also find a nice curved back for better grip in hand.
What’s more, the Galaxy A5 is also IP68 water resistant, so you won’t have to worry about dunking it in water, which is great. Although the R9s isn’t water resistant, both smartphones are winners here when it comes to build quality. I doubt you’ll be disappointed with either.
Are either of these devices for you? Well, I think we’ve laid out a pretty comprehensive list of pros and cons for both smartphones so you’ll be able to pick the one that aligns better with what you need from a device.
Are either of these devices great value-for-money? Well, that depends on what you value. For the RM1,699 that you’ll be paying for the Galaxy A5 and the RM1,798 you’ll be paying for the R9s, you would probably be able to find a phone with better on-paper specifications. But those phones will probably lack some features that these phones have too.
When you’re buying a smartphone like this from large smartphone manufacturers like Samsung and OPPO, you’re also not just paying for the handset itself. You’re paying for the brand — and all the prestige or whatever that comes with it — as well as the after-sales service.
Does that make it worth it for you? Well, I think that’s something only you can answer. Which would you pick? Let us know in the comments below.