The Oppo 74 5G contains more than just the new wireless standard than the LTE model. There is also a 90 Hertz display, NFC, an ultra-wide-angle, and a more robust chipset.
The Oppo A74 (review) was convincing, but there were some points of criticism. This is precisely what the manufacturer has now addressed in the more recent Oppo A74 5G and includes the Snapdragon 480 in the device. It not only brings the eponymous 5G radio standard with it but also more power. The manufacturer has also improved the camera, display, and, indirectly, the battery life – that sounds like the Oppo A74 5G is a real hit!
Little has changed in terms of design compared to the Oppo A74 (review). The overall depth of the smartphone is just 8 millimeters; 160 x 74 millimeters are comparatively handy for a modern smartphone. With a weight of just 175 grams, it is also surprisingly light. The manufacturer retains the plastic on the back, and those who like reflective backs will also get their money’s worth with the 5G model – fingerprints included. The finish, which is reflective depending on the incidence of light, has also been used again. Above all, the comparatively small camera unit has been subtly revised. An ultra-wide-angle lens has been added to the A74 5G.
Again, there is nothing wrong with the artistry. The transitions from the front to the back are sufficiently smooth; at best, the protective film applied to the factory screen is sharp-edged. It comes to the customer with enough narrow edges; only the “chin” is a bit too thick on the underside. The volume and power buttons are perfectly embedded in the frame and have excellent pressure points and crisp essential travel. The design of the power button is new. It now accepts a fingerprint sensor and no longer protrudes from the plastic frame, as in the 4G model, but is embedded in it.
There are also changes to the display. Instead of an OLED panel, the Oppo A74 5G “only” uses a 6.5-inch LCD panel with FHD resolution, which offers 90 instead of 60 Hertz. With the decent display quality, the Oppo mobile phone gets a real boost in performance because moving content appears more fluid than the 4G model. This applies to scrolling through menus or in the browser, for example. The brightness is not that high; we came to almost 500 candelas per square meter in the test. That is not bad and is enough to read content reasonably well outdoors, but the OLED screen of the sister model was brighter. On the other hand, the 5G model scores with a decent black level and contrast, even if neither, of course, comes close to the display brilliance of OLED.
And that’s not all: there are also innovations in the camera. This does not affect the primary camera, which is again equipped with 48 megapixels and f / 1.7 aperture, but rather the wide-angle added to the Oppo A74 5G. It offers 8 megapixels at f / 2.2 and allows the user to get more of the picture. The extra macro and depth sensors are once again part of the game, and the front camera with 16 megapixels is also included again.
As with the Oppo A74 (test report), the primary camera snaps surprisingly sharp images without 5G in its name, convincing image dynamics and color reproduction. The crisp shots look alive. Again, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that things are different when the light is fading. Here, as with the sibling model, the camera of the A74 5G only delivers class-typical blurring and image noise – good cell phone cameras that can cope with challenging lighting conditions are still not available for less than 200 euros. The slightly better performance of the 5G model in low light could be due to revised software, and recordings with digital zoom are also marginally better.
Optimistic about the new ultra-wide-angle: In contrast to the “normal” A74, Oppo installs one in the 5G model. This increases the photographer’s flexibility, who can get more of the picture from the exact location. Negative: In terms of quality, the built-in lens is only partially convincing. This cannot keep up with the primary lens in terms of image sharpness, and it also distorts at the edges. Image noise is also visible. Overall, however, the wide-angle lens is a welcome feature gain. For videos, 1080p / 30 is the limit; the quality is satisfactory. The Selfiecam takes attractive pictures without being a real highlight.
The Snapdragon 480 built into the Oppo A74 5G is more of an entry-level chipset, the Snapdragon 662 of the 4G mid-range model. Nevertheless, the more modern Snapdragon 480 beats its counterpart in all respects – not clearly, but theoretically both in CPU, GPU, and power consumption. It is all the more astonishing that the A74 5G gets a worse result in PCMark Work 3.0 with around 7000 points. On the other hand, the model with about 750 points in 3Dmark Wildlife is ahead of the 4G model, which only got 380 points. That fits with the general impression that the 5G model leaves behind. Overall, it looks a bit faster and more direct than its sister model. The A74 5G does not become a gaming monster either; at least the graphics have to be turned down when requesting titles. But simple games run flawlessly.
Otherwise, there are some similarities: 6 GB of RAM and an impressive 128 GB of internal memory are okay up to 300 euros, Wifi 5, Bluetooth 5.1, and a sufficiently fast fingerprint sensor are standard. Compared to the 4G model, there are 5G and NFC, so you can also pay with your smartphone. The mono speaker is designed for medium and higher tones and sounds a bit thin. Android 11 is installed, above it ColorOS 11.1. The security patch is from March 2021 and is therefore too old.
The Oppo A74 5G also has a 5000 mAh battery, but together with the more modern, more energy-saving chipset, the runtime increases slightly to around 14 hours in PCMark’s battery test at 60 Hertz for the display. At 90 Hertz, it drops by about 1.5 hours. The charging time is around 2 hours with the included 18-watt power supply – with the A74, it was 33 watts.
The Oppo A74 5G is available in black and silver; there are no other equipment options. The MSRP of the model is 299 euros; at the time of testing, the smartphone cost around 245 euros.
Overall, the Oppo A74 5G is better equipped than the Oppo A74, which has almost the same name (test report), but it also costs noticeably more. It is somewhat incomprehensible why the manufacturer does not prefer to give the two models better names because a different chipset, an extended camera, and a different display are too many differences for us to justify the almost identical name.
Either way: the 5G model is a perfect smartphone. The design is successful; the camera is decent for the price and has also been expanded to include the wide-angle sensor missing in the 4G model; the chipset is a bit faster, and 5G and NFC on board there is hardly anything to complain about. The price can once again be argued at Oppo. A Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 5G (test report) asks for similar features for less money, a Xiaomi Poco X3 Pro (test report) for the same money significantly more.