Realme 3 (slightly more powerful battery and higher-rated camera), and Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 (probably better than all others in every area, with a powerhouse of a battery, at 5000mAh).
The `10,000-smartphone segment in India is probably the most competitive in the world. There is little brand loyalty, and customers change brands as they would change shirts. To succeed, and remain in the consideration set of customers, a company not only needs a good product, but also an equally good communication strategy about its products. Now, as far as communication is concerned, few can do it better than Oppo—it is, after all, the sponsor of the Indian cricket team. But how good is its `10,000 smartphone?
The A1k is a 6.1-inch smartphone with a screen-to-body ratio of an impressive 87.43%. This has been achieved using a thin bezel, and the water-drop notch housing the front camera. The screen is made of Corning Gorilla Glass, making it somewhat resistant to unexpected drops. The phone gets a 4000mAh battery—pretty good for its performance—which easily lasts a day and a half of regular usage. From zero power it gets fully charged in about two hours. It has 2GB RAM and 32GB storage.
The unit weighs just 170gm, and in the box you get the handset, a charger, USB data cable, SIM ejector tool, and a transparent protective case. You don’t get earphones, which is now the norm in the entry-level smartphone segment. Its rear camera is rated at 8 mega-pixel, and the front at 5 mega-pixel. The rear camera is equipped with anti-vibration technology and that helps shoot some decent images, but the problem is that the camera takes it own sweet time to start (about two seconds), and so if you need to click something in a snap—like while shooting something from a moving car—you may just miss the opportunity. The front camera is great for selfies—it also has a bokeh effect (making the background blur) to make the subject (face) more prominent.
An impressive thing about the A1k is the multitasking option it offers—you can touch and hold the multitask button (the square to the left side of the home button) in an app to enter the split-screen mode, and then you can simultaneously work on two apps. There are other features such as face unlock, but like the camera, it also takes a couple of seconds to register your face and unlock the phone.
While the A1k is a decent unit made to a price, and with the overall usage you won’t have any performance issues, it doesn’t really come across as the best in its segment—populated by some impressive phones such as Redmi Note 7 (higher-rated camera and bigger screen), Nokia 5.1 Plus (smaller screen and less powerful battery, but higher-rated camera), Realme 3 (slightly more powerful battery and higher-rated camera), and Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 (probably better than all others in every area, with a powerhouse of a battery, at 5000mAh).