Review: Vivo V5 Plus
Vivo indeed seems to be a winner these days. It has defeated Xiaomi in its home market and after sticking to budget smartphones for long, and has now begun to introduce interesting mid-range devices in India. After the Vivo V5 with its 20-megapixel front camera, the V5 Plus with dual front-facing cameras is the newest member to join the family. The dual-camera setup allows users to add effects to their photos, such as bokeh.
The phone is officially launched at ₹27,980 which came in as a surprise. The device looks almost like an iPhone clone and carries a pretty hefty price tag in the name of premium. Vivo hasn’t been known to create mid-range device and given the price, it directly competes with the OnePlus 3, which obviously has a lot more brand value than Vivo. But surprisingly, my opinion has changed completely about the device.
Vivo is trying hard to be Apple, and seems to have taken inspiration from the Apple iPhone 7 for the Vivo V5 Plus. If you hide the Apple and Vivo logos from the back of the iPhone 7 and V5 Plus, it will be difficult to tell the difference at first glance.
The unibody metallic device looks very premium and the impressive build quality is very apparent.The antennae lines are very slick and the device is very comfortable to hold. On the front, you have the display covered with 2.5D curved glass, with Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection. Above the display, you have the dual-camera setup, earpiece and the ‘moonlight glow’ LED lamp for low-light selfies.
Below the display, you have the physical home button embedded with fingerprint sensor and the capacitive buttons for app switcher and back on either side. Talking about port placement, the left side has the dual nano-SIM tray, while the right side has the volume rocker and power button. The 3.5mm audio socket is at the bottom along with microUSB port for charging and data transfers.
The Vivo V5 Plus sports a 5.5-inch Full HD LCD display with 1920 x 1080 resolution. The curved display is gorgeous and clearly one of the highlights of the device. It’s sharp and crisp, and offers vibrant colors and great viewing angles too. I had no problems with its brightness levels and the display was readable in direct sunlight.
Indoors, text looked pretty sharp considering that the display tops out at 401 PPI and the same can be said for images. The display seems to be well made and showcased colours with some added saturation. There is also a “Eye Protection” mode that can be switch on to reduce white light, and can be ideally used in the dark. Overall, I don’t see anything missing out here.
Powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 octa-core processor clocked at 2.0Ghz with Adreno 506 GPU and 4GB RAM, the Vivo V5 Plus performs very well. The chipset has proven to be one of the best mid-range chipsets out there currently, offering the right balance of power and efficiency. I have hardly encountered any lags or stutters even during heavy usage. Graphic intensive games too run smooth. I must say, Vivo has done a splendid job with the hardware – software integration, very similar to iOS.
Together with 4GB of RAM and proper software optimizations, the V5 Plus runs very smoothly, even with many apps running in the background. You get 64GB of onboard storage, out of which around 50GB is user accessible, and it should be enough to install plenty of apps, as well as storing lots of media. Sadly, an expandable storage option isn’t available.
Vivo is also pitching the V5 Plus as a music-centric smartphone. It has the AK4376 Hi-Fi audio chip for improved audio output, and it doesn’t disappoint. You need to enable Hi-Fi mode from the setting to actually use the audio chip. Third party apps like Gaana and SoundCloud can be used with Hi-Fi while Apple Music did not. I’m suspecting app issue.
The Vivo V5 Plus runs Funtouch OS 3.0 based on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, similar to a lot of custom UIs from Chinese OEMs with no app drawer and multiple home screens. The smartphone comes with pre-installed apps such as the UC Browser, Amazon app and WPS Office, and fortunately, they can be uninstalled.
It is a complete rip-off of iOS. Right from the icons to the settings menu to the quick toggles. Many actually thought that I have an iPhone to the resembling external design and software. Though, the UI is very neat. Like I said earlier, the experience is top-notch. In fact, there are a lot of added cool features that you’ll appreciate.
There’s a system wide search feature, not unlike a certain Spotlight. It can look into your contacts, messages, apps, and settings – provided, of course, you tick the appropriate boxes in its own settings. The vivo V5 Plus comes with extensive gesture and motion functionality, found in settings under Smart motion. Air operation can show you a quick glance screen with clock and notifications upon a wave above the proximity sensor, while a second wave will wake the device.
There’s also a one-handed mode for easier operation, which shrinks the UI to one of the lower corners. It’s activated in the original Samsung way – swiping in from one of the edges and back out. There’s also a Phone Manager that allows you to clean the phone as well as manage memory, battery, apps, and privacy options.
Of course, the highlight of the Vivo V5 Plus is the dual camera setup on the front. While the Vivo V5 had a 20MP front shooter, the stakes are higher now with a 20MP module and an 8MP module. The former has a Sony IMX376 sensor with f/2.0 aperture, while the latter captures depth-of-field information. The depth data makes a world of a difference and is able to smartly identify the subject and blur just the background. In fact, the camera was smart enough to select two subjects and keep them in focus while the background gets blurred, which is pretty impressive for a selfie camera.
The front camera manages to capture impressive selfies outdoors. There are rich details and the color reproduction is brilliant in good light. For low-light conditions, the V5 Plus offers a ‘Moonlight Glow’ flash we saw in the V5 previously. Unlike traditional flash filling the subject with light, Moonlight Glow lights up the face naturally. Again, it’s not a gimmick, and works rather nicely.
The V5 Plus comes with a 16-megapixel rear camera of aperture f/2.0 with support for phase detection auto-focus (PDAF). Focusing is quick and photo quality is pretty good. The camera app interface is quite neat too. On the top you have the toggle switch for LED flash, followed by HDR toggle, live filters, and camera settings. The rear camera too is very good, and clicks sharp images with perfectly saturated colors.
Overall, the device has a stunning camera combination, the device live’s upto it’s claim of ‘Perfecr Selfie’.
The smartphone is powered by a 3,160mAh battery, along with ‘Dual Charging Engine’ technology for fast charging. It takes about 90 minutes to charge it from 0-100 percent. Even charging for 30 minutes takes the battery close to 50 percent. The Snapdragon 625 SoC and optimizations from Vivo with its FunTouch OS ensure good battery life. During my usage, the phone would easily last me for about 36 hours between charges. In terms of screen-on-time, I got close to seven hours with about 10 percent still remaining on the battery.
Even with very heavy usage, the device is sure to last a full day. The device also supports VoLTE, so all you Data hungry folks, will not be disappointing because you can keep your internet switch on forever.
Like I said in the beginning, the price of ₹27,980 may seem high at first, and OnePlus 3 is definitely the phone that comes in mind, but do not underestimate this device. Even though the company’s marketing focus has been on the Selfie Camera with Moonlight Flash, the device is an excellent all rounder. The design, display, performance and even software is very well built. In fact, there is nothing to complain about except for the missing SD card slot and lack of NFC. Both, that can be easily lived without. Sure, Performance wise the competing OnePlus 3 is way superior, but then the V5 Plus covers up with it’s excellent camera setup. It all comes down to your usage, though I would anytime recommend the Vivo V5 Plus!