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Review: Vivo V5s

The Breakdown

7.3
Recommended for Selfie Addicts only
Design
7.0
Display
6.0
Performance
6.5
Camera
8.0
Software
7.5
Battery
9.0
Pros
Great Battery Backup, Front Camera
Cons
Display and overall Performance

The V5s is the third device featuring the 20MP Moonlight Selfie Camera from Vivo, who intendeds to impress the selfie lovers. The device is officially available for ₹18,990, and yet even in mid-2017 it runs on Android Marshmallow. Along with a year old OS, the device runs on a MediaTek chipset. I have been using the device for more than ten days as a primary device, and here’s how it fares!

Design:

The Vivo V5s closely follows the design cues of the Vivo V5 Plus (Review), and it actually looks quite impressive. The faux-metal finish at the back feels solid, though it isn’t anywhere close to the metal of the V5 Plus. There are minor differences like the absence of dual front cameras on the V5s. It is actually difficult to differentiate between the V5 Plus and V5s when kept side by side.

The fingerprint scanner is located on the front, while the speaker, micro USB connector and 3.5mm jack are on the bottom. The power button and volume rockers on the left side while the right houses the dual SIM slot. At 7.6mm it is definitely not a thin phone, but the 154gms weight is very comfortable as it doesnt feel to light or too heavy. I would have definitely preferred smaller chins and bezels like the V5 Plus. The Vivo logo is located along the back along with iPhone inspired antenna lines.

Overall it’s a good design. We’ve seen better in this range and the faux plastic just doesn’t feel good. In this segment, the  Moto G5 Plus has an Aluminium back panel while the Redmi Note 4 is made of complete metal chassis. The Vivo V5s has been launched in Matte Black and Crown Gold options.

Display:

The Vivo V5s features a 5.5-inch HD (720×1280 pixels) IPS display with 2.5D curved-edge Gorilla Glass for protection, and a density of 267ppi. The screen is ample bright, but lacks crispness. The pixel density seems low, and you can often see pixels with the nakes eyes. Even the resolution is mere 720P. Every other device now a days in this segment comes with a 1080p one.

Though as far as contrast and saturation are concerned, the panel does a very good job. The device has an inbuilt ‘Eye Protection’ mode which decreases white light and can be customised for timing. The LCD Panel is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3 which has almost become an Industry standard as of now. Overall, we would have loved to see a crispier display.

Performance:

Under the hood, the Vivo V5s is powered by an octa-core MediaTek MT6750 SoC coupled with 4GB of RAM. To recall, the Vivo V5 is powered the same processor. The V5s has 64GB of storage that’s expandable using a microSD card (up to 256GB) in the hybrid dual-SIM slot. A MediaTek SoC is disappointing at this price point given the fact that majority of the other competing devices run on Snapdragon chipsets.

The phone has a dedicated AK4375 audio DAC which improves sound quality, according to the company. Connectivity options on the Vivo V5s include 4G VoLTE, Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi ac, and GPS. Sensors include an accelerometer, an ambient light sensor, a digital compass, a proximity sensor, and a virtual gyroscope.

We did not encounter any sluggishness in day to day usage, though the device does seem to choke up opening some heavy apps like Snapchat and even Messenger often lagged. RAM Management definitely isn’t as good as it is on the V5 Plus while the chipset seems to choke on medium to heavy tasks. Heavy games like World of Tanks takes some considerable amount of time to load, though the frame rates are decent, thanks to a 720p display. Also, I never encountered intensive heating, and the device simply becomes a little warm on heavy usage or charging.

Even though I would have loved to see a Qualcomm chipset, the MediaTek one doesn’t seem to disappoint and gets the job done.

Software:

The Vivo V5s 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. We did not see any pre-installed bloatware on board, though review unit we received had been wiped once before.

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. The experience is good, but not the best. The same UI seems a lot more polished or well optimised on the V5 Plus. Though, the software is quick and intuitive and works well under regular usage.

There are some interesting touches software from Vivo in like the App Clone feature, which lets users create a second instance of any app. Notably, users can use the two app instances to log into different accounts., with Whatsapp, Line, BBM, WeChat, Zalo, and Viber currently supported. Vivo has tried integrating split-screen multitasking with what it calls Smart Split 2.0. The feature basically lets you run two apps simultaneously, and currently supports limited apps including Facebook, the default messages app, WeChat, Whatsapp, YouTube, VLC for Android devices, and MX player.

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 V5s 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.

Camera:

The Vivo V5s smartphone’s biggest highlight is its 20-megapixel front camera, which fares well in all kinds of situations. Selfies taken in broad daylight or with sufficient light manage to show good amount of detail and proper colours. The ones taken in low light are also sufficiently good given the fact that the front flash is used. You can always touch up your shots with the Face Beauty Mode 6.0. There’s a group selfie mode that lets you take panoramic shots. We have no complains with the front camera.

The 13-megapixel rear camera on the Vivo V5s impressed us as well. It’s quick with focusing, and manages to capture some good detailed shots. The colour  saturation and contrast are decent, though the pictures often lack sharpness. In low light, the shots are pretty disappointing with fair amount of noise and distortion. The flash doesn’t do much justice to the sensor.  The V5s can record videos at 1080p and the quality is good.

Camera Samples:

Battery:

The phone packs a non-removable 3000mAh battery which sufficiently lasts a day. Even with heavy usage and data switch on all the time, it easily lasts me a whole day. The stand by time is also amazing. The V5s is a true sibling of the V5 Plus as far as the battery is concerned. We found that the V5s took slightly less than 90 minutes to charge fully from zero, which isn’t bad at all, considering fast charging support is not listed as one of the features. The device also supports VoLTE, so all you Data hungry folks, will not be disappointing because you can keep your internet switch on forever.

Verdict:

The device is hard for us to recommend. Even though it has a good design, it lacks appeal, the performance is decent, but gets botched up at high usage and the competition offers better while the display is a huge disappointment. At the given price point of ₹18,990, the Redmi Note 4 or Moto G5 Plus are better in every aspect except for the front camera. This is where the V5s has a niche. If you are a selfie addict, this device is for you, otherwise we’d recommend you to go for something else.

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