Vivo has been among the more differentiated of the Chinese manufacturers that have entered India recently. Vivo is offering everything from budget smartphones to top-tier devices.
Vivo V1 Max
Vivo V1 Max is a mid-range phone that looks a lot like the flagship Vivo X5 Max. The only notable difference is the speaker placement. Vivo has tried its best to make this device look totally upmarket given the extreme competition in this space. Chinese rivals like Gionee, Oppo, Xiaomi and OnePlus are staking claim to this place and there is always Motorola with its own solid offerings.
Here is our review:
Specs: 5.5-inch (720x1280p, ~267 ppi) LCD display | Octa-core 1.36 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor | 2GB RAM | 16GB storage (expandable up to 32GB) | 13MP rear camera + 5MP front | Li-Ion 2720 mAh battery | Android Kitkat OS
Price: Rs 21,980
What is good?
The moment you hold the device, you will feel its build quality which is all about premium. The metal and plastic blends nicely and this is unique among the Chinese smartphone makers.
The second good thing about the device is the display. Though the 720p IPS LCD panel on a 5.5-inch screen won’t return any staggering pixel density, in practicality the colours are very nice and warm to look at. The auto brightness setting of the device works excellently and the night mode, which turns the whole screen into an ambient display showing notifications and time, is rare among smartphones.
The camera is another piece of mastery in this device. I used the primary camera at a recent product launch event to tweet out pictures and despite the challenging lighting the phone handled it really well. Landscapes, pets, birds, automobiles, this camera can take any type of picture effortlessly.
Performance and battery life is another good aspect of the phone. During my two-week testing pahse, the phone never crashed or even stuttered. Even while gaming the device handled everything smoothly. The battery lasted well past a day. The phone really covers up everything.
What is not good?
My biggest problem is with the software. Something as simple as taking a screenshot needs you to swipe from the bottom, click on S Capture and select rectangular and then drag and select the screenshot area. Aren’t smart phones meant to be smart? This one is way too complicated.
The phone comes with dual speakers and they don’t really sound good. The sound is tinny and I often found my hands covering up the speaker grills.
No doubt the camera is good, but the software is not a great companion. Even basic settings like ISO are not user accessible which is a big let down for me. Vivo’s own Night Mode failed to produce good result at low light.
Hat Tip: Use HDR mode at night to lighten up your subject.
Another problem is the way camera lens is placed. Its placed right where your fingers may come when you try to grip the device.
Should you buy?
Vivo has tried to build a genuinely good smartphone, but it falls short of achieving that. For the asking price, the competition includes newly announced Moto X Play and ever reliable OnePlus One. Moto X Play offers full HD display and practical design. It also offers comparatively decent camera and pure Android experience.