Vivo V15 Review: The selfie camera has been the central focus of Vivo and OPPO’s smartphone lineup. Both companies were the first to offer a bigger megapixel count on the selfie camera in India, and are now offering something entirely different. A selfie camera which ‘pops’ up or rises, when the user switches to this. This ‘pop-up’ selfie camera also allows these companies to go for a bezel-less display without the compromise of a notch.
Vivo’s latest offering is the mid-range V15 smartphone. It features the company’s signature pop-up selfie camera we got to see in the earlier Vivo Nex and Vivo V15 Pro. As of now, in this price segment, there is only one other smartphone with a pop-up selfie camera, which is the Oppo F11 Pro. You can read its review here.
Vivo V15 is priced at Rs 23,990 features a glass and plastic sandwich body design with a gradient paint job. With this device, the company aims to take on Samsung’s Galaxy A50, Oppo F11 Pro, Nokia 8.1 and more. Read our full review below to find out if the Vivo V15 is worth its price.
Vivo V15 specifications: 6.53-inch full HD+ 2340 x 1080 resolution display | MediaTek Helio P70 processor | Mali-G72 MP3 GPU | 6GB RAM + 64GB/128GB internal storage | expandable memory via dedicated microSD card slot (up to 256GB) | 24MP + 8MP + 5MP primary camera | 32MP secondary camera | 4,000mAh battery | FunTouch 9 based on Android 9.0 Pie
Vivo V15 price in India: Rs 23,990
Vivo V15 looks very appealing in its gradient coloured glass and plastic sandwich body. However, looks are not everything, considering at a similar price point you can get a smartphone with a glass body held together by a metal frame.
This is one of the few smartphones currently available with a truly bezel-less display thanks to its motorised pop-up selfie camera module. The overall feel of the device is similar to the company’s Vivo V15 Pro. If it was not for the capacitive fingerprint sensor on the back you wouldn’t realise which phone it is simply by looking. It is available in three colour options – Royal Blue, Frozen Black and Glamour Red.
I got the Glamour Red variant to review, which is rather blingy. I would have opted for the much more subtle Frozen Black variant.
Vivo has also packed a sturdy looking case with the device and you won’t feel the urgent need to replace it given it is not the cheap, basic plastic case that one usually gets. I dropped the phone twice with case and there was no major damage or scratches on the phone.
Unlike the Vivo V15 Pro, the V15 does not sport an OLED display on the front. Instead, it has an in-Cell LCD display with a resolution of 2340×1080 pixels. The display is really good and works perfectly fine in most lighting conditions. Colour reproduction is very accurate and the display is able to show bright and sharp images even under direct sunlight.
In daily usage, I did not experience any sort of lag on the device. The phone ran perfectly fine in terms of daily tasks like making calls, checking emails, clicking images, browsing the web and other tasks. The device does come with a lot of bloatware like NewsPoint, UC Browser, Gaana, Amazon and more. However, some of these apps did come in handy like Facebook, Gaana and Paytm. The touch response of the phone is smooth and responsive, without any noticeable lag.
In terms of gaming performance, light games like Temple Run and Crossy Chicken ran fine. But, when it came to heavy games like Asphalt 9: Legends and PUBG (PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds) Mobile, the story was a bit different. I first tried playing both games at high settings, and the frame drops and stutters were clearly evident. When I ran the games in their medium graphic settings, they ran fine with no major lags.
Vivo V15 sports a triple camera setup on the back consisting of a 24MP Dual Pixel primary sensor with an aperture of f/1.8 paired with an 8MP ultra wide sensor and a 5MP depth sensor. During our testing, I found that the rear camera took good shots in well-lit conditions both indoors and outdoors, the images came out vibrant and sharp.
In good lighting conditions, the device managed to capture a lot of details in the shot. It made the colours like orange and red pop a bit, however, that didn’t look unpleasing or oversaturated. Instead, it made them a bit more appealing to the eyes.
The device comes with a lot of camera features like a scanning mode, pro mode, scene selection, portrait lighting effects, HDR and more.
In terms of portrait shots, the device was able to capture the subject properly, with edge detection being almost on point. The device also offers consumers the ability to put live lighting effects in the portrait images for them to pop out a bit more.
The 32MP front camera is also quite good when it comes to taking selfies in good lighting conditions. The camera is able to take images that are sharp and colour accurate.
Battery life is an area, where the Vivo V15 was able to shine, it features a 4,000mAh battery with support for 18W fast charging. During our testing, the device was able to last approximately over two days on medium usage, whereas, while using the device heavily I got around one day worth of work from it on a single charge. The device can be fully charged from the 18W fast charger provided inside the box within 1.5 hours.
The first point I would like to raise here is that the Vivo V15 does not come with a face unlocking feature. The Vivo V15 Pro’s facial recognition is one of the fastest ones I have seen on any smartphone. This would not have been a problem if the device’s fingerprint sensor worked fine. The fingerprint sensor was a hit and miss sometimes working perfectly fine, while not responding at other times and failing to unlock the device.
Coming to the software, Vivo V15 runs the company’s own FunTouch 9 OS based on Google’s Android 9.0 Pie operating system. The OS has a pretty steep learning curve and takes a bit of time to get used too. The fact that there is no app drawer or that quick setting need to be pulled from the bottom of the display just does not seem right. However, if you have been using a Vivo smartphone for some time, there are not many changes that you need to worry about.
Another thing that grabbed my attention is that the device comes with a lot of pre-installed bloatware, most of which cannot be removed. It comes with a number of pre-installed apps like UC Browser, PhonePe and WPS Office. This makes the UI feel a bit cluttered and unmanageable. I personally wanted to put a launcher on the device to get an app drawer and have my apps managed a bit more systematically.
The device doesn’t come with Widevine L1 certification support, which means you won’t be able to watch full HD videos on paid OTT services like Netflix or Amazon Prime Video. The V15 Pro also doesn’t come with Widevine L1 certification support. For a device in this price range and with a full HD+ display, this is a big miss.
The rear camera did not perform so well while taking shots in low light conditions. The images taken with the device came out grainy and washed out in terms of the colours. At this price point, I have seen smartphones take much better images in low light.
Just like the rear camera module, the front camera also does not perform well in low light. Also stay away from the AI Beautification mode unless you want to have whiter skin than snow white.
In terms of hardware, I want to point out that the motorised pop-up camera does raise concerns about durability, and will need some extra care.
Vivo V15 is a mid-range smartphone that offers its users a lot of interesting features like a full-screen display and a motorised pop-up selfie camera. During the review period, I was impressed by many features of the device while at the same time let down by others.
Vivo does a good job with the design, the general performance of the device, camera usage and with the battery, which were all positives. However, the device’s gaming performance could be better and the low-light performance of the camera still leave much to be desired especially at this price. While Vivo V15 packs a lot of features, there other great smartphones that one could consider in a similar or slightly higher price point like the Nokia 8.1, Poco F1 and Oppo F11 Pro.