The days of shelling out a large sum of money to buy a smartphone that offers premium looks and performance are long gone. Manufacturers like OnePlus, Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo, etc are offering superior performance at significantly lower prices. These manufacturers tend to add their own USP to a smartphone, which you might not always get on an Apple or Samsung.
In Vivo’s case, it has launched a new mid-range premium device called V5 Plus with the highlight being a dual selfie camera. Vivo V5 Plus can be described as many things, but original. The phone borrows its design cues from multiple flagship devices, but clearly its major influence is the iPhone 7. But is this dual-selfie camera, iPhone-lookalike worth its price? Here’s our review
Watch: Vivo V5 Plus unboxing video
Specifications: 5.5-inch IPS LCD Display | Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor | 4GB RAM+ 64GB storage | 16MP rear camera with f/2.0 aperture | 20MP + 8MP front camera | Dual-SIM | Funtouch OS 3.0 | 3,160mAh battery with microUSB v2.0
Price: Rs 27,980
Vivo V5 Plus
Don’t get me wrong, copying what others have done right works in favour of the Vivo V5 Plus. There is an actual sense of premium quality in the device when you first hold it. I am personally a big fan of thin yet densely packed smartphones that feel absolutely solid to hold. Flipping the phone over, you realise the iPhone influence on this phone. It has a protruding camera lens, antenna bands on the top, all design traits from the iPhone 7.
The gold colour unit that I got looks pretty good, and the overall quality of the device feels nice. I do not usually sideline my iPhone 6 while I review a new device, but the V5 Plus had me reaching for it far less than any other smartphone. After a certain point, I ended up using the iPhone just to pick up calls on my main number, and nothing more.
Vivo V5 Plus does exactly what it says on the tin for the camera. The dual-front camera is capable of catching some truly amazing shots. As someone who does not take a lot of selfies, it was unusual how many times I ended up taking them with this smartphone. Images taken with the ‘bokeh’ effect also turned out to be better than expected, and it was a fun feature to play around with. But its not all perfect as I’ll discuss in the next part of my review.
The primary camera on the device is also extremely potent, and was able to capture some stunning day time pictures. There is a richness to the colour of the images, which might sometimes feel a little out of balance – but otherwise unnoticeable.
Personally, I thought the best part about the Vivo V5 Plus was the Funtouch OS 3.0. The main problem I have had with the Android OS in the past is that they look drab, but the Android-based Funtouch brings a vibrancy to the UI. Of course, Vivo’s UI is ‘inspired’ by Apple’s iOS; the square edged icons from Android are replaced by curved icons. Icons like ‘Settings’, ‘Phone’, ‘Clock’, ‘Music’, ‘Calculator’, ‘Recorder’ and ‘Notes’ are designed in the spitting image of iOS. Frankly I don’t think this is such a bad thing. Coming to performance, the Funtouch OS is very fluid and hasn’t lagged at all.
The 3160 mAh battery on the smartphone might not be the biggest in the market at the moment, but it gets the job done. My usage included calling, messaging, music, videos and photography everyday. V5 Plus easily lasted me one and a half days of use, which is more than enough considering 4G VoLTE was always turned on in this device. The phone will charge from 0-100 per cent in two hours straight.
Multi tasking on the V5 Plus has been a breeze and native apps are good enough that I did not really find the need to download third party apps for music or video. The single speaker on the bottom is plenty loud as well.
Last but not the least, I found the Super Saver mode a really useful feature at it saves your phone from dying, when you are critically low on power.
What’s not good?
Vivo V5 Plus’s lack of a physical slider/button to put the phone on silent, vibration or general is something I missed. This is not that big a deal, but if you are used to the system on other devices you really learn to use it often.
The bokeh mode on the selfie camera feels has its problems with the software. I noticed at times while my face was in focus, the edge of my glasses would be blurred. Over-exposure on some of the images is also an issue, resulting in extremely bright pictures even in moderately well lit conditions.
If you run a quick test on Antutu, you will find that the V5 Plus makes it to 51 ranking, one below the 2015 launched Samsung Galaxy Note 5. In fact it even features lower than much cheaper devices like the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 and LeEco Le 2. You can feel that the device is slightly underpowered, because it takes probably that extra second to open apps than what you’d expect at this price point.
Snapdragon 625 is nowhere a beast of a processor, and might be the biggest let down of the device. It will get the job done, but it surely not the most powerful, especially if you consider pricing.
I would say the Vivo V5 Plus phone is good for who are sick of the iPhone’s boring hardware (looking at the battery), and the blandness of Android devices. Vivo V5 Plus walks a thin line between both, but the problem is that it is little pricey at Rs 27,980. Again considering the Snapdragon 625, processor, people might consider sticking with OnePlus 3 or the Oneplus 3T, as an option, given they are both great devices. But for those want to try something new with their selfies, the Vivo V5 Plus is an option.