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Vivo V5 Review – Can the 20 megapixel selfie camera steal the moonlight?
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Vivo V5 Review – Can the 20 megapixel selfie camera steal the moonlight?

Overall Score3.5
  • Design
  • Build quality
  • Features
  • Performance
  • Value for money
  • Vivo V5 excels as an all-rounder that gets the job done.


Before I start the review, few things have to be mentioned upfront. There is a tendency to compare phones like Vivo V5 with online exclusive models which have considerably better specs. Yes, they do but then it’s an unfair comparison and biased against phone pitched primarily targeted at offline channels. The brick and motors channels incur more marketing and distribution costs and so its a different ball game to be balanced out there. The primary buyers in the stores are not going to compare it with specs to specs with online exclusive models and so even am not going to let that cloud my review either.

Now let’s say Hi5 with V5. Vivo has always taken pride of its HiFi audio fidelity in their devices but with V5 they have added camera to their core list. So there new tagline is ‘Camera & Music”. And the Vivo V5 gets a special focus on the selfie craze and delivers the world’s first Smartphone with 20-megapixel front camera with a moonlight flash. Does big megapixel necessarily deliver better selfies? we will talk about that in a while but let’s take one thing at a time and begin with the design first.

Design, Build and Design

  • Poly carbonate body
  • 5.5-inch IPS LCD display
  • 720 x 1280 pixel resolution
  • Corning Gorilla Glass (version unspecified)
  • 2.5D Curved glass
  • 153.8 x 75.5 x 7.6 mm
  • 154 grams
  • Colors: Crown gold, grey.

Its surprising that Vivo had opted for a polycarbonate body instead of metal or glass that is in vogue now but on the positive side, few times the phone fell from my hand there was no bump or cracks that a metal or glass body would have taken.  Aesthetically looking at, irrespective of the casing, it looks good. The V5 has the design flow and smoothness that is very familiar of its own other models and from the staples of the competition like the Oppo F1s.  Its a clean design with good ergonomics.

vivo_v5_rear

The sides are smooth and the edges gently curved, it gives a good feel when you hold it. There are two antenna strips on the top and bottom and the rear camera, LED flash and Vivo branding adoring it.

The bottom is bustling with speaker grille, microUSB port, microphone and a 3.5mm audio jack. The top is devoid of any ports.

vivo_v5_ports_bottom

The right side has the volume and power button, while the left side houses the ejectable pin tray. Vivo V5 is a dual-SIM 4G VoLTE phone that can also accommodate a microSD card.

vivo_v5_volume_power_buttons

Overall, I have no complaints on Vivo V5 design but yes, a metal  casing would have  been a more contemporary clothing. Amongst the rivals it is pitted against in the price segment in the offline models, only Gionee S6s has a fullHD display and like Oppo F1s , the Vivo V5 also contents with HD resolution.  In practical scenario, Vivo has done a rather fine job with its display. The display has a punch and the colors are well saturated with black rich. The touch sensitivity and responsiveness is very good, the viewing angles are great too!

vivo_v5The display setting has minimal controls and there is a blue filter like in most phone these days and Vivo calls it global eye protection ( a rather elaborate term!)

Software – The FunTouch UI

That it runs on Android Marshmallow is just for the fact but the FunTouch UI mashes up the Android like anything. The biggest unlearn-learn is getting used to the quick access settings which needs a swipe up from bottom of the screen or long pressing the menu button. Again the recent apps are nested in the control panel below and can the icons can be scrolled horizontally and swiped up to close the running apps.

The FunTouch OS has its own share of quirky features, my favourite being S-Capture which offers some awesome screenshot capabilities, gesture dial, some smart gesture options and a Smart click that allows you to turn the Volume down key to be assigned a task like opening an app or turning on flash light.

I have done a separate post on interesting features Vivo V5 has to offer and you can take a look at it, if you are interested. The Vivo inspite of the heavy customization doesn’t slow down the phone and manages to be nimble.

Read: Top Features of Vivo V5

Hardware and Performance

  • MediaTek MT6750 processor
  • 1.5GHz octa-core
  • 4GB RAM
  • Mali T860 GPU
  • 32GB storage / expandable
  • 4G VoLTE
  • 3000mAh battery
  • Sensors: Accelerometer, light, orientation,gyroscope, proximity, magnetic

Now we head to the crucial part of the review most would be interested – the performance. Let’s be honest, the hardware the Vivo V5 doesn’t excite me. It’s pretty old for my personal liking. But that doesn’t mean it would be a sluggish performer.

I been using the Vivo V5 as my primary device for more than 3 weeks now. For normal usage, the V5 works like charm. It can handle multi tasking and for most part due to the lack of one click to close all background apps, I end up using the phone with multiple apps running parallely and it managed to handle the load. The call quality is good and I really liked the keyboard spacing which was very convenient and smooth.

When it comes to gaming, it was not bad at all. I could run Asphalt 8 at the highest graphic settings, though for a keen gamer there will be slight frame rate drops but the bottom line, it was playable. So did NOVA 3. The hardware struggled though when I hit the dirt at Asphalt Xtreme game, the frame drop fared poorly and it was almost unplayable. So it was a mixed bag, barring few games, the Vivo V5 was able to play almost all games, heavy ones included but it also struggled with few selected games.

When it comes to audio, the V5 lives up to its reputation. Speaker position in many phones come in way of game play , but not in the case of V5. Plus, thanks to the AK4376 dedicated Hi-Fi audio chip the the audio output is brilliant. The Hi-Fi audio setting when you listed with earphones on makes for a great listen.

The fingerprint sensor of the Vivo V5 is one of the most reliable sensors I have come across and is also fastest. Apart from unlocking the phone, you can also secure apps with fingerprint sensor.

Battery is yet another star performer of V5, I was able to get 5 hours of screen on time and is commendable. On a medium usage with WiFi and dual SIM with a Jio 4G VoLTE on constantly, I could get a full day easily. A let down though is the lack of USB Type-C.

Vivo V5 camera

Front camera:

  • 20-megapixel
  • Sony IMX 376 sensor
  • F/2.0 aperture
  • 5P lens
  • 1080p videosta capability
  • Soft LED light
  • Face beauty mode 6.0

The star selling point of the Vivo V5 is its 20 megapixel front facing camera that comes equipped with a soft LED light. Unlike the standard flash that fires while shooting a pic, the moonlight flash (that’s what Vivo calls it) in auto mode turns on under low-light conditions as a soft light even before you click and stays on till you close the camera app. The light is not harsh and gives a natural glow to your face without straining eyes and gives a good highlight.

Since I started using the phone, I have got 3-4 updates and few have optimized the camera app settings. The selfies come out with great detailing , even when you zoom in you can get good details. For the selfie lovers who love ‘beautification’ , the face beauty mode 6.0 offers up to 100 levels and works neatly.  While Vivo has been pushing aggressively updates to the camera, the exposure level seems a bit off the mark. A manual t0uch on the right exposure area while clicking delivers a better exposure control than in auto. Vivo could fix it with a software udpate.

Rear camera:

  • 13-megapixel rear camera
  • PDAF
  • LED flash

Only very few front camera steal the limelight in camera phones where the rear almost always bag bigger mega pixel count but not in Vivo V5’s case. While it is out shadowed by the front camera, it does deliver decent output even though it is hit or miss at times.

Vivo V5 to buy or not?

Hi5 to V5 for:

  • Good display inspite of 720 pixels resolution
  • Finger print sensor is accurate and fast
  • Good battery life
  • Impressive audio output

The Vivo V5 is pitted against Oppo F1s and Gionee S6s, these trio of phones have selfie as the main selling point and almost look similar in design too. While each phone have their own strong points in the market position, the truth is none of them excel but are a step up from their respective previous offerings.  While the 20-megpixel front camera is the campaign star but it’s performance is not anything ground breaking, what Vivo V5 excels though is as an all-rounder with strong points I have listed above. It doesn’t excel in any particular parameter but it is over all a good phone for normal consumer.

0 14 December, 2016 Mobiles December 14, 2016

About the author

The man behind GingerChai Networks from Bangalore, India. His unconventional, non-geeky approach to gadgets and technology lead him to start TechRaman. When not dabbling with gadgets, he also reviews books and movies and drowns himself in cups of tea.

View all articles by Lakshmi Rajan

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