Vivo V5 Plus review: Engineered to win the selfie war

Vivo V5 Plus packs in the best selfie camera on a smartphone and is a good overall performer

Chinese tech giant Vivo is ready to give smartphone enthusiasts another round of selfie dose. The company today launched its latest mid-range flagship; the successor to V5- the V5 Plus in the Indian market and the handset will sell through retail stores across the country by February 1st and the pre-booking will start by tomoroow i.e. January 24th. Priced at Rs. 27,980, the handset steps up the selfie game by introducing the first of its kind dual-selfie camera on a smartphone, which is indeed the USP of the handset.

While the dual-selfie camera has some great advantages over the mono-lens setup and it could start a new trend in smartphone market, we know that it alone won't be enough to convince someone to shell out Rs. 28,000 for a smartphone.

SEE ALSO: Vivo V5 Plus with dual front-facing camera launched at Rs. 27,980, will be available from February 1

And that's where we come in to talk about smartphone's complete performance including multitasking, computing, software, battery and of course the camera abilities. So is Vivo V5 Plus really more than just a selfie smartphone? Let's find out.

Vivo V5 Plus review

Camera: It's the best selfie camera on a smartphone we have tested till date; however the rear camera has some flaws

Vivo V5 Plus is engineered to please selfie lovers and it gets the job done most of the times. The dual-selfie camera setup features a 20MP primary camera paired with an 8MP secondary camera that makes Vivo V5 Plus the first Android smartphone to capture selfies with 'Bokeh' effects.

This gives the smartphone an edge over myriad of Android handsets that can also capture good selfies but cannot match the likes of Vivo V5 Plus in terms of detailing and camera features. The camera uses Sony IMX376 image sensor that has an aperture size of f/2.0.

Vivo V5 Plus review

One of the two sensors captures the depth information to create Bokeh effect. You can control the aperture value in real time that goes from f/0.95 to f/16 to control the amount of depth and bokeh effect in selfies you capture. Besides, you can also set the point of focus after capturing a shot.

Vivo V5 Plus review

The dual-lens setup at front manages to capture a lot of detailing in good light and the added bokeh effect further enhances the selfies you capture. Besides, the HDR mode, face beauty and front LED flash light are also provided to add charm to images you capture.

While the selfies look vivid and bright, the front camera has the tendency to overexpose certain areas in the image, but it's manageable.

Vivo V5 Plus review

The 16MP rear camera is a good performer when the lighting conditions are favorable. The pictures come out to be lively with ample detailing and do not show pixilation even when you zoom in the captured images to maximum. However as the level of light drops, the noise becomes quite evident in the pictures you click.

We also compared the results of the 16MP camera to a number of smartphones in different price-ranges including OnePlus 3, Samsung Galaxy S7, Coolpad Cool 1 Dual, Samsung Galaxy S7, etc. and found that the colours tones captured by the rear camera are not similar to what they appear to our eyes in real life, but the level of detailing is appreciable.

Vivo V5 Plus review

Overall, Vivo V5 Plus packs in a decent rear camera and the best selfie camera on a smartphone today.

Vivo V5 Plus review

Design: Premium, ergonomic but lacks originality

It is a well accepted fact that most Chinese Android smartphones have started to look a lot like Apple iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S. Vivo V5 Plus also seems to be inspired from the Apple handsets, especially when you look the handset from the rear side.

Vivo V5 Plus review

The positioning of antenna bands at up and bottom of the rear panel reminds us of the recent Apple iPhone 7, and the placement of circular camera sensor that protrudes out a little gives the handset an iPhone 6/6s feel.

So, it's kind of a blend of both the iPhone generations, which turns out to be a good thing for Vivo V5 Plus because the handset look quite minimal and premium when seen from the rear side. Besides the camera sensor and an LED flash, Vivo branding is embossed in the middle.

Vivo V5 Plus review

Two touch capacitive are placed at the bottom of the screen at the either sides of the home button, which also serves as a fingerprint sensor. The home button is clickable but a tap on it also takes you to the home screen. The top of the display has the 20+8MP camera setup, light sensor and an LED flash light.

Vivo V5 Plus review

Vivo V5 feels quite comfortable to hold and is also easy to operate with one hand. This is due to the fact that the smartphone's weight is very well balanced and has well-rounded curves with rounded corners.

Ergonomics are further aided by right positioning of power button and volume rockers at the right side that offers a satisfying click. The SIM card tray is placed on the left side and the 3.5mm headphone jack is located at the bottom along with a mic, micro USB charging port and a speaker unit.

Vivo V5 Plus review

Display: Bright and vivid full HD screen with the latest Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection

Vivo V5 Plus sports a 5.5-inch screen with 1080p resolution. This is a significant upgrade over the previously launched Vivo V5, which was criticized for packing a lower 720p resolution display at Rs. 18,000 price-point.

The display on Vivo V5 Plus is fairly bright and offers vibrant colours. It also goes dim to the levels where you can use the handset comfortably in low-light conditions without straining your eyes.

The touch response is amazing and display settings also offer an eye protection mode that adjusts the screen colour to relieve visual fatigue. It can be switched on manually or you can also set a timer.

Another noteworthy feature after the dual-selfie camera is the 2.5D curved safety glass over the 5.5-inch display that protects it from accidental damages. The 5.5-inch full HD display on Vivo V5 Plus is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 5, which is comparatively stronger than the Gorilla glass 4 and will protect your smartphone if you fumble it while clicking pictures, playing games or texting on the go.

You also get a screen guard and a transparent silicone case in the package.

Vivo V5 Plus review

Processing and Multitasking: Smooth lag free everyday performance

Vivo V5 Plus is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 CPU, which is an octa-core chip, built on 14nm manufacturing process and is known for its power efficiency in everyday usage. It is the same chipset we have recently tested in Lenovo P2 and Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 and is gradually becoming our favorite because of the kind of performance it delivers in everyday usage.

The CPU easily takes care of everyday tasks including camera, internet, productivity, calling and multimedia playback. Switching between the apps is smooth and it can even handle gaming with no major performance issues. More importantly, Snapdragon 625 chipset has also proven its capabilities in terms of battery performance and effectively handles the heating effect while you play heavy games and watch full HD videos.

The CPU is paired with 4GB of RAM that easily takes care of intense multitasking. We did not experience any lags while running multiple applications on the handset.

While the smartphone delivers on everyday tasks and even when pushed to its limits, it does have some minor performance hiccups, especially when you play graphical intensive games such as Asphalt 8, Marvel Champions, etc.

The games take a while to load and the game play is not as smooth as it is on the recently launched OnePlus 3T. And that's quite understandable because the latter is powered by the flagship Snapdragon 821 chipset paired with 6GB of RAM.

As far as storage is concerned, Vivo V5 Plus has 64GB of internal memory and sadly there's no microSD card support.

Vivo V5 Plus review

That said, this is the point where you need to make a decision. As noted, there's not much of a difference in the price-points of both the smartphones but when you compare the underlying chipset and RAM, OnePlus 3T seems to be the clear winner here in performance department. On the other hand, Vivo V5 Plus excels in the selfie game.

If you are a fashion blogger or someone who post countless selfies on social networking platform and needs a handset that gets the everyday jobs done, then go for Vivo V5 Plus. Otherwise OnePlus 3T is the ideal handset for geeks and smartphone enthusiasts who don't want to compromise on sheer performance.

Besides it is worth mentioning that you can also get the combination of Snapdragon 625 CPU and 4GB RAM in under Rs. 15,000 with the recently launched Xiaomi Redmi Note 4.

Vivo V5 Plus review

Coming on to some basic aspects, we did not face any issues with the call quality on Vivo V5 Plus while using the handset in Delhi NCR and on roaming with Reliance jio SIM card.

Vivo V5 Plus has a mono speaker grill at the bottom that is surprisingly loud but the audio quality is not very good.

Vivo V5 Plus review

Software: The customized Android UI that exactly looks like Apple's iOS 10

Vivo V5 Plus runs on Funtouch OS 3.0 based on Android 6.0 marshmallow, but looks more like Apple's iOS. The stock icons, including gallery, notes, clock, etc. looks exactly like the ones on iPhone and even the app's interface is strikingly similar. More so, you also get a similar control center that let you manage Wi-Fi, screen brightness, GPS, Bluetooth and other important settings. To simply put, if Apple ever design an Android phone, this is what it will look like.

Coming on to other aspects, the UI is pretty smooth and offers smart gesture features such as smart wake where screen will light up when you take the phone out of your pocket, shake the handset to turn on the flashlight, tilt the screen to zoom pictures, etc. You can also double tap to turn on/off the display to have a quick glance of notifications.

Vivo V5 Plus review

There's a dedicated theme store that let you change the complete look and feel of your smartphone. Our personal favorite is 'My House' that transforms your phone's UI into a living room where the home's furniture and other interior artifacts work as icons to launch applications.

Overall, the software is well optimized and comes loaded with useful tweaks to enhance the overall smartphone usage experience in everyday life.

Vivo V5 Plus review

Battery and Connectivity: Decent battery performance and slew of connectivity features

While Xiaomi and Lenovo are packing some serious juice in their budget handsets, Vivo is going with a comparatively smaller but decently sized 3,160mAh battery unit with fast charging support.

I used the handset with Reliance Jio 4G LTE turned on and played YouTube videos, made Instagram and Snapchat stories, browsed internet, Facebook and recorded a calling time of two to three hours. Besides, the camera was in action for most of the time and the handset managed to last for near about 16 hours.

It is decent considering the heavy usage and the fact that battery can charge quickly with the help of bundled fast charger.

As far as connectivity goes, Vivo V5 Plus offers 4G LTE, dual-SIM connectivity, OTG, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS.

Verdict: More than just the best selfie smartphone in the market but the competition is tough

Vivo V5 Plus is a significant upgrade over the Vivo V5. The smartphone brings an improved design, higher resolution screen, decent overall performance and above all offers the best in class selfie experience.

While all of this looks compelling if you are upgrading from Vivo V5, the smartphone has to fight the ever-popular OnePlus 3T, which has proven to be the best smartphone in sub Rs. 30,000 price-category. The latter offers the best-in-class processing and multitasking performance and also has a better and premium overall appearance.

That said, it's a fight over abilities to capture the best selfies and sheer performance. If you are in the market for the selfie game, look no further than the Vivo V5 Plus, otherwise you know your option.

However it is worth mentioning that unlike Vivo V5 Plus, OnePlus 3T is only available on e-commerce platforms.

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