Vivo V15 Pro Review: Premium features in sub 30k with best-in-class display

Vivo V15 Pro is priced at Rs. 28,990 in India. It brings all the latest mobile innovations at a very aggressive price but is also stuck with a mid-tier CPU and dated microUSB port.

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Vivo has gradually become the center of mobile innovation in the last two years. The journey from the Vivo Apex concept phone to the latest Vivo V15 Pro has been astonishing. The company's most recent handset is engineered to give consumers a taste of innovation at a much lower cost than expected. Priced at Rs. 28,990, Vivo V15 Pro packs in some really cool features that were only introduced last year in company's top-of-the-line Vivo Nex (First Gen.) smartphone.

 

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Vivo V15 Pro Review

Vivo V15 Pro features a triple-lens rear camera setup, 32MP pop up selfie camera and an edge-to-edge AMOLED screen featuring an in-display fingerprint scanner. These features combined are nowhere available on any other handset priced in sub 30K price bracket. However, the handset is not perfect and some features might prove as a deal-breaker.

Moreover, another handset has been unveiled from the parent company of both the brands to rival the V15 Pro. It is OPPO F11 Pro that also features a Pop up selfie camera, full-screen display, and a 48MP + 5MP dual-lens rear camera setup. We will give you a detailed comparison of both the handsets but today we are going to focus on Vivo V15 Pro.

Let's find out in this review what weighs more- the innovation or the deal-breaker features of the Vivo V15 Pro.

Design: Striking Gradient color design

Vivo V15 Pro is quite a head-turner. The Topaz Blue variant that we are using flaunts one of the best-looking gradient patterns in the market. And even though the handset is not entirely made out of metal, it looks and feels quite premium or rather elegant. Vivo V15 Pro uses polycarbonate as a base material and has a glass coating over it that adds to the premium look.

The front is occupied by a notch-less edge-to-edge display and the rear panel of the phone sports a gradient pattern. Vivo calls it Spectrum Ripple design and it is strikingly appealing. Overall, Vivo V15 Pro clearly stands out from the crowd. If you don't mind flaunting your phone, Vivo V15 Pro is a great buy.

3.5mm Headphone Jack and a dedicated microSD card slot
 

3.5mm Headphone Jack and a dedicated microSD card slot

Some basic yet highly useful design elements of Vivo V15 Pro are- dedicated microSD card slot and the 3.5mm headphone jack. The dedicated microSD card slot ensures you don't need to compromise on storage and connectivity at the same time.

Hefty yet rests comfortably in the palm

At 8.1 mm, V15 Pro is quite chunky and feels hefty in hands. Thankfully the buttons are placed at convenient spots to maintain phone's basic aesthetics. Moreover, there are also no sharp edges on V15 Pro that makes the phone rests easily in the palm. However, using the phone with one hand for the camera and for some other day-to-day tasks is a bit difficult. As the display is stretched till the extreme corners to achieve a nearly bezel-less design, I struggled to access the notification panel and to reach the top corners of the screen. This has gradually become a common affair with all the smartphones these days. The edge-to-edge displays are brilliant for immersive viewing experience but also affect the phone's ergonomics to a great extent. This brings us to the display of Vivo V15 Pro.

Display: Edge-to-edge 6.39- inches AMOLED Screen

Vivo V15 Pro's vibrant AMOLED screen is probably the best display in sub 30K price-point. The Super AMOLED panel comes without any notch making the entire 6.39-inches screen real-estate available for gameplay, video playback, reading, and other day-to-day tasks. The 6.39-inch screen on Vivo V15 Pro comes with 19.5:9 aspect ratio to offer an impressive screen-to-body ratio of 91.6%. It's a delight to watch videos and play games on V15 Pro. The bezels surrounding the display are very thin creating an immersive viewing experience.

Sadly, the display on Vivo V15 Pro is not Widevine L1 certified which means it cannot stream videos in HD resolution on Netflix and Amazon Prime. For durability, the display only comes with a strengthened 2.5D curved glass which could protect the screen only from minor damages. Corning Gorilla Glass protection and Widevine L1 certification would have made the overall deal a lot better.

Vivo V15 Pro AMOLED display Vs. Competition

Compared to OPPO F11 Pro which uses an LCD panel, V15 Pro's Super AMOLED display offers deeper blacks and vibrant color output making it a better screen for multimedia consumption. The OLED panel allows Vivo to fit in an in-screen fingerprint scanner which is faster when compared to Vivo's previous smartphones but is still not par with physical biometric scanners. Two other smartphones that come close to V15 Pro and are worth checking out are- Honor View 20 and Galaxy A50 in sub Rs. 30k price-bracket. OPPO F11 Pro on the other hand ships with a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor as the LCD display does not support the under-the-screen biometrics. Galaxy A50 ships with in-screen sensor but it is still stuck with a teardrop notch. If you are on a tight budget and still want a good display, Galaxy A50 is a very good option.

32MP Pop up Selfie Camera steals the show

The 32MP pop up selfie camera is clearly the highlight feature of Vivo V15 Pro. This is by far the biggest sensor on a selfie camera on any smartphone. The massive sensor on V15 Pro is placed on the Vivo Nex inspired retractable camera module. It pops out instantly while unlocking the smartphone with face unlock feature and also when you tap the selfie camera icon to capture a selfie. V15 Pro's camera machinery works on a spring mechanism which is noticeably faster than the last year's Vivo Nex smartphone.

The probability of the selfie camera module getting damaged is quite high if the Vivo V15 Pro falls on the ground. On the other hand, OPPO has come up with a clever approach to minimize the damage in a similar scenario. The elevating camera on OPPO F11 Pro retracts back to its place if it senses a sudden shift in height. The company has intelligently utilized the phone's underlying sensors to prevent the damage in case of a miss happening.

How’s the Selfie image output?

The 32MP front-facing shooter on Vivo V15 Pro works on Samsung ISOCELL GD1 sensor and captures excellent selfies in both 32MP resolution and in 8MP regular mode. The pictures are very bright and vibrant. If you are someone who is always clicking selfies and creating stories on Snapchat and Instagram, you will love this phone. Software plays a big role in the camera department on Vivo V15 Pro. The AI Beautify mode is quite feature-rich and offers you the freedom to change skin tone and reshape almost every element of your face including jawline, eye span, and forehead, the shape of the nose and even shape of lips. You can also experiment with Portrait lighting effects which offer some really nice artificial lighting effects such as Studio lighting, Stereo lighting, Loop to name a few. The lens flare effect creates some really good images.

Color balancing seemed to be an issue on Vivo V15 Pro's selfie camera in default settings. In order to add more brightness to the overall shot, camera software puts a yellowish tone which affects the skin tones. Thankfully you can correct the skin tone by enabling the AI mode. Portrait selfies look impressive but edge detection is not always at the point. Overall, Vivo V15 Pro's selfie camera needs some fine tuning but it still comes out as the best selfie camera smartphone in sub 30K price-point.

48MP plus 5MP plus 8MP Triple-lens Rear Camera

Vivo V15 Pro also features a powerful rear camera setup. The company has used a three-lens camera setup which comprises of one 8MP wide-angle lens, 5MP standard lens, and the massive 48MP quad pixel sensor. Let's start with the 48MP sensor that works on the f/1.8 aperture and uses the Samsung ISOCELL GM1 sensor. The camera captures 12MP shots in default settings. You can enable the 48MP sensor from within settings which come really handy if you are taking shots in daylight. Lots of details are offered in the 48MP mode which you will find useful while cropping the images to use on social media platforms or while taking large prints of the images. However, when you zoom in the images to maximum, details get very soft and a posterized effect can also be noticed. I would recommend taking pictures in 12MP resolution with full-screen mode enabled as the shots look really impressive.

As far as portrait images are concerned, the results are pleasing but edge detection is not at the point. The 5MP depth sensor keeps the main subject in focus and blurs everything else in the background. Sometimes the bokeh effect is quite intense and results in artificial looking results while shooting human subjects. The results are pretty good while framing macro shots and excellent bokeh can be seen.

Good use of AI, dedicated Night mode, Pro mode, slow-motion and lot more

Vivo's AI implantation is not very harsh on colors and maintains natural color tones. Unlike Honor's AI mode which is pretty intensive and not always at the point, Vivo is doing a good job in the camera software. The camera app also offers a dedicated Night mode which captures bright and well-lit shots. Besides, Vivo V15 Pro can also record in 4K resolution. The phone supports EIS which adds some level of stability to videos but will not deliver brilliant results if you are moving too fast. Interestingly, you can also apply ‘face Beauty' effects in Video mode which improves the facial features of human subjects while recording videos.

Wide-angle Lens adds a new perspetive to mobile photography

There's no auto HDR supported and you have to enable the HDR mode within the camera interface itself. Besides, the company has also offered all the standard modes such as Pro mode, AR stickers, Panorama, Documents mode, Slow-motion, and Time-lapse. What comes as a surprise is the 8MP wide-angle lens. Images are shot in native 22 mm focal length and give a good perspective. The wide-angle lens can come really useful for landscape and street photography.

Overall, Vivo has offered a feature-rich camera to please shutterbugs. The wide-angle lens is really useful and the massive 48MP sensor can be used to capture some good detailed shots in daylight.

Gaming and processing performance

Vivo V15 Pro is powered by the Snapdragon 675 CPU, which can also be seen on the Xiaomi's budget handset- Redmi Note 7 Pro. The chipset is pretty snappy and does not disappoint in everyday use. You can fluidly navigate throughout the UI, shoot in 4K, play games (light to heavy) and run more than 15 apps simultaneously without any serious performance slowdowns. PUBG ran in high settings by default and the vibrant AMOLED display makes gameplay really immersive. The 6GB RAM gives ample memory for smooth multitasking. The phone heats up a bit if you play graphically intensive games and record 4K videos on the stretch but the temperature drops down to normal levels pretty quickly.

Benchmarks and Audio performance

For benchmarks, the smartphone touched an overall mark of 7505 in PC Mark's Work 2.0. As far as audio and call quality is concerned, Vivo V15 Pro offers solid on-call and speaker delivery. The audio is crisp and loud and you can stream YouTube videos and songs comfortably even if you are not carrying a pair of headphones.

Vivo FunTouch OS based on Android Pie

Coming onto the software, Vivo V15 Pro runs on FunTouch OS based on the latest Android Pie. The custom skin by Vivo offers a number of useful software features tucked inside the settings section. You can tweak the display's color temperature, enable Game cube for a seamless gaming experience. You also get DND mode, a Motorbike mode which is a good addition and promotes safer riding experience by smartly handling incoming calls and texts. If you find it tough to find specific apps and software features in the settings menu, the universal search will come really handy. The notification slider offers a built-in bar code scanner which is a neat feature and is implemented really well.

Vivo's FunTouch OS also comes with motion features and gestures to let you experience iOS like navigation for a full-screen experience. Besides, the custom skin also allows you to clone applications and mirror your phone to other media devices like smart TVs. You also have the option to record everything on the screen with Screen capture feature.

While Vivo FunTouch OS is really feature-rich, it has some issues or you can say Vivo has a different approach towards such features. You cannot change on-screen wallpaper on Vivo V15 Pro by just long tapping on the display, which is supported by all other custom skins. You have to go into settings > Lockscreen, home screen > wallpaper to change the wallpaper which is rather tedious. Bloatware are still present on FunTouch OS and the stock icons look quite animated. Gestures could also use some improvements on Vivo V15 Pro.

Battery and Connectivity

For a smartphone that feels rather chunky in hands, a 3,700 mAh battery feels slightly underpowered. I was able to derive a battery backup of one full day on my usage which pretty much involves lots of calls, Instagram, heavy camera usage, some gaming, and video streaming. With similar and moderate usage, the phone can easily last one day on one full charge. A 4,000 mAH (or bigger) battery cell would have made the overall user-experience really intuitive.

The smartphone features dated microUSB 2.0 port and not the latest Type-C port. The choice of microUSB 2.0 port seems rather disappointing in the year 2019 but is added to support Vivo's Dual-Engine fast charging which is quite effective. The bundled charger can refuel the battery from zero to 25 % in about 16 minutes which is fairly good.

Vivo has provided a dedicated microSD card slot so that you don't have to sacrifice storage over connectivity if you own two active SIM cards.

Verdict

Vivo V15 Pro is a solid proposition if you are looking for an all-rounder in sub 30K price segment. It is also a great device if you appreciate and love flaunting new technology. The smartphone captures impressive selfies and the three-lens rear camera setup is also very capable if not the best in sub 30k price bracket. The new 8MP wide-angle lens is a great addition and can change the way you use to see and take pictures from a mobile phone. Samsung's latest budget and mid-range smartphones also offer wide-angle lenses but results are not impressive and comparable with V15 Pro.

Vivo V15 Pro also offers a brilliant multimedia viewing experience. The edge-to-edge AMOLED panel really makes video playback and gameplay immersive. However, the lack of widevine L1 certification is a big miss. The microUSB 2.0 port also seems like an odd choice for a smartphone that packs in so many innovative features. Thankfully, Vivo's dual-engine fast-charging speed is quite effective. As far as software is concerned, the FunTouch OS is very feature rich and fluid but could use some improvements in minor places to improve the user experience.

Overall, if you are looking for a smartphone with excellent selfie output, attractive design and a class-leading edge-to-edge display, Vivo V15 Pro is the phone to buy.

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