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Vivo V17 Review: Enjoy Satisfactory Camera Performance Under Rs. 25,000
Vivo is one of the leading smartphone brands in India that is trying in all possible means not to lose its position to rivals. To give a tough challenge to other brands, the company is focusing a lot on bringing smartphones aimed at different groups of users and meet their requirements.
- Capable camera performance
- Lightweight design
- Impressive battery life
- Responsive display
- Bundled with bloatware
- Misses out on an updated processor
With the U series smartphones, it is targeting the budget buyers and with the V series, it is showing its tech prowess. Within months of launching the Vivo V17 Pro, the company has introduced the relatively downgraded model, the Vivo V17 in India. Similar to its bigger kin, this latest offering is also meant for the photography buffs.
The USP of this smartphone is its L-shaped quad-camera setup and punch-hole cutout for the selfie camera. Priced at Rs. 22,990, the Vivo V17 is one of the camera-centric smartphones in the mid-range market. It packs almost all the necessary sensors and software aspects that are needed for a smartphone of this pricing to leave an impression in the competitive Indian market.
Having said that, here is a review of the Vivo V17 that will help you understand how it performs and make a buying decision.
Flaunts A Premium Design
Being a toned-down variant of the V17 Pro, the device has a different design than its bigger kin. While its hardware is similar to that of the international variant, the design of the Indian and global variants of the Vivo V17 is quite. The global variant features a waterdrop notch display and a unique quad-camera module in a diamond shape.
When it comes to the Vivo V17, which was launched in India last week, it flaunts a punch-hole cutout on the top right corner of the display and an L-shaped quad-camera setup, which is similar to the one we saw on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus. It remains unclear why the company opted for a different design for the Indian variant as the diamond-shaped camera module would have added to its unique looks. However, the punch-hole display is a convincing design element. Going by the company's claims, the Vivo V17 features the smallest punch-hole cutout ever on a smartphone.
Moving on to its rear, the device looks simple and minimalist with a reflective back case. There are quad cameras at the top left corner of the smartphone mounted within a rectangular module in L-shape along with the LED flash. And, there is a Vivo branding at the bottom left of the rear panel. What's annoying is that there is a noticeable camera bump that requires using a case to protect the lenses and the rear panel.
We have got out hands on the Midnight Ocean color option, which does not have the color shift as Glacier Ice. However, it is a fingerprint magnet as it easily attracts fingerprints and smudges and I ended up cleaning it quite often. Also, the rear panel is smooth and slippery and could easily slide away from your phone, if you do not use it with a case.
The Vivo V17 is lightweight weighing around 176 grams and this could be attributed to the plastic build. Of course, it would be great to see a glass rear panel on the smartphone, which makes it look even more premium but the minimalist finish at the rear makes it look elegant.
Vivo V17's front is highly dominated by the 6.44-inch E3 Super AMOLED display as seen on the Vivo V17 Pro. The screen has a FHD+ resolution of 2400 x 1080 pixels and an aspect ratio a 20:9. Well, this makes the screen relatively taller than most smartphones in the market right now with a 19:9 aspect ratio. There is Gorilla Glass 6 protection as well to keep the screen protected from scratches and everyday wear and tear.
During my usage, I could hardly spot the cutout during gaming and video playback. I personally prefer this design than having a notch or a cutout at the center. Though the cutout is not too distracting, it features a noticeable silver ring around it, which is reflective when watching bright content. With a screen-to-body ratio of 90.3%, the device with high screen space and thin bezels at the sides, top and bottom as well.
Vivo V17 Display
When it comes to a display performance, the 6.44-inch panel on the Vivo V17 is capable of providing impressive color saturation, sharp text, and optimal brightness even under direct sunlight. I experienced vivid colors but there does not seem to be any yellowish or bluish tinge. The contrast levels and vividness of the screen come to play while watching movies but it does not hit hard on the eyes.
In the current era, when most people use online content streaming services on your smartphones, Vivo V17 comes with the Widevine L1 certification that lets users stream videos from Netflix, Amazon Prime, and other similar services at HD or higher resolutions.
Vivo V17 features an in-display fingerprint sensor with attractive unlock animations. It is possible to customize the unlock animation and on-screen fingerprint icon too as per your preference. Talking about performance, the in-display fingerprint sensor is swift enough and can unlock the device in no time.
Performance Could Be Improved
Though the device looks premium and trendy from the outside, it uses the dated Snapdragon 675 SoC, which derails it from the trend. This octa-core 2GHz chipset based on the 11mm process is also used by the Vivo V17 Pro launched in September this year. Though this chipset is a capable one, it is not something that we would like to see in the smartphone of this pricing.
This Snapdragon processor is teamed up with Adreno 612 GPU, 8GB RAM and 128GB of UFS 2.1 storage space. Sadly, there is no expandable storage support as the device misses out on the microSD card slot to serve this purpose. The ample 128GB of storage capacity should be enough to meet your storage requirements of the average users.
During my usage, I tested the Vivo V17 by playing intense games such as PUBG and Clash of Clans. And, did not find any sort of clutter or lag and there was smooth gameplay. Furthermore, there is Ultra Game Mode to enhance the overall gaming experience of the smartphone.
Talking about real-life performance, I ran a few benchmark tests on the Vivo V17. On Geekbench 5.0.3 version, it scored 511 points in the single-core test and 1647 points in the multi-core test. In the AnTuTu benchmarks, the Vivo smartphone scored 225664 points. Finally, in the Sling Shot Extreme - OpenGL test, it has scored 1089 points and in the Sling Shot Extreme - Vulkan test, it scored 1166 points. While these scores seem to be good, there are not on par with some others in the price segment. Maybe, this is due to the dated processor used by the smartphone as some similarly priced offerings use the Snapdragon 730G chipset.
When it comes to other general performance, the in-display fingerprint sensor and Face Unlock features are swift and I did not find any issue in using these. There was no miss in unlocking with the registered fingerprint and face. Also, the call quality and loudspeaker quality are good and there are no complaints with the single speaker at the bottom.
Heavily Customized UI
Vivo V17 has been launched with Android 9 Pie topped with Funtouch OS 9.2. As of now, there is no word regarding when we can expect the smartphone to receive the Android 10 update. The customized Funtouch OS brings a lot of features such as the Jovi, the AI assistant of Vivo, Ultra Game Mode, Motorbike Mode, one-handed mode, the ability to capture scrolling screenshots, and more. Also, there is Easy Touch, which enables a floating bubble on all the screens to carry out actions such as accessing frequently used apps, screen record, screenshot, etc.
The Jovi assistant can be used in the camera app to identify subjects, Smart Scene to show information cards on events, weather, cricket score, etc. These can be accessed from the Sony Walkman sort of an icon in blue and pink in the notification shade or by a left swipe on the home screen. Also, there is a scan button in the notification shade but it couldn't recognize many objects that we tried scanning.
The entire UI is heavily customized with a lot of bloatware. I found it to be overloaded with apps of which I hardly find a few to be useful. And, it is not possible to uninstall some of these such as the Vivo Browser and Vivo Game Store that I do not want to have in my smartphone. However, the Ultra Game Mode is something that will interest gaming enthusiasts as it lets you block calls, notifications and other distractions while you are indulged in gaming.
Impressive Camera Performance In Its Class
Well, the USP of the Vivo V17 is the presence of a quad-camera module at its rear. The Vivo smartphone comes with an L-shaped camera arrangement with a 48MP primary sensor with f/1.8 aperture, an 8MP secondary ultra-wide-angle lens with f/2.2 aperture, a 2MP tertiary depth sensor, and a 2MP macro lens, both with f.2.4 aperture.
Before diving into the camera performance, let's take a look at the interface. The camera UI is quite simple and easy to use as we have seen in the other Vivo smartphones. There are different modes such as Portrait, Night, Video, Photo, and More at the bottom and settings at the top. On hitting More, you will get options such as panorama, 48MP photos, slo-mo videos, Live Photo, Time-Lapse, AR Stickers, etc. In the camera interface, there is a small circle that will let you choose between Bokeh, Ultra Wide Angle, and Super Macro. There are super night mode, ultra-stable video, AI scene recognition, Jovi Vision, etc. for users.
Talking about performance, the Vivo V17 camera does an impressive job for its pricing. The quad-camera setup takes good photos in almost all modes. The primary camera captures 12MP shots by default and you can enable the 48MP mode to capture detailed shots. As seen above, the daylight performance is quite attractive with almost natural colors and a good level of brightness. The AI scene detection comes to play if you capture flowers, food, etc. and make the colors look vibrant.
On using the bokeh mode to capture shots wherein the subject is focused and the background is blurred as seen above, the Vivo V17 delivers a decent performance. The background is blurred naturally without any loss in detail. Also, the edge detection works great without leaving sharp edges that are prominent in a few devices at this price point. However, when capturing non-human subjects, the edge detection is not acceptable as the edges are also blurred to some extent.
The Vivo V17 comes with a dedicated night mode for users to capture great photos even in low-light conditions. The night mode performance may not be the best when it comes to clarity and capturing details, but it does reduce the distortion and noise in the images.
Many affordable smartphones have started coming up with macro lenses but it has turned out to be a marketing gimmick as the results aren't quite satisfactory. However, the macro lens performance of the Vivo V17 is impressive as the details are intact. But I noticed a slight difference in the color of the macro shot as compared to the normal shot.
Lastly, the ultra-wide-angle mode is something that I liked in the Vivo Y17. Many smartphones with this lens fail to deliver an undistorted image at the sides. But the Vivo smartphone addresses this issue as the edges seem to have very minimal distortion. And, it does capture almost all details with almost natural colors.
Selfie Camera Captures Details
The 32MP selfie camera within the punch-hole cutout captures ample details and is sharp and crisp in broad daylight and well-lit environments. But when you try to click selfies in low-light conditions with the super night selfie mode, you can find the images to have some level of noise. Also, there is Face Unlock support and this works pretty smooth and snappy without any glitch.
Vivo V17 Battery Lasts Long
The Vivo V17 is fueled by a 4500mAh battery along with support for 18W Dual-Engine fast charging. During my usage, I was quite satisfied with the battery performance as it lasts for over a day even on using it for gaming, browsing and video streaming on and off. Even the battery drain in standby is minimal as it hardly dropped by 5% overnight.
As mentioned above, there is support for 18W Dual-Engine fast charging that is touted to charge the smartphone up to 80% in just 60 minutes. When I had to charge the smartphone when the battery was 12%, it took nearly 75 to 80 minutes to reach 100%.
Verdict: Should You Buy?
To summarize, the Vivo V17 is an attractive offering that checks almost all aspects. It comes with a punch-hole cutout, a quad-camera setup with impressive performance, ample screen space with a tall display, and a long-lasting battery life with support for fast charging. Despite these, there is a lightweight and attractive build that gives it a great look.
While these are the positives of the Vivo V17, for its asking price of Rs. 22,990, the smartphone fails to meet competition from rivals. Having said that, you can opt for the Vivo V17 if you are looking for a smartphone that can deliver a competent camera performance among other highlights, but this isn't the best phone in its price point.
Well, the Redmi K20 series that is available at the same price point makes use of a Snapdragon 730 SoC while the Vivo offering comes with a dated Snapdragon 675 SoC. Also, there are smartphones such as Samsung Galaxy A50s, Oppo Reno 2 series, etc. that are priced similarly with more proficient processors.