Dual front camera
Impressive design and build quality
iOS-inspired Funtouch OS
We can all agree that those selfies weren’t a passing trend, and those pouts on your Instagram feed aren’t going anywhere. The smartphone manufacturers of course recognized the fad, and the front cameras on latest smartphones have beefier optics with software additions for the ‘selfie cam’.
Just towards the end of last year, Vivo launched their selfie-focused smartphone – Vivo V5 – with a whopping 20-megapixel front camera. And if you thought that was enough, the company has now upped the ante with Vivo V5 Plus that sports a dual front camera along with the ‘moonlight’ flash.
Vivo V5: Hands on and first impressions
The Vivo V5 Plus looks pretty good on the specifications sheet, and doesn’t come cheap. But does that ambitious camera really deliver and do the internals translate into a well-rounded Android experience? Let’s find out in this detailed review of the V5 Plus.
In a sea of similar looking smartphones in the market, thankfully, Vivo V5 Plus fares better. The unibody metallic device looks very premium and the impressive build quality is very apparent. The finish on the rear panel is chic.
The antenna lines along the edges look slick, and the 7.26mm profile and the narrow bezels make it a very slim and ergonomic smartphone. At less than 160 grams, it is quite light, and feels great in the hand.
Clearly inspired from the iPhone, the V5 Plus is one of the better-looking smartphones in its price segment. It looks premium and the build quality is fantastic. A lot of people will also appreciate that the fingerprint scanner on this one is integrated with the home button on the front, below the display.
The Vivo V5 Plus sports a 5.5-inch Full HD display with 1920 x 1080 resolution. The curved display is gorgeous and clearly one of the highlights of the device. It’s sharp and crisp, and offers vibrant colors and great viewing angles too.
While the brightness and color reproduction of the display is brilliant, it is a tad reflective and therefore the sunlight legibility is not the best.
Overall, the display on the Vivo V5 Plus is impressive and while the company’s marketing materials hardly talk about it, there’s also the latest generation Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection.
Powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 octa-core processor clocked at 2.0Ghz with Adreno 506 GPU and 4GB RAM, the Vivo V5 Plus chugs along nicely. While it doesn’t boast of extraordinary innards, or even the Snapdragon 652 chipset, it can handle everything you throw at it without any lags or issues. There’s no stuttering in apps or multi-tabbed browsing even when there are quite a few apps open in the background. The gaming performance too is smooth, and playing graphic-intensive games was a breeze.
The Vivo V5 Plus packs in 3055mAh battery with the dual-engine fast charging feature. The Snapdragon 625 processor is known to be power-efficient, and it is evident on the battery life of the V5 Plus. I could easily squeeze a day and half of battery performance with basic to moderate usage. For most users, it would last an entire day, and that’s pretty good.
Overall, the Vivo V5 Plus performs quite well. There’s nothing extraordinary in its performance or battery life, and neither does the smartphone intend so. There are no complaints as well.
The Vivo V5 Plus comes with 64GB of internal storage which is more than enough for most people. You can of course expand it with a microSD card, but the smartphone sports a hybrid slot so you can either use a micro SD for expansion or the second SIM, but not both.
Unlike the Vivo V5 launched a couple of months ago, the fingerprint scanner on the V5 Plus is located on the front panel instead of the rear panel like in most affordable smartphones out there. It’s extremely quick and responsive in unlocking the device, and can also be configured for more.
One of the nifty additions on the Vivo V5 Plus, and its predecessor, is the company’s proprietary dedicated AK4376 audio chip for Hi-Fi music. Once you enable the ‘Hi-Fi’ option to work with your headphones, you’d observe a noticeable difference in the audio quality. Listening to music, especially if you’ve got high quality audio streaming service or local music collection, is a delight.
Of course, the highlight of the Vivo V5 Plus is the dual camera setup on the front. While the Vivo V5 had a 20MP front shooter, the stakes are higher now with a 20MP module and an 8MP module. The former has a Sony IMX376 sensor with f/2.0 aperture, while the latter captures depth-of-field information.
Fortunately, the front camera on Vivo V5 Plus is not just big talk. The Vivo V5 despite boasting of a 20MP front camera didn’t produce extraordinary results, but thankfully, the company has fixed that this time around. Also, the dual camera is not just a gimmick. Just like the Honor 8 or Huawei P9 which offer dual camera goodness on the rear camera, the V5 Plus offers impressive depth-of-field and bokeh effects up front.
For the bokeh effect, the dual camera blurs out everything other than the subject that you want to focus on. It works quite well, and in most cases, the camera would detect the face, and blur out everything in the background automatically. The Bokeh mode also allows you to change the aperture even after capturing the image.
The front camera manages to capture impressive selfies outdoors. There are rich details and the color reproduction is brilliant in good light. For low-light conditions, the V5 Plus offers a ‘Moonlight Glow’ flash we saw in the V5 previously. Unlike traditional flash filling the subject with light, Moonlight Glow lights up the face naturally. Again, it’s not a gimmick, and works rather nicely allowing you to take some nice selfies on that dimly-lit pub visit.
At the back, there’s a 16MP shooter with PDAF and LED flash that supports 4K video recording. The camera captures great photos, especially in well-lit conditions. The sharpness is not the best, and when I looked at the photos, mostly the low-light ones, on a bigger 40-inch display, I could notice some graininess creeping in.
That said, the camera performance on the Vivo V5 Plus is excellent. Also, it’ll not be an exaggeration to concede that the smartphone offers the best selfie experience amongst the smartphones out there.
The Vivo V5 Plus runs Funtouch OS 3.0 based on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, similar to a lot of custom UIs from Chinese OEMs with no app drawer and multiple home screens.
From then on, it’s an iOS rip-off. The navigation, the notification center, and settings – everything is heavily inspired from iOS. However, once you look past the imitation, the UI is pretty neat and once you get a hang of it, you’ll appreciate the several options it offers. With the internals the device packs in, the overall experience is smooth and breezy. While completely functional, the iOS-inspired software gives you a feeling of Vivo over-trying to compete with iPhone, which is completely needless.
There’s also a Phone Manager that allows you to clean the phone as well as manage memory, battery, apps, and privacy options. The smartphone also boasts of a global eye protection mode that allows you to switch to warmer colors on display for reducing the strain on your eyes. The Smart Screen Split functionality works just like the split-view option on Android 7.0 Nougat for multitasking.
|Operating System||Funtouch OS 3.0 based on Android 6.0 (Marshmallow)|
|Display||5.5-inch (1920 x 1080) Full HD In-Cell display | 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass 5|
|Processor||2GHz Octa-Core Snapdragon 625 | Adreno 506 GPU|
|Internal Storage||64GB; expandable with microSD card|
|Rear Camera||16MP with LED Flash | f/2.0 aperture | PDAF|
|Front Camera||20MP with Moonlight Flash | f/2.0 aperture | 8MP secondary camera|
|Dimensions||152.58 x 74 x 7.26 mm|
Pricing and final thoughts
Despite the entire marketing focused on the ‘perfect selfie’, the Vivo V5 Plus is a well-rounded smartphone that you wouldn’t go wrong with.
Priced at ₹27,980 ($420) in India, the Vivo V5 Plus is a great mid-range smartphone that competes with the OnePlus 3T, and others – some of which are better spec’d than the former. However, the V5 Plus is also available across offline stores in India, unlike few others in the price segment.
Despite the entire marketing focused on the ‘perfect selfie’, the Vivo V5 Plus is a well-rounded smartphone with a beautiful metallic chassis, gorgeous display, and smooth performance. If you take frequent selfies and count those likes, you should definitely get the Vivo V5 Plus. Even otherwise, it’s a great option on the table that you wouldn’t go wrong with.