There is an ongoing rat-race of sorts in the offline market where all major offline Chinese brands are trying to palm off copious selfie camera pixels to gullible buyers who equate pixel count to camera quality. It is in that seething pot that Vivo V5 aims to stand out.

The Vivo V5 brashly proclaims itself to be a ‘Selfie Expert’. And the entitlement largely hinges on its 20MP selfie sensor, that’s duly assisted by a wide aperture lens, moonlight flash, and the new beautify software.

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While the beefed up camera sensor will veritably be a crowd-puller, that’s not what the Vivo V5 is all about. Let’s examine other facets of Vivo V5 experience in our full review.

Vivo V5 Specs and Feature:

Model Vivo V5
Display 5.5-Inch, 720p HD, 2.5D Glass
Processor 64-Bit octa-core MediaTek MT6750 Chipset, Mali T860 GPU
RAM 4GB LPDDR3
Internal Storage 32GB, expandable up to 128GB (Hybrid slot)
Software Android Marshmallow based Funtouch OS 2.6
Primary Camera 13MP rear camera, PDAF, LED flash
Secondary Camera 20MP Sony IMX376 1/2.78″ sensor, front moonlight flash, F/2.0 aperture lens
Dimensions and Weight 153.8mm x 75.5mm x 7.55mm and 154 Grams
Battery 3000mAh battery
Others 4G VoLTE, WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, USB Type-C, HiFi audio (AK4376 audio chip), OTG, Fingerprint sensor
Price Rs. 17,980

Design and Build

The V5 bears a generic design, but one that’s still trendy and looks good. Vivo surely deserves some credit for housing two big sensors in a slim chassis without any evident humps.

A thing chrome lining separates the neat golden back with Vivo logo etched on it from the white fascia layered with a conventional 2.5D glass.

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Like Always, Vivo bundles a good quality protective case and screen protector in the box, and that’s something we find super convenient for mid-range handsets.

Right below the display, you will find a home button with fingerprint sensor. The fingerprint sensor is extremely fast and accurate and is one of those that you will continue using even after the novelty wears off. For what it’s worth, the navigation buttons flanking the home key are backlit.

The loudspeaker, USB Type-A port, and audio jack are all mounted on the bottom edge. Power key and volume rocker (right edge) are suitably placed and well within reach. Handling is convenient.

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Also Read: Infocus Epic 1 Review – 10 Cores and What else?

Display

HD resolution on a 5.5-inch display doesn’t sound like much. But surprisingly we are quite happy with the display. Like most other devices that we see around these days, the Vivo V5 display is targeting NTSC color gamut which is also what the majority finds to its linking.

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Contrast is reasonably high, Colors are punchy, brightness levels optimum and viewing angles wide. This isn’t the best display panel by far but feels just alright in person. Having said that, the price tag does warrant a sharper full HD screen, especially when online players like LeEco are offering good quality 2K panel in the same budget.

Camera

This is the area where the Vivo V5 is supposed to excel, but unfortunately, it doesn’t.

I am not much of selfie person, but since we are reviewing Vivo V5, I have been testing it and comparing the camera performance with numerous other mid-range, budget and high-end phones lying around, and the result is a mixed bag.

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The Vivo V5 camera is great for shooting selfies in low light. If the lighting is inadequate, you can also fire the moonlight flash which does enhance the end result significantly without burning the highlights. However, the camera tends to overexpose background, and thus selfie clicked in adequate ambient lighting are often unusable. Details in the captured selfie images aren’t exceptional by any yardstick, and thus the ‘20MP’ label is reduced to a marketing thing. If a Beautify mode is something that you value, Vivo V5 has got a great one.

The rear camera, on the other hand, fairs better than the front shooter. It’s still not very consistent, but the overall performance is satisfactory. The camera software over-sharpens the image at times, leading to noticeable loss of details. Compared to other smartphone cameras in this budget, the one on Vivo V5 is good enough and shouldn’t be a deal breaker.

Vivo V5 Camera Samples 

Performance and Software

The Vivo V5 is definitely not topping the benchmark charts, but surprisingly, it does everything I need it to. My usual usage includes bouts of Asphalt 8, A ton of wallet apps, popular social media apps and couple of video streaming apps, apart from regular browsing and light reading. And Vivo V5 felt perfectly adequate for that.

Of course, things aren’t blazing fast, but the handset packs enough power for most moderate and basic users. And it runs cool.

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As for high-end gaming, we did notice a few frame drops here and there (mostly during long gaming sessions) but most games we tried were playable.

The software, on the other hand, isn’t as convenient. While it is well optimized, a learning curve is involved here as many-a-times, the options we were looking for weren’t present where they should have been. For instance, the option to adjust ‘Display On Time’ wasn’t listed under display settings. We later spotted it as ‘Auto-lock’ under ‘More settings’. You just can’t change wallpaper by long-pressing the home screen and you can’t jump to Settings menu from the control panel or notification shade, which feels primitive too.

On the plus side, Iconography is pretty good, there is extensive gesture support and an efficient battery saver mode. There is no app drawer, though that’s something that can be worked around easily using a third party launcher.

Vivo’s Android skin isn’t particularly appalling,but it’s just not suited for the way I use my phone. Depending on your individual taste and preferences, you might actually like it.

Also Read: Asus Zenfone 3 Max (ZC553KL) Review – Justifies Its Existence

Battery backup, Sound Quality, Others

The 3000mAh battery inside easily lasts for a day. The battery backup is perfectly adequate. You could go for one of those big battery phones if you are hunting for a phone that can give you maximum mileage, but most of those involve performance or some other penalty. Charging isn’t super fast, but it isn’t slow either.

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Audio output via headphones is pretty awesome. The loudspeaker gets quite loud and you won’t be missing any calls with the Vivo V5. Call quality is also excellent. The handset supports 4G VoLTE on both SIM cards (You can use 4G on any one SIM at a time).

Conclusion

On the surface, the Vivo V5 doesn’t sound very impressive. If you regard hardware specifications dearly, there isn’t much reason to go for the V5, but once again, the experience we have had with the device surmounts what we had initially expected. It is not cut-out to be a selfie ‘expert’ but isn’t a bad phone in any way. In fact we are quite drawn to it after using it for a couple of weeks.

Able performance, slim and sleek design, reasonably good battery backup, good quality audio, a fast fingerprint sensor and good call quality all played their part in making our tryst with Vivo V5 a pleasant experience. Perhaps there are faster and better-suited options available for the price, but if you are an offline buyer with modest usage requirements, the Vivo V5 should be on your final list.

If you are buying this for magical selfies, you might be in for some disappointment. Selfies with Vivo V5 work great in low and medium lighting, but in natural lighting and in well-lit room, the background gets overexposed. But all said and done our experience with the handset was pretty gratifying.

Pros

  • Fast fingerprint sensor
  • Good audio quality
  • Decent battery backup

Cons 

  • Selfie camera over exposes backdrop
  • Software feels unrefined

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