Vivo V5 Plus Review: Not the selfie phone you’ve been waiting for

Last year, Vivo launched its first “selfie” smartphone, the Vivo V5, aimed at the ever growing selfie-conscious consumer-base. The smartphone, which boasted of a 20-megapixel front camera with a large sensor, received the nod as a reliable selfie smartphone. A year forward, the craze for selfies is as strong as ever, and Vivo, keen on capitalizing on this trend further, is back with another handset. And, so, you have the Vivo V5 Plus which comes with a dual camera setup of a 20-megapixel camera with moonlight flash and an 8-megapixel camera at the front.

However, unlike the entry-level V5, the V5 Plus falls in the mid-range segment that boasts of heavy weights such as Samsung’s A series devices and even the C7 Pro. But, armed with sophisticated specifications, the Vivo V5 Plus is no walk-over either. Before we dive into the review, let’s take a look at the specifications of the Vivo V5 Plus.

  • Display: 5.5-inch (1920 x 1080 pixels) Full HD In-Cell display with 2.5D curved, Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection
  • Software: FunTouch OS 3.0 based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • Chipset: Octa-core 2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor with Adreno 506 GPU
  • Memory: 4GB RAM
  • Storage: 64GB internal memory
  • Network: 4G LTE, dual SIM (nano + nano)
  • Connectivity: Dual-band WiFi 802.11 ac (2.4 GHz + 5 GHz), Bluetooth 4.2, GPS
  • Camera (rear): 16-megapixel camera with LED Flash, f/2.0 aperture, PDAF;
  • Camera (front): 20-megapixel front-facing camera with Moonlight Flash, Sony IMX376 1/2.78″ sensor, f/2.0 aperture and 5p lens, secondary 8MP front camera
  • Other features: Fingerprint Sensor, AK4376 Hi-Fi audio chip
  • Battery: 3160 mAh battery with fast charging
  • Dimensions: 152.58 x 74 x 7.26mm
  • Weight: 158.6 grams

Comfortable grip & Sturdy build quality

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Just like the Vivo V5, the V5 Plus gets its design inspiration from the iPhone. The resemblances are hard to miss – the antennae bands at the top and bottom of the phone’s rear and the rounded corners are just like what you see on Apple’s handsets. But despite this direct lift-off from the iPhone, the Vivo V5 Plus fails to evoke the same kind of awe that you feel from an Apple device. The Vivo V5 Plus reminds you that it has been inspired from the iPhone, but nothing more.

But the biggest improvement in this new phone over the V5 is that it now comes in a metal unibody design. What’s also commendable is the phone’s build quality, which is excellent. The phone’s fit and finish are spot on. The device is unmistakably sturdy and solid. You could hold the phone comfortably in your hand without the fear of dropping it crossing your mind twice. The curves at the sides are also a nice touch which aid in good grip. At a thickness of 7.26mm, the phone is thin. So, while in terms of build and construction, the V5 Plus gets full points, it falters when you gauge it in terms of aesthetics and design. 

Bright and Sharp Display

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The Vivo V5 Plus sports a 5.5-inch Full HD (1920x1080p resolution) In-Cell display with 2.5D curved glass and Corning Gorilla Glass 5. The display gets sufficiently bright for comfortable use under direct sunlight. For those suffering from any eye-related ailments, the phone offers an Eye Protection option that adds a yellow hue to the display, allowing for easy long reading sessions. At a pixel density of about 400 PPI, text appears sharp and crisp. The panel’s colour reproduction is quite good. However, it doesn’t match the vibrancy of the OLED screens found on similarly priced phones. Since it is an IPS (In Pane Switching) panel, the viewing angles are wide.

Powerful Hardware

Vivo packs Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 625 octa-core SoC with an Adreno 506 GPU and 4GB of RAM. For the V5 Plus’s price segment, the Snapdragon 625 isn’t the most powerful chipset, but is sufficient for most tasks. The phone offers 64GB of internal storage space, but misses out on expandable storage.

For network connectivity, the Vivo V5 Plus comes with support for 4G LTE, dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11 ac (2.4GHz + 5GHz), Bluetooth 4.2, GPS and dual SIM slots which accept Nano SIMs. The phone also boasts of an AK4376 Hi-Fi audio chip which was first introduced on the V5. With such specialised sound hardware, Vivo justifies its catchphrase, “Camera and Music”. But ironically enough, the company has conveniently skipped the radio on this phone. There is also no NFC.

iPhone-inspired UI that comes with handy features 

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The phone runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow with Vivo’s FunTouch OS on top of it. The iPhone-inspired look continues for the UI as well. Icons look a lot like what you see on Apple devices. But, what’s hysterical is that Vivo decided to come up with a bunch of apps called iMusic, iThemes and iManager on the phone.

There is no app-launcher but you can download third-party app launchers from the Play Store. The UI offers a bunch of local themes, wallpapers, lock screen, and fonts, but you can always download more from the iTheme app. The Quick Settings panel, like on the company’s previous phone, shows up on the screen when you swipe from below. While this is a fancy touch, it does come in the way sometimes when all you want to do is to scroll up.

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The OS comes with a whole bunch of features which are handy while using the device. There is a one-handed mode that does what it says, a split screen mode for multi-tasking, a super screenshot mode that allows you to add graphics to the screenshot, a screen recorder that takes a video of the screenshot, and a smart click option which triggers the camera.

A bunch of other Smart motions such as Shake to turn on the flashlight are also useful. Smart call options such as Smart Call, Smart Answer, Smart Switch, Smart Mute allow greater ease while answering calls.

Selfies aren’t worth the hype

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Now, coming to the most important aspect of this phone, which is its camera module. As far as specifications go, the V5 Plus comes with a 20-megapixel and an 8-megapixel camera with moonlight flash, Sony IMX376 1/2.78″ sensor, F2.0 aperture at the front, and a 16-megapixel camera with PDAF and F2.0 aperture at the back.

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The company claims that its selfie camera takes perfect selfies and while perfection is merely an illusion, selfies are nothing close to perfect. While selfies have quite a bit of detail, and do appear bright and crisp at times, we couldn’t get consistent results. It was largely a hit-and-miss affair.

But, the phone makes up for this fault by offering interesting features on the front camera. There is a Bokeh mode which adds a soft, blurry effect behind the person taking the selfie. This is a unique feature for a front-facing camera. As with selfie cameras on most phones, there is a Face Beauty mode that smoothens out your skin and also offers a variety of filters such as Sketch, BW-Film, and Vintage. 

The rear camera, on the other hand, takes images that have good colour reproduction but they aren’t as sharp when compared to those of other similarly priced camera phones. Colours look natural, but the phone has a tendency to overexpose in auto mode. Low-light images have plenty of noise, but that can be blamed on the lack of OIS on the phone. The camera offers features such as Night and Ultra HD that combines several images for a high resolution photo, PPT, and Anti-Shake. The Pro mode gives you control over settings such as ISO, white balance, and E/V. 

The phone records 4K videos at 30 fps. The resulting clips contain a good amount of detail. However, due to the lack of OIS (Optical Image Stabilisation), videos turn out to be a bit shaky. In highest quality setting, the file size tends to be too large. So you are better off sticking with Full HD mode, unless you happen to own a 4K TV, of course.

Smooth Performer

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The Vivo V5 Plus works as a good entertainment hub. Watching YouTube videos is a fun experience thanks to the big screen and sound is loud and clear. That apart, by and large, the phone offers smooth performance. There was no stutter, apps open smoothly and working with several apps in the background gives no problem at all. 

Games such as Subway Surfer and Temple Run worked smoothly without either any stutter, delays, or any issue of overheating. Furthermore, playing Asphalt 8 too was a breeze with absolutely no hiccups at all.

The fingerprint sensor is quick, doesn’t take more than a second. Moreover, it was also pretty accurate each time. Call quality is good, and there were no call drops either. 

Battery that lasts just about a day

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Thanks to its quick charge feature, the phone charges quickly in less than two hours. However, even with regular usage that is making a couple of calls, using social media, watching YouTube videos, and using WhatsApp throughout the day, the battery doesn’t last further than a day which is downright disappointing. The device offers a super power-saving mode that only enables the Contacts, Phone, Messages and Clock, and another Low power consumption mode which lowers the CPU frequency, GPU frequency and screen brightness, which can be used in low battery situations.

Should you buy the Vivo V5 Plus?

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At the time of writing this review, Vivo had reduced the price of the device from ₹27,980 to ₹22,899. The V5 Plus offers a sturdily built device with smooth performance a and good UI. The camera is good for the price as well, but there’s nothing extraordinary. So you’d be better off going with the Samsung Galaxy C7 Pro (which costs ₹25,990) which is a more wholesome package.

Vivo V5 Plus

₹22,899
6.6

Design and Build Quality

8.0/10

Display

7.0/10

Software

7.0/10

Camera

6.0/10

Performance

7.0/10

Value for Money

7.0/10

Battery Life

4.0/10

What Is Good?

  • Sturdy built
  • Bright display
  • Feature-packed UI
  • Smooth performance
  • Bokeh effect in selfies

What Is Bad?

  • Selfie camera could have been better
  • Battery drains very quickly
  • Lacks MicroSD card slot

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