Vivo V7 is a mid-range smartphone priced at Rs 18,990.
One of the best features is its 24-megapixel bokeh-ready front camera.
Battery performance on the Vivo V7 is quite impressive.
Vivo launched its V7 earlier this month, after its higher variant V7+. While both the models focus on offering good self-portraits, the V7 costs slightly less at Rs 18,990. Adding to the over-crowded selfie smartphone market, what is it that the Vivo V7 has to offer which will make you pick it over the competition? Here’s what I, someone who doesn’t take a lot of selfies, have to say after using the Vivo V7 for what it is built for.
One of the best things to happen this year is the rise to fame of 18:9 displays. From the likes of LG, Samsung and Apple, the new type of display has been adopted by those in the mid-range category as well. The Vivo V7 also packs in a display with narrow side bezels, giving an illusion of an edge-to-edge display. The front is dominated with by the 5.7-inch HD+ 1440 x 720p IPS display that is bright and responsive to touch. As a phone with the higher display aspect ratio, the Vivo V7 is indeed impressive when it comes to reading or watching videos. However, at times the experience is hampered as the videos do not turn out as crisp on the HD display, as they might have been on a higher resolution display.
The other notable thing about the V7 is its featherlight form. It is extremely sleek and that makes it easy to grip. Without increasing the overall size of the device, Vivo has been successful in delivering the 18:9 display experience. The only physical buttons present are the power button and volume rockers on the right. On the left is the dual SIM+ microSD card slot, which again, counts as a plus as one can expand storage as well as use a secondary SIM through the triple slot.
Although it does not feature a metal body, the V7 can easily pass off as having that owing to its smooth rear panel finish, rounded corners, and metal-like detailing around the rear fingerprint sensor and antenna bands. On the whole, the Vivo V7 scores an 8 on 10 on the ergonomics and aesthetics. In terms of design, the only aspect that held the phone back from getting a full score is the display resolution, in my opinion.
What a Bokeh
After the narrow-bezel display, the next talking point of the V7 is its front camera. There is no dual-camera setup and no dedicated flash, yet the 24-megapixel camera with portrait mode is one outstanding feature. As I introduced this review coming from someone who doesn’t often take selfies, I must admit that the bokeh mode has triggered the narcissism in me.
Irrespective of whether you use the FaceBeauty feature or not, selfies in Portrait mode turn out extremely well. It is not a half-baked camera when it comes to portraits. The results are below to see.
As impressive as the front camera is, the rear camera disappoints somewhat equally. There’s a 16-megapixel rear camera which is capable enough to shoot in controlled lighting environments. However, if there’s little natural light, it sort of washes out the subject in a bid to give low-light shots. Capturing artificial lights or subjects under artificial lighting is not up to the mark either.
The Portrait Mode is supported for the rear camera as well. However, the algorithm struggles to blur out the background when capturing through the rear camera. There’s an evident flare as you can see in the shots below.
The phone is fueled by a 3,000mAh battery which lasts long, quite long. With everyday apps running, voice calls, and addictive Bokeh shooting, the phone survived my moderate use for the whole day, with some juice left before I needed to plug it in again for charging at the end of the day.
When it comes to charging the phone, it takes an hour for the battery percentage to go from zero to 50. This might not be exceptional speed when compared to other formats, but even if you get in a situation where you are able to charge not more than 20-30 percent, the performance is reliable enough to help you survive crucial times.
It takes an hour for the battery to go from zero to 50
Face it to unlock it
To test just how seamless it is to unlock a phone with facial mapping, I only used Face Access Unlock feature on the V7 during my review period. Because it is still at a nascent stage, the technology needs improvement. Getting my face registered for authentication was fairly easy. However, getting the system to detect it was tricky on some occasions.
If the phone is lying on the table and you pick it up, it will instantly unlock. If you have kept it in your lap and happen to flash your face near the camera, it would unlock, without you having to press the power button even once. It is pretty seamless otherwise; however, your face needs to be detectable for the feature to work flawlessly. In situations where it was dark or when the light conditions were not sufficient for the sensors to map the facial points, the phone just did not unlock, even after repeated efforts.
Vivo could have possibly added the ability for the LED light (which aids in low-self-portraits) to turn on automatically upon detection of low light conditions. This would have added the capability of a truly seamless unlocking process.
The V7 is equipped with the same chipset as the V7+. There’s the Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 SoC with 4GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage which is expandable via microSD card. As we have noted in our review of the V7+, the chipset is excellent for day-to-day usage with reliable battery and overall performance.
Being a moderate user, I faced no overheating instances or crashing of apps while using the phone. Streaming music and videos were my prime activities, followed by camera use, with apps such as Slack and Feedly running in the background all the time.
The phone runs the Android 7.1 Nougat-based Funtouch OS 3.2. The bloatware is minimal and the UI is similar to iOS, which made it easier for me to navigate. One of the features of Android Nougat OS that leverages the wide-screen is the split-screen functionality. Although not all apps are supported in split-screen mode, using the compatible ones is smooth on the V7. You can adjust the size of the window, yet not feel you have compromised too much on the readability factor owing to the narrow bezels.
Vivo V7 produces good selfies, offers a decent display experience, along with a really efficient battery at a price of Rs 18,990. At this price, there is no dual-camera setup, stock Android experience, or even a revolutionary outer design. Then, does it even make the cut in the aggressive market? I say, perhaps yes.
Vivo, as a brand, is known for its lifestyle-centric handsets. With a focus on music and camera, Vivo has a portfolio full of smartphones which boast selfie-centric capabilities. Squarely aimed at social-media enthusiasts, vloggers, or simply those who absolutely enjoy capturing self-portraits, the V7 fits just right with its 24-megapixel front camera with flash, and the impressive battery output. Having said that, if one looks at the current market scenario where bokeh selfies are not the sole USP of devices, but come as added frills, Vivo V7 might be easy to miss.
For someone with a budget of Rs 20,000, the Xiaomi Mi A1 or the recently-launched Moto X4 offer a dual-camera setup, full HD displays, with stock Android experience. However, these two phones lack one element which rival Oppo F5 scores a point in, 18:9 display. Priced at Rs 1,000 more than the Vivo V7, the F5 offers a massive 6-inch full HD+ display, and offers up to 6GB RAM. While F5 might seem like a better proposition, it features a 20-megapixel front camera and is also a tad heavier in comparison.
On the whole, the Vivo V7 is in line with the current industry trend of bokeh shots and 18:9 display, all bundled with a decent chipset and battery performance. If you can do with the average rear camera, there’s little to say against the V7.