Vivo has been trying to lure the selfie-centric crowd with its latest smartphones of late. After the Vivo V5 with its 20-megapixel front camera, the V5 Plus with dual front-facing cameras is the newest member to join the family. The dual-camera setup allows users to add effects to their photos, such as blur the background. But apart from being able to click better selfies, the overall performance matters too.
While the Vivo V5 didn’t quite live up to expectations when it came to performance and was let down due to poor choice of hardware, Vivo is trying to fix that with the V5 Plus. But can it justify the Rs 27,980 price tag when better options are available in the same price range? If you’re curious to find out, read my detailed Vivo V5 Plus review.
Vivo V5 Plus Design
Vivo is trying hard to be Apple, and seems to have taken inspiration from the Apple iPhone 7 for the Vivo V5 Plus. If you hide the Apple and Vivo logos from the back of the iPhone 7 and V5 Plus, it will be difficult to tell the difference at first glance. The U-Type antenna design on the top and bottom half at the back of V5 Plus is an exact replica of the iPhone 7 Plus.
Even the placement of rear camera module and LED flash is similar. However, there is a slight difference – the V5 Plus camera module is surrounded by a metal rim, whereas in case of the iPhone 7, the metal casing smoothly protrudes at the back. But it doesn’t end here, the bundled Vivo headphones too look a lot like the Apple Earpods.
On the front, you have the display covered with 2.5D curved glass, with Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection. Above the display, you have the dual-camera setup, earpiece and the ‘moonlight glow’ LED lamp for low-light selfies.
Below the display, you have the physical home button embedded with fingerprint sensor and the capacitive buttons for app switcher and back on either side. The fingerprint sensor is very accurate in scanning fingerprints, and I didn’t have any issues while unlocking the smartphone.
Talking about port placement, the left side has the dual nano-SIM tray, while the right side has the volume rocker and power button. The 3.5mm audio socket is at the bottom along with microUSB port for charging and data transfers. It’s a little sad to see Vivo going with the old micro-USB connector, while others are switching to the newer USB Type-C port.
Vivo V5 Plus Software
The V5 Plus runs on Android Marshmallow OS, with Vivo’s FunTouch UI running on top. It is a single-layered UI and does not feature any app drawer. All your installed apps appear on the homescreen. The smartphone comes with pre-installed apps such as the UC Browser, Amazon app and WPS Office, and fortunately, they can be uninstalled.
Vivo has also added the vivoCloud app that lets you backup your contacts, SMSes, bookmarks and notes to the cloud. There is also the easyshare app that lets you send files to other Vivo phone users via Wi-Fi Direct. The app also lets you transfer you data from an old Vivo smartphone to a new one.
Vivo has also included Smart Split mode – if you get a notification from Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp or Text Messages while watching videos, you can tap the icon to split the screen, respond and close it to continue watching videos.
Vivo V5 Plus Performance
The smartphone features a 5.5-inch full HD display which is good with viewing angles and colors are well saturated too. In fact, those who love gaudy colors will love the display. Most smartphones now feature a blue light filter to cause less stress while reading, and the same is present on the V5 Plus too. Blacks are quite deep, the screen is very bright, and viewing under direct sunlight is no issue either.
At the heart of the smartphone you have Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 625 octa-core SoC built on 14-nm process. It has proven to be one of the best mid-range chipsets out there currently, offering the right balance of power and efficiency. Together with 4GB of RAM and proper software optimizations, the V5 Plus runs very smoothly, even with many apps running in the background. You get 64GB of onboard storage, out of which around 50GB is user accessible, and it should be enough to install plenty of apps, as well as storing lots of media. Sadly, an expandable storage option isn’t available.
Besides the camera, Vivo is also pitching the V5 Plus as a music-centric smartphone. It has the AK4376 Hi-Fi audio chip for improved audio output, and it doesn’t disappoint. The speaker output is loud and clear. Also, when listening to music on a good pair of headphones, the audio quality sounds better with crisp and detailed output. In terms of video, the smartphone is able to play 4K videos without any hiccups.
The gaming performance on the Vivo V5 Plus is smooth too, be it playing casual games such as Subway Surfers and Temple Run or graphics-intense games such as Asphalt 8: Airborne or Modern Combat 5: Blackout. Also, even after intense gaming sessions of about 20 minutes, the device barely gets warm, which is a very good thing.
Vivo V5 Plus Rear Camera Performance
The V5 Plus comes with a 16-megapixel rear camera of aperture f/2.0 with support for phase detection auto-focus (PDAF). Focusing is quick and photo quality is pretty good. The camera app interface is quite neat too. On the top you have the toggle switch for LED flash, followed by HDR toggle, live filters, and camera settings. Under settings, you have the option to turn on the self-timer, choose the aspect ratio for your photos, toggle between shutter options – touch, voice or palm gesture – and finally an option to turn geo-tagging on or off. In case of front-facing camera, you get bokeh mode instead of filters.
At the bottom, you have a quick shortcut to camera roll (gallery), shutter button, filters and a toggle to switch between front and rear cameras. Above the shutter button, you also have four slider options to switch between face beauty, photos, videos and panorama modes.
I clicked a lot of photos under different lighting conditions to test the front and rear cameras. While the rear camera does a decent job, the selfie cameras work pretty well in nearly all lighting conditions. Below are a couple of outdoor photos shot from the rear camera. Although decent, they look slightly overexposed, and details are missing too.
(Photos are resized for web, click on them to see in full resolution)
The same photos when captured in HDR mode looks slightly better, with more punchy colors, but they aren’t as detailed. But they are better than the above photos captured without HDR mode turned on.
Next is a close-up shot captured outdoors. The depth looks good, colors are on a sober side, black look dark, and whites look pretty neat too.
I also shot a close-up photo with indoor lighting conditions and the camera does a fairly good job. While the photo isn’t as sharp as you would want it to be, it does look good overall.
Next photo is shot in extreme low-light with LED flash turned on, and the camera is able to capture decent details, while suitably lighting up the scene.
Then I also captured some other photos without flash, and the camera does a decent job. You can check out the photos below.
Vivo V5 Plus Selfie Cameras Performance
Now we come to the key USP of the smartphone, the dual front-camera setup. It comprises of one 20-megapixel sensor of aperture f/2.0 for clicking photos and one 8-megapixel sensor of aperture f/2.0 to capture depth information. The depth information allows you to add DSLR-like blur background effects to your photos — before and after taking them. There is also a ‘moonlight glow’ LED light to help you capture better selfies in low-light.
Like I did with the rear camera, I also used the selfie snapper to capture multiple photos under different lighting conditions. The below photo is an outdoor shot with normal mode. It has good details, the skin tone looks good, but if you notice the color of the t-shirt, it is slightly washed out.
For the next photo, I turned on the HDR mode to capture the selfie. Although the skin tone has become slightly warmer, the t-shirt color now looks a little punchy.
Now time for the dual-selfie cameras – I shot a number of photos indoors and outdoors, and it works pretty well in blurring out the background. You can vary the aperture between f/0.95, which adds maximum blur to the background, and f/16 which keeps everything in focus. However, ensure that you don’t use the bokeh mode with multiple people in the frame, as it will only focus on the subject and blur the rest. Below are some sample photos.
The camera also supports beautification modes with option to add buff, adjust the skin tone from fair to rosy and whitening effect to brighten the screen. It does let you hide blemishes and dark spots, but if the effects are overdone, the photos look a little unnatural.
Next, I also captured photos in very low-light conditions with flashlight turned on. The light does brighten the frame and you will be able to capture good photos compared to other smartphones. However, they aren’t crisp and detailed. In fact, pixelation is easily noticeable the moment you zoom in a bit.
Vivo V5 Plus Battery
The smartphone is powered by a 3,160mAh battery, along with ‘Dual Charging Engine’ technology for fast charging. It takes about 90 minutes to charge it from 0-100 percent. Even charging for 30 minutes takes the battery close to 50 percent. The Snapdragon 625 SoC and optimizations from Vivo with its FunTouch OS ensure good battery life.
During my usage, the phone would easily last me for about 36 hours between charges. In terms of screen-on-time, I got close to seven hours with about 10 percent still remaining on the battery. My usage involved some phone calls, social networking, three email accounts in sync, watching some TV shows and a bit of web browsing. I was constantly connected to 4G or Wi-Fi during the entire time.
Without a doubt, selfie enthusiasts will definitely love the V5 Plus. The rear camera also offers a decent performance. The interface is smooth and does not lag, and the battery life is also good, thanks to Snapdragon 625 SoC. Until now, Vivo smartphones were priced under Rs 20,000 bracket, but with the V5 Plus, the company has made a bold move. However, at Rs 27,980, I feel the phone is a bit overpriced.
Leave aside the selfie camera, you have the Lenovo P2 priced at Rs 16,999 and the Redmi Note 4 priced from Rs 9,999, with the top end variant costing Rs 12,999. Both smartphones also feature the Snapdragon 625 SoC, up to 4GB of RAM and 64GB storage and are still priced significantly lower than the V5 Plus, making spending so much more simply for a good selfie camera seem a bit illogical. If you don’t mind paying that much and only care about clicking good selfies, buying the V5 Plus could be a no-brainer. However, in the same price range or lower, there are other alternatives too. ALSO READ: Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 Review
Firstly, there is Lenovo Z2 Plus, with prices starting at Rs 14,999, and featuring flagship hardware, such as Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 SoC, up to 4GB of RAM and 64GB storage. Next, there is Honor 8 priced at Rs 29,999, which also features a dual camera setup, to let you capture better photos, although it has the setup at the rear. If you tend to use the rear camera more (as most people do), this might make more sense. ALSO READ: Lenovo P2 Review
You Might be Interested
On the other hand, there is OnePlus 3T as well. With prices starting at Rs 29,999, you get Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 SoC, 6GB of RAM and 64GB storage, along with 16-megapixel front and rear cameras. With flagship hardware and powerful performance at a very reasonable price, buying the OnePlus 3T makes more sense to us than spending nearly the same amount on the Vivo V5 Plus.