Most smartphones today have a standard screen with an 18:9 aspect ratio. It’s a factor driven by economies of scale, and the fact that it’s relatively affordable to have the phone’s screen adhere to a fixed format. However, last year saw the first smartphone that went with a wider screen; the Xiaomi Mi MIX offered a 17:9 aspect ratio, which changed the way smartphones would look. After Samsung and LG showcased the concept with their flagship smartphones, it came time for the budget manufacturers to get in on the game too.
Following in the footsteps of the LG Q6 and the Micromax Canvas Infinity is the Vivo V7+. With a 6-inch 18:9 ratio screen, the phone offers the wide-screen experience at a price of Rs 21,990. But is there more to the Vivo V7+ than just a wide screen? Find out in our review.
That screen, though
A couple of things stand out on the Vivo V7+: the screen ratio and the front camera. Let’s start with the former; the phone has a 6-inch screen with a resolution of 720×1440 pixels, with a screen-to-body ratio of about 78 percent and a pixel density count of 269ppi. As a result of the stretched screen and narrower non-screen space at the top and bottom, the V7+ feels like a typical 5.5-inch phone, while boasting of a screen that’s a bit larger. It also helps when watching wide-format videos, such as movies and clips on some streaming services.
However, the screen resolution and low pixel density count does show rather significantly. It’s nowhere near as sharp as you’d expect from a Rs 21,990 smartphone, and the lack of detail in the screen shows rather tellingly at all times. Whether you’re navigating around the interface, playing games or watching videos, you’ll be able to see some pixelation and loss of sharpness. This does to some extent hamper the overall experience, although the screen filling up the front makes up for it ever so slightly.
Apart from the screen itself, there are few more factors that further distinguish the Vivo V7+. The screen sits slightly above the edge of the phone, which has its pros and cons. This doesn’t feel particularly good to your fingers thanks to the edges it creates, but it also helps distinguish the screen from the sies of the phone. The sides and back are metal, with a unibody casing that curves off the edges at all sides. The speaker, micro-USB port and 3.5mm socket are at the bottom, the power and volume buttons are on the right and the SIM tray is on the left. Fortunately, there are separate slots for both SIMs and the microSD card. The fingerprint sensor is at the back, and the Android keys are on-screen. ALSO READ: LG Q6 Review
As is the case with Vivo’s current roster of smartphones, the Vivo V7+ runs on the company’s own FunTouch OS. Up to version 3.2 with Android 7.1.2 on top, the interface is modeled around iOS and could often be mistaken for Apple’s operating system at first glance. The icons and settings menu are similar looking, while swiping from bottom to top brings up the quick settings and toggles, just like on iOS. The design and layout can be confusing for typical Android users, and might even feel a bit tacky and imperfect at its mimickry. However, it is efficient with minimal bloatware and no significant performance issues in the software.
Built for selfies
With its target audience in mind, Vivo has gone out of its way to make its smartphones selfie-friendly, and indeed many of its phones feature incredibly capable front cameras. As is often the case, the Vivo V7+ has a better front camera than its rear camera when it comes to resolution; the phone has a 24-megapixel front camera with soft lamp flash and a 16-megapixel rear camera. It’s possible to shoot up to full-HD video with both cameras, although the front camera has a fixed focal range and does not support slow-motion video recording in the stock camera app.
The front camera on the Vivo V7+ is indeed a very good shooter, capturing detail accurately, and maintaining color, brightness and composition effectively. Its fixed focal range is optimized for typical selfies, but for a Rs 22,000 smartphone that touts its front camera as one of its USPs, it’s a bit disappointing to not have variable focus. The selfies I shot on the Vivo V7+ were among the best I’ve seen on any smartphone, and this will appeal to people who use the front camera a lot.
The rear camera is fairly decent as well, although the lack of 4K video recording and high-framerate recording are significant blots on the camera’s abilities. Simply put, pictures and videos are good enough, provided your needs are basic. Additionally, very little effort needs to be put into taking good pictures with the phone; the whole system is geared towards simplicity and ease of use, letting you take good pictures quickly and effortlessly.
Mid-range performance, high pricing
The Vivo V7+ is among the first phones in India to be powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 SoC, which was announced in June this year. With eight Cortex A53 cores and fabricated on the 14nm process, the Snapdragon 450 is one of the most exciting new chipset launches in the budget space. During my time with the Vivo V7+, I found performance to be excellent, and the chipset comes across as a ‘junior’ version of the excellent Snapdragon 625. ALSO READ: Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 platform announced at MWC Shanghai 2017
As a result, day-to-day usage and performance is reliable, battery life is decent and the phone generally gives you very little to complain about. It’s helped along by 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage as well. While a few frame drops are visible during intensive gaming, running too many tasks may cause a bit of heat. On the whole our first experience with the Snapdragon 450 SoC is primarily a positive one.
However, it’s important to remember the price here. With a price tag of Rs 21,990, the Snapdragon 400-series chipset (even if it’s the most capable one in the family) is inadequate, especially when you consider that smartphones such as the Xiaomi Mi A1 and Moto G5S Plus cost much less and are powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 SoC. While Vivo’s offline availability does justify the price difference to some extent, it’s still perhaps a bit too high to be truly tenable.
The18:9 aspect ratio on its 6-inch screen, and the 24-megapixel front camera that takes some of the best selfies we’ve seen on a smartphone, together make for a rather strong case for the Vivo V7+. And with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 SoC and 4GB of RAM, performance is reliable as well. What then is the problem? As is the case with many products that depend on typical offline distribution networks, the problem lies in the pricing.
It’s very hard to justify buying an offline-first phone over an online-first one, because the lower costs of online distribution mean that the phones are plainly superior. However, many buyers may not be comfortable with buying phones online and prefer to pay a visit to a local retailer. Even with that in mind, the Vivo V7+ is perhaps too expensive, and there simply is not enough in the device to justify the pricing. From the low-resolution screen to the flaws in the camera, the Vivo V7+ is far from the ideal phone at this price.