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Review

Vivo V11 Pro Review: Mid-ranger with flagship features

The Vivo V11 Pro is a capable mid-ranger in the segment, but does it have any advantage in front of the competition?

vivo v11 pro front alternate

Photo Credit - Rehan Hooda


Vivo V11 Pro 4 5
BGR Rating :
4/5

Highlights

  • The V11 Pro is priced at Rs 25,990 and available via Amazon India and Vivo e-Store.

  • First smartphone in the price segment to come with in-display fingerprint scanner.

  • The V11 Pro also comes with tiny waterdrop notch and AMOLED screen.

A couple of years ago, smartphones were all about price and specifications. Not much has changed there, but the budget and mid-range have gotten cluttered. However, to stay relevant in the market, brands need to offer market differentiators. Vivo has managed to launch products with cutting edge technology, including the first smartphone with in-display fingerprint scanner and a pop-up selfie camera.

The recently launched Vivo V11 Pro brings flagship features for the masses at an affordable price tag of Rs 25,990. The successor to the Vivo V9 was launched in March this year. Among its highlights are an in-display fingerprint scanner, glass back with gradient finish, a full screen display with waterdrop notch and a battery with fast charging among others. Amidst such a rich feature list, does the V11 Pro make for a good purchase? Here’s my review.

Watch: Vivo V11 Pro First Look

Vivo V11 Pro specifications

Features Vivo V11 Pro
Display 6.41-inch FHD+ AMOLED, 1080x2340pixels, 19.5:9 aspect ratio
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 octa-core
RAM 6GB
Memory 64GB (expandable up to 256GB using microSD card)
Rear Camera 12-megapixel + 5-megapixel
Front Camera 25-megapixel
Battery 3,400mAh with fast charging
Security In-display fingerprint scanner, Face Unlock
Android OS Android Oreo with funtouchOS
Price Rs 25,990, available on Amazon India

Design and Display

Over the past couple of years, the design trends have changed from unibody metals to glass on the front and back. The V11 Pro is no different. Although its back looks like it’s made of glass, it’s actually plastic with a glossy finish. This makes it slippery and attracts a lot of smudges, but you can always put the bundled soft case to ensure proper grip.

Photo Credit – Rehan Hooda

Under the plastic, there is a gradient finish with black on the top, and shimmery color towards the bottom, just like we have seen on the Huawei P20-series. And as you twist and turn the device, the gradient back reflects lights and changes colors, depends on how the light is falling on it. And it looks quite impressive.

The dual camera module is placed on the top left, and has a circular ring around it, adding to its premium look and feel. The Vivo logo in Gold color, resonates well with the overall color scheme and offers a premium feel. The back has a curved arch design, which makes it a little sleek from the sides, and also helps to comfortably hold the smartphone in one hand.

Photo Credit – Rehan Hooda

Up front, you have an edge-to-edge display which Vivo calls ‘Halo FullView,’ and it features a tiny waterdrop style notch. It is similar to what we have seen on the Oppo F9 Pro. The implementation is clever as it doesn’t take up a lot of space like the other notches. This waterdrop notch houses the front camera, ambient and infrared sensors, whereas the earpiece is placed above it, very cleverly that it is hardly visible.

Photo Credit – Rehan Hooda

It is a 6.41-inch full HD+ AMOLED panel with a pixel density of around 400ppi. The text and photos look sharp, colors look vivid, and black levels are also pretty good. You’d enjoy watching videos and movies on the screen, and even playing games.

Security: In-display fingerprint scanner for the masses

For a minute let’s talk about innovative features, such as iris scanning, face unlock, in-display fingerprint scanner, to name a few. There is a lot of research and development when companies are working on innovative technologies, and a lot of resources are dedicated too. But then, these experiences are reserved for premium devices, whereas majority of smartphone users are in the entry-level to mid-range segments. Chinese smartphone makers like Oppo, Vivo, OnePlus and Xiaomi realize this, and are working towards bringing flagship features to the masses.

Photo Credit – Rehan Hooda

The highlight of V11 Pro, besides the display and design, is the in-display fingerprint scanner. This is Vivo’s third smartphone after the X21 and NEX to come with the under-display scanning tech. Vivo said it’s using the 4th generation scanner which is better than the previous implementations. To begin with, there is a dedicated place where you need to place your finger for the sensor to be able to scan accurately. It’s easy in case of capacitive scanners, but to make it easier with in-display scanning, the fingerprint logo lights up on the screen, and you’ll have to place your finger there.

Now, the authentication isn’t very quick like the capacitive ones, but it works. The first two-three days, there is a learning curve – you need to get used to placing your finger at the right place, and the sensor also learns from your patterns. It takes about a couple of seconds to scan, authenticate and unlock the device. But considering we are still in early stages of in-display scanners, I won’t complain much. Also, in this price range, Vivo is the only one offering this tech, so it will take a bit of time until the tech is perfected.

Photo Credit – Rehan Hooda

To make things easier, Vivo has also added face unlock feature which uses infrared light to project on your face, scan 1,024 facial features, and unlock the device. I must admit, the unlocking is very fast, like within a blink of the eye. And it even works well in low light conditions. Both, face unlock and in-display scanning works in conjunction. So, when you rest your finger on the screen to unlock the device, if the face is detected first, it will quickly unlock the device.

AI Cameras

Today, there is AI everywhere. Almost all smartphone companies are using AI in the camera app for scene detection, and for semantic segmentation to add bokeh effects to your photos. The V11 Pro also comes with AI dual cameras at the back – 12-megapixel primary sensor with f/1.8 aperture, and a 5-megapixel secondary depth sensor of aperture f/2.4. The cameras are able to click good photos both in day-light and low-light scenarios. Below are some shots I took in day light. In the first photo, the colors and details look good, my only wish here is for the dynamic range to be a bit better.

The second photo (below), was shot against the sunlight light, where my eyes couldn’t see the satellite dish properly, but the camera captured the photo very well.

Close-up shots look good too, and the details are clearly visible too. The photo is sharp, and the grass in the background is defocused very well. See the photo below.

The dual cameras that enable the portrait mode also works very well. It uses the secondary depth sensor as well as AI to defocus the background, while focusing on the subject. And while it does that, it retains the skin tone, details and colors very well. Something I haven’t seen most mid-range devices do that. Check the photo below.

Low-light photography is also good, and the moment the camera detects that you are clicking photos in dim lighting conditions, it activates the low-light mode. The resulting pictures aren’t as great as the Pixel or Galaxy or iPhones, but good for the price point. There is little to no graininess, and the pictures look very well balanced, while retaining the colors. Below are some samples.

Companies like Oppo and Vivo have created a name for themselves by offering selfie centric smartphones. The V11 Pro comes with a 25-megapixel sensor and the photo quality it offers is surely something that you haven’t seen on smartphones in its price range. Selfies look good and detailed, and the AI portrait mode works well too. Vivo has also added iPhone X-like portrait lighting effects where you can keep the subject in focus and background in monochrome. You can also add rainbow effects to your photos.

You also get AR stickers where you can add a moustache to your face, add a turban on your head and much more, and the effects look good too. However, there is one small problem I have with these effects, the photos look a little smudgy, where the details are missing. Also, these effects make the face look a little brighter with face beauty effects, something that I wouldn’t want. Below are some samples.

Lastly, Vivo has also added iPhone X-like Animoji feature on the V11 Pro, calling it Funmoji. It can be accessed from the default TouchPal keyboard. The implementation isn’t done quite well, and it fails to detect facial expressions properly, but it is better than what Asus and some other companies have tried.

 

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Jovi AI assistant: Not bad, but could be more functional

In China, the smartphone comes with Jovi AI voice assistant. In India, you get three features – the smart camera with face beauty mode which will analyse your skin type, tone and gender, and apply effects. It also detects the scene when you are clicking the photo, and adds effects to make your photos look better. There is smart scene mode, a Google Assistant card like interface that can be accessed by swiping left to right from the homescreen. It will show calendar events, weather updates, steps you walked (using gyroscope) and shortcuts for most used apps. It’s a handy tool to have, and I don’t have any complaints.

Photo Credit: Rehan Hooda

Operating System: Still needs improvements

The V11 Pro boots Android 8.1 Oreo out-of-the-box, along with Funtouch OS skin on top. It is a single layer UI with no app drawer, and unlike the previous iterations, it is much more refined. But there are still some problems that Vivo has to address. Take the Settings Menu for instance, there are 5 sections, with each having 5 or more sub-sections, making a total of over 25. Now, the problem is, you don’t get the search menu on top. So, for instance, if you want to look for about phone, or backup and reset, you have to manually go through each sub-section to find it. A search option on top could be been better. For a geek like me, it is easy to figure out in a few minutes, but you can’t expect the same from the mass audience that are not too tech savvy.

Photo Credit – Rehan Hooda

Vivo also lets you get rid of the on-screen Android navigation buttons and replace them with iPhone X like gesture control, and thus have some more screen real-estate to enjoy the full screen experience. The gestures aren’t smooth as the iPhone, but well it is better than what we have seen on the previous Vivo phones.

The Funtouch OS also comes with “Motorbike Mode” which when activated will put the phone in do not disturb mode. By default, it will reject all incoming calls while you are driving, and can also send auto respond messages to the callers that you are driving and will respond as soon as possible.

Lastly, the music app is also integrated with audio effects, Vivo calls it DeepField. Basically, its equalizer presets with effects like 360 degrees panoramic surround, mega bass, clear voice, concert hall, and more. It’s not great, but it does add a little fun to your music listening experience, only if you want to.

Performance and battery life

The V11 Pro is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 SoC, paired with 6GB of RAM and 64GB onboard storage. There is also a dedicated microSD card slot for further storage expansion. The chipset and RAM configuration is good enough to offer a smooth performance, and it doesn’t disappoint. Even with a few apps open in the background, the phone does not lag, which is a good thing.

Gaming performance was decent, but could have been better. I had no issues with casual games like Subway Surfers, but recently, I’ve been hooked on to Asphalt 9: Legends, and the experience wasn’t good. Don’t get me wrong, the Snapdragon 660 isn’t a flagship chipset, and Adreno 512 GPU is also not powerful enough, but even with default mode with low-graphics, the game would stutter at times, and frame drops were clearly visible. Turning on the game mode did offer some boost by making the gameplay smooth, but you still can’t play the game in high graphics mode.

Photo Credit – Rehan Hooda

Talking about battery life, with average use, it lasted me for a little over a day, and with heavy usage, I could still sail through the day. The battery is rated at 3,400mAh and it supports Vivo’s dual engine fast charging tech, which offers 40 percent charge in 30 minutes, about 80 percent in close to an hour, and full charge in less than an hour and a half, thanks to the 18W charger bundled in the box. My only problem here is the lack of USB Type-C port.

Verdict

The Vivo V11 Pro is an interesting smartphone in the mid-range segment. Vivo has done a commendable job in bringing flagship features such as in-display fingerprint scanner, fast charging, gradient design and full screen AMOLED display, while making it affordable for the masses. The dual AI cameras and the front-facing selfie camera offers good performance in all lighting conditions.

Battery life and fast charging tech on the smartphone is also worth mentioning here. The only issue I would want to highlight is that the software could have been tuned better. In-display scanner isn’t the fastest, but it in its early stages, so it will take time to get perfected. If you are looking for a good smartphone in the Rs 26,000 price range, the V11 Pro is a good option I will recommend.

However, it is hard to ignore the Poco F1 which offers flagship hardware with Snapdragon 845 SoC, and more storage in the same price range. Also, paying a bit more, you could also go for the Asus Zenfone 5Z. They don’t come with in-display tech, but overall good options in the price range.

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  • Published Date: September 12, 2018 12:41 PM IST