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Vivo V19 Review: A camera with a phone, not a phone with a camera

The Vivo V19 aims at being a camera-heavy smartphone and does that well, but how does it fair as an overall mid-range device? Read our review to find out.

Vivo-V19-bgr-review-1

Vivo V19 3.5 5
BGR Rating :
3.5/5

Vivo’s V series is a set of smartphones that focus more on on-camera performance compared to speed or aesthetics. The latest in this lineup – Vivo V19 – brings along some firsts for the brand in the camera area as well. We now have a dual-front camera setup encased in a pill-sized notch, along with four sensors on the back, bringing the total number of cameras on the V19 to six. Also Read - Realme, Poco, Vivo, and Honor to launch new phones this week: Check full details

Couple that with a bunch of software features encased in Vivo’s abundantly feature-packed camera UI, things look promising for the Vivo V19. However, the Vivo V19 also comes with some outdated hardware, or specifically the processor. Can a camera smartphone that starts at Rs 27,990 perform well enough to outshine its processor that’s over a year old? Let’s find out. Also Read - Vivo V19 smartphone India launch announced to take place on May 12

Watch: Top 5 smartphones under Rs 20000

Design, Build

The Vivo V19 features a compact overall form factor in the segment, where most phones are getting big fast. I believe this is one of its biggest strengths. The 6.44-inch screen here is housed in a body that just weighs 186.5 grams. The device is one of the few phones left that you can still use with a single hand. The placement and feedback of the buttons are excellent. Further, Vivo is thankfully not a brand that has gone all out with the rear camera bump, which is manageably small. Put on a case and the bump is barely there. Also Read - Vivo Y30 With 5000mAh battery, quad-camera launched: Price, specifications and more

A 3.5mm jack, USB-C slot, microphone, and the speaker grille make up the bottom edge of the V19. There is a power button and a volume rocker on the right. There is a secondary noise-canceling microphone up top and the left edge only has a SIM tray with two SIMs and a dedicated microSD card slot. The design of the smartphone feels premium throughout.

Vivo V19

Though the back is plastic, it has a beautiful silver finish like the one on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ that switches colors as per angled light. The minimal branding on the back is not too intrusive either. There is attention to detail, including a grooved lining that runs around the frame. Every design aspect of the Vivo V19 feels like it has just the right size, shape, and color. Full marks here.

Display

The Vivo V19’s 6.44-inch display panel comes with Gorilla Glass 6, which makes it strong and also less reflective. There is a pill-shaped notch on the top-right that has the two front-facing cameras. The FHD+ AMOLED panel used is beautiful to watch, and colors are crisp and punchy while blacks are deep. There is support for HDR10 for all the binge-watchers, which is great.

Vivo V19

An underrated element is the range of brightness this screen has, which goes from as low as 1.9 nits to 1200 nits. This makes it a comfortable screen to look at, where its day or night. The only thing missing from the otherwise great screen is a higher-refresh-rate, which is definitely not a deal-breaker though. An AMOLED with 60Hz refresh rate is still toe-to-toe with, if not better than, an LCD panel with a 90Hz/120Hz refresh rate.

Software

Vivo’s Funtouch OS is usually a hit or miss with people. While some love the plentiful customizations, animations, and tuning options, others dislike the overwhelming aspects of the interface. The custom skin by the brand also has been far from stock Android and often gives users shifting from other brands a tough time. However, the V19 changes that to some extent. With Funtouch OS 10, we see some major changes like a cleaner quick settings panel, which is now accessible from a swipe from the top, instead of from the bottom. Based on Android 10, the OS now has better permissions management and a refined dark mode. A great addition is the ability to set the ‘darkness level’ in your dark mode. This lets you choose between grey elements to a total pitch black, that can make most of the AMOLED panel and save you some battery.

Vivo V19

Vivo V19

There are still things that could be improved with the Vivo V19. There is some bloatware, including a bunch of Vivo apps that the phone wants you to use. This even includes a separate app store. Simple things like changing the wallpaper, require you to use a themes app, that wouldn’t open without access to your phone and contacts, which makes no sense. Further, whether Vivo would provide Android system updates to the phone is still a mystery. Existing Vivo users would fit right in here. However, newer people might find these nitpicking points a tad too much at times.

Camera

The main attraction of the Vivo V19 is its cameras. On the rear is a quad-camera setup. The main sensor here is a 48-megapixel one. Pictures taken with the main sensor are great. Subjects are quick to focus and have a decent amount of detail. Post-processing provides punchy colors that look pleasing to the eye. Low light scenario is where the pictures really shine out. There is plenty of detail and accurate colors in low light and shots look great. Multiple exposure algorithms provide minimal noise in low-light and practically negligible noise under artificial indoor lighting. You can also now see live previews of low light images in real-time. Sadly, we couldn’t explore the Vivo V19’s camera as much as we would have liked to due to lockdown restrictions. Regardless, check out the samples by clicking below.

The performance of the ultra-wide camera is also good here. The sensor can capture 105 degrees FOV, which is not the biggest number in the game but gets the job done. There is a lack of detail like most phones that use an 8-megapixel sensor, but results during the daytime are still pretty good. Meanwhile, macro shots came out to be good too, but only during the daytime. Video recording is good here, allowing footages of up to 4K 30fps or 1080p 60fps. You can even record with the ultrawide lens but that will be a significant loss in quality compared to the main lens. An ultrastable mode toggle lets you take super-smooth footage and the results live up to it.

Vivo V19 Review Camera Samples

The Vivo V19 now also has two cameras on the front. The first of these is a 32-megapixel sensor that takes really great, detailed selfies. A plethora of software features is at your disposal here if you’re into that sort of stuff. This allows you to do anything from changing your skin tone to reshaping your nose on the go. There is also a superwide sensor on the front that lets you take wide selfies and fit more subjects or people into one shot. An art portrait mode will keep you as the main subject and either blur out or discolor the background.

There is also a pose-master feature that gives you pose stencils. While recording video, you have an ultra-stable mode on the front as well to remove any extensive shaking. There is again the same loss of detail when using the ultrawide sensor on the front. But it does prove to be pretty handy when you’re in good lighting scenarios.

Performance, battery life

The Vivo V19 features a Snapdragon 712 SoC and comes in two variants. Both have 8GB RAM. The first has 128GB storage while the other has 256GB storage. The performance is mostly good, but the heavy UI sometimes makes its weight noticeable on the device. The choice of a Snapdragon 712 is questionable. For some context, this is the same SoC used on the Realme XT, which has since been succeeded by the Realme X2, which is soon to be succeeded by the X3. If you’re someone who wants more performance out of your device, you’d be better off with another phone in the segment that uses either a Snapdragon 730 or 720.

The year-old 712 may not be a problem if you’re going to use the V19 for pictures and light usage, but for heavy multitasking and gaming, you might want to invest in a smartphone that is more future-proof. Regardless, multitasking is a breeze and the 8GB RAM makes sure apps stay on in the background and not get refreshed when you return to them. The Vivo V19 provides great battery life thanks to the 4,500mAh battery on the phone. Optimizations are done well here and the 33W fast charging also helps top-up the phone in about an hour.

Vivo V19 – Verdict

The Vivo V19 is a great camera phone, but only a decent overall smartphone in our books. There is little to complain about the camera aspects of the smartphone. However, the pricing brings it close to other phones that also feature a similar camera experience, but with flagship processors, like the OnePlus 7T. Hence, how much value-for-money the V19 brings to the table at Rs 27,990 for the 8+128GB variant and Rs 31,990 for the 8+256GB is questionable. It almost feels like a flagship phone, but doesn’t perform like one. As the brand suggested, it is built to be a camera with a phone, not a phone with a camera, which happens to set perspective to the V-Series. However, aspects like an outdated processor and uncertainty in Android updates prevent this V-series device from being a phone we would recommend for even the non-camera buffs.

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  • Published Date: May 12, 2020 12:02 PM IST
  • Updated Date: May 12, 2020 12:07 PM IST


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