Featured Mobiles News Reviews VIVO Vivo V7+ Review – World’s first 24MP Selfie Camera Smartphone October 4, 2017 by Noaman Rasheed 1 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+ Share on Reddit Share on Pinterest Share on Linkedin Share on Tumblr A couple of weeks ago, at a local media meetup, Vivo hinted about its slim-bezel smartphone V7+ to hit stores in Pakistan. The Chinese company has now officially announced the availability of Vivo V7+ in the country during a launch event held yesterday in Lahore. While the company made its name to introduce with the world’s first under-display fingerprint scanner — not in a production unit though, right now what company offers at its best is its first slim-bezel smartphone – the Vivo V7+. Launched last month in India, the phone seems to have been well-received by customers and reviewers online. The phone was later launched in Malaysia and now when the phone has now been launched in Pakistan, our first impressions with Vivo V7+ were quite good. Introduction and Hardware Features The biggest credit indeed goes to its FullView display across narrow bezels and thinner profile. Within its class, undoubtedly, this phone has most attractive screen size yet. Display resolution, however, is not that good to appreciate – it could have a little more but still it’s not a great issue to abuse about. The phone has some major factors from within the memory and storage as well. Oh! I forgot to mention the second prominent feature, besides the thin-bezel frame of this phone, that is the 24-megapixel front-facing camera — that’s the maximum its chipset could support anyway. After having it driven at its full we can tell that there are a few other things which don’t match up with the category it belongs to. Which, sometimes might make you feel that its price is little bit higher than it should — the price is PKR 35,999/-. With this price tag, you get only a budget level Qualcomm chipset, the Snapdragon 450. However it’s first appearance in any smartphone which is a true successor to 435 currently present in most mid-rangers. In fact some with the lower price tag only offer Snapdragon 425 or 420 or even MediaTek’s counterpart. On the positive side, the Vivo V7+ also has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage which is pretty much great in its line up. The taller screen size with 18:9 aspect ratio and appealing slim bezels come besides the plastic build on the back. 16-megapixel camera on the back and a 24-megapixel camera on the front along side a 3225mAh battery. Running Android 7.1.2 out of the box, the phone carries its own flavor with Funtouch OS 3.2. While the phone comes in two colors – matte black and gold, the one we have here is the black variant. Note some prominent features down below. Vivo V7+ Features OS Android Nougat 7.1.2 / Funtouch 3.2 Chipset Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 Octa-core (MSM8953) 8x 1.8 GHz Cortex-A53 Adreno 506 Memory 4GB RAM + 64GB Internal Storage Dedicated MicroSD card slot (support up to 256 GB) Display 5.99” IPS LCD HD+ 1440 x 720, Fullview Display with Slim-bezels, Corning Gorilla Glass 4, 2.5D Glass Dimensions 155.87 x 75.74 x 7.7mm Weight 160 grams Rear Camera 16 MP, autofocus f/2.0 Lens, Single LED Flash, Front Camera 24 MP, fixed-focus f/2.0 Lens Connectivity USB 2.0, 802.11 b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS/AGPS+GLONASS, FM, Sensors Ambient light sensor, Proximity sensor, Accelerometer, E-compass, Gyroscope, Fingerprint Sensor Battery 3225 mAh non-removable. If you wan you can check detail on specifications of Vivo V7+. Vivo V7+ carries on with the features from V5 Plus but interestingly most of them are less impressive than the latter. V5 Plus, though not available in Pakistan, was launched earlier this year with much better features if you ignore V7+’s slim bezels or the 24MP selfie camera. At the same time when compared to the performance of the both V7+ takes a lead with low-end chipset than mid-ranger 625 in V5 Plus. Technically the lower-end Snapdragon 450 – launched this year, mostly matches at features with last year’s 625. In fact both are pin-compatible to each other. One thing I want to mention here is that the V7+ unit we received is actually reporting to have Snapdragon 625 which is not officially presented anywhere. I’ll update this review after having confirmation from the officials in Pakistan. Here are the quick bullets which could tell you what you are going to get further deep from this review. You must want to continue, we believe as well as we always expect you to give your feed back. PROS CONS Compact/slim design with ~6-inch display Narrow bezels are eye-catching Android 7.1.2 Nougat Decent Battery Performance System Performance is good LED notifications Fingerprint Scanner Good Camera Plastic build 720p Display Resolution only Funtouch UX lacks at features Non-Removable battery Micro-USB port Higher price tag Unboxing and Retail Box Content The box is simple in a white color with a pop-out style. The retail package brings along everything you’d normally have with most smartphones. A charger – a big charger by the way, a USB cable, earphones with 3.5mm pin and user guides. In addition, inside the retail package, Vivo ships a soft silicone back cover which I never prefer to have my phone into. A plastic protective film is already applied onto the phone. The retail package includes following items. If you are not a fan of these protective films or tampered glass protectors, you won’t feel any better with this one too. Well, the phone features a Gorilla Glass 4 protection on the front, so you should be fine removing it. But we’ll not force you to do so, you can even stay with the film-on as it’s perfectly fit around the corners. Better keep it on for some time until you start seeing little scratches of feeling rough on it. You will see that film in some pictures following this review, however most of these pictures won’t have it on as for the review purpose we had to remove it. Vivo V7+ Retail Box Content The Device: Vivo V7+ 5V/2A Fast Charger microUSB cable for connectivity and charging Earphones with 3.5mm pin User Guide and Warranty Card Add-on: soft silicone case Vivo V7+ Design, Build and Display The phone is nicely packed into a slim body with only 7.7mm thickness. The taller build form helps it to be much comfortable and handy with nice grip. Plastic is what makes it little unimpressive but material is good enough to fake it as metal – until you knuckle tap on it to instantly discover that it’s a thin plastic layer. The only bad thing about it is that, it vibrates even with the earpiece sound which is not a great experience when you are on call or even it’s ringing on the other side. The quality and finish of the body is quite nice with rounded edges and corners around the boundary. With all plastic build the phone didn’t have to have any kind of antenna stripes but Vivo added some chrome lines at the top and the bottom edges to give it some aesthetic appeal. Wondering how a clean and plain back panel would look? seriously not as cool as this one. The back side of the phone follows much common design language with a rear-camera at top-left corner. Along side there’s supportive flash and a little below there’s a fingerprint scanner. At the lower part on the back, there’s some product labeling while the branding “VIVO” is right there below the fingerprint scanner. With the whole flat panel on the back, the rear camera module is slightly extruded. Some feel this awkward and criticize it but mostly when they see it from a brand they don’t like. It can easily be noticed when the praise the same thing on phone from their favorite brand. So keep this thing as a matter of preference, I personally don’t feel bad with it. Coming over at the components — the 3.5mm headphone jack, Micro-USB port and a speaker grille are all sit on the bottom along with a primary mic (or the mouth piece). The secondary mic (or the noise cancellation mic) is hosted on the top side alone. The volume rocker and power button are hosted on the right side rightly in access to your thumb or fingers. On the left, there’s a single tray which can accommodate two Nano-SIM cards and a microSD card. MicroSD support goes up to 256GB on top of in-built 64GB storage. You can further look at the chrome accent around the top and bottom parts of the sides above. Unlike hybrid SIM slot used mostly these days, Vivo V7+ offers to use two SIM cards and a micro SD card all at once. On the front side we have slim bezels on top and bottom. The top serves standard components such as earpiece and some sensors, including the new 24-megapixel selfie camera. At the bottom we have nothing. Vivo V7+ Display What we have on the front is new 18:9 aspect ratio display. The taller screen on the front is covered by Gorilla Glass 4 with 2.5D curved edges and narrowed-down bezels on top and bottom. There is a thin plastic border line around the glass just before it meets with the rear body. Right there is something which Vivo didn’t bother to bring it on – a better and sharper display resolution. The 5.99-inch screen only serves with HD+ resolution (720×1440), which for the price tag, I can’t justify. It at least could have 1080p display (FHD+ to keep its 18:9 aspect ratio). That’s just about the numbers as we talk but practically, with the pixel density of around 270ppi it isn’t that terrible for most environments or features. Sharpness in icons and text is what you’d miss when look closely. Brightness on the other hand is also good from this IPS panel, better than most mid-rangers. The screen has impressive 84.4% screen-to-body ratio. It’s worth mentioning here that apps now support different content features for wider screen like this. Such as YouTube offers you to watch different stretching options on Vivo V7+. In addition, the software offers even bigger screen space to work with. “Full Screen” mode can be enabled in settings that lets you run apps in full screen by removing the on-screen navigation on bottom and the status bar on top. It however depends on the third party apps how they adopt the feature – 500px is the one I used flawlessly with full screen. “Eye Protection” option is luckily there and is my favorite feature, which is quite helpful for viewing. It increases the warmness in colors and reduces the blue light. But Vivo V7+ doesn’t offer to adjust the temperature and you have to live with a little bit warmer brightness than just warm. Vivo V7+ Software, UI/UX Vivo V7+ runs Android 7.1.2 Nougat out of the box but also adds the user experience of its own flavor – Funtouch OS 3.2. If you have heard about Huawei’s UI similarities with Apple’s iOS then you will see no wonder with the Funtouch OS UI. Funtouch OS 3.2 / Android 7.1.2 Nougat The user interface is heavily customized. There is no app drawer and the home screen is only what you have to deal with. I personally don’t have any issue with it, in fact I prefer to have it this way but many would like to have app drawer. People made Huawei to adopt that feature as well. Folder management is pretty much similar to iOS as well in visuals as edit-mode of the home screen is also a rip-off with floating icons and a cross badge to delete apps. Home screen editing • Folder view • customizing home screen • background apps view Home screen can be customized with widgets and the background task view appears in horizontal scrolling windows. The features like “search within settings” is not available in the settings interface. Funtouch OS has similar search feature right on the home screen when you use swipe-down gesture (not from the top edge) it pulls down the search box and allows you to search the whole system including settings. System-wide search • Pull-down notifications • Pull-up Control Center When swiped-down from the top edge, it pulls the status bar from top with only the notifications while the quick toggles can be pulled out from bottom with the swipe-up gesture from the edge (the Control Center like). But first thing first, lock screen is plain standard with options to show (or not to show) notifications. Quick shortcuts to “phone” and “camera” but no pull-up control center on lock screen. Lock screen with facial recognition and fingerprint unlocking support Interestingly, in addition to fingerprint scanner, V7+ features face recognition with its 24MP front-facing camera which is working fine – right now in the room with lights-off. What it can see is only my face illuminated by my laptop’s screen which I always keep at lowest brightness. I believe it’d work amazingly if the laptop’s screen was fully bright. Only thing is that you have to wake-up the phone first by pressing the power button once before it could attempt to recognize your face. It’s in fact a security feature or it would unlock the phone unintentionally whenever it passes by your face. Well, the phone indeed allows you to enable this as well but you have to sacrifice some battery drain – how much, I can’t tell, because the camera has to wake all the way up even when your phone is sleeping. So you better keep it off and instead use fingerprint scanner for that purpose. Split screen option is also available but it’s of no-use on a phone with resolution like this – 720p. In fact, I believe 1080p resolution is also not enough for a real-good use of split-screen feature. But frankly, I wonder how many of you out there use it even on quad HD resolution phones anyway? do give your feedback about it. Manual Split-screen gesture • Overlay icon or message screen splitting • But let me tell you here, Vivo has done one good thing with this feature which should be appreciated, and it’s automated split-screen feature for some supported apps with messaging. It’s when you are in full-screen mode — such as watching videos on YouTube, and you receive a message. Screen Split for Messaging The message app icon will appear overlaying your video playback for a few seconds only. If you want to read, tap on the message icon, it will take you to split screen mode pushing the video playback aside with the message composer taking half the screen. I’ll appreciate how Vivo has managed to bring all those important gestures from iOS and implemented them pretty much flawlessly. Already mentioned about “System wide search” which is quite useful but there are quick smart actions and motions which are useful as well. Examples are “raise to wake” or double-tap to wake, there are on-screen gestures as well to wake which are not that useful as compared to the wake or double-tap. Screen glance is however an awkward feature that allows you to wave your palm across the sleeping screen to bring up the clock and phone status. Smart Motions • Black screen glance • Smart keep bright Then another important one is the “Smart bright” feature which keeps the screen up and bright while you are looking onto it. It uses front-facing camera to detect your eye sight and only turns off the screen if it detects you are looking away. This function might not work in poor lighting conditions but as far as I tried, it worked exactly like how the facial recognition as I am still sitting in same dark room with a laptop lighting my face up a little bit. Battery management comes with standard and ultra power saving modes. They call the ultra one as Super power-saving, it shuts of major features of the phone and leaves you with the basic functions such as contacts access, phone calls, text messages and alarm. Battery management • App Clone If I missed, there’s an App Clone feature as well which allows to run two sessions of an app – ever wanted WhatsApp to run on both of your numbers in a dual-SIM phone? This feature has now being started getting bundled out of the box from other phone makers as well. Vivo V7+ System and Battery Performance As mentioned above V7+ is reported to have Snapdragon 450 Mobile Platform but according to system information apps or the benchmark tools showed it to have Snapdragon 625 chipset. Technically 450 is a lower-end chip launched this year but it extremely matches the specs of last year’s mid-range 625. Manufactured on 14nm process with 64-bit processor combining eight ARM Cortex A53 cores. The difference occurs at the clock speed, the newer 450 has maximum clock speed of 1.8GHz whereas the older 625 can be clocked up to 2.0GHz. Now the system itself reports to have Snapdragon 625, it’s clocked at 1.8GHz which is the maximum clock speed of 450. It also doesn’t deny the fact that phone maker may limit the speed below the maximum a chip can offer. So in the conflict of deciding whether it’s 625 or 450, you better ignore it and concentrate on how did it actually performed throughout our review period. In fact, both the chipsets shouldn’t perform with significant difference. As long as it’s concerned with our trial, Vivo V7+ performed good without any lags or jerky animations. Several games were tried including Asphalt Extreme, Mortal Kombat, Modern Combat, Need for Speed No Limit and the famous Subway Surfer – well these are the titles we currently throw at the mid-rangers, which performed nicely with smooth graphics. Adreno 506 GPU actually is good in Snapdragon 450 (if not 625). On the memory side, 4GB of RAM on this mid-ranger is more than enough to support multiple apps on the background. 64GB storage on the other hand is also a blow which shouldn’t run out anytime soon. Or otherwise you have option to extend via micro SD card. During practical use, the phone didn’t fail on anything we threw at it if you are numbers’ guy, check out some benchmark scores below. Geekbench 4 / AnTuTu 6 Geekbench 4 – Single-Core Score: 744, Multi-Core Score: 3846 • AnTuTu 6 Score- 55995 Basemark OS II / Basemark OS X Basemark OS II Score – 1294 • Basemark OS X Score – 20420 Vellamo Vellamo Scores – Metal: 1446, Multicore: 2177, Chrome Web Browser: 2834 We’ll update this section with the comparable scores of other devices soon. Vivo V7+ Camera Carrying the highest resolution camera on the front is now the world’s first smartphone featuring 24-megapixel image sensor for selfies. On the back, however the it’s more common 16MP camera. We’ll look into detail below how both of the cameras perform but one thing to tell is that none of them are mind blowing, as were expected after seeing the main agenda of marketing to attract selfie addict consumers. That’s why I personally preferred the 18:9 display with narrowed-down bezels across the screen among mid-rangers. Sure the 24MP camera on the front would give you some better results but it still is limited with the fixed-focus lens. Means you can’t adjust the focus with tapping on the subject, it just snaps what it sees, how it sees. It/d be impressive if it had an autofocus lens, such as the recent Nokia offerings. Rear Camera User Interface Camera interface on the other hand doesn’t have a lot of options. A viewfinder appears with a quick toggles on top – Flash, HDR, Live photo, camera modes and a gear icon for settings. The settings, again, offer some limited options – shutter timer, photo aspect ratio, and some not so useful. Camera modes offer to take shot in Ultra-HD resolution. PPT mode allows to take shots of on-screen or on-wall presentations that automatically crops out the unneeded visual elements around it and even adjusts (skews) the final image. (see following example shot) The camera offers Slow-motion video capture and Time-lapse as well but they are of no use at all specially for the lower quality. Professional mode offers to manually set exposure compensation, ISO up to 3200, shutter speed down to 12 long seconds. Manual white balance is in its own kind with only Kelvin temperature values – there are no presets for white balance like cloudy, sunny, fluorescent etc. K-values are indeed best in that case but you have to manage it carefully. If you can’t, you better let it shoot on auto white balance. Then there’s manual focus that allows to set between macro-through-infinity. When in video mode, you don’t have any settings but only the resolution changer and the flash on/off switch. That’s it, record and keep. Along side the still photo (take shot) and video interfaces, there are face beauty mode that manages skin tone, whitening and buffing too. The fourth interface is for panorama that can rotate up to 180-degrees. Down at the bottom there are some switches, shutter button in the center, gallery shortcut on the left corner, camera switcher (rear/front) on the right corner. Filter switch is also at the bottom that provides a wide array of filters 5×9. Rear camera offers 480p, 720p and 1080p at 30fps video recording. Front Camera User Interface Front camera has not that long set of options as the rear camera but still has enough and its own kind. Simple still photos (take shot) gives the option to use front-facing flash (auto/off/fill ligh). There is “HDR” mode as well as the “Live photo”. In settings you can change similar things as in rear camera. Then you can change to Video mode that also doesn’t provide any option but flash light and resolution changer. Face beauty on front-camera comes with the same options of skin tone fixing, whitening and buffing but in addition, you have “portrait mode” that simulates bokeh effect with blurring out the background. Well it doesn’t have a dual-cam setup, so it does the job with software only. Then we have a “group selfie” mode that can be used in the similar way as capturing panorama – sliding the camera a little left and right. That’s it Camera Quality Vivo V7+ rear camera is just that good as many other out there in mid-range category. However, I believe for the price it had to give more than that. Daylight shots were good but comes with a little noticeable noise in darker parts when look at the 100% scale. Detail is however fine with distinction in objects, more specifically if you take shot of bricks wall from around around 40 they come with nice detail around the bricks edges. Dynamic range is not good anyway which in fact ruins the color reproduction across the frame. Vivo doesn’t offer any extensive vividness in the pictures which is not a bad thing at all but colors could have come a little more popped out, which is not the case. Low light shots were not that impressive and even couldn’t come sharp at focus. Mostly it delivered soft images. Video recording on the other hand is just good and not so impressive as well specially in dark environments where it struggles to focus correctly. Daylight Low-light Close-up Front Camera The 24MP front-camera is indeed helping hand for selfie lovers to produce some better selfies with a mid-range smartphone. Yes! it’s not on par with some high-end offerings but among the class, it has gives some better results. High-light clipping can of course be a problem when you take selfies with some bright background as the dynamic range on this front-camera is also equally bad as on rear camera. It’s just a fixed focus camera and you can’t tap-to-focus but it does offer “portrait mode” for background blur (or bokeh) effect. It’s all software based as it doesn’t have dual-camera. Normal Portrait Mode Panorama Video Footage Vivo V7+ Conclusion & Verdict Even though Vivo V7+ seems a little overpriced but there are only two reason why we say that. First, its plastic build quality with thin back panel which irritates with sound vibration during phone calls and video playback unless you watch with earphones. Second, the low resolution of 720p for this large display. Otherwise, Vivo has done a pretty much good job with its slim design and specially the FullView 18:9. Selfie camera on the other hand is also good for those who love to take selfies all day long, I am not like them. Rear camera is more suitable for me and it’s also good on Vivo V7+ comparatively. However, it’s not that good in dark and low-light conditions. It’s not a hybrid SIM slot, the phone gives you dedicated slots for two SIM cards and another dedicated slot for microSD card, that’s a good thing as well. Still, the plastic build and low resolution is bothering me to defend this phone for the price tag of Rs. 35,999/- If these two things are not a problem for you, you can go ahead and get this phone to experience the new large 18:9 screen size.