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vivo V5 first impressions: a solid mid-ranger piggybacking on the selfie phenomenon

|November 15, 2016 |First impressions, Vivo

“The V5 features a 20MP front camera with an LED flash. Our hands on” 

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You might not know this, but vivo is the second-most popular brand in its home market of China. From being an underdog to topping the popularity charts – the company has, without a doubt, come a long way. Even in the Indian subcontinent, it has been able to make a mark by choosing to go against the grain, selling its phones offline as well as online, unlike most of its Chinese counterparts.

Today, vivo has taken the curtains off the latest offering in its India-specific V-series, the V5. Carrying a price tag of Rs 17,980, the V5 caters to the voluminous mid-budget segment. We got a chance to test out the smartphone before launch, and here's our experience of using the vivo V5 after a day.

Let's start with the USP of the vivo V5. At a time when selfies have become extremely popular, the phone ensures impressive, well-detailed self portraits thanks to its 20-megapixel sensor. The camera is clubbed with an LED flash, which the brand is calling 'Moonlight Glow'. However, what's interesting is that it functions like a front-facing torch, rather than an automatic illumination when you take a selfie.

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The vivo V5 is built around a 5.5-inch display panel, but it's still comfortable to use with a single hand. The phablet features an all-metal body, available in gold or grey options. We got the slate grey variant, and we have to say that it looks quite classy. While it might feel slippery due to the smooth finish, the company has thoughtfully provided a transparent silicon cover in its retail packaging.

The only downside to the V5's design is its generic design, which you could mistake for any other Chinese smartphone. In fact, it looks quite similar to the OPPO F1s (review), which in turn, borrows design elements from the Apple’s iPhones. That said, the in-hand feel of the vivo V5 is really nice, and the tapered edges and rounded corners are ergonomic.

When it comes to the button and port placement, the vivo V5 follows the usual norm. The physical home button doubles up as a fingerprint scanner, and is flanked by a recent apps and return key. The scanner is fast and accurate, but the button isn't physical and doesn't provide tactile feedback.

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Both the volume buttons and the power switch can be found on the right, whereas the left spine hides an ejectable tray that features a nano-SIM card slot and a hybrid slot. The top edge is bare, as the micro-USB port as well as the 3.5mm audio interface are placed at the bottom, along with the microphone and the speaker vents. At the back, the camera module doesn't protrude much unlike most devices nowadays, which is quite impressive, considering the fact that the V5 has a slim frame measuring 7.55mm.

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The 5.5-inch display on the vivo V5 bears a resolution of 1,280 x 720 pixels, which is lower than today’s standards of 1080p. While there’s no pixelation as such unless you view the screen up close, the screen is very reflective – making it extremely difficult to make out any text outdoors under sunlight. 

Under the hood, the vivo V5 comes equipped by MediaTek’s MT6750 octa-core processor tuned at 1.5GHz. It’s supplemented by 4-gigs of RAM, ensuring that the core hardware is quite powerful… and not just on paper. In our brief time, there was nary an instance where the device showed any trace of lags as it offered quick navigation and swift app opening times. The storage needs are taken care of by 32GB of memory on board, that can be further extended with the use of a microSD card.

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Like all vivo offerings, the V5 sports brand’s custom skin called FunTouch OS v2.6, which is based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow. You get a number of useful features, such as support for off-screen gestures and a one-handed mode, among others. There's a split-screen multitasking functionality as well, with apps such as YouTube, MX Player, VLC, Facebook, WhatsApp and WeChat supported. 

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At the back of the vivo V5, you get a 13-meg sensor, accompanied by an LED flash. During our short use, the camera showed a lot of promise, in terms of colour contrast and details on offer, though we’d like to reserve our comments till we spend more time with the phablet. The camera interface on the phone is surprisingly minimal, though you do get usual options such as HDR, panorama, slow-mo recording, and a professional mode to tweak settings like ISO and shutter speed. In comparison to the competition, the video recording on the device tops at full HD resolution.

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For multimedia enthusiasts, the vivo V5 offers an impressive listening experience, thanks to the support of HiFi audio with AK4376 chip. For connectivity, the handset has support for 4G VoLTE in the primary SIM, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS.

The phone offers a good battery backup with its 3,000mAh non-removable unit. You can also extend the battery life further by enabling various battery-saving modes.

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The V5 is a successor to the vivo V3 and V3 Max (first impressions), which were released in India in April this year. It brings forth some interesting specs – 20MP shooter at the front, an octa-core processor, and 4GB RAM. But it also misses out on some important features, when compared to its peers. At this price, it competes with solid affordable flagships such as the LeEco Le Max2 (review) and Lenovo Z2 Plus (review). However, another ace in vivo's sleeve is the phone's offline availability, but even there, it’s up against the likes of the OPPO F1s and Gionee S6s (review), both of which also focus on selfie capabilities and are priced similarly. We'll be stacking the vivo V5 against other mid rangers in our review, which is coming up shortly.

Disclosure: This writer attended the V5 launch in Port Blair and Mumbai on vivo's invitation



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