Expert Rating
3.5/5
Design
★★★★★
★★★★★
Display
★★★★★
★★★★★
Software
★★★★★
★★★★★
Camera
★★★★★
★★★★★
Performance
★★★★★
★★★★★
Battery
★★★★★
★★★★★
Pros
  • Attractive display
  • Great battery life
  • Lightweight design
Cons
  • Uses a dated processor
  • FunTouch OS comes with bloatware

It would be wrong to say that the mid-range smartphone market has just been dominated by the likes of Xiaomi and Realme. Brands like Vivo and Samsung have consistently delivered competitive smartphones, especially in 2019 where there seems to be a renewed sense of urgency and attention to current trends. Vivo, for example, has launched phones like the Vivo Z1 Pro, Vivo U10 and Vivo V17 Pro in 2019 that not only look attractive, but also offer competitive specifications and trendy features. Today, we’re looking at the Vivo V17, which looks to continue that trend.

Specs at a Glance

Display
Size 6.44 Inch
Resolution 1080 x 2400 pixels
Performance
CPU Dual core, 2 GHz + Hexa Core, 1.7 GHz, Snapdragon 675
RAM 8 GB
Storage
Internal memory 128 GB
External memory Up to 256 GB
Battery
Capacity 4500 mAH, Li-ion, Non removable
Camera
Primary camera 48 MP
Secondary camera 32 MP
Connectivity
Network support Dual SIM 4G
Other options Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS
Others
Battery Capacity 4500
Operating system Android 9.0 Pie

Design and display

Vivo V17 is supposed to be a stripped-down version of the V17 Pro, but the design of the two phones are quite different. In fact, the Vivo V17 has two designs. There is an international version that offers a waterdrop display and diamond-shaped camera module. The version that Vivo has launched in India, however, offers a punch-hole display and a rectangular camera module on the back.

It is unclear why Vivo decided to launch a differently designed Vivo V17 in India, but I reckon it could be to make the phone stand out and offer a trendier look. Punch-hole display is differently the trend right now, and the Vivo V17 gets a hole on the top right corner of the screen that is impressively tiny and barely catches your attention. In fact, Vivo says it is the tiniest punch-hole cutout on a smartphone yet.

The moment you hold the Vivo V17, you will admire how lightweight the smartphone is. At just 176 grams, the phone feels great to hold and the curved rear panel offers a nice grip as well. The rear panel is plastic, which is why the phone feels light. Glass would have been nice to see here, but the phone still looks good in the Glacier Ice colour that we received to review. The white colour gets a subtle pinkish hue under light, and it looks quite elegant and clean. The Vivo V17 also comes in Midnight Ocean colour as well. 

Vivo V17 gets a 6.44-inch E3 Super AMOLED display, which is the same panel used on the V17 Pro as well. The AMOLED screen combined with full HD+ (2,400 x 1,080) resolution offers pleasing saturated colours with good sharpness so texts and video look great. The smartphone also comes with Widevine L1 certification, which means you will be able to stream videos on platforms like Netflix and Prime Video in crisp full HD resolution.

Cameras

Cameras are definitely the USP of the Vivo V17. The phone gets a 48MP quad camera setup. The rear camera module sees an L-shaped arrangement with three sensors vertically arranged and a fourth sensor just below the LED flash. The setup includes a 48MP primary sensor with f/1.8 aperture, an 8MP f/2.2 ultra wide-angle lens, a 2MP depth sensor and a 2MP macro lens. Up front, the V17 gets a 32MP selfie camera.

Vivo V17 camera features include super night mode, ultra stable video, portrait mode, super macro mode, super night selfie, AI scene recognition, AI HDR, among other things.

Vivo V17 camera performance is mostly decent. The quad camera setup offers versatility with numerous ways to take a photograph. The main 48MP sensor shoots in 12MP resolution by default and uses pixel binning to capture bright and detailed photos. In daylight, photos captured look attractive with good saturation and dynamic range. Even under tricky backlit situations, the HDR does well to capture a bright images of the subject. AI scene detection can also add some punchy colours to make food and flowers look more appealing.

The wide-angle lens, portrait camera and macro lens should all be used strictly in daylight conditions. These lenses can offer different perspectives and they mostly look good in daylight as long as you don’t try to zoom into the photos.

In low-light conditions, the main camera along with the super night mode can capture brighter photos. At times, the night mode does very little to improve the clarity of the scene while at other times it can drastically reduce noise levels.

The 32MP front camera manages to capture some crisp and detailed selfies in daylight and also holds up well in backlit conditions like the one shown in the sample above. When indoors, selfies can look softer and grainer than usual, and low-light selfies can look better with super night selfie mode, but don’t expect the quality to look exceptional.

Performance and software

Vivo is using the same Snapdragon 675 SoC that has been used by the V17 Pro and V15 Pro before. The problem is that this processor is quite dated now, which may put off a lot of buyers. That being said, performance-wise, the processor still holds up well in this segment. Paired with 8GB of RAM, the Vivo V17 can handle pretty much anything you throw at it. 

Games like PUBG and Call of Duty run on high graphic settings by default. These games felt fast and barely showed any slowdown or stutters during my experience. After a 30 minute session of PUBG, the phone did get hot and this can affect the battery life in the long run. The phone felt smooth while web browsing and scrolling through social media apps.

Vivo V17 ships with Android 9 Pie with Funtouch OS 9.2 on top of it. If you’re not used to working on Funtouch OS, it can take a while to get used to it. Navigating through the UI can feel a bit tricky. The control center rises by swiping up from the bottom of the screen. This is where you can control the brightness, volume level and access shortcuts and frequently-used apps. Swiping down from the top of the screen brings down the notification panel.

Funtouch OS brings a fair number of preloaded apps like PhonePe, Tomato, Opera, Flipkart, Webnovel, Gaana and Dailyhunt and so on. All of these apps can be uninstalled if you don’t wish to use them. There is no word on when the V17 will get updated to Android 10. The company recently teased that it might replace Funtouch OS with Jovi OS and this new version could be based on Android 10.

Talking about general user performance, the in-display fingerprint sensor is decently quick and accurate, but I found face unlock to be the fastest way to unlock the phone. Call quality over the earpiece is clear enough. The speaker grille on the bottom is pretty loud and the quality is quite good too.

Battery life

Vivo V17 houses a fairy large 4,500mAh battery. The battery life of the smartphone is quite satisfying. I could make it through a full day on intensive usage, which involved a couple of hours of gaming and streaming content. Standby battery drain is also minimal, and you can use the Always On display without worrying about battery levels dropping too quickly. 

The smartphone supports 18W Dual-Engine fast charging over Type-C, which is capable of rapidly charging the device from 10 to 80 percent in about 60 minutes. Charging it to 100 percent takes roughly 1.5 hours.

Verdict

The Vivo V17 is a fine addition to the company’s portfolio for 2019. It brings a few attractive features such as an immersive punch-hole display and quad camera setup. It also features an impressive battery life along with fast charging support. Additionally, the phone’s lightweight design makes it great to work with. These are some of the best features of the V17. 

With that being said, it is worth noting that the Vivo V17 price in India is set at Rs 22,990 and competition in this segment is tough. The biggest challenger is Redmi K20 (Review), which offers a more powerful Snapdragon 730 chipset along with some impressive cameras and an attractive design. There are also phones like the Samsung Galaxy A50s (Review) and Oppo Reno 2F that also bring a combination of premium looks and impressive hardware.

Editor’s rating: 3.5 / 5

Pros:

  • Attractive display
  • Great battery life
  • Lightweight design

Cons:

  • Uses a dated processor
  • FunTouch OS comes with bloatware
Photos by Raj Rout
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