Review: Vivo V5 lacks the killer instinct

Is Vivo V5 good enough to be considered over the likes of LeEco Le Max 2 ?


Vivo V5 is another attempt at cracking the mid-range Android smartphone category
Vivo V5 is another attempt at cracking the mid-range Android smartphone category

Chinese phonemaker Vivo is one of the few Chinese companies which are officially selling phones only through offline retail stores. Its latest smartphone, the V5, priced at Rs17,980, is another premium looking phone that sells in the mid-range price bracket. But is it good enough to be considered over the likes of LeEco Le Max 2 (Rs17,999)?

The aluminium exterior adds solidity and offers better grip over the phone
The aluminium exterior adds solidity and offers better grip over the phone

Design: Stunning design and handy

The phone’s key highlight is the sleek form factor (7.6mm) and good looks. The aluminium exterior adds solidity and offers better grip over the phone, but what really makes it handy is the subtle design touch around the spine. The flat side panel takes care of grip, while the slight curve towards the back dulls the rough edges. At 153.8mm, it looks a bit tall, but weighs just 154g, which is a lot lighter than what an average 5.5-inch smartphone weighs these days. The phone comes with an oval shaped home button, which also serves as the fingerprint sensor. Interestingly, the home button is non-clickable, which means you can’t press. It works though gestures such as one tap for going back on home page and long tap for opening Goggle Now page. This fingerprint sensor is accurate most times. More importantly, it makes unlocking the phone a lot easier than typing in a password or PIN. The metal tray on the side panel houses a micro SIM and a nano SIM slot which also doubles up as microSD card slot.

The LeEco Le Max 2 is a bit hefty in comparison, weighing 185g. However, it is equally good-looking due to its sleek 8mm profile and metal finish.

Its fingerprint sensor is placed at the back. It also comes with a USB Type-C which makes it future-proof.

The 5.5-inch screen is big enough for reading ebooks, web browsing, playing games and watching movies
The 5.5-inch screen is big enough for reading ebooks, web browsing, playing games and watching movies

Display: Big screen lacks punch

The 5.5-inch screen is big enough for reading ebooks, web browsing, playing games and watching movies. Surprisingly, it has a resolution of 1,280x720p, which is a bit too low compared to what its rivals are offering at the same price. Colours look good but the lack of sharpness is evident in games and movies. Wide viewing angles are good and so is visibility under bright light. Vivo has added a wide range of screen settings that can help minimise stress on eyes.

The Le Max 2 offers a slightly bigger 5.7-inch display and a screen resolution of 2,560x1,440p.

Performance: Smooth and cool under stress

The smartphone runs on a MediaTek MT6570 quad-core processor, with 4GB RAM. It is an adequately powerful processor and can take care of most tasks and games with ease. We did notice an odd lag while switching between apps but by and large our experience was smooth. Despite the sleek profile, we didn’t notice any heating on the back panel or along the edges. The phone offers 32GB as internal storage and up to 128GB of expandable storage via microSD card. If you own a 4G SIM and are into video streaming, the phone’s dual 4G ready SIM slots will come in handy. The phone’s 3,000mAh battery can easily see through a whole day on single charge.

Its rival’s battery backup is not that good, but it runs on a powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor with 4GB RAM. It offers 32GB storage.

Software: Typical Chinese phone UI

The Vivo V5 runs Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) with a layer of its custom UI over it. Also known as FunTouch UI, the interface looks like most other Chinese phone interfaces. The option to apply new themes and change the look and feel of the interface is really cool, but not a big differentiator in any way. What we liked more is a slew of settings and features that you won’t get in most Chinese phones such as shake to switch on flashlight, tilt to zoom in picture, visitor mode, smart multi-screen and screen recording. LeMax 2 has a slightly cleaner interface and fewer apps, running over Android 6.0.

The phone has a 13-megapixel rear camera
The phone has a 13-megapixel rear camera

Camera: Front camera steals the show

The phone’s 13-megapixel rear camera is a bit inconsistent. It tries to oversaturate colours a bit for more effect. Detailing is impressive, especially in daylight shots. Indoor shots taken in limited light looks clear and blur-free, which is good for active social media users. The camera offers some interesting modes and cool photo filters. The 20-megapixel front camera can take crisp shots even in indoor conditions. There is a beautification mode that can remove facial imperfections.

The 21-megapixel rear camera on Le Max 2 impresses with its detailing and colour accuracy.

Verdict

Vivo V5 is another attempt at cracking the mid-range Android smartphone category, but despite not doing much wrong, this phone isn’t on the same level as the LeEco Le Max 2. The latter has a much more powerful hardware, a better higher resolution display and a much better camera to boot as well.

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