Smartphone displays with an 18:9 aspect ratio has immediately become a trend in the smartphone industry this year. Vivo, one of the fastest rising players in the mobile market, was quick to adopt.
The company came up with the Vivo V7+, a handset that followed the “18:9” trend, while still staying to its roots with its ultra large 24-megapixel selfie camera. Vivo managed to make a statement which resulted to over 5,000 pre-orders in just one week after its official launch.
But is it really a good smartphone for its price? Let’s figure that out in our full review.
Vivo V7+ Specs
- Android 7.1 Nougat, FunTouchOS 3.2
- Dual SIM, nano
- 5.99-inch HD IPS FullView display, 1440 x 720 resolution, ~267ppi
- FullView, 18.9 aspect ratio, 84.4% screen-to-body ratio
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 octa-core processor
- 4GB RAM
- 64GB internal storage, expandable via microSD up to 256GB
- 24-megapixel front camera, Moonlight Glow flash, f/2.0
- 16-megapixel OV16880 rear camera, LED flash, f/2.0
- Fingerprint scanner
- GSM, WCDMA, 4G LTE
- WiFi, Dual-Band
- Bluetooth 4.2
- GPS, GLONASS
- Dimensions: 155.87 x 75.74 x 7.7mm
- Weight: 160g
- Champagne Gold, Matte Black
- 3225 non-removable Li-Ion battery
Video Review of Vivo V7+
Design and Build Quality
The Vivo V7+’s design is probably one of its strongest suits, but the same can’t be said about its build. The device’s 5.99-inch display with an 18:9 aspect ratio filled its face with the screen. Dubbed as “FullView”, the Vivo V7+ has an 84.4% screen-to-body aspect ratio which basically means that the front is almost all screen. And for as long as you have a dope wallpaper, you can practically change the device’s appearance depending on your preference.
But the thing is, the Vivo V7+ is only part metal. The entire hardware is being held by a metal frame, but the back panel is most certainly plastic. The device doesn’t feel cheap or second rate during my time with it. However, I do think I that it could have been better, considering the device’s premium price tag.
Nonetheless, the Vivo V7+ is amazing too look at. It has this shiny metal lines that trace the entire edges and the iPhone-like antenna bands on the top and bottom. It also has rounded corners and edges, so it sits comfortably in the hands.
There’s not enough room at its chin for buttons, so Vivo opted for on-screen ones. But on the top, they were able to cram up the 24-megapixel selfie camera, an earpiece, and all the necessary sensors.
However, since it has a tall screen, operating this device single-handedly is a difficult task. Even for a guy with large hands like me, reaching through the opposite corner is a bit uncomfortable.
At the top, we only have a pinhole for the noise-canceling microphone. The left side contains the tray that can hold two micro SIM cards and a microSD card slot. Thankfully, it’s not a hybrid setup.
On the right side, we have the lock/power switch below the volume controls. The buttons feel tactile and satisfying to press. No wobbly feeling. However, I think it would have been better if they are placed a bit lower. When the device is in your right hand, you have to fully stretch your thumb to reach the lock/power switch. On the other hand, reaching the volume controls requires the user to reach all the way up.
This is just a minor complaint. If you’re a lefty like me, then your index and middle fingers can easily reach all of them.
Moving on, at the bottom we see the 3.5mm headphone jack where it should be. There’s also the primary built-in microphone, a micro USB port, and the loudspeakers.
Overall, I’m satisfied with the Vivo V7+’s design and build quality. Sure, it’s half constructed in plastic, but its good looks make up for it. Also, thanks to this setup, the device feels light to hold.
The display is one of Vivo V7+’s highlight feature. Unfortunately, it’s not without its own flaws. What we’re talking about is a 5.99-inch screen, with an HD+ pixel resolution and an aspect ratio of 18:9 — which Vivo calls as the “FullView” display.
As what I have said earlier, the device’s screen delivers a strong aesthetic appeal to the V7+. However, as a display itself, it isn’t the best. For one, the pixel count isn’t the most ideal for a screen this large and a smartphone at this price. It would have been a lot better if it was at least a FHD+ resolution.
With that said, screen sharpness isn’t really the Vivo V7+’s strongest suit. However, reading texts, even the small ones, are still bearable. And with its tall aspect ratio, you can read an entire article without having to scroll too much.
Another benefit of the FullView display is its larger screen real-estate for gaming and watching videos. You gain an advantage by being able to see more than what others can typically see. It also gives more immersion when watching videos or movies.
But since most videos are shot on 16:9, the black bars on the side will be present. You can have it fill the entire screen, but with a slight crop on the top and bottom frame. Personally, I don’t mind having the frame cropped to take advantage of the 18:9 aspect ratio. Most videos and movies are shot with the subject far from the corners, anyway.
However, quality-wise, the display still couldn’t get it right. The colors are a bit washed out with a dull contrast. For the normal eye, it sure is fine. But for picky eyes out there, you might find it a bit lacking.
Vivo is one of those few brands who value sound. Thus, they rigged the Vivo V7+ with a dedicated AK4376A HiFi audio chip/DAC. This, in theory, should improve the audio that comes out from the device via the 3.5mm headphone jack.
During my tests, the Vivo V7 Plus did great sound. The included set of earbuds had good sound quality and despite not being a pair of in-ears, the low-end/bass is still present. However, to fully take advantage of its prowess, you might need a better headphones.
The only problem is, it only works with a few apps. In the settings menu, you’d see that it’s only compatible with the built-in music and video app, YouTube, Google Play Music, and Spotify. I was kind of bummed out that it’s incompatible with Netflix because it would have made the watching experience so much better.
If the audio chip is running, you can see the HiFi icon on the status bar.
On the other hand, the loudspeaker at the bottom delivers decent performance. It has a mediocre volume, and the sound quality is good.
Performance and Hardware
The Vivo V7+ is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 chipset, which is an underwhelming choice for a device at this caliber. It has an octa-core processor, 4GB of RAM, Adreno 506 GPU, and 64GB of expandable storage.
The hardware delivered satisfactory performance, however, it could have been better. Going through basic tasks like browsing through different social media apps, browsing the web through Google Chrome, and watching movies and videos on Netflix and YouTube was obviously doable. However, I noticed some occasional stutters and random lags when swiping through my feed. It’s still kinda of a norm in midrange Android smartphones today, though.
Multitasking was also seamless, thanks to the spacious 4GB of RAM. You can quickly switch between different apps in a jiffy. The opened app will also stay open despite having four to five of them running simultaneously.
Moreover, the gaming experience on the Vivo V7+ was also satisfying. I played games like NBA Live, UFC, and Stacks without any noticeable frame drops or hitch. Also, the handset’s tall but slim profile makes it really nice to handle while in landscape mode.
At the end of the day, the Vivo V7+ still provided good performance. Although, just like the display, I still feel a bit disappointed that they used cheaper hardware.
Benchmark test results of Vivo V7 Plus
Vivo is offering a couple of ways that you can easily secure and unlock the V7+. And if you’re completely unaware, what I’m referring is its new Facial Recognition feature. This is Vivo’s answer to Samsung and Apple’s Face ID on the iPhone X.
nlike the iPhone, Vivo’s take on this security feature is a little less complex. It doesn’t have an Infrared camera, Dot Projector, or any other bizarre sensors. All it uses is the 24-megapixel selfie camera.U
But despite the hardware limitation, the Facial recognition feature of the Vivo V7 Plus works surprisingly well. For as long as your face is within the camera’s line of sight, it can instantly unlock it. You don’t even have to literally put it up straight in your face.
You can also enable the “Raise to Wake” feature on the settings menu, so you can unlock the device without touching anything. However, since it lacks an infrared camera, it does struggle at pitch black room. But if your screen is bright enough, the light that shines from it acts like a flash.
But other than facial recognition, the Vivo V7+ also rocks the old and trusty fingerprint scanner. It’s positioned at the back, within reach of the index finger. And just like its predecessors, it works well and it’s incredibly fast. Both the fingerprint scanner and facial recognition can be enabled at the same time.
The Vivo V7+ runs on the latest FunTouch OS 3.1 on top of Android 7.1.2 Nougat. The new interface brings old and new tricks for the V7+.
For one, Vivo is introducing App Clone, which basically makes two copies of the same app, but with different accounts signed in. In theory, this will help you access different apps easily. Currently, it only supports messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Line, BBM, WeChat, Zalo, and Viber. I personally didn’t utilize this feature much, since most apps I use like Instagram has decent support for multi-account management. But in case someone needs it, it’s there.
The FunTouch OS 3.1 also sports Smart Split 3.0. This lets you use two apps side-by-side, by swiping three fingers on the screen. Just like the App Clone, its app support is currently limited. It only works on some native and Google apps, and other prominent ones like Facebook.
Moreover, the Vivo V7+ also packs a lot of small but nifty features. For one there’s the “Raise to Wake”, which when partnered with facial recognition, instantly unlocks the phone without touching anything. The interface can also take long screenshots and screen recording.
Vivo is also bragging about its new “Game Mode” feature, which basically works like the “Do Not Disturb Mode”. It can reject incoming calls and block floating previews, so the user won’t get distracted during gameplay. You can configure which notification to block on the settings menu.
And just like its predecessor, the Vivo V7+ interface has the Control Panel at the bottom. It packs all the shortcut buttons, volume and brightness control, and the recently used apps. Meanwhile, the Notification Panel sits right on the top of the screen.
The camera department has played a major role in marketing most smartphones today. The higher the megapixel count, the better-sounding the device gets. While it may not necessarily translate to an overall better image quality, it still plays a vital role.
The Vivo V7+ features a 16-megapixel camera at the back and a whopping 24-megapixel one in front. Clearly, this handset still wants everyone to take selfies — just like most smartphones in the midrange category.
With that said, the V7 Plus can indeed take impressive self-portraits. The details and sharpness are top-notch. The colors are also great with just the right contrast. However, the dynamic range is a bit lacking. You can enable HDR mode, but it doesn’t really do that much.
I also liked the front-facing flash of the Vivo V7+. It beams a soft light, so it doesn’t look harsh when you snap a photo. It just acts as a fill light with a yellowish tone, so it matches perfectly to the skin.
The new Face Beauty 7.0 was also improved. It looks like each update, the artificial skin enhancement that it applies to your skin looks more natural.
And of course, we have the Portrait/Bokeh mode. If you’ve been living under the rock, this feature delivers a synthetic blurred background to make pictures look more professional. Or, if you just want to disregard the background.
Since it doesn’t have a dual-camera setup, the Bokeh feature doesn’t work that well. The foreground isn’t separated well on the background. But for as long as there’s not a lot of things going on behind the subject, the software can easily distinguish which should be in focus.
But the problem is, the Portrait Mode isn’t available on the primary camera. You do get the Face Beauty 2.0, though.
Quality-wise, the 16-megapixel primary camera of the Vivo V7+ can take good photos. The colors and contrast are good, the saturation looks natural, and the sharpness is on point. Although zooming-in reveals the usual software tricks that aim to enhance the overall image quality.
On the other hand, the dynamic range is just average. Also, I noticed that the shutter speed is a little slow. Hence, doing some run and gun street photography might be hard. You really have to aim the camera for a second or two before snapping the photo so it can get it right.
But interestingly, the sensor works well in low-light conditions. The noise and grains are now more present, but they are not heavily visible until you zoom in. Still, everything in the frame is still visible, with decent color and contrast.
Vivo is heavily marketing the V7+’s FullView display and its 24-megapixel selfie camera, but they never gave emphasis to the device’s battery performance. And I think they should.
What we have here is a 3,225mAh battery that works well than I have ever expected. During my day-to-day use, the device would still leave me with 40% to 50% of charge before my day ends. That’s a day of browsing through social media via 4G LTE and WiFi, streaming music on Spotify, and more.
The Vivo V7 Plus also performed well with PCMark’s battery test. It took an average of 10 hours and 30 minutes before it reached 20%. For a perspective, most devices have an average score of 7 hours.
So, is the Vivo V7+ worth the hype? The answer would be a hesitant “Yes”. I admired the device during my time with it, but there were several things I wished Vivo could have done btter.
To be honest, the price-to-features ratio isn’t really that great. Vivo could have either provided more oomph in specs for its asking price, or lower the price tag to match what it has to offer. But since it’s now out in the market, I think the latter would be the only option.
Don’t get me wrong, I liked the device for what it is. The large and tall 18:9 display looks refreshing and provides a huge screen real estate for productivity for entertainment. The HD screen is slightly forgivable due to its low battery consumption (when compared to FHD).
The Snapdragon 450 octa-core processor with 4GB of RAM might not be powerful enough, but then again, all of these are forgivable if the price is right.
On the bright side, the V7+’s battery performance was top notch, the cameras offer impressive performance, and the Face ID security feature works better than expected.
Pricing and Availability of Vivo V7+
The Vivo V7+ is now available nationwide in Vivo stores, kiosks, and third-party retailers for a price of Php17,990. It’s also available in Home Credit for installment plans.
- Tall display
- Great sound output
- Good cameras
- Long battery life
- Low resolution (HD+)
- Underwhelming processor
- Plastic back cover