A lot can be said about selfies, and we are well-versed with the arguments for and against them. But this is not the right time or space to delve into all that. And that’s basically because the smartphone industry is thriving off the front-facing camera. After witnessing the arrival of selfie-centric phones such as the Gionee S6s and the Oppo F1s, Vivo has now joined the party with the V5. Priced at R17,980, this phone sits in the sweet spot which is not as overpopulated as the other price segments, and has competitors in the form of the Lenovo Z2 Plus and the Samsung J7.
What is good?
The first thing that we did, inevitably, was to launch the camera. The 13 MP unit on the rear-facing camera is quite decent, as it takes good photos in both well-lit and low-lit conditions. In the bright sun, the camera does seem to lag just a little bit to correct the exposure, but doesn’t bleach or overexpose the shot. The auto focus is decently quick for a phone in this price range, even in poorly-lit places. And the results aren’t too grainy either.
The front camera, however, which is the highlight of this phone, is a little inconsistent in its performance. The field of view is large and wide enough to fit a few friends in the frame without any major lens distortion or the need to crop out the tallest and the shortest friend. However, most of the pictures taken through the front camera turned out to be a little overexposed, even while clicking indoors under fluorescent light.
The V5 is very comfortable with multitasking, as the 4 GB RAM ensures that. The everyday smartphone tasks such as browsing, dealing with emails, booking cabs, ordering food and checking your social feeds, are where this phone is comfortable. Heavier tasks, including using heavier apps such as Lightroom can slow the phone down. The phone, however, can be a bit slow after burst modes. The camera also takes time to launch when there are a few heavy applications on at the same time. Interestingly, the V5 managed heat generation pretty well.
What is not good?
While we say that the Vivo V5 attempts to be a multimedia package, we mean only multimedia consumption. The V5 comes with a 1.5 GHz chip and 4 GB of RAM, which on paper sound decent, but aren’t great enough for you to start playing Modern Combat 5 or Asphalt 8. Yes, you can still play Clash of Clans and Subway Surfer, and the colours will pop out and you’ll get amazing sound, but that’s about it. The body, though it looks good, does feel very plastic-like and not as well built as the Lenovo Z2 Plus or even the Samsung J7.
While the 3,000 mAh battery is good enough for a whole day’s worth of mixed usage, the lack of a USB Type C port, and quick charging, is a major turnoff. At this point, sticking to older technologies for the sake of cost saving is just not a good idea for any manufacturer.
The Vivo V5 is an ideal purchase for someone who wants to click a lot of selfies, listen to a lot of music and watch a lot of YouTube videos.
Estimated street price: R17,980