Vivo V15 Review
Vivo V15 is the latest entry from the Chinese smartphone maker, and it brings the pop-up selfie camera to a lower price point. Vivo already showcased the pop-up selfie camera on its Vivo Nex and Vivo V15 Pro. The Vivo V15 is the third smartphone from the company to sport the new camera setup. In the past year, the smartphone industry saw great action with Chinese phone makers leading the way when it came to gimmicks masked as path-breaking innovations. From massive under display fingerprint scanners to pop-up selfie cameras, phone makers have wowed buyers by resorting to gimmicks and tricks.
Of these, the latter has managed to catch the imagination of the buyers and as a result, seen smartphone makers like Vivo attempt to bring pop-up selfie cameras to multiple budget segments in the market. Earlier, we saw the Vivo V15 Pro (Review) bring this latest fad to the sub Rs. 30,000 segment, and now with its younger sibling, the V15, Vivo is trying to make phones with pop-up selfie camera mechanisms more mainstream.
However, the pop-up selfie camera is not the only feature that makes this device interesting. Much like its Pro sibling, the Vivo V15 comes hiding some tricks up the sleeves that can see it become a hit in the coming days.
We’ve had the chance to take the device out for a spin in the last few days. Here’s our detailed review of it.
- Pop-up selfie camera at an affordable price
- Notchless display with almost no bezel
- Above par cameras
- Premium design
- Helio P70 backed performance a little underwhelming.
- No face unlock
- Slightly high price for what’s on offer
Vivo V15 Review: Design and display
Being the younger sibling, the new smartphone borrows heavily from the design scheme of the Vivo V15 Pro. As you’d expect from a Vivo branded phone, the V15’s design is anything but industrial and has a fair amount of spunk to it that makes the phone stand out from the crowd.
In terms of how it looks, we honestly found it to be quite pleasing to look at. The phone’s front with its sizeable bezel-less display that has a marginal chin at the bottom seems well crafted. Although similar to the V15 Pro, it is slightly bigger, as the Vivo V15 brings with it an Ultra FullView LCD display which is 6.53-inches in size — as opposed to the V15 Pro which sports a 6.39-inch Ultra FullView panel.
The increase in the size of the display also results in a slightly larger — 161.97×75.93×8.54mm — as well as a heavier frame when compared to the V15 Pro. Although the device felt quite manageable for single-handed usage, it may pose a little problem for people who are looking for a more compact form factor for their next phone.
The display on the Vivo V15 promises a maximum resolution of 1080×2340 pixels and an aspect ratio of 19.5:9. The pixel density too is on the higher side at 395 PPI. The panel is covered by a sheet of Corning Gorilla Glass 5. However, despite the presence of this protective sheet, the screen managed to pick up some minor scratches on it during our time with it.
Apart from this, we had no other complaints with the device’s display — except for the fact that it doesn’t bring with it an in-display fingerprint scanner like its elder sibling V15 pro. Even under direct sunlight, the display felt decent and because of the HD+ resolution and high pixel density, consuming multimedia content, as well as playing games on it was a joy. Because of the impressive brightness of the display, we usually had to keep the display around 50 per cent brightness which also helped in improving battery life on the phone.
Moving on, the Vivo V15’s 2.5D display merges into the device’s frame which is made out of plastic. The phone’s back panel too which drips over to the sides is also made out of plastic. However, because of the pleasant heft of the phone and its overall feel in the palm, it doesn’t appear cheap.
The device feels like it has made out of lightweight metal and at no point feels weak. During our time with the V15, the phone felt quite sturdy and reassuring when it came to build quality.
The Vivo V15 is available in three colour options — Royal Blue, Frozen Black and Glamour Red. We got a chance to try the Royal Blue and the Glamour Red colours, and both looked quite stunning because the gradient finishes on them. The Glamour Red especially stood out because of the shift in colour on it merged with a helping of sparkling dots. This combination affords the phone an understated flashiness and also a touch of premium.
Vivo V15’s back also houses a square-shaped fingerprint scanner which is thankfully placed at some distance from the device’s vertically positioned triple camera set up at the back. Although the camera setup adds to the design of the phone, it protrudes a bit too much, and as such could be a problem for some buyers.
Apart from this, the phone’s power, volume rockers are placed on the right-hand side of the frame, while the sim-tray and a smart button that can be used to fire up Google Assistant finds refuge on the left side of the device’s frame. At the bottom, there’s a speaker grille, a 3.5mm headphone jack, as well as a Micro-USB port for charging the phone. Although not a deal breaker, we do wish this was a Type-C port instead.
At the top, there’s a small cut out for a microphone and the V15’s pop-up selfie camera that pops out every time you try and click a picture using the front camera. The mechanism itself feels quite solid. However, prolonged usage may expose shortcomings in the design of the camera.
Vivo V15 Review: Specifications and performance
While we were extremely impressed with the V15’s design and even its LCD display, it is in what it packs underneath the hood that the Vivo phone failed to impress.
Vivo V15 comes packing a Mediatek Helio P70 SoC that has been paired to 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage that can be expanded up to 256GB using a MicroSD card. The core hardware has been tasked to run Android Pie based FunTouch OS 9.
Now, this configuration did not pose many problems for us during average use. Our review unit breezed through everyday tasks, and we encountered no lags or sluggishness while scrolling through pages on the web. However, it is when you put the phone to the sword of more demanding tasks is when the Vivo V15’s frailties start to expose themselves.
The V15’s Helio P70 SoC brings with it four ARM Cortex-A73 cores for heavy-duty processing and four power-efficient Cortex-A53 cores. This configuration suffers a little when you play graphically demanding games such as PUBG. While performance doesn’t particularly suffer much at medium settings, we did encounter slight hiccups when we enabled high details.
The SoC isn’t also known too fondly for its brilliant multitasking performance too, and that is also something that works against the Vivo V15. The fact of the matter is that this particular SoC is one that is being used increasingly in much cheaper phones, and as such for a phone that retails at Rs 23,999, Vivo could have used a slightly better chipset.
But having said that, the overall performance of the device was satisfactory, as the phone did manage to handle most things we threw at it and did so without showing signs of overheating, which is always a sign of positive longterm health of a phone.
We also put the V15 through our usual benchmark tools where it did not do too much to impress. While on Antutu it scored a total score of 145109 — thanks to a CPU score of 63355 and a slightly low 33288 GPU score — the phone scored 1505 in single-core and 5517 on multi-core in Geekbench. In comparison, the slightly more expensive V15 Pro on AnTuTu scored an impressive 180,096 and on Geekbench it scored 2390 on a single-core and 6290 on the multi-core tests.
Another thing to note about the performance of the device is Vivo’s custom FunTouch skin used on the phone. While Vivo’s FunTouch OS has come a long way from its early days, it still isn’t the most appealing option in the market. And to complicate matters some more, Vivo’s take on Android 9 Pie brings with its icons and gestures that may not go down well with users who are migrating from a more mature stock Android experience.
Vivo V15 Review: Cameras
Apart from the design, the other big highlight of the Vivo V15 is its cameras. The phone comes with three AI supplemented cameras at the back — primary 12-megapixel sensor, secondary 8-megapixel sensor, and a 5-megapixel sensor. On the front, there’s a 32-megapixel lens for clicking selfies.
As far as the performance of these lenses goes, the primary 12-megapixel lens with its F/1.78 aperture performs quite well with its “24 million photosensitive units and Dual Pixel Focusing technology”. It is helped by its software chops, including the HDR mode, the phone clicks well-detailed pictures that impress with their colour accuracy.
To its credit, the Vivo V15’s camera app is also quite responsive, and lenses lock on to targets fast. The shutter speed too is good minimizing the chance of taking blurred and out of focus pictures. The phone’s camera app also comes with a Pro mode that offers a fair amount of legroom for tweaking. There’s also a Beauty mode as well as controls to switch to the phone’s wide-angle lens and depth sensing lens for clicking portrait shots.
Although not ultra-wide, pictures clicked from the wide angle lens do help in covering a wider expanse in photos. Portrait shots clicked using the camera also came out good. However, Vivo could probably work a little more on the blur differentiation of the device in the coming software updates.
The front camera also impressed with its quality. Owing to the 32-megapixel lens hinged on the pop-up mechanism, selfies clicked using the device came out with good detail. Colour accuracy again was good with the lens also not over-smoothening the object in focus too much.
Vivo V15 Review: Battery
Keeping the lights on the V15 is a 4000mAh battery pack — larger than the one found on its sibling, the Vivo V15 Pro. As expected, this helped the V15 punch above its weight helping it last over a day when subjected to moderate usage. Even for users looking to push the limits of the device with heavy usage, the V15 will not disappoint.
During the review, we put the phone through gaming sessions and yet the phone’s battery did not die on us very soon. And even when we did start to run low on battery 18W charger with fast charging support helped us top up the battery to the 50 per cent level in a little over half an hour. Charging the full battery, however, took us around 1.5 hours — which is not too bad considering the size of it.
Vivo V15 Ratings
Vivo V15 Review: Should you buy it?
Despite being a solid offering by Vivo, the V15 has its failings — which to be honest prove costly for it. The Vivo V15 has many things going for it. From the impressive cameras to the eye-catching design and excellent battery life, the Vivo V15 does a lot to make a good argument for itself.
The device is eventually let down by its slightly underwhelming performance when its tasked to run heavy-duty applications. While the general performance remains acceptable, the V15 leaves you wanting for more when you fire up graphically demanding games.
Outside of games and heavy-duty apps, the Vivo V15 again creates problems for itself with the slightly bloated FunTouch OS it comes running. Although not a deal breaker, the FunTouch OS with its somewhat different controls as compared to other stock Android-based solutions does leave the phone at a slight disadvantage.
Then there’s also the little matter of the phone’s Rs. 23,999 price tag. While Vivo does attempt to justify this price tag with the phone’s impressive cameras, battery life and the appealing looks, the fact that much more powerful phones like the Redmi Note 7 Pro, Oppo F11 Pro and even the Poco F1 already exist in the market. The rival phones are available at significantly lower price points — on the balance of things the Vivo V15 ends up looking a bit too expensive for what it offers.