Vivo V5 Plus Review: IPhone Impersonator, Bokeh King: Conclusion

By 10:04 Tue, 17 Aug 2021 Comments


Final words

The iPhone 7 that isn't - vivo V5 Plus looks like it has rolled off the same production line as its Cupertino inspiration. Yet, it costs half that and it isn't half bad.

Vivo didn't acquire the memo that the two cameras should go on the back and made a dual selfie shooter. But then what fine is a portrait mode really, if you can't create self portraits with SLR-like blurred backgrounds? Exactly.


Okay, the 20MP resolution of the front-facing capturing camera is all about marketing, no one prints billboard-sized smartphone selfies. But the bokeh effect genuinely works - of course, within the limits of what can be done in software. But when it gets it correct (cautilize it's obviously not flawless), it can see spectacular. So the V5 Plus delivers on its greatest promise.

Aside from its chief claim to fame, the V5 Plus is a balanced package without any major flaws. The FullHD 5.5-inch display may not be remarkable in colorful sunlight and its color accuracy may not be strictly accurate, but brightness and contrast are aplenty.

We can't complain about battery life either - video playback longevity is only above average but if you're mostly browsing the web or doing voice calls, you'd like remarkable endurance. Not a performance champ, the Snapdragon 625 chip is more than enough for everyday tasks, and some may not even notice the lowly framerates in heavy games.

Oh, and we've gotten to a point where even midrange SoCs like this one can do the number crunching for 4K video recording. The V5 Plus's 2160p footage is alright, 1080p does the job too. As for stills, the rear capturing camera doesn't disappoint and despite a honest bit of noise shoots quite likable images.

vivo V5 Plus key test findings

  • The design is undeniably iPhone-like, build quality is top notch.
  • The display posts fine numbers for brightness and contrast, but fails to impress in color accuracy and sunlight legibility.
  • Battery life is very fine - voice call longevity is excellent, web browsing time is solid, video playback is on the fine side of average, all of this adding up to a 76-hour endurance rating.
  • The phone runs on Marshmallow, which is pretty dated already, but the custom overlay is very rich in added functionality.
  • Benchmarks reveal similar performance to other phones with the same chipset - dependable overall, but falling short in the most demanding 3D scenarios.
  • The loudspeaker pumped out enough decibels for a Very Good rating; drive it too hard, however, and sound may acquire distorted.
  • The 16MP rear capturing camera produces detailed images with pleasing colors and decent dynamic range.
  • The 20MP+8MP front capturing camera combo shoots excellent selfies. The simulated bokeh, while not exactly perfect up-close, is remarkable for social media sharing, where lower resolution makes the flaws less evident
  • Video quality is very fine in 4K with lots of fine detail and fine contrast and colors. 1080p footage is decent, but nothing more.

The V5 Plus' major issue is price. You may be able to acquire two of them for the price of an iPhone, but it's not the iPhone it's competing with. For what vivo is charging you can acquire some pretty competent midrangers from big-name makers, and why not even a proper flagship from vivo's sister company OnePlus.

Marginally more expensive, the OnePlus 3T is significantly more powerful, particularly in the graphics department - definitely a better choice for mobile gaming. The two phones trade victories in battery life disciplines, with the vivo lasting longer on the web, and the 3T being better in video playback.

The 3T's software that looks like stock Android, yet offers plenty of customization, would likely be more universally appealing, but if you want the iOS experience on Android, nothing will beat the V5 Plus. Only, it's based on Marshmallow, and we can't see that changing anytime soon. Or at all, really. The 3T's selfie cam isn't bad, but the V5 Plus has that bokeh going for it, and even if the 3T's rear capturing camera is superior it's not so to the point of being a decider. All things considered though, you must really love selfies (and also youself), to pick the V5 Plus over the 3T.



OnePlus 3T

Next comes the Moto Z Play. Similar hardware and more battery and it's no wonder the Z Play outlasts the V5 Plus in all tests. The AMOrganic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) display is also brighter and performs better in the sun, the rear capturing camera output is finer, and it's vanilla Android too, for those that like their Operating System (OS) the way Google intended it to be. Oh, and the Z Play is, in fact, slightly cheaper. No creamy bokeh selfies on it, though.



Motorola Moto Z Play

Then there's the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4, and things are looking even worse for the V5 Plus. Same chipset, same display, more battery, less than half the asking price. Of course, the Redmi isn't as posh (though definitely better looking than the rock-bottom price would suggest), can't record 4K video and has a measly single 5MP capturing camera on the front, but the price incompatibility is just too huge to ignore.




Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 • Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (MediaTek)

The Oppo R9s shares some of its Digital Network Architecture (DNA) with the V5 Plus, but there are a few differences - microSD slot, better rear capturing camera with a wider f/1.7 aperture and dual pixel autofocus, AMOrganic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) display. The V5 Plus snatches the win for selfie camera, of course.



Oppo R9s

The Samsung Galaxy J7 Prime has been hugely popular, becautilize it's a lot of phone for small cash. It runs on Samsung's own Exynos 7870 chip, itself made on a 14nm process as well, so it should be very efficient too - it certainly is inside the J7 (2016). The Prime lacks bells and whistles like bokeh effects, and its top version only comes with 3GB of Random-Access Memory (RAM) and 32GB of storage (expandable, though), but again, it seems like a better deal than the V5 Plus.



Samsung Galaxy J7 Prime

It's easy to see the vivo V5 Plus as an iPhone-copying one-trick pony, an expensive one at that. The thing is, it's pretty remarkable at that one trick, and reasonably fine at them other tricks. There's no escaping the copycat boos, and there are much better deals to be had, but it wont be a stretch for vanity to defeat common sense here.


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