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Vivo V23 Pro 5G review: it’s all about the design and selfies

Vivo has been choosing its punches wisely when it comes to the Indian smartphone market. Its major launches in the country last year were the flagship X60 and X70 series as well as the V21 series. The brand kept things interesting by launching several affordable offerings in its Y-series. After an eventful 2021, Vivo entered 2022 with all guns blazing with the launch of the Vivo V23 series. The line-up includes the standard V23 and V23 Pro.

Also read: Vivo V23 series roundup: launch date, price in India, sale on Flipkart, specifications and more

The Pro variant marks a lot of firsts for the brand including a color-changing Fluorite AG back panel, first 50MP dual selfie camera, first 108MP primary camera on a Vivo device in India, and a curved display with a 7.36mm slim body. Apart from these, the Vivo V23 Pro 5G has a spec sheet that punches above its weight. I have been using the Vivo V23 Pro 5G for over a week now and here’s what I think about the smartphone.

Vivo V23 Pro 5G review of specifications

Specs
Vivo V23 Pro 5G specifications
Display
6.56-inch FHD+ AMOLED
ProcessorMediaTek Dimensity 1200
RAM8GB|12GB
Storage128GB|256GB
OS
Funtouch OS based on Android 12
Rear cameras108MP + 8MP + 2MP
Front Camera50MP + 8MP
Battery4,300mAh battery
Fast charging44W fast charge
Dimensions 159.46 x 73.27 x 7.36mm
PriceRs 11,999 starting price

Design and display

  •  159.46 x 73.27 x 7.36mm, 171g
  • 6.56-inch FHD+ AMOLED display, 90Hz, 800nits peak brightness

When I first held the Vivo V23 Pro in my hand, it felt like any other V-series offering with a slim chassis and a curved display. The biggest talking point of the V23 Pro 5G is the Fluorite AG back panel. The Sunshine Gold variant that I received has an orangish gold shimmery finish, which looks great on its own. However, walk outside with the phone, and the back panel changes to a teal-colour hue wherever the UV rays/sunlight hits it. Bring the phone back indoors and the panel goes back to a golden hue. This colour changing effect is mesmerising to look at and will surely turn heads.

According to the brand, the colour changing effect is rated to last up to 18- 24 months, after which it may or may not work. Vivo is also offering the smartphone in a Stardust Black colourway, which doesn’t have the colour-changing back but retains the shimmery matte finish, which is smudge-proof. At 7.36mm, the V23 Pro 5G is the slimmest smartphone in India and is quite lightweight too at just 171 grams. Needless to say, I love the premium hand-feel that the smartphone provides.

There are three cameras stacked vertically but for some reason, Vivo has placed the dual-LED flash horizontally beside the centre-most camera lens. This has resulted in a wider-than-required squarish camera island with lots of negative space around the flash. Personally, I liked the eccentric design choice for the camera module on the back. On the front, you’ll find a wide notch for dual selfie cameras, which is an eyesore in 2022. I would have preferred a pill-shaped punch-hole cutout instead of a notch.

As for other design elements, the physical keys for volume and power are on the right edge, whereas the left edge is bare. At the bottom, you’ll find the dual nano-SIM tray, Type-C port, and speaker grille. Unfortunately, there’s no dual speaker setup or 3,5mm audio jack. Vivo does provide a 3.5mm earphones with the smartphone and a Type-C to 3.5mm dongle. The smartphone features an optical fingerprint scanner, which is positioned ergonomically and works quite well.

Coming to the display, the Vivo V23 Pro 5G features a 6.56-inch curved AMOLED display with FHD+ screen resolution. Unfortunately, it ships with a 90Hz refresh rate, which felt lethargic to me coming from a 120Hz device. However, if you have not yet used a high-refresh display smartphone, this is a huge upgrade from a 60Hz panel. Another issue that grinds my gears is the poor palm rejection, a common trait on phones with slim profile and curved display. Have companies solved this? Yes, they have but Vivo hasn’t with the V23 Pro 5G.

Having said that, the display is ample bright with 800nits peak brightness, vibrant colours, darker blacks, and sharper text. The display comes with Widevine L1 certification, HDR10+ support, and TUV Rheinland certification. I totally enjoyed my time watching the first few episodes of the Wheel of Time on Prime Video.

Cameras

  • Rear: 108-megapixel primary sensor, 8-megapixel wide-angle sensor, 2MP macro
  • Front: 50-megapixel primary sensor, 8-megapixel wide-angle lens

The Vivo V23 Pro comes with a triple camera setup on the back. The setup is headlined by a 108-megapixel Samsung sensor with support for autofocus. The main lens is further backed by an 8-megapixel ultra-wide sensor and a 2-megapixel macro lens. On the front, the smartphone houses a 50-megapixel primary selfie camera with eye autofocus accompanied by a secondary 8-megapixel wide-angle shooter.

The camera app is loaded to the gills with photography features. You’ll find the Night, Portrait, Photo, and Video modes on the viewfinder. There’s a More option as well, which gives access to other features like High resolution, Pano, Live Photo, Slow Mo, Time-lapse, Pro, AR stickers, Documents, Pro Sports, Double Exposure, and Dual View. On the top, you’ll find Google Lens, Flash, HDR, and Super Macro. Vivo has also included creator-friendly features like 20 portrait effects, dual-tone spotlight for flash (rear and front, and more.

Regular

Regular

Regular

Regular

Regular

Regular Lowlight

Night mode

Closeup

Super Macro

Coming to the real-life use case, the 108-megapixel shooter on the back captures 12MP pixel-binned images by default. While the pictures display close to real colour science and good dynamic range, I often found details to be missing from the flora. As for the lowlight photography, the pictures have sufficient details but are full of noise and the same is the case with night mode as well. The wide-angle lens captures decent images with minimal warp around the edges. I was particularly impressed with the close-up shots and macro images, which had great details. However, while close-up shots from the main camera retain natural colours, the macro lens clicks washed-out pictures.

The 50-megapixel camera on the front clicks great self-portraits and good portraits shots as well. Content creators will love the dual-flash module, which offers a cooler or warmer tone depending on the requirement of the shot. There’s also a unique teleprompter mode for bloggers. For selfie-enthusiasts, there’s a bunch of portrait styles to play with.

Performance, software, and battery

  • MediaTek Dimensity 1200
  • 8GB + 128GB | 12GB + 256GB
  • Funtouch OS 12 based on Android 12
  • 4,300mAh battery, 44W fast charging

The Vivo V23 Pro 5G has the Dimensity 1200 chipset ticking at its core. Vivo is offering the smartphone in 8GB + 128GB and 12GB + 256GB options. The V23 Pro 5G uses UFS 3.1 storage and LPDDR4x RAM, which helps the overall performance. Furthermore, Vivo is also offering RAM extension technology up to 4GB, should you need it. I received the base 8GB variant of the smartphone and was able to multitask smoothly even with several intensive apps open in the background.

As for gaming, the smartphone can run Battlegrounds Mobile India at HDR graphics and Ultra FPS preset without any jitters or frame drops. However, the back panel does get warmer after gaming for a longer duration. More casual games like Alto’s Odyssey and Forza Street play smoothly on the V23 Pro. There’s an Ultra Game Mode, which offers various modes like Battery Saver, Balanced, Performance, and Esports. Other helpful features include 4D Game Vibration, Eagle Eye View, Voice Changer, and more, to enhance the overall gaming experience.

As for software, the Vivo V23 Pro 5G ships with the latest Android 12 with Funtouch OS 12 on top. While the interface has been streamlined by the brand, it continues to be full of bloatware including the infamous Hot Games and Hot Apps folders. That being said, the software comes with a plethora of useful features like Dynamic Effects, Always On display, Extended RAM, app locker, a built-in screen recorder, and call recorder.

Powering the smartphone is a 4,300mAh battery, which supports 44W FlashCharge fast charging. The battery charges fully from 10 percent to full in just under one hour. With my usage of a couple of hours of streaming videos, WhatsApp, Slack, Instagram, Facebook, and lots of picture taking from the camera app, I usually had 5-10 percent battery left in the pack by the end of the day. With moderate usage, the V23 Pro 5G can easily last more than a day on a full charge.

Bottomline

The Vivo V23 Pro 5G has been priced at Rs 38,990 and Rs 43,990 for the 8GB and 12GB variants, respectively. This is quite steep when you take into account the other Dimensity 1200 smartphones like the OnePlus Nord 2 (review) and POCO F3 GT (review), which are priced well under Rs 30,000.

The closest competitor to the V23 Pro 5G is the iQOO 7 Legend, which is priced at Rs 39,990 for the 8GB RAM variant and Rs 43,990 for the 12GB RAM variant. However, for the price you get a 120Hz AMOLED display, Snapdragon 888 chipset, and 66W fast charging. It does miss out in terms of 48MP triple cameras but the rear cameras perform well in comparison to Vivo V23 Pro 5G.

However, if you’re on a hunt for a smartphone with a powerful selfie camera and a host of content creation features, Vivo V23 Pro 5G is a perfect choice. The colour-changing back panel of the phone is a cherry on the top.

Pricebaba rating: 8 / 10

What works

  • Head-turning design
  • Curved AMOLED display
  • Powerful selfie camera
  • Fast charging battery
  • Good battery back

What doesn’t

  • Average rear cameras
  • Lack of dual speakers
  • Bloatware in Funtouch OS
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Abhiman Biswas

Abhiman has over 8 years of experience in content development. He is a Senior Writer and Social Media Manager at Pricebaba. He covers technology news, feature articles, and tech reviews, apart from managing the official Facebook and Instagram handles. Despite a degree in marketing, his love for latest gadgets and technology steered him towards consumer technology coverage.