It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation. – Herman Melville
Gone are the days when Chinese smartphone makers used to blindly imitate the design philosophy from the likes of Apple and other established brands. There was a time when new OEMs were just emerging and they had nothing but to look up to the most innovative smartphone brand – Apple. But the time has changed now. Companies like Xiaomi have moved on from shamelessly replicating iOS to building their own unique identity with MIUI. Most other Chinese brands are also following the trail. Except one. Vivo.
Vivo introduced the V5 series earlier this year comprising V5, V5 Plus, and finally the V5s. The Vivo V5s gets the exact similar look from its siblings, but with a high-end selfie camera. Well, as I said in earlier reviews too, it is a time when OEMs’ whole world revolves around only one thing i.e., selfie. And of course, Vivo doesn’t want to miss that train either. So, the company has marketed the Vivo V5s as a best selfie smartphone featuring a 20-megapixel front facing moonlight camera. How much of this is true? Does it offer anything besides good selfies? Let’s find out.
Design & Display:
Vivo V5s flaunts a solid metal unibody design with U-shaped antenna lines at top and bottom. With a thickness of just 7.6mm and round edges, the handset is easy to hold and provides decent grip. The texture feels nice and doesn’t attract fingerprints marks and smudges either. The power button and volume rockers placed on the right edge are also well within the reach of thumb and quite easy to access.
Up front, it puts on a 5.5-inch display which gets a modest resolution of only 720 pixels. At the given budget, we’re expecting it to sport at least a Full HD display. Well, keeping that aside, the display is bright enough under direct sunlight and has good viewing angles too. Beneath the display lies three backlit capacitive touch buttons and a fingerprint scanner mounted into the home button. The fingerprint scanner is snappy and very efficient. Actually, it’s the fastest fingerprint scanner I’ve experienced on an Android smartphone after the OnePlus 3/3T.
Overall, the handset feels very premium to me. If only Vivo had opted for an original design (rather than taking cues from iPhone) and a Full HD display, the device would have been more appreciated.
Of course, the front facing 20-megapixel is the main highlight of the device. Selfies taken with the camera turn out to be very good in daylight conditions. Even in low light conditions, the output was good for my liking. Talking about the primary 13MP camera, this one really surprised us. The images captured by the camera marked well in saturation level and were rich in colours. The default camera app is user-friendly and features multiple modes such as HDR, night photography, time-lapse, slo-mo recording and professional mode. The camera is also quick with focusing on subjects in outdoor conditions. The focusing (even manual), however, lags a bit while capturing macro shots, especially indoors.
The default camera app is user-friendly and features multiple modes such as HDR, night photography, time-lapse, slo-mo recording and professional mode. The camera is also quick with focusing on subjects in outdoor conditions. The focusing (even manual), however, lags a bit while capturing macro shots, especially indoors.
Overall, the Vivo V5s does justify the tag of a good selfie phone. Not just selfie, the phone also bodes well in terms of rear camera photography.
Software & Performance:
Powering the Vivo V5s is an octa-core MediaTek MT6750 processor accompanied by 4GB of RAM. The processor along with the given RAM does a very good job in terms of performance and multitasking. We did not come across any major lag or issue during our time with the device. The app switching as well as playing graphic intensive games was smooth as butter. The app loading time, however, did hurt me a little.
The phone did get heat up while playing games, but that is common with any Android device with a metal body. Overall, the phone managed to impress us on platform ground and we don’t have anything to complain here.
Talking about the software, the Vivo V5s runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow wrapped under FunTouch OS 3.0. What disappointed us the most is that the company has shamelessly copied the complete UI from iOS. Starting from the looks, control centre, app icons to even naming the apps. In the below screenshot, you can see the name of bloatware apps as iMusic, iTheme, iManager and few others too. This move may hurt Vivo in case anyone aware of iOS design language considers its device. And more importantly, the brand need not do this after spending millions on advertising to establish its identity. It is simply distasteful.
Similar to UIs offered by other Chinese brands, this one also lacks an app drawer. The UI also packs in a lot of unnecessary bloatware including a Vivo app store too. Some of them can’t even be deleted and you need to disable them manually to get rid of them. Also, it’s sad to see that the phone lacks Android Nougat for which the company hasn’t rolled out the update yet.
Powering the phone is a 3000mAh battery and it could easily last a day. It offers a good standby time, however, it drains pretty fast while playing graphic intensive games. The charger included with the box takes around one and half hours to completely charge the device, which was a pleasant surprise. Overall, the battery is decent enough but doesn’t stand against the likes of Gionee A1 which offers an outstanding battery life.
It’s a Dual SIM phone with 4G VoLTE support in both the slots. Along with the inbuilt 64GB storage, the phone also supports a MicroSD card up to 256GB. However, it comes with a Hybrid slot which lets you insert either two SIM cards or one SIM card with a MicroSD at a given time.
The Vivo V5s does perform on the camera ground as the company claims it to be. Apart from that, it’s just a decent phone, not a great phone. The pricing also seems to be bit on a higher note. Keeping that aside, if the cameras really flatter you and you’re willing to spend around Rs 19,000, go for it.