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As most flagship phones come with hefty prices, more and more people are paying attention into the mid-range market. Looking a few years back, I’d say there weren’t many choices. Fast forward to today, companies like Vivo are striving to fill that gap. The V3 Max is the latest weapon in their arsenal. It’s a phone that promises good specs while staying below a flagship price (PhP16,990). But is it more than just a bigger version of the already excellent v3? Let’s find out in this review.

Design and Build Quality

Measuring 153.9 x 77.1 x 7.6 mm and weighing in at 168 grams, the V3 Max is one beautiful phone to look at. The metal back also makes it look sturdy as well. In front, you’ll find the three capacitive buttons (which sadly aren’t illuminated), the 8MP front facing camera, the notification LED light, along with other sensors. At the back is a 13MP shooter with flash, and a fingerprint sensor below it. At the top is the 3.5mm headphone jack. And at the bottom, you’ll find the speaker, microphone, and a standard micro USB port. At 5.5-inches, it’s not exactly the easiest phone to get a grip on. But when you do, you’ll immediately know that you’re holding something premium.

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Display Quality

The V3 Max has a 5.5-inch Full HD IPS LCD display. Colors are vibrant, and text is sharp. Viewing angles and screen brightness is excellent and visibility in direct sunlight is good. If you’re into media consumption or games, you’ll love the display on this phone.

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Performance

Inside the V3 Max is an Octa-core Snapdragon 652 processor coupled with the Adreno 510 GPU. And while it’s not exactly the most powerful processing package out there, my goodness is it fast. It handles everyday tasks without breaking a sweat. The 4GB of RAM makes even heavy multi-tasking a breeze. For gaming, Heavy games like Asphalt 8, Modern Combat 5 and Mortal Kombat X all ran without a hint of lag. So with most titles, you should be able to have a good gaming experience. It scores pretty well on benchmarks too. Oh, and the fingerprint sensor? It’s amazing- about the fastest I’ve seen on a smartphone. The V3 Max is Dual SIM and LTE capable. It also comes with 32GB of internal storage expandable up to 256GB via Micro SD card.

Camera

The 13MP main shooter does a great job in good lighting conditions. Pictures come out with a good amount of detail, sharpness, and colors really pop out. The shutter speed is quite fast as well. It does struggle a bit on low-light shots, but the results are still pretty much ok.

The camera interface offers several shooting modes for you to work with. There’s also Professional mode wherein you can tweak settings like ISO and white balance. For selfie lovers, the front camera does a good job as well. The fingerprint sensor can also act as a shutter button, which is something I really like.

Call and Audio Quality

Call quality on the V3 Max is great. No unexpected drops or unnecessary background noise, and clarity is excellent too.

 

V3 Max 14The speaker on this thing is loud. But what’s even more impressive is that it doesn’t lose detail even at high volume. Clarity is superb and bass is evident. The sound from the headphone jack is exceptional. Even better if you plug in a good pair of headphones. i Music, the default music player app offers some settings to improve your experience. Even at defaults, the sound quality should already please most casual listeners.

Software

V3 Max 21The Vivo V3 Max runs on FunTouchOS 2.5 on top of Android 5.1.1 Lollipop. At first glance, its a little disappointing when you consider that a lot of the competition is already running on Marshmallow. Navigating the interface is a joy with no lags whatsoever. The icons are beautiful. There is no app drawer, so you’ll have to put your icons in folders if you want to keep your screens clean. Unlike a lot of other skins, you won’t find your usual quick toggle buttons on top. You can access them through a small window which appears when you slide from the bottom of the device. You can switch apps and access your recent apps from there.

Do you like to customize? FunTouch OS offers some pretty useful features and a ton of customization options. For example, there’s Visitor Mode. This is useful when you want to show your phone to other people without letting them see your personal content. There’s gesture support for certain actions like viewing your phone’s status or opening certain apps. Double tap to sleep/wake is also present. The i Manager app acts like your command center. You can free up some memory and watch your data consumption. You can also uninstall apps, set permissions, lock/unlock apps, and many more.

I like Vivo’s take on Android. It’s beautiful and fun to use. It gives you control over many aspects. It makes it more personal and connected to yourself.

Battery Life

The 3000mAh non-removable Li-Ion battery may not look impressive on paper. But on my actual test, it can get you through two days of light to moderate usage. With moderate to heavy use such as playing graphics intensive games with heavy multitasking, you’ll probably get a little more than 6 hours of screen time, which is actually pretty decent.

 

V3 Max 17The V3 Max has a feature called Dual Engine charging, which of course, shortens charging time. Using the supplied charger, I was able to get from 5% to full charge in about 2 hours. While that to e is good, it may not be the case for some people.

Verdict

The Vivo V3 Max is an excellent midrange smartphone. It feels solid and premium. Its beautiful, sturdy, and has a great display. It performs well in day to day tasks, and should be able to run most heavy games without hiccups. Multitasking is also taken care of nicely. The camera and battery life could use some work. Though for the most part, the results were more than satisfying. In case of FunTouchOS, I think it’s a matter of how you view it. But for me, it is a great take on Android.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emman has been writing technical and feature articles since 2010. Prior to this, he became one of the instructors at Asia Pacific College in 2008, and eventually landed a job as Business Analyst and Technical Writer at Integrated Open Source Solutions for almost 3 years.