Vivo V7 Review: The Better Deal?

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The Vivo V7 is the more compact version of the brand’s popular V7+. Sporting the same 24MP selfie camera equipped with algorithms specifically tailored for clear and natural looking photos, it aims to bring the premium smartphone experience in a more pocket-friendly (literally) package.

But is this phone worth getting over its bigger sibling? let’s find out in this full review.

Vivo V7 Specs:

  • 1.8GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 Octa-Core Processor
  • 4GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage expandable via microSD card (up to 256GB)
  • 5.7-inch 18:9 IPS HD All Screen Display with 2.5D Gorilla Glass Protection
  • 16MP Rear Camera, Ultra HD Mode, PDAF, f/2.0
  • 24MP Front Camera, Selfie Flash, Face Beauty 7.0, Portrait Mode, f/2.0
  • Dual SIM, 4G/LTE
  • USB OTG
  • Fingerprint Sensor
  • Funtouch OS 3.2 on top of Android 7.1 Nougat
  • 3,000mAh battery

The Same Premium Look, Only Smaller

Apart from the slightly smaller screen, the V7 doesn’t really differ from the V7+ in terms of the design. You still get smooth curves along with a signature a matte finish that makes the device look very premium and elegant.

Now though, you also get a smaller footprint, which makes the phone easier to hold an use with one hand. It also provides a better fit for your pocket.

Like its bigger brother, it also uses a triple slot tray – no need to sacrifice that 1 SIM slot for your memory card. The standard microUSB port could’ve been a USB Type-C port though.

The 5.7-inch 18:9 display still has a resolution of 1440 x 720 pixels, slightly above HD. The good thing is that, at normal viewing distance, the slightly jagged lines on text and icons are barely noticeable. The display still looks vibrant enough, and can really go bright when you need it to.

I’m guessing that it’s for better battery life, but a better viewing experience is a good trade off for what, 1 or 2 more hours of uptime? i’d say yes. Sure, it’s fine as it is, but you do get a feeling that for what you’re paying for, you should get a bit more.

Performs Just as Well

With the same processing package, the V7 is just as capable as its bigger sibling as far as daily tasks are concerned. Apps open quickly, and switching between running one’s is a breeze.

You can also expect the same performance as the V7+ for gaming. Low to medium settings in NBA 2K17, and steady smooth gameplay for Arena of Valor.

Decent Cameras, Though Front Cam Tends to be Hard on Processing

With ample lighting, the 16MP rear camera is able to take photos with accurate colors and good levels of detail, vibrancy and sharpness. From the samples, even those lines on the leaves that are hard to see, are visible.

Low light performance was a hit and miss – some photos show a handful of noise, while some show more detail.

While the overall quality of selfies are decent, the V7 does tend to do too much processing, resulting to a loss of detail in some parts as well as blown out color as shown in one of the samples.

Portrait mode has been refined on the front cam, and now shows better accuracy in terms of which areas to blur. It’s the opposite however for the rear cam, as enabling it didn’t seem to have any adverse effects on the photos.

In less than ideal lighting, shots came out just slightly grainy, but the general quality is still decent enough.

Here’s a sample of a 1080p video captured using the rear camera. The lack of stabilization means you’ll need very steady hands or perhaps additional accessories to lessen shakes, but the overall quality is still good enough for casual shoots.

 

The main camera can also capture slow motion videos. The quality is less than ideal, but at least it works.

Getting all the Goodies

The V7 runs on Funtouch OS 3.2 on top of Android Nougat. We’re not quite sure if an Oreo update is coming, but hopefully it is.

With the same software as the V7+, you also get the same new features such as Face ID Access, Game Mode, and Smart Split.

There’s also Raise to Wake, which automatically activates the screen when you raise the phone to your line of sight. It’s a bit inconsistent in terms of when it works, but when it does, and combined with facial recognition, it’s fast.

Fingerprint recognition is also fast, though there were times when it simply didn’t work.

Facial recognition is touted as a quick way of unlocking the device. Having used the phone for quite some time, it still needs some refinements in terms of consistency. Sometimes, I just found it faster to just press the power button or use the fingerprint sensor.

Game Mode lets you block notifications when playing games. The features does work well, just don’t forget to review your notifications after.

Smart Split is useful if you want to do multi-tasking, such as browsing social media and watching a video at the same time. It’s not applicable with some apps such as calendar or the music player, but hopefully, that can be addressed with an update.

Great for music

I do like phones that sound good right off the bat, without having to tweak anything on the software side. The V7 is just that. Just plug in a decent pair of headphones, and the default sound signature is already more or less, satisfying.

Speaking of sound signature, the V7’s dedicated Hi-Fi chip exhibits a balanced sound, with only slightly emphasis on the mids and highs. It’s not too bright that it pierces your ears, but is rather gentle. Bass is also present, but not overpowering.

For more advanced users, a dedicated equalizer is available for you to tweak.

As for the speaker, the volume should be sufficient for small room, but the overall sound falls short on clarity. Thankfully, there’s only minimal distortion at max volume.

Doesn’t fall much behind in longevity

The V7 has a slightly smaller battery than the V7+, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t last a full day with a single charge.

Just yesterday, I took off at around 2PM with the phone charged at around 90+ percent, and after a whole afternoon and evening of being on LTE and taking photos, updating our social media page, listening to music via Spotify, and even using it as a hotspot for a few hours, it still had around 20% of battery when I got home at around 1AM.

Verdict

With the Vivo V7, you get almost all goodies of the V7+, in a more affordable package. The screen is just as good, so as the build quality, and the performance. Being more compact, it’s also significantly easier to use with one hand.

The rear camera is able to take good quality photos even in less than ideal conditions. The 24MP front cam does tend to be hard on processing at times, but still fares decently even in low light, not to mention the improved implementation of the depth of field effect.

The software gives you access to all the good features that the V7+ had, such as game mode and smart split. Facial recognition is a bit inconsistent, and we hope that the issue can be rectified with an update.

If anything, this phone is i’d say, more fairly priced than its bigger brother. If you’re really sticking to the brand, and don’t mind the smaller screen and battery, get this one instead. It’s a better deal.

The Good

  • Premium design, solid build quality
  • Sound quality on headphones
  • Rear camera performance
  • Front camera performance
  • Great battery life
  • Triple slot tray
  • Improved portrait mode implementation on front cam
  • Decent gaming performance

The Not So Good

  • 720p display
  • Face ID access is inconsistent
  • Raise to wake feature is inconsistent
  • Front camera tends to over process images
  • Unrefined slow motion video capture and portrait mode on rear camera

 

 

 

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