Vivo V15 Pro was one of the first smartphones to feature an elevating mechanism for the front camera, all in pursuit of a full-screen design. The idea raised a lot of concerns, as it did add moving parts, which could wear out easily with everyday use.

Thankfully, the phone received a good review, not only because of its very capable hardware, but mostly for the performance of its front camera, which we think is still the best in its category.

That record is being challenged today, by a phone from no less than the same brand. The V17 Pro is Vivo’s newest attempt at delivering a premium smartphone experience in the mid-range segment with a new design, powerful hardware, a high-capacity battery, four rear cameras, and a new dual front camera system, housed in a pop-up module.

What’s in the Box
Design

The V17 Pro’s design is unlike anything we’ve seen from the brand, and is a huge step-up from its predecessor. Its back panel, though still a bit slippery and a smudge-magnet, feels more seamless, thanks to less protrusion from the camera module. This allows the phone to stay flat on a surface without getting wobbly. 

With a rather large footprint, one-handed use only on the fair side, and that’s with big hands. Invest in a case , or just use the one that comes with it. It’s not the most beautiful case out there, and is a pain to install and remove, but it does the job.

You get a volume rocker and power button on the right side, and a dedicated button for launching the Google Assistant on the left. The SIM slot is located at the bottom, along with the USB-C port and speaker grill. You also get a headphone jack up top.

As for the display, the V17 Pro has a 6.44-inch Super AMOLED panel with a 20:9 aspect ratio. As expected, you get punchy colors and sharp text across icons and menus. Thanks to its unusual aspect ratio, you’ll usually get black bars on the side when watching YouTube videos.

The V17 Pro doesn’t have a face unlock feature, which in a way forces you to use the in-display solution, which is not as fast, but still works fairly.

Performance

Then there’s the processor. Vivo has decided to stick to the Snapdragon 675 AIE, the same chip you get on the V15 Pro. This is quite odd, as of all areas, this is where you’ll usually expect a significant upgrade from a major release.

Anyway, you get 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. There’s no provision for a microSD card here, which can also be a deal-breaker to some users. As expected from a phone with these specs, day to day performance is nothing short of impressive. Apps launch quickly, and switching from one to the other is a breeze.

Vivo is banking on delivering an immersive gaming experience with their Multi-Turbo acceleration technology, and things like Ultra Game Mode, which blocks notifications, prevents accidental touches, enable and disable the game assistant, and even allows certain apps to be used while you’re in-game.

V17 Pro can run PUBG Mobile silky smooth at Balanced + Ultra Framerate Setting. We did run into a few stutters on Asphalt 9 when it was set to its highest graphics preset. Dialing it down to default gave a better experience, but certainly not buttery smooth.

Camera Samples

Another massive upgrade from its predecessor, is the quad rear camera system, which uses a 48MP main sensor, an 8MP wide angle shooter, and a couple of 2MP sensors for depth and macro shots. Photos taken by the main camera offer plenty of detail, decent dynamic range. and good exposure level.

When using the bokeh lens, subject and background separation is also very good, and the depth of field effect looks refined.

Image quality using the Macro lens is only average at best. There’s a lot of noise, and details don’t look impressive.

Thanks to its dedicated Night Mode, the phone is also able to take good quality low-light shots. Much of the details are well preserved, and edges remain sharp. It does struggle a bit in controlling bright spots, and colors tend to be enhanced just a bit too much, which more or less could be the fault of the device’s processing.

The device also supports 4K Video recording at 30fps. Here’s an almost a minute’s worth of footage. While audio pickup is good, the output audio sounds too piercing. The lack stabilization also takes its toll as even simple movements can make the video look jittery.

 

Selfies also show plenty of detail, and edge detection in portrait mode is more or less on point. The ultra-wide camera allows for more coverage, but at the cost of detail. There’s also noticeable noise buildup.

Wide-Angle
Normal
Initial Verdict

In a lot of ways, the Vivo V17 Pro is really a notable step-up from its predecessor. The new design looks fresh, performance is beyond average, and the new set of optics add a ton of versatility, not to mention that they perform well in most conditions.

However, there are also things that people may see as deal-breakers, or potentially experience-breaking flaws, such as the lack of expandable storage, the less than impressive in-display fingerprint scanner, the forgettable 4k video quality,  having the same processor as its predecessor, and as good as its front cameras are, the absence of face unlock seems really, really off for a 2019 mid-ranger.

We’re going to take more camera samples, dive into the software to know more, and test out the battery to check how long it’ll last. For, now let’s leave it at it’s a good phone if you know where to focus your attention on.

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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.

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