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vivo V11 Review: One Step Closer to the Future

by Duey Guison  September 23, 2018

A closer look at vivo’s cutting-edge mid-range offering

Incremental upgrades are nothing new when it comes to mid-range phones. Unlike flagship devices, there isn’t a lot of incentive to bring large technological leaps to mid-range market. That what makes vivo’s V11 so unique and refreshing – instead of being an incremental upgrade of the 6-month old V9, their newest mid-range phone, the V11, has been given a thorough makeover, sporting an updated design, beefier internals along with an in-display fingerprint scanner.

That gradient back looks gorgeous.

Indeed it is. vivo’s approach for its gradient design involves a glittery overlay on the Starry Night variant, which gives an illusion of stars when viewed at the right angle. Unfortunately the V11 still uses a polycarbonate body like the V9, which is a far cry from the glass bodies of its other, less expensive rivals. You can probably call the V11 a thicc, gold accented version of the more expensive X21 and you’d be pretty close to the mark.

Despite the glossy gradient back, the V11 won’t slip from your hands since it’s not as slippery as a glass-backed phone, though we suggest using the supplied case to protect it from damage.

How’s the in-display fingerprint scanner this time?

It’s definitely easier to set up compared to the one used on the X21. vivo claims that the V11 uses a fourth generation fingerprint scanner, you can certainly feel the difference. Comparing it with the X21 we have, the V11’s in-display fingerprint scanner is snappier and more accurate than the first generation on the X21.

However, unlike traditional fingerprint scanners, the V11’s in-display fingerprint scanner still requires you to tap and hold before unlocking the phone. In addition, you need a specific type of screen protector lest you interfere with its functions.

That AMOLED display is stunning too.

Aside from being a necessary upgrade in order for the in-display fingerprint scanner to work, the V11’s AMOLED display is as great as the one we’ve seen with the X21. Color reproduction is great, and you can easily tweak the color settings as well.

Another advantage of AMOLED panels is that you get Always On Display, which is useful if you want to check the time and your notifications once in a while without physically turning on the phone.

Left: V11 using a 1.9Ghz Snapdragon 660 processor Right: X21 using a 2.2Ghz Snapdragon 660 processor

Is it fast?

Eagle-eyed tech nerds will point out that the Snapdragon 660 used on the V11 is underclocked at 1.9 Ghz—compared to 2.2Ghz on your typical Snapdragon 660 like the one used on the X21. In spite of the difference, the V11 performs well, evident with its AnTuTu score of 129457.

It is lower than the 142593 AnTuTu score of the X21, but you can barely feel the difference between the V11’s underclocked Snapdragon 660 and the X21’s regular Snapdragon 660.

Paired with 6GB RAM and 64GB internal storage, the V11 offers an ample amount of RAM for multitasking and enough storage for storing AAA mobile games and your media needs.

Speaking of games, the V11 performs very well with graphics-intensive titles. Here’s our gaming review:

How’s the rest of the phone?

Unlike previous V series models, the V11’s software is up-to-date, with the latest security patch installed on our review unit. During our time with the V11, we got two updates—one of these updates added 4K video recording.

If we could suggest an improvement to FunTouch OS, we look forward to a revamped settings menu with a search bar. On its current iteration, the settings menu is quite a mess, and you’ll need to dig through some of the options to find the settings you want to change.

Like the X21, the V11 comes with Jovi AI Assistant, which helps in the overall experience—from better photos to smooth, interruption-free gaming.

If you don’t fancy the V11’s in-display fingerprint scanner, you can opt to use the face unlock feature. Utilizing a 25-megapixel front camera and a tiny IR camera, the V11’s face unlock is one of the most accurate in its price range. Unlocking the phone using this method is a breeze even in poor lighting situations.

Are the cameras any good?

While it technically uses the same dual rear camera setup found on the X21, we noticed that the V11’s AI works faster compared to its more expensive sibling. As for image quality, the V11 is an improvement over the X21 with better color accuracy and low-light performance—with the latter getting some help from the V11’s AI.

As for video recording, the V11 can shoot in 4K, though you lose EIS in this resolution.  Here’s a vlog that we made using the V11:

Just like the V11’s photo performance, the video quality is better than the X21 in spite of using the same camera setup. We can attribute this to better image and video processing on the V11.

Can it last me through the day?

Absolutely. While we could not properly benchmark its battery life using PCMark, we got more than a day’s worth with moderate use.

While the V11 is stuck with MicroUSB, vivo at least upgraded their mid-range phone with Dual Engine Fast Charging—their own take on Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0. It takes around an hour and a half to juice up the V11’s 3400mAh battery to 100%.

Should you buy it?

Even with phones sporting flagship processors at a price that’s cheaper than the V11, vivo’s latest mid-range phone is arguably its best offering to date. While it is technically an affordable version of the X21, the V11 has a lot of improvements that make it better than its more expensive sibling.

While the mid-range market is saturated with bang-for-the-buck phones offering current tech for cheap, that’s not who vivo is targeting with the V11. The phone is for people who want the taste of the future, today.

vivo V11 Specs

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 660AIE octa-core processor
  • 6GB RAM
  • 6.41-inch Full HD+ AMOLED Halo FullView display, 2340×1080 resolution
  • 64GB of expandable storage (up to 256GB)
  • 12-megapixel f/1.8 and 5-megapixel f/2.4 rear cameras with PDAF, Dual Tone LED flash, AI Scene Recognition
  • 25-megapixel f/2.0 front camera with 3D Portrait Lighting
  • Dual SIM
  • 4G, LTE, VoLTE
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, NFC
  • GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS
  • In-display fingerprint sensor, IR Face Unlock, Jovi assistant
  • 3400mAh battery with 18W fast charging
  • Android 8.1, FunTouch OS 4.5

 

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