Vivo V5s Review: Slight Upgrade

Vivo V5s Review: Slight Upgrade

We review the Vivo V5s!

A few months after Vivo unveiled their selfie-centric smartphone, the V5, the company seemingly thought it would be a good idea to release a slightly upgraded version of the device, dubbed the V5s. Looking at the specs side by side, you’d be hard pressed to find large differences in the two devices aside from the new externals and bigger storage. Despite that Vivo is still hawking the V5s at Php 14,990, a 2K jump in price over the V5s 12,990 suggested retail price. Is the higher price worth it?

Vivo V5s specs

  • 1.5GHz MediaTek 6750 octa-core processor
  • Mali T860 GPU
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 5.5-Inch HD IPS Display; 720 x 1280 Resolution
  • 64GB of expandable storage
  • 13-megapixel rear camera, PDAF, LED Flash
  • 20-megapixel front camera f/2.0 aperture
  • Dual SIM
  • 3G, LTE
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS, Fingerprint Scanner, HiFi Audio
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow, FunTouch UI
  • 3000mAh Battery

Unibody aluminum design looks pretty

Most phones nearing the 15K price range sport pretty metal bodies, and the V5s is no exception to this. What’s different in the V5s is Vivo’s decision to use a unibody metal design instead of the usual metal-backed, plastic and bottom-topped bodies that’s usually present in this particular price range.

The design may not be original, but the build quality is apparent once you start fondling the phone. The curved sides and rounded corners make it easier to handle the phone and add to the overall aesthetics. Flipping the phone over to its back, and you can see the antenna lines on the top and bottom of the device, as well as the 13-megapixel rear camera with PDAF tucked neatly in the corner.

The volume rocker and power button is on the right side of the device, with the microSD/SIM slot on the opposite side. The USB port, speaker grille and 3.5mm jack are all located on the bottom of the frame.

Up front is the 5.5-inch HD display, which is, incidentally, the same as on the V5. Right on the bottom of that display is the fingerprint reader which pulls double duty as the home button. Flanking that are the two Android navigation keys, namely the recent apps and back button. In the upper left corner of the phone sits the 20-megapixel front facing selfie camera of the V5s.

The 5.5-inch HD IPS display of the V5s is good, though at the price range we were honestly expecting a full HD display. Several competing smartphones in the same price range already have full HD IPS panels, and you’ll rarely find a HD display past the 10K mark nowadays.

As far as the actual display quality goes, we have no major complaints – it’s big, bright and has good color reproduction, and every purchase of the V5s comes with an already applied screen protector to keep everything nice and scratch free.

Familiar hardware keeps everything running smoothly

Under the hood of the V5s beats familiar hardware: a 1.5GHz MediaTek 6750 octa-core processor that’s paired wiht 4GB of RAM. We hate to sound like a broken record, but again, that’s the same hardware that’s running in the company’s V5. What is different this time around is the roomier storage: there’s 64GB of space available for use, double that of the V5, with a microSD expansion slot if that’s not enough.

With identical hardware to the V5, it’s not surprising that the V5s performed the same in our benchmark tests and in actual use. Apps launched quickly and the UI didn’t feel sluggish, though you’ll have to turn down graphics in graphically intense games and apps for them to work smoothly on the V5s.

The phone comes with Android Marshmallow with the company’s FunTouch UI layered on top. The UI makes things look more like iOS than Android, though it’s not the first time we’ve encountered this kind of setup. We kinda missed our app drawer with FunTouch, though the UI overlay itself isn’t hard to navigate and isn’t a big drain on resources.

Moving onto the other stuff in the V5s: the phone has a dedicated HiFi audio chip, so listen to music using headphones sound pretty good, though from what we’ve seen that doesn’t translate to the phone’s speakers. GPS and LTE performance is good, and calls made from and to the V5s had absolutely no problems at all.

Front camera is as good as the V5

The V5s inherits the same 20-megapixel front facing camera as the V5, at least on paper. Vivo is going head-to-head with its sister company OPPO in the selfie category, and brought the big guns with the V5s. The V5s also utilizes Vivo’s softlight featur for selfies – essentially turning the display white in low light for even illumination when taking self portraits in low light.

Overall selfies taken with the phone look great, and there’s even multiple beauty modes on tap to help smooth out the blemishes in your face.

Despite being tagged as a selfie-centric phone, the V5s has a pretty decent 13-megapixel rear camera as well. As long as there’s enough light around the phone takes good snaps via the rear camera, though quality will obviously go down as the light fades.

Surprisingly long battery life

While the phone has the same 3000mAh battery on the V5s and pretty much the same hardware setup, we were surprised to see that the V5s was able to post better numbers than the V5 in terms of battery endurance. The phone managed to pass 9 hours in our PCMark Battery Benchmark test. Our own testing showed that the phone has enough juice to last a day’s worth of use with a little left in the tank still.

Verdict: Pretty and long lasting, though you’d be better served with the V5 instead

When all is said and done, the V5s, as pretty as it is, is just an incremental upgrade to the company’s V5. It sports a better-looking aluminum body, double the storage and lasts a bit more, but that’s about it. The V5s is essentially the V5 in a better body with more storage.

Should you take it over the V5? Not really – the V5 is still a pretty solid smartphone for what it is, and that 2K price difference is quite a jump for what you’re getting, especially when you consider what’s available at said price range.



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