REVIEWED: Vivo V7+ smartphone
This 7.7 mm-slim, selfie-centric 6-inch phone boasts a 24-megapixel front-facing camera. Can this World Cup 2018 sponsor crack the global market?
How do you look? If you’re the kind of traveller that likes to take selfies on trips – and we know there are untold millions of you out there – how does a 24-megapixel front-facing camera sound? Designed specifically for selfies, the new V7+ from Vivo adds all kinds of scene modes – including the soft-focus Face Beauty, Group Selfie and Portrait – to help make selfies look better.
What is Vivo?
The Vivo phone brand is MASSIVE in Asia, and it’s actually the fifth biggest brand in the world. In fact, on TravGear’s last trip to Myanmar, we couldn’t get away from Vivo shops and billboards – they were everywhere. Look:
These were taken in the southern town of Mawlamyine.
Vivo is big, and obviously has an eye on vast growth – it’s an official sponsor of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. So we’re all going to see a lot more of Vivo in the coming months. Watch an Premier League game on TV and you’ll see Vivo advertising along the side of the pitch, largely to appeal to watching audiences in its key markets – Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.
Tomorrow, the World (Cup)
So can Vivo crack other markets with the V7+ phone? Just 7.7 mm slim and weighing 160g, it’s a really nice phone to use. Not surprisingly, selfies are at the core not just of its fancy features, but of the phone’s core security options – Face Unlock. In fact, the first thing you need to do when the V7+ powers-up is to take a selfie, which the phone’s camera and light sensor then cross-reference with whoever’s looking at it. It works most of the time, though in poor light it often stumbles. That’s OK, because it also has a fingerprint sensor. As a bonus, if you’re looking at the phone as it prepares to dim the screen due to inactivity, it notices that you’re still looking at it, and keeps the screen bright.
You can see the ‘Face Unlock’ icon here:
Here’s looking at you
Talking of its screen, the V7+’s is a 5.9-inch/15cm 18:9 display with a resolution of 720×1440 – nothing too special. It’s certainly not ‘retina’ standard. However, in our tests it’s always very clear and bright, and we had no complaints about detail in photos, apps or web pages. Incidentally, although the front-facing camera takes 24-megapixel images, the regular camera on the back is less capable, though its 16-megapixel images are still far higher than on many phones. It’s got on-board storage of 64, though a pop-out tray has room for a micro SD card of up to 256GB in size, as well as space for two SIM cards. Here’s a photo:
Before we look at selfie quality and images, let’s go through it’s thoroughly impressive insides. Available in black, blue and gold, the V7+ runs Vivo’s own Funtouch OS 3.2 operating system on Android Nougat 7.1, and its an octa-core Qualcomm processor with 4 GB of RAM. In practice it works really fast; there were no freezes, hangs, or reboots necessary during the review. Also inside is a light sensor (as mentioned), a proximity sensor, accelerometer, compass and a gyroscope, as on most modern phones. Graphics are handed by an Adreno 506 GPU, and it’s got a good-sized battery at 3,225 mAh.
How it works
Although it runs Vivo’s own Funtouch OS 3.2 operating system, it’s so easy to use. Some of the tweaks are reminiscent of the iPhone’s operating system, though it will look familiar to Android any user anywhere in the world. It does have its own Asian-centric V-Appstore, but it’s fairly Malaysia-centric for now. Here’s a photo of it:
However, it also has Google Play, and a suite of all the usual Google apps and services, such as Gmail, Chrome, Maps and YouTube.
Are the selfies & photos any good?
Not surprisingly the core feature of the V7+ is impressive, with some great images possible from both camera. Here’s a selection from a trip to Wembley Stadium in London:
It even scans the photos and intelligently groups them into genres:
Great tunes and a bonus FM radio
Music is another strongpoint of this phone, with its AK4376A chipset able to a plethora of lossless audio codecs like WAV, Vorbis, APE and FLAC – this was a welcome surprise. The V7+’s many extra apps offer nothing else particularly interesting – the usual voice recorder, calculator and compass are here – but it is great to see an FM radio included. This has never been on the iPhone, which has always irritated me. An FM radio is so useful when you’re travelling, away from WiFi – or don’t want to go through the hassle of joining a hotspot – and you don’t want to use-up data on a travel SIM.
File transfer woes
Despite several attempts, we were unable to pair the V7+ with an iMac, and try as we might, nor could we get it to recognise the V7+ when attached via a micro USB cable (re-installing Android File Transfer app didn’t help). So we had to resort to emailing photos.
Fit for travel
The V7+ targets a very specific person – the selfie-taker who wants to improve their results – and it does that really well. However, it’s also a hard-working – and fast-working – all-rounder that produces great regular photos and videos. It may be made using a plastic back rather than the metal used by higher-grade and more expensive phones, but that helps keep the weight down to just 160g. Add a dual-SIM card slot and an FM radio, and the Vivo V7+ seems like a good value phone for travel.