There is a growing demographic of users who appreciate the charms of a good looking selfie-oriented camphone and Vivo’s latest V7+ aims to feed that need as it comes with a powerful front-facing camera along with good looks in spades.
Our test unit came in a matte black finish chased in silvered trim around the antenna bars at the top and bottom of the phone which makes for a rather striking look. The right side of the phone sports a volume rocker and a power button while the left side has a triple card tray that allows for you to mount two SIM cards and a microSD card, all at the same time. The base of the phone is a fairly busy affair with a microUSB port flanked by a 3.5mm audio jack and a speaker grille while the top of the phone is otherwise unadorned.
The backplate of our test unit is done up in a uniform matte black finish with the Vivo logo emblazoned in silver just below a square-shaped fingerprint reader while the rear-facing 16-MP camera is emplaced in the upper left corner of the phone alongside an LED flash.
The front of the phone proves to be a fetching affair indeed as it comes with an exceptionally wide 5.99-inch 1,440 x 720 pixels touchscreen display with a 2:1 aspect ratio that stretches almost all the way to the sides and the top and bottom sheathing in Corning Gorilla Glass 4. The ultra slim side bezels are an impressive feat, allowing Vivo to cram in the huge expanse of the 5.99 inch display into the relatively slim form factor. Unlike more recent offerings, it’s only HD resolution which is somewhat unusual seeing the plethora of Full HD displays on phones these days though the sheer size of the display compensates somewhat especially for movies and enjoying other content. The design of the Vivo V7+ eliminates a physical home button entirely and instead relies on virtual buttons to get about in order to make way for the screen. The main calling card of the Vivo V7+, its front-facing 24-MP camera is nestled at the top of the phone alongside a dedicated LED flash and a speaker grille for voice calls.
Overall build quality is on par with its asking price and the phone feels sturdily built with no creaking when held. At 7.7mm thin, the phone is a surprisingly slim affair despite its large size with the rounded edges and curved corners helping to make pocketing and wielding it a relatively easy task.
Performance and specifications
The Vivo V7+ offers an eclectic mix of specifications that pragmatically emphasise endurance and day-to-day usage. The phone runs Android Nougat 7.1.2 out of the box on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 processor of recent vintage. While detractors would scoff at a Snapdragon 450 SoC, it’s based on a relatively recent 14nm FinFet architecture that enhances its power efficiency significantly along with a modest 25% bump up in speed compared to its immediate predecessor the Snapdragon 435’s 28nm FinFet architecture. In terms of hardware, the Snapdragon 450 SoC on the Vivo V7+ is paired with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of onboard storage though this can be further augmented via the dedicated microSD card bay. This makes it rather respectable as midrange phones go.
More subtle enhancements lie beneath its modest spec sheet. In particular the phone has a dedicated AK4376A DAC for better audio quality when paired with a pair of earbuds.
The 2:1 aspect ratio 5.99-inch 1440x 720 pixel FullView display on the V7+ puts the phone in rather select company as it’s one of the few phones in Malaysia to have a display with these dimensions. It’s only when you hold it in your hands that you can appreciate just how large the display is as it has an impressive 84.4% screen-to-body ratio, taking up almost the entirety of the front of the phone while still remaining very wieldable. While the display is only HD resolution, it’s sufficient for everyday use and text is legible along with videos onscreen with the panel delivering good colours and detail.
When subjected to benchmarks, the phone offered modest results with the Antutu benchmark delivering a score of 58,807 which compares favourably with prior generation flagship phones that cost significantly more. In PC Mark it snagged a decent score of 4,761 while in GeekBench it yielded a single core score of 768 and a multicore score of 3,930 which are pretty decent results for its price range and SoC. In 3D Mark’s Sling Shot Extreme test, it yielded a relatively low score of 433 though in Epic Citadel at HD resolution at High Quality settings it managed a respectable 59.9 frames per second.
When put to use in the field, the V7+ was a reasonably competent performer with the generous amounts of RAM keeping things nippy. Overlaying Android Nougat on the V7+ is Vivo’s own Funtouch OS 3.2 user interface that adds several unique refinements that come in handy for day to day use.
On the surface, Funtouch OS 3.2 bears a resembles to iOS in terms of how the menus are laid out and its overall design such as swiping from the bottom up to go home though it does have a few unique tricks up its sleeves. Of note is its App Clone feature that lets you use two apps simultaneously so you can conceivably run two Facebook or Whatsapp accounts on this phone; both ran without a hitch on the phone during the duration of the test period. Another particularly nifty feature that the phone is capable of is its Manual Screen Splitting feature that allows for a modicum of multitasking onscreen by splitting the screen into two halves. The feature is deployed by sliding three fingers in a manner akin to a Boy Scout salute down the screen. A handy slider toggle lets you allocate screen real estate as you see fit by sliding it up and down. Unfortunately, this only works with a select number of apps for now that comprise of Youtube, Facebook, Whatsapp and the built-in calculator and file manager. Support for more apps would have been welcome.
Funtouch OS 3.2 also supports several unorthodox gestures via their Smart Motion mode such as sketching symbols or alphabets onscreen to activate certain apps, raising the phone to make a call once you’ve selected a recipient or the ability to tilt to zoom in on images. It’s all selectable so you can add as much or as few gestures as you want though it’s best to train your muscle memory by turning them on in small batches at a time.
In general, the phone is easy to get about especially if you’ve had prior experience with iOS and the inclusion of additional gesture controls makes getting about faster for more practiced users. The phone did everything asked of it without any significant hiccups. Browsers, texts, videos and the like loaded swiftly though it faltered somewhat loading resource heavy games like Arena of Valor, Vainglory and the like. Viewing videos and gaming was a pleasure on the widescreen display though not all apps translate properly to a widescreen format with some letterboxing.
Audio quality on the sole mono speaker at the base was serviceable if unexceptional with enough volume to share your taste in music on the Tube to your immediate neighbours. Where it excels though is when you plug your earphones in and the built-in DAC helps give music that extra bit of aural oomph especially if you have higher quality tracks loaded.
The rear camera on the V7+ consists of a 16-MP sensor with an F/2.0 aperture along with phase detection autofocus and an LED flash. The front is where the money is at as it consists of a larger 24-MP sensor with autofocus and an F/2.0 aperture as well as a dedicated front-facing LED flash for selfies. Both front and rear cameras offer up to 1080P video capture.
The rear camera offers a number of alternative modes including one just to capture slides and paperwork, a video slo-mo mode, a time-lapse mode, an ultra HD mode that stacks snaps into a 64-MP image and the obligatory pro mode that allows you to tweak ISO, exposure, shutter speed and white balance at will. The phone also offers a selection of filters to tweak your shots. Shots taken on the rear 16-MP snapper are decent with good colours and detail especially in good lighting and if you have a steady hand.
The front selfie camera is an interesting affair indeed for narcissists as it allows you to modify how smooth your skin is as well as how white or rosy red your facial features are via a series of sliders. The clincher is that the phone is able to do this beautification live for video calls in real time on a number of social media apps including Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp too.
The phone also has a Portrait Bokeh mode that ensures your visage remains crisp and sharp while defocusing the background too though this only works for stills. Results with Portrait Bokeh mode however are pleasantly effective with the background effectively defocused though you’re not able to dial the depth of bokeh desired. Check out the shots taken on the rear camera at the bottom.
Shots from the front are pretty good with g though with some noise under low light conditions though they’re more than enough for sharing on social media. The beautification mode on the V7+ is on the whole pretty good though you’ll end up with very unrealistic selfies if you dial every beauty setting to maximum; judicious use is advised.
Battery Life, Price and Conclusion
The relatively power efficient Snapdragon 450 SoC helps with battery endurance though this is tempered by the large 5.99-inch display. With regular use and a few rounds of Clash Royale through the day along with texting, social media use and a few calls, it had more than enough juice to power through until sundown on the 3,225mAh battery. If an opportunity for a top-up presents itself, you can plonk in the bundled fast charger for a quick juicing. Assuming you’re not gaming and watching a ton of movies back to back, it has sufficient juice to last the day.
The Vivo V7+ is priced at a premium over comparable phones and while the Fullview display is a welcome novelty, it’s not unique unto the V7+ as a number of competing phones, several of which come at lower price points also sport similar or better screens. Others come with better hardware as well. What the V7+ does have going for it though is its undersung DAC Hi-Fi chip for better in-ear audio, generally smooth overall performance and its pleasantly competent front facing camera which offers results that put it in the upper echelon of selfie camphones. It’s not the most compelling proposition in the market but if you’re already a fan of Vivo’s devices and want a widescreen display along with a decent selfie cam and are willing to pay a premium for it, this phone is worth a gander.
What we liked Good build quality, widescreen display, DAC, good selfie camera
What we didn’t Significant premium price, underwhelming specs
We say If you’re already a fan of Vivo’s devices and want a widescreen display along with a decent selfie cam, this phone is worth a gander.
Display 5.99-inch IPS LCD, 1440 x 720 pixels, 269ppi
Processor Snapdragon 450
Memory 4GB RAM/ 64 GB microSD card
Camera 16-MP w/ F/2.0 and LED flash (rear) / 24-MP w/ F/2.0 and LED flash (front)
Size/Weight 155.9 x 75.8 x 7.7 mm / 160g
*Review unit courtesy of Vivo Malaysia