With immense competition in the budget segment, smartphone makers are now targeting the mid-range segment. Vivo is following a similar strategy with its Vivo V15-lineup. For those who’re unaware, the Chinese company recently launched two new devices called Vivo V15 and Vivo V15 Pro.
As expected, the Pro variant received more attention leaving the regular variant a bit neglected. Well, we decided to go through the Vivo V15 smartphone to see if it is really a bang for your buck. On paper, the smartphone looks pretty impressive but the reality can sometimes be different. That’s why we decided to create a comprehensive review of Vivo V15.
Price in India, Variants, Availability
Vivo V15 comes in a single storage variant featuring 6GB of RAM and 64GB of internal memory. The device is available in three different color options namely Aqua Blue, Frozen Black and Glamour Red. You can buy the smartphone from Amazon India for a price tag of INR 19,990.
At the time of writing this review, there are few offers which buyers can make use of. Amazon is offering No Cost EMI option as well as additional exchange offers on the device.
Vivo V15 comes packed in a white color box having a device’s picture on the front and the logo branding at the top-front position. Opening the lid, the first thing you’ll see is a rectangular section consisting of a transparent back case, SIM ejector tool and manuals.
Underneath it, you should see the device itself is covered in protective layer. Keeping that aside for a while, there is an 18W fast charger, Micro-USB cable and a pair of earphones.
Here is a quick overview of what you’ll be getting inside the box:
- Vivo V15
- 18W fast charger
- Micro-USB cable
- Transparent back case
- SIM ejector pin
- Manuals and documentations
Specs at a glance
Before we jump right into our detailed review, let’s take a look at the key specifications first.
- Display: 6.53-inch IPS LCD panel, 1080×2340 pixels, 395ppi
- Processor: MediaTek Helio P70, 12nm
- GPU: Mali-G72 MP3
- RAM & ROM: 6GB & 64GB
- Rear cameras: 24MP+8MP+5MP
- Selfie camera: 32MP motorized pop up mechanism, f/2.0
- Battery: 4000mAh capacity, 18W fast charging
- Software: Android 9.0 Pie, ColorOS 6
- Weight: 189.5g
- Dimensions: 161.2×75.9×8.5mm
With key specs cleared out of the way, let’s look at the very first aspect of the review.
Design and Build Quality
Vivo and Oppo are the two smartphone brands which tends to use polycarbonate material instead of the glass even at this price. Surprisingly, the device still looks attractive and premium. Holding the device for the first time, the very first thing that popped in my mind is “man! I’ll have to stretch my fingers”. Yep! Vivo V15 is a large device with a dimension of 161.2×75.9×8.5mm and it weighs 189.5g. If you’re like me who prefers one-handed usage, then you’ll be left disappointed.
I like the fact that the device comes in three beautiful color options and we have the Glamour Red with us. This particular color variant looks impressive and mesmerizing thanks to the colour-shift and gradient properties. When you tilt the phone, you’ll see the color shift between magenta and deep maroon. The gradient finish extends entirely covering the entire frame making it look more premium and beautiful.
At the back, there is a triple camera module accompanied by an LED flash. The camera bump on this device is pretty huge and it is very annoying for me. The fingerprint sensor is also present at the back which is at the convenient position. Apart from these and logo branding, there is nothing much at the back of the device. Thanks to the curved edges, the device feels comfortable in the hand.
The front is dominated by a big IPS LCD panel giving a nearly all-screen experience. Except the chin, the bezels are pretty much non-existent. For the selfie camera, the brand decided to use a motorized pop-up mechanism which opens quickly within a second.
Moving to the buttons, you’ll find the power button and volume rockers on the right side. There is a smart button located on the left position and can be used to fire up Google Assistant quickly. You can customize the button and preset a dedicated app to open up by pressing or double pressing the key. At the bottom, you’ll find the Micro-USB port, 3.5mm headphone jack and a speaker grille. The non-hybrid SIM card tray is located at the top.
Overall, Vivo V15 looks very premium and attractive thanks to gradient scheme at the back. Even though it is made up of plastic, the phone feels sturdy and solid. Although at this price, a glass back would have been a nice option. To prevent scratches, you might want to use the bundled transparent back case. The only problem is the lack of glass back and apart from that, the device performs very well in the design department.
Vivo V15 is equipped with a big 6.536.53-inch IPS LCD display with no notch whatsoever. The device offers a near all-screen experience with negligible bezels on the top and side while the chin is relatively thick. The smartphone features an impressive screen-to-body-ratio of 90.95. For an added protection, the display has a layer of Corning Gorilla Glass 5 on top.
With Full HD+ resolution having 1080×2340 pixels, the colors are quite crisp, bright and vibrant on this device. Watching movies on this device is a delightful experience thanks to all-screen display design. Even the brightness levels are on point and you will not struggle under direct sunlight.
Viewing angles are pretty excellent on this device and you will rarely see any color shift. Sadly, the device lacks Widevine L1 support meaning you will only be able to stream content in 480p on Netflix and Amazon. At this price tag, the lack of this certification is very disappointing.
Overall, the entire display experience is on point and it definitely meets our expectations. Apart from these, there are plenty of display options that you can use to customize your display experience.
Vivo V15 is powered by a MediaTek Helio P70 chipset coupled with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. The Helio P70 SoC is based on the 12nm manufacturing process and consists of eight cores clocked at up to 2.1Ghz. For graphics, the device makes use of Mali-G72 MP3 GPU.
When it comes to daily usage, the Helio P70 handles tasks like a champion. You will notice next to negligible lags or stutters during your usage. Of course, it is not the powerful chipset at this price but is still not the weakest one out there. The apps launched pretty quickly with no lag in UI animations whatsoever. Witb 6GB of RAM at disposal, app stays in memory for a longer period of time. The RAM management is pretty impressive on this device.
I am a heavy multitasker who switches between apps a lot. Surprisingly, the processor was able to handle all my demands with perfection. Although the productivity experience is pretty impressive, the gaming performance is not that good. We tried playing Pubg Mobile on this device which by the way runs on medium settings by default. At medium settings, you can play the game with no lags or render issues. Switching up the graphics a bit, you will see occasional frame drops.
If you’re a casual gamer, then the Helio P70 can definitely handle your workload. For a person who’s looking for high quality gaming experience, you should look elsewhere. Coming to the storage, 64GB of onboard memory should be enough for an average user. If not, you can always use the MicroSD slot to expand storage to up to 256GB.
Vivo V15 runs on the latest version of Android operating system i.e. Android 9.0 Pie based on the Funtouch 9 custom skin. When it comes to software, this custom skin is not the best one out there. It still comes with the basic drop-down notification center and homescreen setups.
There are plenty of bootloader apps that are preinstalled on the phone. Out of which, you can get rid of few apps to free up some space. It seems like Vivo has no idea what minimal and clean experience is all about. With the latest 9 version, you also get night mode which is pretty decent and the blacks are quite deep. I am not a big fan of rounded icons of this UI and to be honest, it feels much more cartoonish.
There are two gaming-centric features in the software called GameCube and Game Assistant. GameCube seems like a gimmick since we noticed no major improvements in the gameplay. The second app free up RAM memory and manage background apps to give you more resources for better gameplay.
Vivo V15 features a triple camera module at the back accompanied by an LED flash. The setup comprises of a 24MP primary sensor (f/1.8), an 8MP ultrawide lens (f/2.2) and 5MP depth sensor (f/2.4). The camera app is very straightforward and easy to use.
The UI looks very much similar to the one present in the Pro variant. For selfies, there is a 32MP front snapper housed inside the pop-up mechanism.
The primary sensor manages to exceed our expectations. The shots taken from the primary lens turns out to be very well with good level of details, decent saturation and crisp colours. Switching between lens is also very easy. When it comes to macros, Vivo V15 throws the competition right out of the water. Subjects were captured with good level of details and rich colors. We did notice a few cases of colour bleeding while shooting macros. The depth sensor does a pretty decent job and the portrait shots turns out to be very well.
The device struggles a lot in low-light conditions. There is no night mode feature in the camera app which is very disappointing. In low-light conditions, we noticed lots of grains, noise and few level of details in the photos. You can enable HDR for brighter pics but it ends up softening details.
Unlike rear cameras, the front snapper clicks impressive shots with high level of detail, crisp colors and good sharpness. There are tons of other features such as AI beauty mode. I personally don’t like beauty mode that much since it tends to soften the selfies.
The device supports up to 1080p video recording at 30 frame rates. Even at this price, the brand didn’t offer 60fps or 4K videos at 30fps which is a little disappointing. There is no kind of stabilization which results in shaky videos. You can also record slow-mo videos but that is capped at 720p 30fps.
Under the hood, Vivo V15 is backed by a 4,000mAh battery packed inside. It also supports 18W fast charging. Even for the power user, the device will last throughout the day. Our daily usage includes WiFi and Bluetooth always on, using productivity apps, social media, photo sessions, few hours of gaming and constant music playback.
You can make use of the bundled 18W fast charger that can charge your battery from zero to 40% in just 30 minutes. The phone takes around 1 hour and 40 minutes to completely charge.
Audio, Biometrics, Connectivity
For audio, the device has a speaker at the bottom which has a relatively loud output. At max volume levels, we didn’t notice any kind of sound distortion which is a good thing. You can also use the 3.5-mm headphone jack which a decent output too. The bundled earphones are not of high quality but it can still deliver above average experience. We found no issue with the earpiece, microphone and networks during our usage.
Vivo V15 features a fingerprint sensor at the back which, as mentioned earlier, is located at a convenient position. It is very quick, reliable and accurate. Sadly, there is no Face Unlock on this device for some unknown reasons.
Coming to the connectivity, the smartphone comes with all the standard features. These includes dual-band WiFi, Bluetooth 4.2 with A2DP and LE, GPS, FM Radio and Micro 2.0 port for charging. Even at this price, there is no NFC and the latest USB Type-C port.
Vivo V15 faces intense competition from the competitors. Personally, we liked the impressive design, premium build, long-lasting battery and solid front camera. On the other hand, the device lacks in gaming performance, USB Type-C, Widevine L1 and much more.
At this price tag, Vivo V15 is definitely not a value for money option out there. Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 Pro offers powerful SoC, better low-light camera performance and larger battery at a much cheaper price. Even the Realme 3 which is a budget device features the exact same processor. The V15 also faces competition from Galaxy A50 which offers Super AMOLED panel, minimal UI, triple camera and in-display fingerprint sensor.
In conclusion, Vivo V15 was a great attempt from the smartphone maker to win the hearts of consumers but the lack of proper pricing drives the story in another direction. We would recommend exploring other value for money options and not fall for pop-up mechanism gimmick.
Impressive build and design
Long-lasting battery life
Impressive selfie camera
Poor low-light cameras
Lack of Widevine L1 and USB Type-C
UI needs improvement