Vivo emerged to become a known Chinese brand all over the world. With a share of 14 percent globally, it is the fifth largest smartphone maker in the world. The company pushed its nearest competitors Xiaomi and Lenovo to get the position. In India too, Vivo is constantly trying to make its presence felt in India since the past two years. It invested hugely in the Indian smartphone market and opened its physical stores even in the tier 2 cities. Many of you would have had enough of Vivo V3's promotion during the IPL this year. The device was launched at Rs. 17,980, in April.
I have been using the Vivo V3 for a few weeks, and here is what I think about the device. Oh, and this is the first Vivo device that I've reviewed and 'surprised' is the word that I would like use to define my experience.
Design and Display
The Vivo V3 is a finely built smartphone featuring a sleek metal body with curvy edges on the sides. The front panel of the device has 2.5D glass, which gives it a rather premium feel. Its back panel is made up of aluminum alloy with a rosy gold shade to it. The back panel is where you will find the fingerprint scanner with camera lens situated on the top left corner. On the right side of the device, you have the volume rocker and power button. On the opposite side, you have the dual-SIM card slot tray, which looks like a Hybrid SIM slot but supports nano and micro SIM card with a separate cut out for microSD at the top edge of the plate.
I am quite impressed with the display quality of the Vivo V3. It did not disappoint me even in the sunny surroundings. The brightness level automatically adjusts when switching between indoor and outdoor. The color reproduction is also excellent when playing games and watching videos on the device. The 5-inch display size is not at all a letdown, but a wish granted for people with small hands (including me). It is perfect for single-hand operations. The fingerprint sensor is very responsive and unlocks the device in just 0.1 seconds. In comparison with the LeEco Le 2, V3's fingerprint scanner unlocks faster. Thankfully, the Vivo V3 comes with a transparent plastic cover inside the box. Otherwise, it would have been one hell of a falling affair.
The screen size of the Vivo V3 is a wish come true for people with small hands (including me). I could easily use the device with one hand without any need to use my second hand for typing. However, the screen attracts a lot of fingerprints, due to which, I had to keep a tissue handy during my daily usage.
Hardware and Software
Under the hood, the Vivo V3 is powered by a Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 616 octa-core chipset clubbed with 3GB of RAM and Adreno 405 GPU. This combination not only looks cool on paper but also performs smoothly. I did not face any issue when performing multi-tasking on the device except when I paired it with a Bluetooth speaker. A software glitch maybe, but volume function used to crash or stop working whenever I paired the device with my Bluetooth speaker. For an unbiased approach on the issue, I paired it with two more speakers, but the problem remained the same for volume functionality. Regarding gaming, the device did manage to deliver nice performance, but the back panel heated up a bit. In terms of storage, the V3 comes with an internal storage of 32GB (22GB available for users), which can further expand up to 128GB via microSD card.
Coming on to the software, Vivo’s FunTouch UI is a clear rip-off of Apple's iOS. For the ones who have used an Apple device before, you can't help but feel surprised by the stark resemblance of both the UIs. The settings menu is like a mirror copy of iOS and so are the other default pages. The FunTouch UI did a good job, though, and it gave an answer to my question,"How would iOS interface look on an Android?" Well, Vivo V3 is exactly how iOS would look on an Android.
Android users would feel a bit lost when searching for Wi-Fi and other notification menu options on the Vivo V3. On this device, the notification bar only displays messages, alerts, and e-mails. For quick services such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, a dedicated menu opens when you slide your finger in the top direction.
Camera and Hi-Fi Audio
The camera of the Vivo V3 does a fine job. There is nothing exceptional involved here, but yeah, it manages to deliver satisfactory performance. There is a 13-megapixel primary camera and an 8-megapixel selfie camera onboard. Even the camera UI looks like a straight lift from iOS. The rear camera on the Vivo V3 features an LED flash, PDAF, and 1080p video recording, along with a variety of modes such as Panorama, watermark and professional, Beauty, HDR, and Night mode.
For a device priced around 17k, one expects an excellent camera performance, but Vivo V3's camera fails to add a wow factor to its output. Some of the outdoor images looked good (thanks to natural light), but many of the pictures came out okayish. The front camera also delivers a satisfactory performance. Check out the camera samples above.
The Vivo V3 comes integrated with a Hi-Fi audio chip. The sound output on the speaker is fine even in noisy surroundings, but there is no bass to the sound, and it comes out as okayish. On the earphones, the sound output is excellent when used in a moderate volume, but when the user sets the volume to maximum, that's when the audio loses the Hi-Fi clarity. I would suggest the V3 users not to listen to songs on highest or near highest volume level.
A 2,550mAh battery backs the Vivo V3, which works wells for one day on a single (full) charge. I used the smartphone thoroughly with Facebook, Slack, WhatsApp running continuously in the background. Even during the navigation hours, the battery did not disappoint me. Other usage involved running two e-mails accounts simultaneously. Instead of fast charging, Vivo integrated the V3 with a dual-engine charging technology, which is Vivo's in-house version of fast charging.
Other connectivity options such as Wi-Fi, 4G LTE, 3G worked well on the V3. The Bluetooth option does pose as a game spoiler when connected to Bluetooth speakers. This issue might get a fix with a software update.
Vivo V3 is an excellent device, and I was surprised to see how good a Vivo device could function. However, its pricing is the only factor that bugs me. Give it a price tag of 12-13K and I would vote for it as a topper in the segment. Despite all the features and functions, the pricing of Rs 17,980 does not seem agreeable to me. Especially when Vivo has got competitors (LeEco Le 2, Redmi Note 3, and Lenovo Zuk Z1) priced much lower than it. At the pricing of 17k, Vivo has got to compete with the Vibe X3, which offers better specs at the same price.
I liked the Vivo V3, but the pricing fails to fit the package.