Vivo V15 unboxing and first impressions: Affordable looker

Vivo V15

Vivo Malaysia first announced the successor to its V11 series in Malaysia a couple of weeks ago – the pop-up selfie camera-totting V15 Pro and V15. V15 Pro was made available for sale first earlier at the start of the month and now the more accessible V15 will be heading to retail channels soon. I’ve gotten my hands on an early media review unit, so here’s my quick first impressions.

Let’s dive into the specs. The V15’s all-glass front features a 6.53-inch notchless display, protected by Gorilla Glass 5. Compared to its “Pro” sibling, the panel is a slightly more inferior LCD, as opposed to a Super AMOLED. Still, it’s plenty bright and sharp, pushing the same Full HD+ resolution.

You may be wondering, “What? No notch? How?” We’ll get to that.

It runs an octa-core 12nm MediaTek Helio P70 processor coupled with a generous 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. I’m glad Vivo didn’t skimp in the memory department. The MediaTek SoC is comparatively a weaker performer to the V15 Pro’s 11nm Snapdragon 675 but not by too much.

The dual-SIM device supports expandable storage via microSD.

Vivo V15Keeping the device juiced is a 4,000mAh battery that supports vivo’s proprietary Dual-Engine fast charging technology. Sadly, it charges via a microUSB port, but that’s not wholly unexpected considering it’s a mid-range device.

Now comes the interesting bit: Vivo’s “front elevating camera.” As seen on the vivo NEX and the Vivo V15 Pro, the front camera automatically pops-up from the chassis when called upon in selfie mode. It’s a slick mechanism, and still a joy to behold after wow-ing the world last year.

Vivo V15When not in use, the camera tucks back neatly into the chassis.

It’s not all form without function, of course. The selfie camera is substantial. I mean 32MP with an f/2.0 aperture lens. I wouldn’t complain.

And as expected, there’s a plethora of beautification features and AI-assisted enhancements including portrait lighting effects.

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The main camera system is a triple-camera setup consisting of a 24MP f/1.78 main sensor with Dual Pixel Focus and large 1.28 micron pixel size. It is complemented by an 8MP AI Super Wide-Angle camera and a third 5MP depth camera for those bokehlicious photos.

Vivo V15Unlike the V15 Pro, the V15 does not feature an in-display fingerprint scanner and instead integrates a more conventional rear-mounted scanner.

In the aesthetics department, I’d describe the V15 as a good looker – having a similar treatment to its Pro sibling, meaning stylish colour gradients and sleek 3D curves. It certainly does not look or feel cheap and the Glamour Red colourway is pretty chic.

What’s in the box:

  • Vivo V15 unit
  • 9V/2A charger
  • USB Type-A to microUSB charge cable
  • Wired headphones
  • Protective case
  • SIM ejector tool
  • Documentation

Pricing and availability

The official price has yet to be released but nonetheless you can pre-order and receive an exclusive gift box (worth MYR299) which includes an Octopus phone holder, a pair of Bluetooth headphones and six months screen protection.

Pre-order between 16 March to 22 March exclusively on the Vivo Online Store: https://www.vivostore.com.my.

The device officially hits retail channels from 23 March onwards.

Vivo V15First impressions

It’s nice to see the good stuff trickling down from flagship devices to more mass market efforts. In this case, vivo NEX’s trick elevating camera has found its way into the V15 Pro and V15. The V15 Pro also gets the in-display fingerprint sensor.

I found the front elevating camera working well with no issues. You can even change the camera pop-up sound – select between Sci-Fi (default), Machine and Rhythm.

The 32MP front camera is formidable. Considering there is no actual need for 32MP selfies, the camera pixel-bins to 8MP by default. Pixel-binning essentially helps capture more light, combing four pixels into one super pixel.

Selfies in well-lit environments offer balanced tones, if a little overexposed and heavy towards red hues. It doesn’t try to oversaturate and oversharpen images, which is a good thing. Common in smartphones nowadays (especially the China makes) is the excessive beautification. Thankfully, this can be turned off completely.

Switching to the triple rear cameras, based on initial impressions, focus is fast and camera shutter, instant. Again, tones are balanced and natural and I was especially impressed with portrait mode. Portrait Lighting works well too.

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Vivo V15For those brave enough, you can also try AI Body Shaping for creating a slimmer waistline, enhanced bustline, or even longer legs. Is there no honesty left in the world? Well…

If you can get over the fact that Funtouch OS (vivo’s mobile operating system) tries 200 percent to be as iOS-like as possible, performance is responsive. Some muscle memory readjustment is needed if you’re used to how a default Android control panel is called up (from bottom up), but it’s just a matter of getting used to.

I do like the design and build of the V15; it looks and feel more expensive than it is. The black/red gradient combination is chic and while I’m slightly bothered by the camera bump on the rear (the phone doesn’t sit flat on a table), it’s overall a pretty phone.

Vivo V15And oh, I love the bundled protective case, possibly the best-looking and best built bundled case bar none. It’s rock solid and even has a protective flap for the microUSB port.

I’m expecting the V15 to retail at around MYR1,100-1,200. I’m pretty confident vivo is pitting this against Huawei’s new nova 4e and possibly Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 7.

So far so good. More insight with a full review soon. Stay tuned.

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