After the release of two high-end, exotic smartphones from the NEX lineup, vivo is ready to bring the periscope selfie camera to the mid-ranage segment and the V15 Pro is the first one to benefit from it. The smartphone looks and feels like a flagship, offering rare features like full-screen display, pop-up selfie cam and under-display fingerprint reader.
Additionally, the V15 Pro’s photography skills seem mightily impressive. The rear triple-camera setup is highlighted by the brand new 48MP 1/2″ sensor, while the elevating module on the front holds a 32MP selfie camera.
And that’s not all. The vivo V15 Pro is also the first handset to take advantage of the Snapdragon 675 chipset. We are curious to see where it slots as seeing how the Snapdragon 670 was already pretty close to the 710, the 675 might give the more premium chip a run for its money.
The unit we received came with the usual user manuals in the box, a compatible fast charger and transparent plastic case with silicone side bumpers. And don’t worry, the case is designed to play nice with the periscope.
The vivo V15 Pro is definitely a looker with its sweet blue gradient color immediately making an impression. It also has a subtle stripes pattern giving it a distinct look.
The front is even cooler with the nearly bezel-less front panel as impressive as any flagship’s. Since the front-facing camera pops up on a motorized slider, it eliminates the need of a notch. In fact, the upper bezel is so thin, it barely has enough space to incorporate the earpiece so vivo put the ambient and proximity sensors under the display in the upper-left corner.
In fact the only bezel that’s noticeable is the bottom one and vivo still did a pretty good job here. The side frame is just 1.75mm while the top one is merely 2.22mm. With this, vivo claims to have achieved an impressive 91.64% screen-to-body ratio.
Unfortunately, the company doesn’t specify the type of protection on the display so we assume there’s no Gorilla Glass here. The back and the frame are made from plastic with glossy finish.
We do understand that vivo wanted to turn the rear camera setup into somewhat of an accent but the slightly protruding blocky piece won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. Still, considering the sensors used by both the primary camera and the slider selfie snapper we can certainly live with some bulging.
The sides of the vivo V15 Pro are rather interesting. First, there’s a dedicated button on the left to summon the voice assistant and right above it, is the second tray for the microSD card. Yep, that means no hybrid SIM slot – you can stick a memory card and two SIM cards at the same time.
The whole body feels well-designed and balanced. Despite the huge 6.39-inch panel, the phone is reasonably comfortable to handle with the non-existent bezels meaning the screen fits in a body much more compact than you’d expect. The rounded back panel does contribute to the overall grip, although the glossy finish takes some of it away.
And even though vivo claims that the front panel uses a 2.5D glass, the edges around it are actually in two steps so they are not perfectly smooth. It’s not unpleasant, but it doesn’t earn any bonus points either.
To get a better idea of the design here’s a 360-degree view of the V15 Pro.
The vivo V15 Pro brings plenty of innovation to the mid-range – it’s the first to bring periscope-like selfie camera after the NEX S and the first commercially available handset with a Snapdragon 675 chipset. Plus it’s among the few at this price point to have an in-display fingerprint reader and an ultra-wide camera.
Quick note – the in-display fingerprint is Goodix’s 5th generation sensor. Goodix is also the supplier for Oppo R17 Pro and OnePlus 6T’s scanners. The reader does well in terms of speed but it’s accuracy leaves something to be desired. Every few attempts, it would fail to recognize a finger, which is a minor nuisance but not quite a deal-breaker. Speed-wise, the OnePlus 6T still comes on top so perhaps due to its faster chipset.
As far as memory goes, our unit came with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage – plenty generous for a mid-ranger already. There’s even a 8GB/128GB version if that’s not enough for you.
And as for the display, it’s got the deep blacks and excellent contrast you’d expect from a decent OLED panel and the FullHD+ resolution is certainly adequate. Brightness could have been a bit higher perhaps, but still this is certainly one of the better screens around these parts of the market.
Battery capacity isn’t overlooked either. The unit inside is rated at 3,700 mAh and should easily be able to last you a full day even if you are a heavy user. Our full set of testing will give you a better idea of how it performs, but we were already able to test the so-called Dual-Engine fast charging. The 18W charger included in the package take a completely flat battery to 38% in 30 minutes, which is a fine achievement for a mid-ranger. Oppo’s VOOC can outdo that vivo, but most other rivals have to wait much longer.
Arguably the most impressive bits about the vivo V15 Pro are its cameras. The back holds a huge 1/2″ 48MP sensor with Quad Bayer filter, an 8MP ultra-wide angle lens and a 5MP depth sensor. Quad Bayer means that the main snapper is essentially a 12MP large sensor camera with real-time HDR and great low-light performance.
The 32MP selfie camera works in much the same way only it’s sensor is somewhat smaller than the main one. Still for a selfie snapper that’s easily one of the largest sensors out there – among mid-rangers and flagships alike.
The vivo V15 Pro runs Android 9.0 Pie out of the box with vivo’s own Funtouch OS 9.0 on top. Customizations run deep, which might not appeal to everyone but Funtouch also offers tons of features that are hard to overlook.
If you are familiar with Funtouch OS, you won’t be surprised by this iteration either. There are no shortcuts or toggles alongside the notifications and instead, you have to slide from the bottom to open up the quick toggles. Swiping from the top, will bring out your recent notifications. Here are a couple of screenshots from the settings menu and some of the basics.
As every manufacturer with custom skin these days, the vivo also has its own take on the gesture-based navigation system.
Vivo’s gestures all involve swiping from the bottom edge of the screen. Swiping from the center acts as a home button, swipe and hold brings out the recent apps menu and swipe from the bottom-left is back. However, swiping from the bottom-right takes out the quick toggles menu. They may seem simple enough but with every OEM doing making a version of their own, it starts to get confusing.
The vivo V15 Pro is the first smartphone with Qualcomm’s new mid-range powerhouse chipset – the Snapdragon 675. The chip holds eight of the newly designed Kryo 460 Silver and Gold CPU cores and is made on the so called 11nm process – essentially a mix of 14nm and 10nm parts.
The two Kryo 460 Gold cores are ARM Cortex-A76 derivatives and tick at 2.0 GHz while the six Kryo 460 Silver cores are based on the Cortex-A55 and run at 1.7 GHz. An Adreno 612 will do the heavy lifting.
We couldn’t resist and ran some of the benchmarks to see how it stacks against the older Snapdragon 600-series and the higher-end Snapdragons as well. We threw in a Kirin 710 SoC into the mix to see how it fares against the competition too.