vivo V1 first impressions: loaded, but steeply priced

“We take a closer look at vivo’s mid-budget offering, the V1”

vivo, which has just turned seven month old since its inception in the subcontinent, is now stepping up its game. While it already has quite a few notable devices across price segments, it has recently launched an all-new series dubbed V, made specifically keeping Indian users in mind. The range has debuted with the V1 and its bigger brother, the V1 Max. The former is already available to buy, while the latter will go on sale next month.

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At the launch event of vivo’s latest flagship, the X5Pro (first impressions), we were also able to get our hands on the V1 and here’s how we’ll describe our initial impressions.

The vivo V1 shares its design aesthetics with previous offerings from the brand, such as the X3s (first impressions) and X5Max (first impressions). There’s a familiar placement of elements at the front along with rounded corners. Towards the edges and rear, you’ll find a dual-tone finish of silver and white. The finish not only adds to the looks of the smartphone, but also makes it sturdy since it’s constructed from a metallic panel.

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The fascia is dominated by the display, which is accompanied by an earpiece, a front-facing snapper and a few sensors above and a row of hardware keys for navigation below. The keys for increasing or decreasing the volume as well the power switch can be found on the right, while the left spine features an ejectable slot for a pair of SIM cards (supports one micro-SIM and nano-SIM). With a slim waist measuring 6.8mm, the vivo V1 is quite lean and nestles in the hand well. Even with the use of metal, the phone is lightweight and tips the scales at 145g.

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Similar to the X5Pro, the vivo V1 is a unibody device, but it also has an additional slot for inserting a microSD card. This is available on the top along with the 3.5mm audio port. The base of the handset sports a micro-USB port and the primary microphone.

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The back of the V1 features a matte finish, and comes with the primary camera module, which juts out slightly along with an LED flash. A speaker mesh is also available towards the bottom. All these elements are placed on the top panel, making sure the uniformity of the metallic panel remains isn’t affected. 

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The 5-inch display on the vivo V1 is a 720p affair and even with a pixel density of 294 pixels-per-inch, it offers decent sharpness. The colours are also reproduced well, although it was quite reflective due to the lighting at the venue.

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Inside the bonnet, the vivo V1 comes powered by Qualcomm’s popular mid-budget processor, the Snapdragon 410. It’s compatible with 64-bit architecture and offers four Cortex-A53 cores tuned at 1.2GHz. 2GB of RAM takes care of the multitasking aspect. While we weren’t able to test out the device thoroughly to comment on its performance, we didn’t come across any lags during our brief time with it. Navigating between screens or opening and closing of apps was a smooth affair.

The device offers 16GB of storage, out of which around 9.3GB is available to use. You can top up the storage further with the use of a microSD card of up to 32GB.

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For photography, the vivo V1 gets a 13-megapixel shooter at the back with an LED flash. At the front, it has a 5MP snapper. There are a lot of modes and options in the camera app. One interesting feature that caught our attention while using the front camera is that the phone intelligently detects the user’s gender while taking a selfie and thus applies face beautification accordingly.

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Software wise, the vivo V1 runs Android Lollipop, which is layered with the brand’s custom skin called FunTouch OS v2.1. The UI is loaded to the brim with various customisations and interface tweaks along with some interesting features. While the device might run the latest version of Android, it doesn’t gel well with the Material Design language. The notification panel doesn’t give way to quick toggles in the handset, as they are accessible via swiping up from the bottom. The quick settings bar also doubles up as multitasking menu.

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The vivo V1 also offers the ability to change the wallpaper, lock screen and the overall look with the Themes app. There’s also support for various gestures and one-hand mode, in case you want to use the phone single-handedly.

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A 2,300mAh Li-Po battery juices up the vivo V1. The smartphone offers support for 4G networks along with standard set of connectivity options such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and GPS.

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The vivo V1 could be an option for those who’re looking for a smartphone that’s also future-proof, thanks to its support for 64-bit instruction set and 4G compatibility. However, similar to most vivo offerings, the V1 seems to be priced exorbitantly at Rs 17,980. The Samsung Galaxy J5 (first impressions) offers similar specs, and is priced cheaper at Rs 11,999 despite coming from an established brand, and this doesn’t bode too well for the V1. Still, we’ll reserve our comments till the time we can review vivo’s new offering properly.  

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