Vivo V5s review: Vivo V5 clone with more storage

Vivo V5s-01

Selfies, selfies everywhere, but is there a good phone to take it?

It’s not every day that you click a good picture of the landscape or surrounding beauty, but it is almost everyday that you do capture a selfie- the beauty of thyself. Cashing on the sky high love for self through images, smartphones now boast ‘selfie-centric’ features. One such phone adding to the crowded segment is the Vivo V5s from the popular V5 range that Vivo is equally obsessed with. Priced at Rs 18,990, I find out if it makes for a worthy purchase.

Design

Coming from Vivo’s existing V5 range, the V5s does not bring any incremental upgrade. You essentially get a unibody phone with a U-type antenna design that helps keep the rear panel neat. As has been the case with other Vivo phones, the V5s also boasts a slim form factor and quite an ergonomically designed overalls.

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The physical buttons for volume and power are on the right while the left features the SIM/ microSD card tray. The fingerprint sensor is embedded in the home button on the front panel; on the rear is the camera module with flash and the Vivo logo embossed neatly in the top half of the panel.

Talking about the 5.5-inch display; the narrow bezels and the 720x1280p resolution adds to the charm while the brightness adaptation works instinctively. However, if you look at the competition, there are smartphones which boast full HD resolution at a much lower price such as the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 and Lenovo K6 Power.

Nonetheless, the touch response on the Vivo V5s is good. During the test period, I streamed series of web shows during commute and the experience was quite good in terms of display quality. Video streaming now raises questions on the battery capabilities but more on that in the paragraphs to follow. As for the fingerprint sensor, you can save up to five different impressions. I found the registration process a little slow, but later on unlocking the device was lag free.

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Performance

Vivo V5s is powered by a 64-bit octa-core MediaTek MT6750 SoC paired with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage.To add onto the numbers, the phone achieves a score of 42,053 on AnTuTu.

It is to be noted that these scores may or may not truly justify how the phone performs in real time because every individual’s using pattern and style varies. So one day you would watch more of Facebook videos, the other day you might just keep it basic with regular calls or texts.

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As for the Vivo V5s, the configuration did a decent job for me when it came to multitasking or streaming HD quality videos over the internet. During the time of review, there were rarely any instances of lag or app freezing. It had been quite a smooth experience using the smartphone for calling, using social media, or watching movies. However, watching a whole series did suck out the battery faster than expected. To quantify, after three episodes of 20 minutes each, the battery reduced by 10 percent. Now there are other factors which possibly hampered the battery efficiency such as spotty internet, constant reloading/ rebuffering of the videos, and of course the change in video resolution. Given that Vivo V5s is aimed at lifestyle users, the 3,000mAh battery survived decently during light to average use on any given day.

It is worth mentioning that the Vivo V5s is a variant of the Vivo V5 only in terms of certain minute tweaks including onboard storage. The V5 featured only 32GB of storage which is doubled in the V5s, which also makes us question the existence of the latter device. So the performance is equivalent to that of the V5. You can read more about the performance of the Vivo V5 here.

The Vivo V5s runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow-based FunTouch UI 3.0. Now, being used to iOS, the custom Android skin wasn’t a tough adaptation, thanks to the similarities. Many might contest the lack of originality here, but I personally like to call it ‘iOS-like experience at the cost of Android’. There are some bundled apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook, and Amazon, which I found useful so I did not uninstall it.

Camera

USP of the Vivo V5s is its selfie enhancing camera on the front. It features a 20-megapixel front camera with Moonlight flash. There are a dozen filters, HDR mode, Beauty Mode, to help you capture the best selfie. Now, there are a couple of observations to be made here, if you do not believe in the slightly over-the-top buffing feature in the Beauty Mode, you can choose Take Photo mode and capture selfies in its naturalness. However, if you absolutely love taking selfies and want to look at options which give outstanding results then Vivo V5s is one of the best bets.

Coming to the front flash; while it does make your selfies appear brighter in low light situations, you need to keep your hands really stable to capture a clear image. I don’t see it to be much of a help if you are at a dance party and want to capture selfies in low light, unless you are a pro when it comes to keeping the hands stable, all the while keeping the pout in place.

One of the other interesting features is that the Vivo V5s comes with a Group Selfie mode. This basically is like a panorama mode but for selfies. By keeping the person in the middle as the centre of the frame you can move the phone sideways to get a group selfie. The aim is to avoid those usual groupfies or group selfies, where only the one on the extreme corners is capturing. Overall, the selfie enhancing abilities of the Vivo V5s did wake up the selfie bug hidden in me.

Here are some (also awkward) front camera samples of the Vivo V5s.

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V5s-sample-08 V5s-sample-09

Left: Without buffing effect / Right: With buffing effect

The 13-megapixel rear camera with flash and PDAF support does its job equally well. Being obsessed with sunsets, I captured some really true-to-life evening colors. Although in bright daylight, the colors reproduced were slightly on the faded side, those captured indoors in well lit conditions were fine in terms of colors and details. I would like to point out that the images captured in the dark, even with the help of the flash, turned out a little grainy.

The filters and modes available for the front camera also support the rear camera, including the Face Beauty mode. So you not only click enhanced selfies, but also enhanced portraits of others.

Here are some (experimental) samples of the rear camera.

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V5s-sample-05 V5s-sample-01 V5s-sample V5s-sample-07

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Verdict

Do you love taking selfies? Do you have Rs 18,990 on you? Are you looking at something which bundles decent performance with a stress on camera? Vivo V5s makes the cut in that case. But in my opinion, the V5s is nothing but an unnecessary attempt by the company at crowding the segment.  In January, Vivo launched the Vivo V5 Plus. This was soon after the launch of Vivo V5 in late last year. And now, in less than six months, the V5s with exact specifications as the V5s except for the 64GB of onboard storage has been launched. Given that both of these smartphones support microSD card (via hybrid slot), it really does not make a difference. Now, one may argue that the design language has changed in the newer model. If the ‘U-Type antenna’ is a design change, then yes, it has, but does it really mean much to the consumers while making the purchase decision? I doubt. ALSO READ: Vivo V5 to Gionee A1: Top 5 selfie-centric smartphones in India, priced under Rs 20,000

In the sub-Rs 20,000 segment, there are plenty of smartphones, which also are selfie-centric. These include the Gionee A1 (4,010mAh battery), OPPO F1s (priced lesser at Rs 17,990), and the Lenovo Z2 Plus (one of the affordable smartphones running Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 SoC).

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