Having already used the Vivo V9 for almost a week, I am surprised by what I have discovered. With a screen that is both pretty and large, I can see why the bezel-less display is all the rage now. Let me share with you my findings.
HUMBLE SPECS HUMBLE PRICE
The V9 comes with a price tag that is under the budget phone category. At the price point of $409 from retailers, you might expect that the specs to be mid-range. The phone comes with :
- Pearl Black or Gold variant
- 6.3-inch bezels screen (90% screen to body ratio, with a camera notch, a chin that houses the Micro USB port/Microphone/Speakers/3.5mm earphone jack)
- Nice but glossy unibody aluminium build. (Fingerprint magnet )
- Screen Resolution: 1080 X 2280 with 400 ppi with 9:19 aspect ratio
- 2 Back 16 MP back-facing cameras to create a bokeh effect. 24 MP front facing camera
- Feather-light weight at 150 grams
- Uses Qualcomm Snapdragon 626 with Vivo Fun Touch OS running above Android Oreo 8.1
- Features dual sim card tray system (Micro SD card slot alternative
- 4 GB of Ram
- 64 GB storage
- Back fingerprint reader
- Non-removable Lithium-Ion 3260 mah battery
QUITE THE FUN TO TOUCH, VIVO FUN TOUCH OS
- Notification tab pull-down control via the fingerprint reader
- 9:19 Aspect ratio on both screen and camera
- Shake to turn on the flashlight
- Manual split screen
- Picture in Picture mode (PIP)
WHAT I LIKE
1) Look & Feel
Although the specs are not premium, holding the phone feels like it is. The slim profile of the phone makes it super light. Weighing just 150 grams, I have difficulty telling if the phone is in my pocket even when it is inside. It has an uncanny resemblance to iPhone when it is on standby
2) The Cost
The price point on the Vivo V9 won't burn a hole in your pocket. For a sub $500 phone, I can think of a few budget range phones from Oppo, Huawei and Xiaomi to compare with. Now we have another consideration for anyone who wants to get an affordable phone with decent specs.
For Telcos, only Starhub carries the phone along with a line contract. It starts at $249 for the phone with a recurring $30.00/month on Lite Plan all the way to $0.00 at $238/month on XL Plan. You might want to go down to a Starhub outlet and get a feel of the phone yourself.
3) Battery LifeIn my battery test, I found out that the battery is quite impressive. There was one day when I turned on 4G data and used the phone without connecting to my office or house WIFI. My typical usage (Facebook, youtube, Instagram, Web browsing) between 7.30 am to 9.00 pm left me with 46 percent battery life left. Thinking it was some glitch, I tried it again the next day ending with the same result. It could be due to the somewhat moderate processing speed of the Snapdragon 626. Less processing speed, lesser battery usage.
4) The Gorgeous ScreenEver since iPhone X shook the world with the introduction of the notch, handphone manufacturers have been coming up with notches of their own too. Vivo took it a step further to shrink the notch that only house the single front-facing camera, the speaker and the flash unit. The remarkable thing about the engineering is that the notch is only about 2 cm wide and 0.5 cm tall.
I found myself aesthetically pleased with the screen. It is just a really nice screen to look at. I don't mean to stare, but somehow I can't help myself. The screen does not shy away under direct sunlight too. Certain high-end smartphones do, but the Vivo V9 somehow wants the sun to make it even prettier.
My only small complaint is that the screen should be able to play Youtube and Netflix videos on the 19:9 ratio. Somehow videos got shrunk to 16:9 and you can manually stretch the screen back to fill all the screen, but it got cropped out. I do hope their next patch can solve this.
WHAT I DON'T LIKE
1) The Underwhelming Camera
While the screen looks gorgeous, the camera will be the main feature that brings the phone down. On paper, it sounds impressive with a dual 16 mp back facing cameras. But after taking snaps of multiple subjects during the day and night. I can outrightly say that the images turned out washed out and the colours are not saturated as I would like it to be. The only saving grace is their front-facing beauty mode. The feature made me look perfect for the most part. But at certain times, it made me look plasticky.
2) The Control Centre
Similarly to IOS, Vivo included a swipe motion to access the control centre which houses the quick functions such as Wifi or Bluetooth shortcuts. If you swipe up from the bottom-up, you can access this feature. However, the swiping has to be precise. Your finger needs to be touching the edge of the bottom screen, or you will find yourself swiping up multiple times to hit the sweet spot. It is a small problem, but it frustrates me after a week.
The week went by without me having to want to stop using the V9. Before actually using a bezel-less screen phone, I was telling myself that I did not need all that screen, that I am all about the specs of the device, that I prefer substance over the pretty face. After the extended hands-on experience with the V9, I get why people are going gaga over bezel-less phones. They are just too pretty to ignore simply.
WHO IS THE VIVO V9 FOR?
1) Consumers who are Loyal Apple Fans
Apple fans who like the iPhone operating system but want to try out an Android variant might appreciate the familiarity of it all.
2) Consumers who want their Android phones to feel like an Iphone
The V9 looks and feels premium, similarly to the Iphone. If you are a consumer who can't decide on either an Android or IOS platform
3) Consumers who like to be in the Bezel-less phone game
It is without a doubt that the V9 has got a seriously good-looking screen and if you are into all things pretty, the V9 might be for you.
4) Consumers who are on a budget strain
At $409. it is affordable to bag home the V9. If you are alright with a mid-range specs phone that still offer some nifty features, it is a value for money.
Product Release: March 2018
Price: Now priced at $409
LINK TO VIVO V9 AT CHALLENGER
LINK TO VIVO V9 AT MOBY SHOP
LINK TO VIVO V9 AT STARHUB