The premium smartphone market in India is highly competitive. With scores of smartphones available in the less than Rs 40,000 category, it is not easy for users to pick the smartphone that best suits their budget and requirement. Given the amount of competition, smartphone makers are pulling every trick in the book in order to attract customers. Vivo is the latest manufacturer to bring something that no one has tried so far in the smartphone market – a colour changing back panel.
The Vivo V23 Pro comes as a direct competitor to the likes of OnePlus 9R, Realme GT Neo 2, Oppo Reno 6 Pro 5G, and the likes. The smartphone is priced at Rs 38,990 onwards for the base 8GB RAM + 128GB storage variant, while the 12GB RAM + 256GB storage variant is priced at Rs 43,990 in India. The smartphone does offer a lot of promising features apart from its colour changing back panel and dual front cameras. I have been using the Vivo V23 Pro since the past few weeks and in this article, I will tell you what I like about the smartphone and what I don’t, and finally, should you spend money on the Vivo V23 Pro or go for other similar options in the market. Let’s get into it.
The thing Vivo has focused the most on this smartphone is the design. Ofcourse, there is the colour changing AG Fluorite glass back panel that changes from golden to a shade of coral blue when exposed to sunlight or UV light. This is most definitely the most eye-grabbing feature of the smartphone and works pretty well, giving you two colour options to play around with. Of course, this won’t work if you have a case on, unless it is a transparent case. Apart from this, the Vivo V23 Pro is also super lightweight and weighs only 171 grams. Compared to my chunky OnePlus 7 Pro that I bought more than 2.5 years ago, this feels featherweight. The smartphone’s slim profile also makes it easier to hold and use.
What I don’t like here is the curved screen, which drops a bit too much from the sides and the notch that holds the two front cameras. Sure, it makes the smartphone look more premium, but it also invites a bunch of accidental touches. The camera module is also slightly big in terms of surface area, where the lenses only take up about 1/4th of the space. All in all, Vivo has given the design quite a lot of thought and it has paid off. The smartphone looks premium and feels super lightweight.
The display on the Vivo V23 Pro is a 6.56-inch FHD+ AMOLED panel with a 90Hz refresh rate. An AMOLED panel is longer lasting and more colour accurate than an LCD display, but the FHD+ resolution is not the best in class and this gets you only 90Hz, as compared to the 120Hz refresh rate on competing devices like the OnePlus 9R, Realme GT Neo 2, and the likes. While 90Hz is enough to make the experience smooth, it is still lower than 120Hz that other smartphones offer, and that is something many people will consider while spending close to Rs 40,000 on a smartphone. Vivo does not detail the touch response rate on the Vivo V23 Pro, but during my usage, it felt less responsive than the displays on the Realme GT Neo 2 and the OnePlus 9R. It is still a good display, and makes watching videos and playing games a pleasing experience, but falls quite behind competition in terms of both the resolution and refresh rate.
PERFORMANCE AND BATTERY
The Vivo V23 Pro uit we received was the 8GB RAM + 128GB storage variant. The smartphone is powered by MediaTek’s Dimensity 1200 chipset which is a competitor to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 chipset that powers smartphones like the Realme GT Neo 2 and the OnePlus 9R. In terms of multitasking and gaming, the Vivo V23 Pro 5G showed no issues. The smartphone has enough RAM to handle as many apps as you want at the same time and shows no signs of lag in split-screen view as well.
Gaming on the smartphone is also pretty smooth. It runs Battlegrounds Mobile India on a high frame rate at maxed out graphics and handles it smoothly without heating up. The Vivo V23 Pro performed well on all levels during my test, be it gaming or using multiple apps. Of course, 8GB RAM is plenty for any kind of smartphone and paired with a MediaTek Dimensity 1200 chipset, it only gives good results. App crashes or lags are not a thing, neither is heating up, even during hour-long gaming sessions, but that was all our testing was limited to. It is yet to be seen how the Vivo V23 Pro 5G performs while making Instagram Reels, since that is something that even high-end smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 and the OnePlus 9 Pro struggle with.
Battery on the smartphone is also quite impressive. It gave me over 10 hours of screen time on an average, which is brilliant, given that it is not the biggest battery unit. There is a 4,300mAh unit on the Vivo V23 Pro, and it lasts quite a bit. Now, this is due to the brilliant power management from the Chinese manufacturer, given that I used the smartphone on 90Hz refresh rate all the time at manual brightness settings. Another factor here is the AMOLED display’s ability to dim and turn off individual pixels also saves on power. The 44W fast charging is also pretty fast. While it doesn’t charge the smartphone at 44W at all times, as the company mentions, it still easily charges the phone to 100 percent within an hour. Good stuff.
Camera is also something that Vivo says has been a focus-point on the Vivo V23 Pro (it has “Professional Photography” embossed on the top of the frame). In real world conditions, the Vivo V23 Pro’s camera is good. It takes nice and detailed pictures in outdoor lighting which also look good when put on a larger screen. The photos are crisp and offer a good level of detail, but the colour accuracy is a little lacklustre. At times, the photos may also come across as slightly overexposed, but that is a very subjective thing and can not be judged depending on one person’s eye. Indoors as well, the images look good, as far as the light is adequate. In low light conditions, the camera takes a while to capture the image and the results are slightly hazy.
In portrait mode, the Vivo V23 Pro’s camera impressed me the most as it does a great job in focusing on the subject and blurring the background. Best part here is that the Vivo V23 Pro does not overdo blurring of the background or does not cut the edges too sharply. Does a good job in terms of keeping things subtle and does not make the use of AI evident.
The Vivo V23 Pro has a dual front camera setup with a 50-megapixel primary shooter and an 8-megapixel wide angle shooter. The results from the front camera are just above average according to me. Where the rear camera does a good job in hiding the AI interference, the front camera makes it quite evident. The wide-angle shooter does not give a good quality picture, and there are these unnecessary filters that beautify or “whiten” your face. We don’t need these in smartphones anymore, there are third-party apps if users want to beautify their photos beyond what the camera captures.
One useful feature on the front camera is the dual flash. You can set the light between various levels of warm and cool where two LED flashes on the top corners of the screen throw light on your face. It is a great feature which will be appreciated by many users. One thing, however, is that we are not able to use this front LED flash during video calls – a feature I hope Vivo brings in the future with software updates.
The Vivo V23 Pro is a well designed smartphone that comes with a very evident differentiating factor. The smartphone not only comes with a colour-changing design, it is also a solid performer with a good 90Hz AMOLED display. The Vivo V23 Pro offers some quirky features like dual front flash with adjustable profiles and has a decent rear camera. There may be better options in this price range but if you give importance to the “cool” factor and having something different than anyone else, the Vivo V23 Pro is the phone for you.