While in recent years it has become easier and easier to buy Chinese phones from manufacturers such as Huawei and Xiaomi in Europe, the second largest smartphone group is still completely reluctant to expand into Europe. We are talking about BBK-Electronics, the parent company of Oppo, OnePlus, and Vivo. The Oppo and Vivo brands combined are the second largest mobile phone manufacturer in China after Huawei. Now, after a long time of waiting, we finally have a Vivo smartphone ready to be tested. Vivo V7 is a mid-range smartphone, which is advertised in particular with its powerful 24-megapixel camera. In the following review, you can find out how the phone does in practice.

Design and build quality

Vivo V7 6

As far as design is concerned, Vivo V7 reminds a bit of OnePlus 5T. Despite the sales price of 250€, it has only a plastic casing, although it is haptically and optically similar to metal. Because of the materials used, V7 is pleasantly light with only 139 grams and has also very compact dimensions for a 5.7-inch smartphone (149.3 x 72.8 x 7.9mm). If the display is still too small for you, Vivo V7 Plus gives you an even bigger 6-inch display. With regard to ergonomics, I can only praise the mobile phone. Despite the large display, it feels comfortable in the hand. The 18:9 format of the display and the 9mm bezels to the top and bottom also contribute to this. One-handed operation is usually possible, but the manufacturer has also integrated a practical one-handed mode and a split-screen mode into the system.

Vivo V7 9Vivo V7 7

Another positive surprise is revealed when opening the SIM slot. Vivo V7 can use two Nano-SIM cards and one Micro-SD simultaneously. Actually, it’s a pity that such triple slots haven’t been widely used ages ago.

Vivo V7 5 Vivo V7 4

The smartphone is operated by on-screen buttons. Conventional soft-touch buttons are slowly dying out and are no longer to be found in Vivo V7 either. On the back, you find the camera with LED flash and the fingerprint scanner. There is a 3.5mm headphone jack and a Micro-USB port on the bottom of the phone. Unfortunately, the manufacturer has not equipped Vivo V7 with the new USB Type-C standard despite the rather high price. At least, there is a notification LED next to the auricle.

Vivo V7 scope of delivery

Vivo V7 3

In addition to the smartphone, the scope of delivery contains a power supply, a protective cover, a Micro-USB cable and a pair of headphones.

 

Display

Vivo V7 2

At 5.7 inches, Vivo V7 is one of the larger smartphones, even though V7 Plus offers even more display space. However, the resolution of the display is only 720 x 1440 pixels. A high-resolution Full-HD panel would certainly have suited the mobile phone well, but the sharpness of the display is also sufficient for good operation. What bothered me, however, was the relatively low brightness of the display. There are no problems in the daylight, but as soon as the sun shines a little stronger, reading becomes quite difficult. Apart from that, Vivo V7 has good contrasts and a very responsive 10-point touchscreen. The operation of the smartphone is therefore pleasantly easy! It also has scratch-resistant glass that is completely undamaged after two weeks of use.

Performance

Vivo V7 houses a Snapdragon 450 processor. There is also 32GB internal storage and 4GB of RAM available. The processor is manufactured in a 14nm process and has 8 cores with a clock rate of 1.8GHz. It is designed for mid-range smartphones whose users are not very interested in gaming and performance-intensive applications. If you compare Vivo V7 with its SD450 with other mobile phones for sale in Europe, it is not a bargain, unlike most Chinese mobile phones, but is in the middle of the price range. The same processor is already installed by Xiaomi in Xiaomi Redmi 5 (only 130€). Unlike China’s third largest manufacturer, Xiaomi, Vivo does not rely so much on strong hardware components but prefers to invest the money in advertising. This strategy is obviously very successful.

Antutu Result Geekbench Multi Result Geekbench Single Result

Regardless of the somewhat poor performance in the benchmarks, Vivo V7 presents itself as a usable fast smartphone in practical use. The system runs completely without any jerks and apps work perfectly. With 4GB RAM, there is also enough capacity for multitasking. The Andreno 506 graphics chip is also fast enough for high-end games like Asphalt 8, but at high detail levels there are a few lags and frame drops that you won’t find on similarly expensive smartphones like Xiaomi Mi Note 3.

The main storage with 5GB/s is slightly below the average of its price range and the same applies to the internal storage with a reading speed of 220 MB/s and a writing speed of 70 MB/s.

Funtouch OS

Vivo V7 3 1Vivo V7 4 1Vivo V7 6 1Vivo V7 5 1Vivo V7 32Vivo V7 33

Wow, what do we have here? Is that an Android smartphone or an iPhone? You can’t say exactly at first glance, although the basis of the system is, of course, Android 7.1.2. In any case, Vivo’s developers have set out to copy Apple’s iOS system down to the smallest detail without any shame, but with great ambition. The copying goes from the app icons, to the layout of the settings menu and to a perky copy of the Quick-Toggle menu. You could almost say: “Once you’ve used an iPhone, you know what Vivo Funtouch OS looks like”. There is also no app drawer and all apps end up on the home screen where they can be organized in folders.

Apart from the fact that Vivo’s Funtouch is an iOS copycat, the system is pleasant and easy to use. In the settings, there is a sophisticated notification management and also further features like the creation of app clones (with replicas Vivo obviously knows his way around) are available. Our Vivo V7 comes from Cambodia. If you buy the smartphone outside China, you get a multilingual system with Google Play Store. On devices imported from China, this issue is solved, if at all, by a custom ROM, which, unfortunately, will not receive any updates. So, if you want to use a Vivo, you should make sure that it has installed the Global ROM by default, because there are no reliable instructions for changing the ROM.

Camera

Vivo V7 uses a 16MP camera on the rear with a f/2.0 aperture and an LED flash. On the front side there is a 24MP sensor with f/2.0 aperture, and the front camera can simulate a bokeh effect.

The user interface of the camera app is simple and functional. Here, too, the manufacturer has made plenty of use of Apple’s design. The focus is fast in normal shots and is almost always set correctly. There is also a very good Pro mode in which exposure compensation, ISO, shutter speed, white balance and manual focus can be set.

The camera takes sharp images with many details and appealing colours. The dynamic range is also very good. An HDR mode is, of course, also available. This can be switched on manually. Alternatively, you can activate the Auto-HDR mode, so that the phone itself decides if it should be activated. The performance of the camera in low light conditions is on average. Image noise occurs relatively fast and also the autofocus does not work quite as fast. Pictures in twilight are still good enough for the photo album.

Although Vivo V7 has neither a front nor a rear dual-camera, a Bokeh effect controlled by the software can be activated. Vivo doesn’t perform flawlessly (like a Xiaomi Mi6 or Mi Note 3), but the results are still better than those of many smartphones with a real dual camera. It takes some time to get a good picture, but the results are still useful.

But the real highlight of the smartphone can be found on the front in the form of a 24-megapixel camera. The image quality of selfies is simply fantastic, if they turn out really well. Often, however, the images are somewhat blurred because the focus is not set correctly. If everything works correctly, the images have a far above average quality with very nice colours and a high sharpness. Vivo V7 is therefore well suited for selfie fans, although the manufacturer could improve the software a bit.

Connectivity

Vivo V7 offers no surprises in terms of connectivity. You can use two Nano-SIM cards in the mobile phone. The following frequencies are supported:

GSM: (2/3/5/8)
UMTS: (1/5/8)
LTE: (1/3/5/8/38/40/41)

The most necessary frequencies are supported, LTE Band 20, however, is not. This is only available in the Russian version of Vivo V7, which you can hardly get to without a trip on site. An overview of the different network frequencies can be found on the manufacturer’s website. Two SIM cards and simultaneous storage expansion can be used. Bluetooth is available with 4.2 standard and WiFi with b/g/n standard (no dual band). The reception strength is very good due to the plastic casing.  Vivo V7 also cuts a good figure in GPS navigation and brings you safely to your destination on foot and in the car. In addition to brightness, acceleration and approximation sensors, Vivo V7 also offers an E-compass. There is no gyroscope.

Vivo V7 2 1As far as unlocking is concerned, the phone has a well-functioning fingerprint sensor, which unlocks the smartphone fast and in 9/10 cases successfully from standby. There is also a face unlock. Here, you can switch between a safe mode, which cannot be tricked by a photo, and a fast mode. In practice, both unlocking techniques work quickly and safely with good lighting conditions, but no longer reliably with less light. So, I would recommend simply selecting the secure mode and using the fingerprint sensor in less light. Overall, the face unlock of Vivo V7 has succeeded, but is far from being able to keep up with the performance of Oneplus 5T.

Battery

Vivo V7 37Vivo V7 houses a 3,000 mAh battery. The smartphone is supplied with a standard 5V/2A plug. Depending on the version, a CN or EU connector is available. Vivo V7 refills 25% of the empty battery in 30 minutes, while it takes about 3 hours to fully charge.

As far as battery performance is concerned, Vivo V7 is still sufficiently well equipped for one day of very heavy use. In the video test, the smartphone lasted a good 9 hours with half brightness and during my two-week test phase it managed 5-6 hours on-screen time a day under heavy use.

Battery lifetime Result Unit: hours

Conclusion and alternative

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Joscha Becking:

Vivo V7 is a successful smartphone, although it is not a big loss that the mobile phone cannot be bought here in Europe. Build quality is good and the phone is pleasantly light due to its plastic casing. However, the smartphone is less classy than most cell phones in its price range. The display provides a nice picture, but weakens a little in terms of readability in the sunlight. Regarding the Snapdragon 450 processor performance, Vivo V7 can provide a fast system, but falls far short of what Xiaomi or Huawei smartphones provide for this price. In China, the manufacturer can make up for this difference in performance with its Funtouch system, copied from Apple. The camera of the smartphone on the other can really convince. Here, you get good pictures of the main camera and outstanding selfies with a little trial and error. However, there is still some room for improvement, because the selfies are not always convincing and the low-light performance is on average.

Overall, the Vivo device is a good smartphone and is particularly suitable for users who are looking for an Apple feeling in the Android world. However, since the smartphone is quite difficult to procure in Europe, the effort for importing it is not worthwhile. In case of doubt, a Xiaomi Mi Note 3 and Honor 7X are much better.

73%
  • Design and build quality 70 %
  • Display 70 %
  • Performance 60 %
  • Camera 70 %
  • Communication and connectivity 80 %
  • Battery 90 %

Price comparison

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*Prices include shipping and toll. Intermediate changes of prices, ranking, delivery time and costs possible. Prices last updated on 23.10.2018

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