Vivo V9 Review: A Phone That Always Amazes You With Performance
Vivo has been the number one choice in the offline market for the users. The reason being the brands unique offering and features that consumers need. Vivo recently announced the launch of Vivo V9 in India and sent us the review device to test performance and features of the device. After using the device for nearly 20 days here’s our full review of it.
Vivo V9 Design: Notch and Aluminium Back
Vivo V9 no doubt looks like a copy of iPhone X but the price which it is coming for is 1/3 of the iPhone X’s cost. Vivo V9 comes with a full HD display in the front with Dual Camera setup at the back and Rear mounted fingerprint scanner. The Phone is very light in weight and it is very sleek. The charging port and 3.5mm jack are at the bottom of the phone along with the speaker grill. On the There’s a notch, it’s surprising that the phone just weighs 150grams. which has front Selfie camera with the speaker grill. The notch is something that this year the market is going to flood with, the majority of the phones this year will come with the notch.
The Device front is covered by 90% Screen to body ration, at the camera bump is almost identical to iPhone’s X style, that is vertical dual camera setup. The review device which I received was of champagne gold. The device is easy to use considering the huge screen size. The sides of the device have sim tray slot with a dedicated port for Memory card and dual sim’s. These days most of the manufacturers are providing with Hybrid sim slot but Vivo has a dedicated sim slot for which it gains a plus point here. Volume rockers and power button are located on the right which is easy to reach and use. The phone’s back has a glossy aluminum finish and is just 7.9MM thick. Vivo brand is located just below the Fingerprint scanner a perfect spot as I think Google always misses on this point.
Vivo V9 Display: 19:9 and 6.3″ FHD+
I travel mostly via public commute and have noticed that people consume more content on their phones than on their TV’s or computers. This made me come to the point that screen size does matter to users a lot and it is one of the factors that has slowly emerged to one of the factor people think before buying a new phone and Vivo has clearly won a point for screen size and quality. The technical specification of Vivo V9’s display is 6.3-inch full HD+ (1080×2280 pixels) IPS display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 on top. There’s also 2.5D curved glass and a 19:9 aspect ratio. And then there’s the notch. Surprisingly although the notch looks similar to iPhone X, it’s more than just a notch, as Vivo’s notch has a speaker grill and selfie camera in the notch itself. Credits to Vivo’s engineers for making this notch a useful thing rather than just a plane area.
Not only does the Vivo V9 look like a mid-range smartphone, its internal hardware is pretty average as well. The phone runs on the Snapdragon 626 chipset even though the Snapdragon 636 is already in the market. In fact, the Redmi Note 5 Pro is equipped with the newer SoC at the price tag of Rs 13,999 for the same 4GB/64GB specs.
The Snapdragon 636 is an upgrade over the Snapdragon 626 because of its octa-core Qualcomm Kyro 260 CPU in comparison to the octa-core Arm Cortex A53. Kyro cores offer more performance than the Cortex cores and use battery more efficiently as well.
The memory of the phone, is of course, expandable to 256GB using a microSD card slot if you feel you need more than 64GB for your data.
The display on the device is a little peculiar. It has a red tint to it and with no way to alter it, you’re basically stuck with it. It’s a little bit of a let down because with a 6.3-inch screen at its disposal, vibrant and accurate colors would’ve made the phone reach a new level.
To top it off, the FunTouch OS 4.0 layered upon Android 8.1 Oreo has aspects that are borrowed from Apple’s iOS. This isn’t a new thing for Vivo phones but if you’re a native Android user, it means that you’re going to have to re-learn a few things. For starters, the quick settings menu pops up from the bottom instead of from the top and the notifications are pulled down from the top.
The settings menu is also picked up directly from the Apple iPhone and placed onto the Vivo V9’s interface. The on-screen navigation button can be customized and if you’re not a fan of on-screen buttons, to begin with, the FunTouch OS has the option of switching over to gesture-based navigation. The gestures on the Vivo V9 function without any lag for the most part.
The phone also has a Motorbike mode, which is very convenient especially considering the traffic violations that happen due to the usage of smartphones on Indian roads. It allows the user to enable auto-rejection of incoming calls, mutes notifications and actually assesses the speed you’re moving at before letting you answer calls again.
Aside from keeping you physically safe, the phone has face unlock, pattern, pin, password, and fingerprint unlocking for phone security. The fingerprint sensor works efficiently and while the face unlocks works as well, it is occasionally laggy. There is gesture recognition, Air Operation, and Air Unlock as well.
An interesting feature of the Vivo V9 is the Smart Click. You can customize how the phone will respond if you long press the volume down button. You can choose between activating the flashlight, recording audio, opening the camera app, opening Facebook or enabling a different app altogether. It’s not entirely a new feature as compared to what’s available on other phones, but I like the option of being discrete.
Other than Smart Click, Vivo also has a whole host of ‘Smart’ options like Smart Call and Smart Low Volume.
Another aspect of adding convenience to the user is the picture in picture option while gaming. You can play games while messaging apps like WhatsApp and Hike stay on the side in the form of a floating window.
Overall, the Vivo V9 doesn’t function all that horribly but the camera app did black out twice in the middle of taking sample shots. Also, the AR stickers mode in the camera app lags horribly. You can see the system trying to keep up every time you move your face.
Vivo V9 has both ‘Face Unlock’ as well as ‘Fingerprint Recognition.’ Both security features are ‘fast AF’. The fingerprint recognition is pretty accurate and is very responsive. Literally, there’s no delay. I can say, I’ve never seen such fastness in a mid-end device.
Even the face unlock is pretty fast. On the low light, the phone auto enhances the brightness to recognize your face and I’d say it’s very accurate. Like in OnePlus 5T, the Vivo V9 has the fastest face unlock I’ve ever seen.
Also, just like the iPhone X, you can just raise your mobile and keep it towards the face to unlock. Here you don’t have to wake the screen or push the power button, and the phone unlocks instantly. That’s one more inspiration, but a much-needed feature.
There are quite handy features in the Vivo V9 that totally made me keep it as my primary phone. The first is the App clone which has become a quite common feature in many smartphones now. The phone does support two SIMs as well as a dedicated microSD card slot, so supporting two accounts in the same IM are quite mandatory. The other feature is the Smart Split. It’s very similar to Messenger which appears as a floating icon when it’s minimized. Likewise, it supports different social media apps which appear as floating icons even when you are in a different application. If there’s a message and you planned to read it, tapping on the floating icon splits the screen, giving you space to do two tasks at a time.
The other interesting features are Game Mode and Bike Mode. When in game mode, the phone auto-rejects the calls and notifications, thereby keeping you free from distractions. Even in game mode, you can whitelist some important contacts from whom you don’t want to miss any calls. Furthermore, in bike mode, the phone auto-rejects the calls or sends an automated message.
Though the phone has a good amount of bloatware, it hadn’t shown any impact on the phone’s performance or on the battery life – thanks to the AI optimization. The software reminds you if it found any app that drains a lot of battery.
In my testing, I find the battery life of Vivo V9 is quite decent. It may not live for a day, but gives a remarkable experience when it’s ON. Overall, I find that the device could last over 8 hours in heavy usage and more than 15 hours in normal usage.