The Vivo V15 Pro is a mid range device that packs a triple camera configuration with an Ultra FullView Display. There is no notch or teardrop and the 32MP front camera is nicely hidden using a motorized pop up mechanism. Powered with the Snapdragon 675 and Adreno 612, let’s see how the Vivo V15 Pro fares in actual usage.
Design and Build Quality
At the front, there isn’t any notch or teardrop for the front camera. Instead, it has a full screen display and Vivo calls it the Ultra FullView Display. The light and proximity sensors are concealed from view and the earpiece is well hidden on the edge. The bottom bezels are still a little too big in my opinion; it would look nicer if it’s thinner. But having an unobstructed full screen is still the best for media consumption.
The In-Display fingerprint sensor is not a new feature for Vivo smart phones. With this sensor under the screen, there is no need for a physical sensor at the bottom or the back of the phone. As such the design of the phone looks pretty sleek without the extra hardware sensor. Without the physical feel, registering my fingers need some getting used to so keep an eye on it. Also, if you tend to feel the sensor to unlock without looking, it will be a little difficult.
Unlocking speeds are pretty quick and the phone will vibrate if the sensor fails to detect your fingerprint. The icon will need to appear before it starts detecting and it will appear once the phone senses any movement when the screen is off. Face recognition is also available that works pretty well too.
All buttons including the Smart Button are very tactile and easily located with the fingers. Smart Button is a dedicated button for easy access to Google Assistant or Google search. You can’t really choose what apps to launch and if you look at the different ways to press the button, all I can select is Google shortcuts. It’s pretty redundant since I can also press and hold on the Home button.
The back has the Spectrum ripple design that has lines that gives the 3D look. The colors also show different shades of blue at the different angles and lighting which looks pretty nice. The sides also have matching color to give it a seamless look throughout. At certain angles smudges can be seen and Vivo also provides a plastic case in the box as well.
Hardware and Display
The Vivo V15 Pro has a 6.39 inch Super AMOLED display with 100% DCI-P3 coverage. Colors are saturated and vivid, with deep blacks where it saves power by not powering those pixels. You can change the screen color temperature and also use eye protection to relive eye fatigue. It also has a resolution of 1080 x 2316 which brings it to around 404 PPI. Quad HD would be much better but in general everything looks sharp and clear.
Always On display shows the time and alerts from up to 4 apps. I hope Vivo can improve this at least by showing alerts from all apps and also the option to open the app directly by pressing the icon. You can customize different layouts as well.
For full screen compatibility, you can use the full screen setting for apps that don’t fit. Once you open the app, there will be a prompt that allows you to expand instead of going into the setting.
If you go around the phone, there is a microphone, dual SIM tray slot, a slightly outdated micro USB port and single speaker at the bottom, power and volume rocker on the right, Smart button and micro SD card slot on the left and another microphone, headphone jack and pop up camera at the top. The camera uses a motorized mechanism so it hides away nicely, without taking up space from the front. You can also change the pop up sound but the mechanism is pretty loud on its own.
The Vivo V15 Pro supports dual 4G and as usual you can change those configurations in the Dual SIM setting. These are the network test result on both 4G and WiFi.
There are 2 variants, both 128GB storage but with either 6 or 8 GB of RAM. There is no need to worry about storage since it supports micro SD card up to 256GB. But somehow if that is not enough for you, you can turn on USB OTG to plug your thumb drive in.
There is an included earpiece that sounds pretty nice in my opinion but it’s definitely not for audiophiles. Having both a free earpiece and a headphone jack is a nice touch since most companies are ditching it. As for the single speaker at the bottom, it’s very loud at maximum and but sound average. It’s better to use the earphone anyway since the speaker is easily muffled by the hand.
Software and Performance
The Vivo V15 Pro uses the Snapdragon 675 and Adreno 612, which is the successor to the Snapdragon 660. In general, it has improvements to Artificial Intelligence, photography and gaming performance. These benchmark scores are for reference only.
There wasn’t any major issue with daily usage and multitasking was pretty good as well. UI loads quickly and apps works great. But if you do a restart and try to launch an app immediately, it does take a very short time to load.
As for gaming, the experience was excellent without any noticeable overheating. Ultra Game Mode is for improving gaming experience where you can customize individual settings for different games. You can change settings like block floating previews, prevent accidental touches, background calls and also picture in picture chat app.
The Vivo V15 Pro is running Android 9 with FunTouch OS 9 on top. The UI has little or no resemblance to stock Android and is heavily tweaked. Similar to the Vivo V11 review, I still think that the menu still feels clunky and needs a lot of improvement. The Wifi text bug is still there and the menu text needs to be updated as well. ‘Third party display ratio’ name has been changed to ‘Full screen display of apps’ but it’s not updated.
Swiping left is the Smart Launcher; these are cards that show various things like Shortcuts and Jovi Smart Scene. There aren’t many cards to choose from and hopefully in future Vivo will add more to the list. As for Jovi, the 3 main features are Smart Camera, Image Recognizer and Smart Scene.
For extra screen area, you can choose navigation gestures to replace on screen buttons. Easy Touch is a customizable floating button where you can access shortcuts or apps easily. Dark Mode is pretty popular and Vivo has included it as well.
For privacy, you can enable encryption and app lock to protect your data. You will need to provide authentication via passcode, fingerprint or face recognition to access the apps and data in the File Safebox. You can also enable Recent Apps Blur Background to blur the app while switching.
For Smart Motion, you can use actions to do certain things like launching dialer or browser. These are fixed and it would be nice to be able to customize on our own. Message Screen Splitting shows certain apps as floating icons and Manual Screen Splitting for multitasking.
S-Capture is screen capture where you can press and hold the power and volume down button, or slide 3 fingers upwards. App Clone duplicates the app and you can use 2 different instances of the same app in one phone. Smart Click customizes the volume down button to do certain actions or open any app when the screen is off. The other 2 useful functions are Do Not Disturb and One Handed mode.
In general, battery life will last throughout the day with the 3700 mAh battery and my screen on time was around 5 hours plus or minus. Usually the phone will be unplugged for about 10-12 hours and each time I would have around 20% – 45% battery left. Depending on your usage, the mileage will vary.
With Vivo’s Dual Engine Fast Charging, it boasts to top up 24% power in just 15 mins.
To push the battery more, Low Power mode will reduce certain features to prolong battery life. And for desperate situations, Super Power Saving mode will only enable 4 main features of the phone.
The Vivo V15 Pro features a triple camera system, 48MP main camera, 8MP ultra wide sensor and a 5MP depth sensor. The front has a 32MP camera complete with AI beauty. Camera modes are pretty standard and be accessed by swiping along the wordings.
The toggles at the top are flash, HDR, Portrait lighting, Live photo and settings. And the bottom toggles are Jovi image recognition, timer, filters, portrait bokeh, ultra wide mode and a setting to expand the viewfinder.
Photo quality in the day with good lighting are pretty good but sometimes there wasn’t much difference even with HDR mode. Night time shots are pretty decent although you can still see some noise. The Night mode does help with sufficient lighting but for very low light shots, it’s grainy and blurry.
For the ultra wide mode, it’s a pretty neat feature for those landscape shots. But bear in mind that it gets a little grainy in low light shots. For AI scene, it’s pretty accurate in recognizing the subject I am pointing at.
Focusing speeds are very quick for both Auto and Manual in day times. But for low light, auto focus sometimes struggles to keep in focus.
Both close up and portrait mode works pretty well too and you can change the aperture for portrait mode. Just like the Vivo V11, the Pro mode has a pretty comprehensive setting you can change and the ISO values will update in real time in auto mode.
For the front camera, it takes pretty nice shots and the AI Beauty will fix any skin or face imperfections you might have. If you want, you can also change how your whole body looks as well.
It’s a pity there isn’t OIS and the back camera can record up to 4K resolution and the front camera up to 1080p.
The Vivo V15 Pro exceeds my expectations of a midrange device; a beautiful full screen display, excellent performance, In-Display fingerprint sensor and long battery life. The camera is pretty good too; although performance in low light can be improved.
Like what I have mentioned in my previous review, FunTouch OS still feels clunky and unpolished. Even with excellent hardware specs, ultimately it’s the OS that completes a phone. I believe with a redesign and overhaul of FunTouch OS, the overall user experience will be much better.