Welcome to the era of the borderless smartphones. When we first saw the Sharp Crystal and Xiaomi Mi Mix, we wondered when cheaper phones would get the amazing edge-to-edge panels. Well, it started with the LG Q6, and now this.

Here’s our review of the Vivo V7+.

Say goodbye to thick bezels with a 6-inch Full View display

Resolution is pretty low at 1440 x 720 pixels only

Unlike the Mi Mix 2, the selfie camera is still up top

No upside down “Perfect Selfies”

We have the volume rocker and power button on the right…

Easily reachable even with smallish fingers

And the dual nano-SIM and microSD card tray on the left

Vivo brings back expandable storage to its higher-tier phones and… triple-card slots!

The bottom has an audio port, microphone, micro-USB port, and speaker grilles

It’s quite busy down here

The fingerprint reader has been moved to the back

Conveniently positioned for either index fingers

Borderless display is a must nowadays to lure users

The key feature of the V7+ is its borderless display, which Vivo calls Full View. The screen has a 5.99-inch panel with a resolution of 1440 x 720 pixels. This gives the display a pixel density of only 269ppi, which is pretty low for a phone this size. I guess it’s part of the tradeoff to get a borderless display in this price range. While it may not be as crisp as we’d want it to be, the overall quality (e.g., color, contrast, brightness) is good.

But the Vivo V7+ is not the cheapest borderless phone in the market. Just last month, we reviewed the LG Q6 which retails for PhP 12,990 in the Philippines or around US$ 255. The Q6 may have a smaller display size, but it has a sharper panel — twice the number of pixels the V7+ has, in fact.

The display presents Vivo’s own FunTouch OS skin on top of Android 7.1 Nougat nicely. The support for full-screen apps is there, and it resembles Apple’s iOS. This means there’s no app drawer and you get similar app icons to an iPhone. New features include an improved Smart Split app, Screen Recording with audio, and App Clone, which lets you run two instances of certain apps.

The new processor is actually faster than we thought

Aside from the display, one of the first things we noticed about the V7+ is its new processor. From the mid-tier Snapdragon 625 processor of its predecessor, the new phone now has a Snapdragon 450. The shift from a Snapdragon 600-series to a 400-series processor is shocking at first, but before we jump to conclusions, let us explain that this is not a downgrade.

The new Snapdragon 450 is pretty much based on the Snapdragon 625. Both have the same 14nm technology for longer battery life and a newer Adreno 506 GPU for better gaming performance. On the downside, the clock speed is slightly slower (1.8GHz vs 2.0GHz) and it doesn’t support 4K video recording. No worries though, since the V7+ performs better or on par with benchmark tests, and the overall performance is super smooth and lag-free.

Multitasking is handled by the 4GB memory, and you get an internal storage of 64GB for apps, pictures, and more. Let’s not forget that the V7+ also supports a microSD card of up to 256GB with the dedicated slot. And, Vivo continues to give its devices a built-in Hi-Fi chip for excellent audio quality with lossless music files.

From Perfect to Clearer Selfies

Vivo phones normally prioritize selfie cameras over the rear shooter. The Vivo V7+ is no different with its 24-megapixel front camera. It now has a single sensor — not two. However, you still get the artificial bokeh effect through some software tricks. Oh, and the rear has a 16-megapixel shooter — let’s not forget about that.

The rear camera, like most midrange phones, captures pleasing images and with great quality even when viewed on a laptop. We did notice that the white balance leans on the warm side. The front camera is where the phone shines (that’s one of its main selling points), with detailed selfies in both bright and dim environments. As mentioned earlier, the bokeh effect is still here, although it’s a hit or miss due to the lack of a secondary camera.

Facial recognition complements the fingerprint reader

Since we just talked about the cameras, let’s have a look at the facial recognition feature of the V7+. Unlike with the iPhone X, built-in facial recognition is not new to the world of Android. In fact, we still remember playing around with the old Samsung Galaxy Nexus from 2011 (that’s almost six years ago); however, it was faulty and buggy. The result? It didn’t fly. Instead, Android phones have been relying on fingerprints.

Just how much better is the facial recognition on the V7+? After setting up, it was disappointing that we couldn’t train the phone for multiple facial registers. In well-lit places, the phone unlocks quickly upon turning on the display. But, in dim spots? Not so much. You’re better off using the fingerprint reader, which even works a bit faster. It’s nice that you can use both biometric security features, so you get the best of two sides.

Watch all you want on the go

With a slightly bigger body than its predecessor, the V7+ has a somewhat larger battery at 3225mAh over the previous 3160mAh. For a 6-inch phone, we find the battery to be a bit small, but it was able to last us a full day of average usage. Fast charging is supported by the phone with a fuel-up time of just over two hours.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

As we wrap up our review, we’ve grown fond of the Vivo V7+. We don’t find the phone to be the perfect midrange full-screen phone in the market right now, but the V7+ is a solid offering. With its borderless display and high-quality selfies, it can be an easy sell for those looking for a new phone that looks different for once.

With that, we’re giving the Vivo V7+ our GadgetMatch Seal of Approval. It’s currently available in India for INR 21,990. It should be rolling out to other Southeast Asian markets soon.

SEE ALSO: Vivo V5 Plus Hands-On Review

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Vivo V5 Plus Hands-On Review