2017 is the era of borderless smartphones and so far, it’s a defining feature of flagship and midrange devices. But what if a manufacturer were able to squeeze in a large bezel-less display into a US$ 100 phone? That’s what the Vkworld Mix Plus offers to the mass market.

What sacrifices are made to make an affordable phone sport a sought-after feature? Let’s find out in this hands-on review.

First, we dive into the physical features of the Mix Plus.

The front has a 5.5-inch IPS LCD

It’s a beautiful phone to look at

It has extremely thin side and top bezels…

If you look closely, the earpiece is still there

… but the chin is notably thick

Here lie the front camera and sensors

The top side has 3.5mm audio and micro-USB ports

The micro-USB is not centered and it’s quite annoying

On the right, we have three physical buttons for power and volume

Guess which one the power button is

The left has the triple-card tray

It accepts micro- and nano-SIM cards plus a microSD at the same time

The bottom has the microphone and speaker grilles

The symmetrical grilles are purely aesthetic; sound fires only from the right

The rear has the main camera and fingerprint reader

We dig this blue color

There’s not much to expect from its $100 price tag

When we first saw the Vkworld Mix Plus online, we were thrilled by its beautiful render and attractive price tag. But with the asking price, we shouldn’t expect too much. We can forgive the wide chin, but not everyone will agree. It’s a given that the handset looked nice during our unboxing, but that’s until we saw the unsightly branding on its back.

Specs-wise, the Mix Plus is powered by a low-end MediaTek MT6737 paired with 3GB of memory and 32GB storage. We’ve seen similar setups from other Chinese brands, and there are no major issues with general performance. With the Mix Plus though, its software felt like it’s not optimized. We received a couple of system updates with minor bug fixes, but it still had minor hiccups and app crashes.

Camera is slow but takes okay pictures

The phone is equipped with a typical 13-megapixel camera on its back, and 8-megapixel in front for selfies. Its camera launcher mimics iOS’ with a few modes to choose from like beauty and bokeh, aptly named “SLR.” Before the OTA updates we received, the camera took a couple of seconds to launch and crashed repeatedly. It got fixed, but the live viewfinder still lags too often. Our Creative Director Chay  Lazaro took the phone on her trip to Busan, South Korea to take camera samples. Check them out:

When viewed on the phone, the photos look okay. Upon checking them on our laptops, there’s a noticeable amount of noise and aggressive sharpening to make the photos look crisp. As you can see, low-light photograhy is not a strength of the Mix Plus, but it’s passable for social media posting.

Can this be your GadgetMatch?

If you’re looking for a borderless phone that won’t break the bank, the Vkworld Mix Plus is definitely an option. For just over US$ 100, you get a good-looking phone, but it’s not exactly good bang for the buck. Vkworld should address the performance issues through a system update — they have, but it’s still not fully polished.

The Mix Plus is a phone that sells because of its looks and not because it’s a great smartphone. Its affordable price point proves that manufacturers can come up with cheap borderless handsets, but with a few sacrifices. We got the phone through GearBest which holds surprise discount deals for the Mix Plus from time to time.

SEE ALSO: Vkworld Mix Plus Unboxing and Hands-On

Vkworld Mix Plus Unboxing and Hands-On