Smartphones

vivo V23 5G: A lost Android soul in an iPhone’s body?

Unboxing and early sample photos await you

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The vivo V23 5G isn’t a freshly-baked smartphone. In fact, it’s a re-branded vivo S12 from China announced in December 2021. Moreover, it was launched globally last January 2022.

But just right after the Chinese New Year, the vivo V23 5G has reached the shores of the Philippines — and it’s a phone you wouldn’t want to miss.

Diving into unboxing

Unlike the “V” boxes that come with the vivo V20 and V21, the box of the V23 5G comes in this sparkly, dark blue box with a subtle “23” number behind the V23 branding.

That new holographic chiseled text styling is a nice touch, too.

The phone already greets you upon lifting the box.

Lifting the whole tab reveals this soft silicone case that serves as your phone’s early protection.

Beneath the case shows all the paperwork.

And surprisingly, it still has these goodies that most new smartphones don’t get nowadays…

…including a charger like this 44W vivo FlashCharge adapter.

Another two rare items in the box are the bundled 3.5mm wired earphones with a 3.5mm to USB-C adapter.

Finally, there’s a SIM tray ejector tool and a USB-C to USB-A cable for that proprietary vivo FlashCharger.

Just in case you wanna see it in one frame, here are all the box contents of the new vivo V23 5G.

Photochromic? What’s that even?

One of the highlights of the vivo V23 5G is its “color-changing” Fluorite AG glass back (yes, not plastic or a mixture of some sort). Thanks to their innovative photochromic technology, the phone’s color can change when hit by the light.

Actually, this is far different from the gradient smartphones you’ve seen in the past that just shows different shades depending on the light source.

Just like the sparkly box, the phone sparkles too under bright light

When held in a shady or a less-lit environment, the phone is in its normal “Sunshine Gold” colorway.

Once you leave the phone under direct light (either natural or artificial) for around three to five seconds, the magic begins.

And for a better representation, here’s how the color of the back changes when the exposed stencil is hit by direct sunlight (or maybe just a bright flashlight).

I didn’t take a photo but when I used the phone bare-case, my fingers actually left their marks on the phone’s back. So you either need to deal with that or cover it with the included case.

The design similarity is uncanny

Deny it or not, the phone resembles the iPhone 12 or 13 Pro series especially with that stainless steel frame — and I’m not complaining.

In all honesty, I’m more of a fan because vivo was able to bring such flagship finesse in their latest midrange line. This also means modern midrangers don’t have to look and feel cheap.

You’d mistakenly think it is an iPhone with that shiny frame…

…but not when you see the USB-C port and SIM card tray at the bottom (or maybe not if Apple decides to comply with EU’s ruling to ship future iPhones with USB-C 🤩).

And yes, the volume and power buttons are only on the right side. ICYMI, volume buttons on iPhones are placed at the left side.

Looking more familiar? Well it also has that infamous shrunken notch (yes, not a punch-hole cutout) to complete that iPhone-esque look.

Instead of an Apple-like “TrueDepth” system that makes Face ID possible, this phone has two selfie cameras instead — which made its debut in the vivo V20 Pro I’ve reviewed last 2020.

And if you’re that curious, face unlocking is still possible. Just remember, it just uses a less-secure 2D image just like most Android smartphones.

And yes, Touch ID, I mean optical fingerprint scanner saves the day whenever you wear face masks outside.

Visual goodness

Once setup and unlocked, you’ll be greeted by vivo’s new version of FunTouch OS 12 based on Android 12. Admittedly, it’s not as cluttered unlike other Android skins today. And if you’ve used an iPhone before, navigating through the phone is quite similar thanks to Android bringing that gesture navigation as well with that single bar at the bottom of the UI.

You can also choose between having an app drawer or just display apps directly on the home screen like iOS.

It’d truly be nice if Android smartphones can eliminate those “screen chins” though.

VIVIZ’s BOP BOP! is a true BOP

With its glorious 6.44-inch AMOLED Full HD+ display, visuals pop and look stunning even under bright sunlight. Even scrolling through menus and apps is a breeze with its 90Hz panel.

How can there be such a human being as perfect-looking as Wonpil?

And even if it only has a mono speaker found at the bottom, it’s loud enough with the right amount of bass and treble. It made my concert sessions in the shower livelier (and well-tuned lol).

Blazing with power

On paper, it runs a MediaTek Dimensity 920 5G chipset based on a 6nm process. While it’s not the best in class, I can assure you it can run most apps and games just fine. I barely noticed any  unnecessary lags and hiccups when scrolling through its UI or running apps side-by-side.

This isn’t totally a review article but I’m gonna supply you my early battery and charging tests anyway.

Its 4200mAh battery might not sound a lot for most but it was able to last me for at least a day with light to moderate use.

With 38% left on my phone, I was able to squeeze in an hour of music playback while the on-screen lyrics were displayed. After decreased battery percentage to 11%, I even played a video for around 25 minutes before it died.

And if that doesn’t sound enough to you, its 44W FlashCharge charging brick saves the day.

Test 1 (from 0%)

  • 2 minutes = 1%
  • 5 minutes = 6%
  • 10 minutes = 24%
  • 15 minutes = 33%
  • 30 minutes = 69%
  • 45 minutes = 91%
  • 52 minutes = 98%
  • 54 minutes = 99%
  • 60 minutes = 100%

Test 2 (from 0%)

  • 2 minutes = 6%
  • 5 minutes = 14%
  • 10 minutes = 25%
  • 15 minutes = 35%
  • 30 minutes = 64%
  • 45 minutes = 90%
  • 52 minutes = 97%
  • 54 minutes = 98%
  • 60 minutes = 100%

Safe to say that with an hour to spare, you can fully charge the vivo V23 5G up to its maximum battery capacity.

#PhotoDump

There are a total of five cameras with three in the back:

  • 64MP f/1.9 wide (main) sensor
  • 8MP f/2.2 ultra-wide angle lens
  • 2MP f/2.4 macro lens

Up front, there are two selfie cameras both housed on that tiny notch: a 50MP f/2.0 wide and an even wider 8MP f/2.3 ultra-wide lens.

I’ll get more detailed about the vivo V23 5G’s camera capabilities in a separate article. For now, here are some early sample photos using the vivo V23 5G.

Here are some daylight and food shots…

…as well as some night mode shots.

Here’s me and my cat for that quick yet unwanted groufie…

…and finally trying that dual flash spotlight by taking cringe-worthy selfies at 3AM.

Pricing and Availability

The vivo V23 5G is already being sold in the Philippines for PhP 27,999 in either this Sunshine Gold colorway or a less-striking Stardust Black option. It only comes in a single 12GB + 256GB configuration.

When you buy the phone from February 5 to 19, 2022 in their official Shopee account, there’s a limited PhP 500 off voucher and free 2-in-1 clock speaker until supplies last.

SEE ALSO: Taking photos to the next level with the vivo V23 5G

Reviews

OnePlus 11 Review: Flagship Killer is Back!

Premium, but not overpriced

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After frustrations and disappointment from its solid fanbase, it seems like OnePlus has finally addressed it by going back to their roots.

The new OnePlus 11 may look just like any other Android flagship out there, but they finally brought the price below the US$ 700 mark.

Even without the “Pro” branding, you get “Pro-grade” hardware such as a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset, up to 16GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, and a super fast 80W SuperVOOC charging.

Alongside the Hasselblad partnership, you still get that specially-made color processing algorithm for your photos.

But with all the good stuff, there are also compromises.

Are you willing to sacrifice those for the newest OnePlus flagship experience?

Watch our in-depth OnePlus 11 review to find out more!

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News

Galaxy S23 series has a secret feature for gamers

Might not be widely available

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Mobile gaming has a natural setback: battery life. Though mobile games easily entice users to spend hours and hours playing, a smartphone’s battery can just as easily cut a long gaming session short. One way to get past this limitation is to play while charging. However, another unintended drawback is the additional heat from charging the battery. Giving gamers a convenient reprieve, the Galaxy S23 has a secret feature to do away with battery heat.

First spotted by NL Tech (via 9to5Google), the new Galaxy S23 series can reportedly redirect power from the charger to bypass the battery entirely. Instead, the power will fuel the power directly. Though the feature (called “Pause USB Power Delivery” and found through the Game Booster menu) won’t necessarily improve performance for gaming, it will stop the battery from heating up, ensuring comfort for long sessions while in bed. Since the phone stops using power to charge the battery, the charger will use up less electricity.

Naturally, using the feature will halt charging entirely, so if you desperately need juice, it won’t do anything. Additionally, the feature will not turn on if your smartphone’s battery is below 20 percent.

Of note, Samsung has not officially announced such a feature. It is reportedly unavailable in some regions including the United States. It might be in its early stages, on a staggered rollout, or a regional exclusive. Still, it’s a useful feature for gamers who want more comfort for their gaming sessions.

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy S23, S23+ and S23 Ultra Hands-On

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Accessories

OnePlus 11 series launches internationally

With OnePlus Pad and OnePlus Buds Pro 2

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Last month, OnePlus unveiled the OnePlus 11 series in China. A China-exclusive launch usually means a global launch is on the horizon. That’s just what OnePlus did today in New York. While the surprise was already spoiled last month, the brand still had a good share of surprises. Besides the international launch of the OnePlus 11 series, take a look at the new OnePlus Pad and the OnePlus Featuring Keyboard 81 Pro.

OnePlus 11 5G

As revealed last month, the OnePlus 11 5G is one of the first smartphones this year to tout the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset. The smartphone comes with up to 16GB LPDDR5X RAM and up to 512GB of internal storage. Plus, everything is made even better with a 6.7-inch LTPO 3.0 2K AMOLED display with 120Hz refresh rate.

Behind everything, the OnePlus 11 touts its black-hole-inspired camera bump. The setup features three shooters: a 50-megapixel main sensor, a 32-megapixel telephoto shooter, and a 48-megapixel ultrawide camera. It also has a 16-megapixel selfie shooter.

Underneath everything is a 5000mAh battery, capable of 100W wired charging.

OnePlus Buds Pro 2

Touting the MelodyBoost Dual Drivers co-created with Dynaudio, the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 expands its capabilities in the lower frequencies to deliver richer bass. Plus, it also has an equalizer crafted by award-winning composer Hans Zimmer.

It is also the first TWS earbuds to adopt Android 13’s spatial audio, making the pair a perfect device for YouTube and Disney+. With TUV-certified Smart Adaptive Noise Cancelling, the wearable can filter up to 48dB of noise from your environment — which users can customize with a transparency mode.

Finally, OnePlus says that a single charge can last up to 39 hours with the case.

OnePlus Pad

One of the new surprises for this event, the OnePlus Pad is the brand’s first flagship foray into the tablet market. The new tablet sports the Dimensity 9000 chipset, featuring the Cortex-X2 core clocking in at 3.05GHz of performance. It also comes with 12GB of RAM.

Outside the tablet’s impressive hardware, the OnePlus Pad comes with an 11.61-inch screen with 144Hz refresh rate. With a large 9510mAh battery, the tablet can reportedly last up to 12 hours while watching videos and up to a month on standby.

OnePlus Featuring Keyboard 81

Finally, rounding out the brand’s efforts to expand its ecosystem, the OnePlus Featuring Keyboard 81 is the brand’s first mechanical keyboard. Built with Keychron technology, users can fully customize the keyboard according to their needs.

Price and availability

Both the OnePlus 11 5G and the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 will start accepting preorders today. The devices will start shipping out on February 16.

The OnePlus 11 5G comes in Titan Black and Eternal Green. The smartphone will start at US$ 699 for the 8GB/128GB variant and will go up to US$ 799 for the 16GB/256GB variant.

Meanwhile, the OnePlus Buds 2 Pro will come in Obsidian Black and Arbor Green. It will sell for US$ 179.

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