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Vivo V5 Plus Hands-On Review

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Whenever a smartphone has a Plus at the end of its name you expect it to be bigger and better than its namesake.

But that’s not the case when it comes to the V5 Plus, the newest smartphone from Chinese up and comer Vivo. In fact when it comes down to the tale of the tape, the V5 Plus is roughly the same size as the V5 that came a few months before it.

The Vivo V5 and the V5 Plus – same size but different internals.

Of course when it comes down to it, the V5 Plus is a better phone overall, but it is also $150 more expensive – which in the midrange segment is a significant enough of a price difference. Does its improvements justify the extra cost? Why should you get the plus model over the non plus model? Keep reading to find out.

Dual Selfie Cameras

The headline feature of the V5 Plus is its 20 megapixel selfie camera. That along with a front facing flash and a camera app that comes with a host of beautification modes gives the phone a pretty good value proposition – great selfies on a budget.

The V5 Plus takes that a step further with a second selfie camera.

Spot the difference. The Vivo V5 Plus has two selfie cameras.

While dual cameras are slowly becoming a trend, very rarely do we see a phone with two up front. On the V5 Plus, this second camera is used to measure the depth of a photo giving you selfies with that creamy bokeh effect.     

In our tests this extra depth of field effect gave our selfies a more professional feel to them, although in some cases felt a bit too much.

SELFIES Vivo V5 (left), V5 Plus (center) and adjusting aperture on the V5 Plus (right)

Thankfully if you feel that’s the case, you can dial back on the photo’s aperture when you’re taking the photo or after the photo has been taken (via the edit menu on your camera roll). 

Overall the second selfie camera didn’t feel like a gimmick and gave us the best looking selfies we’ve seen on a smartphone today.

More Refined Design

It’s peculiar that the V5 Plus looks reasonably different from the V5 considering they’re both current models. With only a few months between them, the V5 plus looks much more refined, albeit obviously very much a copy of the iPhone 7. Just look at those antenna bands.

Looks familiar. Did the Vivo copy the iPhone 7?

On the V5 Plus, Vivo brings back the home button which on the V5 was more of a touchpad that you couldn’t really press down on. Fingerprint unlock times are just as super quick.

The user interface too is slightly improved with cleaner more consistent looking square icons with rounded corners, an additional row of quick settings, and a new multitasking interface. Overall, FunTouch OS is still one of the better Android implementations around, except for the fact that it’s 2017 and they’re still both running Marshmallow and not Nougat.

More Power

Apart from its second camera, the V5 Plus gets its name from other welcome hardware improvements. For starters it gets a much more capable processor, additional storage space, a slightly bigger battery, and a better main camera.

It also gets a Full HD display which I personally believe should be a standard among mid-range phones these days.  The display on the V5 Plus is nice and crisp with pretty decent contrast and beautifully saturated colors.

Last but not least, and thankfully unlike the V5, the V5 Plus supports fast charging. The omission was a big head scratcher considering the feature came standard on last year’s V3 and V3 Max. In our tests the V5 Plus went from 0 to 80% in 60 minutes and full in just under an hour and 30. The battery lasted us a good full day and then some. 

The Vivo V5 has a beautiful Full HD display and fits comfortably in the hands.

Is the Vivo V5 Plus your GadgetMatch?

Because they are so similar, it’s hard to justify spending an extra $150 to get the V5 Plus over the V5 even if the hardware improvements are very much welcome. The V5 Plus is everything the V5 should have been, except for its price tag.

The phone retails for Php 19,990 in the Philippines and INR 27,980 in India (about $400 US). At that price point there are plenty of other worthy contenders like the Asus Zenfone 3 5.5, Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) or the OnePlus 3T. And for a little bit more there’s also the Xiaomi Mi5s Plus or the Huawei P9.

That’s not to say the V5 Plus is overpriced. For what it’s worth it a solid mid-range smartphone, one that’s a great value for your money. Plus (pun intended) if selfies are very important to you, you’d be hard pressed to find a better phone today.

Hands-On

ASUS ZenFone Max Plus Unboxing and Hands-On

Near-borderless with a large battery!

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It took a while, but we finally have ASUS’ first-ever near-borderless smartphone. And it’s not just a pretty face; it’s got a hefty battery and a pair of cameras at the back, too. Is there any more to the ZenFone Max Plus? Find out in our unboxing and hands-on video.

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ASUS ZenFone Max Plus Hands-on

ASUS’ first 18:9 near-borderless phone

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Phones with 18:9 displays became the norm last year, and it wasn’t a premium feature that’s exclusive to flagship devices. We’ve seen a few midrange near-borderless phones, and here’s another one from ASUS.

If you find the ASUS ZenFone Max Plus familiar, it’s because it’s virtually the same phone as the Pegasus 4S which was launched exclusively in China last November and landed in Russia shortly after.

Another factor that will make you think that you already saw the phone before is its identical design to its smaller sibling — the ZenFone 4 Max. Basically, the ZenFone Max Plus is a taller and more modern-looking variant of the ZenFone Max family.

What makes this phone modern is its 5.7-inch Full HD+ panel. This is ASUS’ first phone with an 18:9 display or Full View as ASUS calls it. While it’s not as edge-to-edge or borderless as premium phones, the taller display gives the phone a fresh trait among budget smartphones.

On the right are the physical keys of the phone: a long button for volume up/down and a shorter one for power/screen lock. Both have the concentric circle pattern for texture, but we wish the power button were more distinct.

At the bottom are the good old micro-USB port and symmetrical holes for the microphone and loudspeaker. Like its non-Plus sibling, ASUS opted not to bless the phone with the reversible and future-proofed USB-C port.

Up top are the 3.5mm headphone port and the noise-canceling microphone. It’s worth noting that the top and bottom portions of phone’s body are plastic to allow radios to pass through, while the main back panel is aluminum.

Thanks to its fantastic paint job, both materials blend well together as can be seen on the back. The phone has a dual-camera setup with an ultra wide-angle secondary camera. The phone’s fingerprint reader is also found on the back which is easily reachable by the index fingers.

Wide-angle dual-camera setup

The phone’s dual rear cameras are a combination of 16- and 8-megapixel shooters. The main shooter has an aperture of f/2.0 and shoots the usual photos like this one:

The secondary 8-megapixel camera is for taking action camera-like shots with its ultra wide-angle lens:

As with any wide-angle cameras, there’s a noticeable distortion or fish-eye effect from the camera, but that’s already expected.

To show the big difference between the main camera and wide-angle secondary camera, check out these photos:

As for selfies, there’s an 8-megapixel shooter accompanied by ASUS’ feature-rich camera app. It has multiple modes including, of course, “beauty” which boasts a number of beautification features.

There’s also portrait mode which applies an artificial bokeh effect. With a single front camera, the effect is somehow unimpressive.

We’ll be taking the phone for a full spin in the coming weeks. Check back soon for more sample shots from the dual wide-angle rear shooters and selfie camera.

Initial impressions

The phone is powered by a MediaTek MT6750T processor. Our model has 4GB of memory and 32GB of storage, but the configuration is region-dependent. Some countries have either 2GB or 3GB of memory and 16GB of storage. There’s a dedicated microSD card slot for additional storage along with two nano-SIM cards.

Android 7.0 Nougat runs on the phone with ZenUI 4.0 on top. We’re not yet sure if the phone will receive Android 8.0 since it’s not named as a member of the ZenFone 4 family, which ASUS promised would get Oreo.

As for the battery, it’s disappointing that it has a smaller 4130mAh cell versus the 5000mAh of the ZenFone 4 Max. But still, ASUS boasts long battery life and fast charging features. The phone can also act as a power bank for other devices through reverse charging with the use of a USB OTG cable. Full battery tests will appear in our review soon.

Official Philippine pricing is PhP 11,995 while in Malaysia is MYR 899.

SEE ALSO: ASUS ZenFone 4 gets Android 8.0 Oreo update

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OPPO F5 6GB Hands-On

It looks absolutely stunning in red!

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The highest-end model of the OPPO F5 family is here.

This is the OPPO F5 6GB. The 6GB RAM is great for gaming and multitasking. It also has 64GB of storage so you can take more photos and selfies!

Speaking of selfies, this one still has that AI Beauty mode. Plus, it’s available in stunning red. What an eye-catcher!

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