Hands-On

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.

[irp posts=”8380" name=”Vivo V5 vs Oppo F1S”]

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.

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Hands-On

Xiaomi Mi 9 Hands-On: 2019 Flagship Killer?

BEAST!

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Top of the line specs, amazing cameras, and high-speed wireless charging. MWC hasn’t even officially started yet, so it might be premature to say this, but has Xiaomi just unveiled the 2019 flagship killer?

We recently got to spend time with Xiaomi’s latest flagship and this is our hands-on video.

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Hands-On

Samsung Galaxy M20 hands-on: Give the users what they want

Awakening of the sleeping giant

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Samsung has been the smartphone market leader for half a decade now, and its flagship phones continue to be an inspiration for everyone. However, while the brand is dominating in developed markets, it has taken a massive beating in the developing ones.

Thanks to players like Xiaomi, the South Korean brand has consistently lost market share in countries like India. Samsung slowly prepared itself to change strategy by the end of last year and intends to go hard in 2019. It announced the new Galaxy M-series lineup of phones in the budget segment and the M10 and M20 are the first ones to roll off the shelf.

The M20 has been launched in India for INR 10,990 (US$ 154) and comes with 3GB RAM and 32GB internal storage. The option with 4GB RAM and 64GB internal storage costs INR 12,990 (US$ 182). The phone goes up against the Redmi 6 Pro, Realme U1, and even the Mi A2.

To start with, Samsung has opted to go with a basic design, consisting of a plastic body that is curved at the edges and is pretty glossy. The phone is extremely comfortable to hold, and the build quality is top-notch. Even the buttons are very tactile and bezels are smaller.

On the front is a 6.3-inch TFT display with a Full HD resolution and small water-drop style notch on the top. This is the first Samsung phone to feature a notch, and the display quality is surprisingly good. The color production is vivid and satisfying, while the viewing angles are perfect. It is easily visible even under direct sunlight.

For authentication, a fingerprint scanner is located on the rear and it is fast enough. You also have the option of face unlock and it works quickly in well-lit conditions. It has dual-SIM support and there’s a separate slot for microSD card, as well.

Powering the phone is an octa-core Exynos 7904 processor, which is considered to be on par with the Snapdragon 636. It is a very power-efficient processor with more emphasis on the cameras. Day-to-day tasks are handled smoothly and games like PUBG are playable with low graphics.

It has a dual-camera setup on the rear, consisting of a 13-megapixel primary shooter and a 5-megapixel wide-angle sensor. The pictures clicked during daytime are decently saturated but lack sharpness. Even focus tends to get slow in low-light conditions. The wide-angle lens works best in bright surroundings only and is a very handy tool. For selfies, it has an 8-megapixel shooter with built-in beauty enhancements.

It ships with Samsung Experience 9.5 out of the box and is actually well optimized. There is barely any lag and the UI offers a plethora of customizations and features. The company announced that the Android Pie update will be landing soon. Lastly, it has a massive 5000mAh battery that’ll get you through two days of usage.

Xiaomi has been successful because it offers users a balanced product that suits everyone’s needs. With the M20, Samsung goes down the same road. While the recently announced A-series phones were for photography enthusiasts, the M20 is good enough for everything.

The M20 is no disruptor, but an indication that Samsung is gearing up. And as a generation-one product, it’s performing fairly well.

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Cameras

Fujifilm Instax SQ20 hands-on: How good is it?

Trying out the new Motion Mode on doggies!

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Fujifilm’s sequel to their first ever digital/analog hybrid is here and it’s looking better than ever. The Instax SQ20 is one classy-looking instant camera but what can it do? With a set of built-in filters and new features like the Motion Mode, it looks like a promising device.

I finally try it out, with help from some doggies, on our hands-on video.

The SQ20 retails for US$ 199 in the US, PhP 12,999 in the Philippines, and SG$ 299 in Singapore.

In case you’re having trouble viewing, watch HERE.

READ ALSO: Fujifilm Instax SQ10 review

READ ALSO: Prynt Pocket unboxing and review: A printer that prints videos?

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