Vivo has entered 2022 swinging, with the V23 series launch in the first week in India that includes a lot of firsts for the brand. After years of perfecting the selfie camera game, the good news is that the Vivo V23 series focuses on the front camera and how.
I got my hands on the Vivo V23 Pro a few days back, and it has been my primary device for almost everything. For starters, it packs an elegant design with the first-ever colour-changing glass at the back, which is the biggest USP of the device. Then, the V23 Pro is just 7.36mm slim, making it the thinnest smartphone currently available in India. Keeping selfie-obsessed users happy is a 50-megapixel dual selfie camera which Vivo says is a first in the V-series. The V23 Pro is also the first Vivo phone to bring a 108-megapixel primary camera to India. There's more to keep any spec-obsessed user happy.
Now, V-series smartphones are important for Vivo in India, and these are the ones that drive sales numbers, as per Counterpoint Research quarterly reports.
Thanks to a host of features and specs, the Vivo V23 Pro can easily punch above its weight. But, can we say that the V23 Pro is the new best mid-range smartphone available in India? Read on to find out.
Vivo V23 Pro review: Colour changing rear panel is a head-turner
The first time I got my hands on the Vivo V23 Pro, it looked slightly different from a current lot of V-series phones. Yes, the thin profile is unmissable, and the curved front display should leave a positive impression. But, what did turn out to be almost magic-like was the colour changing back panel.
The V23 Pro sports a back panel with colour changing the glass. This is the country's first with Flourite AG Glass that can change colour when the back panel is taken into sunlight or other sources of artificial UV rays to reflect a blue tone. The best part is it is subtle and eye-catching. Vivo explains that the Fluorite AG Glass sparkles when it interacts with different lights. But, unlike regular glass, the back panel of the V23 Pro is a soft touch with a matte texture and is smudge-free. This is a big departure from many current phones in this segment that do not offer any coating on top of the glass.
In short, the V23 Pro offers a stunning looking phone which allows you to pull a trick when you meet your friends next - a magical experience.
The colour changing back panel is its biggest USP, and during the review period, I used the phone mostly without putting a back cover. On the other hand, the 3D curved AMOLED display and a thin profile of 7.36mm are bonuses for users. Moreover, at 171 grams, the V23 Pro is incredibly lightweight.
Vivo has launched the V23 Pro in Sunshine Gold with a colour-changing back panel and Stardust Black. Though, it's worth noting that the colour-changing glass is only available in the Sunshine Gold variant.
From design to overall usability experience, the V23 Pro is easy on the eyes and easy to use on a daily basis. The V23 Pro can be used with just one hand despite the tall form factor. I like the tactile feel of the physical button that is placed on the right panel. While the bottom panel houses a speaker grille, USB Type-C charging slot and SIM card slot. No surprises for guessing that the V23 Pro ditches the audio jack. However, considering the price bracket, I wish Vivo included the 3.5mm audio jack on the V23 Pro.
The phone comes with a pre-applied screen guard, which you can remove and buy a new one of your choice. In my opinion, it does a reasonably good job. However, while testing a phone, I make it a point that there is no sort of screen guard on the device to see how well it fares during the review period. The good news is that Vivo V23 Pro handles everyday chores conveniently.
The back panel may be the biggest highlight of the V23 Pro, but the front camera also packs some bang. At the front, the phone packs dual selfie cameras in a wide notch above the display. There's no doubt that the front design looks slightly outdated, but it does add value for selfie lovers, so something most users can bear with.
From design to the display, the Vivo V23 Pro features a 6.56-inch AMOLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate and Full-HD+ (1080x2376 pixels) screen resolution. The panel is bright, offers crisp colours, and shows sharp texts. Streaming or watching videos on the V23 Pro is a delight. The display is also HDR 10+ and TUV Rheinland certified, reducing harmful blue light. However, I can admit that this is not the best display I have seen in this price segment.
It's not a letdown in any way, but in my experience, the Vivo X60 packs a far better-looking display than the Vivo V23 Pro, and both were almost launched at the sub-Rs 40,000 price segment.
Vivo V23 Pro review: Impressive cameras with tons of tricks
Vivo's V-series smartphones have seen plenty of selfie camera features, starting with the Vivo V5 to the V21 series last year. The good news is that the Vivo V23 Pro is no exception. The company packs a 50-megapixel eye autofocus selfie camera with an 8-megapixel wide-angle night selfie and dual-tone spotlight feature on the V23 Pro.
Vivo has packed in so much into the V23 Pro's selfie camera that content creators and selfie-obsessed users will love it. The phone offers over 20 custom effects in portraits, which is way more than you get on any phone in this price segment.
For me, the biggest highlight was the dual-tone spotlight feature that helps adjust light tones with the help of a dual flash module. Moreover, the software has been optimised so that you can ditch the ring light at your home and record videos or click selfies with the V23 Pro. Users can adjust selfie light tones between cold, default, and warm yellow. There are just plenty of features for you to choose, like AI Extreme Night, Steadiface Selfie Video, Multi-Style Portrait, Double Exposure, Video Face Beauty, Dual-View Video, Slo-Mo, Live Photo, AR Stickers, Natural Portrait, and Sports Mode Selfie.
In real-world performance, I do not think that any phone under Rs 50,000 can match the selfies taken by the V23 Pro. The selfies came out with excellent details, natural-looking colours, and the eye-focus feature makes sure you are always in focus in your selfies.
Turning my attention to the rear cameras now. The V23 Pro is the company's first smartphone with a 108-megapixel camera in India. The primary camera comes with an f/1.88 aperture alongside an 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera with a 120-degree field of view. The third camera is a 2-megapixel macro sensor. Like the selfie camera, the rear camera packs enough bells and whistles in terms of features. Some that are worth listing are the Super Macro, Bokeh Flare Portrait, and Pro mode.
Talking about the quality, the V23 Pro packs a capable set of cameras. The smartphone impressed me with the results from daylight to low-light conditions. The macro shots came out with many details, while wide-angle shots had an excellent wide dynamic range across most of my camera samples. The auto focusing is quick, and the phone managed to keep good details across all photos. The best part about the V23 Pro is it offers a well-controlled noise in most low-light shots, something that you do not get around in this price segment.
For content creators who love to explore camera capabilities, the V23 Pro is an ideal device. It just offers so much to keep any camera enthusiast glued and happy.
Though the Vivo V23 Pro does have a few limitations, like during the review, I noticed some autofocus delay during low-light conditions while there was visible noise in the corners of low-light samples. But, I can admit that it does better than some of the phones available in the same price bracket.
Overall, the cameras are the strongest point of the V23 Pro and punch above its weight in the department. However, the selfie performance is next level and something you would not have expected in this price range.
Vivo V23 Pro review: Performance that can match flagships
The Vivo V23 Pro is not just about design and cameras. The company this year wants to offer consumers a wholesome package that delivers on every front, including the performance. Under the hood, the phone ships with a MediaTek Dimensity 1200 processor that has been a popular chipset choice of many handset manufacturers in 2021, including OnePlus, Poco, Xiaomi, Realme, and even Vivo.
The V23 Pro comes in two variants - 8GB + 128GB and 12GB + 256GB. We got the former one with 8GB of RAM, and it fared well during the review. Right from handling heavy-graphic games like Battlegrounds Mobile India, Call of Duty Mobile, Asphalt 9, and Need for Speed: No Limits to multiple apps open in the background, the V23 Pro handled all of it with ease.
The best part is that it is built with a mix of glass and plastic, the V23 Pro doesn't get warm during extended gaming sessions. Even during the extended camera use, I didn't notice any issues in terms of heat.
As I mentioned earlier in the review, the V23 Pro is a decent device for multimedia consumption, and the credit goes to the speakers on the device. They are loud enough to keep you glued to gaming or movie sessions.
The phone managed to latch on to 4G networks quite nicely, and I didn't notice any call drops or anything. In addition, of course, the phone supports Wi-Fi calling, which helps enhance the calling experience even in zero network zones if the phone is connected to a stable Wi-Fi network.
The phone runs on Funtouch OS 12, based on Android 12. The UI seems cleaner than the previous iteration and packs features like small widgets, nano music player, album widgets, stickers for the home screen, and a more streamlined multitasking experience. Vivo claims that the V23 Pro supports extended RAM, which can come in handy while editing photos or videos on the device or during gaming.
While Vivo has done a great job by improving the overall UI of the FuntouchOS 12 though, we wish that bloatware apps were gone.
The V23 Pro comes with tons of preloaded apps, like Themes, Vivo.com, iManager, Moj, Josh, Hot games, and Hot apps. While you can get rid of some of the third-party apps that are part of the device as an out-of-the-box experience. However, a few cannot be removed or even forced stopped. I hope that Vivo gets rid of such apps in the future OS and instead makes some of these apps as part of the settings.
Another thing that I wish Vivo included was the IP rating on the V23 Pro, which could have made this an ultimate smartphone choice under Rs 40,000 with additional protection against water or dust.
Vivo V23 Pro review: Decent battery life
The Vivo V23 Pro packs a 4300mAh battery and comes with 44W FlashCharge fast charging support. The smartphone can be charged from 1 to 63 per cent in 30 minutes, which is impressive. The V23 Pro battery performance is something that should impress power users.
With heavy usage, the handset lasts for a full day, including a couple of hours of gaming and apps like WhatsApp, Telegram, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Microsoft Outlook, and Reddit open in the background at all times. Of course, certain apps like the camera app consume more battery if used for extended periods, affecting the overall battery backup. However, the V23 Pro can easily last for over a day with medium use. Overall, the V23 Pro offers a decent battery life.
Vivo V23 Pro review: Verdict
The Vivo V23 Pro is the best V-series smartphone I have used so far. It packs tons of features to compete against arc rivals from other brands. Of course, the colour changing back panel is unique and something that can put a smile on your face with its trick almost every time.
Apart from the design bit, it packs the first 50-megapixel selfie camera along with a 108-megapixel primary rear camera. And, the cameras are capable enough. The dual-tone spotlight feature at the front stands out. In addition, the MediaTek Dimensity 1200 processor does a reasonably good job of keeping things up and running. But the main question comes - is it worth the price?
At a starting price of Rs 38,990, the V23 Pro is a good sub-Rs 40,000 smartphone. But then, I have to admit that other MediaTek Dimensity 1200 processor phones are available at lower price points. This makes the V23 Pro look slightly pricier than other phones like the OnePlus Nord 2 and Poco F3 GT. But, of course, if you want an excellent camera capability, then the V23 Pro beats the competition and justifies its price.