If you ask Vivo what is the brand's DNA, the company will tell you that it is "innovation". Now, innovation can mean different things to different brands and different people. When it comes to Vivo, one area where you can ascribe "innovation" is in the way it brings some unique and new technology to the mainstream phone market.
For example, Vivo was the first brand to bring in-display fingerprint sensor technology to an under Rs 30,000 smartphone with the V11 Pro. It was also the first smartphone brand to bring a pop-up camera phone to the masses with the V15 Pro. There are two constants here: Vivo and V series. With the latest Vivo V17 Pro, the company again brings something to consumers ahead of any other brand. The Vivo V17 Pro is a phone with a dual-selfie camera inside a pop-up module.
I have been using the V17 Pro for around 10 days now and feel that the camera performance of this phone is one of the best I have seen under Rs 30,000. The V17 Pro launches in India with a price of Rs 29,990. The phone comes with a total of six cameras! Four sit on the rear panel in a vertically placed module while the other two sit are inside the pop-up module on the front.
But apart from cameras, what else? What about the battery? The display? The performance? Some good, some not so much. So can the V17 Pro compete with smartphones from other brands at the same price point like the Redmi K20 Pro? Let's find in this Vivo V17 Pro review.
Vivo V17 Pro design
Vivo phones do design well. The V17 Pro is no exception. The Vivo V17 Pro is a gorgeous looking smartphone, and surely one of the best in its price segment. It comes in two colours -- Midnight Ocean and Glacier Ice. The one pictured in this review is the Glacier Ice variant.
The mix of light blue and white in this variant makes the Vivo V17 Pro very attractive. The Vivo V17 Pro sports Gorilla Glass 6 protection on the back panel. Yes, finally a glass body phone from Vivo. Most smartphones these days come with Gorilla Glass 5 but for the V17 Pro Vivo goes a step ahead and uses GG6 instead. The glass body adds to the overall aesthetics of the Vivo V17 Pro.
Overall, I believe the back panel of the Vivo V17 Pro is neatly designed. The good bit is despite sporting so many cameras the design of the quad-camera module has clean lines and doesn't look cluttered. Similar to most Vivo phones, this one too isn't very slick. The Vivo V17 Pro feels bulky in hands, probably because of the 4100mAh battery inside it.
On the front, it is an all-screen affair. There's an in-display fingerprint sensor that is fast and unlocks the smartphone quickly. On the front, the camera module is a highlight of the design. To repeat, the Vivo V17 Pro is the world's first dual pop-up camera smartphone.
Until now we have seen smartphones with pop-up camera mechanism with single image sensor in it but with the V17 Pro Vivo introduces dual pop-up camera mechanism. The module is a bit broad as it includes two cameras and an LED flash. I find the pop-up speed of the camera a bit slow but that shouldn't matter much because there's no face unlock in this smartphone. The speed of the module is fine enough for the occasions when you want to click a selfie.
Vivo V17 Pro display
Besides the stunning design, display is another area of the Vivo V17 Pro that impressed me a lot. The Vivo V17 Pro comes with a 6.44-inch Super AMOLED display with resolution of 2400x1080 pixels, aspect ratio of 20:9, and screen-to-body of 91.65 per cent. In other words, lots of screen, lots of pixels. The full-screen display gets pretty bright in all lighting conditions, be it inside a room or outside under scorching Jaipur sun. The Vivo V17 Pro also comes with always-on display, which is useful.
The screen is bright enough. In outdoor situations, I had to keep the brightness to maximum but indoors around 40 per cent of brightness level worked perfectly fine for me. Thanks to the Super AMOLED display the Vivo V17 Pro is great for watching videos. Whether you are watching a YouTube video or a Netflix series, or playing a graphics heavy games the Vivo V17 Pro performs well. The viewing angles, because of the OLED panel, of the Vivo V17 Pro screen are great.
Vivo V17 Pro camera
And this is the best aspect of the Vivo V17 Pro. The Vivo V17 Pro is one of the best phones you can buy right now under Rs 30,000 if you want good camera performance.
Hardware first. On the rear panel the Vivo V17 Pro comes with 48MP primary Sony IMX582 sensor, 13MP telephoto lens, 8MP wide angle lens and 2MP depth sensor for portrait shots. On the front the V17 Pro includes 32MP primary shooter and second camera is an 8MP super wide-angle lens.
The Vivo V17 Pro captures some great shots, especially in good light. The pictures clicked with the Vivo V17 Pro appear with amazing details and almost original-like colours. The dynamic range is also pretty good. In addition to pictures clicked with the main sensor I loved the ultra wide angle and macro shots that the Vivo V17 Pro clicked. The ultra wide-angle lens offer a new perspective and lets users click wider area at close range to the subject. The camera app includes super macro mode and that's one of my favourite camera features of the V17 Pro. The super macro shots (check samples above) capture great amount of details and spot-on colours.
In good light the V17 Pro produces great result, but in low-light the performance is only respectable, and that too largely because of the Night Mode. In low-light, the V17 Pro clicks pictures that look decent overall but often lack details and colours. The Night Mode improves the picture quality.
The Vivo V17 Pro also clicks pretty good selfies with accurate facial details. The camera sometimes softens the selfie but that doesn't affect the photo quality in any way. Low light performance isn't that good. But here too Night Mode is available. The Super Night Mode for the front cameras lightens the selfies clicked with V17 Pro and makes them look better. The second 8MP camera is for clicking ultra-wide selfies. This can be used to click group selfies.
Vivo V17 Pro performance and software
If there are two areas where the V17 Pro could have been better, they are performance and software. The Vivo V17 Pro is a good upgrade to the Vivo V15 Pro in all aspects except performance. The Vivo V17 Pro is powered by the same Snapdragon 675 processor from Qualcomm that is also inside the V15 Pro. For a phone that costs around Rs 30,000, we would have liked to see an upgrade here.
In fact, there are the Vivo Z1 Pro and the Vivo Z1X that cost less and come with a newer Snapdragon 712.
But what's in the specs? Let's talk of the real-world performance. The Snapdragon 675 processor is a good chipset and offers decent performance as well. The Vivo V17 Pro handles games -- both heavy GPU and basic -- well. It's just that in some games and with prolonged gaming you may see some lag from time to time.
I mostly found the V17 Pro capable and lag-free. Switching between applications, browsing social media or the internet, chatting, and all other everyday tasks are handled well by the Vivo V17 Pro. I played long PUBG sessions on the Vivo V17 Pro and the experience was decent. It wasn't buttery smooth but unless I cranked up the graphics settings -- that made the game-play laggy -- the game was playable. By default, PUBG runs in high frame rate but most of the time I set the frame rate to medium or sometimes low as that improved the gaming experience. So, for me the overall performance of the Vivo V17 Pro was decent enough if not great.
Software too is an area where I believe the V17 Pro could have been better. Similar to other Vivo phones, on the V17 Pro too the FunTouch OS running the Vivo V17 Pro is a bit cluttered. Vivo's custom OS Funtouch OS brings too many third-party apps with it. The FunTouch OS appears to be cluttered to me with too many options on one screen and that often confuses the user. Similar is the case with the camera app as well -- it's way too full of settings and features. The latest FunTouch OS 9, however, brings a range of new features like system-wide dark mode, among other things.
Vivo V17 Pro battery
The Vivo V17 Pro offers really good battery life. The Vivo V17 Pro comes with 4100mAh battery and it supports 18W fast charging. I used the Vivo V17 Pro as my primary device -- this means I used the phone for chatting on WhatsApp, browsing social media, sending emails, making calls, and so on -- and it lasted for almost a day.
The icing on the cake is the 18W fast charging support that charges the V17 Pro pretty quickly. It takes around 1.5 hours (approx) to charge the V17 Pro fully with its bundled charger. Similar to the Vivo Z1X this one too comes with Type C support and that's great.
Should you buy Vivo V17 Pro?
The Vivo V17 Pro comes with a price of Rs 29,990 in India. This is little on the expensive side. Not that the V17 pro is shabby. You will likely love it, it is just that there are competitors in the Indian market.
There are great smartphones available across various price segments. Under Rs 20,000 there's Realme XT that is not only a powerhouse but also clicks great shots. Then there's Redmi K20 Pro under Rs 30,000 price bracket that offers powerful performance, great cameras, amazing battery life and so much more. Then comes the Vivo V17 Pro with great cameras and price almost touching Rs 30,000.
To get it right off the bat the V17 Pro is a good smartphone to consider if the camera is your key concern. It should also be considered if you want your smartphone to be innovative or have dual pop-up camera setup. Overall, I believe if you want a good camera in your smartphone and are not going to spend a penny more than Rs 30,000, then the V17 Pro is the one for you. If the camera can be compromised, there are other options available.