‘selfie’ as the word that change the world mobile phone industry. The dictionary editors had then said that, “the word has evolved from a niche social media tag into a mainstream term for a self-portrait photograph.” As per Wikipedia Selfi is A selfie is a self-portrait photograph, typically taken with a smartphone which may be held in the hand or supported by a selfie stick. Selfies are often shared on social networking services such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. They are for vanity, usually flattering, and are casual in nature (or made to appear casual). “Selfie” typically refers to self-portrait photos taken with the camera held at arm’s length, as opposed to those taken by using a self-timer or remote. A selfie, however, need not include a sole individual. “Selfies” may include multiple subjects as long as the picture is actually being taken by one of the subjects featured in the photo The selfie phenomena since then has grown multi-fold, so much so that there’s an entire ecosystem around most it. Smartphones have been the single biggest contributor in the whole selfie craze. Perhaps it won’t be a gross exaggeration to say that certain brands have thrived and survived just because of selfies.
One such chinies brand is Vivo as over the last couple of years it is associated with selfie-centric smartphones. Vivo & Oppo is the two most nearest competitor in the field of Selfi smart phone Market. The recent addition to Vivo’s flagship model of the Year 2018 is the Vivo 9 A 24MP high quality selfie camera parallel to iPhone X-line notch, bigger display – on paper Vivo V9 looks like a phone to reckon with. But as they say, there’s many a slip between the cup and the lip. We used the Vivo V9 for a few days and here’s what we think of it:
Vivo V9 Design: Notch, glass finish polycarbonate back
“Is it the new iPhone?” “When did you buy the iPhone X?” were some of the quips we faced as soon as someone saw the Vivo V9 with us. There’s no denying the fact that Vivo V9 is heavily ‘inspired’ by Apple’s latest flagship. And it’s not something that only Vivo is guilty of as the market is soon going to be flooded with a bunch of iPhone X clones. As you get past the whole iPhone X angle, you do realise that Vivo has worked hard on the design. To begin with at just 150 grams, this is a seriously light device for its sheer size. The screen size is 6-inch plus but more on that in the display.
The front of the device is completely taken over by the impressive screen which has almost 90 per cent screen-to-body ratio. At the back you find another iPhone X similarity – the vertical dual rear camera set up. The fingerprint scanner and the Vivo branding also find a place at the back of the device.
The back has a Highly glossy finish and the review unit we got as in Champagne Gold colour. The Vivo V9 has an aluminum back and the device is 7.9mm thick only.. It’s a surprisingly easy to use device considering its size. The other usual set of specifications include the 3.5mm audio jack, speaker grille and micro USB port which are located at the bottom. The left side is home to the hybrid SIM slot whereas the usual suspects like the power button and volume rockers find a space on the right hand side.
Vivo V9 Display: 6.3-inch full HD+ with 19:9 aspect ratio
As more and more users turn to their smartphones for watching videos or OTT content, display has clearly emerged as a critical aspect. Before we get into the display experience, let’s get the specs out of the way. The Vivo V9 The smartphone features a 6.3-inch full HD+ (1080×2280 pixels) IPS display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 on top. There’s also 2.5D curved glass and a 19:9 aspect ratio. And then there’s the notch. The notch is the most prominent part of the display and while it’s borrowed from Apple, there’s a lot of difference. The notch on Vivo V9 is much shorter and has the selfie sensor and speaker. Credit to Vivo for doing a fine job of incorporating it sleekly in the notch.
As for the actual display, Vivo V9 delivers impressive performance. The 19:9 aspect ratio is the star of the show here as it is one of the better screens you will spot. Watching videos is a treat on the Vivo V9 while images appear sharp and clear. It’s not all smooth sailing though with the V9’s display. The moment you step under direct sunlight, the display is slightly dull. Even though the brightness levels are satisfactory, it definitely takes a beating outdoors.
Unbelievable power with Qualcomm Snapdragon 626, 4GB RAM
We were a bit disappointed to find that under the hood the Vivo V9 has the octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 626 processor. While it’s not a slight on the processor, for a device that claims to boast of the ‘flagship’ tag, it could have had a better processor. Unlike most of its competition, the Vivo V9 also doesn’t have a 6GB variant and comes with 4GB RAM. To put it bluntly, these aren’t really top-of-the-line specs and perhaps belong in the mid-tier segment. The smartphone packs 64GB of inbuilt storage and supports expandable storage via microSD card up to 256GB.
Power with Funtouch 4.0
Having said that, the Vivo V9’s performance will pass the tests for most users for all the routine tasks they entrust their smartphones with. The smartphone runs the latest Android Oreo 8.1 which is based on Funtouch OS 4.0. There are a lot of preloaded apps that come with Vivo V9. These include vivo Cloud, vivo.com as well as Flipkart, Newspoint, Amazon Prime among others. The unfortunate thing here is that you can’t delete them – apart from the third-party apps. We didn’t use most of the preloaded apps and found them a bit pointless. The overall UI for most Android users will be easy to get accustomed to.
There is a lot of iPhone in the Vivo V9 in terms of the interface. For instance, swiping up from bottom you get options to increase the volume, brightness or turning on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. It also shows the frequently used apps.
The Vivo V9 has the picture-in-picture mode and one can go to Settings and which apps support it. There are some nice software enhancements like one-handed mode, app cloning and smart motion gestures. It’s something we have also seen on the Motorola devices. For instance, if you just shake the device, the flashlight can be turned on.
While the 19:9 aspect ratio is a great feature to have, some apps – and most games – still opened in 18:9 aspect ratio. Even while playing YouTube videos, you will notice a black strip which is an eyesore. In terms of software, the Vivo V9 could have had offered a better experience. For example, the Vivo 9 runs the Touch Pal keyboard which is frankly quite outdated.
The two other common features doing the rounds also find a place in the Vivo V9. Both the fingerprint scanner (at the back) and the face unlock feature. The fingerprint scanner is as smooth as it gets and the face unlock also works more or less. If you’re in a low-light area, the Vivo V9 does take more than two attempts to unlock through face recognition.
A feature that really impressed us on the Vivo V9 is the audio performance. The speaker on the Vivo V9 does a really fantastic job and is very loud. It is one of the best speaker we have come across in a smartphone.
Vivo V9 Camera: 24MP front camera, 16MP+5MP rear camera
It’s clear that the camera is where Vivo has marketed itself differently from competition. The camera is supposed to be its ‘pièce de rèsistance’. Let’s delve into the selfie camera which is a 24-megapixel sensor with f/2.0 aperture. It has a lot of features like Face Beauty, Face Beauty video call, HDR mode and Gender Detection ( a bit bizarre).
What Vivo is also marketing the device is for its AI-enabled camera. Here the AI-powered camera deals more with the Face Beauty – in other words it does have an effect on the images but it’s not something we really appreciated. The use of AI here is more for an effect rather than really going deep and have a more meaningful impact.
Over the years, Vivo has worked hard to improve the selfie camera and the results are evident in the V9. The selfies clicked with the Vivo V9 came out sharp and extremely accurate – especially outdoors. One can see the colour accuracy and sharpness vividly. The selfie camera also autofocuses extremely quickly. There’s another iPhone-like feature here as well. The Live photo feature which records what happens 1.5 seconds before and after a picture is clicked. It’s clear that Vivo has left no stone unturned in giving the perfect selfie experience. The Portrait bokeh mode has also been added to the front camera and the results are impressive. The selfie camera lives up to its reputation and is one of the better ones around.
The AR stickers which we saw in Samsung’s Galaxy S9 smartphones also find a place in the Vivo V9. But it functions differently. What you can do with AR stickers is that you can use a lot of stickers on AR selfie. It’s a fun feature to have and the Snapchat brigade will actually like it.
If the front camera doesn’t leave much room for complaints, the rear camera is a different story altogether. The Vivo V9 sports 16-megapixel and 5-megapixel sensors at the back placed in a vertical setup. You can also find single LED below the cameras. For starters, the default mode on Vivo V9 is bizarrely called Take Photo. You can also find other modes like Professional, Ultra-HD, Slo-mo, Time Lapse, Bokeh mode, Shot refocus, HDR, Face Beauty, and Panorama. We clicked a lot of images with the Vivo V9 and the problem we had was the consistency. It’s not as if the camera doesn’t click good quality images. It does – especially outdoor shots – but in dim-lit conditions the
The Bokeh mode is one of the better we have seen and is clearly the highlight of the rear camera. The Live feature works well and overall in outdoors, the Vivo V9 delivers crisp and sharp images. For instance, we clicked a lot of images in the neighbourhood park and most of the images were reasonably good. The colour rendering was good as was the detailing. But in poorly lit conditions, it didn’t impress us at all.
Combine the front and rear camera experience and you get a smartphone which will meet most smartphone users’ expectations. The selfie camera is one of the best around but the rear camera could’ve been better. It keeps in tone with the overall vibe of the smartphone. Some excellent features while some aren’t really up to the mark.
The 3260mAh battery on the Vivo V9 delivers impressive performance. One can throw a host of tasks at the Vivo V9’s battery and it handles with consummate ease. Those who love to check Instagram or Facebook every five minutes or watch a lot of videos can easily use the smartphone for a day without having to reach for their charger. If you’re a moderate user then the Vivo V9 can easily last you a day and a half.