Vivo kicked off 2020 in India with the S1 Pro, a mid-ranger with strong camera performance, and a rather quirky design.
Now with their post-lockdown contender, the Vivo V19, there's a lot that's different, and there's some that remains the same.
The first thing you'll notice about the V19 is the display, and more specifically, the selfie cameras embedded in the display. Vivo has done away with the notch and opted for a pill-shaped hole punch, with an added extra sensor for better images from the front camera system. It's a vibrant super AMOLED display that gets fairly bright, and features a 1080 x 2400 pixel resolution. The 20:9 aspect ratio display provides a good amount of screen real estate, but it's worth noting that if you want apps like Netflix to display content in full screen, you'll have to change the default settings. Now there's no 90Hz or 120Hz high refresh rate here, it's just your standard 60Hz screen. The reason for that most likely, is that Vivo hasn't engineered this phone only towards gamers like they've done in the past, but to a different, more photo-savvy market.
There's more proof of this when you take a look at the chipset--the Vivo V19 runs on the Snapdragon 712 with the Adreno 616 GPU, which is just about enough for a phone at this price point. That's not to say that this chipset isn't good for gamers--it was marketed as a mid-range gaming processor on phones like the Vivo Z1 Pro in 2019, but in 2020 it seems to be a bit under-powered compared to the likes of the Snapdragon 730. While it's definitely not breaking any benchmark records, it does get the job done. That means you can play PUBG Mobile with the settings turned to High graphics, but there are going to be noticeable frame drops every now and then. However, the 8GB RAM is ample enough to keep things running smoothly for the most part.
The consumer Vivo has aimed at with the V19 is the photography enthusiast, and on that front, there's quite a lot to like. The rear camera system gets a 48MP primary sensor, joined by an 8MP ultrawide lens and two sensors for macro and depth photography, both with 2MP sensors each. It seems to be the same system from the S1 Pro, but the V19 has the added ability of being able to shoot video in 4K at up to 60fps, albeit without optical image stabilisation, which would've been a nice bonus.
Pictures taken with the V19 are well processed for a Vivo phone, with good dynamic range and frames with both light and dark areas being managed quite well. The ultrawide sensor is a strong performer, with minimal distortion and unlike other smartphone makers, there's no aggressive vivid colour profile added to images. That means there's no stark difference between pictures taken with the regular wide sensor and the ultrawide one. The Super Macro mode is fairly decent and captures a good amount of detail, even if the colours are a bit lacking. The dedicated Night Mode works pretty well too, and boosts the sharpness and exposure in low light scenarios without adding a whole lot of grain. Overall, images taken with this device are consistently good, and the main sensor even manages to capture some decent depth when put together with the 2MP dedicated sensor.
Speaking of depth, the 32MP+8MP dual sensor setup on the front lets you take portrait selfies, and where most single sensor modules struggle with edge detection through AI, the V19 does a good job of detecting depth with the front facing cameras. A nifty feature of the front camera is the ultrawide selfie, which is useful if you're trying to capture more in your frame.
On the design front, the phone is simple enough, and doesn't come with any unique charm phones like the S1 Pro carry, which isn't to say it looks bad. We received the more muted Piano Black variant, but if you're looking for something a little flashy, Vivo offers a Mystic Silver variant, that throws up all kinds of pretty colours and reflections.
When it comes to utility, there's a headphone jack here, USB Type-C charging and a bottom-firing speaker. It's worth noting though, that it's not a dual stereo speaker setup, so if you're playing games, you may want to plug in a headset. There is a large 4,500 mAh battery however, with 33W fast charging, which gets from 0 to over 50% in around half an hour. An in-display fingerprint scanner has been made available which isn't as fast as the physical scanners Vivo has used previously, but it gets the job done.
The phone runs Android 10 with Vivo's Funtouch OS on top, which while not the best experience, is a definite improvement over past iterations of the skin. Features like Dark Mode are handy, as is the Ultra Game Mode, that can block notifications and free up RAM from background tasks to provide more punch to the gaming experience.
To sum up, the Vivo V19 looks like a bit of a mixed bag at ₹27,990 for its 128GB storage model, especially if you compare it with cheaper devices from Poco, Xiaomi and Realme that pack more specifications. Vivo, however, seems to placing its bets on the TikTok and Instagram generation that will most definitely appreciate the image quality from both the front and back cameras. While it may not have a top-tier chipset or insanely fast refresh rates, the phone is what Vivo makes best--a good all rounder, for a price that doesn't break the bank.