Vivo V23 Pro review

Vivo is starting off 2022 with the mid-premium V series. The V23 comes in two variants: the V23 and V23 Pro. The USP here is the colour-changing glass at the back, dual-front cameras for selfies, and the promise of a good overall performance thanks to the MediaTek Dimensity 1200 chipset. We are reviewing the Vivo V23 Pro today and here’s what we thought of the latest phone from the brand.

Vivo V23 Pro specifications: 6.56-inch Full HD+ AMOLED display 90 Hz refresh rate | Mediatek Dimensity 1200 chipset | 8GB or 12GB RAM + 128GB or 256GB storage | Dual SIM | 5G| 4300 mAh battery | 108MP+8MP+2MP camera | 50MP + 8MP front camera | FunTouchOS12 based on Android 12

Vivo V23 Pro price in India: Rs 38,990

Vivo V23 Pro: What’s good?

If you are looking for sleek phones with a stunning design, Vivo is delivering on that aspect very well. The V23 Pro is one of the slimmest phones I have used in the recent past and comes with the curved edge display also seen on the premium X series from the brand. But I must caution that finding a screen guard can be a challenge thanks to the curved edges. And it is even harder to get someone to put a screen guard on such a device as I found out recently.

Vivo V23 Pro, Vivo V23 Pro review Vivo V23 Pro sports a 108MP camera at the back and has an overall sleek design. (Image credit: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express)

The back of the phone has what Vivo is using what it calls a colour-changing Fluroite AG glass. The gold at the back will take on shades of sea-green blue when the sunlight or any light hits it. What is more interesting is that the back manages to retain a matte texture, and is largely fingerprint-resistant. It will maintain that clean finish without a cover as well. However, Vivo is giving a plastic case in the box, which you can use.

Do keep in mind that this slim profile comes at a cost: there’s no headphone jack in the device. There’s no microSD slot either. But Vivo has packed a pair of earphones in the box with a type-C to 3.5mm jack converter. Again this is something we don’t see brands typically offer in the box these days.

Vivo V23 Pro sports a 6.56-inch full HD+ AMOLED display and the display is bright enough for daily activities, be it gaming or watching videos. The display is also perfectly legible in the sunlight. It has a maximum refresh rate of 90 Hz, though by default the setting is at ‘Smart Switch’ where the phone automatically decides the most appropriate refresh rate depending on the usage scenario. I would recommend sticking with this for better battery performance, though during the course of my review I bumped it up to 90 Hz.

Vivo V23 Pro, Vivo V23 Pro review Vivo V23 has a display with a curved edge with a 90 Hz refresh rate. (Image credit: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express)

The phone is powered by the MediaTek Dimensiy 1200 chipset. I have the 8GB RAM+128GB option for review, and it is based on FunTouch OS 12 on Android 12. Vivo is also using the virtual RAM feature, which we’re seeing on many other devices. This allows another 4GB of storage to be allocated as ‘Extended RAM’ though you can turn it from the settings as well.

For daily performance, the Vivo V23 Pro does comparably well, there were no hiccups or stutters when switching between multiple apps or gaming. Games like Asphalt 9, Genshin Impact, Mars: Mars, ran perfectly well. What I also liked was that the game’s slim profile meant it was easier to grip the phone during these gaming sessions. But just ten minutes of Genshin Impact, which is a much more resource-heavy game, meant the phone started getting a bit warm towards the top part.

Vivo V23 Pro, Vivo V23 Pro review The phone runs Mediatek 1200 Dimensity processor. (Image credit: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express)

Another thing that surprised me about the Vivo V23 Pro was when I was setting up the phone, the overall impression was closer to setting up a stock Android phone. But when the ‘Recommended Services’ section appears in the setup, you should turn off the option for Vivo to show ads or other services. This will definitely make the experience less cluttered and reduce irrelevant notifications from popping up.

While the FunTouch OS 12 has improved, there are aspects that are annoying. For instance, in WhatsApp, Vivo has decided to add the ‘Beauty Filter’ when doing video calls or taking pictures, which is not needed and mars the experience. Some of the pre-loaded apps are just as unnecessary in 2022 as they were in the years before.

Vivo V23 Pro, Vivo V23 Pro review Vivo V23 Pro camera sample with bright flowers. (Image credit: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express)
Vivo V23 Pro, Vivo V23 Pro review Vivo V23 Pro camera sample with flowers taken in the evening. (Image credit: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express)
Vivo V23 Pro, Vivo V23 Pro review The ultra-wide-angle camera sample from Vivo V23 Pro. (Image credit: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express)
Vivo V23 Pro, Vivo V23 Pro review A close-up shot of a Christmas ornament taken with the Vivo V23 Pro. (Image credit: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express)
Vivo V23 Pro, Vivo V23 Pro review Vivo V23 Pro camera sample taken in night mode with no lights on, other than the candlelight. (Image credit: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express)
Vivo V23 Pro, Vivo V23 Pro review Another Vivo V23 Pro camera sample. (Image credit: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express)

Vivo V23’s camera performs quite well in bright daylight capturing good details, and the colours are pleasing. A bit more saturated than what I prefer, but the images will keep most users happy. The skin tones are also more natural, though, in some lighting conditions, the camera still makes one look too white.

I also liked the selfie camera upfront as it delivered very pleasing and natural photos. One can see the blemishes on my skin and thankfully it does not look heavily processed. The camera also performs well during night mode and Vivo has managed to get the software right on this aspect. Just remember to keep the camera very still when clicking in night mode.

Vivo V23 Review: What’s not good?

While the main camera performs well when you switch to the other two modes (ultra-wide and macro) the drop in quality is just too obvious. The ultra-wide in particular is not impressive at all. Details are missing when you zoom in on the photos taken in this mode, even if the lighting outside is fine.

Vivo V23 Pro, Vivo V23 Pro review Vivo V23 Pro’s ultra-wide camera was not so impressive in my testing. (Image credit: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express)

Another issue I faced during the review was that the night mode just did not work initially. All I got was a black photo every time I used it. Restarting the camera fixed the problem. Vivo did acknowledge the problem and issued an update for the same. Thankfully, I did not face the same issue again.

The other weak aspect of the phone would be the battery. Vivo has gone for a 4300 mAh battery, which will last just about a day with moderate to heavy usage. Yes, it comes with 44W fast charging, but for those who are heavily into gaming or are generally glued to their phone for hours, the battery might fall short for them. Most other phones are now offering 5000 mAh or higher in some cases, and this might be a deal-breaker for some users.

The Vivo V23 Pro starts at Rs 38,990. (Image credit: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express)

Vivo V23 Pro: Verdict

The Vivo V23 Pro delivers on most of the claims it makes. It has a stylish design to offer, the performance is more than adequate, and the camera performs well, though it could be better in some situations. Where I feel it is a compromise is on the battery front, but again this too will depend on each user’s day-to-day usage. The lack of a microSD card might also make this a no-go for some users.

But the price of Rs 38,990 (for the Pro variant) does mean the phone will have a tough time in the market. There’s the OnePlus Nord 2 which has the same processor is available at a starting price of Rs 29,999 and so does the Poco F3 GT, both of which are capable devices. The premium you are paying is for the style and the dual-selfie cameras, so keep that in mind.

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