Recently, Vivo launched its new smartphone Vivo V9 with a notch. The phone is not just about notch but other specifications of the phone are also good. Like other Vivo smartphones, this phone is also for those who look for a good camera, especially selfie camera. Vivo V9 packs good hardware and claims a lot about software. Are those claims right? Is this phone worth? Let’s find out in this Vivo V9 review?
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Vivo V9 Review
Vivo V9 looks good with its iPhone-X inspired design having a notch. The notch on Vivo V9 is smaller than the notch we saw in iPhone X. The notch houses earpiece, selfie camera, notification LED, proximity sensor and ambient light sensor.
The phone has 6.3 inches display and claims of having 90% screen-to-body ratio. The phone is light in weight with just 150 grams. The right side gets power and the volume buttons while the SIM tray it on the left. It has two dedicated SIM slots and one microSD card slot. The base side has a speaker, micro USB port, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a microphone. I am not sure why the company didn’t consider USB Type-C for this phone that is now common in this price range.
The phone has a plastic back with glass finish to look good. Unlike glass, it attracts fewer fingerprints and it also makes it less slippery than the glass back. The back houses dual rear camera setup at the top left side and LED flash aligned vertically. The fingerprint sensor has been placed at the top center on the back.
Even if the phone has a large 6.3-inch display, its awesome screen-to-body ratio keeps size low. It is easy to hold with one hand and you can easily reach to fingerprint or volume buttons.
The phone comes with 6.3-inch IPS display with 19:9 aspect ratio and 2280×1080 pixels resolution. It has decent viewing angles and the display performs well in both indoor and outdoors. There is no option to tweak the display output, but very people think of tweaking display in this way. The display also has 2.5D curved Gorilla Glass protection, but the version was not known.
There is also an eye-protection mode or the blue light filter mode. You can either turn it on or off manually or schedule it to turn on and off at the specific time. You can also adjust the color temperature as per your comfort level.
The phone runs on FunTouch 4.1 based on Android 8.1 Oreo. The UI is clean and performs well. You get few bloatware including Flipkart, Amazon, Prime Video, UC Browser, News Point and few social media apps. There is no app drawer, so app icons are on the home screen. You can arrange icons in folders as well.
Many things in UI have been copied from iOS. Swiping from down to up opens the quick settings panel. You can customize this as well. Swiping from top to bottom opens notifications and search. Search allows you to search across contacts, apps, messages, emails, files, calendar events and more. This thing is really helpful.
By default, you get the on-screen navigation keys but you can always switch to navigation gestures. It will take some time to learn all those but that will surely offer you faster access to several things. It has a theme store where you can check themes, wallpapers and lock screen to use on your phone.
There are lots of small features that contribute enough in making the overall experience better. Smart Click feature allows you to set the shortcut action for volume down when the screen is off. You can make a clone of apps and use multiple accounts of Facebook or WhatsApp. If you are riding a bike, you can enable the Motorbike mode to avoid interruption. If you do not want interruption during gaming, you can enable the game mode and set how the phone should manage calls and notification when you are playing a game.
Some other notable UI features use Face Recognition. It lowers the volume of message alerts, incoming call ton and alarms when you are looking at the screen.
I have been using the phone for over a week and experience was fine. There were some minor lags, but it was fine. The UI runs on latest Android and I expect timely updates as well.
The phone packs octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 626 MSM8953 Pro processor with Adreno 506 GPU. The phone has 4GB of RAM to handle multitasking. For this price, this setup is fine and offers good performance. RAM management is also impressive even if it comes with heavily customised skin. Considering the price point, the company could have selected the Snapdragon 630 or 636 for slightly better performance.
The gaming experience on this phone is also good. I tested the phone with several games including Asphalt 8, Dead Trigger 2, Modern Combat 5, PUBG and Strike Force. All these games were smooth with no issue at any time during gameplay. I also didn’t feel much heat. So, this phone is also good for a decent gaming experience.
Here are the benchmark scores on Antutu and Geekbench.
The phone comes with 64 GB of storage but you can also expand the storage with dedicated microSD card slot. So, there is no issue with storage. The phone also supports USB OTG for accessing data from OTG pen drives.
The phone comes with dual camera setup on the back that includes a 16-megapixel primary sensor with f/2.0 aperture and a 5-megapixel secondary sensor with f/2.4 aperture for depth effect in the images. The phone offers Bokeh model and Shot Refocus option for adjusting the depth effect even after clicking the photo. At the front, it has 24-megapixel sensor with f/2.0 aperture.
The camera app on the phone comes with several camera mode and effects. You also have an option for AR stickers. Good thing is that you can even capture portrait shots in Face Beauty mode and adjust the focus as well.
The company claims AI HDR and AI Face Beauty. AI HDR works fine, but it is similar to auto HDR that I found on several other phones. The same goes for AI Face Beauty that works similar to Face Beauty mode in several other brands.
One thing I must admit that the camera on this phone is impressive. It captures accurate colors and dynamic range is also above average. It also focuses fast. At this price, this phone stands as one of the best camera phone.
Indoor shots are fine but lose details. Even in low-light, it captures decent shots but images turn out to be little pale due to the flash. The low-light performance could also have been considering it as a camera phone.
The front camera also performs really well and captures awesome selfies. The front portrait is being captured using the software, so edge detection is not very accurate. But the end result is good. For low-light, it has display flash option. Low-light selfies lack details but images are fine.
I have posted a detailed camera review. So, read Vivo V9 camera review.
The phone has fingerprint sensor that performs well. It quickly unlocks the phone and works from any direction. It also supports Face Unlock that is not as fast as fingerprint sensor but works fine. In low light, face unlock sometimes refuse to unlock the phone. It also has an option to use display flash for low-light to improve recognition in low light. Good thing is that you can even use Face Unlock for app lock and prevent unauthorized access to your apps.
The phone offers decent multimedia experience. Sound quality over audio jack is good but there is no sound enhancement that could have been there. It has a good display and loud sound. So, watching movies or videos and playing games on this phone offers a decent experience. The earphones packed within the box are fine for decent music experience. If you are music freak, you need to get a better one.
The phone supports 4G VoLTE, Bluetooth, WiFi, GPS, dual SIM and micro USB connectivity options. VoLTE support is for both SIM slots. There was no issue with any of these connectivity options. Incall sound is also fine and loudspeaker during call works well.
The phone packs 3260mAh battery that delivers good performance. It easily lasts for over a day with regular usage. Since Vivo does not use traditional battery stats, so it is hard to check how much the battery was used in a particular cycle. So, there is no way to check the screen-on time as well.
The phone takes less than 2 hours in fully charging from 0 to 100%. Even if the phone has SD 626, it lacks fast charging.
Vivo V9 is a good phone for the price it comes. It feels like premium in terms of design and performance match the expectation. It is one of the best camera phones in its price segment and somewhere beats competitors easily. Even if there is too much negativity around Vivo for just focusing on the camera, still keeping the price high. I do not agree with those people. A phone is not about just processor but the overall experience. Most of the Indian consumers judge a phone with its camera and use the camera more than playing games on that. I personally find this a decent phone that justifies its price because the phone is meant for an offline market where deals require a commission for putting this phone on sale.
If you have anything to ask or say about Vivo V9, you can always use the comment section below.
"Vivo V9 is not just a camera phone but it also offers decent performance to be your daily driver."
- Good Design
- Good Display
- Nice Camera
- Average Low-light Camera
- Lack of fast charging
Design and Build 75%
Value for money 70%