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Vivo V5s Review - Capable Selfie And Audio Machine, Improved!

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Earlier in the second quarter, smartphone maker, Vivo launched the V5s with a couple of useful surprises and slight upgrades compared to its brother, the V5.
Vivo V5s Review - Capable Selfie And Audio Machine, Improved!
Meet Vivo V5s in black and white

The mid-range Vivo V5s which was launched second quarter this year has features that are almost identical to its predecessor, the V5.

Apart from having a ROM twice the size of the V5 and an additional novelty feature, the selfie taking option called the groufie, all other features are similar to those of earlier version.

And for a PHP 2,000 difference, the question of which version has more value for your money comes to mind.

We had a chance to use it for more than a month. And in that span of time it was used mainly for work-related tasks (snapping photos, texting, taking calls social media, email and Google Keep).  

We also used the Vivo V5s for blogging which involves a lot of cruising in between apps. 

At first glimpse the Vivo V5s looks normal. It looks like an iPhone; therefore, it looks like every other smartphone in the market unlike some gadgets that automatically demand attention. 

Vivo is well known for its selfie camera's capabilities and to lesser extent their audio expertise which should be in your radar as it is one of the best.

Etched on the box just below the Vivo logo is a kicker that reads "camera and audio phone."

Vivo's strongest points are its camera and audio performance, the latter is however underrated.

Vivo V5s Specs 

Display: 5.5 Inch HD 1280 x 720 resolution w/ 2.5D curved glass and Gorilla Glass protection at 267 ppi
CPU: 1.5 GHz 64 Bit MT6750 octa core processor
GPU: Mali T860
RAM: 4 GB
ROM: 64 GB expandable via micro SD card slot up to 256 GB
Main Camera: 13 MP f/2.2 w/ AF and LED flash
Selfie Camera: 20 MP f/2.0 Sony IMX376 w/ softlight flash
Battery: 3,000 mAh
OS: Android 6.0 Marshmallow OS w/ FunTouch OS
Connectivity: WiFi, 3G, LTE, Bluetooth, GPS, A GPS, dual SIM (hybrid)
Others: Fingerprint scanner, AK4376 HiFi DAC
Sensors: Accelerometer, light, orientation, proximity, gyroscope, sound, magnetic
Dimensions: 153.8 x 75.5 x 7.55 mm
Weight: 154 g
Price: PHP 14,990 (PHP 12,990 sale price)

Disclaimer: Vivo is an advertiser of this site. But, rest is assured of our honest and unbiased reviews.

Specs-wise the Vivo V5s exactly the same as the Vivo V5. The only notable difference is its 32 GB upgrade to its ROM which is now 64 GB. Another additional feature found in the Vivo V5s is the groufie shooting mode.

Unboxing / Accessories

Everything inside
Everything inside

The Vivo V5s came in a box that looks clean, simple and very minimalist. It comes with a USB charging cable, power plug, sim ejector tool, silicon case, earphones and documentation. The phone also comes with a pre-installed tempered glass like screen protector. 

Built Quality and Design

Back cover
Back cover

At first glance, we said the Vivo V5s looks just like every other smartphone available in the market today. Its white variants looks like the iPhone in terms of shape and front camera and earpiece positioning. 

The backplate is made of plastic. Unibody plastic in particular. We kind of wish it were made of something more premium like metal. There's an unverified of Gorilla Glass in front for added screen protection against accidental drops and light scratches.
Close look to the camera, flash and antenna band
Close look to the camera, flash and antenna band
Speaker grill, micro USB port, microphone hole and 3.5 mm headphone jack slot below
Speaker grill, micro USB port, microphone hole and 3.5 mm headphone jack slot below
Power button and volume rocker at right
Power button and volume rocker at right

Just like the iPhone, a camera sits beside the earpiece. To the right of the earpiece sits the proximity and brightness sensors. Right at the bottom of the phone's face lies the fingerprint scanner.

It does not look bad but we think it could use a little bit of uniqueness design wise. 

The phone's curvy and smoothed out edges makes it easy to hold. We found the Vivo V5s' ergonomic design efficient. After holding the phone for extended periods time we did not experience any strain to the hands. 

At the bottom of the phone are the following: 3.5mm headphone jack, microphone, micro USB port and the speaker grill.

The volume rocker and the power buttons are found to the right side of the phone's torso. At the back you can find the main 13 MP main camera and LED flash. 

To the left of the phone's body is the hybrid SD card and sim card tray. 

The new iPhone 7 like antenna bands add to the phone's aesthetic since it perfectly accentuates the phone's curvature. 

Display Quality

5.5 inch 720p screen
5.5 inch 720p screen

The Vivo V5s sports a 5.5 inch display that complements its expertise in selfie taking.  The screen is also big enough to support multimedia viewing's demands.  

But since this is a mid-range phone the screen is only equipped with and 720p HD IPS screen with 267 pixels per inch sharpness compared to some of the competition who use a 1080p display may be lacking.

Nevertheless, colors, resolution and accuracy is impressive. Colors well defined. Blacks could be deeper but it is not an issue at all. We find the contrast good. The display perfectly works will with the 20 MP dual front camera. Skin tones are realistic. Colors are vibrant.

Sunlight legibility is also decent. In our recent trip to Bohol, it had a hard time fighting against the bright 9 am light which made navigation with the screen a little difficult. The screen easily adjusts to direct sunlight with its auto brightness feature, making taking selfies outdoor easier. 

Its eye protection also deserves to be noted it adjusts the brightness and the color spectrum to the warmer side to make it easier to eyes. 

Audio Quality

Packed full of surprises, the phone is tagged as the #PerfectSelfie phone that produces the #PerfectSelfie that my focus and attention we're all poured into the camera, which we think is really great but the audio performance is actually noteworthy!

On the speaker part, overall quality is acceptable. Like the regular V5, it has above average loudness, details and resolution. There's distortion and airiness on max loudness though.

The phone's headphone audio output sits there quietly in an unassuming manner. It took us quite some time before we got to tinker with the phone's audio. When we finally did we we're happy with it's audio output.

The Vivo V5s has AK4376 HiFi DAC chip embedded in its awesomeness! 

The Vivo V5s produces pounding bass, good clarity and defined treble.

Every beat is prominent. And since this phone is super powered by audio chips that allows sound to stay as it is no matter what output device (earphones) you use. 

I played music using different earphones starting from the cheap ones you can buy on a bangketa, the stock earphones and to the Sony Super Bass earphones. I very pleased that the sound remained nice and crisp.

Microphone quality for calls is fairly good. Never had a problem with it. Recordings are also decent for a midrange phone.

Battery Life

PC Mark battery test score
PC Mark battery test score

Based on daily phone usage, we are quite pleased with this phone's battery endurance. However with this phone having 720p display resolution we expected its 3,000 mAh battery to last a bit longer than the usual 8 hour work day. This is consistent with the PC Mark benchmark score of 7 hours and 12 minutes.

On a regular work of recording interviews, doing Facebook Live, booking Uber or Grab rides, surfing the internet, writing articles and taking social media postings our fully charged Vivo V5s could last up to 8 hours.

Charging time takes around 120 minutes (2 hours) which for the price point is acceptable but we hope that fast charging should be implemented sooner.

Camera

Good cameras?
Good cameras?

The main camera boasts of a profile of 13 MP f/2.2 with AF and LED flash. It has many modes HDR, panorama, fast, night, slow motion, and powerpoint.
The camera UI
The camera UI

The manual shooting mode comes in handy if you want to try your hand at a leveled up phone photography game.The maximum 16 of a second shutter speed allows long exposure shots.

With the shooting and editing options it has phone photography using the Vivo V5s is never going to be dull and boring.

The Vivo V5s allows users to have fun with its camera.

With these features up on its sleeves the photos come out crisp. The colors are well defined. Photos shot under good lighting conditions are bright and sharp. 

Low-light shooting using this phone is also great. I prefer using manual mode to shoot night shots because when using auto mode photos become a bit grainy but still passable.

Rear Camera Samples

Window daylight shot
Window daylight shot
Another daylight shot
Another daylight shot
Close-up, well-lit
Close-up, well-lit
Flat lay dim
Flat lay dim
Night shot auto
Night shot auto
Long exposure, 2 seconds
Long exposure, 2 seconds

As always, Vivo is setting the standard for selfie cameras on smartphones. This phone has a 20 MP f/2.0 Sony IMX376 dual front camera with soft light flash. As a result the Vivo V5s promises to give users to take excellent selfies like regular V5.
Selfie cam interface with nice face beauty feature
Selfie cam interface with nice face beauty feature

Compared to its predecessor, the V5, the Vivo V5s has a new camera feature for "groufies". The groufie shooting mode is basically selfie mode that allows you to capture more face in the photo by moving the phone left to right until all faces are registered. 

It's a novelty addition to the phone's features but we can do away with it. We found it hard to capture the faces using the groufie mode. 

We would rather have a regular wide angle mode that could capture more faces in one frame.

Compared to other phones we've reviewed the Vivo V5s' bokeh feature is decent. Bokeh photos come out artificial looking but so far it is one of the better ones for its price point. The beautification shooting mode is also fine. You can adjust the level of beautification depending on how refined you want the photo to come out. 

Selfie Camera Samples

Daylight sample
Daylight sample
Indoor well-lit
Indoor well-lit
The selfie bokeh feature test
Another selfie bokeh mode sample
Another selfie bokeh mode sample
Group shot on auto mode
Group shot on auto mode
Groufie panorama
Groufie panorama
Lowlight cropped
Lowlight cropped

For videos shooting, we would have to give this phone a grade of A+. For it's price range it can shoot good quality 1080p FHD videos, even without OIS. When shot under good lighting conditions videos come out surprisingly nice and clean. 

This phone's selfie camera can shoot good quality videos, too. Actually, we think the dual front camera does the job better than the main camera.


Video Samples


Performance

Benchmark scores
Benchmark scores

The Vivo V5s which is powered by MT6750 octa core matched with 4 GB of RAM scored 42,063 the Antutu test that we ran and posted scores of 595 on single-core, 2,531 on multi-core based on Geekbench test. 

The phone posted the results we were expecting. For the untrained eye of for non-tech geeks the phone reacts instantaneously. We think it is snappy to please even the most discriminating smartphone nerds. 

The 4 GB RAM made multitasking smooth as silk for us. We are glad to report that we did not experience any form of lagging, frozen apps or forced shut downs.

In our review of the Vivo V5 which has an identical processor to the Vivo V5s we said it can keep up with the demands of gaming. Just like the Vivo V5 the Vivo V5s can handle casual to heavy games like Asphalt 8 and NBA 2K17 thanks to its Mali T860 graphics. Although there were lags we found a way around this minor issue by cranking down the gaming settings to medium.
The user interface
The user interface

The software is still the same. It still boots with Android 6.0 Marshmallow OS with
the heavily skinned FunTouch UI. Yes, it still comes with the intuitive feel and jam packed features, but it is still not in Nougat.

On to the fingerprint scanner, we found it highly responsive. In a split second it can recognize the fingerprint to unlock the phone quickly. 

We did not encounter problems with its GSM and 4G signals. It easily detects and connects to WiFi and phone hotspots. The phone Bluetooth also connects to devices like speakers and car receivers easily. The gyroscope works well.

ProsIts strongest point is its 20 megapixel front camera that performs even better than its rear camera, manual camera controls, bigger 64 GB storage
Cons - Vivo V5s looks like every other phone in the market today, the rest of the specs was not upgraded, plastic backplate could use an upgrade

Verdict

Though at first this phone may not appear like it has something special, in the long run it proves you wrong. 

The Vivo V5s is decent for its price PHP 14,990. 

If you love taking photos especially selfies this could be the mobile phone for you. Vivo V5s surely makes the #PerfectSelfie. 

This phone's predecessor, the Vivo V5 does not fall too far behind this newer model. The only difference they have is the fact that the V5s has expanded  memory at 64 GB and it offers groufie shooting mode. 

If you are willing to pay extra PHP 2,000 for extra ROM and would want to try groufie shooting mode you can go for this smartphone.

If we may add, we also like this phone's screen recording feature, too. And its smart split display option which displays app notifications as floating icons while on full screen. 

We think this a great phone if you are looking for something within the mid-range category. we would opt to get this model over it's predecessor. We could use the extra space for all the selfies we can take using this phone.

Build / Design - 4
Display - 4
Audio - 4.25
Battery - 4
Camera - 4
Performance - 4
Average - 4 / 5
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