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Vivo V7 Review - Clearer Selfies for less

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We loved our time with the Vivo V7 Plus and it was only a matter of time until the little brother, the Vivo V7 with the same 24MP selfie camera would arrive.
Vivo V7 review!

It has been our main phone for the past several weeks and here is our review. Bu, before that below is our initial impressions.

For our review part 1: Vivo V7 Unboxing and First Impressions

Display Quality

18:9 is the new standard
18:9 is the new standard

Quality of the screen is good despite the 720p resolution! The V7 boast an immersive type of 18:9 screen w/ 720p HD+ resolution that translates to 282 ppi for a 5.7-inch display.

Decent quality 720p display

Sharpness and detail is okay but even though it is 720p it isn't that far from 1080p. In fact it wasn't obvious until we placed it side by side with a QHD display. It is crisp and colors are punchy, but it is natural looking with a slight colder tone. The contrasts and the blacks are deep. Not as deep as OLED but it is dark enough.

Brightness is decent especially with auto brightness. I leave it turned off though because I like manually setting my brightness.

It also has night mode for eye protection that you can set to be turned on indefinitely or time based automatically. You can also set the level of warmth it adds.

Like its bigger brother, it also has 10 points of touch.

But, of course, it would have been better if Vivo used a 1080p panel.

Audio Quality

Single speaker grill
Single speaker grill

The single bottom facing Speaker on the other hand is good. It gets relatively loud without distortion or drowning out the trebles, mids or highs. Depending on the environmental noise however, it may lack in power. In-general public places, the volume can handle on its own.

The AK4376A HiFi DAC is really good for the price!

It contains an HiFi DAC that allows for significantly better audio quality when playing high quality audio files. This is most apparent when using the stock Vivo earphones and Hi-Fi earphones. As a result, audio quality on this handset is fuller and more detailed than most of the competition. 

The stock earphones however isn't a slouch. The sound quality is good with decent details, volume and definition in a smaller sound stage.

Microphone quality is good for calls and recordings too. It records sound with decent stereo and sound stage. It isn't as layered as we'd like but the people we call never had a problem or complaints in sound quality.

Battery Life

Battery Life
Battery Life

The V7 has a 3,000mAh battery inside
. On paper, it isn't that big, but, in our benchmarks and daily usage, the battery performance of this phone is strong! In our test, we clocked just under 10 hours. 
Battery life of the V7+ is much longer in our benchmarks though.

Strong battery even on LTE!

Actual performance is even better, we would unplug the phone at 8AM and we would get home at 8PM and the battery would be at 30 to 35% at the end of the day. This was our normal routine of calls, text, instant messaging, Chrome browsing, YouTube streaming, Uber or Grab, and some light games. Take note, this was all while using LTE.

However, charging time is okay. It's not the fastest but not the slowest either. Charging time from 0 to 100 percent is around 2 hours using the stock 2A charger.

Camera

Single 16MP camera
Single 16MP camera

At the back, the Vivo V7 has a 16MP f/2.0 OV16880 w/ AF and LED flash. It has a shallower maximum aperture as the OPPO F5 at f/1.8 but the difference is almost negligible.

It also auto HDR, face beauty, panorama, Ultra HD, and Professional mode. The Professional mode has adjustments for white balance, EV (-3 to +3), ISO (100 to 3200), shutter (1/625th to 16 seconds), and manual focus.

Main camera is decent for the price!

In terms of quality, the rear camera of the V7 is good! It's not the best in class but it is above most of the competition. Focus fast and can go as near as most midrange phones. Shutter speed is fast even on auto HDR mode. This is the same even in lowlight.

Sharpness and details are good enough with the color accuracy is better than expected in daylight.

In lowlight, the images are a mixed bag. On some images, even though it is pitch black, the images maintain details and sharpness to an acceptable degree. 

In some cases there is noticeable softness because of the noise reduction and the amount of grain compared to the competition, this could be better. I think this can be remedied by increasing the shutter speed or by OIS to reduce the human factor of handshake.

Rear Camera Samples

Daylight
Daylight
HDR
HDR
Close-up
Close-up
Indoor dim
Indoor dim
Indoor lowlight
Indoor lowlight
Lowlight
Lowlight

Let's be honest, the main camera of the Vivo smartphones are always the selfie cameras and this one is the same as the Vivo V7+. It is one of our favorite cameras to date. In day light it is not the best but the sharpness, color, dynamic range and contrast is very good.

It is in low light where this camera shines! It maintains the capability from the V7 Plus where in we would take selfies in pitch black areas and it was able to keep the exposure of the image well lit with minor color cast and acceptable grain. Almost no other selfie camera can do this! The LED flash works but it does barely nothing. We almost always just use the selfie camera on its own!


Still the best low light selfie camera on the market!

Focus and shutter are quick for a selfie. The day light images from full auto remain sharp, with punchy but accurate colors. The contrast is decent. It can compete with most Selfie centric phones of 2017!

The face beauty mode can smoothen out your skin in stills. I couldn't get it to work on video. I do think it's too obvious and artificial. It also gets the bokeh mode but I find this more of either a hit or miss. Hair is where the out of focus fall off fails and becomes too obvious. 

Honestly, I prefer the images of this camera without the bokeh. One of the best in the market today!

Selfie Camera Samples

Daylight
Daylight
Portrait against the light
Portrait against the light
Indoor selfie
Indoor selfie
Lowlight selfie 1
Lowlight selfie 1
Lowlight selfie 2
Lowlight selfie 2
Pitch black selfie
Pitch black selfie
  With softlight flash
With softlight flash

For videos, both the main camera and selfie camera can shoot up to 1080p in quality.  Only the main camera has the 8x digital zoom while the selfie camera can zoom up to 2x in both video and stills. Focus for both the main camera and selfie camera is a bit slower for videos compared when taking photos.

Exposure and color is identical to stills. The cameras are surprisingly more stabilized than expected even with the lack of OIS. It is not indicated in the specs sheet, but we suspect that both its rear and selfie cameras have EIS.

Performance

Good benchmark scores
Good benchmark scores


The Vivo V7 has the underrated Snapdragon 450 with the Adreno 506 makes this a beast for a 720p display. This results in great performance in day to day use. We almost never experienced lag, stuttering, or forced closures.

One of the speedier phones for the price!

In addition, this phone has 4GB RAM to ensure multitasking performance is great while the storage is at 32GB. The OPPO F3 earlier this year has 64GB of storage.

Actual performance is good for the price. It is always fast, great for multitasking and it never heated up even for extended LTE video streaming or for extended gaming runs.

For gaming, it can easily load most of the demanding 3D games w/ ease even on medium to high settings without hiccups!
FunTouch OS
FunTouch OS

The Vivo V7 sports the latest version of FunTouch OS that is based on Android 7.1.2 Nougat!

The experience here is the same with the bigger brother the V7 Plus! This is still one of our favorite Android skin because it combines the great things about Android and iOS like the notification panel when you swipe down, and the control panel when you swipe up.

Fingerprint scanner is fast, accurate, and instantaneous. We have no problems with it. We liked that it was moved to the back of the phone but after registering for the face unlock access, we almost never use the fingerprint sensor now.

The accuracy and seamlessness of the face unlock access makes the simple tap of a finger on the scanner feel like so much effort. It would miss one out of ten times though but a second try usually fixes this quickly.

The control center has easy shortcuts for turning the WiFi, data, Bluetooth, GPS, power saving, hotspot, and more. It also allows you to adjust the brightness easily.

Another added useful feature is the ability to long screenshot and screen recording! This is wonderful if you want to be able to record or screenshot long conversations or long step by step tutorials or the like.

Similar with the Vivo V7+, the multitasking was one of the bigger updates to Android lately but FuntouchOS actually limits multitasking windows with selected apps. This is probably because of the 720p which limits real estate.

Telephone connectivity is good with strong signal and steady 4G data connectivity. There's the usual WiFi, Bluetooth and GPS as well that never failed us. 

Moreover, this phone has OTG support, gyroscope sensor, that works rather well.

Pros - Easier to hold with one handSnapdragon 450 is underrated, Adreno 506 is good for gaming, 4GB RAM, best low light selfie camera yet, face unlock Access is fast, HiFi FAC
Cons - Plastic back plate, 720p resolution

Verdict

The Vivo V7 is basically the little brother of the V7+. It inherits the underrated Snapdragon 450 and the Adreno 506 with the amazing selfie camera even in low light. So if you find the V7 Plus attractive but wanted it in a smaller package that is easier to hold and for a cheaper price than this phone is for you! 

Build / Design - 4
Display - 4
Audio - 4.25
Battery - 4.25
Camera - 4.25
Performance - 4.25
Average - 4.16 / 5
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