Written by Cheryl Tan
Hate notches, teardrop front cameras or just bezels in general? Maybe you’d like to consider the Vivo V15 Pro then. With a screen-to-body ratio of 91.64%, you get a great viewing experience on Netflix or YouTube. That is, if you can find content that won’t have the black bars on the top and bottom.
Launched in February 2019, this phone was hailed as a mid-range phone with premium features like an in-screen fingerprint reader, a pop-up front camera and a 48MP rear camera that utilises pixel binning.
But squeeze all those into a phone that’s only going for S$699 and there will definitely have to be concessions made. Other features that most phones have, like water resistance and wireless charging aren’t present.
Instead of a glass back, Vivo has gone with a plastic rear cover which still manages to look somewhat premium even if it doesn’t feel it. I got the Coral Red version for review, with a beautiful colour gradient from the top to bottom of the cover.
I do like the fact that the phone retains a 3.5mm headphone jack however; I always end up losing the small dongles. What I disliked was the fact that the charging port is still micro-USB, instead of USB-C. It means having to deal with yet another cable and the fear that I’ll lose that cable one day.
Battery life is also excellent, running on a 3700mAh battery that went down by 75% after 12 hours of continuous video playback on Netflix. It’ll definitely last most users a good day on a full charge. There’s also fast charging, with 24% in 15 minutes.
Let’s talk selfies. The front camera comes packed with beauty mode features that range from removing blemishes from your face to reducing the height of your forehead, or even reshaping your nose and lips. If you’re someone who loves to take photos of yourself, you’ll absolutely love the features this phone offers.
Low light performance for the rear camera is also good, with excellent brightening of shadows without compromising too much detail. As mentioned before, the V15 Pro has a 48MP rear camera that’s utilised for pixel binning. Four individual pixels are combined into one to form a 12MP image that has better lighting, with the tradeoff being a slight reduction in sharpness.
For the price, I’d say Vivo has done some great work here. The nearly bezel-less screen, in-display fingerprint reader, pop-up front camera with beautifying features and great battery life are definitely great. But these have come at the cost of cutting out other features that might be essential to some users like wireless charging.
The Xiaomi Mi 9 is also available at the same price, with the features that are lacking. But I honestly enjoyed the screen and fingerprint reader so much, I’m willing to accept the loss of wireless charging.
The Vivo V15 Pro (S$699) is available at telcos and authorised dealers.