VIVO V9 Review: Is this the perfect smartphone for selfies and groufies?
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VIVO V9 Review: Is this the perfect smartphone for selfies and groufies?

Introduction

Vivo Philippines officially brings their latest offering, the VIVO V9 for a price of P17,990. This new device comes in just after four months when they launched its previous handset, the Vivo V7. The V9 brings an updated design with upgraded internals as a contender in the mid-range bracket. Today, we’re reviewing the Vivo V9, which offers mid-range features, with a larger display screen and minimal bezels and the “notch”. Find out all in our review if the smartphone will stand out among others.

VIVO V9 Review: Is this the perfect smartphone for selfies and groufies?

Key specs:

  • 6.28-inch FHD+ IPS LCD display, 2280 X 1020 resolution, 402 ppi
  • Android 8.1 “Oreo”, FunTouch 4.0
  • Dual-SIM, dual standby
  • 2.0Ghz 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 626 octa-core processor
  • Adreno 506 GPU
  • 64GB internal storage
  • Expandable microSD slot up to 256GB (dedicated)
  • 4GB RAM
  • Dual 16-megapixel + 5-megapixel, f/2.0 aperture with phase detection auto-focus and LED flash
  • 24-megapixel rear camera, f/2.0 aperture with screen flash
  • 2160p at 30fps of video recording
  • Fingerprint scanner
  • Face ID recognition
  • 4G LTE (Category 6)
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 4.2
  • GPS, with A-GPS, Beidou
  • micro-USB 2.0 connector
  • 3,260 mAh non-removable battery
SEE ALSO: Vivo V9 Quick Review: Giving out the best selfies in town!

Unboxing

Design & Build quality

The front of the device is dominated by the 6.28-inch screen, and a 19:9 aspect ratio. The left and right side bezels are pretty slim compared to other competitors. To minimize the bottom bezels, Vivo still continues to use the on-screen soft keys. The front panel is also covered by a 2.5D curved glass panel to look more premium. On the other hand, the plastic matte back panel is very clean with the dual camera sensors on the upper left, the LED flash below on it, and the fingerprint scanner plus the company’s logo on the center part.

All the physical buttons are located on the right side, the volume rockers and the power on/off button. The left edge is empty except for the SIM-card / microSD card tray.

VIVO V9 Review: Is this the perfect smartphone for selfies and groufies?

The top of the device is unoccupied, while down on the bottom, we have the speaker grille, micro-USB port, and the microphone hole. The single speaker grille at the bottom left is well-positioned with a nice metallic work showing out from the six holes. In general, the build is faultless despite being made of plastic.

Display & Media

The 6.28-inch IPS panel displays 1080p resolution with a pixel density of 402 ppi. The maximum brightness offers a very bright display with no issues on viewing under direct sunlight. Like with any IPS-based display and the large screen factor, the viewing angles are wide. The colors are vibrant and easy to view.

As we can see in the image below, the “notch” at the top houses the selfie camera, the LED notification and the front speaker. Unfortunately, most of the applications aren’t optimized for the new display trend, showing a black screen on both sides of the notch.

VIVO V9 Review: Is this the perfect smartphone for selfies and groufies?

Software, UI & Apps

The V9 runs Android 8.1 Oreo, with the company’s custom FunTouch OS 4.0 overlay on top. As compared to the previous version, the said user interface has been inspired by the Cupertino’s own iOS, such as the notification shade, settings, and the icons. It’s a single-layered with no app drawer, means that all the applications currently installed and downloaded are lying on the home screens. There’s also a control panel that gives them access to the quick toggles (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Hotspot, Rotation Lock, etc.) by swiping up the screen from the bottom.

VIVO V9 Review: Is this the perfect smartphone for selfies and groufies?

Nevertheless, the user interface is well designed with lots of helpful features such as the game mode that allows the user to reply in messages without shutting down the games that you’re currently playing, while the motorbike mode auto-rejects the incoming calls while the user is driving. The on-screen navigation keys may re-arrange the position via settings. It also comes with the “Picture-in-Picture” that is supported in few applications.

VIVO V9 Review: Is this the perfect smartphone for selfies and groufies?

The Face Unlock is something that we’re happy to use. Even in dim light conditions, the screen tends to increase the brightness with the help of ambient sensor and it can recognize the face. Another security sensor is the fingerprint sensor that works really well for unlocking the device.

VIVO V9 Review: Is this the perfect smartphone for selfies and groufies?

Performance & Benchmarks

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 626 system-on-chip in the Vivo V9 does look like a potential winner for in the mid-range bracket. The CPU looks quite strong despite of being outdated, with eight Cortex-A53 cores with maximum frequency by up to 2.2Ghz. The graphics processing unit is courtesy of the Adreno 506 GPU and paired with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of expandable storage. Despite of having similar clock speeds, the Snapdragon 626 is quite similar to the Snapdragon 630, except that the 630 features a faster Wi-Fi (ac), LTE (Category 13) and Bluetooth (v5.0) standards.

The processor used on the phone is sufficient enough to handle day-to-day tasks. The downloaded and installed applications & games open very quickly while playing games run without any signs of sudden frame drops. However, some of the most high-demanding 3D games may suffer stutters when the settings are high.

VIVO V9 Review: Is this the perfect smartphone for selfies and groufies?

Antutu:           89,993
Geekbench:
Single-core               945
Multi-core            4,665
Renderscript            3,805
Quadrant:          26,119
Work 2.0:
Ice Storm Extreme:            8,392
Sling Shot Extreme (OpenGL ES 3.1):               474
Sling Shot Extreme (Vulkan):               423

Camera

The rear shooter on the Vivo V9 has a dual 16-megapixel and 5-megapixel sensors, while the front features a whopping 24-megapixel lens. A single LED flash sits under the dual camera module that is covered by a slightly protruding piece of the oblong glass cover. The secondary rear camera helps in shooting portrait photos.

Quality-wise, the images that were taken are good, especially the front camera where the selfies are quite impressive. The images are crisp and have a decent sharpness and vibrancy. The HDR mode here does make a balance and makes the pitch-black areas more visible. Noise is unnoticeable in most conditions like outdoor scenes, except when in low-light conditions that most of the time, it struggles to get a good amount of details.

Rear camera

VIVO V9 Review: Is this the perfect smartphone for selfies and groufies?
Auto
VIVO V9 Review: Is this the perfect smartphone for selfies and groufies?
HDR off
VIVO V9 Review: Is this the perfect smartphone for selfies and groufies?
HDR on
VIVO V9 Review: Is this the perfect smartphone for selfies and groufies?
Flowers
VIVO V9 Review: Is this the perfect smartphone for selfies and groufies?
Foodie (Pizza)
VIVO V9 Review: Is this the perfect smartphone for selfies and groufies?
Foodie (cookie)
VIVO V9 Review: Is this the perfect smartphone for selfies and groufies?
Flash on
VIVO V9 Review: Is this the perfect smartphone for selfies and groufies?
Indoor
VIVO V9 Review: Is this the perfect smartphone for selfies and groufies?
Moonrise
VIVO V9 Review: Is this the perfect smartphone for selfies and groufies?
Normal shot
VIVO V9 Review: Is this the perfect smartphone for selfies and groufies?
Zooming in
VIVO V9 Review: Is this the perfect smartphone for selfies and groufies?
Low-light
VIVO V9 Review: Is this the perfect smartphone for selfies and groufies?
Long exposure
VIVO V9 Review: Is this the perfect smartphone for selfies and groufies?
AR stickers

Front camera

VIVO V9 Review: Is this the perfect smartphone for selfies and groufies?
Selfie
VIVO V9 Review: Is this the perfect smartphone for selfies and groufies?
Group selfie (indoor)
VIVO V9 Review: Is this the perfect smartphone for selfies and groufies?
Group selfie (outdoor)
VIVO V9 Review: Is this the perfect smartphone for selfies and groufies?
Group selfie (elevator)
VIVO V9 Review: Is this the perfect smartphone for selfies and groufies?
AR Sticker

Connectivity, Audio quality & Battery life

The Vivo V9 allows you to make calls in other countries using three 2G GSM, three 3G WCDMA, five FDD-LTE and three TDD-LTE mobile communications networks, while the Wi-Fi module supports both the 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz networks. Bluetooth 4.2 is also onboard, as well as the FM Radio.

The V9’s data reception is something that we were really amazed. We were on our vacation in La Union during Holy Week. The signal reception for both Smart and Globe in my other colleagues are empty even in midnight. However, to our surprise, the V9 has a signal by up to two out of five signal indicators. As we’ve been researching, the chipset on the smartphone implements the Qualcomm’s TruSignal antenna boost that improves the signal reception in the congested area. Overall, browsing and downloading from the app store seems to be fast.

VIVO V9 Review: Is this the perfect smartphone for selfies and groufies?

The single speaker grille on the device is enough loud in playing songs, with a slightly distortions at the maximum volume, at which it is quite unnoticeable. If you want to plug a pair of earphones, there are a Deep space sound effects that are integrated, giving a much better audio output. And once you use the earphones, you may now tweak the sound presets depending on your preference via featured sound effects.

VIVO V9 Review: Is this the perfect smartphone for selfies and groufies?

The battery capacity on the Vivo V9 is a non-removable 3,260 mAh. Not the best but the battery runtimes can last a whole day with casual to moderate usage. Do take note that there’s no fast charging capability on the smartphone. You’ll have to wait for at least 2 hours to refill the depleted battery.

We will update our post once the PC Mark benchmark is done, as it keeps crashing for almost three times.

Verdict

Vivo V9 is really a nice decent smartphone owing to its impressive selfie shooters, robust plastic matte body, and decent battery life. But specs-wise in terms of hardware, it does not look that good at P17,990, as some of its competitors even offered not so outdated chipsets.

It also has an accurate and speedy fingerprint sensor plus the Face Unlock technology that performs very well even in low-light conditions, a good screen and decent 4K video recording. Battery life is above-average. Our biggest complaint is the low-light performance of the smartphone. It struggles in capturing photos in the night screen with a good amount of details.

Besides, if you’re really looking for a smartphone that feels a bit like iOS, with respectable overall performance and nice build quality, then the Vivo V9 may well be worth considering.

VIVO V9 Review: Is this the perfect smartphone for selfies and groufies?

Pros

  • Impressive selfie camera
  • Higher screen-to-body ratio
  • Light form factor
  • Android 8.1 “Oreo”
  • Face ID unlock
  • 4K video recording
  • Smooth user interface
  • Decent hardware performance
  • Battery life
  • Signal reception

Cons

  • micro-USB port
  • No fast charging
  • Low-light camera performance

  • Display4.0
  • Performance4.3
  • Audio4.3
  • Camera4.0
  • Battery Life4.5
  • Price4.3
4.2Overall Score

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