Vivo has pumped out a lot of smartphones this year, I mean literally a lot of smartphones!
Now, just as the year is about to close, Vivo presented us with another smartphone – the Vivo V17. I hope this Chinese smartphone maker has finally decided rough up the competition with the Vivo V17. Come to think of it, one can’t really blame Vivo. Look around and companies including Realme and Redmi are still launching devices.
Thanks to this competition, consumers are now spoilt for choice. We not only get flagship features packed in an affordable price, but we also get a large design palette to choose from!
The Vivo V17 was launched first in the Philippines, with a diamond-shaped camera module. This was a strange design call. For the Indian market, however, that design has been ditched and the Vivo V17 comes with a rectangular camera module.
For starters, the Vivo V17 does not bring anything new to the table. But it is a good camera phone for its price. So let’s see if you should invest in this smartphone.
Design is a hero, but oh that stunning blue gradient – just wow!
The Vivo V17 comes in two colour variants — Midnight Ocean and Glacier Ice. I happen to have the Midnight Ocean variant. I will describe it as elegant even though the plain black with a touch of navy blue may appear as boring to some. It is just a subtle combination of blue and black which I personally find very attractive. Although the phone has a plastic back, thanks to its premium design, it does not look dull. It is lightweight (176 g) and not at all slippery — making it really easy to hold. Initially, I had an apprehension that since it has a huge battery of 4,500 mAh, it will be bulky but it is surely not the case.
As for the camera, the smartphone has an “L” shaped quad rear-camera setup at the back that is tucked in a rectangular module. It doesn’t have a big camera bump so that is also a plus point here.
There is no denying the fact that Vivo has been the torchbearer in the "No notch" revolution that dominated the smartphone industry this year. In the Vivo V17 Pro, the company went all out and launched the first-ever dual selfie smartphone camera. With Vivo V17, it has announced the tiniest hole-punch camera which is quite impressive. I actually did not notice it after a certain period of usage.
The smartphone comes with a 6.44-inch hole-punch display and has an E3 Super AMOLED panel. The display is absolutely beautiful and gives an edge-to-edge experience with punchy colours. You will definitely love binge-watching your favourite shows on it. The phone comes with a good-old-fashioned 3.5 mm headphone jack, so that is great news.
Vivo V17 comes with an in-display fingerprint sensor and face unlock option.
Surreal daylight images but the night mode is no head-turner
The Vivo V17 sports a quad rear-camera setup that includes a 48 MP primary camera with an f/1.8 aperture, 8 MP sensor with f/2.2, 2 MP sensor with f/2.4 for bokeh and depth effect and a 2 MP macro camera with f/2.4. The phone has a 32 MP front camera.
The shots that I clicked in well-lit settings were absolutely fantastic. The clarity, colours, exposure and details, everything was up to the mark. Although you will find that the same clarity is not captured when you use the wide-angle lens. The Bokeh mode is also a cherry on top as it adjusts the focus quickly and clicks stunning images, even in low light settings.
The Portrait mode is also good in terms of edge detection and details. You will also get a handful of good filters for clicking portrait shots.
The problem arises with “Night mode”. Starting with the front camera, the night mode selfies are a big no as it does not capture details properly and I personally do not see a point in “night mode” for selfies. It is a big red cross for me. I would rather choose to click selfies in the normal mode, than in dim lighting as it uses its flash to give sharp and good quality pictures.
Moving to the “Night mode” of the rear camera, the pictures were good in terms of lighting. It balances the light and dark areas but the image lacked details when zoomed in. And it gets worse if you are taking wide-angle shots in night mode. They appeared blurry as it lacked details.
Old school processor with better battery
The Vivo V17 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 675 which offers smooth performance. You can switch between apps and multitask without noticing any lag. But hello? Did we just forget that the Vivo U20 has the same processor, that too when it sells at a starting price of just Rs 10,990?
One thing that proved to be a turn off is its sound quality. Even though the volume offered is pretty loud, the quality did not match up to my expectations. In terms of brightness, the display offers good brightness outdoors as well.
Both the features are really quick but the face unlock feature struggles in low light settings. So I will suggest you opt for the in-display fingerprint sensor instead. The smartphone is not waterproof so you might want to be careful there.
Good thing is that the company has chopped off the dated micro-USB port and introduced a USB-C port in the phone and to top it off, it supports 18W fast charge. Bad news? It still charges slowly. The smartphone charged only 35% in 30 minutes. I personally found it underwhelming.
The phone doesn’t heat up while charging or playing games or using the phone for a long time so that is a relief.
Since the phone is packed with a 4,500 mAh battery, it doesn't drain quickly and will easily last you for a day. It is a bump from the Vivo V17 Pro that has a 4,100 mAh battery.
The storage and RAM that the smartphone offers is good — 8 GB RAM and 128 GB internal storage. In the SIM tray, you will get dual nano-SIM slots along with a dedicated microSD card slot.
The Vivo V17 runs on Vivo’s FunTouch OS 9.2 based on Android 9 Pie. As always, there is no app drawer and for all the major features like brightness, Wi-Fi, camera, dark mode, you will have to swipe up and for notifications you have to swipe down, this can be confusing if you are not a Vivo user. Advertisements are something you will have to deal with on a daily basis with FunTouch OS. I am not saying that these ads will pop up every now and then but they will frequently. So if you are okay with that aspect, that is fine. I personally do not see it as a deal-breaker.
In a price-sensitive market like ours, Vivo V17 with a price tag of Rs 22,990, is not at all cheap. I mean look at its competitors. Vivo V17 will lock horns with the likes of the Realme XT, Realme X2 and Redmi K20. In terms of specifications Realme X2, launched recently in India, has a clear edge as it has an 8 GB RAM variant, 64 MP quad camera setup, Snapdragon 730G chipset, 4,000 mAh battery with 30W fast charge support and it is priced lower than the Vivo V17, at 19,999.
Realme XT also wins the battle in terms of specs but as mentioned in our review, the camera was not that impressive. The 8 GB RAM variant of Realme XT is priced at Rs 18,999.
It is simple math, people. The Vivo V17 can be a viable alternative to the Redmi K20 as it is not available in the 8 GB RAM variant. Other than that, Redmi K20 is good in all terms, be it camera, processor and even its design will not let you down. But to be honest, a 6 GB RAM phone with everything else comparable still makes for a good choice.
Long story short, the Vivo V17 is meant for those users who want a decent camera smartphone with a long lasting battery and they are okay to spend more to get it. You can also go for the device if you prioritise the looks of a phone. The notch-haters can also consider it as has a really tiny notch. These are the major takeaways here.
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