It would seem that every time either Oppo or Vivo bring in some kind of a game changer in the smartphone industry, both the companies try to outdo each other. When Vivo brought out the very first pop-out camera smartphone called Vivo NEX, Oppo outdid it with the Find X which had the entire camera module (including front and rear cameras) rise up. The Vivo X21 had the in-display fingerprint sensor which was followed by the Oppo R17 Pro having the same along with triple-rear cameras. The Oppo F7 and Vivo V9 were launched near about the same time as the very first notched smartphones in the mid-range price segment.
Now the competition is to reduce the notch-size as much as possible. To that end, Oppo introduced the F9 Pro, which had an impressive 90.26 percent screen-to-body ratio thanks to the water-drop size notch on the top. As if clockwork, Vivo has now followed suit with its version of the water-drop notch on the Vivo V11 Pro.
At a price of Rs 25,990, the V11 Pro is a direct competitor to the Oppo F9 Pro. Obviously, there is also the Poco F1 which is just the device for your performance and battery needs under Rs 25,000. But the Vivo V11 Pro is no slouch either. It is definitely faster than the F9 Pro, has a better camera and also has the in-display fingerprint reader.
Should you buy it? If you are looking for a good looking device with a great display and a decent camera, then the V11 Pro is for you. If battery and performance is what you are after, then I’m afraid the Poco F1 has the V11 Pro beat by a long shot. Let’s delve into the details of these last two lines.
Build and Design: 8.5/10
The Vivo V11 Pro is quite sturdily built and for a Rs 25,000 phone in the market, that is a bare minimum. It does not have the shimmering diamond-pattern glass back of the Oppo F9 Pro, but it does employ a dual-tone blue and purple colour scheme which shifts while viewing on different angles. The phone feels light in the hand and while the back is made of plastic, it looks premium. The frame definitely feels like metal to me, however, in this day and age we can’t really be sure what is what. Overall it’s a nice flashy phone which looks to be durable as well.
The back of the phone houses a dual-camera system which is arranged in a vertical fashion. There is no fingerprint scanner because, as mentioned before, it is under the display. On the bottom a micro-USB port, a headphone jack and a speaker grill greet us. On the right side, we have the power button and the volume rocker buttons while on the left there is the dual-SIM card tray.
The front of the phone has, what the company likes to call, the Halo FullView Display which is just a fancy way of saying that the device has the drop-like notch. Although here I would like to point out that while both the F9 Pro and the V11 Pro have the same style of notch, the F9 Pro’s notch feels a little well-defined and aesthetically pleasing than the V11 Pro. There’s a symmetric curve on the F9 Pro’s notch making a kind of V-shape. The V11 Pro, on the other hand, has a U-shaped notch which does not appeal to me as much as the F9 Pro. This is again a personal choice, as the difference is barely noticeable normally. The V11 Pro does look to have a slightly smaller chin than the F9 Pro, so thumbs up for that.
The V11 Pro does pack quite a few features inside it. The phone comes with the fourth-generation of in-display fingerprint sensor which is supposed to be faster than the third-gen sensor on the Vivo NEX. The display is a ginormous 6.4-inch Super AMOLED panel which is protected by Gorilla Glass 3.
Powering the device is the Snapdragon 660 chipset which is a substantial upgrade from the Snapdragon 626 present on its predecessor, Vivo V9. There is also 6 GB of RAM and 64 GB of internal storage, which can be expanded to 256 GB using a microSD card. The device runs on Android 8.1 Oreo with Vivo’s FunTouch UI skin atop it.
In the camera department, we see more or less unchanged optics that were present on the Vivo V9. There is a massive 25 MP camera on the front with a f/2.0 aperture along with dual 12 MP + 5 MP cameras with f/1.8 and f/2.4 aperture respectively. The V11 Pro’s primary 12 MP camera also comes with dual-pixel PDAF. The front camera also provides for face unlock capabilities. Directly above the notch sits the earpiece speaker exactly where the frame and display of the phone meet.
The phone ticks off all the basic connectivity options such as dual-SIM 4G VoLTE capabilities, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS, FM radio, 3.5 mm headphone jack and micro USB 2.0 OTG port. The entire setup is powered by 3,400 mAh Li-Po battery which supports Vivo’s proprietary dual-engine quick charge technology.
Not often do you get to see a Super AMOLED display on a Vivo smartphone unless it's above Rs 30,000. The in-display fingerprint sensor necessitates the use of an OLED panel for it to work and I believe that Vivo has incorporated this panel quite impressively. The images and videos on the phone appear to be quite sharp and crisp. I placed the display alongside my OnePlus 6 and wasn’t able to discern a single point where the V11 Pro did not match up to the OnePlus 6.
Speaking of which, the Vivo V11 Pro has a screen-to-body ratio of 91.26 percent as per Vivo. That Halo FullView Display has much to take credit for this. The chin on the phone is perhaps the smallest I’ve seen till now except for perhaps the Oppo Find X. It certainly is smaller than the OnePlus 6 and F9 Pro and is nearly half the size of the chin on the Poco F1.
As I said in my earlier F9 Pro review, the small and tiny notch do not eat up any considerable amount of your screen space while viewing videos. The V11 Pro notch, although looks slightly bigger than its F9 Pro counterpart, is still very small and can be considered non-existent of sorts.
In bright conditions the phone’s display goes quite bright indeed and it has the capability of being very dim during night time. It’s just a great display for its price and it looks to set the tone for all the notched smartphones going further.
The Vivo V11 Pro comes with Android 8.1 Oreo with the FunTouch OS skin atop it. Not only is the FunTouch UI a blatant and sad copy of iOS, but it also has excessive bloatware that keeps popping randomly. There two apps for your browser, gallery, music, calendar and more. You can’t delete any of them and by mistake, if you swipe right you are greeted by Jovi, the AI-assistant from Vivo which, in my humble opinion, is quite inferior to Google Assistant. For starters Jovi can’t target my actual location or doesn’t know if I’m at home or work. There seems to be no purpose for other AI assistants when Google is already present.
If you are an iPhone user, Vivo’s FunTouch UI may look a bit familiar as the gestures are somewhat the same. You have the quick settings which can be swiped up from the bottom, vertical recent apps, and only notifications being shown when swiped down from the top. For me though that’s not the case. The first few days were very gruelling indeed and I settled on using the Nova launcher instead.
Stock Android is a preference I will always have because of its clean and simplified nature. I’m not saying that the FunTouch OS is bad. It’s just not to my taste and if you like an iOS-clone on your Android phone you can go right ahead and get the V11 Pro.
Here I would have to hand the crown to the undisputed winner in the mid-range price category and that is the Poco F1. While benchmarks are not the best indicator of how good a device can perform, in this case, the Poco F1 is wiping the metaphorical floor with the Vivo V11 Pro.
It is not surprising since the Poco F1 does pack in quite a punch with its Snapdragon 845 chipset while the Vivo V11 Pro has to contend with the Snapdragon 660. The addition of liquid cooling in the Poco F1 makes it a far more enticing option as far as gaming is considered. However, the V11 Pro does go through everyday tasks such as opening multiple apps, browsing through heavy apps such as Instagram and Facebook, taking quick photos and viewing a lot of video content.
While playing graphics-intensive games such as PUBG and Asphalt 9, I had to default to the medium settings. Playing on high settings caused an unacceptable amount of lag in the device and also started heating it up. I don’t recommend this phone for intensive gaming activities. For a budget under Rs 30,000, you should definitely look at the Poco F1 for high-end gaming.
The phone also comes with a ridiculously quick face unlock system which is at par with the face unlock system seen on the OnePlus 6. In fact, I didn’t feel the need to use the in-display fingerprint sensor at all for unlocking my device. The face unlock works even in faint lighting conditions. But do remember that face unlock on Android devices isn't the most secure way to unlock your phone even though it's the quickest. It's always best to have a fingerprint or pattern unlock mechanism too.
Speaking of which, the in-display fingerprint on the V11 Pro has improved since the Vivo NEX, but I’m still not satisfied with its speed. It takes the device nearly a whole second to unlock and quite a few times I’m not able to authenticate even if I’m placing the finger in the correct position. I feel that the technology still has scope to improve and maybe Qualcomm’s Ultrasonic fingerprint reader might be the answer. For now, I will say that I’m not a big fan of the in-display fingerprint reader.
The call quality on the device is fine as I had expected, so no surprises there. The single firing speaker on the bottom crackles at high volumes and sounds a bit hollow. It is loud nonetheless, but I do recommend using headphones since your hand can block the speaker.
The Vivo V11 Pro comes with a 12+5 MP dual rear camera setup with a f/1.8 and f/2.4 aperture respectively. On the front, you have a 25 MP selfie camera which is housed inside the waterdrop notch.
My experience with the Vivo V11 Pro camera has been enjoyable in the daytime, but at night, the phone loses its ability to focus properly and injects a lot of noise in the photograph. Quick night time photography is a no-go with the V11 Pro, which was not the case with the F9 Pro. While I’m not undermining the V11 Pro camera, it does lag behind the Nokia 7 Plus and the Poco F1 in terms of overall image quality.
While all the three phones do churn out good images, the Nokia 7 Plus wins the battle hands down due to the high dynamic range in its photos. The Vivo V11 Pro’s overzealous post-processing of the finer details such as the green colour in the leaves or the grey sky is a big turn off for me. The Poco F1 follows the Nokia 7 Plus in terms of image quality. Although I’m not going to recommend the V11 Pro as the best camera phone in its price range, I can say that the phone will not disappoint casual photographers.
From Left to Right: Vivo V11 Pro, Nokia 7 Plus and Poco F1.
Selfies on the phone are quite pleasant and that should be quite natural owing to the 25 MP front-facing camera on the V11 Pro. However, here again, the devil is in the details and the most accurate colour reproduction award goes to the Nokia 7 Plus. The Vivo V11 Pro does manage to take good selfies, but like in the comparison above, it tends to wash out the background details. Maybe a future software update could fix that.
Bottom line is that if mobile photography is your ultimate passion then you will obviously be getting a Pixel device. For others with a budget of under Rs 30,000 the Nokia 7 Plus should hold up its own, although if you do manage to get your hands on a Poco F1, you should definitely do that. The Vivo V11 Pro takes good photos but I feel that the both the Nokia 7 Plus and Poco F1 outdo it in the camera department.
The 3,400 mAh battery on the Vivo V11 Pro looks to be quite enough for a day's usage for me, which involves intensive activities such as multiple email accounts on sync, YouTube streaming, messaging, playing PUBG and shooting videos. At the end of the day on many occasions, I found myself with 15-20 percent of battery left over, which looked pretty impressive. For some reason, that standard PC Mark 2.0 Battery test did not work on the device. This has happened on multiple occasions with the Honor Play and even the Vivo NEX.
The Vivo V11 Pro comes with a new kind charging technology called as Dual-Engine quick charge, which is likely competing against OnePlus’ Dash Charge and Oppo’s Super VOOC charging technology.
On comparison with the OnePlus 6’s Dash Charging, I found that the Vivo V11 Pro’s Dual-Engine technology charged the phone from 75 - 100 percent in 41 minutes, while OnePlus 6’s Dash Charge did the job in 36 minutes. While that may rule in favour of OnePlus, we should also note that the OnePlus 6 has a 3,300 mAh battery while the Vivo V11 Pro has a 3,400 mAh battery. The third-party app I downloaded to measure charging speeds showed that the OnePlus 6 was being charged at 19.3 percent/hour while the V11 Pro was charging at 21.9 percent/ hour. The jury’s still out on this one.
Verdict and Price in India
Here’s why you should by the Vivo V11 Pro
- Beautiful Super AMOLED display
- In-display fingerprint scanner
- Good selfie camera
Here’s why you shouldn’t buy the Vivo V11 Pro
- Low light photography
- Bad UI
- Average performance
The verdict is in favour of the V11 Pro for its beautiful bezel-less display along with how light and ergonomic the phone feels in the hand. It doesn’t look as premium as, say the Oppo F9 Pro, but it’s also not as dull and bland as the Poco F1. The camera on the V11 Pro is nice but you can get better photos with the Nokia 7 Plus.
When it comes to the performance part, the Poco F1 definitely has the Vivo V11 Pro (and every other phone in its price range) beat. The camera on the Poco F1 may not be excellent but it certainly seems to be on par with the Vivo V11 Pro. The only problem here is the fact that the Poco F1 is very hard to get your hands on as it is sold only in flash sales. The Vivo V11 Pro, on the other hand, is a device which you can easily buy online.
Are you the type of person that takes a lot of selfies and in general don’t do high-level performance-intensive tasks on your device? If the answer is yes to both then you have the Vivo V11 Pro as your device. If looks on a phone matter to you then surely go for the Oppo F9 Pro, which in my opinion is the best looking phone under Rs 30,000.
The Vivo V11 Pro is selling currently selling on both Amazon and Flipkart for Rs 25,990.
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