Vivo V7+ Review: A Super Fast Fingerprint Sensor In The Mid-Range

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The battery life is outstanding and pushed beyond 15 hours of screen-on time on average.

Vivo is one of the many prominent Chinese smartphone brands that has been making its way up the ranks in the eyes of consumers in the Far Eastern country and some global regions outside of the U.S., and much like Samsung and LG and plenty of other OEMs out there, Vivo has followed the design trend for smartphones and is set to launch a device with a set of minimalist top and bottom bezels. This device is called the V7+ and we've been able to spend the past week or so with it to see how it stacks up, and initially, impressions were pretty good, especially for the style if nothing else. Let's take a closer look at the Vivo V7+ and see all that it has to offer.

Specs

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When it comes to pure specs, the V7+ comes equipped with a healthy offering of hardware. It's not the most advanced phone on the market but for a device that sits firmly in the flagship category from a brand that tends to focus more on handsets that are meant for the mid-range and entry-level markets, the V7+ is still built to deliver a decent experience, and it really does do just that. The screen on the V7+ is one of the most noticeable attributes. It's got the minimal bezels just like the Galaxy S8 series and LG V30, and pretty much no bezels on the sides. It's a 5.99-inch display with a resolution of 720 x 1440, so while the bezels may look small and the display does come with that 18:9 aspect ratio, the resolution of the display is lower. Where it really seems to shine is through the front camera which Vivo is boasting will give users the perfect shot. This front camera is using a 24-megapixel sensor and it has an f/2.0 aperture and an LED flash. For the back camera, it's using a 16-megapixel sensor with an f/2.0 aperture, phase detection autofocus, and an LED flash.

On the inside, the Vivo V7+ is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 processor, which is an octa-core processor and it's paired with an Adreno 506 GPU for the graphics, as well as 4GB of RAM for the memory to help keep things running smoothly. It also has a 3,225mAh battery inside to keep it powered on throughout the day, and it comes with 64GB of storage internally but it also supports expandable storage of up to 256GB via a microSD card if it's needed. For the software, the V7+ is running with Vivo's FunTouch OS which is its user interface, similar to Samsung's being the Samsung Experience, and this version of FunTouch OS is 3.2 which is built off of Android 7.1 Nougat so the software is actually pretty up to date in terms of security, features, and general performance. Rounding things out for the specs are a single speaker on the bottom along with a 3.5mm audio port and a micro USB port for charging and data transfer, as well as a fingerprint sensor on the back.

In The Box

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As is usually the case with most smartphones, there aren't a whole lot of extras with the Vivo V7+ inside of the packaging, but it's also fair to say that many Chinese-branded smartphones do come with a few little additional items, and the same is true for the V7+ as it comes with a charger and USB cable combo, a set of earbuds, a clear silicone case, and there is even a screen protector already applied to the display of the device.

Hardware & Design

The design of the Vivo V7+ is one of the best parts of the phone. It has clean lines and smooth, rounded corners that do a decent job of hiding the antenna lines so they don't feel so prominent, and of course, there's the display which utilizes the 18:9 aspect ratio to make the most use of the phone's physical footprint as it possibly can. The device looks and just feels premium and for around 350 euros this is what makes the design a little more surprising as devices in this price range don't usually look this nice. The buttons feel nice and tactile so they're definitely easy to press and when you do press them you feel like they have a really good response, not like they're too squishy and you have to push them really hard just for them to work. Speaking of the buttons the power button and the volume up and down buttons are on the right side of the frame while the SIM card tray is on the left.

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The design of this device is mostly sleek save for just a couple of different factors that could have been executed a little bit better. The rear-facing camera, for example, protrudes from the back and makes for a nice little bump in the top left corner. This wouldn't be the first device to have something like this, but while many devices have sort of moved away from this style of design and incorporate the camera sensor into the body of the phone, Vivo seems to have embraced it with the V7+.

For the most part you'll never notice it, and in reality, many people probably wouldn't give it a second thought. The downside is that if you happen to touch the corners or the edges of the device while it's sitting display up, because of the bump the phone doesn't truly sit flat and will have a slight rock to it. The other issue is the matte black color of the back of the device body. The back is made of metal, but it has a matte black paint coating and this is a huge smudge and fingerprint magnet, which means that if this bothers you then you will either need to simply deal with it or consistently wipe it down throughout the day so it appears clean. The last design detail that could have been improved lays with the antenna lines and the edge of the device that surrounds the display. These parts of the device look almost like chrome so they're very shiny and really just look a bit cheap. This isn't a huge thing but it does feel like it takes away from the visual appeal of the phone and making them match the color of the device as best as possible would have looked a bit better. Despite these few minor traits though, the design of the phone as a whole really does look pretty good and most consumers shouldn't have an issue with how it looks.

Display

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For having a screen resolution of just 720 x 1440, the V7+ display actually looks really crisp, sharp, and bright, with a nice vivid approach to colors which was a bit surprising. While initial thoughts of the display were that the colors were nice and bright and the picture quality of everything from the icons to the backdrops and other graphical elements appeared visually striking to a degree, the surprise came from expecting the resolution to be higher than it was given how good the screen looks. While not the highest resolution out there for any smartphone display, the fact that things look this good really speaks to how well the display aspect of the phone was implemented on Vivo's part.

Beyond the color contrasts and the sharpness of the picture quality, the screen was plenty bright in terms of actual backlight without having to turn the brightness up to an unnecessary level which means better visibility but also better battery life since you're not turning the brightness all the way up. The display also had pretty good viewing angles and response times were really good anytime I interacted with the display for touch response, whether it be with games or just simple scrolling through the menus and browsing through social media and the web. There really wasn't anything to complain about in regards to the display quality and that includes any lack of light bleed or dead spots when it comes to the touch interactive sections. The display simply looked and functioned really well.

Performance

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Surprisingly, the performance of the Vivo V7+ was better than expected, but then again even though the processor is more of a mid-range CPU, it comes from Qualcomm and Qualcomm really does make some of the best CPUs for mobile devices. Inside is the Snapdragon 450 with an Adreno 506 GPU, and while this isn't the powerhouse that the Snapdragon 835 is it still offers decent performance for anything from multitasking with music, browsing, and social media, to straight up mobile gaming. That said, if you're used to devices with the most high-powered mobile CPU and GPU, like the recently released Razer phone, then you may end up noticing a difference here and that's just going to be the way of things. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 provides good performance but it may lag a little bit when it comes to some of the more high-quality games with the most demanding graphics. The good news is that we personally didn't run into issues for the most part. The occasional stutter here and the occasional tearing there, but nothing so bad that games even of a higher quality were unplayable. When it comes right down to it, gaming is a great measurement for how good the performance of a phone will be and the Vivo V7+ does a pretty good job in the mobile gaming department. So even though it may not be the best phone for mobile gaming on the market, it doesn't compromise too much in the performance area, and most people would likely appreciate that Vivo has on offer with this device.

Fingerprint Sensor

Hands down, one of the most impressive things about the Vivo V7+ is the fingerprint sensor. This sensor is so insanely fast at unlocking the phone that it almost feels like it puts every other phone on the market to shame in this particular area. If by chance you're skeptical, that's understandable given the price range of the phone and you'd expect something like the Galaxy Note 8 to work a little faster, and to its credit it likely is pretty fast, but if you have the chance to test the fingerprint sensor on the V7+ don't pass it up so you can compare how quick it is to your own phone. After setting it up, the phone essentially unlocks instantly. There is next to no waiting at all and this is everything single time mind you. So not only was the fingerprint sensor extremely fast at unlocking, it's also consistently extremely fast at unlocking which means you shouldn't expect it to degrade over time.

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It never once gave me an error message that it didn't recognize my fingerprint and that was impressive as well. It unlocked every single time without issue. This won't matter much to anyone who doesn't use the fingerprint sensor for unlocking their phone but for those that do, this will mean precious time saved over the course of the day and could mean the difference between getting the perfect shot and missing it if trying to unlock the phone to open the camera and take a picture. It's a small thing, but the fingerprint sensor was easily one of my favorite things about the phone as unlocking every time never failed to impress me due to the speed at which it unlocks. The only downside to this is that it's much faster than my Pixel so what it ended up doing is making me wish the sensor on my personal phone was faster, and almost made me dislike the quality of it.

Sound

With only a single speaker on this device, I wasn't expecting the audio quality to be spectacular, and while it isn't, it's not too bad either and will definitely work for anything you'd need audio for. Music, videos, and games all ended up enjoyable when using the speaker on the phone for these purposes and sound did come out mostly clear without too much noise in the background or that tinny sound that you can end up with some smartphone speakers. That said the sound isn't the loudest even when you do turn the volume up so this might have been the only tick against this particular area of the phone. If you tend to use the smartphone speakers for audio instead of headphones or a connected speaker, then you may find yourself trying to turn the volume up as loud as it will go just to compensate for things sounding a little quieter than you may have been expecting.

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Battery Life

This was another really great strength of the V7+. The battery life was outstanding and pushed beyond 15 hours on average without even breaking a sweat, meaning you will absolutely have no issues with taking this phone with you anywhere you go and using it all day without needing to break out the charger. In fact, you could leave any backup charging solutions that you might normally bring with you for other phones home and you would be just fine. The battery life on the V7+ is really that good and that's if you just use things as you normally would. It would be even better if you actively tried to lessen the battery consumption. Also worth pointing out though is that if you are a heavy user, then your mileage may vary and may not be quite 15 hours or more. That said, it will still be plenty more than what most smartphones are getting on average as the 15-hour mark was for screen-on time. So that's with average use, with the display on, as battery life is much higher when you factor in the time where the screen is asleep. Overall it ended up with about 15 hours and 15 minutes of screen on time when we put it through the PCMark battery test, and this was pretty accurate with what we got when simply using it as we would use any other phone. Suffice to say, the battery life is not an issue with the V7+ and you'd be hard-pressed to actually kill it before you have a chance to recharge.

Benchmarks

The scores from benchmark tests aren't always the most important thing to factor into a device but they can provide a look into how the device will perform for the everyday tasks, and this is why we always put devices through a series of different benchmarks, so you can see a simulated version of what things will be like. Granted things will vary from user to user because not everyone will use the device the same way, but they do a pretty decent job. For the benchmarks, we put the Vivo V7+ through 3DMark for the graphics, as well as Geekbench 4 and AnTuTu. If you're interested in seeing the scores of those benchmark tests you can view the screenshots from them in the gallery just below.

Software

Vivo is using its own UI on the V7+ called FunTouch OS, which mimics iOS very heavily. The moment you start using this phone you'll notice the similarities in not just the way you access certain menus or where things are located, but even in the way that the menus, icons, and entire interface look. All that aside, FunTouch OS is a nice looking UI and there is a lot on offer. Vivo has packed in tons of different features that are worth considering this phone for, face unlock being one of them. This isn't something that isn't available in other smartphones, but it seems to work really well here and while it's not as quick as the fingerprint sensor at unlocking the phone it still seems to work faster than the fingerprint sensor on my Google Pixel, and that's a shame for the Pixel but great for anyone who likes the novelty and ease of use of the face unlock.

Beyond the face unlock feature, there are other little adjustments that are not necessarily bad changes but they will probably take some getting used to. For instance, the quick settings menu is not accessible by dragging down from the top of the screen. Instead, you have to swipe up from the bottom, but once you do this all your familiar options are there from screen brightness to volume to all the different quick settings toggles for Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and other things. Another difference is obviously the lack of an app drawer. As is common in plenty of other Chinese brand phones, there is no app drawer with FunTouch OS, and all pre-installed apps, as well as future installed apps which you grab from the Play Store will end up on additional home screen pages. A quick fix for this if you don't like it is to just install a third-party home launcher, though keep in mind that you're giving up the rest of the FunTouch OS features too. Like the smart click feature which lets you assign a specific function to the volume down key. The default function for this is the enabling and disabling the flashlight. When the screen is off, if you hold down the volume down button for a couple seconds it will turn the flashlight on, and if you hold it down again for a couple seconds it will turn it back off. This can be changed to launching Facebook or another app or launching another type of shortcut.

There are also options for a super screenshot and one-handed use, which as you can guess is a collection of a few options meant to make using the phone with one hand a lot easier, something which is likely to be useful given the 5.99-inch display size. It's also possible to hide the navigation keys and instead use the second method of navigation for the same purposes of those keys. If you hide the navigation keys you instead open the recents menu, go home, or go back a screen by using sliding gestures based on the proximity of the location for that corresponding button. So if you want to go home from wherever you are on the phone you simply swipe up from the middle section of the bottom of the screen where the home button would be. The same goes for the recents button and back button. If you don't like clutter than this is likely to be an option you'd want to explore and test out. FunTouch OS is not going to be to everyone's liking, but the name does kind of say it all. Touching the screen to interact with the OS is fun and this is thanks to its bevy of features.

Camera

The experience with the camera and the images in general was a little bit of a mixed bag with the Vivo V7+. First things first, the camera on the back is a 16-megapixel sensor which should be able to pull in a fair amount of detail. The software for the app also has a decent number of different features and functions that you won't find in your average smartphone. There's the standard photo mode available at your fingertips along with face beauty, panorama, and video. There's also an HDR button on the left side of the camera app UI along with a button for live photos, the flash, and the settings where you can adjust a host of things from shutter timer to the phone storage. If you dig a little bit deeper though you can find a few other options for images. Just below the settings button, you'll see a button that looks like the shape of four little squares, and if you tap that, you will find the professional mode, a PPT mode, a time-lapse mode, an ultra HD mode, and a slow mode for shooting really slow-motion video. While you may not use things like the PPT mode or the time-lapse mode as often, it's nice that they're there as it gives you a little extra to work with in terms of features. Even the ultra HD mode is great for if you're taking pictures of your food for things like Instagram or other social media.

The professional mode is sort of the real gem here though as it gives you much more control over how the images turn out so long as you know which values to adjust and tweak, and if you don't you can always learn which will help the images in the end. The downside is that the rear-facing camera is lacking. Its biggest issue is that even in the best possible light, the image quality just doesn't appear to be very good. Detail isn't there when it should be, colors feel muted and less vibrant than they should be, and these are just the main and most noticeable problems. On more than one occasion, the camera had issues focusing on a subject no matter how many times I would tap the screen to try and get it to refocus on the right thing. I even tapped on different parts of the subject to see if that would make any difference but unfortunately, it ended up with the same results of a slightly out of focus object. I'm not sure if this is the camera sensor itself or if it has something to do with the software, but either way, it resulted in a less than stellar performance that was more common than not and this put a damper on using the camera as I was never aware of when the focusing issue would pop back up. It's not all bad as the camera does come with multiple modes and if the issues are more of a software problem, then the upside is that this can probably be fixed with a future update. Unfortunately, it's not clear if software is the actual problem, and if it is, it's still unclear when or if an update would be sent out to correct things. This isn't the worst camera of any smartphone but it does fall short in quite a few areas.

 

The Good

Battery life was so long-lasting and I never needed to plug it in before going to sleep

Extremely fast fingerprint sensor and quite possibly the fastest of any phone

Really good screen

Good design

Lightweight

3.5mm audio jack

Good performance

Charges fast

Lots of software features

Affordable, making it a good value considering the specs and features

Camera offers a pro mode

The Bad

No USB Type-C

Speaker quality could be better

Camera's image quality wasn't that great even in the best lighting conditions

Doesn't work with U.S. networks

Wrap-Up

The Vivo V7+ is not too unlike many other contemporary smartphones out there on the market. It boasts a lot about what it has to offer and in some ways it lives up to things, while in others it falls flat. One thing I didn't seem to notice is any boasting about a super fast fingerprint sensor, but it does have one and it works well. Not just well, extremely well, and extremely fast. So fast part of me didn't want to go back to using the Pixel because I always use the fingerprint sensor to unlock the display and it's just so much slower than on this phone. That said, the fingerprint sensor isn't everything and there are some missteps. If you value a good camera, for instance, then the V7+ may not be for you as it seemed to give us more than a couple of problems, and this was a downside.

Should you buy the Vivo V7+?

Well, if you live in a region where the phone will support those LTE networks, aren't too concerned with having the best smartphone camera out there, and the most important thing to you is long-lasting battery life, then you may not want to pass up the V7+, not to mention that its fingerprint sensor really is lightning quick. If an excellent camera matters, then you should look elsewhere, but if you're more focused on everything else, the V7+ is a solid choice. It has the looks, battery, and a list of other features that make this a great option for a smartphone and it only costs around 350 euros, which isn't too bad when you think about what you're getting.