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Vivo V9 review

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Here is our review of the Vivo V9. Priced at PHP 17,990, the handset features a 6.3-inch IPS 19:9 display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 626 processor, and a 25MP AI-enhanced selfie camera. 

Vivo V9 Review

Before we start, let’s take a quick look at the Vivo V9’s prominent specs. Vivo has learned their lessons from the V7, and used what they learned and applied it to the V9.

Starting with the selfie camera, Vivo crammed a 24MP sensor with an f/2.0 lens, a wide-angle view, and softlight flash. And like most modern phones, it too comes with AI enhancements, ensuring users get the best selfies every time.

Aside from the camera, the V9 boasts a Qualcomm Snapdragon 626 processor, a definite upgrade from V7’s Snapdragon 450. The 450 was, to say the least, an efficient performer. But it is nowhere near what the 626 can do.

The processor is paired with 4GB RAM, an Adreno 506 graphics chip, and 64GB of expandable storage. It also has a decent 3,260 mAh battery, plus Funtouch OS 4.0 on top of Android 8.1 Oreo.

Vivo V9 specs:

  • 6.3-inch Full HD+ IPS AllScreen Display (2280 x 1080; 400 ppi)
  • 19:9 Display Ratio, 2.5D Glass
  • Octa-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 626 Processor
  • Adreno 506 GPU
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64GB Storage, microSD up to 256GB
  • Dual Rear Camera 16MP + 5MP, f/2.0, PDAF, Dual Tone LED Flash
  • 24MP Front Camera, f/2.0, Wide Angle, Softlight Flash
  • Triple Card Slot (Dual Nano SIM + microSD)
  • 4G LTE
  • Wi-Fi, Dual Band
  • Bluetooth v4.2
  • GPS
  • FM Radio, OTG
  • Face Access, Fingerprint Sensor
  • MicroUSB 2 Port
  • Funtouch OS 4.0, Android 8.1 Oreo
  • 3,260 mAh Battery, Fast Charging
  • Colors: Pearl Black, Gold

Retail Package

Like most Chinese phones, the Vivo V9’s retail package is as complete as it can be. The handset comes with expected extras. It has a jelly case and a pre-installed screen protector, aside from the usual list of accessories — a travel charger, a micro USB cable, a pair of earphones, a SIM eject tool, and some standard documentation.

Again, these little extras give an added experience that should be done by the other players in the industry.

vivo v9 review

Design and Build

The V9 features a sleek 19:9 body, and a conservative and simple design. It has a clean front face with the large 6.3-inch display surrounded by small bezels, resulting in an 85.2% screen-to-body ratio. The bottom bezel is slightly thicker, though.

vivo v9 review

You can also see the notch on the display, which houses the earpiece, the front camera, and some sensors. Admittedly, I am still not used to it and would rather have a full display. I feel that it is a compromise, but we all might as well accept it as most manufacturers are keen on implementing the design.

I like that there is no branding in front. It gives the phone a much cleaner, smoother finish.

vivo v9 review

Both the volume rocker and the power button is situated on the right. While on the left side we have the SIM tray. The bottom is where you’ll find the 3.5mm audio jack, the mic, the microUSB port, and the single grill speaker.

vivo v9 review

Flip the phone over, and you have the back panel with a matte finish. I’ve noticed that it is prone to scratches. The phone’s antenna lines are noticeable at the upper and lower part. You also have the vertically arranged dual rear cameras and an LED flash on the upper left.

vivo v9 review

I like that the fingerprint sensor has squircle shape that gives it a bit of character. The prominent Vivo branding is here, as well as a “designed by Vivo” tag line at the lower part.

The phone feels good in the hand. It’s pretty solid, with a nice good weight. It’s not too light nor is it too heavy.

I also would like to comment on the slight elevation of the display from the body. It detracts from the seamlessness of the design. But I noticed that it actually helps with how you grip the phone, and prevents it from slipping out of the hand.

Display and UI

The V9 comes with a 6.3-inch full HD+ IPS display with a 2280 by 1080 resolution and a 19:9 ratio. It is bright with good color rendition and saturation. It is also sharp with a pixel density of 400 ppi.

vivo v9 review

Like all phones with a notch, it sometimes gets in the way. It’s annoying when watching full screen videos. And not all apps have adapted to it, so there are definitely times where I wish it wasn’t there.

The phone runs on Funtouch OS v4.0, based on Android 8.1 Oreo. The OS resembles iOS, which isn’t bad. It looks nice, and I like the soft colors of the default theme. You have the option to change it by downloading a different theme on the iTheme app (more iOS homage).

vivo v9 review vivo v9 review

vivo v9 review vivo v9 review

 

Performance and Benchmarks

Most of the time, the phone is fast, smooth and responsive. The general experience was good. There were times, though, when I felt there were a few moments of sluggishness and some lag, which I attributed to its OS. The phone did receive an update while I was reviewing it, which improved the use experience.

vivo v9 review vivo v9 review

I also ran a few benchmark tests. This is not a good indicator of user experience, but it does give us a general idea of what the internal specs can do.

  • AnTuTu – 90,817
  • Geekbench – 932 (single-core), 4,556 (multi-core)

In terms of gaming capability, the phone impresses. It was generally smooth with little to no frame drops. I was able to play PUBG Mobile, Lara Croft GO, Alto’s Adventure, Need For Speed Most Wanted, and Hitman Go.

Connectivity

The V9 comes with 4G LTE, dual band Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth v4.2, GPS, an FM radio, a micro USB port, and OTG support. There’s no NFC, not that it matters.

The handset has dual SIM support, with the tray holding up to two nano SIMs, and a microSD card up to 256GB.

Calls quality is good. It is clear with no problems. LTE connectivity and Bluetooth worked without any problems as well.

Security

There are two ways to unlock the phone. You can use the fingerprint sensor at the rear, or through face unlock.

The fingerprint sensor is fast and accurate. Placing your finger on it while the screen is off, unlocks and wakes up the device. Face unlock is good as well. Its fast and invisible. A testament to how well it works is that you don’t even notice it’s there.

vivo v9 review

Camera

The V9 boasts a dual rear camera 16MP + 5MP with an f/2.0 lens, PDAF, and a dual tone LED flash. The secondary sensor is used to create a bokeh effect or blurring of the background.

The front camera uses a 24MP sensor with an f/2.0 lens, wide-angle view, and a softlight screen flash.

vivo v9 review

vivo v9 review

vivo v9 review

For the rear camera, image quality is surprisingly good, matched with well saturated colors, ample details and sharpness. Dynamic range is good too. The AI HDR seems to be at work, creating well balanced shades in photos.

vivo v9 review

vivo v9 review

vivo v9 review

Focus performance is fast, quickly locking on the subject without much problems. In low light, noise is noticeably, but images are still useable, especially if it’s only for social media.

vivo v9 review

vivo v9 review

vivo v9 review

For the front camera, performance is impressive as well. Selfies have good color and detail. As a bonus, users can add a bit of fun with their photos and selfies by using the AR stickers.

vivo v9 review

vivo v9 review

vivo v9 review

Battery Life

The Vivo V9 comes with a 3,260 mAh battery. It’s not the biggest I’ve seen, but it does compensate with fast charging.

With average usage, I was able to get a day out of the phone. That includes web browsing, less than hour of listening to stored music, a few photos, a bit of social media, and some YouTube in the evening.

Heavy users be wary. You might need to charge before the day ends. It has fast charging, though, so you can top up quickly if the need arises.

Conclusion

The Vivo V9 has come a long way, compared to the V7. They definitely improved on the compromises of its predecessor. The handset is fast, smooth, and responsive. The display is bright and colorful, plus the selfie camera is definitely

The Vivo V9 is available in stores with a suggested retail price of PHP 17,990 (around USD 345).


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