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vivo V23 5G review: Decent mid-range phone with powerful selfie cameras

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The V23 5G is the latest smartphone from vivo to launch in the Philippines. The handset comes with impressive specs for a mid-range device. Billed as a vlogging phone, its highlight features include a 50MP dual selfie camera system with dual-tone spotlight flash and a 90Hz AMOLED display, to go with an eye-catching Photochromic design.

It all looks good on paper, but we all know it’s usually more than that. In this review, we’re going to take a close look at the vivo V23 5G and try to answer the age-old question — is it worth our money? Let’s dive in.

vivo V23 5G review
vivo V23 5G Sunshine Gold

Accessories

The vivo V23 5G comes in a thick cardboard box in deep blue color with a smattering of glitter design on top. Typical of vivo, the handset comes with a complete set of accessories, including a pair of earphones — something you rarely see in phone packages nowadays.

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In the box

  • vivo V23 5G
  • Silicone case
  • Earphones
  • Charger
  • USB-C cable
  • Documentation
  • Pre-installed screen protector

Design and Display

In its recent smartphone releases, vivo has done a great job in design. Take a look at last year’s X70 5G for example, it’s a gorgeous device.

vivo continues the trend with the V23 5G. It’s a stylish and modern device with a polished metal frame and flat sides. It’s not thin and sleek, like most handsets nowadays, with dimensions measuring 157.2 x 72.42 x 7.55mm. In fact, the overall look reminds me of the new iPhones. The choice in inspiration is a very good decision, in my opinion, because not only does it sets itself apart from current Android offerings, but it actually is aesthetically appealing.

Aside from looking good, the chosen design and thickness actually have another purpose. It makes the handset ergonomic and as a result, it’s very comfortable to hold and easier to grip.

The V23 5G used the same Flourite AG industrial design process used on the X70 5G. It has a soft and velvety feel. It’s not as smooth as the latter’s back panel. The former has a textured finish.

Flourite AG

Surprisingly, that’s not even the phone’s most impressive design element. vivo calls it the Photochromic design. To achieve this, vivo applied a UV-sensitive dye under the Flourite AG panel that changes the color when exposed to light. Exposing the handset to sunlight for around 30 seconds causes the color to shift from the Sunshine Gold colorway to a blue-green gradient. The change is not permanent, though, as it fades back to normal after a while.

At the back, the camera island takes a large space with a rectangular layout. The camera lenses have a horizontal arrangement with the LED flash sitting right beside them.

At the front, the V23 5G has a flat 6.44-inch FHD+ AMOLED display with a 2400 x 1080 resolution, a 90Hz refresh rate, HDR10+ support. It’s protected by Schott Xensation Up glass, which is said to be stronger than conventional glass protection, able to survive drops from twice the height of its peers.

vivo V23 5G specs - AMOLED Display

The side bezels are narrow, which helps lessen the phone’s bulk and also gives it a more immersive viewing experience. A small rectangular notch can be seen, housing dual selfie cameras. Meanwhile, the top bezel hides a thin earpiece, and the front dual spotlight flash.

The display itself looks good, with vibrant colors, good viewing angles, and deep blacks. Watching videos, viewing images, and playing games is a pleasant experience.

vivo V23 5G specs AMOLED Display

The 90Hz refresh rate makes the UI smooth, looking snappy and responsive. By default, the screen refresh rate is set on Smart Switch. For some reason (even after two updates), I found it to be inconsistent. Scrolling on Chrome, for example, looked like it was defaulting on a lower refresh rate. Setting it to 90Hz fixes this issue.

The power button and volume rocker are on the right side, which is something I personally prefer. The layout prevents accidental button presses while watching videos on landscape with the left side down.

Read More: vivo Y55 5G official with Dimensity 700, 5000mAh batt and 50MP main camera

The dual SIM card slot, mic, USB-C, and mono speaker are situated at the bottom. The SIM tray has a rubber gasket that prevents water or dust from entering the slot. The handset as a whole doesn’t seem to have any IP rating. It’s not a deal-breaker, but it’s something to keep in mind.

Performance and Battery

The vivo V23 5G is powered by a 6nm MediaTek Dimensity 920 5G SoC with 6 Arm Cortex-A55 cores clocked at 2.0GHz and 2 Arm Cortex-A78 cores clocked at 2.5GHz. Our review unit has 12GB RAM and 256GB storage. It also has a 4200mAh battery with 44W fast charging.

The phone runs on Funtouch OS 12 on top of Android 12. It has vivo’s Extended RAM feature, which adds virtual RAM by up to 4GB RAM using the phone’s memory, boosting total RAM to 16GB. It is turned on by default.

The handset also comes with the highest Widevine L1 certification, which means it supports HD playback for Netflix and other streaming platforms.

vivo V23 5G review

As for its performance, the V23 5G is fast and responsive. Basic handling is butter smooth. There were some slight stutters that show up while browsing in Chrome and YouTube, but it seldom happens and is likely not noticeable for most people. Overall, the user experience is quite pleasant.

If you’re into benchmark scores, here’s how the Dimensity 920 performed.

  • AnTuTu – 473,532
    CPU – 121,030
    GPU – 140,769
    MEM – 89,203
    UX – 122,530
  • Geekbench – 739 (Single-core); 2141 (Multi-core)
  • 3D Mark – 647 (Wild Life Extreme)

Here’s a quick comparison table between the Dimensity 920, the Dimensity 1200 on the vivo X70 5G, and the Snapdragon 778 on the realme GT Master Edition to show you the difference in performance between the chipsets.

MediaTek Dimensity 920
(vivo V23 5G)
MediaTek Dimensity 1200
(vivo X70 5G)
Qualcomm Snapdragon 778
(realme GT Master Edition)
AnTuTu473,532681,549540,194
Geekbench 5739 (Single-core)
2,141 (Multi-core)
869 (Single-core)
2,788 (Multi-core)
790 (Single-core)
2,795 (Multi-core)
3D Mark
Wild Life Extreme
6471,277693

Perhaps one of the biggest advantages of the Dimensity 920 is in battery life. With the 4200mAh capacity, the V23 5G can last a typical workday with moderate usage. The chip proves to be power-efficient. It’s possible to stretch it further with light usage, setting the refresh rate to 60Hz, and a lower brightness setting.

As for the charging time, vivo’s 44W FlashCharge can top up the phone to more than 50% in just 30 minutes. A full charge takes around an hour or so to complete.

Cameras

The vivo V23 5G has a 64MP main camera with an f/1.9 aperture lens. The secondary cameras include an 8MP ultra-wide up to 2x optical zoom and a 2MP depth.

Meanwhile, the dual front cameras have a 50MP customized JNV ISOCELL 3 sensor and an 8MP ultra-wide with a 105-degree field of view. It also has the Dual-Tone Spotlight flash, which is essentially two LED torches on either side of the selfie camera.

vivo V23 5G review rear cameras

The 64MP main camera pixel bins 16MP photos. It does a good job in brightly lit areas. Image quality is great with pleasant colors. Dynamic range is okay, as is the level of detail.

Indoor shots are also decent, despite some images looking over-processed. There’s still good detail and plenty of color saturation.

The ultra-wide camera, on the other hand, is average to good, depending on the lighting. It’s still good enough for social media, though, which is enough for most of us.

In low light, images are good with some noise and artifacts creeping in. You do get good detail and colors, which is overall pleasant.

Check out the camera sample photos below.

Selfies

The V23 5G’s selfie cameras are one of its highlight features and with good reason. The 50MP JNV ISOCELL 3 sensor does a really good job. Selfies look great, with decent colors and skin tones, plenty of detail, and good dynamic range. The Dual-Tone Spotlight flash also does a good job of filling in light if needed.

Final Thoughts

The vivo V23 5G is a well-rounded mid-range phone with a 90Hz AMOLED display and Schott Xensation Up glass protection, a competent set of cameras, great selfie shooters, and decent performance thanks to the Dimensity 920 5G. What’s more, the phone also has good battery life and fast charging speeds.

On top of all that, you have the Photochromic design, an innovation I feel is a huge step above what you normally see on devices within the same range.

vivo V23 5G specs

Now, all this would mean nothing if the price isn’t right, right? And for Php 27,999, I think it’s reasonable for what it offers.

So, if you’re looking for a color-changing phone with an elegant design and great front cameras that take high-quality selfies and decent videos for vlogging, then you should consider the vivo V23 5G.

Price and Availability

The vivo V23 5G is priced at Php 27,999. It is now available in vivo stores and official flagship stores on Shopee and Lazada.

vivo V23 5G specs

Display6.44-inch FHD+ AMOLED Display, 2400 x 1080, 90Hz Refresh Rate, HDR10+
Schott Xensation Up
ProcessorMediaTek Dimensity 920 5G
RAM12GB RAM
Storage256GB Storage
Expandable MicroSD Slot
Rear Cameras64MP Main
8MP Ultra-wide
2MP Macro
LED Flash
Front Camera50MP Main, JNV ISOCELL 3 Sensor
8MP Ultra-wide
Dual-tone Spotlight Flash
Network5G, 4G LTE
ConnectivityWi-Fi AC Dual Band, Bluetooth 5.2, GPS, NFC
OthersUSB-C, In-display Fingerprint Scanner, Hi-Res Audio
OSFuntouch OS 12, Android 12
ColorsStardust Black, Sunshine Gold
Battery4200mAh Battery, 44W Fast Charge
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Author

Bryan is a tech enthusiast and self-admitted geek who enjoys blogging and watching NBA clips on YouTube. He has over 20 years of experience in corporate communications, marketing services, and customer relations from different industries such as telecommunications and banking.

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