Of the several devices it has been introducing in the local market, smartphone brand vivo has kept its V series as the apex of its smartphone efforts in the country. That is very easy to see given the treatment that the latest member of that series, the vivo V23 5G, has received since its local unveiling 2 months ago.
Indeed, I have had such a great time reviewing the device over the 2 months that I have had it.
For me, it is an outstanding device in many respects.
The obvious pick is the cameras on the front and the back. They’re impeccable and were the major highlight of my review period with the device. Heck, they’re the one thing everyone who interacted with their products (in the way of photos, especially photos) remembered. There was the occasional light deference where a blue sky in the background wouldn’t be reflected as it was and the once in a while infractions when there’s too much light but, as far as I am concerned, that was pretty much it.
Portrait shots and night shots were just fantastic – both when taken using the normal camera mode and when the dedicated night mode was applied.
As usual, I did not like that the 64-megapixel sensor toggle was an extra step but it is what it is, right?
The other outstanding feature of the vivo V23 5G for anyone who picks up the device is its design. There are the gimmicks that come with the Sunshine Gold colour option but, forget about those for a moment. I had with me the Stardust Black colour model and it was just fine. Nothing truly outstanding about the colour since that is left for the showy gold variant but something resplendent in the way the whole thing has been put together. The metal, which is cold to the touch when the temperatures are low and furnace hot when things are spiced up, is everything. It brings with it compactness I’ve always desired in a device, something we are not so used to seeing on midrange devices.
Then again, the vivo V23 5G is no ordinary midrange device. It costs a whopping Kshs 60,000 and, for that money, you expect more. And more you get.
The only qualm with the design? It is also, in my opinion, its Achilles’ heel.
The device is very slippery. More than a Kenyan with your debt. So slippery, I came to learn (the hard way) that you need to always have a case on it. A point can be made about hiding such beauty in a case when it is meant to be seen and appreciated but, hey, what else can we do? The other option is to end up with a device that has fallen more times than a traded stock and, if you are unfortunate as yours truly was, that ends up eventually ruining the device.
I was kind of mad that a raised hand (five fingers and all) wasn’t a recognizable gesture for timed selfies, as I am used to doing with other devices, especially when driving out and about but that is something you can live with – just utilize the timer feature.
On the software front, it has been a pleasure seeing FunTouch OS grow in leaps and bounds since my first encounter with it. In the vivo V23 5G, the software stays out of the way and is never, at any given time, something you get to be preoccupied with. It is just a great facilitator. You know, the thing that is in place to help you bring out your best self. To create. To entertain or be entertained. Whatever. It just does its work. And it’s fantastic.
There’s an added row in the app drawer that predicts apps you’re likely to get to based on past usage and I think it’s a good addition. Probably something that should be on every app drawer. It has been a draw of mine on third-party launchers for a while now and I am glad to see a device maker prioritize such a feature.
Another feature that many may not even recognize since it is hidden away in the settings and it’s been ages since we obsessed over it is the ability to restrict which applications can access the internet. App access to the internet can be enabled or disabled for hotspots (Wi-Fi) or mobile network connections or both at any given time. This used to be a thing back in the day when data was very expensive. However, given how we operate today, you may want to take a rest and not be disturbed on WhatsApp while, at the same time, continuing to enjoy your YouTube videos. That is all possible. It’s such a unique feature that I haven’t seen it implemented on any other device and custom take on Android in a long time. The last time I checked, users needed root access to be able to use tools that gave such levels of customization. vivo for the win!
All is good with the software until the mention of Android Auto. I had issues keeping the vivo V23 5G connected to the car. Now, this is not something that many users of the device will encounter (problems of a few) but it is worth pointing out, anyway. The device would heat up, and keep on connecting and disconnecting Bluetooth, which is necessary for the normal functioning of Android Auto. Occasionally, it would freeze, necessitating a restart. This is something I believe can be fixed with just a software update and fingers crossed that it really does.
The fast charging on the vivo V23 5G is fantastic! The 44W FlashCharge, which is possible when using the charger and cable that come with the device in the box, is just the right fit and makes sure that you have just the correct juice at the correct time. It doesn’t matter if you’ve just remembered to plug in your phone before stepping out, all you need is a few minutes and you’ll be covered.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to test the 5G component of the vivo V23 5G since we still have limited access to 5G network in the country. However, since it is there, for buyers of the device, this is the future-proofing that one buys into.
The vivo V23 5G is a great device for all occasions. Its Kshs 60,000 price tag can look and feel overwhelming at first glance but the device more than makes up for it. It has a gorgeous 6.4-inch display that enables an 88% screen-to-body ratio and a metal construction design that folds all of that beautifully together to deliver an awesome midrange experience that feels almost next level. To use fewer words, it is a premium smartphone experience on the lower side of finances.
Pair all of that with the future-proofing of 5G, a fast and smooth performance guaranteed by the pairing of a capable chipset and sufficient memory, an acceptable software experience and nifty features like NFC and the impeccable wide-angle lenses on the front and back that add to the great camera experience offered on the device and you have a winner.
It has taken over 2 months for the vivo V23 5G to get what I’d call comparable competition in the local market, in the Oppo Reno7 5G, and, given that it is the device that I have so far used extensively, I would vouch for it any day any time. Would you?