Hands-On, Smartphone

Vivo V15 Pro Hands-On: Trickling Down Flagship Features

The Vivo V15 Pro hasn’t been officially announced yet, but Vivo Malaysia was kind enough to lend us a unit for a quick hands-on. After spending a brief time with the upcoming smartphone, I was left…pretty impressed, especially with the device’s almost all-screen design and motorised selfie camera.

That being said, there are still a lot of unanswered questions surrounding the V15 Pro. Whether or not it’s a phone worth getting will depend on its final hardware and retail price.

Compared to its predecessor, the Vivo V11, the V15 Pro is a much more refined smartphone. Although the back of the phone is polycarbonate instead of glass, the V15 Pro still feels plenty solid. The slightly curved back is ergonomic, and the phone looks and feels premium enough.

But the highlight feature of the V15 Pro is the motorised front-facing camera, which was first implemented on the Vivo Nex – the company’s 2018 flagship smartphone. It’s great to see Vivo bringing a feature that was previously available only on its high-end device to a mid-ranger like the V15 Pro.

So how does the pop-up selfie camera work? Quite seamlessly, actually. The motorised 32MP camera moves fast enough for the face unlock feature to quickly recognise me, and it’s equally fast when activating the front-camera to capture a selfie. All in all, I like it.

Because there’s no need to make space for the selfie camera on the front of the phone, the V15 Pro has a nice, almost all-screen design. There’s still a noticeable bezel at the bottom of the phone, but it’s minimal enough to give the phone a sleek appearance. Plus, you don’t have any notch or hole-punch cutout at the top of the display to obstruct your video playback or mobile gaming.

Speaking of which, the V15 Pro’s display looks pretty decent. While Vivo hasn’t revealed the phone’s full list of specifications yet, I’m quite certain the company is using an AMOLED panel here. It has deep blacks, vibrant colours, and great viewing angles.

Much like its predecessor, the V15 Pro also comes with an in-screen fingerprint sensor. For the most part, it performs similarly too: it’s relatively quick and accurate, but a conventional sensor is still superior in these two regards. Most of the time, I find myself using the face unlock instead – it’s simply faster.

Interestingly enough, there’s an extra button on the left side of the V15 Pro dubbed the “AI Button.” As its name suggests, clicking on it summons Google Assistant. Unfortunately, even though the button is customisable (you can even disable it), all of the options work around Google Assistant, such as starting a Google Search with a long press of the button.

In the performance department, the V15 Pro feels quick and responsive. Vivo isn’t saying yet what chipset powers this phone, though rumours are suggesting it’s running on Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 675 SoC. If this is true, the V15 Pro should be adequately powerful; the 675 is Qualcomm’s best mid-range chipset yet.

Another neat upgrade the V15 Pro got is a more sophisticated camera system. According to Amazon India’s listing of the device, the primary sensor of the triple camera system is a huge 48MP shooter. As the V15 Pro takes advantage of pixel binning for improved low light performance, the final images are the size of a conventional 12MP shot.

Overall, the camera performance is pretty darn good. Shots are properly exposed, details are preserved quite well, and the camera interface doesn’t feel sluggish. Then again, I’ve only tested the phone’s camera performance in broad daylight, and most modern smartphones can capture good shots in this condition. The real challenge lies in low light photography.

The Vivo V15 Pro is a much more refined device than the V11, and it’s superior in almost every aspect. It is sleeker, faster, and its camera performance is promising, thanks to the huge 48MP sensor. On top of that, you’re also getting a motorised selfie camera, which was previously available only on the flagship Vivo Nex.

But, as I’ve mentioned, most of the V15 Pro’s major hardware are not revealed yet, including the chipset, battery capacity, internal storage, and RAM size. With that in mind, I can’t say for sure if it’s a phone worth getting; not until it’s officially announced on 20 February in India with more details.

More importantly, the retail price of the V15 Pro has not been revealed yet either. If it’s priced too close to the RM2,000 mark in Malaysia, it will be a difficult device to recommend. Nonetheless, we’ll just have to wait until 26 February – Vivo Malaysia will reveal pre-order information of the V15 Pro then.