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Smartphone Design Evolution: VIVO V-series’ Screen




If you look at smartphones today and then look back to a few years ago, you will quickly realize how much has really changed in so many aspects. The most upfront comparison between then and now, since it is observed visually, is design. But today, we’d like to focus on a particular part of smartphone design — the screen.

Now, the screen component itself is another category on its own due to the vast developments in display technology. However, there is no doubt it plays into the design of a smartphone as a whole; it’s the first thing you see in a modern handset. This is evident in pretty much any smartphone brand, but for this article, we’re gonna be illustrating it with the VIVO V-series.

To show the evolution, we’re gonna be taking a look at screen size, screen-to-body ratio, and since VIVO is now a brand known for its affinity to selfies, front camera resolution.

The beginning, c. 2015

VIVO had just started their international expansion a year prior to the release of the first V-series phones, the V1 and V1 Max in 2015.

 VIVO V1VIVO V1 Max
Screen size5.0-inches, 1280 x 720 pixels5.5-inches, 1920 x 1080 pixels
Panel typeIPSIPS
Screen-to-body ratio67.58%70.16%
Front camera resolution5MP5MP

The VIVO V1 and V1 Max had a look that was considered pretty basic. It had a thick side, top, and bottom bezels. The V1 had a 5-inch screen, while the V1 Max had a 5.5-inch screen which was getting more and more popular at the time. Also, at this point, VIVO was not focusing so much on selfie-centric-ness, so to speak, hence the basic 5MP front camera.

Not much has changed, c. 2016

In 2016, the second generation of the V-series was released in the form of the V3 and V3 Max.

 VIVO V3VIVO V3 Max
Screen size5.0-inches, 1280 x 720 pixels5.5-inches, 1920 x 1080 pixels
Panel typeIPSIPS
Screen-to-body ratio67.44%70.12%
Front camera resolution8MP8MP

In a year’s time, close to nothing had changed. We still got the same basic look, same screen sizes, and pretty much the same screen-to-body ratios. This time though, the front camera resolution was bumped up to 8MP.

The first step, c. 2016-2017

In late 2016 through early 2017, the third generation of the V-series came with not two, but three SKUs this time. We got the V5, V5 Plus, and V5s.


 VIVO V5VIVO V5 PlusVIVO V5s
Screen size5.5-inches, 1280 x 720 pixels5.5-inches 1920 x 1080 pixels 5.5-inches, 1280 x 720 pixels
Panel typeIPSIPSIPS
Screen-to-body ratio71.8%73.8%71.8%
Front camera resolution20MP20MP + 8MP20MP

With the V5 series, we had some signs of life in terms of improvement. The 5-inch screen option was gone, solidifying 5.5-inches as a new standard. The screen-to-body ratio didn’t increase by much, but the look of the front of the phones was fresher; we got thinner side bezels. Most notably, the front camera resolution had been bumped up more than two-fold compared to the previous generation, to 20MP. The V5 Plus even had a dual front camera setup, a trend which has been gaining steam ever since.

Shrinking bezels, c. 2017

In late 2017, VIVO came out with the V7 and V7+, the successors to the V5 series.

 VIVO V7VIVO V7+
Screen size5.7-inches, 1440 x 720 pixels5.99-inches, 1440 x 720 pixels
Panel typeIPSIPS
Screen-to-body ratio77.1%78.4%
Front camera resolution24MP24MP

This wasn’t a huge turning point in the series, but the release of the V7 phones marked an even bigger change compared to the previous generation’s change. The base screen size, seen in the V7, was bumped up to 5.7-inches. The V7+, though, had a huge 5.99-inch screen. At this point, the trend in aspect ratio had changed. 16:9 was out of fashion, and 18:9 was all the rage. The downside though, was that neither the V7 or V7+ had a 1080p screen.

Screen-to-body ratio was also a lot better, being closer to 80%. This is evident in the minimal bezels. Front camera resolution was bumped up yet again to 24MP, though this time the dual front camera was absent.

Arrival of the notch, c. 2018

While VIVO was busy launching the V7 and V7+, Apple was busy with the release of one of their new devices at the time, the iPhone X. It was the first phone to popularize the infamous ‘notch’, which is a cut-out on the top of the screen. A lot of brands, including VIVO, followed suit. The VIVO V9 was released earlier this year.

 VIVO V9
Screen size6.3-inches, 2280 x 1080 pixels
Panel typeIPS
Screen-to-body ratio85.2%
Front camera resolution24MP

With a bit of extra space at the top of the screen, the V9 had its vertical resolution bumped up to 2280 pixels. The addition of the notch also brought the screen-to-body ratio closer to 90%. The front camera resolution stayed at 24MP.

The “Halo FullView Display”, c. 2018

The rectangular notch design has been somewhat getting stale over the last year, with true “all-screen” phones becoming the ideal. VIVO recently responded to this in the mid-range segment by releasing the V11 and V11i in September of this year.

 VIVO V11VIVO V11i
Screen size6.41-inches, 2340 x 1080 pixels6.3-inches, 2280 x 1080 pixels
Panel typeSuper AMOLEDLTPS IPS
Screen-to-body ratio85.2%84%
Front camera resolution25MP25MP

The V11 and V11i’s notches only house the front camera, leaving more space at the top of the screen. This is also the first time the 6-inch screen size barrier had been broken in the V-series. Screen-to-body ratio has progressively been getting higher, allowing screens to be bigger without significantly increasing the overall dimensions of a phone. Another first is the use of a Super AMOLED display, which the V11 has. The front camera resolution is also now at its highest in the history of the V-series, at 25MP.

The future

Looking at how the screen and front camera of the VIVO V-series have evolved, there’s a clear picture of what the future holds for the brand. “All-screen” phones are in, so perhaps the VIVO NEX S’s technology will trickle down? Also, there has been a steady increase in front camera resolution, so we can probably expect something higher than 25MP next year when the V13, or whatever it will be called, is released.



Joey graduated with a degree in Digital Filmmaking from the De La Salle – College of Saint Benilde last March 2017. A filmmaker by heart, he has since put aside cinema to focus on his other passion, technology. PCs, mechanical keyboards, audio, cameras, and gaming are among his biggest tech interests.

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4 Responses

  1. magic says:

    evolution? smartphones are getting dumber and dumber. some already lost the 3.5mm jack and that is so stupid.

    the notch is one of the worst things to happen to smartphones. this is not evolution. it became worse.

    • JustSayin says:

      So technically the definition of “evolution” in your dictionary is all about the physical change of the phone. You completely disregard all the things that is much more valuable than that. Ram, ppi, camera mp, battery and even resolutions. Jeez brother its not all about phisical appearance.

  2. jobert_sucaldito says:

    This looks like a paid ad by vivo. unbox,ph also has the same, praising vivo and their ‘technological advancements’ duh.

  3. Kabitenyo says:

    What’s more to design if you only got the screen left? lazy designers.

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