vivo has officially launched the vivo V23 5G here in the Philippines. This new Android phone, together with its big brother the V23 Pro, has been attracting a lot of attention during the CES 2022 event, due to its unique feature as it can actually change colors. It reminds me of “mood rings”.
Aside from being one of the best-looking smartphones right now, what else does it have to offer? Will it perform well? Find out in our full review.
Design and Construction
Out of the box and at first glance, I’ll be honest with you that this phone reminds us of the OPPO Reno 6 with the boxy build and shiny design. And since we get a flat plastic frame, the phone can stand on its own easily.
Talking more about that stunning design, the vivo V23 series gets a UV reacted textured back called Fluorite AG Glass. It has a soft sandy feel in it, which thankfully repels a lot of smudges. It’s a simple, yet at the same time, complex look that you know the brand added a lot of effort into.
The unit we have is in the Sunshine Gold model, and from different angles, it morphs into different colors. There’s yellow, orange, pink, blue, and green. It is mesmerizing! The fun part is that you can play with it by using UV lights. Vivo sent us this cute pattern and exposing it to UV light can give you a few 30 seconds of an even more unique design.
More on the back, you’ll find its protruding triple rear camera module, together with the LED flash. This module is rather larger than what we’re used to seeing from other smartphones today, but vivo managed to make it look quite minimal in a sense. Other than that, we get some vivo branding embedded.
Up at the front, we get a 6.44-inch AMOLED display with slim bezels and a small notch on the upper center to house its dual front shooters. Interestingly, we also get two LED “spotlights” placed beside the call speaker, that work like selfie lights. It’s really these minute details where vivo puts in the effort and I’m sure a lot of users will appreciate these.
For protection, the brand uses a Xensation Up glass and there’s also a screen protector pre-installed.
As for buttons and ports, there’s nothing found on the left, while the right side houses the volume rocker and the power button. They’re all easy to reach.
Up top, we have a secondary microphone, while at the bottom are the loudspeaker, USB Type-C port, primary microphone, and a dual Nano SIM-card tray. Unfortunately, there’s no microSD card slot available.
It’s a fairly light phone and feels comfortable on the hand, weighing merely 179 grams. Overall, the vivo V23 design looks premium. However, you might want to be extra careful of the edges as it’s prone to scratches.
Display and Multimedia
Focusing on display, the vivo V23 has a 6.44-inch AMOLED screen with a 2400 x 1080px resolution and a pixel density of 409ppi. It is also worth mentioning that the display supports HDR10+ and has a 90Hz refresh rate that can be switched to the standard 60Hz or on Smart Switch so it will automatically choose the best refresh rate for an app.
Other than that, you can adjust the display temperature to what you prefer, as well as change the screen colors to bright, professional, or standard.
With an AMOLED panel, as expected we get vibrant colors and deep blacks, which translates to a pleasing viewing experience whether you’re just casually browsing social media feeds or watching a movie on Netflix.
When it comes to audio, sound quality from the down-firing loudspeaker is respectable enough for day-to-day use, like calls and watching videos. We still recommend using your favorite pair of headphones or external speakers if you demand better quality.
Its triple camera module is composed of a 64MP main, an 8MP ultrawide, and a 2MP macro shooter. Meanwhile, housed in the notch up top is a 50MP selfie camera alongside its 8MP ultra-wide lens.
For photo quality, the standard mode noticeably produces clear and sharp images even when you’re not using the 64MP lens. I wouldn’t say they’re super close to the actual scenarios, but we get good colors and sharpness, especially under good lighting conditions. We found the super-wide-angle lens very useful to capture more range, however, the colors can be far from the normal mode sometimes.
The standard mode also provides a nice bokeh effect even if you’re not using portrait mode, but of course, using the dedicated portrait mode, gives you that more professional-looking shot.
You can zoom in up to 10x and still get sharp details, but if you really want more details then you can take advantage of the high resolution mode to maximize its 64MP lens.
Its night mode also does a very good job most of the time by producing brighter and sharper photos that doesn’t look washed.
Flipping upfront, vivo sure is focused here in the selfie department. With a dual camera setup plus those fancy selfie spotlights, you can really up your social media game with this one. It does a good job on the skin tones, falling more on cooler tones. There’s a slight post processing going on even with the beauty mode turned off, but it’s not that irritating.
For other camera features, there’s live photo, panorama, pro, AR stickers, dual view video, and double exposure.
Checking out videos, you can shoot up to 4k at 60fps with casual stabilization, and additionally, using the 1080p settings allows you to use an ultra stabilization option.
The Super Steady stabilization is only usable for 1080p at 30fps. You can use the Pro Video though if you want more control for specific subjects and scenarios. The quality is really not that bad, it can be highly useful for vlogging or if you just really love shooting random videos.
OS, UI, and Apps
Software-wise, the vivo V23 is one of the first vivo smartphones to come with Android 12 out-of-the-box skinned with FunTouch OS 12. This new update brings a new user interface design and more customizable options. It resembles a stock Android look but in a more fun way.
There’s an app drawer option in the settings and this being vivo, expect it to be highly customizable with a lot of features you can play around with. There is some bloatware and very few pre-installed apps, including Google apps, Netflix, and Facebook.
For other features, it has vivo’s AI assistant Jovi, one-handed mode, smart motion, and Ultra Game Mode to boost your gaming use with features such as E-sports mode, picture-in-picture, frame-rate priority, 4D game vibration, and block notifications.
Out of the 256GB of storage that we get, we were left with a usable space of 230GB out of the box.
Performance and Benchmarks
Powering the vivo V23 is a MediaTek Dimensity 920 5G paired with a Mali-G68 MC4 GPU and 8/12GB of RAM. The unit we have has 12GB of RAM and it has a 4GB of RAM extension that you can turn on in the settings.
It’s the first time we’re trying the MediaTek Dimensity 920 chipset on a phone, and in our experience, it has been very good. Most of the time we get a smooth performance without any stuttering.
With that huge RAM, apps launch fast, and multitasking is a breeze. It doesn’t heat up quickly when using the 90Hz refresh rate for a long period.
If you’re interested in the benchmark scores, we’ll flash them now.
- AnTuTu v9.2.9 – 464,511
- AnTuTu v9.1.7 Storage Test – 39,246, (1005.2 MB/s Seq. Read, 508.3 MB/s Seq. Write)
- Geekbench 5.4.4 – 737 (Single-Core), 2,139 (Multi-Core), 2,822 (OpenCL)
- PCMark – 7,913 (Work 3.0)
- 3D Mark – 2,310, 13.80 Ave FPS (Wild Life)
For biometrics and security, it comes with an under-display fingerprint scanner and facial recognition. Both scanners are snappy, however, the fingerprint scanner is placed on the lower part of the display so it can take some getting used to.
Connectivity and Battery Life
For connectivity, the vivo V23 is ready with WiFi, dual 5G, Bluetooth 5.2, NFC, and GPS.
As for the battery, we get a pretty decent 4,200mAh capacity with 44W fast charging, which is fast and can charge the device for more or less than an hour. We were able to use the device for a day or a day and a half when using the standard 60Hz refresh rate. With the 90Hz refresh rate on, it can manage a whole day with light usage and casual gaming.
In our standard video loop test, where we keep a 1080p movie on loop with 50% brightness, 0% volume, and airplane mode turned on, the device lasted for surprisingly 22 hours and 55 minutes. We also ran it through PCMark’s Battery Test, and the vivo V23 yielded a score of 15 hours and 16 minutes.
This model didn’t get major trimmings when it comes to features compared to its higher sibling the V23 Pro, making this somewhat the more practical choice between the two. Within the premium midrange competition, there are other smartphones with better features such as IP rating, faster charging, 120Hz refresh rate, and better choice of hardware; but what the V23 has an edge on is in its cameras and that unique trendy UV design.
It’s a reliable 5G-ready daily driver, plus those built-in selfie spotlights are definitely an icing on the cake.
The vivo V23 5G is priced at Php27,999.
With inputs from Aj Viray.
vivo V23 5G specs:
6.44-inch FHD+ (2400 x 1080) AMOLED display
MediaTek Dimensity 920 SoC
8GB, 12GB RAM
128GB, 256GB storage
• 64MP F1.89 main
• 8MP F2.2 ultra-wide
• 2MP F2.4 macro
Dual-front cameras w/ LED flash:
• 50MP F2.0 main
• 8MP F2.28 ultra-wide
5G, 4G LTE
GPS, A-GPS, BEIDOU, GLONASS, GALILEO, QZSS, NavIC
Fingerprint scanner (in-display)
Funtouch OS 12 (Android 12)
4,200mAh battery w/ 44W fast charging
Stardust Black, Sunshine Gold