Vivo has been aggressively updating its range of mid-range phones in recent months. Just before unveiling its brand new Vivo T smartphone series with the Vivo Vivo T1 5G, the company launched the V23 5G, designed for mobile photography enthusiasts. Vivo’s is the answer for those who turn up their noses when reading the price tags of today’s mobile phones. A model that can be found online for less than EUR 500 and that has little to envy the most renowned competitors in the smartphone Olympus.
Before we start talking about the design, a quick look at the contents inside the box: in addition to the smartphone, it includes a 44W power supply, a USB-A to USB-C cable and a transparent silicone case. Interestingly, the Vivo V23 5G is one of the mid-range Android phones that still includes a pair of wired earphones along with a USB-C to 3.5mm dongle.
Vivo V23 – The design stands out
We received the Stardust Black edition for our review and the back panel has a smooth finish that shines in the sunlight. There is also a Sunshine Gold version that changes color to blue under UV light. There is no doubt that the Vivo V23 5G is a pretty sight at the first glance. The smartphone resembles the iPhone 12 with a flat edge design, but without those glass edges that make it far too slippery. On the front, we have a 6.4-inch AMOLED panel with Full HD+ resolution (2400×1080 pixels).
The screen of the Vivo V23 5G is quite bright even in direct sunlight. Fingerprint and face scanners are fast and reliable although the highlight of the device is the dual-selfie camera setup with two LED lights next to the notch for better photos and videos in low light. The rear panel includes an 8-megapixel camera, a 64-megapixel main sensor and a 2-megapixel super macro camera. At the bottom is a USB-C port but no headphone jack.
The display: beautiful and bright
The Vivo V23 5G is equipped with a display that performs well. As mentioned, it provides decent brightness in direct sunlight: however, it is not the most accurate display available on the market. Thanks to HDR10+ support, black dots are deep in supported videos although, when it comes to refreshing rate, here we reach a maximum of 90 Hz when many competing smartphones offer a refresh rate of 120 Hz.
The V23 5G is powered by the MediaTek Dimensity 920 chipset, which competes directly with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 778G chipset. On the Geekbench benchmark, the Dimensity 920 is slightly inferior to the Snapdragon 778G chipset. Thanks to the 12 GB RAM, switching between apps is always fast and flicker-free. The same is true for video games, which are fluid even in the most intense rambles. Perhaps you will notice some hiccups when you have a lot of apps open, and in that case, it is better to concentrate the power of the device only on what you are using at that moment, especially if it sucks power.
The Vivo V23 5G puts a lot of emphasis on its camera system. There are a total of five sensors onboard, two at the front and three at the back. The selfie camera includes a 50-megapixel main camera with autofocus and an 8-megapixel wide-angle camera. Both offer good performance, but with limitations. The 50-megapixel main selfie of the Vivo V23 5G captures detail with high levels of sharpness, although it lacks some colors. When comparing the Vivo V23 5G’s front camera with the 12-megapixel counterpart of an iPhone 13, the difference can be seen. Apple’s natural tones are replaced by less brilliant colors on the Vivo. No tragedy, but if perfection is the way to go, so be it.
The 64-megapixel rear camera performs similarly to the 50-megapixel front camera. We get high levels of sharpness, but again the lack of color detail is a bit of a problem. The good part is that the 8-megapixel wide-angle camera and the 2-megapixel super macro camera work much better than most rivals. The Vivo V23 5G supports 4K video shooting with both the front and rear cameras.
The Vivo V23 offers good performance, at a price that is more than competitive. There are some ‘buts’, as with all phones on the market. First, it lacks an IP rating for dust and water resistance, which many have. Then there is only one audio output channel that provides loud but not so clear sound. The Funtouch operating system based on Android 12 still needs some optimizations to work even if the minimalist route is the right one.
Then the positives: excellent cameras for sharp photos and videos, with attention to detail. This is by far the most reliable camera system on a mid-range smartphone. The charging speed is also good and the battery life of almost an entire day is acceptable. I like the square, non-slippery design, as well as the slight shine on the back, although not as noticeable on the dark model I tested. All in all, if you want to spend the right amount to have a phone with which to capture the coming spring and summer, the Vivo V23 can be a more than reliable companion.
If, on the other hand, you need an all-around phone that doesn’t heat up, allows you to run lots of apps in multitasking without ever slowing down, then you need to look elsewhere, considering that the expense won’t be so low.