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Vivo V5s Review – The Perfect Selfie on a Budget

If you’re looking for a selfie-focused phone on a budget, the Vivo V5s might just provide what you need. Sharing a similar size and front shooter with its more powerful sibling, the V5 Plus, the V5s prides itself on having a lower price point. But does the drop in specs change much in terms of actual performance?

The contents of the V5s don’t differ much from its V5 siblings, as it has:

  • Vivo V5s Unit (1 pc)
  • Clear Jelly Protective Case (1 pc)
  • SIM card holder opening pin (1 pc)
  • Vivo V5s Quick Start Guide (1 pc)
  • Warranty Card (1 pc)
  • micro-USB charging cable (1 pc)
  • Vivo Charger (1 pc)
  • Earphones (1 pair)

Build and Construction

This 5.5-incher looks similar to its V5 siblings. In fact, looking at it side-by-side with the V5 Plus, it’s as if they’re almost the same phone. The similarity in style, in my opinion, could go either way. The uniform design of the V5 family ensures that interested buyers know exactly what the V5 brand phones look like. Inversely, a recycled design could make the brand seem lazy or uninspired.

Additionally, the V5s has the same metallic finish on the back, the same white bezels on the front, and curved edges. Even the button layout remains the same, with volume and lock buttons on the right. The left, of course, has the SIM card holder, the top has nothing on it, and the bottom holds the earphone jack, speaker grill, and micro-USB port. We have the main camera in the same upper left portion as other V5 variants, and the front has the selfie shooter flanked by its sensors. Adding to this, the bezels continue to be thin on the sides, with same-size front and bottom bezels. Of particular note is the bottom bezel, which features the same physical home button and capacitive side buttons.

To maintain a solid selling point, Vivo did not skimp on both cameras, keeping them at a high quality (20 MP front, and 13 MP rear). We’ll talk more about these two cameras later on.

OS, UI, and Apps

Despite having the ability to include Nougat, Vivo sticks to an Android 6.0 Marshmallow OS. However, we should temper our expectations and consider the fact that the Marshmallow still seems viable as a functioning OS. And besides, the Funtouch 3.0 skin over it makes the entire UI look good. Like other Vivo phones with Funtouch, the minimalist, muted design of the interface works well. Icons are mostly limited to two colors, and the font takes a simple yet appealing sans serif form.

The Vivo V5s is powered by a 1.5GHz octa-core MediaTek MT6750 processor and comes with 4GB RAM. Additionally, it packs 64GB of internal storage, expandable to 256GB via microSD card. Apps load fast, and changing between apps isn’t a hassle. Speaking of the apps, big props to Vivo for not packing the phone with bloatware. At most, you could maybe call WPS Office an unneeded app, but that’s it. Other Vivo-brand apps include vivoCloud, V-Appstore, UC Browser.

Camera

As we discussed briefly earlier, the Vivo V5s promises great images despite its limited, low price range. But do they actually deliver on this?  The answer is an astounding yes. Basically, the V5s accomplishes this via a 20-megapixel front camera and a 13-megapixel rear shooter.

First, let’s check out the  13MP rear shooter complete with PDAF and a LED flash. It generates images with a good dynamic range, on top of crisp details. So far, expectations have been met, and this really shows in the sample images we have. Surprisingly, it also maintains this kind of top-notch imaging even in low lighting. Good details will appear on both bright areas and dimmed areas.

Meanwhile, the 20-megapixel selfie camera just blew me away, thanks to Sony technology, soft LED flash and an f/2.0 aperture. First thing that caught my attention would be the impressive illumination for low-light selfies. It really makes up for the ‘okay’ specs and outdated OS, as virtually every photo we took avoided overexposure.

Second big attention-grabber would be the Face Beauty shooting mode. What does this mode do? Well, it activates filters that will try to make any detected face blemish-free. It systematically makes details softer, primarily through blurring. No need to worry about overdoing it, though, as you can set the intensity of Face Beauty from 0 to 100. However, even at 100, the software does its best to avoid making you look inhuman, and most of your selfies will look as natural as possible. Props to whoever coded that into the Face Beauty mode.

The only drawback to the V5s’ high-quality cameras lie is the slow shutter speed. Simply put, taking a selfie inside either a car, or a bus, or any moving vehicle produces a blurry image.

Selfie shots were actually more impressive compared to other beautification filters we’ve tested before. This is because the software makes the effect look natural which is very important. You wouldn’t want your face to look obviously edited, now, would you? Although, we found its weakness when you take a selfie inside a moving car at night. The result is a blurry image due to the unstable camera and slower shutter speed to accommodate more light into its sensor.

Here are some photos taken with the Vivo V5s:

100% cropped

Vivo V5s front camera selfie shots:

Performance and Benchmarks

The Vivo V5s runs on a 64-bit 1.5GHz octa-core MediaTek processor with 4GB RAM. In practice, this resulted in seamless, lag-free sessions of Dead Trigger 2. Additionally, we were able to switch between apps quickly and easily without having to wait a single second. This, in particular, comes as a result of the 4GB RAM. For the benchmarks, these are the numbers we got:

AnTuTu: 39850
3DMark (SlingShot): 320
PCMark (Work 1.0): 4168

Battery Life

With a 3000mAh non-removable battery, the V5 lasted for almost an entire workday, about 9 hours, on a full charge. Take note that this run involves 100% brightness, moderate use, and data turned on. With all things considered, the battery might have lasted so long thanks to the 720p display.

On a video loop, on the other hand, the V5s gives us 14 hours. Take note, of course, that we’re playing an HD video with the data and Wi-Fi turned off.  Also, thanks to the relatively fast charging cable and adaptor included with the package, we have a device that can be fully charged in two hours.

Conclusion

All in all, I would say that the Vivo V5s proves itself to be worth the price tag on the sole basis of its great cameras. If we were to nitpick the entire device, then the design isn’t new, the specs aren’t anything special, the UI and OS don’t surprise anyone. However, it is the 20-megapixel front shooter and the 13-megapixel rear camera that truly make the difference.

For a price lower than 10k, buyers will get a phone that takes almost professional-level images with great detail in almost any lighting situation. On the other hand, social media gurus and brand influencers might want to buy the V5s for the strong selfie cam.  Where else are you gonna get a selfie shooter clocking in at 20-megapixels? If you want a smartphone focused solely on taking photos, and you don’t want to blow your budget, this is the device for you.

POSITIVES
+ Strong selfie camera at 20-megapixels
+ Great rear camera at 13-megapixels
+ Produces images that look good even in low lighting
+ Long-lasting battery

NEGATIVES
– Outdated OS
– Unimpressive specs
– Recycled phone design

Related: Vivo V5 Plus Review

Vivo V5 Lite Review 

Vivo V5s Specs

OSFuntouch OS 3.0 (Android 6.0 Marshmallow)
Processor1.5GHz MediaTek MT6750 Octa core CPU
Memory4 GB RAM
Display5.5-inches
StorageExpandable 64GB onboard storage (256 GB, microSD)
Camera13-megapixel rear camera +20-megapixel front camera
SIMDual-SIM
Battery3,000 mAh
OthersFast Charging Battery, Hi-Fi Chip, Fingerprint Sensor
PricePHP 14,990

 More photos of the Vivo V5s:

       

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