Vivo Mobile entered the Philippine mobile phone market a while back in March of this year. Although it shares the same parent company with Oppo and OnePlus, Vivo focuses on a different market and style that gives a more appealing feel to the middle class Filipino consumers.
Let’s check out Vivo’s flagship, the V3 Max which came in to the market a couple of months ago.
Design and Construction
Hands down, one of our favorite designed phone so far. The Vivo V3 Max has a very Huawei-esque design form factor that we really like. Our unit bears a gold metal body, with a slightly curved screen and back panel.
The whole phone is very easy to hold even with the 5.5″ inch screen, one of the easiest square shaped phone we’ve held so far apart from the iPhone 6 (not the iPhone 6 Plus). The V3 Max does looks very elegant with the 8MP front-facing camera situated just beside the earpiece, the gorgeous 5.5″ Full HD screen below it, and the unfortunate un-lit capacitive buttons at the bottom. The 3.5mm audio port is found at the part of the phone, while the micro-USB port for charging is found at the bottom part, sandwiched by the V3 Max’ audio speaker and mic.
Left Side for the SIM or Micro SD Tray
The left-hand side of the V3 Max contains the SIM card tray, the SIM card tray can accommodate two SIM cards, or a SIM card and a microSD card for memory expansion. The right side has the power button and the volume rocker.
The 13MP camera does slightly protrudes from the matte-finished back panel, but it does not protrude as evident as the cameras of the S6 and the OnePlus 3, just below it is the flash, and the fingerprint sensor and the embossed Vivo logo at the middle.
Over-all the design is stunning, the curved and champered edges makes it very easy and ergonomic to hold, the fingerprint scanner, volume rocker, and power/lock button is naturally reachable and at 7.6mm thin, the Vivo V3 Max looks smaller and lighter than other 5.5 to 6 incher mobile device out in the market.
Display and Multimedia
V3 Max features a 401ppi, FHD resolution behind a 5.5″ screen. We were surprised on how crisp images, how other colors pops out and how the blacks are really blacks. Somehow, we preferred Vivo V3 Max’s screen output than our LG G5’s QuadHD screen. But that’s just our preference. We tried comparing both phones in broad daylight and in the dark, the QuadHD screen provides great visibility with the sun right above our head, while the FHD provides a bit of glare and reflection even if brightness is set to the highest level. In the dark, the Vivo V3 Max provides a great balance, set at a minimum brightness it gives just enough brightness for reading and browsing before going to sleep; while the QuadHD is still to bright and hurts the eyes.
Speakers are located at the bottom part of the phone. Compared to front facing dual speakers, the down-firing audio is not that bad. It produced loud and quite good audio quality, but it does lack the needed bass we were looking for. It does produce a very high-pitched sound at high levels of volume but it can easily be ignored if used on a larger room. But heck, if you get a mobile phone at this price range with this quality of output from a small down-firing speakers, you pretty much got a good deal.
We also tried using the Vivo V3 Max while watching on Youtube and our favorite series – screen seems to be bright enough, and big enough for details and watching things properly, but having a bottom-placed speakers is a problem. Watching, or playing games on landscape mode can lead to your palm/ hand, blocking the speakers which is very intrusive with the whole multimedia content experience.
Over-all, this is a good multimedia phone. It has a great FHD 5.5″ screen, a good audio experience, marvelous color grading, the only problem that arises is the down-firing speakers on landscape mode, which should be a small details that we can all ignore.
The V3 Max boasts of a 13MP main rear camera with Phase-Detect AutoFocus. This technology just makes your images sharper- it is basically found in all types of camera but the V3 Max, although it does lacks the complicated technology terms, it does what it’s meant to do.
The phone produces good quality photos in nicely lit areas, but struggles in low-light. Both the 13MP and the 8MP cameras captures very grainy images on low-lit environments without the help of flash. Focusing is not a problem for both the front and rear camera, they are quick to focus even in low-lit subjects, with our testing, it even surpass the focusing performance of some high-end mobile devices.
Finally, the Vivo V3 Max can shoot 1080p clips at 30fps in an MP4 format.
Usage and Applications
So we’ve been using the Vivo V3 Max for a few days now, it’s been a nice experience so far. This phone is running Vivo’s FunTouch OS 2.5 which is based on the Android 5.1.1 Lollipop. From the first look, this OS is a bit complicated and needs a little learning curve.
The UI si another aspect that is very different from our usual mobile phones in the market. The Vivo V3 Max does not have any app drawer and all apps installed directly goes pages on your home screen. Instead of swiping down to reveal shortcut buttons for turning on WiFi, Bluetooth, Data, and adjusting brightness and volume levels, you will have to swipe up. Swiping down only reveals notifications. Pressing volume down and the power/ unlock button does not do a quick screen capture; instead, you will have to swipe up to access the S-capture button which includes a convenient list of screen caps that includes a portrait shot and a landscape screen cap which you can still crop, direct screen recording the an option called Funny screenshot where in you can pinpoint and lasso a portion of the screen to be captured.
Usual Google applications are pre-installed on this device, this include Youtube, Gmail, and Google Drive, Chrome and etc.; other than that, you have the Facebook, WeChat and WPS Office, vivoCloud (Vivo’s own Cloud-base storage/back-up software). This gives the user a lot of room to wiggle with around 24GB of space remaining for other apps on your internal storage. You may also want to expand it with an additional MicroSD card.
A non-removable 3,000 mAh battery is providing power for the whole device. While battery life is very good with at least 6 to 8 hours of battery with mobile data turned on, on a normal usage of social media and a few application throughout the day.
5.5-inch IPS Full HD display, 401ppi 1.8GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 octa-core CPU Adreno 510 GPU 32GB internal storage 4GB RAM 4G LTE WiFi 802.11n/ac Bluetooth 4.1 GPS with aGPS support, GLONASS AK4375 HiFi Chip 13-megapixel rear camera, PDAF, LED flash 8-megapixel front-facing camera 3,000mAh Li-Ion battery Fingerprint Sensor FunTouch OS 2.5 (Android 5.1.1 Lollipop) 153.9 x 77.1 x 7.6 mm