2017 has been the year of the disappearing bezels. But the thing with this tech is that it’s mostly confined to the most expensive smartphones in the market — devices that most of us probably can’t afford.
That said, it was really only a matter of time before someone brought this new tech down to a more affordable price point. In Malaysia, vivo is one of them and this is their brand new vivo V7+ smartphone. Should you buy one?
The vivo V7+’s highlight feature is its near-bezel-less display. It’s got a 5.99″ 18:9 aspect ratio screen up front that has bezels that are about the size of those you’d find on the LG G6. However, it only pushes a resolution of 1440×720 pixels, otherwise known as HD….or HD+ if you’re feeling generous.
When I first saw this phone launch in India, I gave it a pretty hard time for sporting such a low resolution display. But it was 720p across a 5.99″ screen after all. Even its predecessor sported a 1080p display and that only had a 5.5-inch display.
Now, after experiencing the display first hand with my own two eyes, I am happy to report that it’s actually not awful. The screen definitely looked better than I thought it would. To my eyes, I’d say the sharpness is somewhere along the lines of the OPPO F1, though, when it comes to pixel density, the ppi is closer to that of 720p stretched out over 5.5 inches. Of course, if you hold it up next to something like the Mi MIX 2 which has a Full HD panel, the difference is noticeable.
Besides that, vivo is also touting their new device’s 24MP selfie shooter, for obvious reasons. Is it amazing? Well, it comes with the usual suite of beautification features that I find absolutely appalling because when I crank them up, the person looking back at me through the display….was not me. Maybe I’m just bad at this, so I won’t dwell too long on the selfie shooter. My advice is to try it out for yourself.
Moving beyond their fancy brochure highlights, I did notice another interesting feature about the smartphone. The first unit I picked up befuddled me. I was used to vivo’s Android skin looking like iOS but I didn’t expect the handset to not feature any on-screen buttons either.
Curious, I asked the product rep and she explained that the V7+ uses swipe gestures to navigate the handset now. To go home, you had to swipe up from the middle of the bottom of the screen. To go back, swipe up from the right of the bottom of the screen and to access multitasking plus your quick settings, swipe up from the bottom left of the display. Notifications are still a down swipe from the top of the display.
This is the vivo V7+. It’s got a 5.99″ 720p 18:9 display with minimal bezels, a Snapdragon 450 processor, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage and a 3,225 mAh battery. It’s also got a 24MP selfie camera and a 16MP back camera. You may have noticed that there is no home button. Instead, you have to swipe up from the middle to go home (like the iPhone X), swipe up from right to go back, and swipe up from right to access your quick settings. Price: RM1,499. #vivo #vivomalaysia #V7+
Now where have we seen this before?
On a phone that’s as thin and light as the V7+, performing these gestures felt really uncomfortable.
Maybe it takes some getting used to but if time and practice doesn’t help, the good news is that you can re-enable the on-screen navigation buttons in the settings menu.
Beyond the navigation gestures, performance on the V7+ was also surprisingly smooth. I think that’s probably down to the fact that it was a fresh new phone because I don’t know how well a Snapdragon 450 processor will hold up over time. At least it has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage though.
Other specs include a 3,225 mAh battery and an AK4376A Hi-Fi audio chip. The Hi-Fi chip should mean pretty good audio quality through headphones, but I didn’t get a chance to test that out on the show floor.
Finally, we have the price. vivo’s new handset will retail for RM1,499 and will be available for purchase on the 29th of September 2017. It’ll come in Crown Gold and Matte Black, and is available for purchase at authorised vivo stores. It’s currently up for pre-orders too.
With a price tag like that, it is quite unbelievable that the handset only has a 720p display and a Snapdragon 450 chip. Of course, vivo would have gotten away with it if they were the only ones with a near-bezel-less mid-range smartphone, but they’re not.
Huawei just launched their own mid-range near-bezel-less smartphone — the Nova 2i — too, and it definitely seems like much better value. It’s got a higher resolution Full HD 5.93-inch display, a larger 3,340 mAh battery and a more powerful mid-range Kirin 659 processor. And the final nail in the coffin? The Nova 2i is cheaper at RM1,299.
How did Huawei manage that price tag if the best vivo could do is RM200 more with arguably worse specs across the board?
I guess vivo’s V7+ technically has a more capable 24MP selfie camera, but I don’t know if that’s enough to tip the scales in their favour. Besides, if you want an excellent vivo selfie shooter, why not get the dual-camera V5Plus (also has a better Snapdragon 625 processor, and Full HD display) that’s also retailing for RM1,499 on Lazada instead?
What do you guys think of the V7+? Let me know in the comments below!