In a bold move, Vivo's introducing its newest flagship, the Vivo V15 Pro just hours before Samsung will officially unveil its highly anticipated Galaxy S10. Based in China, Vivo is hoping to one-up the Korean giant, and from where I stand, there's a chance it'll actually do it, maybe not in sales, but in terms of making a more covetable phone with some standout features.
Clad in a shimmery blue chassis, the V15 Pro is a looker. I liked it from the get-go, and not just because of its crazy specs, which include a 32-megapixel pop-up selfie camera, and triple rear cameras, one of which is a massive 48 megapixels.
And that's not all, despite its status as more of a midrange device, the phone includes a in-screen fingerprint scanner. However it houses only a Qualcomm Snapdragon 675 chip as its CPU.
While it's no Snapdragon 845 or 855, the V15 Pro has more than enough power to keep your games running smoothly, such as Asphalt 8 or Marvel Strike Force. Further, the 3,700mAh battery packed enough juice to keep things chugging through the whole day. It also has fast charging, so you can recharge it quickly when the battery's dry.
It will go on sale in India first, as well as other markets in Asia, for about $400. Don't expect this to be available in US, UK or Australia anytime soon though. Vivo's pushing to get larger market share in India, currently the second-largest smartphone market in the world, and the V15 Pro looks like it has what it takes.
Of course if this all sounds good, well, here's the head-scratcher. It comes with all the bells and whistles that you'd find in a flagship, but skimps on the charging port, using a micro-USB instead of USB-C. It boggles the mind why this is the case, but the usual explanation I get from other Chinese phone-makers is that they're catering to those who are still stuck with micro-USB cables, but this doesn't make sense to me, since a Type-C cable isn't an expensive upgrade in China.
I've been using the V15 Pro for a few days now, and if there's one thing that bugs me, it's the poor design of the user interface (UI). It's still using the same old iOS-inspired features, such as a swipe-up control panel, and it has no app drawer, much like the button-based iPhone. But there's something quite off about it, and unlike Oppo and OnePlus, both of which have worked hard on polishing their UI, the V15 Pro still feels stuck in the past despite its modern trappings.
I suppose it's adequate for the average user in China or India where this phone will launch first, who probably don't mind it as much if they the phone does what they need it to do. But having used phones with much better UI, I just find it a shame that it isn't better.
But if you can get past that though, you'll be impressed with triple rear shooters, a 48-megapixel main, a 8-megapixel wide, and a 5-megapixel depth cameras, which I took quite a lot of shots with. The wide-angle really helps capture a lot more, and it also takes great shots that pop on the 6.4-inch display.
Like the Vivo Nex of last year, the V15 Pro comes with a pop-up selfie camera, this time with 32 megapixels of goodness. I'm not sure if it really helps me take better selfies though, and honestly, I'm less than convinced you'll need 32 megapixels when the pictures don't feel and look any different compared with, say, those taken with the iPhone XR's front 7-megapixel camera. It does come with a beauty mode, which I had fun playing with bigger eyes and thinner noses, cheeks and chins.
Check out the shots below.