Vivo has been on the phone in India in the past few months. We saw the Vivo Z1 Pro (test), the Vivo Z1x (test), the Vivo S1 (test) and more recently the Vivo U10 (test) and the Vivo V17 Pro. We have already tested all of these new offerings and now it is time to test the Vivo V17 Pro. This is the successor to the Vivo V15 Pro (Review), which was launched earlier this year. Just like the rest of Vivo's V-series, the selfie camera is the main highlight. In fact, the Vivo V17 Pro has two hinged selfie cameras and four on the back for a total of six cameras.
The Vivo V17 Pro costs close to Rs. 30,000, making it a direct competitor against greats like Oppo Reno 2Z (test), Xiaomi Redmi K20 Pro (test), Asus 6Z (test) and even OnePlus 7 (test) as long as it stays cheaper. While the Vivo V17 Pro has the edge in the number of built-in camera sensors, is it competitive enough on other fronts? Let’s take a look.
Vivo V17 Pro design
The new Vivo V17 Pro now has an all-too-well-known design with an almost indented front without a notch and relatively narrow bezels, including the chin. The older Vivo V15 Pro (Review) was actually one of the first phones with this design at this price before everyone else caught up.
The polycarbonate case feels sturdy and the laminated back did not appear to show much wear during the reporting period. However, it attracts a lot of fingerprints and stains.
The Vivo V17 Pro is available in a version we offer for the midnight ocean and in a lighter shade called Glacier Ice. The edges of the back are slightly curved, making it relatively comfortable to hold.
On the front we have a bright 6.44-inch Super AMOLED display with Full HD + resolution and Corning Gorilla Glass 6 for protection. Screen protector is pre-installed as Vivo believes you can never be too careful. The color saturation is very good, the text looks sharp and the brightness is sufficient for outdoor use in sunlight. There is a built-in fingerprint sensor that works well. You can customize the fingerprint icon on the screen and unlock animations.
The Vivo V17 Pro also has facial recognition, but this can only be used as a last resort if fingerprint authentication fails three times. The pop-up mechanism is a bit slower than other implementations, so it is unlikely to be offered as one of the primary methods of unlocking.
The volume buttons and the power button on the right have good feedback and on the left there is an additional smart button that configures to start Google Assistant or Vivos Jovi image search by short, long or double press can be. Below we have a USB Type-C port, a compartment for two nano SIM cards and a speaker. There is no microSD card slot. Vivo also managed to make room for a headphone jack on the top, despite the wide cutout for the pop-up camera module.
The four cameras on the back are aligned vertically in a module in the middle that doesn't protrude much. The overall design of the Vivo V17 Pro is top notch and the phone feels good together. The 20: 9 aspect ratio of the display means that this phone is quite large and also heavier if you tilt the scale to a little over 200 g.
The scope of delivery includes in-ear headphones, an 18 W quick charger, a USB Type-C cable, a plastic cover and a SIM ejection tool.
Technical data and features of the Vivo V17 Pro
Mobile phones like the Redmi K20 Pro and OnePlus 7 have made Qualcomm's top processors very accessible. For the V17 Pro, we therefore expected Vivo to use something similar, or at least something similar. Unfortunately, this phone uses the now slightly outdated Snapdragon 675 SoC, which is the same chip that the Vivo V15 Pro uses (review). It's undoubtedly a relatively powerful octa-core chip, but it's quite weak for a phone in this price range.
There is only one configuration with 8 GB RAM and 128 GB storage. Other technical data include dual-band WiFi according to 802.11ac, Bluetooth 5, USB-OTG, the usual range of sensors and the support of three satellite navigation systems. The phone also supports Widevine L1 DRM certification, so videos in HD and higher resolutions can be streamed from apps like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
For the software, the Vivo V17 Pro uses Funtouch OS 9.1, which is based on Android 9 Pie. There is no official word about when the Android 10 update will come out. If you've never used a Vivo phone before, Funtouch OS will take some getting used to. We ourselves still find it somewhat confusing to sometimes navigate through Vivo's menus.
The single-layer user interface has extensive customizations, including the icons, the lock screen and the notification shadow. The quick settings are all in a pull-out menu called "Control Center". You need to swipe up from the bottom of the screen to access it. This is reminiscent of Apple's implementation on older iPhones. Even in the Settings app, there's a lot of digging around before you find what you're looking for.
You can customize the look of Funtouch OS through the iTheme app, but most designs need to be purchased. Jovi is Vivo's AI helper that is used in the camera app to capture your shots and identify subjects. There is also a so-called "Smart Scene" which shows you various information cards for the weather, events, cricket scores, etc. in one place. You can access it using the Sony Walkman-like icon in the notification shade or by swiping left on the first home page.
Other features include Ultra Game mode, which blocks notifications, etc. while playing. Motorcycle mode that automatically rejects calls while driving; One-handed mode; and scrolling screenshots. There are many pre-installed apps, including Gaana, Amazon and PhonePe, but you can uninstall all third-party apps. Unfortunately, some redundant ones, including Vivo's Game Store, cannot be removed.
We covered all the functions of Funtouch OS in our current test reports on Vivo Z1x (test), Vivo S1 (test) and Vivo Z1 Pro (test). So be sure to check them out.
Vivo V17 Pro performance and battery life
Funtouch OS may not be our favorite Android skin, but it worked fine on the Vivo V17 Pro. It took me a while to get used to the fact that the switching took place in an unusual place. If you're using a landscape app, you can only access the toggle buttons by swiping in from the right edge of the screen, rather than from the bottom. Some might like the custom look of the interface, but we want Vivo to give users the choice to switch back to standard Android.
RAM and SoC are more than capable of managing your everyday apps and games. We got decent numbers in benchmarks, as you would expect from this SoC. AnTuTu gave us a score of 1.77,512, while the T-Rex test in GFXbench gave 40 fps. These are not bad numbers, but not as good as those produced by other phones in this price range with the Snapdragon 855 or even the Snapdragon 730G.
The Vivo V17 Pro's earpiece is located in the fold-out selfie camera module, similar to the design of the Oppo Reno 2 (review), and the sound is directed through a recess on the front of the phone. In contrast to Oppo's offer, the sound through the earpiece of the Vivo V17 Pro sounds clear and not muffled.
Multitasking is handled well and heavy games like PUBG Mobile ran smoothly with the default setting "High". After about 20 minutes of play, we noticed that the back of the phone was getting quite hot, which seems to be a feature of this SoC that we previously encountered with phones like the Redmi Note 7 Pro (review) and the Samsung Galaxy M40 (review ).
Inside games, you can access a pull-out carousel that toggles blocking calls, notifications, and more. In games that support voice chat, you can use a real-time voice changer that's pretty cool. The single speaker at the bottom gets quite loud, even without improvements. The audio quality is not bad either.
The Vivo V17 Pro has a 4100 mAh battery, which did quite well in our HD video battery loop test with a runtime of 16 hours and 47 minutes. With normal use, we usually managed a day and a half without any problems. With heavier apps, we still managed to use the whole day. Fast charging is supported and the Vivo V17 Pro can go from zero to 36 percent in half an hour and 74 percent in one hour. It took us a little over two hours to replenish the credit. It's not the fastest, but not bad either.
Vivo V17 Pro cameras
The highlight of this phone are the front cameras. So let's start there. You get a 32-megapixel primary camera with an aperture of 1: 2.0 and an 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera with an aperture of 1: 2.2. The primary selfie camera itself has a fairly wide field of view, while the secondary camera allows for an even wider shot, although it has a slight fisheye effect. Aside from the Google Pixel line, this is also one of the few phones that allow you to use night mode with the selfie camera (but only with the primary one).
In daylight, the Vivo V17 Pro took impressive selfies. The details were good, the textures were sharp (sometimes a little too sharp), and the colors really popped. Exposure was not always perfect, and sometimes we saw some crazy highlights, but overall we were pretty happy with the results. HDR was also handled well. The ultra wide-angle camera took slightly softer pictures, but that's to be expected.
Oddly enough, it takes two fingertips to switch to the ultra-wide camera because the toggle is hidden in a menu. There's also a bokeh switch, and portrait shots taken in this mode had good edge detection and background blur. These photos are oversampled and offer 8 megapixel output instead of the 32 megapixel shots you get with standard selfies.
The separate portrait recording mode is unnecessary as it only offers an additional function compared to the standard photo mode (beautification). The Posture setting is interesting here because it suggests different poses for selfies (for one or more people) by showing you outlines of the pose that you can mimic. If you take your selfies seriously, you will be pampered.
The video quality with the primary front camera is also quite good, but there is no stabilization. Low-light photos were pretty grainy, but the fill light helps here. Night mode has made a big difference in brightening shots taken in dim lighting. It eliminated most of the noise and improved the exposure significantly.
The rear cameras include a 48-megapixel primary sensor that takes oversampled 12-megapixel photos as standard. It also has an f / 1.8 aperture. Next up is a 13 megapixel camera with 2x optical zoom. an 8-megapixel ultra-wide angle camera that is also used for super macro shots; and finally a 2 megapixel depth sensor.
You can switch to the telephoto camera by pressing or dragging the zoom button in the viewfinder. The switch to the wide-angle camera takes two more taps. You can zoom up to 10 times (digital).
The main sensor captured appealing details and colors in daylight. Objects at a distance had good resolution, although shadow areas on the sides of the frame tended to cause some noise. Close-ups had expressive colors, good natural bokeh and good details. HDR also worked well and the dynamic range was good. With the ultra wide-angle camera, the colors can appear a little more intense, but you get a lot more in every picture.
The telephoto camera is nice to have, but the 2x zoom is not much, and in low light conditions, the camera simply uses the digital zoom from the main camera. The Super Macro mode worked well for us and we were able to take some good looking pictures.
Low-light stills were generally above average. The shadow had a mild grain, but the details were good and the colors were well presented. The ultra wide angle camera is not very useful in the dark because the details are cloudy and you cannot use night mode. With the main camera, however, night mode had a big impact, making scenes look more dramatic and details preserved.
You can record videos up to 4K resolution without stabilization. The picture quality was decent and the colors weren't over the top, which is good. Stabilization works well at 1080p. You can also shoot 1080p video with the wide-angle camera, but without stabilization. With this resolution you can choose between 25/30 and 60 fps. However, the video quality was very poor in poor lighting conditions. The default setting for the frame rate is 25 fps, which makes movements feel jerky. Another thing that we didn't like so much was the fact that we had to jump into the camera settings menu to change the resolution instead of being able to do it from the viewfinder.
Other shooting modes are 48 MP, which allows you to shoot at full sensor resolution. Panorama, Time Lapse, Live Photo, Pro, Doc, Jovi and AR Stickers. We found some of the AR stickers to be pretty fun. There are also some interesting features that you can play around with in the camera settings, such as: For example, the AR portrait shot, which allows you to correctly position the camera for a portrait shot.
As a camera phone, the Vivo V17 Pro offers good hardware, but the software needs to be polished up a bit. Accessing certain basic functions can be a multi-step process if it is not. If you like taking selfies, the dual front cameras offer a lot of design freedom, especially with functions such as the posing guides. Low-light video is an area that requires a lot of work because, in addition to the below-average image quality, the drop in frame rate is quite annoying.
As an all-rounder, the phone usually delivers good results. It has a vivid screen, the build quality is solid, the user interface is snappy, the additional programmable button is practical and the battery life is very good. However, at almost Rs. 30,000, Vivo should have done a lot more to make this phone really competitive. The Snapdragon 675 is simply not suitable for this price because the competition offers much more performance. We're also not big fans of Funtouch OS, which feels unnecessarily complicated, especially for beginners.
If you live and breathe selfies, the Vivo V17 Pro could appeal to you. If not, consider phones like the Redmi K20 Pro (Review) and Oppo Reno 2Z (Review), which are available for about the same price and offer better processors, especially for games, and equally competent cameras. If you can use your budget a bit, you can get the Asus 6Z (test) or even the OnePus 7 (test).