As they like to joke on the Internet, modern problems require modern solutions. But there is some truth in every joke. The modern problem of the Russian market of consumer electronics is a decrease in purchasing power — many people cannot buy flagship devices, but they do not want budget ones. This is where the solidly built mid-rangers come on the scene, offering maximum features for minimum money. Just like that, in theory, the Vivo V17 Neo smartphone should have become
I must admit that I am skeptical about any Chinese smartphone. There is only one obvious exception to this rule — this is Huawei, and the products of all other brands from the Celestial Empire are “under-smartphones” until they prove the opposite. This may not be the best position for a reviewer, but I rarely have to suffer from disappointment with it, and at the same time I often experience a pleasant surprise — just at those moments when the next Chinese pipe convincingly proves that it is not so bad at all . The BBK group (which includes the brands OPPO, Vivo, Realme) is not afraid to experiment (see, for example, Vivo NEX Dual Display or last year’s OPPO Find X) and is not particularly upset if the experiment fails. And this is an exceptionally correct position for a manufacturing company, and especially for a manufacturer from China.
The vivo V17 Neo is a newcomer to our market, and also belongs to the class of inexpensive devices (up to $220), so you should not initially expect any radical innovations from it, like two displays or a confusing sliding design. But on the other hand, this smartphone demonstrates equipment unprecedented in its class: here is an AMOLED display, face recognition, a fingerprint scanner hidden under the screen and a triple camera with artificial intelligence, and a battery as much as 4500 mAh. It seems that your comments on our reviews were used as a guideline when creating this smartphone in vivo. In general, quite a powerful bid for victory on the eve of the IFA exhibition and a wave of announcements from non-Chinese manufacturers.
|vivo V17 Neo||Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 Pro||Huawei P smart Z||Sony Xperia X10 Plus||realme 3 pro|
|Display||6.38″ Super AMOLED
2034 × 1080 dots (19.5:9), 404 ppi, capacitive multi-touch
2340 × 1080 dots (19.5:9), 409 ppi, capacitive multi-touch
2340 × 1080 dots (19.5:9), 391 ppi, capacitive multi-touch
|6.5 inches, IPS, 2520 × 1080 (21:9), 442 ppi, capacitive multi-touch||6.3″ IPS
2340 × 1080 dots (19.5:9), 409 ppi, capacitive multi-touch
|Protective glass||lens technology||Corning Gorilla Glass 6||No information||Corning Gorilla Glass 5||Corning Gorilla Glass 5|
|CPU||Mediatek MT6768: eight cores (2 × ARM Cortex A75, frequency 2.0 GHz + 6 × ARM Cortex A55, frequency 1.7 GHz)||Qualcomm Snapdragon 675: eight cores (2 × Kryo 460 Gold, 2.0 GHz + 6 × Kryo 460 Silver, 1.7 GHz)||HiSilicon Kirin 710F: eight cores (4 × ARM Cortex A73, 2.2GHz + 4 × ARM Cortex A53, 1.7GHz)||Qualcomm Snapdragon 636: eight cores (8 × Kryo 260, frequency 1.8 GHz)||Qualcomm Snapdragon 710: eight cores (2 × Kryo 360 Gold, 2.2 GHz and 6 × Kryo 360 Silver, 1.7 GHz)|
|Graphics controller||Mali-G52 MC2||Adreno 612||Mali-G51 MP4||Adreno 509||Adreno 616|
|RAM||4 GB||4/6 GB||4 GB||4/6 GB||4/6 GB|
|Flash memory||128 GB||64/128 GB||64 GB||64 GB||64/128 GB|
|Memory card support||Yes (microSD up to 256 GB)||Yes (microSD up to 256 GB)||Yes (microSD up to 512 GB)||Yes (microSD up to 1 TB)||Yes (microSD up to 512 GB)|
|Connectors||microUSB, 3.5mm||USB Type-C, 3.5mm||USB Type-C, 3.5mm||USB Type-C, 3.5mm||micro USB, 3.5mm|
|SIM cards||Two nano-SIMs||Two nano-SIMs||Two nano-SIMs||Two nano-SIMs||Two nano-SIMs|
|Cellular 2G||GSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz||GSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz||GSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz||GSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz CDMA 800/1900||GSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz|
|Cellular 3G||HSDPA 800 / 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100 MHz||HSDPA 800 / 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100 MHz||HSDPA 800 / 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100 MHz||HSDPA 800 / 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1800 / 1900 / 2100 MHz||HSDPA 800 / 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100 MHz|
|Cellular 4G||LTE Cat. 6 (up to 300/150 Mbps), bands 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 20, 38, 40, 41||LTE Cat. 9 (up to 450/50 Mbps), bands 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 40, 41||LTE Cat. 12 (up to 600/50 Mbps), bands 1, 3, 7, 8, 20||LTE Cat. 12 (up to 600/50 Mbps), bands 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 20, 28, 29, 32, 38, 39, 40, 41, 66||LTE Cat. 6 (up to 300/75 Mbps), bands 1, 3, 5, 8, 38, 40, 41|
|NFC||There is||Not||There is||There is||There is|
|Navigation||GPS (dual band), A-GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, BeiDou||GPS (dual band), A-GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou||GPS (dual band), A-GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou||GPS (dual band), A-GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou||GPS (dual-band), A-GPS, GLONASS|
|Sensors||Illumination, proximity, accelerometer/gyroscope, magnetometer (digital compass)||Illumination, proximity, accelerometer/gyroscope, magnetometer (digital compass)||Illumination, proximity, accelerometer/gyroscope, magnetometer (digital compass)||Illumination, proximity, accelerometer/gyroscope, magnetometer (digital compass)||Illumination, proximity, accelerometer/gyroscope, magnetometer (digital compass)|
|The fingerprint scanner||Yes, under the display||Yes, behind||Yes, behind||Yes, behind||Yes, behind|
|Main camera||Triple module, 16 MP ƒ/1.8 + 8 MP ƒ/2.2 + 2 MP depth sensor ƒ/2.2, phase detection autofocus, LED flash||Dual module, 48 MP ƒ/1.8 + 5 MP ƒ/2.4, phase detection autofocus, LED flash||Dual module, 16 MP ƒ/1.8 + 2 MP ƒ/2.4, phase detection autofocus, LED flash||Dual module, 12 MP ƒ/1.8 + 8 MP ƒ/2.4, phase detection autofocus, LED flash||Dual module, 25 MP ƒ/1.7 + 5 MP ƒ/2.4, phase detection autofocus, LED flash|
|Front-camera||32 MP, ƒ/2.0, fixed focus, no flash||13 MP, ƒ/2.0, fixed focus, no flash||16 MP, ƒ/2.0, retractable design, fixed focus, no flash||8 MP, ƒ/2.0, fixed focus, no flash||35 MP, ƒ/2.0, fixed focus, retractable design|
|Nutrition||Non-removable battery: 17.1 Wh (4500 mAh, 3.8 V)||Non-removable battery: 15.2 Wh (4000 mAh, 3.8 V)||Non-removable battery: 15.2 Wh (4000 mAh, 3.8 V)||Non-removable battery: 11.4 Wh (3000 mAh, 3.8 V)||Non-removable battery: 15.39 Wh (4045 mAh, 3.8 V)|
|Weight||179 grams||186 grams||197 grams||180 grams||172 grams|
|Operating system||Android 9.0 Pie, Funtoch OS 9 shell||Android 9.0 Pie, MIUI 10 shell||Android 9.0 Pie, EMUI shell||Android 9.0 Pie||Android 9.0 Pie, ColorOS 6 shell|
|Current price||120$||$120 for 6/128 GB version||from 120$||From $220 for 4/64 GB version||from $120 for 4/64 GB version|
⇡#Design, construction and software
It is very pleasant to note once again that low-cost smartphones began to receive cases with an unusual color. Homogeneous black and white cases seem to be gradually becoming a thing of the past, giving way to multi-layered and multi-color solutions. In the case of budget smartphones, this approach should please even more, because if any flagship smartphone looks cool in any color, then budget handsets, until recently, did not even try to somehow stand out and please their owner.
vivo V17 Neo is available in two colors, which can be conditionally called black and blue (the official name is black diamond and blue mother-of-pearl, respectively). Conditionally because both are colored heterogeneously. A black version came to us for testing, however, it contains minimally both blue and black colors, and the frame around the perimeter of the case has a gradient transition from turquoise to purple. It’s not easy to explain all this in words, so be sure to see how it looks in motion.
Despite the fact that the smartphone looks impressive, its price can be almost unmistakably judged by the materials of the case. If the screen is covered with tempered glass, then all other parts of the case are plastic. It may seem that the one-piece insert around the perimeter is metal, but no — it is made of plastic. You might think that the back panel is completely covered with glass, but in fact it is also plastic. And if the difference is almost invisible to the eye right away, then after six months of use everything will fall into place: the plastic will inevitably be covered with numerous scuffs and scratches; glass is more durable.
In terms of visible controls, the vivo V17 Neo has everything standard. Well, almost standard. On the right side there is an oblong volume rocker and a power button. Pressing it automatically launches face recognition, so no additional steps are needed to unlock the smartphone. On the left side there is a tray for SIM-cards and memory expansion cards, as well as a button to call the Google voice assistant.
There are no elements on the top edge, and the bottom one shelters a microUSB connector (hello from 2015!), a mini-jack, as well as holes for a microphone and a system speaker.
The most interesting element in a smartphone is not visible to the naked eye — I mean the fingerprint scanner located under the screen. From such an element in an inexpensive smartphone, one could expect any kind of catch, but in reality it proved to be excellent. There is no noticeable difference in the speed of unlocking by face and by fingerprint — in both cases, the process takes less than a second. And it was not possible to deceive the system by slipping it a printed photo instead of a real face.
The shell of Funtouch OS 9 is distinguished by some prohibitively huge number of settings — I’m sure many will like it. But at the same time, she sins with endless and typically Chinese shortcomings. The very organization of the menu here is illogical, everything is too confusing, and the Russian language in the interface turns out to be not particularly Russian.
When I looked at the note app (Notes), which in Russian version is called «Note», I clearly saw in my mind how the localization process is going on in Vivo. The translator receives a text document by mail and translates everything as if he had no idea how and where it is used. Next, a person who is not familiar with any language other than Chinese scatters the translated words in the right places in the interface. And instead of the stage of verification, bug fixing and testing, the stage “urgent to production” is automatically launched.
It is curious that during the entire testing period, as many as three system updates arrived on the smartphone (hello to those who do not buy Chinese smartphones because they are rarely updated), but none of them radically solved the problem. Honestly, I’m even ready to offer vivo help in localization – well, because in 2019 such shortcomings are completely unacceptable.
⇡ # Display and sound
If the AMOLED screen has become a must-have attribute in flagship smartphones, then in the middle segment it is still perceived as something especially remarkable. So vivo V17 Neo in this regard stands out noticeably against the background of the closest «classmates». However, this is only a matter of time — next year there will be more AMOLED screens in smartphones cheaper than $200. Yes, and now competitors are pulling up, remember at least Xiaomi Mi A3 (whose screen, however, also stands out with too low a resolution).
Here we have a quite high-quality matrix with a diagonal of 6.38 inches and Full HD + resolution (2340 × 1080 pixels, aspect ratio 19.5: 9). This ratio gives us a pixel density of 404 ppi. It seems that the frames are practically absent, but in fact the screen occupies 83.3% of the front panel area — a thick edge at the bottom of the screen and a small drop-shaped cutout for the front camera on top. The subjective impressions are extremely positive: individual pixels are not visible to the naked eye, the contrast is excellent, and the colors do not distort when changing the viewing angle. However, this is typical for AMOLED matrices, let’s take a look at what laboratory tests show.
And they show, in particular, that the Vivo V17 Neo screen has a typically low brightness (440 cd / m2), when compared with IPS screens, and readability in the sun is much higher — this is facilitated by almost infinite contrast.
The color reproduction of the Vivo V17 Neo display is quite normal, although far from outstanding. The color gamut is wider than sRGB and close to the DCI-P3 space. The average gamma is 2.28, and the color temperature is traditionally too high — its value averages 7500 K with a reference value of 6500 K. In practice, this indicates the predominance of cold shades and a decrease in color accuracy.
The average DeltaE deviation for the extended Color Checker palette, which includes different gray options, as well as an extended set of color shades, was 5.15 as measured. The reference value, let me remind you, is 2, and the normal value is 3.
To play sound without headphones, Vivo V17 Neo has only one speaker, which is located at the bottom. It is easy to cover it with your hand if you hold the smartphone in a horizontal position. The voice speaker does not participate in the reproduction of sounds when watching a video, although the volume margin is not bad in mono mode. The fashion to refuse a mini-jack has not yet reached budget and medium-sized smartphones, and thank God, the Vivo V17 Neo has a standard audio jack and works as expected.
⇡ # Hardware and performance
Apparently, vivo supplies different modifications of the V17 Neo to different markets. It is also possible that it is produced under different names — at least what is mentioned in China under the name vivo S1 is incredibly similar to what I am holding in my hands today. I raised this topic for a reason — the fact is that Western sources indicate 6 GB of RAM for the V17 Neo, the same number is listed in the Russian press release, but our copy has only 4 GB, and this should be taken into account when reading the test results . Although, of course, the difference between 4 and 6 GB of RAM in our tests will be minimal.
The basis of Vivo V17 Neo is the MediaTek Helio P65 (MT6768) platform, which is designed for mid-range smartphones. It is made using the 12nm process technology. The central processor contains 8 cores, two of which operate at a frequency of up to 2 GHz, and the other six at a frequency of up to 1.7 GHz.
The ARM Mali-G52 MP2 accelerator is responsible for working with graphics, and, by the way, its results in graphics tests allow us to conclude that V17 Neo is a good fit for fans of mobile games with high-quality graphics. But with the WebXPRT test, all smartphones of the BBK group do not go well from the very beginning. Are the results much lower than they should be? — neither the use of other browsers, nor a complete reset of the smartphone’s settings helps — it’s clearly a matter of the features of the proprietary shell. But nevertheless, I will give the corresponding diagram.
In operations with artificial intelligence, the V17 Neo performs relatively well, but still the gap from the flagships (and even from the people’s flagships like the Honor 20 Pro) is simply huge. But the throttling test did not reveal any serious problems — under intense load for 15 minutes, the processor frequency dropped to 89% of the maximum with an average performance of 116 GIPS.
Well, it remains to add that the smartphone supports microSD cards up to 256 GB. The slot is shared, so you have to choose between a second carrier card and more storage. However, many will certainly be able to live in peace with 128 GB of internal memory.
⇡#Communication and wireless communications
Vivo V17 Neo is sold only in the version with two SIM cards. Both slots support LTE networks in Dual Standby mode (only one card can be active in talk mode or when using an Internet connection). The smartphone supports LTE Cat. 6 with maximum download speed up to 300Mbps and upload speed up to 150Mbps. The reception quality is quite high, the connection is stable, there are no questions to the smartphone here and cannot be.
The protruding oval block on the back of the Vivo V17 Neo contains three cameras: the main (16 MP, ƒ/1.8 and approximately 26 mm equivalent), wide-angle (8 MP, ƒ/2.2 and 16 mm equivalent) and auxiliary ( 2 MP, ƒ/2.4), which works as a depth-of-field sensor in portrait mode.
If you take a quick look at the technical specifications or read the description on the official website, you might get the impression that we have “full stuffing” here with transcendent picture quality, artificial intelligence and other joys. However, in general, photographic capabilities can be called average. Many participants in the comparison test of smartphones under $100 do better. However, back to vivo V17 Neo.
In normal shooting mode, you can switch between the main and wide-angle camera, the third camera performs its tasks more discreetly. It is known that the main camera uses a Sony IMX499 module with fast phase detection autofocus. The quality of shooting in good light is quite decent, but as soon as dusk sets in, detail and sharpness plummet. There is no optical stabilization, so it is difficult to get a sharp shot at a slow shutter speed.
The front camera, located in the place of the screen cutout, does not have not only stabilization, but also autofocus, but the manufacturer did not stint on the resolution — here we have already 32 megapixels with an aperture of ƒ / 2.0. Artificial intelligence helps not only smooth out the texture of the skin (smartphones learned to do this even before the advent of AI chips), but also change the shape of the face in real time. However, to evaluate the quality of shooting with the front camera, all this had to be turned off. And as you can see, high resolution is not the same as high quality.
It is worth noting a large number of settings — from the banal choice of resolution, aspect ratio, composition grid display to shooting in RAW, displaying a histogram and more. But no Chinese smartphone can be perfect in this regard. Above, I have already noted the flaws in the localization of the interface, and so the camera application reaches its apotheosis here — pay attention to the names of the shooting modes in the lower menu. They are too long, the choice of font causes sincere bewilderment, and the sequence of shooting modes defies any logic.
I emphasize once again that the review was prepared on the basis of a test sample of a smartphone — the corresponding inscription is visible on some screenshots, but nothing has changed in three firmware updates. There are no such problems with the English language in the interface, or rather, they are not so sharply expressed. But what about those who do not understand a word of English?
Concluding the story about the camera, it is worth noting the built-in object recognition function, the creators of which were clearly inspired by the Bixby capabilities in Samsung smartphones. So, not only the very essence of the phenomenon is borrowed, but also the quality of recognition — you can evaluate it yourself in the screenshots above. An alternative application of this feature is screenshot recognition — double-clicking the button on the left side instantly activates this mode. But here we have a complete failure — in the screenshot of the desktop with the default background, the Vivo V17 Neo found the iPhone.
The battery capacity of the vivo V17 Neo is very impressive, especially given the overall size and thickness of the case, at 17.1 Wh (4500 mAh, 3.8 V). For comparison, the larger and heavier Huawei P smart Z had a 15.2 Wh (4000 mAh, 3.8 V) battery. Such a high battery capacity, combined with an AMOLED matrix, made it possible to expect good results in terms of battery life. In our standard test, which involves looping video at maximum screen brightness? with an active Wi-Fi connection, the Vivo V17 Neo lasted just over 18 hours.
This result is impressive, and some other smartphones under brands owned by BBK Corporation worked for about the same time. In reality, this allows you to expect up to two days of battery life in a fairly active mode, especially if you do not abuse the Always On Display function.
Well, in my opinion, the general tone of the conclusion could easily have been predicted in the course of the review. vivo V17 Neo clearly demonstrates all the inconsistency of Chinese smartphones. It certainly has good intentions — at least the hardware looks solid for a $200 smartphone. There is a good AMOLED display, an invisible fingerprint sensor, a face recognition function, and a capacious battery that allows you to count on two days of work without recharging. But on the other hand, V17 Neo also has typical Chinese shortcomings — overloaded nested menus, endless localization flaws and insufficiently thought-out implementation of exotic functions. As for me, it would be better if this artificial-intellectual recognition did not exist in it at all — it is absolutely unviable at the moment and only spoils the overall impression.
Yes, the official press release claimed that the V17 Neo is a smartphone designed for the Russian market, but to be honest, I did not find any features that would confirm this. The desire to obtain the highest possible technical parameters for the lowest possible price is typical not only for Russia, but also for other countries, mainly developing ones. But be that as it may, the smartphone does not have any critical shortcomings, on the outside it is quite beautiful and unusual, and the aesthetic component of the software shell, as practice shows, does not bother many at all.
- high-quality AMOLED screen;
- beautiful and unusual body coloring;
- long battery life;
- many shell settings.
- easily soiled and slippery body;
- curve Russification of the interface;
- system speaker in mono mode.