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Vivo V17 Pro Review: Pro-active, but not Pro-gressive

“Pro” is a moniker thrown around a lot more with the newer tech products – an attempt by companies to separate their device from the pack and establish itself as a premium product. Apple has done it, as has OnePlus. So it is no surprise to see Vivo with its own “pro” product with the release of the Vivo V17 Pro.

The V17 Pro is not the first “Pro” product from Vivo, but it is the latest. Despite that, the smartphone keeps itself relatively simple design-wise, with the four camera set-up at the back being the only outwardly unique aspect that can be noticed.

Encasing the V17 Pro is a glass body with comes with one of two colours to choose from, the sky blue Crystal Sky and the standard black Glowing Night; the latter being the one we got. Build quality is quite fair, with the glass back feeling generally sturdy and the volume and lock buttons having a nice click when using them.

As with most glass bodies, the case is prone to fingerprints, particularly for the black version of the phone. It’ll do you good to cover that up with the included phone case or purchase one yourself since the back design itself is nothing to fawn about.

The front screen is much more easy on the eye. As with the ongoing trend of having a full screen on a smartphone, the V17 Pro spots a flat all-screen display. It isn’t quite the full all-screen experience, not having the curved display at the sides that other phones have. Despite that, it is still a very eye-catching display to use given the lack of elements like notches and cameras to distract you from your viewing experience, especially when watching videos.

The display comes in at 6.44 inches and uses a Super AMOLED panel for its screen. What you get with that is a huge display that offers a bright and crisp image quality, which is especially great for watching movies or TV shows on the go with the 20:9 aspect ratio. The flat edge display also makes it easier to grip using only one hand as well, which is a bonus.

Just below the display is the single speaker grill. It is sufficiently loud enough to blast around for people to hear at small gatherings, but don’t expect it to function as a quality external speaker. Audio starts to get tinny around the higher range of volume and bass is nearly unnoticeable.  

Like most phones with the all-screen display, the V17 Pro achieves it by shifting the front camera to a pop-up mechanism. What separates this pop-up camera from the rest is the fact that it is able to incorporate two cameras instead of just one. The main 32MP camera sits on the right while an 8MP ultrawide camera is next to it on the left.

For the main camera, it delivers decent image quality with good colour balance and contrast. The same can’t be said for the ultrawide mode though. While it does bring in more space to the frame, they lack detail in the photos, especially on the side areas.  The front cameras also pack in night mode, and it does the job well at sufficiently lighting up a person’s face.

Taken from the front camera

Now we can move on to the absolutely stacked back camera set-up. The back cameras consist of a main 48MP camera, an 8MP ultrawide camera, a 13MP telephoto lens and a 2MP depth sensor.

Like the front camera, the main rear camera for the V17 Pro delivers great images with a good amount of clarity and colour. However, once you start to go beyond 2x zoom, the image quality starts to dip and lose that crispness. While still retaining decent colour brightness, image noise is abundantly obvious for the 5x and 10x zoom. It’ll be useful in trying to see a faraway object, but nothing more.

Standard 1x zoom
5x zoom
10x zoom

The ultra-wide camera is also similar to the one found at the front. It’ll be able to fit much more into the frame, but it’ll cost you details in the image that you could see if you used the standard zoom instead. As it is, it is a perfectly serviceable ultra-wide camera.

Standard 1x zoom
Ultra-wide shot

Macro shots are also a function that this camera has in its repertoire. These aren’t quite professional level macro quality but they do an adequate job at showing you those little details when taking a picture close up.

Macro shot
Macro shot

Let’s also move on to the actual performance of the V17 Pro. Interestingly, for a phone with the “pro” moniker, it does not have the highest-end specs for a phone. Instead, it packs a Snapdragon 675 with 8GB of RAM inside.

Of course, that isn’t to say that the V17 Pro is slow. In fact, it runs smoothly while navigating through apps, even when put under CPU-intensive tasks like running multiple apps. Gaming is similarly frustration-free, as the phone is capable of running PUBG mobile at the highest graphic setting without any fuss. But for a “pro” labelled phone, it is strange that it still has not upgraded its processor from its predecessor. 

I’ve also said a lot about the Funtouch OS in the past, and it applies to this phone as well. What it comes down to is that new users will need to take the time to get used to some of the gestures that this OS uses. Some gestures that may be commonplace for other phones either has a different function or is non-existent.

Finally, we get to the battery. The V17 Pro has a 4,100 mAh battery, which is fairly substantial. In testing out the battery life, I was able to get slightly over a day’s worth of use before needing to charge it. This is with intermittent usage of social media, video watching, and casual gaming through the day.

You also won’t need to wait too long before being able to use it. There is an 18W fast charger included with the device and a 15 min charge sets you back around 25% or so battery (which gets you about an hour worth of use) while a full charge takes slightly over an hour and a half. 

Conclusion

The Vivo V17 Pro is a smartphone that does a lot of things well enough. However, it isn’t quite the best of the rest as the name might suggest and is certainly overshadowed by others in the market. Though for the price it comes at, does it really matter that much?

Photos by Soloman Soh of the DANAMIC team. Visual of screen courtesy of Vivo.

Vivo V17 Pro

S$599
7.5

Overall

7.5/10

Pros

  • All-screen display
  • Stacked camera functionality

Cons

  • Unspectacular speakers
  • Need time to get used to OS
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Russell Matthew Loh

Yes I have two names. no I'm not Eurasian. Self-professed David Fincher fan.

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