Vivo launched the V17 Pro in India back in September 2019 as the first phone with dual pop-up selfie cameras. However, the phone reportedly didn't fare too well in the country. A few months later, the brand has launched the stripped-down variant of the device, and the latest Vivo mobile is called the Vivo V17. The phone recently arrived at our premises, and here is an account of our initial impressions of the phone.
Before we start, Vivo had already launched the V17 globally before bringing it to India. Interestingly, the design of the Indian variant is completely different from the one launched globally. The latter comes with a waterdrop display and diamond-shaped camera module. The Indian model, on the other hand, features the in-trend punch-hole display and a rectangular quad-camera module. There's no fingerprint scanner, as the smartphone offers in-display biometrics. In our brief stint, the fingerprint scanner was pretty fast and accurate.
You will find the dual SIM-card tray with a dedicated microSD card slot on the left, physical buttons on right, and USB Type-C port with a 3.5mm audio jack and speaker grille on either side, on the bottom. The V17 is clad in polycarbonate and the glossy finish means that it's quite prone to smudges. Vivo is offering the handset in Glacier Ice and Midnight Ocean Blue colourways. We have the former with us and it looks stunning thanks to the aura of rainbow colours when light hits the back.
Coming to the display, the Vivo V17 comes with a 6.44-inch Super AMOLED panel featuring an aspect ratio of 20:9 and 1,080 x 2,400 pixels screen resolution. Vivo has equipped the display with features like low brightness anti-flicker, eye protection and dark mode. The display is pretty vivid and sharp but has a noticeable yellow tint when you look at it sideways. The impressive screen-to-body ratio thanks to the punch-hole selfie camera and presence of Widevine L1 certification makes the V17 ideal for multimedia consumption.
As for the core specs, the Vivo V17 comes with the Snapdragon 675 SoC, which is slightly dated but was able to perform well thanks to 8GB RAM aboard. Vivo has equipped the phone with 128GB of storage, which can be further expanded using the dedicated microSD card slot. On the software front, the V17 boots the Android 9 Pie-based Funtouch OS, which has its fair share of bloatware. However, the phone didn't falter even once when we tried multitasking on it and PUBG opened in high graphics setting by default, which is commendable. Powering the smartphone is a 4,500mAh battery with support for 18W fast charging. Vivo is providing the fast charger with the handset, which is a plus.
Coming to the quad-camera module on the back, it's correct to say that cameras are the highlight of this smartphone. The rear setup comprises of a 48MP primary sensor with f/1.8 aperture, an 8MP f/2.2 ultra-wide-angle lens, a 2MP depth sensor and a 2MP macro lens. On the front, there is a powerful 32MP sensor in the punch-hole cutout to take care of selfies and video calling. Vivo has equipped the camera app with the usual set of features like super night mode, ultra-stable video, portrait mode, super macro mode, super night selfie, AI scene recognition, AI HDR, among other things. The rear camera setup was able to capture detailed images in daylight but was underwhelming once the lighting was less than ideal.
As for selfie camera, the 32MP snapper does a very good job of capturing details and skin tone in good lighting. Vivo has also equipped the selfie camera with a super night selfie mode, which does improve the quality but is not exceptional.
The Vivo V17 is a stylish device with good performance, however, it falls short when it comes to the competition. The Redmi K20 is currently retailing under Rs 20,000 in India, and features a more powerful Snapdragon 730 SoC, a pop-up selfie camera and a more attractive design. Then there's the Realme X2 Pro, which offers a Snapdragon 730G processor and 30W fast charging, and is also priced cheaper. With these devices to contend with, the V17 will have a tough time making a dent in the mid-range smartphone segment.