Vivo V19: Think of it as a camera with a phone

Mala Bhargava | Updated on May 12, 2020

This photography-first mid-range handset aims to take on the challenge of low-light images with six lenses

Vivo wants you to think of the V19 as a camera with a phone rather than a phone with a camera.

The company has talked to potential consumers to see what it is they want on a phone and apparently discovered that what is most desired is a camera set-up that can take good selfies even when the light is low or less than ideal. So that’s how it comes about that there’s a prominent rectangular cut-out on the front of the screen for two selfie cameras: a 32 MP and an 8 MP. These give you the option of taking a 105-degrees wide angle shot or choose a bokeh enabled portrait even adjusting the blur after the photo has been shot.

You can pick the lens you want from the on-screen buttons and beautify yourself and apply one of two filters in the bargain. However you go about it, the results are flattering.

Front camera features

Using the front camera, you’ll see that a front flash, called ‘aura screen light’, is on by default. With this feature algorithms are supposed to be sensing the light conditions and adjusting the flash lighting to improve brightness, contrast and colour temperature for the best possible selfie.

The front camera also lets you preview, within an oval circle, what you look like with the lighting enabled so you can decide whether you want to leave it on or turn the flash off altogether. If you hold the camera at a good distance from yourself and get a position that makes the lighting even rather than artificially focussed, the lighting can be quite useful in very dark conditions. With better light around, you may instead choose to turn the aura screen lighting off. For video from the front camera, you don’t have OIS, but you do have EIS.

Rear camera features

The primary rear camera is a 48 MP one with an 8 MP wide angle. There’s a 2 MP macro lens and a 2 MP bokeh lens. In good light you get decent images with good colours and passable detail. You can zoom up to 2X and use a macro lens, which of course deteriorates the overall image, but in strong light can give quite pleasing close-ups. Casual phone photographers will be happy enough with all the camera features.

On the front of the phone, you have a 6.44-inch screen with the camera cut-out rather visible, as mentioned earlier. It’s a really nice FHD AMOLED display with good sunlight friendliness, rich colours and HDR-10 support. Our review unit came out of a nice looking box and had 8 GB RAM with 256 GB storage plus a memory card slot to add more in addition to the two SIM slots.

There’s an 8 GB/128 GB variant as well. Our unit was a ‘Mystic Silver’ which has a reflective and rather interesting mirror look, though some may object to the shininess. The other edition is a Piano Black and also has a reflective back with the cameras on the back looking pretty premium.

Despite the shininess, it actually doesn’t show up finger smudges too much, but if the thought should bother you, there’s a good plastic case in the box, along with the other bits and pieces like earphones and a big 33 W charger for its 4,500 mAh battery. In about 40 minutes the phone will charge up to 70 per cent. The battery doesn’t make the phone too heavy, fortunately. The fingerprint sensor is an in-display one and works reasonably well. Combined with face recognition, the phone unlocks without your having to pause for anything.

The V19 runs on the Snapdragon 712 SoC, a bit of a disappointment to many who believe there should be a more powerful processor at the price. Performance is actually quite smooth and fast and it does just fine with Android 10 and Vivo’s FunTouch UI, the experience with which was not bad.

Price: ₹31,990 and ₹27,990

Pros: Versatile camera for casual users, good build and design, not bad looks, generous storage, very nice AMOLED screen, retains headphone jack, uses Gorilla Glass 6

Cons: A little too expensive, puzzling choice of underpowered processor

Published on May 12, 2020

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