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Aden - Yasmine El Tohamy - How low can you go? Well, not that low; what we mean here is in terms of how much of an attractive price can you offer for something compelling, particularly in the smartphone world?
China's vivo (styled as is) is among those manufacturers who are pushing the limits further. This time, it's a sub-Dh1,000 device, the V19, which they'd want you to set your sights on. And you may have an idea what we mean in that intro above.
TALE OF THE TAPE
Now here's a rarity: It's not often that a successor's main camera doesn't differ from its predecessor (fine; the listed aperture on the wide lens on the V19 is f/1.79, compared to the V17's f/1.8 - but you get it, right?).
That is just among a lot of things - screen as well - vivo has retained, and the biggest upgrade is on the front snapper.
The V19 is another typically-designed smartphone: It has a 6.44-inch Super Amoled screen with thin bezels all around, with a punch-hole up front housing its dual front cameras on the upper-right corner. The card tray is on the left, while the power button and volume rockers are on the right. Right down are the USB-C and 3.5mm audio ports.
And though it uses plastic material, its frame and rear have a glass finish. It comes in two colours, Sleek Silver (which we have) and Gleam Black. It's a very reflective finish, but can be stubborn with all those darn fingerprints.
I particularly like how the quad-cameras are set up at the back; it's somewhat of a minimalist design that gives a gentle feel on your eyes (aesthetics, mind you, play a crucial role in smartphones nowadays). It also doesn't protrude a lot, so that's less of an awkward look and feel for some.
Right inside the V19 is a mid-range Snapdragon 675, which is built to support fast performance. We can then say that it works well on the V19, since there weren't any noticeable lags.
There is no app drawer, so you can just swipe left on the home screen to see the rest of your stuff. Doing so to the right will show you customisable widgets, such as those for weather, shortcuts and Jovi, vivo's AI assistant.
Meanwhile, swiping downwards on anywhere any home screen (except from the very top because this will, as you know, bring down the notifications and control panels) will take you to global search, which is basically a feature that allows you to look for anything.
There is, also, a quick launch apps function: From any screen, swipe from the right edge and hold it for a bit to reveal five shortcuts that you can assign within settings.
The in-screen fingerprint scanner is below at the centre, and it sometimes takes a second to unlock the phone. The facial recognition feature, meanwhile, is a lot faster, and is zippy even when it's dark. And speaking of that, it also has dark mode; go ahead and save some more battery life with it.
As we've pointed out earlier, the V19 has a quad-lens setup - 48MP wide, 8MP ultra-wide, 2MP macro and 2MP depth. Combined, they come up with pleasantly surprising results:
Colours are solid, and the overall ambience reflects the actual scene.
A little tapping into the right area will adjust things when you're going against the light.
The little issue here is that some users may point out to the fact that the V19 doesn't give the scene a noticeable bump-up in lighting. Fair enough, because you may need that in certain situations - this is going to boil down to whether you want the all-natural feel or something that's clearer.
Ergo, one can argue that shots are somewhat dark, so it's really just a matter of preferences here.
Close-up shots are great. And good lighting conditions make detail stand out.
The V19 has night mode, which can, as may already know by now, fix things up when the lights go low. It does a decent job at it:
That was taken in a dimly-lit alley, and we can say that the device did a good job lighting it up. There are, as you may notice carefully, smudges towards the edges.
The dual 32MP-plus-8MP front camera, meanwhile, produces your standard selfies. Be wary at night though, because it tends to struggle so you may need to find brighter spots.
One of the V19's biggest pegs is its battery, both in terms of usage and - which is fast (pun intended) becoming a battleground today, charging time.
In our standard one-hour YouTube-at-full-brightness test, the device lost 15 per cent, which is above par if you consider standards today. Meanwhile, it was able to last until noon time the following day with a wanton mix of usage.
And about charging. The V19 does kinda live up to expectations. It comes with an 18W fast charger, and here's how it went:
Not bad; that's practically an hour for a full charge, and more than half of its capacity in half the time. Also of note: The device was on while charging because the battery percentage isn't displayed while it's plugged. So we reckon it could've been a tad faster if it were switched off.
It also doesn't have wireless charging, which is understandable. And a little postscript: Charging it using a laptop is, well, even less than a snail's pace, like a few minutes to boot up a percentage point. Don't forget your wall plug, then.
The vivo V19 is, frankly speaking, a swell offering. It doesn't have any fancy stuff or much bloatware, which reduces it to an important aspect - its simplicity and ease of use.
While we were satisfied with its camera capabilities, therein also lies the rub: The issue of whether the camera lights up scenes enough or not. As we said earlier, that'll all depend on how you want your photos to result in.
And, of course, the budget factor. This is a deal - a steal, if you would also call it.
GOODIES: Good camera, fast charging time, lag-free performance
GOOFIES: Camera results could look dimmer to certain users, low-light shots struggle, battery could've been better
EDITOR RATING: We're judging this based on where it's being positioned - and it does pass a lot of aspects with high marks. And don't forget its biggest pull - its surprisingly good camera. 4.5/5
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