Over the past year, the sub-Rs. 40, 000 smartphone segment has become congested with plenty of options to choose from. Most of these smartphones are superior devices or “value flagships”, as they tend to offer top-tier performance and capture vastly better photos than lower-priced, mid-range phones. Their affordable price tags (compared to flagship smartphones) usually means that features such as an IP68 rating or even wireless charging get the boot, although we have seen a number of exceptions.

The particular Vivo V23 Pro seems to have graduated to the value-flagship portion, and the reason for this is the price, which starts with Rs. 38, 990. That may be roughly Rs. 10, 000 more than the Vivo V21. Compared to the previous Pro design, which was the V20 Pro ( Review ) launched back in 2020, the V23 Pro functions several hardware upgrades like a 108-megapixel rear camera, 50-megapixel front-facing camera, and front facing LED flash for selfies. Is the Vivo V23 Pro a worthy upgrade towards the V20 Pro, or will the competition offer better value? Why don’t find out.

Vivo V23 Pro price in India

The Vivo V23 Pro comes in two variants. The base variant, which I received for this review, has  8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage space and is priced at Rs. 37, 990 in India.   The top-end variant offers 12GB of RAM plus 256GB of storage, plus is  priced at Rs. 43, 990. Both  are available in 2 finishes – Stardust Dark and Sunshine Gold.

Vivo V23 Pro design

The Sunshine Gold finish that I obtained is the snazzier  of the 2. The glass on the back is treated with a special paint that changes colour whenever exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light. The phone appears to have a gold finish indoors, but shifts to some rich blue (with tips of green) when utilized outdoors under direct sunlight. While using the V23 Pro indoors, you will get a glimpse of this hidden glowing blue colour if the back of the phone faces an ULTRAVIOLET light source. The reactive coating retains its blue colour for a few minutes even after the telephone is brought indoors, after which it gradually changes back to gold. It’s a neat trick and it works well. If this effect isn’t for you, the Stardust Black option has a basic subtle matte black finish.

Vivo V23 Pro indoor impression ndtv VivoV23Pro Vivo

The particular Vivo V23 Pro has a special paint that modifications colour when exposed to direct sunlight

The back solar panel of the Vivo V23 Professional is made of a fluorite AG glass and has a dull finish that does an excellent job of rejecting fingerprints. Just like the curved-edge glass to the front, this rear panel also curves along the left and right sides. The phone has a quite narrow polycarbonate frame. This provides it a very slim look. It also looks delicate, but feels solid enough for the purpose of regular use.

Vivo V23 Pro outdoor slim ndtv VivoV23Pro Vivo

The Vivo V23 Pro features a slim design and is just 7. 36mm thick.

Vivo has upgraded the V23 Pro’s display drastically, compared to the V20 Pro, from an even AMOLED display to a curved-edge AMOLED panel with a 90Hz refresh rate. There’s no hole-punch cutout;   instead  an iPhone-style  notch houses the 2 front-facing selfie cameras. The bezel is quite narrow all around the display but Vivo provides managed to squeeze in two LED flash units (which it calls Dual-tone Spot light Flash) on the  sides of the display notch. The particular earpiece speaker is almost invisible between the frame and screen.

Vivo V23 Pro specifications and software

The Vivo V23 Pro uses the MediaTek Dimensity 1200 SoC which we’ve often seen in lower-priced phones such as the Poco F3 GRAND TOURING ( Review ) as well as the OnePlus Nord 2 ( Review ). This is not the most competitive SoC in this segment anymore. The particular V23 Pro does not have any kind of storage expansion option, which could also be a dealbreaker for a few. There is a dual Nano-SIM tray and the phone supports 5G radios with dual-5G standby. The phone also supports Wireless bluetooth 5. 2, Wi-Fi air conditioning unit, and the usual satellite satnav systems. It has a 4, 300mAh battery that can be charged quickly using the bundled 44W charger.

The V23 Pro is one of the first Vivo smartphones to come with Google android 12 out of the box. It still has Vivo’s Funtouch OS 12 layer over the top of it, and its design language appears to be a bit of a mismatch against Google’s Material You redesign . The new icons for Drive, Conversations, etc  feel out of place on the home screen with their bold outlines and fonts. Vivo provides tried to blend some of the brand new privacy features such as the Personal privacy Dashboard and Permission Manager into Funtouch OS 12’s Settings app, but these even now look  out of place when you accessibility them.

Vivo V23 Pro front software ndtv VivoV23Pro Vivo

The Vivo V23 Pro runs Funtouch OS 12 which is based on Android twelve

While the two design sensibilities don’t combine well, the Vivo V23 Pro does offer access to the particular Android 12’s privacy features. You get small audio and video indications that pop up in the announcements area when the microphone or camera are being used. Apart from the Material You influence, there still are the familiar animated FunTouch widgets (that have trickled down from Source OS). The new notifications holder and Quick Settings menu usually do not look like the ones on a Google Pixel running stock Android 12. The powerful brand new search functionality in the app drawer is missing, but notification history makes it, and you may access this by moving to the bottom of the announcements tray (after activating it in Settings).

Vivo has added a new Game Space app however it does nothing apart from showing how long you’ve played every game  that’s installed. All of the useful options you might anticipate can be accessed via a slide-out menu in-game, after activating the Ultra Game mode.

Vivo V23 Pro performance and battery-life

The Vivo V23 Pro performed not surprisingly in our standard benchmark tests. It scored 6, twenty-four, 567 points in AnTuTu, along with 950 and 3 or more, 216 in Geekbench’s individual and multi-core tests, respectively. These numbers are definitely upon par with mid-range smartphones and are lower than what you possessed get from similarly priced devices with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 SoC, such as the Realme GT or the iQoo 7 Legend .

Gaming performance was quite good. We initially had my concerns given how slim this particular smartphone is, and the Vivo V23 Pro did find hot when playing Call of Duty: Mobile and Asphalt 9: Legends on the highest possible settings. However , this handled extended gaming sessions very well without any noticeable effect on performance. While Asphalt nine: Legends ran flawlessly with all the 60fps mode enabled, Contact of Duty was not extremely enjoyable as the display’s touch sensitivity was not able to keep up with the need to move and purpose quickly to take enemies down. This noticeable delay resulted in plenty of lost tournaments. I actually even reduced the graphics quality to the minimum degree, but the lag did not disappear.

The Vivo V23 Pro has  just one bottom-firing speaker which may get quite loud but seems a bit distorted at large volume. A stereo loudspeaker setup would have made audio more  balanced and immersive (especially while playing games). The lack of stereo sound is usually unfortunate since nearly every smart phone competing in this  budget range offers this.

Vivo V23 Pro half display ndtv VivoV23Pro Vivo

The Vivo V23 Pro has a 90Hz AMOLED panel with a medium-sized level.

The AMOLED panel on the Vivo V23 Pro was quite great, showcasing bright, saturated colors, but it washed out a bit whenever viewed under direct sunlight. The 90Hz refresh rate appeared sufficient, but several contending smartphones have higher maximum refresh rates. What makes this particular panel stand out is its curved edges. These were not  not distracting in everyday use but the medium-sized level did feel a bit unusual given that most Android smartphones (above and below this price level) now have hole-punch cutouts that look neater and take up less space.

The battery life of the Vivo V23 Pro was surprisingly good for such a thin smartphone. It managed to final 12 hours and seven minutes in our HD video cycle test which is below  ordinary. With regular use, the device lasted a full day on a single charge which is also not the very best in this segment,   thus power users might want to appearance elsewhere. Charging the phone with the bundled 44W charger has been quick. It managed the 65 percent charge within 30 minutes, and was fully charged in an hour.

Vivo V23 Pro cameras

For the fashion-forward smartphone, the Vivo V23 Pro is amazingly packed to the gills with camera features. Both the front plus rear cameras are capable of 4K 60fps recording. The front camera also supports HDR movie recording, and has two LED PRE LIT flash units. There are three rear cameras and 2 front-facing cameras in all. Which 108-megapixel primary camera, a good 8-megapixel ultra-wide angle digital camera and a 2-megapixel macro camera on the back.

Vivo V23 Pro back half cameras ndtv VivoV23Pro Vivo

The Vivo V23 Pro has three rear-facing cameras including a 108-megapixel primary camera

The front-facing camera setup includes a 50-megapixel primary with autofocus and an 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera for group selfies. The camera interface is well laid out and offers quick access to important settings through a menu in the top left corner (when kept horizontally). One thing to keep in mind is the fact that most of the special video functions,   such as Steadiface plus Super Night, are limited to 1080p at 30fps. HDR video is also limited to 30fps (1080p and 4K) plus Super Stabilisation mode just lets you record  at 1080p 60fps.

Vivo V23 Pro daylight camera samples. Best: Primary camera, bottom: ultra-wide angle camera (Tap to see full size)

Photos taken with the 108-megapixel rear primary camera had been saved as  12-megapixel pictures. Shots taken  in sunlight turned out a bit oversaturated using good detail and dynamic range. Samples from the ultra-wide angle camera were a little below average in terms of detail and were only usable if shot in daylight. Nevertheless , these were far from ideal with regards to quality as they had lots of barrel distortion.

Vivo V23 Pro selfie camera samples. Top: Daylight, middle: Low lighting, bottom: With Spotlight display (Tap to see full size)

The 50-megapixel selfie camera also safe binned 12-megapixel images automatically. Selfies taken  in sunlight came out sharp and very clear with good dynamic range and background separation. Turning to Portrait mode led to excellent edge detection and detail. This was also the situation with the rear camera’s Portrait mode. Results from the ultra-wide-angle selfie camera were also surprisingly good and very useful compared to shots taken with all the rear-facing ultra-wide camera. The 2-megapixel macro camera is certainly potentially  useful for extreme close-ups but  shots come out  just average in quality.

In reduced light, the primary rear camera captured good detail and dynamic range. Night mode shots looked better, using a bit more detail to scenes. Objects appeared sharper, plus better contrast made the final results look a bit more dramatic. Nevertheless , there were several photos by which I noticed that some highlights were overexposed near road lamps and other sources of lights. Photos taken with the ultra-wide angle camera using  Night mode looked fine in the phone’s display but had been low on detail whenever viewed on a monitor.

Vivo V23 Pro low light camera samples. Top: Car mode, bottom: Night setting (Tap to see full size)

Selfies consumed low light looked sharper and more detailed when using the Spotlight flash as compared to the display flash, which made deals with look  a bit harsh. Nevertheless , neither of these options made photos look better than just average. Night mode also did not seem to help, as photos lacked depth and had very poor details. In most cases, this appeared that the primary selfie camera struggled to freeze focus in low light, even with the flash allowed.

Moving in order to video, things were once again a bit disappointing. Vivo provides tried to cram in a lot of extra features but appears to have forgotten the basics. The phone managed its best quality video clip when shooting at 4K 30fps. 1080p videos seemed to have issues with detail even in broad daylight. Stabilisation has been decent at best at 1080 pixels but was non-existent when filming video at 4K 60fps.

There is an ultra-stabilisation mode that makes video appear rock-steady when shooting, however the resolution is limited to 1080p 60fps, which also means how the quality wasn’t the best. Selfie videos at any resolution were known to overexpose the background whenever shooting in daylight. The particular HDR video mode brightened up subjects and qualification but these clips ended up seeking overexposed at best with below-average detail. Vivo has introduced a stabilisation feature called Steadiface which works well both in sunlight and low light, producing footage appear smoother.

Low-light selfie movies were quite grainy. The Super Night video mode helped reduce noise to acceptable levels but at the cost of an unsteady framework rate, which made movie appear choppy. Details had been on the lower side when shooting at 1080p. Video clip shot at 60fps appeared a bit too dark, and stabilisation was not great. There’s also an obvious shimmer effect when walking. Bumping the resolution up to 4K, the shimmer  effect was still present, yet I also noticed some hit-or-miss stabilisation artefacts, such as  parts of the scene showing up to shake. 4K 60fps footage was too dark plus looked very shaky even if panning. Ultra Stabilisation setting made videos looked blurry and murky at best.

Verdict

For anyone looking to buy a slim and light smartphone,   or in search of the latest offered serving of Android, the Vivo V23 Pro might be attractive. Its colour-changing back again panel is  quite unique, and it’s one of the very few mobile phones with a curved-edge display in this particular segment. However , it’s not for everybody, especially those who want great gaming performance and battery life.

The V23 Pro has stiff competition. Having reviewed the Realme GT ( Review ) and the iQoo 7 Story ( Review ), I can confidently say that iQoo has got the best cameras of the three. There are also other smartphones only at that price point such as the OnePlus 9R ( Review ),   Xiaomi Mi 11X Pro ( Review ) and the  recently launched Xiaomi 11T Pro ( Household ), which offer much better gaming performance than the Vivo V23 Pro. All these rivals also have stereo speakers plus AMOLED displays with 120Hz refresh rates. The Una 11X Pro even comes with an IP53 rating.

While the cameras of the Vivo V23 Pro are quite reliable for stills, recorded videos need a lot of work. The Vivo V23 Pro appears like a worthy successor towards the V20 Pro, but it’s far from perfect. The higher sale price also means it has to compete with premium smartphones that execute a lot better.


Vivo V23 Pro Review: Smooth, Stylish and Feature-Packed