Vivo V25 5G Review : A Stagnation Flaw

What makes an entry-level or mid-range phone worth the buy, depends on how you seek the best value for money. With the Vivo V25, you might be expecting decent cameras, a reasonable display, and maybe some tropes that might set it apart from the ordinary.

But what if it just blends in amongst the rest at this price range? Should it deter you from the basic needs of a good smartphone? And the big question, does it feel like an upgrade from its previous generation or is it more so of a stagnation disguised in a new frame?


We're taking a look underneath the hood of the Vivo V25 to find out if it makes a justifiable option from its pro variant coming to our shores real soon, or did Vivo play it safe in the hopes of receiving accolades purely for its build quality and design?


For starters, we're not entirely sure why Vivo decided to name this the V25 and not the 24 – jumping a number from the previous V23, which was in a way, very similar internally if you were to compare specs side by side. Even our experience with the V23e also suggested "design" was its main highlight over everything else and didn't sit quite well with our impressions of it.


But before we touch on what's on the outside, what about the inside? After all, this is still a phone and internals should matter most, no? Well, the Vivo 25 comes with 8GB of RAM, a MediaTek Dimensity 900 and Mali-G68, which scored 707 for Single-core and 2109 for Multi-Core on our Geekbench tests, and an overall score of 2180 on our 3D Mark WildLife test, averaging only 13.1 frames per second.


Evidently, gaming doesn't exactly scream "high performance" in any way nor does it suit some of the higher demanding graphics found on games such as Asphalt 9. There's still a "Game Boost" option however, to ramp up CPU and GPU performance via the Game Sidebar and even an Esports mode for minimal disturbances, optimising some controls and even display settings best suited for gaming.


Yet somehow it still doesn't make much visible improvements for other games such as Call of Duty or Real Racing 3 which might feel a little off at first, seeing some graphics falling short of the norm, while more casual games such as Vector or Candy Crush should do just fine.


Either way, refresh rates come at a reasonable 90Hz and feels smooth for most scrolling activities on your daily catch-up on social media and also has Smart Switch functions to drop it down to 60Hz for better battery life consumption.


The AMOLED 6.44" HDR10+ display in itself is considerably bright, and is possibly the best piece of hardware on this phone. Touch sampling rates of 180Hz also feels snappy for first-person-shooter games but oddly comes with a less desirable screen-to-body ratio of 84.7% showing thicker bezels on the sides and chin at the bottom.


Compared to the older model with an 88% screen-to-body ratio, this does feel less up-to-date, while also having the screen protrude quite a bit from the side rails – which resembles an older Vivo V23e. This would've felt nicer in the hands if it were more flushed into the frame. But still.. nothing a simple cover wouldn't fix.


Watching movies or videos on the AMOLED screen befits it's specs, showing very deep blacks and very sharp details, while managing variable viewing angles quite well with 409 ppi density and 1,300nits peak brightness accompanied by an enclosed mono speaker promoting HiRes audio which reasonably projects up to 90Hz decibels. Utilising the top earpiece would've been ideal for a more immersive experience, but not quite the dealbreaker as it does get loud for movies and music.


For starters, we're not entirely sure why Vivo decided to name this the V25 and not the 24 – jumping a number from the previous V23, which was in a way, very similar internally if you were to compare specs side by side. Even our experience with the V23e also suggested "design" was its main highlight over everything else and didn't sit quite well with our impressions of it.

But before we touch on what's on the outside, what about the inside? After all, this is still a phone and internals should matter most, no? Well, the Vivo 25 comes with 8GB of RAM, a MediaTek Dimensity 900 and Mali-G68, which scored 707 for Single-core and 2109 for Multi-Core on our Geekbench tests, and an overall score of 2180 on our 3D Mark WildLife test, averaging only 13.1 frames per second.

Evidently, gaming doesn't exactly scream "high performance" in any way nor does it suit some of the higher demanding graphics found on games such as Asphalt 9. There's still a "Game Boost" option however, to ramp up CPU and GPU performance via the Game Sidebar and even an Esports mode for minimal disturbances, optimising some controls and even display settings best suited for gaming.

Yet somehow it still doesn't make much visible improvements for other games such as Call of Duty or Real Racing 3 which might feel a little off at first, seeing some graphics falling short of the norm, while more casual games such as Vector or Candy Crush should do just fine. Either way, refresh rates come at a reasonable 90Hz and feels smooth for most scrolling activities on your daily catch-up on social media and also has Smart Switch functions to drop it down to 60Hz for better battery life consumption. The AMOLED 6.44" HDR10+ display in itself is considerably bright, and is possibly the best piece of hardware on this phone. Touch sampling rates of 180Hz also feels snappy for first-person-shooter games but oddly comes with a less desirable screen-to-body ratio of 84.7% showing thicker bezels on the sides and chin at the bottom. Compared to the older model with an 88% screen-to-body ratio, this does feel less up-to-date, while also having the screen protrude quite a bit from the side rails – which resembles an older Vivo V23e. This would've felt nicer in the hands if it were more flushed into the frame. But still.. nothing a simple cover wouldn't fix. Watching movies or videos on the AMOLED screen befits it's specs, showing very deep blacks and very sharp details, while managing variable viewing angles quite well with 409 ppi density and 1,300nits peak brightness, accompanied by an enclosed mono speaker promoting HiRes audio which reasonably projects up to 90Hz decibels. Utilising the top earpiece would've been ideal for a more immersive experience, but not quite the dealbreaker as it does get loud for movies and music. But where things tend to stagnate from the older rendition is its cameras, coming with the same 64MP main camera, an 8MP Ultra-wide, and a 2MP macro camera. Photos are a sub-par B+ by our standards as image computations seem to be absent here. Although HDR still works as it should – raising exposure correctly for backlit subjects or sceneries, and even retains most of its sharpness with its 64MP main camera, overall outputs still feel a little washed and suffer most in low-light conditions.

On top of that, it now comes with a single 50MP front-facing camera and loses out on the dual front cameras found on the V23. Selfies are "usable" to say the least but not much of an improvement either. Video outputs on the other hand, get very inconsistent in different light settings topping at 4K at 30fps, which oddly performs better under artificial lighting but not quite as much in natural daylight. Exposure compensations are quite visible here and can get quite jarring when filming longer form video. But ultimately, all of this packaged in a new design should be the main focus here, but does it warrant an upgrade? As we mentioned, elements such as the protruding screen and a smaller screen-to-body ratio, a familiar front facing-teardrop cut out, feels too similar to the more budget-friendly V23e.

Despite it looking a little more refined in this Diamond Black colour-way, we still prefer the overall look of the V23 as the AMOLED screen comes with much thinner bezels and is slightly lighter at 179g. Other aspects such as the camera module on the back, moving the macro camera to the side or below the flash looks far cleaner. But other than that, the side rails, backplate textures, button placements, are all pretty much the same as before. But at least it comes with a bigger 4500mAh battery which got us about a day and a half of use and comes with 44W fast charger in the box that should get you from 0 to 100% in under 50 minutes. The Vivo V25 5G comes with Android 12, 8GB RAM and 128GB of storage and retails at RM1,799 or S$559.Our main impression of this phone leaves more questions than satisfaction, with us continuously asking "Where's the improvement here?". It doesn't exactly suggest the V25 was given enough TLC before shipping them off. Maybe there are slight adjustments internally made for better cooling and a slightly bigger battery for overall usage, but again, It's not the first time we've seen manufacturers recycling older internals and rehousing it into a new body with a new name. Even if they were planning to do so, at the very least they could have tried their best not to make it worse than before. This isn't the case here, considering how many options out there would give you more for the price. Perhaps the OnePlus 10T could be a viable option in this range, coming with a much larger 6.7" 120Hz Fluid AMOLED HDR10+ display, Snapdragon's latest 8+ Gen 1 chipset, stereo speakers, and a far better 50MP camera performance, albeit at a slightly higher price.

Needless to say, the Vivo 25 just feels too similar with little difference than before. Maybe slap on a warning next time, Vivo.

 

Written by Fitri Aiyub


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