With its 5G compatibility and its surprising chameleon design, the Vivo V23 stands out as a unique smartphone, but not without flaws.
On the mid-range market, smartphones follow and resemble each other, especially among Chinese manufacturers. Fortunately, a few originals sometimes break the routine. This was the case with the Oppo Reno and its now famous retractable shark fin in 2019, or more recently with the OnePlus 8T Concept. This year, it is Vivo which stands out as the little joke of the season, with the V23, a mid-range capable of change color depending on ambient light.
|Vivo V23 5G|
|Screen||– 6.44 inch AMOLED display
– Full HD+ definition (1080×2400)
|SoCs and GPUs||– Mediatek Dimensity 920
– ARM Mali-G68 MC4
|Memory||– 8 or 12 GB of RAM
– 128 or 256 GB of storage
|Colors||– Starry black
– Sparkling gold (photosensitive)
|Camera||– 64 Mpx f/1.89 main sensor
– 8MP f/2.2 ultra-wide-angle sensor
– 2 MP f/2.4 macro sensor
– 50MP main selfie sensor
– Video up to 4K at 30 fps (60 fps at 1080p)
|Audio||– Single speaker|
|Battery||– 4200mAh battery
– 44W Turbo Charging
– No wireless charging
|Connectivities||– Fingerprint reader under the screen
– Wi-Fi 5
– Dual nano SIM
– USB Type-C port
– Proximity and light sensor
– Funtouch OS 12
|Height and weight||– 157.2 x 72.4 x 7.6mm
– 181 grams
|Starting price||From 529€|
|Availability date||– April 2022|
Design: 10/10 for style
At first glance, the Vivo V23 looks like any other smartphone. Large borderless screen with notch, iPhone-style straight edges and triple rear sensor housed in an imposing slab in relief… the device is nothing extraordinary, but it turns out to be rather elegant with its neat finishes and its rose gold edges. On the connector side, all the buttons are concentrated on the right edge, while the USB-C socket, the double nano-SIM drawer and the single speaker are housed on the lower edge. Nothing original under the sun then.
It’s at his back that things get interesting. Visually, the smartphone offers an iridescent golden color, which sports blue reflections depending on the angle from which it is looked at. An original particularity but which does not stop there. Covered with a thin layer of fluorite, the Vivo V23 is also photosensitive: exposed to light, it will change color to turquoise blue under the rays of the sun. Equipped with a UV lamp, it will thus be possible to personalize your style at will. The result is temporary, and actually only lasts a few minutes before disappearing. However, the exercise is particularly nice: with a smartphone that changes with the lightno time to get tired of it.
It must however be admitted: if the photosensitivity of the Vivo 23 constitutes an interesting point of originality during its first week of use, the wow effect passes as quickly as it came. After only a few days, you end up not even paying attention to your fluorite back. Beneath its chameleon airs, the V23 quickly becomes conventional again. Fortunately, he was not betting only on his physique.
Screen, not glossy
On paper, the V23 offers a very beautiful AMOLED FHD+ display, coupled with an adaptive refresh rate of 90 Hz. In use, however, the result is less satisfactory than expected. First, the phone rarely hits 90Hz in adaptive, forcing us to opt for a default rate that will drain the battery faster. Then, it is clear that its brightness is not up to our expectations. Very good indoors, the device quickly loses readability when used outdoors, wherever you wear sunglasses.
It’s all the more unfortunate that apart from its tendency to pull towards cold colors (something that can be corrected manually), the Vivo 23 panel was promising, especially in terms of colorimetry.
Power and autonomy
Under the hood, the Vivo V23 stands out as a very good mid-range. Flanked by a processor MediaTek Dimensity 920 and 5G compatibility, the smartphone offers the same chip as a Redmi Note 11 Pro + 5G. Direct competitor of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 870, the Dimensity 920 is powerful enough to calmly face a day of use, both for daily tasks, browsing social networks and video games. Under the hood, there are two configurations to choose from: 8+128 GB or 12+256 GB.
With its 90Hz refresh rate, the phone stays surprisingly smooth in game, even on 3D titles. The smartphone may have a back that is sensitive to the sun, but it doesn’t show any significant heat stroke, a nice step forward compared to the old MediaTek chips.
On the autonomy side, the simple fact of forcing the refresh rate to 90 Hz necessarily impacted the life of the phone during our test phase. However, the V23 is in a good average, with a 4,200 mAh battery and enough to last just a day, provided you do not multiply the gaming sessions. Small consolation, however, with the compatibility of the 44W fast charge, which allows you to refuel in less than an hour. Wireless charging, however, is not included, a logical decision given the positioning of the smartphone.
Photo and video
With its notch, the V23 plays on its resemblance to the iPhone 13 Pro. In use, however, we quickly forget this small disturbance of the screen, which makes it possible to house the two front cameras.
At the back, there are three sensors, but no zoom. The main module is a 64 Mpx capable of opening wide angle at f / 1.89. It is coupled with an ultra wide-angle of 8 Mpx in f / 2.2, and a macro sensor of 2 Mpx for f / 2.4. If it often lacks brightness, the rendering in broad daylight remains correct, especially outdoors. The background blurs are rather successful, just like for the display of the screen, the colorimetric rendering is rather satisfactory.
Unsurprisingly, things get complicated as soon as you go indoors, or more generally in low light conditions. Without being catastrophic, the pictures are quickly dull and dark. The absence of optical zoom quickly forces you not to exceed the x2 digital magnification, otherwise you will obtain a poor quality image.
At the front, the notch of the smartphone integrates not one, but two sensors. Yes the Vivo V23 clearly does not have the makings of a photophone, we feel that the brand has paid particular attention to selfies. The first wide-angle sensor reaches 50 Mpx, and it is coupled to a second 8 Mpx module. On a daily basis, the rendering is surprisingly good. The now traditional bokeh effect intended to sublimate selfies is effective but discreet… provided once again that you remain in optimal light conditions.
There are, however, some original features which, without being perfect, are worth the detour. Starting with the automatic document scanning, surprisingly effective. On the selfie side, we also appreciated the presence of LEDs placed on either side of the phone, and intended to improve the brightness of our self-portraits. Despite the possibility of manually adjusting the temperature of the LEDs, the result unfortunately lacks finishes, with too marked textures and approximate contours.
Finally, on the video side, we find the possibility of shooting in 4K up to 30 fps. To reach 60 fps, you will have to settle for 1080p. Quite acceptable characteristics to immortalize your next vacation, which benefits from a nice color rendering, but a little weak stabilization in movement.
Delivered with the Funtouch OS overlay, the Vivo V23 5G offers a rather nice interface based on Android 12. While the next generation of Google’s operating system is on the horizon, the rendering offered by the manufacturer is clear, intuitive and uniform. The brand offers simplified navigation, and even offers some in-house features, such as the ability to take a screenshot by swiping with three fingers, or reducing an application to a flying window as is already possible for Messenger and WhatsApp.
Price and availability
marketed since April 15, 2022, the Vivo V23 comes in a photosensitive gold colourway, or in a more classic black coating. Count 529€ minimum to offer you the little original of the season in an 8+128 GB version.