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Vivo V9 Review: iPhone X Lookalike!

Vivo brings the notch design in their new smartphone V9 with a 24-megapixel selfie camera but is it worth buying at Rs 22,999? Read to know more

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Chinese smartphone brand Vivo recently launched their new iPhone X lookalike smartphone Vivo V9 in India. iPhone X lookalike because V9 comes with a notch, vertically placed rear dual-camera setup, and iOS like user interface.

Just four months after the launch of V7 in India, Vivo came up with their latest smartphone Vivo V9. Earlier, Vivo’s handsets used to be camera-centric only but this time, the company are offering their latest device with newly adapted notch design.

It is certain that V9’s design is clearly inspired from iPhone X but even in the past, Vivo handsets always looked like iPhone’s lookalikes. Talking about the notch, a lot of Android companies have started to implement this design in their smartphones and who knows that every brand maybe launches one with a notch.

We used V9 for a few days and here's what we think about Vivo's new offering. 

 Software Funtouch OS 4.0 based on Android 8.1 Oreo 
 Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 626 Octa-core
 Storage 64GB, expandable up to 256GB
 Display 6.3-inch FHD+ (2280x1080) in-cell FullView with 19:9 aspect ratio
 Rear Camera 16-MP+5-MP dual rear camera with LED flash
 Front Camera 24-MP selfie camera 
 Battery 3,250mAh
 SIM dual-SIM 
 Colours pearl black and champagne gold
 Face Unlock Yes 
 Water and Dust resistance No
 Available At Amazon, Flipkart, and Offline stores across India
 Price Rs 22,990

Design and Display

By looking at the first sight, one can easily recognise that Vivo’s V9 draws design inspiration from Apple’s iPhone X. Vivo V9 features a tall display with an iPhone X like notch at the top. Vivo says that because of the notch design, they are able to achieve 90 percent screen-to-body ratio.

The handset features a 6.3-inch FHD+ (2280x1080) in-cell FullView display with 19:9 aspect ratio. There is no Corning Gorilla Glass but V9 comes with an already applied protective guard on its display.

The notch at the top houses the selfie camera, earpiece, proximity sensor and ambient light sensor. Well, all of that is embedded into that small notch and everything else on the front is a vibrant screen.

Even the screen size is large but the phone isn’t very huge and fits in the palm very easily, all thanks to its design. The handset measures 154.81 x 75.03 x 7.89mm and weighs 150 grams.

Unlike every other smartphone in the mid-range category, V9’s body is not made of aluminium, instead Vivo has used glossy plastic. The body doesn't feel shoddy in fact, it kinda gives premium feeling when you hold the phone but the glossy plastic back is also prone to fingerprints and smudges. However, you don’t need to worry about this as Vivo ships V9 with a transparent body cover. The devices comes in two colours- in pearl black and champagne gold.

On top left corner at the back of the phone sits vertically assigned dual rear camera with LED flash below it. The fingerprint sensor is placed at the centre which is quick, you can also click selfies by touching it. The volume rockers are on the right side with power button below them, while SIM and MicroSD card try is on the left.  

The handset’s bottom houses 3.5mm headphone-jack, Micro-USB port and speaker grille. It’s amusing to see that Vivo is still using Micro-USB instead of USB Type-C.


It sports a 16-MP+5-MP dual rear camera with bokeh mode, HDR and LED flash. The camera mode includes Face Beauty, Panorama, AR, Slow-mo, Time lapse, and Focus and Professional- which lets you adjust ISO, Shutter speed White balance.

The rear camera clicks great photos in well-lit environments but Vivo’s claim of V9 clicking great photos in low-light conditions looks like a sham. The bokeh mode is right on point and works exceptionally well. You can also shoot videos at 4K, 1080p, and 720p but there is no OIS and EIS, which means videos recorded with the camera will appear shaky.

Click on the images below for enlarged view

On the front is a 24-megapixel selfie-snapper with AI face beauty, AR stickers and f/ 2.0 aperture. Selfie camera has always been a USP of Vivo smartphones and undoubtedly V9’s 25-megapixel front camera is one of the best in this price category.
The selfie snapper is touted to have AI prowess which beautifies selfies by adding touch ups, which in my opinion isn’t something you should buy V9 for.

 Selfie clicked with Portrait mode Image clicked with Portrait mode

Performance and Battery

Vivo V9 runs on Funtouch OS 4.0 based on Android 8.1 Oreo out-of-the-box. Vivo didn’t only mimicked Apple in terms of design, they also took inspiration for their custom UI from iOS. The control center opens when you slides up from the bottom and notifications panel gets open by sliding down from the top.

To give its users feeling of iOS, Vivo also lets you to disable navigation buttons and use gestures for navigation. You have to slide upward from three areas in the bottom of the screen to show the control center, return to standby mode, or return to the previous screen, respectively.

If we overlook the fact of Funtouch being inspired from iOS, V9’s UI is filled with a huge pool of features. Also, the UI is very smooth and I didn’t observe any stutter.

The handset also comes with a lot of pre-installed apps like Flipkart, WPS Office, UC Browser, V-Appstore, Amazon Prime Video, WhatsApp and Facebook.

For security, you can choose from various options- Pin, Password, fingerprint sensor or face unlock. The face unlock feature works fine but it struggles to recognise your face in low-light conditions.

V9 is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 626 Octa-core processor coupled with Adreno 506 GPU and 4GB RAM. It has 64GB internal storage which is expandable up to 256GB.

There wasn’t any lag while using the phone. Multitasking, switching between apps or playing games, everything runs smoothly without lagging. During my usage, it achieved a score of 90,229 on AnTuTu, while it scored 929 and 4509 on Geekbench’s Single-core and Multi-core, respectively.

Vivo V9 is backed by a 3,250mAh battery. To reach from zero to hundred percent, V9 takes 2 hours. The battery backup with this device isn’t as good as it should be with a sub-25k handset. With normal usage, you’ll need to plug in your charger by end of the day. Vivo also offers low power mode and super-power saving mode to control power consumption.

Connectivity options include- Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, USB 2.0, 4G VoLTE but only one SIM can access 4G at a time, and GPS.

Final Thoughts

Vivo V9 has great camera, stunning display and a good looking design but it lacks a suitable processor which a phone priced at Rs 22,999 should have. The handset offers decent performance and comes with a lot of software customisations which many users would use regularly. Battery life is a little less than what it should be. The camera gives great results in daylight but fails in low-light conditions.  

Talking about the notch, a lot of Android companies have started to implement this design in their smartphones and a number of such smartphones will flow out in the market this year.

Vivo V9 is for those who doesn’t mind themselves being called iPhone X wannabes. Also, people don’t only buy phones for selfies, a good phone maintains balance between design and performance. If V9 was priced lower than it would have been a great buy. If buyers are planning to pull Rs 22,999, they should also take a look at Honor 8 Pro, Moto X4, Redmi Note 5 Pro and Nokia 7 Plus among others.

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