(Pocket-lint) – With the Vivo 25 Pro, the brand continues its tradition of utilising colourful and eye-catching designs on its mid-range smartphones.
This phone is quite the looker, and it has a unique trick up its sleeve, thanks to a UV reactive colour changing glass back.
In the hyper-competitive mid-range smartphone market, though, looks will only get you so far. We wanted to find out how the Vivo V25 Pro performs in the real world.
Over the last few weeks, we’ve been daily driving the bold blue device, in an effort to uncover all of its strengths and weaknesses.
For anyone seeking an affordable smartphone with a capable camera, the Vivo V25 Pro is well worth a look – particularly if you take a lot of selfies. The 32MP front-facing camera is a highlight and is backed up by some great software features.
What’s more, it offers great battery life, a lovely display and solid performance throughout. The looks won’t be for everyone, but there’s a high standard of fit and finish, and even the unusual UV-reactive party trick to show off.
However, there are some downsides. The amount of bloatware was disappointing for us, as was the presence of the sub-par ultrawide and macro lenses. Depending on where you live, you may also have trouble getting your hands on one.
The phone is also only available in India, right now, but it will be launched in over 20 regions across Southeast Asia before the end of the year. Hopefully, we’ll see it launch elsewhere, too.
- Excellent primary and selfie cameras
- Great photographic features
- Unique look and feel
- Solid battery life
- Bright and vibrant 120Hz display
- No expandable storage or headphone socket
- No wireless charging
- Lots of bloatware
- Terrible auxiliary cameras
- Dimensions: 158.9 x 73.52 x 8.62mm
- Weight: 190 grams
- Finishes: Surfing Blue or Starlight Black
- UV-reactive fluorite AG glass back
The Vivo V25 Pro features curved edges on the front and back, with a slim design that feels great in the hand. The glass back has a lovely matte finish that feels soft to the touch and resists fingerprints extremely well. The frame has a shiny high-gloss finish, in a matching blue colour, but we were less keen on that. It doesn’t quite match the top-notch fit and finish that’s found on the rest of the device.
For those looking for a more subtle device, it’s also available in black, but the black option misses out on the V25 Pro’s colour-changing party trick. When exposed to UV light, the Surfing Blue colourway shifts from pale blue to dark blue. Our review sample was sent with a UV torch, which allowed us to draw patterns on the rear panel. We were also given a template with a surfing design that we could use to decorate the phone.
After about 5 minutes, the pattern fades back into a uniform colour, so the whole thing is kind of pointless. However, it’s the first phone that we’ve seen with this unusual skill, and it certainly makes it stand out in a crowded marketplace.
In normal use, the phone will change colour uniformly in sunlight, but it’s not something we found especially noticeable. That said, the colour always looks lovely, and it fetched plenty of compliments from friends during our testing.
This phone continues the trend of exaggerating the size of the rear cameras by placing large bezels around the lenses. On the whole, though, the camera array does look very nice, with matching glossy blue accents and a shiny black surrounding panel.
Display and speakers
- 6.56-inch 120Hz AMOLED display
- 2376 x 1080 resolution
- 1300 nits peak brightness, HDR10+ certified
- Single speaker
The display was a highlight for us, with a smooth 120Hz refresh rate and an astonishing peak brightness of 1300 nits. The colours are vibrant and the contrast is superb, HDR content was particularly impressive on the display.
If you prefer a more natural look, you can choose between the confusingly named standard, professional and bright colour profiles. Professional essentially equates to a flatter colour profile, while bright saturates the colours even further. Each profile has the ability to adjust the colour temperature, which was nice to see, and there’s also the option of blue-light-reducing eye care modes.
It’s a curved edge display, which seems to have become a little less popular in recent years, but it certainly looks nice. However, since we’ve gotten used to flat displays, we did find ourselves accidentally tapping things or edge swiping, depending on our grip.
There’s a single speaker on the device, found at the bottom right. It’s plenty loud enough and has lots of clarity, but there’s not much bass response to speak of. You lose out on any stereo imaging, which isn’t ideal if you’re watching Netflix in bed, and it’s also fairly easy to muffle with your thumb if you’re holding the phone in landscape orientation.
Hardware and software
- MediaTek Dimensity 1300
- 12GB LPDDR4X memory and 256GB UFS 3.1 storage
- 4830mAh battery with 66W FlashCharge
- Funtouch OS 12 (based on Android 12)
The Vivo V25 Pro runs Funtouch OS 12, which is built on Android 12. It’s a decent skin, for the most part, and comes with some handy features like game optimisation and battery management tools. We were disappointed with the amount of bloatware that came pre-installed, though, and the notifications suggesting that we try out various popular apps in Vivo’s app store were particularly irritating.
It’s not the end of the world, you can easily clean up the majority of the junk and install your preferred apps, but it certainly detracts from the experience. It’s a pretty swift reminder that you’re using a budget-oriented mid-range device rather than a flagship, elsewhere, the phone manages to hide the fact quite convincingly.
Day-to-day performance was superb, and for content consumption, social media and productivity tasks we weren’t left wanting for any more horsepower. Battery life impressed us, too, and we often found ourselves going to bed with 40 per cent or more left in the tank.
When it’s time to charge, you can do so quite rapidly with the included 66W fast charger. Just half an hour on the charger will get you up to around seventy per cent battery, which is about what you need for an average day. It’s not up there with speed demons like the Realme GT Neo 3T, but it’s plenty fast enough for most people.
The humble MediaTek Dimensity 1300 isn’t going to be topping any benchmark charts, but the Vivo V25 Pro can handle a bit of gaming with no issues. This is aided by the game assistant overlay which offers quick access to a variety of useful features, like overclocking, blocking notifications and locking your screen brightness.
- 32MP f/2.5 selfie camera with eye AF
- 64MP f/1.9 primary with OIS and PDAF
- 8MP f/2.2 super wide-angle
- 2MP f/2.4 macro
The photographic performance is a key focus for the Vivo V25 Pro, as is evidenced by the words “professional photography” printed across the top of the phone. Thankfully, there is some substance to these claims, and this device offers some of the most impressive photographic chops we’ve seen at this price.
When we say this, we’re ignoring the auxiliary cameras, which appear to be the same ones we’ve seen on various mid-rangers and gaming phones from Realme, OnePlus and Nubia. The ever-present 8MP ultra-wide and 2MP macro are simply a way to add to the camera count and don’t match the quality of the main snappers. We’re happy to report, though, that both the selfie camera and primary are far more impressive.
The primary shooter has reliable phase-detection autofocus, optical image stabilisation and an ample 64MP resolution. The resulting images are sharp, with natural colours and excellent dynamic range. Night mode works well, pulling detail from extremely dimly-lit areas, and portrait mode cut-outs are fairly reliable. Vivo doesn’t overdo it with the bokeh effect, either, and you can dial it back to get a pretty realistic look. Not that you’ll always need it, with close-up shots, in particular, the main camera can produce real depth of field thanks to its f/1.9 aperture.
The selfie camera is also superb, with a 32MP resolution and eye-detect autofocus that always ensures that you’re tack sharp. This is complemented by the phone’s extremely robust camera app, which offers a huge number of filters and effects for your snaps. You can do anything from adding a nice simple colour grade, to turning yourself into a comic book cover. It’s simultaneously a great bit of fun and a valuable tool for getting the most from your images.
When it comes to video, performance is strong as well. At up to 4K 30fps the primary camera has excellent stabilisation and finds focus extremely quickly. Unfortunately, switching to 4K 60fps means you lose the stabilisation and will likely need a gimbal or a tripod. The video mode handles low light well, thanks to Vivo’s Super Night Video mode, which applies noise reduction and brightening to your clips.
If you’re looking for an affordable smartphone with a cracking camera, the Vivo V25 Pro is well worth a look. Unfortunately, it’s not available in most regions just yet, but we’re hoping it gets a wider release.
Writing by Luke Baker. Editing by Verity Burns.