The mid-range segment of the smartphone market is usually a highly competitive affair, especially when there are so many new models being introduced every couple of days from major smartphone brands such as Vivo and Xiaomi.
While this is certainly a good sign from a consumer’s point-of-view, but the overwhelming options often give us a difficult time in deciding which smartphone to pick us as our next daily driver. This is made worse by the fact that majority of the mid-rangers share great similarities not just in terms of design, but also their underlying specs and pricing.
Thankfully, we do have a few recent smartphones that simply our decision by offering features and hardware that differentiate themselves from any other devices in the market, making them more attractive in the eyes of consumers. One such device in my opinion, is the newly announced Vivo V23 5G smartphone.
This is a phone which is poised to build upon the success of last year’s V21 5G (Review) as the best selfie-centric smartphone in the segment – featuring a pair of front-facing cameras with dual-tone spotlight flash that makes it an ideal companion for selfie lovers as well as content creators.
However, having good selfie cameras alone obviously doesn’t mean it’s among the best models in the mid-range market. So are the rest of it’s hardware up to mark? Let’s find out in our Vivo V23 5G Review!
Over the years, Vivo’s V series smartphones have established themselves as some of the best-looking devices in the segment, and that’s something which holds true until today on the new Vivo V23 5G.
Sporting an overall thickness of just 7.55mm (excluding the rear camera’s protrusion), the V23 5G is no doubt an ultra-sleek device which makes it easy to hold and use with one hand even if you have small hands. This is further helped by the fact that the phone is also pretty light at just 181 grams.
Just like it’s predecessor, the Vivo V23 5G retains the same flat frame design which appears to be favored by most consumers of late. As noted in my previous reviews, flat frame design isn’t just about good looks but also the ergonomic benefits that come along with it.
More specifically, having flat frame (as opposed to rounded ones) actually makes the phone easier to hold and grip as it feels less ”slippery” along the edges. Also, such design doesn’t pose any issue of accidental touch which occasionally happens to me when using smartphones with curve edges.
The review unit I’m holding on to comes in a Sunshine Gold colorway which features some form of UV-reactive coating that allows the rear panel to transform from a golden hue to a turquoise one whenever it’s exposed to sunlight.
Of course, this is a temporary effect which last only around 8 to 10 minutes after which then rear panel will return to the original golden hue which gives the phone a really classy outlook that somehow reminds me of my Gold-colored iPhone 13 Pro (Review).
Just like any other smartphones with a matte finish, the Vivo V23 5G does an excellent job in warding off those unsightly smudges which would otherwise tarnish the overall design of the phone.
Flipping the phone over, we’ll be greeted by a rather spacious 6.44” display which features a small trapezium-shaped notch that houses a pair of impressive front-facing cameras. It’s a larger notch than most of what we see in the market, but it’s necessary to accommodate an additional camera.
Speaking of the display itself, it’s based upon a high-grade AMOLED panel which we’ll gladly take over a LCD display. Apart from it’s vibrancy, the front display comes with a sharp-looking FHD+ screen resolution along with a fast 90Hz refresh rate which makes scrolling and navigation felt smoother on the screen.
On top of that, it’s also worth noting that the display is HDR10+ certified, meaning it’ll be able to offer higher level of brightness and contrast, along with improved color output for a more immersive and realistic viewing experience on the phone.
Although Vivo didn’t mention anything regarding the peak brightness of the screen, but it doesn’t appear to have any issue in keeping up with strong ambient light whenever I was using the phone in an outdoor environment.
Also, to protect the screen against accidental drops or scratches, the front display is backed by an extra layer of Schott Xensation Up glass to further improves it durability. That’s definitely a nice feature to have for a mid-range model.
Under the hood, the Vivo V23 5G is powered by an octa-core MediaTek Dimensity 920 chipset that comes with an integrated 5G modem which allows the phone to leverage the next-generation’s network connectivity.
In terms of performance, the MediaTek Dimensity 920 is a capable mid-range chip which never disappoints me whenever I was multi-tasking or gaming on the phone. This isn’t really surprising considering that the slightly lower-end Dimensity 700 had already impressed me during my recent review of the Vivo Y76 5G.
More notably, I also hardly experience any heating issue whether I was gaming or snapping photos on a sunny afternoon. This is something important since the phone would experience a drop in performance as a result of throttling if the phone heats up.
Coming to the memory side of things, the Vivo V23 5G is also equipped with 8GB RAM as well as 128GB worth of storage which in my opinion, is more than sufficient for most average users.
For photography, Vivo has equipped the V23 5G with a versatile triple-camera system lead by a 50 megapixels (f/1.89 aperture) main camera alongside an 8 megapixels (f/2.2 aperture) ultra-wide camera and a 2 megapixels (f/2.4 aperture) macro unit.
Although the Vivo V23 5G isn’t a true flagship model like the Vivo X70 Pro 5G (Review), but it’s main camera is actually able to take some really good photos in both bright daylight and low-light environment.
Photos shot using the main unit exhibits excellent dynamic range and accurate white balance, resulting in photos which look flattering and yet natural. Likewise, details are also aplenty thanks to the adoption of a high-res imaging sensor.
To assist with low-light photography, the Vivo V23 5G has a reliable night mode feature that helps to improve overall exposure of the scene. This not only boost the brightness of the scene, but also enhance shadow details in darker regions of the photo.
Those who enjoy shooting landscape photography would be glad to hear that the Vivo V23 5G also has a highly usable ultra-wide camera which is also capable of snapping decent-looking photos across all lighting conditions.
The photos might not be of the same quality as those taken by the main camera, but they definitely look better than those taken by most other devices within the same price range.
Although the phone features a dedicated macro camera specifically designed for close-up photography, but I personally prefer to make use of the phone’s digital zoom feature for such photos.
That’s because photos taken with digital zoom at 2x / 3x zoom factor tend to output photos of better quality as compared to those captured using it’s macro camera. This however, isn’t something which I experienced only on the V23 5G, but rather all mid-range models with 2MP macro camera.
Also, macro camera might not be very practical at times since it requires you to get really close (around 3 to 4cm) from the subject in order to get a well-focused shot. Therefore, I’m glad that the V23 5G has a reliable zoom system to help with close-up photography.
Last but not the least, let’s not forget that the Vivo V23 5G also comes with a pair of impressive front-facing cameras that include a 50 megapixels main camera as well as an 8 megapixels ultra-wide unit.
Being a selfie-centric smartphone, it’s unsurprising that the Vivo V23 5G is able click some of the best-looking selfies that look even better than those taken by more expensive flagship phones. Colors are on point with aplenty details even in low-light environment thanks to a new feature known as the AI Extreme Night Portrait.
While it’s true that we won’t be using the ultra-wide unit often, but it’s nonetheless a nice addition that will come in handy whenever we want to take a group selfie. This is something which would not be possible with the main camera alone since it would not be able to fill in as much scene into the frame.
Battery & Charging
To keep it’s lights on, the Vivo V23 5G is backed by a respectable 4,200mAh battery which is slightly larger than what we had on last year’s model. Under normal usage, the battery could easily last more than a day on a single charge, and up to 1.5 days with the help of power saving features.
Apart from an improved battery life, the Vivo V23 5G also had it’s charging speed increased from 33W to 44W. During my testing, the phone is able to recharge from a completely flat battery to it’s brim in slightly more than an hour, while a mere 35 minutes charge is good enough to refuel it’s battery capacity from 0 to 70%.
From it’s unique color-shifting rear design to it’s class-leading selfie cameras, the Vivo V23 5G is a phone with plenty to love about and is definitely one that stands out from the crowd.
Despite it’s affordability, the phone didn’t really make much sacrifices to keep it’s price low as it continues to offer a stunning display, great mobile performance, as well as an impressive rear camera system.
In a nutshell, the Vivo V23 5G is a must-have device for those who love taking selfies or relies heavily on their smartphone for content creations. Even if you doesn’t fits the above criteria, you still wouldn’t go wrong with the V23 5G.
Pricing & Availability
In Singapore, the Vivo V23 5G is available in both Sunshine Gold and Stardust Black color options. Those who’re interested can purchase the Vivo V23 5G (8GB+128GB) at just S$699 via Vivo’s official store at Shopee.