Vivo V9 Initial Impressions: The Budget iPhone X Clone!

2018 is the year of notches. iPhone introduced it and Android manufacturers are following it, to give you an idea about android phones with notches, here are some latest phones with notches: Asus Zenfone 5, Haewui P20, LG G7 and the much awaited Oneplus 6 is rumored to come with a notch. And now Vivo has joined the notch trend, introducing Vivo V9. 

Vivo V9 was first launched in the Philippines on March 22 and was launched in India on March 23. Vivo V9’s price in India is Rs.22,990 and is available for pre-order in Flipkart and Amazon. Here are my initial impressions with the Vivo V9.(Full Specs and links to buy are given at the end of the article.)

Vivo V9 Initial Impressions: Design 

The Vivo V9 is a premium looking smartphone with a glossy finish which is a fingerprint magnet and it’s made up of plastic instead of aluminum. The notch becomes visible as soon as the phone powers up. The notch is smaller than that of iPhone X, giving the phone a screen-to-body ratio of 90%. We have got an earpiece, selfie camera, proximity sensor and an ambient light sensor in the notch.

Enough about the notch, moving on we have got a bottom firing speaker, a microphone, micro-USB port even though it is a bit outdated and should have come with a Type-c port, and luckily there is a headphone jack. It has a thickness of 7.9mm. We have 2 sim card slots and a dedicated micro-sd card slot.The camera is vertically stacked like the iPhone X, and for this reason(mainly for the notch), some are calling the V9 as the budget iPhone X clone.

Vivo V9 Initial Impressions: Display

Vivo V9 has a 6.3-inch FHD+(1080×2880) display with a 19:9 aspect ratio with a pixel density of  400ppi. The screen is protected by a pre-installed screen protector above the 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass 3. With apps like MX player, you will get a straight black border along the notch so that there is no distraction while viewing. But while using Youtube, you can just pinch to zoom to utilize the full screen including the “ears” of the notch.

The viewing angles are good, colors are pretty accurate and the screen is comfortable for viewing pictures and videos while using it indoors while it gets a bit difficult when used under direct sunlight.

Vivo V9 Initial Impressions: Camera

Vivo V9 comes with a dual camera setup, the first camera is a 16-megapixel sensor a f/2.0 aperture and the second camera is a 5-megapixel f/2.4 sensor which is actually a sensor to capture the depth effect in portrait mode. The flash is positioned below the camera module, unlike the redmi note 5 pro which has a similar vertical camera stack design with the flash between the 2 sensors. It also has an HDR mode which uses AI to enhance the photos.

In the front, we have a 24-megapixel sensor with f/2.0 aperture which is equipped with AI features which are said to be developed by analyzing over 10 million selfies. This AI based beautification mode smoothens the texture in our selfies, it also comes with a number of features like gender detection, live bokeh mode, shot refocus, Portrait mode and AR stickers(Because iPhone has it!).

Both cameras can shoot 4K videos at 30 FPS but the main problem is the lack of any kind of video stabilization, i.e EIS or OIS, hence the recorded footage will be shaky. Vivo V9 takes some pretty decent photos with sharp details and good color reproduction, check out the following images which were taken from V9:

Vivo V9 Initial Impressions: Performance and Benchmarks

The Vivo V9 is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 626 octa-core processor clocked at 2.2Ghz coupled with 4GB of ram and 64 GB of internal storage, of which about 49.4GB is user available and can be expanded up to 256GB using an SD card. We have Adreno 506 as the GPU.

I am pretty disappointed that Vivo has chosen Snapdragon 626 processor which is the successor of Snapdragon 625 and brings in no notable changes, it is just about 10 percent more powerful than SD625. Another interesting fact is that Redmi Note 5 which costs around Rs.10,000 comes with SD625 so by paying more than double its price, no notable processor change is available. But that said, Snapdragon 626 can handle normal day to day usage, and only becomes a problem when it comes to processor intensive functions.

Talking about benchmarks, Vivo V9 gets some pretty decent benchmark scores:
Vivo V9 AnTuTu Benchmark: 90458
Vivo V9 3D Mark: 474(SSE-OpenGL3.1), 423(SSE-Vulkan)
Vivo V9 AndroBunch: Read speed-301.17MB/s 
                                       Write speed-219.09MB/s

Vivo V9 Initial Impressions: Software and Battery

Vivo V9 runs Android Oreo 8.1 out of the box with Vivo’s custom Funtouch OS 4.0 on top which is heavily inspired by iOS(Another reason for the naming it iPhone Clone). Even the app icons are very similar to that if iOS. If that wasn’t enough, they even copied the gesture navigation from iPhone X.

It comes with the February 2018 security patch. Talking about other features of the software, V9 comes with a GameMode which adjusts the phone for gaming by reserving memory for the game and preventing background applications from eating up the RAM.

The phone packs a non-removable 3260mAh battery which comes with a 10W charger. We can get around 10 hours of usage with a single charge which is pretty decent. It takes about 3 hours to charge it from 0-100%.

Vivo V9 Initial Impressions: Other features

The phone comes with a fingerprint sensor on the rear. We can also use face unlock to unlock the phone which works pretty well but only in well-lit conditions, in low-light, it kind-of takes 2 or 3 attempts to unlock the phone.

Other regular features are FM radio, Bluetooth 4.2, micro USB 2.0, OTG compatibility, dual-band Wi-Fi, GPS, GLONASS, push email, active noise cancellation with mic, among others.


Vivo has managed to produce a decent mid-range smartphone, and people who like the iPhone X but could not afford will surely like this one. I prefer this phone to all selfie lovers because you can’t get a 24MP front camera with a good AI-beautifying feature for this price.

That said, in my opinion, the phone is a bit overpriced. If Vivo had released V9 for under 20K, then for sure this would have been a major hit. It is now competing in India with the Redmi Note 5 Pro, which is a killer smartphone available at just Rs.16,999. But Vivo V9 is for those Vivo lovers( as well as those Apple iPhone X lovers who cannot afford it!)

Where to buy: Pre-Order from Amazon
                        Pre-order from Flipkart

Here are the Vivo V9 specs:
  • 6.3-inch FHD+ (2280 x 1080) FullView IPS display, 400ppi
  • 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass 3
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 626 octa-core CPU
  • Adreno 506 GPU
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64GB internal storage
  • microSD up to 256GB (dedicated slot)
  • 16MP + 5MP (f/2.0) dual rear cameras with LED Flash
  • 24MP (f/2.0) front camera
  • Dual-SIM (nano)
  • 4G LTE
  • WiFi
  • Bluetooth 4.2
  • micro USB 2.0
  • Gyroscope
  • FM Radio
  • FunTouch OS 4.0 (Android 8.1 Oreo)
  • 3,250mAh battery
  • 154.81 x 75.03 x 7.89 mm (dimensions)
  • 150g (weight)
  • Pearl Black, Gold

Photo Courtesy:  Yuga Tech

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