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Vivo V3 Review: Smaller Size, Max Performance

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We’ve had the review for the Vivo V3 Max for a couple of months now, so it’s finally time to take a closer look at its smaller sibling, The Vivo V3. The 5-Inch smartphone from the Chinese brand may be smaller than the V3 Max and has a slight bump down in specs, but that certainly doesn’t mean that it isn’t a solid performer. Before we get into the full review of the Vivo V3, let’s take a look at its specs.

Vivo V3 Specifications

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 616 processor
  • 3GB of RAM
  • 5-inch HD display
  • 32GB of storage, expandable
  • 13-megapixel rear camera
  • 8-megapixel front
  • Dual SIM
  • 3G, LTE
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS
  • HiFi Audio, Fast Charging
  • Android 5.1 Lollipop
  • Funtouch UI
  • 2550mAh battery

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That Rose Gold, Metal Build Though

Most Chinese smartphone manufacturers often play it safe with the front of their devices, and the Vivo V3 certainly doesn’t stray away from the cookie cutter mold. The front of the phone is vanilla white and is dominated by the 5-inch HD display that gives the device a screen-to-body ratio of 67.6% and 294 pixels per inch — It’s nothing special, but there’s nothing wrong with it either. The screen is flanked by its capacitive keys on the bottom; plus its front camera, speaker grille, and an LED notification light that blinks through the translucent surface of the Vivo V3.

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The layout of the Vivo V3 stays true to that of the Vivo V3 Max. You’ve got the volume rocker and power button on the right side, and the SIM tray slot on the left. The Micro USB slot is located on the bottom, which is flanked by the microphone and speaker grille — we’ll get to its HiFi audio later on.

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Flip over the phone and that’s where a bit of personality shines through; especially in the Rose Gold color variant our review unit came in. The Vivo V3 is built as solid as its bigger sibling. It doesn’t seem to be milled out of a single block of aluminum like some devices sporting a metal build, but there’s no flex or play despite the visible seams on the device.

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On the back, you’ve got the 13-megapixel rear camera with its LED flash below it and the indent for its fingerprint scanner. It’s fast and accurate, plus we appreciate that it doesn’t require a push of the home button to initiate the unlocking sequence. During our time with the device, it never failed to recognize our fingerprints and smoothly transitioned to the Vivo V3’s home screen.

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FunTouch UI Doesn’t Get In the Way

Most phones from Chinese manufacturers also give their own spin on Google’s Android interface, like Xiaomi’s MIUI, and often times — despite having a decent specs on paper — this is what causes phones to bog down and have performance issues. Thankfully, this isn’t the case with Vivo’s FunTouch UI, which draws heavily from Apple iOS. Much like iOS, FunTouch UI kicks the app drawer to the curb and you have to swipe up from the bottom of the screen to access the quick settings of the device or close apps you may not want running in the background.

Under the hood of the Vivo V3 is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 616 octa-core processor paired with 3GB or RAM; a processing package we now commonly see in mid-ranged devices out in the market. As mentioned above, the custom UI over Android 5.1 Lollipop doesn’t get in the way of the device’s performance. Navigation was smooth and you could multitask with the phone to a certain degree without fear of it faltering as well. AnTuTu Benchmark gave the Vivo V3 a score of 39734, which is about the expected range for devices with the same processing package.

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We decided to change this up a bit to see what the Vivo V3 can do in the gaming department so we chose to play some VainGlory instead of our usual measuring stick, Asphalt 8. It ran the mobile MOBA smoothly with very little drops in frame rate, but we’re guessing you’re going to want to stay away from heavy games with this one. You can always play with Pokemon Go with AR enabled with the Vivo V3 though GPS within the game can be a little spotty. We often found our trainer avatar running back and forth from our current location to up more than 3 blocks away. It’s dependable when using Waze though so you don’t have to worry about the Vivo V3 getting you confused an ultimately lost.

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HiFi Audio Delivers

The Vivo V3 shares the same AKM’s 32-bit/192kHz AK4375 DAC that the Vivo V3 Max and performs just as admirably. There are some pretty decent headphone that come with the Vivo V3, but you’re going to want to spend a little bit of cash to really take advantage of the V3’s audio capabilities.

Great Photos from a Budget Device

The Vivo V3 has a 13-megapixel as its main shooter and 8-megapixels for its selfie camera. Both perform really well and produce really great images with sharp details and colors don’t unusually pop but are accurate. Focus was fast and snappy. We hardly had to do take safeties to make sure our subjects weren’t blurry. We were actually pleasantly surprised at the image quality that the Vivo V3 brought to the table, but do expect a fair amount of noise in low light conditions.

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Adequate Battery Life Given its Capacity and Processing Package

The V3 has a 2550mAh battery and while phones with a sub-3k battery capacities often irk us, and we’ve observed even you guys too, but it can actually get you through work hours with moderate use, but we do recommend a top up before leaving the office because of the horrendous traffic in Metro Manila. Running PC Mark Benchmarks the phone was able to achieve a time of 7 hours and 44 minutes, which sounds about right given its battery capacity and the way the Snapdragon 616 sips on its life giving juice.

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Verdict: Thumbs Up for the Price Slash

When the Vivo V3 was first introduced into the market it was priced at Php 11,990 and we’ve seen smartphones running the same specs at about the same price range as well. Vivo has recently slashed the price of the V3 by Php 2,000 and it now costs P 9,900. With the price cut, the Vivo V3 earns a definite thumbs up from our end with price to performance taken into consideration. If you’re looking a smartphone that’s less than Php 10,000, we definitely recommend putting the Vivo V3 on your shortlist.

Jamie Inocian

A self-confessed geek. Jamie started out helping out on the Unbox Podcast and became the Digital Sales Manager when he joined the team full time. He has since then transitioned into one of our Senior Editors and Head Video Producer.

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15 Comments

    1. We’ll give it a go and update the article as soon as we can. We just have to drain the phone for now. Hehe. Thanks for the suggestion.

    2. This is the only thing that’s holding me back from buying this unit. Some reviews say it supports quick charge, and some don’t. Veey confusing.

  1. The 7-12k is crowded with good phones like the Flash Plus 2 3GB (8499), Zenfone 3 Max (9k), Oppo F1s (@12900), this one Vivo V3 (9,990).

  2. Planning to buy a phone na pasok sa P10k budget. So far, Vivo V3 and Asus Zenfone 3 Max ang pinagpipilian ko. Which is better to buy? Any other phone suggestions?

    1. Where to buy tho? It’s the best bang for the buck phone but I can’t see them anywhere. I don’t want to buy online either.

  3. I was choosing between the Zenfone 3 Max 5.5, Oppo f1s and Vivo V5, J& P7 prime but they were all bulky, so I ended buying the Vivo V3 instead. I did not regret getting it. Its just right for my hands AND IT IS AN EXCELLENT SMARTPHONE. IT IS FAST, and it has hi-fi chips for the music player…the best for me

  4. Selling my vivo v3. I bought it last saturday and I assure it is 100% smooth and complete box. Ibebenta ko lang kasi nagkastock na ung phone na gusto ko which is sabi ng salesman december pa daw out of stock supplier daw ang wala so expected ko pull out na ung unit. unfortunately pagpunta ka sa sm east ortigas meron silang stock. Heartbreakinggg! Grabeee

    Kindly text me for more details and pictures. 100% legit with warranty and freebies I received to them (vivo store @sm north) 09555744161

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