Vivo V25 Pro reviewon September 14, 2022 at 10:01 Tech Advisor

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At a glance

Expert’s Rating

Pros

Premium look and feelImpressive performanceAll-day battery lifeColour-changing glass is a fun touch

Cons

No water/dust resistance or reinforced glassNo NFC for contactless paymentsFunTouch OS 12 is full of bloatwareNo software commitment update

Our Verdict

The Vivo V25 Pro is an interesting mid-ranger; the hardware is impressive, with performance matching the likes of the OnePlus Nord 2T, a stunning 120Hz AMOLED display and true all-day battery life, but issues with FunTouch OS 12 bloatware, the lack of a software update commitment and missing NFC connectivity hit the V25 Pro hard in the ultra-competitive mid-range market.

Price When Reviewed

Rs 35,999 (around £373)

Vivo has a reputation for delivering solid smartphone experiences at an affordable price, and that trend looks to continue with this year’s Vivo V25 Pro. The V25 Pro boasts key improvements including an improved 120Hz refresh rate, a main 64Mp snapper and all-day battery life alongside returning fan favourites like the colour-shifting fluorite glass rear.

The issue is that the mid-range market is more competitive than ever, with strong contenders including the OnePlus Nord 2T, Nothing Phone (1) and the Google Pixel 6a all available at a similar price point to the V25 Pro, making it harder to tempt consumers than ever before.  

Design & build

Visually, the Vivo V25 Pro looks very similar to its predecessor, the Vivo V23 Pro, though that’s not a bad thing. Like other recent Vivo smartphones, the Vivo V25 Pro doesn’t look like a typical mid-range smartphone, instead sporting a premium aesthetic and the company’s colour-changing matt-finish rear.

For those unfamiliar with the concept, whenever the fluorite glass rear of the Vivo V25 Pro is exposed to UV light (either in the form of sunshine or a handy UV torch) the colour will change. For the Sailing Blue finish provided for review, it’ll go from baby blue to dark blue, though the standard V25’s Aquamarine Blue and Sunrise Gold are arguably more impressive.

Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry

While the effect is only temporary, reverting to its standard colour within minutes of being brought out from direct sunlight, it does give you a cool way of temporarily customising your phone using stencils. It’s most certainly a gimmick and something you’ll only use to show off to friends on a sunny day, but it’s refreshingly different, and Vivo should be applauded for that.

There is a standard Pure Black finish that won’t transform in sunlight, but where’s the fun in that?

Chameleon capabilities aside, the Vivo V25 Pro is a fairly attractive mid-range smartphone, sporting a curved glass front that seamlessly connects to the frame for a premium finish. But while the metallic finish of the frame looks premium, it’s actually made from polycarbonate, and it’s immediately obvious in hand.

Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry

There are similarities in the overall design of the V25 Pro and its predecessor, but this year’s model is significantly thicker and heavier. While we remarked that the V23 Pro’s lightweight nature made it much more comfortable to hold than the competition in our review, the same can’t be said of the V25 Pro, measuring in at 190g and 8.6mm, compared to 171g and 7.4mm of its predecessor.

But while there’s a noticeable heft to the smartphone in the hand, it’s still much lighter than metal-and-glass flagship smartphones like the 240g iPhone 14 Pro Max.

The real weakness of the Vivo V25 Pro is, well, its weakness. There’s no official water or dust resistance on offer, and while we suspect it could use the same Schott Xensation α display protection (a Corning Gorilla Glass rival) as its predecessor, there’s no confirmation from Vivo. It’s probably a good thing that Vivo provides a transparent case in the box, right?

Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry

Display & audio

6.56in AMOLED display is great for watching videosImproved 120Hz refresh rate is super smoothNotch is replaced by a smaller hole punch camera

The 6.56in AMOLED display is a particular treat, with headline features including an FHD+ resolution, support for HDR10+ content and, most notably, a boost from 90Hz to 120Hz.

In fact, you can force the Vivo V25 Pro to always render at a buttery smooth 120Hz, though leaving the phone to automatically decide when to ramp it up and down will likely provide better battery life.

Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry

Being an AMOLED panel, it should come as no surprise that colours are impressively vivid, with deep blacks and impressive contrast that makes watching videos on TikTok and movies on Netflix a particular treat, and the stereo audio playback provides a decent soundscape – though it’s not a replacement for a good pair of Bluetooth headphones.

It’s also plenty bright, measuring in at a maximum of 459nits during testing, and that’s certainly enough for use in bright sunlight.

The inclusion of an AMOLED panel means Vivo is able to include an under-display fingerprint scanner. It works as expected most of the time, though it is closer to the bottom of the display than I’d have liked, occasionally having to adjust my grip to reach the scanner.  

The large notch of the previous generation has been ditched in favour of a much more palatable centrally-placed hole punch camera, though the compromise is that there’s only a single front-facing camera to utilise – but more on that later.

Features & performance

Impressive mid-range performanceDecent gameplay experienceNo NFC for card payments

The Vivo V25 Pro is no slouch when it comes to performance.

It snubs Qualcomm’s popular mid-range Snapdragon 778G+ for the MediaTek Dimensity 1300, a decent mid-range chipset found in the ever-popular OnePlus Nord 2T, paired with either 8- or 12GB of RAM and 128- or 256GB of UFS 3.1 storage depending on the variant you opt for.

Though not quite as performant in most scenarios as the Tensor chip found in Google’s mid-range Google 6a, the Dimensity 1300 holds its own in daily use. It’s as snappy as you’d expect, further improved by the responsive 120Hz refresh rate that makes scrolling and tapping feel fluid in use, though some apps can hang for a second or two upon opening.

Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry

Still, that doesn’t have a noticeable effect on the overall experience, with smooth scrolling through apps and decent gameplay performance.

In fact, the V25 Pro delivers smooth frame rates in most games, even high-quality 3D titles including Call of Duty Mobile at moderate graphic settings, with additional game-focused software helping improve the experience by blocking incoming calls and notifications and temporarily freezing unnecessary background processes.

Some can even push past the 60fps limit to take advantage of the 120Hz refresh rate on offer, but don’t expect that in graphically challenging games like Genshin Impact.

With all that said, benchmark tests suggest the performance is on par with that of the Nord 2T, while marginally beating the LED-emblazoned Nothing Phone (1) in the graphics department. It’s even in line with Google’s flagship Tensor chip found in the Google 6a, which was a particular surprise.

Elsewhere, you’ll find connectivity options including 5G, Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2, though the lack of an NFC chip for mobile payments is a big weakness compared to the other popular mid-rangers.

Cameras & photography

Triple camera setup on the rearMain 64Mp snapper is the most capable of the bunchDual selfie camera has been replaced by a single sensor

The Vivo V25 Pro boasts a triple camera setup on the rear, comprised of a main 64Mp f/1.9 snapper alongside an 8Mp ultrawide lens and a 2Mp macro camera for extreme close-ups, though like most other mid-rangers, you’ll likely be using the main camera most of the time.

Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry

Images captured with the main 64Mp snapper tend to pack in detail, boast relatively accurate colour representation and offer great dynamic range if the auto HDR mode is enabled. The detail is mostly surface level, as zooming in can reveal artefacts and over-aggressive sharpening in minor details, but it’ll suffice for everyday snaps.

The included OIS stablisation means it’s easier to take a photo without blur, and that’s further enhanced by the phase-detect autofocus that combined offers a rapid point-and-shoot experience with accurate focus.

The f/1.9 aperture is tailored towards night photography (compared to the f/2.2 ultrawide, anyway) and has the potential to capture plenty of light without the need for a tripod thanks to optical image stabilisation, though results aren’t quite as detailed as the likes of the Pixel 6a.

There’s a noticeable drop in overall detail when switching to the 8Mp 120-degree ultrawide snapper, and images tend to have a slightly different colour temperature compared to the main lens, but snaps do still look rather natural. It’ll more than suffice for capturing a scene or sharing on social media, but it’ll likely disappoint the pixel-peepers among us.

Finally, there’s the 2Mp macro lens, but the less said about it the better.

As with most mid-rangers, the 2Mp macro lens is simply there to increase the camera count and make it seem like a more competitive option for consumers. In reality, you can get better quality macro shots using the ultrawide or main cameras. I’d rather Vivo ditch the pointless macro lens and invest more in the ultrawide and main cameras, but hey…  

Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry

Flip the V25 Pro over and you’ll find a 32Mp selfie camera. That’s a stark change to the dual 50Mp and 8Mp ultrawide sensors found on the previous generation, but with the ultrawide offering described as just “fine” in our V23 Pro review, it’s not as big a downgrade as it first seems.

Though not as high a megapixel count, the 32Mp snapper will be more than sufficient for selfies and portrait shots, with fairly accurate autofocus and a Portrait mode with surprisingly accurate edge detection. The f/2.5 aperture means you should avoid low-light scenarios though – either that or use the rear lens!

Battery & charging

All-day battery life with large 4,830mAh cell66W fast chargingNo wireless charging

With a 4,830mAh battery within the V25 Pro, it has no issue lasting all day on a single charge. Even with what I’d consider moderate use – snapping photos, scrolling through TikTok and the occasional call – the V25 Pro would get me to the end of the day without dipping into the red.

If you use the smartphone less and consider opting for the adaptive 120Hz refresh rate and other battery-friendly settings, you could potentially squeeze two days out of a single charge. That aligns with our battery benchmark results, which saw the Vivo V25 Pro last a pretty impressive 13 hours and 11 minutes in PCMark 10’s battery test, beating similar mid-rangers including the Nothing Phone (1) by an impressive six hours.

Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry

The good news is that 66W USB-C fast charging will provide 31% charge in 15 minutes, 61% in 30 minutes and 100% in a little over an hour, meaning it’s a smartphone you won’t feel the need to charge every night – just top it up every now and again to keep it going.

It’s not quite at the levels of the 150W SuperVooc charging from the flagship OnePlus 10T, but it’s great for a mid-ranger – and the fast charger comes in the box too.

There isn’t wireless charging on offer, but that’s an uncommon occurrence among mid-range smartphones.

Software & updates

Android 12 with FunTouch OS 12Software quirks can take some getting used toNo software update commitment

When it comes to software, the Vivo V25 Pro comes running Android 12 with Vivo’s (unfortunately named) FunTouch OS 12 skin applied on top.

It’s a different approach to Android 12 than most buyers will be used to, with stylised icons, extra functionality and a largely different feel to stock Android that’ll take a lot of getting used to, though it’s manageable once you get used to its quirks.

Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry

The bigger frustration is the bunch of useless pre-installed apps, including folders of ‘hot’ apps and games, though these are easily enough deleted. That’s balanced by handy features like a grid-style layout for the multitasking menu, though without any prompts within the OS to utilise the extra functionality, most optional features simply get looked over.

The big mystery right now surrounds software updates.

While mid-range competition like the Google Pixel 6a gets three years of OS updates, Vivo is yet to commit to any upgrade promise, which could potentially see the Vivo V25 Pro left behind while similarly priced smartphones move on to Android 13 and beyond. If you want to keep your phone up to date for the next few years, Vivo likely isn’t the choice for you.

If we get confirmation from Vivo that it will offer OS upgrades, we’ll be sure to update this section.  

Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry

Price & availability

The Vivo V25 Pro starts at Rs 35,999 (around $453/£373) for the 8GB/128GB combo, and Rs 39,999 (around $503/£415) will get you the 12GB/256GB combo, with both readily available to buy in India via retailers like Flipkart.

There’s no word yet on whether the Vivo V25 Pro will come to the UK and Europe, with a hit-and-miss release schedule in the past, but we’ll update this section if we hear differently. US fans are totally out of luck though; Vivo is one of many Chinese brands that doesn’t have representation in America, and that’s unlikely to change anytime soon.

For options readily available in the US and UK, take a look at our selection of the best mid-range smartphones.

Verdict

The Vivo V25 Pro is a solid mid-range smartphone that, on the surface, can easily compete with popular mid-rangers like the Nothing Phone (1) and OnePlus Nord 2T, boasting a 120Hz AMOLED display, a Dimensity 1300 chipset, a fairly decent 64Mp rear snapper and all-day battery life – but it’s a little rougher around the edges than the popular mid-rangers.

There isn’t any official resistance against dust or water, nor is there any mention of any toughened glass on the front or rear. There’s also the issue with Vivo’s FunTouch OS 12, which comes with plenty of bloatware (literally folders full), is awkward to use compared to stock Android and, without a software update commitment, it might not even get the update to Android 13, let alone 14, like some mid-range competition.

Oh, and the lack of NFC will be a dealbreaker for those in the West that use Google Wallet to pay for goods.

So yes, the Vivo V25 Pro is certainly a looker, and there’s a lot to like about the hardware, but it’s not quite the perfect mid-range smartphone.

Mid-range smartphones, Smartphones

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