Vivo V19 Neo Review

Old School meets New School

Vivo’s newest mid-range smartphone arriving this month is called the V19 Neo with a Qualcomm Snapdragon chip, an AMOLED display, and four rear cameras. Despite sporting quite a dated chip, can it still go head-to-head with the competition? Here’s our full review.

Vivo V19 Neo specs:

  • 6.44-inch Super AMOLED Ultra O Screen, 2400 x 1080px
  • 2.0GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 675
  • Adreno 612 GPU
  • 8GB RAM
  • 128GB storage with microSD card slot
  • Quad rear cameras with LED Flash:
  • 48MP main
  • 8MP ultrawide
  • 2MP depth
  • 2MP macro
  • — Ultra Stable Video, Super Night Mode
  • 32MP selfie camera
  • — Super Night Selfie
  • 4G LTE
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS
  • Under-display fingerprint reader, USB Type-C
  • Funtouch OS 10 (Android 10)
  • 4,500mAh battery capacity
  • 18-watt dual-engine fast charging
  • Colors: Crystal White, Admiral Blue

You can also find this in other markets as the Vivo V19 Neo in Vietnam, Vivo V19 in Indonesia, and Vivo V17 in India. Inside the box are the usuals, including the 18-watt charger, a USB Type-C cable, some documents, a card tray pin, and the phone itself.

An evolution of Vivo’s signature design

The V19 Neo provides the phone with white gradient finishes, and this time it’s no different. But the design is quite eye-catching among its roster. Here’s the back portion in a Crystal White colorway, with a quad-camera laid out in an L pattern and housed in a protruding section along with the flash. The Vivo logo is at the lower right corner.

The sides of the phone are built with solid material and are curved outwards to aid in better grip. The left side houses the triple-SIM card slot.

On the other side, there’s the power/lock button and the volume keys. The buttons feel nice to press and does not require that much effort to do so.

At the bottom is the microphone, the 3.5mm audio jack, the loudspeaker, and the USB Type-C port. The included case in the package actually helps you seal the USB Type-C port when not in use, which I think is a nice move.

Overall, the device feels light enough to be used for long periods of time, despite the large 4500mAh battery capacity it has. the buttons are easily accessible with both hand and is not that slippery despite the rather-glossy finish.

A great display, in and out

We mean that. The 6.44-inch AMOLED display is great. It’s got vibrant colors, good viewing angles, and near-perfect contrast. Its brightness is well-ranged, as it is bright enough to be legible outdoors and low enough to be read at the bedside. Dark Mode and Blue light filters are included as display tweaks.

The bottom-firing loudspeaker is loud enough to fill out a medium-sized room with audio. The audio quality is decent for a mid-range considering it’s on a mono channel.

Cameras are a hit or miss

Vivo touts the cameras to be great in the V19 Neo, but in reality is a hit or miss. The camera does have what it takes to perform well against competiton: A quad-camera setup led by a 48-megapixel snapper, an 8MP ultrawide, and two lenses for depth and macro. The front has a whopping 32-megapixel selfie lens.

Here’s the thing: Modes are suggested, but not automatically utilized. The default camera software provides many modes including Super Night Mode (or selfie) for low-light photography, a 48-megapixel full setting, Panorama, Live Photo, Portrait, Time Lapse, Pro, and Jovi Vision. There are also pose guides for you to check out. The software seems so counter-intuitive to the point that choosing a lens to use needs two taps, unlike one in other brands or if the built-in Camera AI suggests to switch. By default, you’re taking photos in the 48MP lens at 12 megapixels with a 2x zoom option.

Despite that, the photos produce well-balanced photos with vibrant, full colors, good contrast, and decent dynamic range. Edge detection on portrait photos are on point, and AI Beauty is good as well. The night modes, on the other hand, does not really do their job well as our shots are still dim after re-taking. Here are some sample shots, where most are taken on a gloomy rainy day:

The brand is great to include 4K video recording with videos, which is a nice touch. 60fps video capture on the V19 Neo? Even better. The brand touts a stabilization feature and it works well only in FHD scenes. The colors are on point but are not as rich as with the photos we took. Here’s a sample clip in 4K, where the shot is wobbly and shaky.

A learning curve for a “Fun” OS

Let’s talk about the FunTouch OS based on Android 10, where Vivo emulates the best of Eastern and American phone brands in user experience. You have an app drawer-less home screen here, with not one but two notification drawers.

Swiping from the top reveals the notifications and the Jovi Smart Scene, where digital well-being controls are hidden. Swiping from the bottom edge, however, reveals a control center-like drawer with panel toggles, sound and brightness levels, and a list of your most recently-opened apps. Vivo may need to reconsider this as it’s quite a learning curve when I used this in the past few days.

Despite not choosing any apps to be installed upon first boot, the device has a few including GCash, Kumu, Lazada, Opera, and WebNovel. Thankfully these apps can be uninstalled. You’re also left with 111GB of free space in the internal storage, but you can always expand that with a dedicated microSD card.

For a new phone, a mobile chip such as a Qualcomm Snapdragon 675 seems like an odd choice to go for. It’s quite dated, but it still performs well. Gaming generally is good with the phone, but running graphic-intensive games such as PUBG in heavier or extreme settings take a toll on the phone and suffer from warm upper-backs and considerable lags and stutters. Here are some benchmarks:

  • AnTuTu – 234,827
  • 3DMark SlingShot Extreme – 1,276 (OpenGL), 1,214 (Vulkan)
  • PCMark – 7,335 (Work 2.0)
  • Geekbench – 509 (Single-core), 1,639 (Multi-core), 382 (Compute OpenGL)

Battery life is the saving grace

The V19 Neo has a 4,500mah battery, and it did last almost a whole day with moderate use of the camera, calls, SMS, and app browsing via WiFi and 4G. There are also battery options here such as reserving power for essential apps in Low Power Mode.

Our PCMark Battery Test scored 16 hours and 14 minutes, while a looped video playback test gave us 19 hours and 46 minutes. Recharging with the given 18-watt Dual-engine charger gave us 100% took an hour and 40 minutes.

Connectivity-wise, the phone excels with WiFi, Bluetooth, and GPS, where we did not encounter such issues. The fingerprint scanner lies under the display, and it does a great job with scanning fingerprints. It’s not faster than, say, a Huawei P40’s fingerprint scanner, but it works just as fine.

Carl writes for WalasTech when he's not working full-time. Give him tips and/or leads at [email protected].