I heard about the Vivo V5 from a few friends and acquaintances, mostly bloggers who were given a unit, late last year as being (the first?) a smartphone with a 20 MP (megapixels) secondary camera, front-facing camera or what people now call the “selfie camera,” something that I’ve heard no other smartphone manufacturer ever made (placing the higher-spec’ed camera in front of the smartphone, that is). Funny or not, remember Makati City (yes, the city, not the country), was hailed as the “Selfie Capital of the World” two years or so ago, beating second-placer New York City, even if Makati City had only 500,000 residents while New York City had 8-million. Prior to the launch of Vivo V5, Oppo came out with the F1s that had a secondary camera specs of 16 MP. Who would have thought of placing the higher camera pixel specs as the front camera of a smartphone? Selfie is it in the Philippines.

Yesterday was the media launch of the next iteration of Vivo’s selfie camera – the Vivo V5 Plus – which was held at the SM Mall of Asia (MOA) Atrium with hundreds of mall onlookers. Tony Labrusca and James Ryan Cesena, who were contestants of the Philippine romantic reality singing competition on ABS-CBN called Pinoy Boyband Superstar, sang individually and as a duo at the beginning of the launch-event. Later on, KZ Tandingan, who rose to fame after winning the first season of The X Factor Philippines in 2012, performed OPM pop and ballad renditions.

Hazel Bascon, VP of Vivo Philippines (Vivo Mobile Tech., Inc.), opened the event with a heart-warming message as well as her excitement for their new flagship product. Formerly the Sales Director in Vivo, Hazel has 18 years of experience in the telecom and software world, from Smart Communications to Nokia and Microsoft before landing in Vivo.

Josemaria Palabyab, a young ambassador of the Vivo Club, on the other hand, gave a presentation elaborating the aesthetic, technical and user benefits of the Vivo V5 Plus. Josemaria is a radio show co-host at the Voice of the Philippines on DZRJ 810 AM who has been part of the university brand ambassadors of Vivo Club.

The host of the event was Nico Ramos.

Left photo – Josemaria Palabyab is the leftmost / Right photo – Hazel Bascon is in the middle holding smartphones.

So, what is the Vivo V5 Plus? Simply, it is an iteration, as I said, from the Vivo V5. The Plus means a few changes in the following:

  • The secondary, front-facing or selfie camera, though still 20 MP, now has two cameras, not just one;
  • Display resolution is higher – 400+ ppi compared to V5’s 200+ ppi (I don’t know the exact ppi resolution);
  • An upgrade to a whopping 64 GB for the memory;
  • An upgrade in the primary or rear camera, from 13 MP to 16 MP;
  • An upgrade in sound quality (not really sure of the comparative specs);
  • A faster charging battery;

Vivo V5 Plus is undoubtedly touted as the world’s first-ever dual front-facing cameras smartphone. A few of their competitors placed dual cameras at the rear. Well, Vivo’s push for being the best in the selfie camera smartphone niche has indeed placed themselves there. The 20 MP front-facing camera was already a winner. Now, two cameras.

I know HTC, LG and Huawei came out with dual cameras, and the Samsung Galaxy S7 and iPhone 7 Plus also has its version; but they are all at the rear-camera market. Vivo reversed the trend and decided to place two cameras, front-facing. Hooyah!

The Vivo V5 Plus selfie technology features a ‘bokeh’ effect – a background-blurring photography filter. Imagine your selfie shot having you and your friends’ faces crystal clear yet the background is a little blurry. This is complemented by Vivo’s enhanced face beauty algorithm that allows users to take radiant selfies with no need for editing or correction. The other good news I heard is what Vivo calls “selfie soft light,” a feature that makes selfie-taking possible even in poor lighting conditions. The low-light clarity has always been the greatest enemy of the front-facing camera of a smartphone for years, and now Vivo solved that dilemma.

As for the rear camera of the Vivo V5 Plus, it features a nice 1/2.8-inch 16-megapixel sensor for ultra-clear and high-quality photos. Not bad because most smartphones power-up their rear cameras but become frugal with the spec of the front-facing camera (like you have a 5 MP or 8MP front-facing camera – sheesh!)

Like it’s younger sibling, the Vivo V5 Plus runs on its own Funtouch 3.0 operating system, which is based on the Android Marshmallow O/S, and operates under a Qualcomm Snapdragon Octacore chipset; also a dual-SIM phone. As I wrote above, the Vivo V5 Plus uses the same Hi-Fi system of Vivo’s recent flagship models, which has been perfected over two years – the AK4376. The fingerprint recognition technology is still there, though updated, and it still sports a 5.5-inch large display made of 5th generation Corning Gorilla glass with enhanced resistance. And finally, the Vivo V5 Plus bears a dome-style, 1.8 mm wide u-shaped antenna for better signal reception.

International Data Corporation (IDC), the global provider of market intelligence, recently came out with its Smartphone Vendor Market Share, 2016 Q3 report and placed Vivo in the top five in the worldwide smartphone market, a status they share with Samsung, Apple, Huawei and Oppo, even if Vivo is the youngest smartphone manufacturer on the list (Samsung was founded in the 1930s, the ‘70s for Apple, late ‘80s for Huawei and 2004 for Oppo).

To give a face to Vivo’s flagship smartphone, Vivo got basketball superstar Stephen Curry as its official endorser and brand ambassador for all Vivo phones in the Philippines, including the Vivo V5 Plus. “The NBA star earlier said he believes in the brand’s values—energy, professionalism and pleasure—all embodied in its newest flagship model,” read the press release of Vivo.

And hey! I love their giveaway! It’s a plastic mold of their mascot, Vivo, but it’s also a Bluetooth speaker. I’ve been given so many Bluetooth speakers, earphones and headsets in the past, and my way of checking out the distance before sound (and Bluetooth signal) dissipates is syncing it to my laptop, leaving my laptop in my living room, playing a song on it, then bringing the Bluetooth device to my bathroom or kitchen. Most lose their signals. Vivo didn’t. Cool! 😊


Sources: Press release from Insight 360 Consultancy Services | Wikipedia 1 2 | T3 | CNet | GSMArena.com 1 2

Photos: Title photo by @raffypekson from source | KZ Tandigan, James Ryan Cesena, Tony Labrusca photos from Twitter.com