TL;DR: The Vivo V17 Pro throws together excellent features and ships with just about everything you could possibly need in a midrange phone and more making it a genuinely all-around great smartphone for its price. It brings enough plus more to the table to stand up against its other rivals making it a great option for anyone buying a mid-range smartphone.
We’ve had the device for a while now, taken it through its paces in our hands-on review, giving me a positive first impression and now here’s our definitive full review.
Vivo is one smartphone brand that has a certain degree of audacity and uses it to experiment, design, build and market devices that completely defy convention. They recently entered the Kenyan market and the Vivo V17 Pro is here to offer another option in the highly competitive mid-range smartphone market in Kenya.
The Vivo V17 Pro looks well put together in terms of design, it doesn’t budge pout as much and offers good grip in the hand despite it being relatively heavy. The buttons are well positioned – easier to reach and offer top-notch tactile feedback.
The Vivo V17 Pro feels surprisingly rigid and durable for a phone with glass on both the front and back. Glass surfaces can feel slippery but I haven’t come close to dropping the phone – hope this doesn’t jinx it. To be cautious, there’s a case in the box.
One annoying thing is that the glass back is a haven for fingerprint smudges. Also, there’s a slight camera bump that brings issues of balancing when laid on a flat surface – although hardly noticeable.
A nice addition is a separate and textured Google Assistant button.
There’s a Type-C charging port, a single speaker grille and a Dual Sim slot. However, there’s no slot to expand its 128GB of onboard storage. The speaker provides a reasonable sound quality by offering fairly good bass and treble tones – ideal for music listening. Volume at max is relatively quiet and fine for personal listening.
For authentication, you get an in-display fingerprint scanner and face unlock. The former is much faster as the pop-up mechanism can be slow. The in-screen one is a much better option and you’ll love the animation when unlocking your phone.
Its location at the bottom is an inconvenience as you can easily cover the grille with your palm but the trade-off where you get an almost bezel-less screen is worth it for binging multimedia content.
There’s a 3.5mm headphone jack on the top next to the pop-up dual selfie camera and will come in handy to plenty of people who still use traditional wired earphones/headphones with a 3.5mm jack.
Generally, the Vivo V17 Pro brings attractive design especially when you get the Silk option, our unit was the subtle Satin Black. For protection, the back spots Gorilla Glass 6 that adds to the overall aesthetics of the phone.
The 6.44″ Super AMOLED screen on the Vivo V17 Pro has a resolution of 2400×1080 pixels with an aspect ratio of 20:9 giving the phone a screen-to-body of 91.65%. The top, bottom and sides are so small making the phone almost bezel-free.
The AMOLED screen was exciting to use. It got bright enough outdoors ad you could use it indoors even with its lowest brightness setting. If you binge a lot of multimedia content, you’ll absolutely fall in love with it.
For binge readers, this screen will have you read articles, ebooks or pdfs till you drop. That near bezel-less display is amazing.
Worth noting is that you can adjust the colour-temperature which have been implemented well under the settings to give users a bit of control.
Software and Performance
These days, midrange hardware delivers excellent results and the Vivo V17 Pro is a testament to that. It packs a Snapdragon 675 processor, 8GB RAM and 128GB of onboard storage. Running the show is Android 9 Pie(it’s unclear if the Vivo V17 Pro will be getting an Android 10 update) and Funtouch OS 9. The software and hardware worked in tandem to deliver a smooth user experience.
There’s enough power under the hood to run anything you throw at it. For heavy multitaskers, Vivo V17 Pro didn’t break a sweat when switching between apps – you can open up to 9 apps and return to them without being refreshed.
No performance drops with this one
Games are handled well from light games to graphics-heavy one slike PUBG or Asphalt 9 – maintaining solid frame rates – there’s an Ultra-Gaming Mode setting too that comes in handy. Looking forward to playing Alto’s adventures this weekend.
Anyway, if you plan to do a bit of gaming on your phone, the Vivo V17 Pro will present no issues at all.
Funtouch OS 9 is iOS-ish and new users will have a learning curve such as swiping up from the bottom to access the quick settings. Swiping down from the top only lets you access your notifications and media player.
Vivo V17 Pro is plagued with bloatware apps but unlike other UI’s, they are not as obstructive. Get a custom launcher, custom icon pack and disable some of the apps. I’m currently using Nova Launcher and GreenLine as you can see from the image above – see how the icons stand out in that black wallpaper. Check out other icon packs here in this forum discussion.
One thing I loved the most was the dark mode toggle and works pretty well with the SUPER AMOLED display. Apps that don’t have dark mode/theme get a dark interface such as Facebook and WhatsApp.
You should also expect egregious battery optimization with the Vivo V17 Pro and you’ll get notifications once in a while. Funtouch isn’t as unified as Samsung’s One UI but I can’t throw Vivo’s UI under the bus – its rough around the edges but if you get the time to tweak it – it becomes more manageable.
There’s gesture navigation which I totally loved as you get the experience that all-screen display – its not perfect but reacts and runs well. I’ve had some issues though with certain apps as their sidebar menus do not work well when you swipe in from the left.
The Vivo V17 Pro sports a 48MP main camera, a 13MP telephoto lens, 8MP wide-angle lens and 2MP depth sensor for portrait shots. The dual selfie setup includes 32MP primary camera and an 8MP super wide-angle lens. The cameras shoot exceptional photos especially in well-lit areas, the camera interface is easy enough to navigate. One thing I noted though when taking bokeh shots is that you need to click on the icon on the interface and the select bokeh instead of using the portrait button.
As I said in my hands-on review, the Vivo V17 Pro retains the same greatness as you get amazing details, pretty good dynamic range and almost original colours – they are slightly oversaturated which is a good thing for sharing on social media or friends and family.
When considering a midrange device, people usually have high expectations for the camera and the Vivo V17 Pro will satisfy your thirst for great photos.
Portraits and bokeh shots turn out well as there’s decent background separation. Telephoto works well too but expect noise in the shots.
The dual front-facing cameras take high-quality and slightly softened selfies with accurate facial features. The 8MP camera takes ultra-wide selfies.
There’s night mode for both selfies and the main cameras that enhances photos shot in low lit scenarios. The mode exposes a shot for a full 4 second – (you have to be still for this) and somehow manages to produce photos that remain sharp and accurate although you ‘ll lose a little contrast and background nuance.
For casual shooting, the ultra-wide-angle lens makes life easier if you’re trying to fit lots of stuff in the same photo but with a drawback – you get slightly warped edges.
There’s pixel binning where Vivo makes smart use of all those pixels by combining four of them into one to produce sharper and cleaner images.
Switching to video, the Vivo V17 Pro can shoot 4K video at 60fps that come with sharp detail. Full HD videos are good but cropped. On the ultra-wide, expect warmer tone videos but detailed as well.
Generally, I applaud the versatility offered by the Vivo V17 Pro’s cameras – here are some samples: As always tap on the photos to expand.
Ultra-wide angle shots
Low light shots
Night mode shots
The Vivo V17 Pro has a 4100mAh and comes with an 18W fast charger so you could use for the whole day and when you need to juice it up, it gets charged up quickly. It’s a bummer Vivo didn’t include the Vivo super flash charging on this one.
If you’re one of those people who take their sweet time preparing themselves in the morning for the day, the Vivo V17 will get fully charged faster than you. You can get it to 100% in an hour and a half.
On days I’m not busy on my phone, I couldn’t get out of the house fully charged and get back home with half of the charge on it.
On busier days, the Vivo V17 Pro battery could power the phone through the day unhindered.
There are other options such as the low power mode to extend battery life.
The Vivo V17 Pro brings slick design, a gorgeous SUPER AMOLED display I can’t get enough of, functional multi-camera system, sufficient RAM and storage that bring superb performance – it’s an absolute waterfall of checkmarks for a midrange device at this price and that synergy shouldn’t be underestimated.
The Vivo V17 Pro is a rapid feature-packed mid-range smartphone you’ll absolutely fall in love with.
The Vivo V17 Pro delivers refinement and efficiency instead of gimmicks and gaudiness. The phone will make for an excellent everyday companion especially this festive season and for the coming year.
The Vivo V17 Pro delivers an experience that leaves very little to be desired and it’s perfect.
You’re getting your money’s worth with the Vivo V17 Pro
Pricing and Availability
The Vivo V17 Pro begins selling from Ksh 40,999 in their official retail stores countrywide. Here are some of them.
Nairobi: Aghakhan walk, Tricom Agakhan walk, Harambee Avenue, Embassy house -Tricom Embassy, Taveta lane -Kibe Com, Wabera Street -Far East Electronics, Moi Avenue-Mobile Hub, Smartphone Store KE
Eldoret Town: Ananda Communication