Vivo V9 Review: Vivo's Best Smartphone Offering To Date

Matthew Cuyugan

Vivo has been in the Philippine market for more than two years now, and has enjoyed continuous growth and popularity. Most, if not all, of their smartphone offerings are marketed as "perfect selfie" companion with the recent ones being priced under Php20,000, including their latest device invading the mid-range segment, the Vivo V9. We take it for a spin, and here is our findings.

Vivo V9 Review: Vivo's Best Smartphone Offering To Date
Vivo V9 Review: Vivo's Best Smartphone Offering To Date


Vivo V9 Unboxing and Hands-on

In the box, you get a 5V/2A or 10W adapter, a SIM ejector tool, a pair of earphones, a MicroUSB cable, a clear case, and the V9 unit with pre-installed screen guard.

Vivo V9 Retail Package
Retail Package

The design of the Vivo V9 doesn’t stray too far from that of the Vivo V7 series, except for two things - the button with fingerprint reader has been moved to the back to give way for the full-view display in the front, and the "notch" above the front panel that holds the array of sensors, the notification light and front camera.

Also Read: Vivo V7+ Review; Plus Means A Lot 

Vivo V9 Notch
The Notch

Speaking of the notch, the V9 is the first handset from Vivo that embodies such physical structure, and if I am not mistaken, it is also the first phone to arrive in the local market with such design.

Vivo V9 On-Screen Navigation Keys
On-Screen Navigation Keys

The 6.23-inch display has more than sufficient brightness, contrast and sharpness, thanks to its Full HD+ plus resolution and IPS panel. In addition, the screen also offers good color reproduction, nice viewing angles, and great legibility outdoors.

Vivo V9 Back

At the back you will find the dual camera set-up along with its LED flash at the upper left hand corner, the Vivo marking placed slightly above the center, and the fingerprint sensor on top of it.

Vivo V9 Top
Vivo V9 Bottom

The top area of the Vivo V9 is empty, while the bottom is very crowded with the 3.5mm audio jack, loudspeaker grill, microphone, and MicroUSB are all in placed.

Vivo V9 Left
Vivo V9 Right

The SIM/MicroSD tray is placed on the left, and can accommodate two Nano-SIM cards and a MicroSD card with up to 256GB capacity at the same time. Meaning, the tray isn't hybrid one, and the users won't need to choose between dual SIM capability or storage expansion. Meanwhile, the volume keys and power button are located on the right side.

Moving on, the Vivo V9 scores very well in the build quality section, just like the previous phones in the V-series. And, even though the back is made of plastic, it still feels sturdy, offers good grip and ergonomics, not to mention that we like the gold finish of the phone. Overall, the V9 looks fantastic, and the notch does not look bad at all.


Vivo V9 Software

The Vivo V9 runs on Funtouch OS 4.0 which is based on Android 8.1 Oreo. The resemblance of the user interface to iOS is noticeable in the icons and the Quick Toggle panel, which shows up by sliding up the screen from the bottom. There are some pre-installed apps from Google, and some third-party ones like EasyShare, WhatsApp and WPS Office. Vivo also has its own applications such as the Themes, and the iManager app for permissions, optimization, and etc.

Not all the applications are suitable for the notched displays. While some of the apps and games that are in an 18:9 aspect ratio, a small number of them are stretched to fit the screen, thus creating some distortion when displayed. In addition, some do not support it yet, one good example is YouTube, the videos won’t enlarge themselves to fill the entire screen, instead, it shows two black stripes on the sides of the notch. Thankfully, the native video player of the phone can resize the videos to fit the whole screen.

Vivo also boasts their face unlock feature, it uses the front camera to unlock the phone, and we can say it works pretty well. The fingerprint scanner is still there in case you want other or additional security protocol. By the way, it can also be used to unlock an application.

Other features include the picture in picture mode that allows the user to run some applications such as the Facebook Messenger in a floating window while the user is playing games. The gaming mode, on the other hand automatically reject calls while gaming. The ability to launch applications, even when the screen is off by simply drawing the corresponding letters. The Air Operation that makes use of the proximity sensor to wake the phone when the user is waving their hand over the display.


Vivo V9 Benchmark Scores
Vivo V9 Benchmark Scores

With the octa core Qualcomm Snapdragon 626 powering the Vivo V9 along with the 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, the phone's overall performance is pretty smooth despite Vivo's heavily-customized Android skin. Multitasking activities on the smartphone are handled very well and we didn’t notice any major lags. In benchmarks, the Vivo V9 puts a good impression too, below are the scores it got.

AnTuTu v7 - 89,808
3DMark Ice Storm Extreme - 8,360
3DMark Ice Storm - 14,105
3DMark OpenGL ES 3.1 - 473
3DMark Vulkan - 422
3DMark Sling Shot - 861
API OpenGL ES 3.0 - 66,240
API Vulkan - 194,727
Geekbench Single-Core - 918
Geekbench Multi-Core - 4,621
Geekbench Renderscript - 3,725

The phone doesn't warm a bit and manages to keep the temperature cool when performing demanding computing like recording 4K video in a long period of time and playing high-demanding games. We know that there are other handsets out there that have a more powerful chipset, but the SD626 is good enough for most of the tasks.


Vivo V9 Dual Rear Cameras
Dual Rear Cameras

The camera department is one of the major selling points of the Vivo V9, at the back there is a dual rear shooter composed of 16-megapixel plus 5-megapixel modules with the capability to record videos up to 4K resolution. Meanwhile, the one in the front is a 24MP f/2.0 snapper for taking selfies.

Main Camera Sample Photos:

Vivo V9 Main Camera Sample - Auto
Vivo V9 Main Camera Sample - Daylight
Vivo V9 Main Camera Sample - Close-up
Vivo V9 Main Camera Sample - Bokeh
Vivo V9 Main Camera Sample - Close-up, Low Light without Flash
Close-up, Low Light without Flash
Vivo V9 Main Camera Sample - Close-up, Low Light with Flash
Close-up, Low Light with Flash
Vivo V9 Main Camera Sample - Indoor
Vivo V9 Main Camera Sample - Sunset
Vivo V9 Main Camera Sample - Night

The dual rear camera set-up captures great images during daylight and when there is good lighting, they are rich in details with good contrast and white balance. The close-up, macros and bokeh shots turn out to be well presented too.

However, at night or in low light situations, we cannot say the same. When the subject is near the phone, the output is more than pleasing to the eyes. But, when the frame takes a wider perspective, the resulting images are inconsistent, it seems that post processing is hit or miss. And, when it missed, the pictures are somewhat blurry, grainy or with lots of noise. Hopefully, Vivo will resolve this on their next software update.

Meanwhile, video recording is handled well with resolution of up to 4K.

Front Camera Sample Photos:

Vivo V9 Front Camera Sample - Selfie
Vivo V9 Front Camera Sample - Portrait Mode
Portrait Mode
Vivo V9 Front Camera Sample - Selfie, Indoor
Selfie, Indoor
Vivo V9 Front Camera Sample - Group Selfie, Outdoor
Group Selfie, Outdoor
Vivo V9 Front Camera Sample - Group Selfie, Indoor
Group Selfie, Indoor
Vivo V9 Front Camera Sample - Group Selfie, Low Light
Group Selfie, Low Light
Vivo V9 Front Camera Sample - Group Selfie, AR Sticker
Group Selfie, AR Sticker

The front-facing camera is the star of the show, and one of the major selling points of the Vivo V9. It has a bokeh effect and allows the user to separate from the background and automatically blurs it. It can be adjusted thru the aperture depending on your preference on how you want the depth-of-field to be in the image. Frankly, it is actually cool to use, and manage to shoot some detailed selfies, even in low-light conditions. Other modes include the HDR, Face Beauty, and the AR Stickers.

See Also: Vivo Y71 Unveils in PH for Php7,990; Sports 6-inch 18:9 FullView Display and Qualcomm Processor


The usual wireless connectivity options are present, such as the dual-band Wi-Fi that works on either 2.4GHz or 5GHz frequency, the Bluetooth 4.2, GPS with GLONASS and BDS, and 4G/LTE for high speed mobile internet. There’s no NFC and IR blaster though, but that's not new, they have been missing in Vivo's phones for quite some time now. Meanwhile, wired options are Micro USB 2.0 with OTG function, sorry not USB Type-C here, and 3.5mm audio jack, yes, it still has one.


Vivo V9 PC Mark Battery Score
PC Mark Battery Score

The Vivo V9 has a non-removable 3,260 mAh battery, which easily goes more than a day on a single charge. In our HD video loop test, we manage to get an amazing 11 hours and 22 minutes, which is above-average. We also achieved 9 hours and 10 minutes in the PC Mark battery test with volume and brightness set to maximum. Fast charging hasn't mentioned in the specs, but we were able to achieve a full 100 percent charge in about two hours.


The Vivo V9 is a strong qualifier in the mid-range department that offers decent specifications and great features. The phone simplistic, yet elegant design, the nice image output of the 24-megapixel front camera, the very capable and power-efficient Snapdragon 626, and the long battery life are just some of the things we love with the V9. Indeed, it is Vivo's best smartphone offering to date in the Philippines.

However, it is not all praise with this handset, the dual-camera setup erratic low light performance is something Vivo needs to pay attention to.

Vivo V9 Specs:

  • Dual Nano SIM, dual standby, supports LTE connectivity
  • 6.3-inch IPS FHD+ (2280x1080) touchscreen display, 19:9 aspect ratio
  • Dimensions: 154.81mm x 75.03mm x 7.89mm
  • Weight: 150 grams
  • Android 8.1 Oreo with FunTouch OS 4.0
  • 2.2GHz 64-bit octa-core Cortex-A53 CPU, Adreno 506 GPU, Qualcomm Snapdragon 626 chipset
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 64GB internal storage, expandable up to 256GB via a micro SD card, uses dedicated slot
  • 16MP+5MP dual rear cameras with LED Flash, 4K video recording
  • 24MP f/2.0 secondary camera with LED flash, 1080p video recording
  • Multimedia player
  • 3.5mm audio jack
  • FM radio
  • WiFi 802.11
  • Bluetooth v4.2
  • MicroUSB 2.0 with OTG
  • Sensors: fingerprint, accelerometer, e-compass, gyroscope, proximity, light
  • Battery: 3,260mAh Li-Ion, non-removable
  • Color: Pearl Black, Gold
  • Price: Php17,990

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