Review: The Vivo V11 is decent but that’s about it
The Vivo V11 is the company’s latest take on a smartphone. Adopting a full-touchscreen interface and featuring their first in-display fingerprint scanner, it’s a nifty device optimised for media streaming and selfies too!
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves and take a closer look at what the V11 has to offer.
Measuring 157.9mm x 75mm x 7.9mm and weighing 156g, the Vivo V11 is a little lighter but larger than an iPhone X. For something that’s meant for media streaming, it’s a small but well-appreciated plus point. Furthermore, the V11 carries a dual-engine battery, meaning it requires less time to charge and runs for longer.
Next up, if selfies are your thing then you’re in luck. The V11’s powerful cameras are arguably one of its trump cards. It boasts a 16MP primary camera, a 5MP rear camera and a 25MP front camera with Vivo’s all-new AI Face Shaping Technology. What this does is it enhances and defines facial features, so you and your crew look tidy and sharp.
Processor-wise the V11 sports a powerful octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 660AIE acceleration chip, 6GB RAM and 128GB worth of storage space, making it fast and responsive for both intensive gaming and media streaming. In addition, the smartphone features Halo FullView Display as well, which supposedly amplifies the level of immersion when users do so.
In terms of software, the V11 runs on the FunTouch OS 4.5, based on Android 8.1.0.
On the outside it looks like your average phone… no, it IS just your average phone. And I’m not trying to be sarcastic. Pardon my bluntness but outside of its impressive 25MP front camera, the V11 is probably the dictionary definition of “meh”. In layman terms, apart from the camera, the V11 doesn’t really have anything else going for it.
At first glance, it’s technical specs may seem off the charts — don’t get me wrong, they’re not shabby. That being said, most of its competitors in general are equipped with the same, if not better stuff. So, it’s good, but not outstanding.
Personally, I prefer using 3DMark’s benchmarking tests since the reports are generally easier to understand. On top of that, it’s especially useful for comparing devices with similar specs. You’re welcome to disagree, but enough about that. Let’s get into it.
In the V11’s case, I decided to go with the recommended Sling Shot Extreme test, which is supposedly a better fit for more “high-end” smartphones as compared to the Ice Storm test.
So how did the V11 fare?
Well, to say that the results were surprising would be an understatement.
For all the power that the V11 is touted to have, it appears that although the V11 performs better than 42% of phones, it is absolutely outclassed by a lot of its mainstream competitors such as the Google Pixel 2 and the Samsung Galaxy S9.
To add on, it only scored an average of 1238 on Sling Shot Extreme, which is way below the statistical average of 1605. The V11 also peaked at 51 FPS for the graphics test, and although it’s not exactly shabby, it’s nothing special either.
If you’re interested, we’ve thrown in a screenshot of the benchmarking data as well. Have a look for yourself.
Music, videos and movies — it’s the triumvirate of media streaming tests. Or at least, that’s what I’d usually go for.
I decided to go with the usual stuff I check out on YouTube, Netflix and Twitch, since those are probably the most common platforms. For YouTube I brought out the usual playlist of anime soundtracks and pop songs, alongside one or two random corgi videos that showed up on the feed. Brooklyn Nine-Nine was the Netflix pick because that stuff is absolutely hilarious. Last but not least, I checked out popular Hearthstone streamer “DisguisedToast” on Twitch.
In the midst of all these, I began to notice something that I really appreciated about the V11. Usually, maxing out the volume brings with it a small but noticeable amount of distortion from the speakers. However, I noticed much less of that from the V11, meaning sound quality was equally good at 60% as it was at 100%. I mean, Maroon 5‘s “Sugar” may already be a year or two old, but it definitely sounds a whole lot more catchy when vocalist Adam Levine’s voice isn’t distorted.
Admittedly, the Twitch stream did lag a little, but that probably has to do with the primary flaw of the V11, which I’ll discuss later on in the review. Apart from that, I’d say the V11 has already passed my media test, since these holistic benchmarks naturally vary by person.
Mobile Legends: Bang Bang (MLBB)
Let’s be frank: Most, if not all of us gamers, have heard of this game. Mobile Legends: Bang Bang is Moonton’s quintessential smartphone MOBA game, and it only makes sense to take it for a spin on the V11. Amidst the connection problems (more on this later), I still found the character movement and rendering extremely fluid. I even indulged a little by maxing out the graphics, just to see how well the V11 handled it. Surprisingly, the phone didn’t explode.
Jokes aside, it was almost like playing a MOBA on the computer, although of course the load eventually took a toll on the battery. Nevertheless, watching Layla’s Ultimate ability at top quality was nothing short of entertaining. Heh.
Asphalt 9: Legends
In my opinion, the Asphalt series is a must-have on any smartphone. As far as racing games are concerned, it packs just enough flashiness and action to make the experience an exhilarating one. Although Asphalt 8 is probably my personal favourite, I decided to roll with the latest instalment, Asphalt 9. After an equally arduous download time as MLBB, I booted up the game for a few laps.
Generally, the gameplay was reasonably smooth and there really isn’t much that I could nitpick on. The cars and tracks were rendered well, the music was clear even with the volume maxed out, and the flashy explosions didn’t make the screen lag. That last one is a problem that most lower-end phones struggle with, so at least there’s the consolation of the V11 being among the “higher-tier” smartphones.
With all the good stuff said and done, let’s move on to the not-so-good stuff.
The V11 only has one flaw but it’s a big one. It’s not a mere interface problem, nor is it something we can dismiss as up to individual preference.
Pop quiz: what do most, if not all online games, require?
A stable Internet connection. Nobody likes to lag out in the middle of a match or spend hours downloading a new game or update. It’s not rocket science.
Unfortunately, the Internet stability of the V11 is nothing short of tragic. Sure, it can have an excellent graphics card, firmware, processor, so on and so forth, but those points are somewhat moot if the phone can’t even maintain a stable link.
Let me put things into better perspective: two whole hours. That’s how long it took to download and patch MLBB on the V11. It may be around 2GB in size but I was rather confused (read: annoyed) as to why it was taking so long.
I had a stable connection with the phone next to the router, so it shouldn’t have taken more than 10-15 minutes. Naturally, I went to check the download speed.
Lo and behold, for the first time in forever, I had the glorious privilege of seeing my download speed in kilobytes per second. And amusingly, although it was a three-digit value, two of them were behind the decimal point.
Needless to say, I wasn’t pleased. Even after I completed the download, it didn’t help that the game lagged out multiple times during a single match. My personal iPhone and laptop were working at their usual speed and capacity, so all things considered I doubt my Wi-Fi connection was at fault.
Don’t even get me started on Asphalt — it was a chore to say the least.
Rounding it up
Let’s just say that I have good news and bad news.
The good news is that I’m usually optimistic in reviews; the bad news is that I’m finally going to have to make an exception.
The gaping hole in the V11 is that it’s connection stability is simply too significant to overlook or dismiss. On that note, I wouldn’t recommend it for real-time online games like PUBG Mobile or Mobile Legends, even though they definitely look good. That said, predominantly offline games like Asphalt 9 can still run well on the V11. If you mainly intend to watch shows, take selfies, or do other non-network-intensive things, the V11 is a decent option.
However, that’s the punchline in itself: the smartphone is only decent.
Point being that if you’re not that particular about selfies and can live without a 25MP camera, there are a plethora of options on the market that can do a similar, if not better job, than the Vivo V11.
The Vivo V11 retails for S$599. A unit was provided for review.
- Photos taken are extremely sharp, especially selfies
- Smooth graphics and great all-around media output
- Fast charging with average battery life
- Internet connection is extremely unstable and/or weak
- Still outclassed by most of its competitors