The Vivo V23 was released with the V23 Pro, which we recently reviewed. It’s a little less specified in some departments. We’ve got a MediaTek Dimensity 920 chipset instead of the Dimensity 1200, a 64-megapixel main rear camera instead of 108-megapixels, and a slightly smaller screen and battery.
These rebates translate to a benefit of about $100 for buyers. The color-changing glass back, dual 50-megapixel selfie cameras, up to 12GB of RAM, and 5G cellular connectivity are all still present, despite the price cut, So, is it better to buy the Vivo V23 or the V23 Pro? Read on to find out. We advise you to read our Vivo V23 Pro review first, as we will refer to it several times in this review.
The Vivo V23 comes in an identical dark blue cardboard box with a striking shiny element on top. The internal packaging is also identical, with the phone sitting on top of its own plastic base. Digging deeper, we find a 44W charging adapter and cable, a pair of 3.5mm wired headphones, a SIM ejector tool, and a USB Type-C to 3.5mm audio dongle. Yes, this phone does not have a separate audio jack, which is why the dongle is included.
As for the design of the phone, it is another excellently designed phone by Vivo. It retains the raindrop-shaped rear camera array from the V23 Pro and the glossy back panel that has a gritty yet extremely smooth feel. The embossed Vivo logo does not change position either. The screen notch is slightly less wide but doesn’t look much different. The placement of the down-firing speaker, USB Type-C port, microphone, and dual nano-SIM tray on the bottom edge hasn’t changed, as has that of the physical power and volume buttons, as well as the secondary microphone on the top.
However, despite their similarities, Vivo has managed to come up with two distinct designs. For one thing, the V23 Pro has curved front and back glass and a fairly slim center frame, creating a slim aesthetic. The Vivo V23, on the other hand, goes for an iPhone-like look with a flat back and front and metal edges. So flat that the phone can stand on its edge. The overall thickness and weight of the device have hardly changed, but this design allows for better handling of the device as the V23 Pro is too slippery.
A wider bezel means the Vivo V23 has slightly larger physical buttons, which have a more comfortable feel. However, I prefer the V23 Pro’s haptic feedback.
The Vivo V23 series gained a lot of attention from the media and the public alike thanks to its color-changing back. The company is using a Fluorite AG glass on the back of both models’ Sunshine Gold color variants with a sunlight-reactive paint job. If you expose the device to sunlight for a minute or so, it magically changes its color from gold to blue, with hints of yellow or green tones in between this transition.
It’s a fun party trick, but it’s a little gimmicky for me. For one thing, you’re likely to put a case on the phone, and unless you opt for a clear one, the magic is gone. Also, as we discussed in our V23 Pro review, using the phone outdoors could result in a messy rear due to your hand blocking sunlight from some parts of the rear panel, causing partial color shifts. This approach can be used to create some graphics or logos,
However, since Vivo charges for both the Sunshine Gold color variant of the V23 and the Stardust Black variant, which doesn’t change color in sunlight, opting for the former won’t hurt your wallet. There’s no grip issue here, but like the V23 Pro, this model also doesn’t sit flat on your back due to the bumpy rear camera island. A case makes it more stable. Vivo provides the phone with a plastic film on the screen, which has Schott’s Xensation Up glass protection, which is also found on Vivo’s X60 Pro and X70 Pro smartphones.
The Vivo V23 has a 6.44-inch flat AMOLED screen with an FHD + resolution (1080 x 2400 pixels) and a 90Hz refresh rate. It is slightly smaller than the 6.56-inch curved panel found in the V23 Pro. The dual-camera notch in the center is also a bit less wide, and you will get used to it very quickly. You can even customize which apps can be used on both sides of the screen to your liking.
Vivo could do better with a slimmer bezel around the screen, but that’s no big deal. On that note, the LED notification is also missing, which is disappointing because there is enough space to add one. Fortunately, here we have a proximity sensor and a light sensor. The earpiece grille on the top bezel is more prominent on this phone.
The under-display optical fingerprint scanner is as fast as the V23 Pro. But I don’t consider this technology an upgrade from a physically capacitive fingerprint scanner. However, this does not mean that it is not good. In some situations, it is ineffective.
In terms of brightness, the Vivo V23’s display is a bit worse than the Pro’s. However, it can still be used in any lighting situation. It doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker for anyone. In terms of the same may be said. The color of the screen on this phone is a little worse than on its expensive siblings. But, again, no big deal.
Vivo offers the same three options for color mode here: Standard, Professional, and Bright. You will also find a color temperature control slider. Until you switch from a flagship smartphone, you won’t be disappointed with the color accuracy of this phone. The device reproduces color quite accurately in photos and videos.
Like the Pro, the Vivo V23 and Widevine L1 come with DRM certification. That means you can stream the best quality content possible from streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Since the screen is capped at 1080p resolution, this is what is meant by the highest resolution here. We also support HDR10, HDR10 +, and HLG standards, but not Dolby Vision.
Thanks to the 90Hz screen refresh rate, the menu is smooth to navigate. You will see the transition between the two images on the screen is smooth enough. However, if you are willing to give up some of these polishes for better battery life (which we will discuss in more detail later), you can choose to keep the refresh rate constant at 60Hz.
Vivo also offers a smart switch feature. which automatically switches between 60Hz and 90Hz refresh rates depending on the task at hand. However, it does not always appear to function as planned. This is a place where there is a lot of scope for improvement. We hope Vivo will see it. In the meantime, we recommend that you use the device in 90Hz mode for the best experience.
This phone seems to lack TÜV Rhineland display certification for low blue light emissions, which makes the Pro model proud. But we also have software-enabled eye protection features that show warm colors on the screen to reduce fatigue. Visually, you can manually adjust the color temperature and set the feature to turn on automatically at a custom time.
The processor is one of the major downgrades compared to the Pro model but we don’t disappoint with the Vivo V23’s performance. Its dimensions are based on the same TSMC 6nm process node as the dimensions found in the 920 Pro. But now we only have two Cortex-A78 CPU cores clocked at 2.5GHz. All six Cortex-A55s run at a maximum 2.0 GHz frequency. In addition, the Mali-G68 GPU is a downgrade from the Mali-G77. Vivo continues to offer the device in an 8GB + 128GB or 12GB + 256GB memory configuration with its extended RAM 2.0 technology. This allows you to use 4GB of ROM as RAM.
We have 12GB + 256GB variants and they provided satisfactory performance during the review. It handles multitasking efficiently without any noticeable lag, crashes, or background app kills. However, if you want a consistent experience, be sure to turn on the 90Hz screen refresh rate.
Extended gaming sessions caused the expected heat, but the spacious metal frame helped dissipate it. I have noticed occasional stuttering with graphics-intensive games like Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI), the Indian version of PUBG). However, most of the time, it runs smoothly at high frame rates. This is Vivo’s dedicated game mode to give you a better gaming experience.
Like the Pro model, this device also misses expandable storage. Since the system files take up a few gigabytes, if you go for the base model, you will get more than 100GB of storage space. We’ve got OTG support here to connect external storage when needed, but you won’t get the best data transfer speeds with USB 2.0.
Overall, the Pro model offers a slight lead in the performance battle with fast loading or shifting. in heavy applications. But the standard Vivo V23 also offers daily functionality in this segment.
Vivo V23 runs Android 12, which has the company’s Funtouch OS on top. It is available in almost the same highly customizable (and personalized) UI Pro model as the iPhone. The overall user experience doesn’t change because we have the same menu, settings options, app drawer, widgets, shortcuts, icons, and customization options. Some standard Android features, such as a green notification point for camera and microphone access, a privacy panel, and parental controls, are also included.
But Vivo has included its Jovi Home personalized service platform here. It offers advice, recommendations, and shortcuts based on your usage and interests. This is on the left side of your home screen, including Google Discover. In addition, the Vivo V23 has replaced some Google apps with its own options. The V23 Pro has messaging, phone, and contact apps from Google. However, it may vary according to the market. And it’s not a big deal.
The rest of the software is compatible with two models. As far as Vivo software support is concerned, we don’t expect two major Android OS updates for this phone, such as Android 13 and Android 14. However, the company has not yet received any official information in this regard.
Interestingly, Vivo also has a new Android skin called Origin OS Development. It was announced in 2020, but so far it is only available in China, the company’s hometown. It is yet unknown what he would do after resigning from his position.
At a glance, Vivo has had to make some cuts in the V23 series to make it more attractive. There weren’t many areas where he could do it, and unfortunately, he had to sacrifice stereo speakers. In both models, we have a single down-firing speaker. I have no complaints about the volume of this speaker. But the lack of stereo speakers is a shock.
When it comes to audio and sound-related software features, Vivo is disappointing again. This phone has no sound equalizer. Fortunately, we have sound profiles that allow you to optimize the audio quality based on your hearing aids. Those who are deaf will find this feature particularly useful.
Interestingly, despite being a lower-end model, the Vivo V23 features NFC, at least in some areas. This is an amazing decision from Vivo and we do not understand the reason behind it. In addition, this phone leads to its more expensive siblings in the haptic feedback section. After seeing what the Vivo Pro has to offer, I didn’t expect a miracle on this phone. But I’m happier with what we have here.
In addition to NFC, we have general connectivity features including 2.4GHz and 5GHz dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.2, and GPS. The device supports SA (standalone) and NSA (non-standalone) dual-mode 5G connections. But you only get access to the Sub-6 network, also known as the low-band 5G network. Like the Pro, the Vivo V23 does not support mmWave 5G.
The Vivo V23 packs a 4,200 mAh battery, which is slightly smaller than the Pro model’s 4,300 mAh unit. Although you will find large batteries in some of the phones in this segment, the battery life of this phone is not bad. It offers more than six hours of screen time for regular use. By regular use, I mean browsing the internet, checking social media, making a few video calls, capturing lots of photos and videos, and gaming for about an hour. That number has a 90Hz screen refresh rate enabled. So if you use the device in 60Hz mode, which I do not recommend, you may be able to further extend your screen time.
The total battery life from what I got from the V23 Pro is shameful. But V23 will still get you there most of the day. Of course, the battery life depends on your usage pattern. If you are a heavy gamer, you may need to charge your phone frequently. However, it won’t be too much of a hassle since Vivo here offers a uniform 44W fast charger.
With this charger, your phone will be charged from zero to 25 percent in just ten minutes. This should be enough to run the device for a few hours with regular use. Charging for half an hour will recharge 62-63 percent of the battery. It takes more than an hour to fully charge from zero to 100 percent.
In addition to the design, the camera is one of the main focal points of Vivo’s V23 series. The Pro model wasn’t bad, but here we have a different main shooter, a 64-megapixel instead of the 108-megapixel Samsung ISOCELL HM2 sensor. So we come back to scratch things.
The main camera on the Vivo V23 is a Samsung S5KGW1 sensor with an A/1.9 aperture and PDAF (phase detection autofocus). Again, we do not have OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) here. By default, the camera captures 16-megapixel photos using pixel binning technology, which combines four nearby pixels.
Like the Pro, this phone has a pretty good still image in bright conditions. The level of detail and dynamic range are usable in photos, but nothing exceptional. Vivo still applies some sort of pop effect to 16-megapixel images for sharper results. However, that post-processing does not apply to 64-megapixel “high resolution” images. We saw something similar in the Pro model. But in this case, the high-resolution picture gets a little worse. Worse, you won’t like them more than 16 megapixels.
The 8-megapixel ultra-wide lens and 2-megapixel macro camera capture unchanged, virtually identical images from the V23 Pro. Ultrawide shots can be used with enough detail and color. Like the main camera stills, the Vivo sharpens these photos, too, and a little more. A low resolution means that there is not much to talk about in the case of macro cameras. Just in case you want to capture regular close-ups.
decent portrait, but the average low-light picture. The Vivo V23 does not have a dedicated zoom camera. The phone still offers digital zoom up to 10X, but you may want to avoid going there. These cropped photos from the main camera look like oil paintings, not photos. OK, this phone only captures decent zoom photos up to a maximum of 2X or 3X.
This phone also lacks a dedicated depth camera. But the portrait shots are quite amazing. The separation of themes is still not perfect, but it is also not disappointing. If you have enough light, you will get satisfactory results.
When it comes to low-light images, the Vivo V23 is not a very good tool. Here we have a dedicated night mode that takes its own sweet time to capture the frame depending on the amount of light. Photos do not look bad if you get enough light from artificial sources. You will see good details in the picture. But as the environment gets darker, with less natural sharpness, it will start to lose quality. There is room for improvement here.
The camera app on this phone comes with several more camera modes, including Slow Motion, Time Lapse, Panorama, Sports, Documents, Dual View, and Dual Exposure. The only thing missing from the Pro model is a “Pro Sports” mode. Vivo also does not integrate Google Lens into the camera app. There is excellent support here for the zoom slider, such as easy-access built-in filters, an AI view optimizer, and HDR control.
Like its more expensive siblings, the Vivo V23 doesn’t disappoint when it comes to selfies. On the front, we get the same dual-camera arrangement as before: a 50-megapixel f/2.0 autofocus main camera and an 8-megapixel f/2.3 wide-angle lens with a 105-degree field of view (FoV). And they’re both good at taking selfies.
With the main selfie camera, you’ll find good natural colors and dynamic range in photos. The amount of detail is also great. You’ll lose some sharpness in ultraviolet selfies, but the photos are still usable.
Interestingly, the Vivo V23 takes much better selfies in low light than the V23 Pro. It can do anything with optimization, and Vivo can fix things with a software update, but as things stand, the former is a clear winner. When it comes to night selfies, the next one creates some lost ground when you turn on the two-tone flash, but still lags behind.
Speaking of two-tone flash, which is called Vivo spotlight, each flash unit can emit black and white light. You can enable them individually. So if you want to make your selfies look warmer, choose the next one. And if you want to see them less warm, go for the former. Both lights are turned on by default for a balanced appearance. Vivo also offers an Aura flash option that illuminates your face with light from the screen. It also works pretty well.
In the case of selfie portraits, the Vivo V23 has fascinated me again. Some portrait shots of the front camera are comparable to those of the rear camera. That’s quite significant. However, the ultra-wide portrait from the front camera is not satisfactory.
The Vivo V23 Pro’s main front and rear cameras can capture 4K video at 30 fps (frames per second). Videos recorded in daylight have a fairly detailed and dynamic range. The colors are good too. But the lack of OIS means that if the phone is not stable, you may have stability problems.
Vivo offers an ultra-stability feature along with EIS (electronic image stabilization), but it doesn’t work for a 4K video. You need to give up some quality for a more stable image. Focus can also be a problem if the subject is moved, especially with the rear camera.
Two ultra-wide cameras on each side of this phone can capture 1080p video. You will miss some fine details and dynamic range but expect it. The same goes for zoom video. The more you zoom in, the less video you can use.
The Vivo V23 Pro also looks good in low-light videos. The phone captures enough details. Of course, the two main cameras capture better images in darker environments. Ultra-wide camera videos are not bright enough.
Starting at 39,990 Tk (approximately $400) in India, the Vivo V23 has a lot of competition in the market. Some of the notable bums with stereo speakers, OIS, and official waterproof ratings may not be the best phones you can get at this price. But if you are looking for a stylish device that can take great photos, especially selfies, then you need to look no further than this phone. It certainly offers better value than its pro siblings.