I was just as excited about mid-range phones as I was about the latest flagship devices. Perhaps, I enjoyed testing them even more than the flagship devices. Because in the quest to give users more and save some money in the process, Xiaomi, Samsung, Realme, and others have really made some interesting decisions. high refresh rate screens, big batteries, fast charging, and high megapixel cameras. in the last couple of years, making it probably one of the most exciting in the smartphone market… Why am I talking about this? Well, in many ways,
The Vivo V23e is a middle-class Vivo mobile phone that has been present in Bangladesh since 2016, supported by attractive hardware specifications and affordable prices.
This device has three rear cameras and one front camera, making it a multi-camera device.
Without using a punch hole, the Vivo V23e’s screen still has water droplet-shaped bumps.
This mobile phone is equipped with a chipset made by the MediaTek G series for gaming. While the RAM and internal storage are of great capacity, can the Vivo V23e compete with other mobile phones in the same class? In fact, it looks a lot like something from the past. But is it bad or good? We will find out in this review.
Dimensions: 160.9 x 74.3 x 7.4mm
Processor: MediaTek G96
RAM and storage: 8GB + 128GB
Operating System: Android 11, based on Funtouch OS 12,
Battery: 4050mAh (typical)
Charge: 44W flash charge
Screen: 6.44”, AMOLED, FullHD+, 60Hz
SIM: Hybrid Dual SIM (2Nano-SIM or 1Nano-SIM + MicroSD card)
Main camera: 64 MP wide + 8 MP ultra wide + 2 MP macro
Selfie-camera: 50 MP
Connectivity: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi (2.4 and 5 GHz)
Bluetooth 5.2, USB Type-C + OTG
GPS (GPS, BEIDOU, GLONASS, GALILEO)
First of all, it reminds us of smartphones of the past, with a boxed set, which is too generous by today’s standards. Just check it out:
Pre-applied screen protection film
A silicone case with a really precise fit (very hard to remove, but we’ll check in a couple of months).
I would like to make a comment, specifically on the last 2 positions. First of all, Vivo decided to ditch the 3.5mm headphone jack on its mid-range phones, which is obviously a disappointment. But hey, we live in a wireless world now and Vivo has 2 pairs of TWS earbuds to sell.
But the strange thing is that, in addition to a Type-C to 3.5mm adapter, Vivo V23e decided to add 3.5mm headphones. Something I haven’t seen in a mid-range smartphone case in at least 5 years.
The quality of these headphones I can only describe as mediocre, and the whole build, with the mismatched shade of white adapter, even looks weird. But hey, now you have spare headphones to use with your laptop. The mic and buttons on them worked fine with my MacBook, so why not use them on a Zoom call, for example? Or simply forget about its existence.
The Vivo V23e’s body is extremely thin and light, thanks in part to a plastic frame (remember, this is a mid-range phone). The overall build of the phone feels solid enough. However, I wouldn’t encourage you to test the limits of such a thin plastic frame.
What’s notable about the V23e is the phone’s glass back, which other mid-tier phones have abandoned in favor of cheaper plastic. The version of the phone called Moon Shadow is a standard blue-black color that doesn’t stand out from the crowd of similar-looking phones. While the dancing wave variant is something that immediately catches the eye of other phone owners. The pink and purple gradient on the back of the Vivo V23e phone looks like a colorful mosaic. And even people with the latest iPhones were impressed by the look.
The phone has an empty left side and a right side with the volume and power buttons. Plus, a lone single microphone is located at the top, while four components are located at the bottom (from left to right): a hybrid SIM slot, a second microphone, a Type-C charging connector, and a speaker.
Then we have the back, something quite modern. It should be emphasized with “timeless” sides. The front is another reminder of phones of the past. At the top, we have a teardrop notch with a grille for the earpiece. Finally, at the bottom, we have a quite visible chin.
Today, there is an ongoing fight between phone manufacturers to reduce the size of the selfie camera hole, and it is even rumored that the iPhone will get rid of its infamous notch for a pill cutout (front selfie camera hole). However, it looks like Vivo reused the front of a 3-4-year-old phone. Thankfully, after a couple of days of normal use, you’ll stop noticing both the notch and its bezels (especially if you have iPhone-trained eyes like me), as all your attention will be focused on its AMOLED screen.
The Vivo V23e has a 6.44-inch AMOLED screen with a Full HD + resolution, something that by current standards is considered a “small” screen. For a person who handles a 5.7-inch phone on a daily basis, it’s still too big. I wasn’t able to use it properly with one hand, but given the phone’s slim profile, most potential buyers will find it quite comfortable to use.
It also features an optical in-display fingerprint reader, which, thanks to its position at the bottom of the screen, is quite comfortable to use with one hand. Though I’d still prefer a side-mounted fingerprint sensor to this one. The speed and accuracy of the Vivo V23e optical sensor are certainly a point of improvement. Fortunately, there is also a less secure but faster way to unlock your phone: Facial Recognition Unlock.
Unlocking the phone reveals an amazing screen. Colors are bright and vivid, viewing angles are excellent, and Vivo’s engineers even give you a wide range of color profiles to choose from and tweak to your preference. A side-by-side comparison with my daily iPhone 11 Pro revealed that in many cases, Vivo V23e’s screen looks much better.
Overall, I find the Vivo V23e’s screen good enough for content consumption: whether it’s checking your photos, watching YouTube videos, or enjoying some movies on Netflix, for anything that has a frame rate of 60 FPS or less. But if you were hoping to see buttery-smooth scrolling of your social media feed, I have bad news for you.
While many competitors in this price segment have opted for high-refresh-rate displays, the Vivo V23e sticks with 60Hz. It’s not an entirely bad experience: Vivo’s Funtouch OS has fluid animations and lacks the occasional stutter of the interface that many mid-range phones still suffer from. But once you open up a Twitter feed, it becomes clear that the extra Hz would be very welcome here. It’s not even an iPhone-like experience that achieves smooth scrolling even on a 60Hz screen.
Aside from this daily screen experience, it was pretty good: I was never bothered by the wrong auto-brightness or a faulty proximity sensor, something other Android makers should learn from Vivo (Xiaomi, I’m pointing the finger at you).
Another notable thing is that the screen is always on, plus it has tons of customizations and it doesn’t turn off after a period of time (yes, I’m pointing the finger at Xiaomi, again). There are some limitations though: you can’t set your own picture as an always-on display, and there’s an odd limit of 4 apps you can get notifications from. If you want to add more, this is unfeasible.
Considering my comments about the always-on display, the overall software experience was better than I expected. I’ve been thinking of Funtouch OS as another heavily modified Android experience from China, which is nothing like stock Android…
And, I was wrong. Vivo’s Android experience is much closer to “pure” Android compared to MIUI or One UI. I’ve noticed only a handful of Vivo’s own apps, all of which you can ignore (except gallery and camera, for obvious reasons), and there are no ads in places you’re not likely to be.
However, you should note that the phone is still running Android 11. It’s hard to say whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing, given the difficult release of Android 12. But with Android 13 just around the corner, and with Google laughing at the security of Android and the Play Store, the best thing for Vivo is to update your phone to the latest version of Android.
But as a plus for Vivo, I’ve enjoyed some software tweaks they’ve made. The ability to use some apps side by side or in popup windows is great. Vivo achieved the “long screenshot” experience and Ultra Game Mode. It was useful for taking screenshots and screen recordings while trying to play the game (more on that later).
What I disliked the most were the widgets. I’m not a big fan of cluttering up my home screen, with just clock/weather widgets and a handful of apps on the main screen. But the clock weather widgets were absolutely broken for me: if you try to set a third-party image as your wallpaper, the phone may decide that the white clock widget is what it needs on a bright background, and there’s no way to change it. . Fortunately, there are a plethora of clock widgets available for Android, so you should be able to locate a suitable replacement quite quickly.
Overall, the phone felt snappy and smooth (as smooth as you can get on a 60Hz screen) and all the apps I’ve used ran without any issues or “hiccups.” No apps suddenly closed or missed any notifications, something that is crucial if the phone you are using is a business tool.
Vivo V23e uses Mediatek Helio G96 as the core. On paper, it doesn’t enable 5G, but it’s a strong chipset that supports powerful cameras and seamless day-to-day functioning. Paired with With 8GB of RAM, the phone can seamlessly switch between apps and keep many of them in the background, so I never experienced long loading times.
The CPU throttling test shows that it manages to maintain maximum power for longer periods of time. And I have never had any problems with the device heating up. Even after the 10-minute acceleration test, the phone was only slightly warm.
But don’t get me wrong: we’re still talking about a mid-range phone with below-average performance. Antutu and GeekBench scores are good indicators of this: Vivo V23e didn’t make the Top 100 phones, with past flagships or present competitors being far ahead.
Benchmarks aside, I’ve decided to run some games on the Vivo V23e. I’m a huge racing fan, so Asphalt 9 and Gear Club were my go-to games.
Both games are playable, although the graphics settings in both cases are on the lower side and the framerate hovers around 30 FPS, with frame drops at the most intense moments. Also when we used the Ultra Game Booster, it didn’t help with game optimizations, but as I said before, it’s a pretty user interface for screenshots and screen recordings. So if you’re looking for a performance monster, you should look elsewhere.
But gaming aside, there’s one more scenario where you might notice a sub-standard lack of power in the Vivo V23e: that’s when you’re using it as a wearable camera. I’ve tested the phone by simply taking it for a walk in the park with my dog and taking pictures of everything around me. You can check the full resolution results of my photo walk through the link.
When the weather is nice and sunny, the phone can take really good photos, especially when HDR and AI optimization are turned on. Even the ultrawide camera, which is often less adept than the primary camera, produced some excellent images. However, the lack of telephoto lenses is visible in 2x photos.
As for the Ultrawide camera, it struggled in poor lighting conditions, where vegetation closer to the edges of the photo turned into colorful noise. That’s also when you start to notice a noticeable difference in color reproduction between the main and ultra-wide cameras, but that’s common for many mid-tier phones.
There’s also no fancy auto HDR mode: while the phone can detect the scenario where HDR is needed, it takes time to process the photo.
And while with HDR it’s more than expected, Vivo’s struggle to preview background blur in Portrait mode was a bad surprise for me. While you are in a controlled and stable situation, you can more or less understand where the blur will be applied, like in the photo with the toy horse. With objects that can’t stay stable for long, like my dog, portrait mode is hit or miss. Sometimes it produces stunning photos, but a second later it completely misses the subject. There’s also noticeable shutter lag—this happens when you press the button one moment but the resulting photo is displayed a moment later.
Another unpredictable situation is night photography. In some situations, it destroys my iPhone 11 Pro by taking very bright images, while the iPhone’s night mode photos are dark. But when it comes to the details, I have to accept that the iPhone is a cut above. This is reflected in the fur of a cat or the fluff of a duvet, where, thanks to the Deep Fusion function, these details look very good.
I wasn’t impressed with the selfies either. Although the phone packs a whopping 50 MP front-facing camera, it can produce great photos only on bright, sunny days outdoors. At home, HDR takes too long to process the photo, resulting in blurry photos.
And here come the clear flaws. Like the macro camera, which is just a placeholder and produces terrible 2MP shots, it’s painful to look at, even from an artistic perspective.
Video is also a mess: despite many claims that the phone can shoot 4K video, there is no such option in the camera menu. The best possible video is 1080P at 60 FPS, and to be honest, it looks horrible.
An enthusiast could probably find a solution to this problem by leveraging the Camera 2 API or installing a modified Google Camera, but for an average user, the camera just isn’t impressive.
The battery and charging capabilities of the Vivo V23e are very impressive. While 4050 mAh isn’t an impressive capacity by modern standards, I managed to squeeze the most out of it with a 2 business day run. I picked up the phone at 9 am on day 1, using the camera and messaging apps a lot, and charged it at 8 pm on day 2, with 10% battery remaining.
and while I was drinking tea and taking a shower, the fast-charging 44W charger managed to top it up to 100%, which is impressive. But there is a small catch: you have to use the charger and cable that came in the box to get such an impressive charging speed. I tried to use it with I used my usual 60W Baseus charger, but it couldn’t charge fast no matter what charging port and cable I used. So this is a point that you must take into account if you want to have a spare charger or a cable.
The Vivo V23e is quite good in its main functions. You know, making phone calls and receiving messages. The signal strength was good enough and people could hear me loud and clear during phone calls. I also had no problem hearing others during phone calls.
You surely won’t miss a call with the Vivo V23e: the single speaker is loud and clear. But competitors in this price category already have stereo speakers and work better as compact jukeboxes. But hey, you can listen to music on the headphones, and for calls, it’s just vibrating mode 80% of the time anyway.
However, in the vibration motor. It’s just a standard buzzer-no fancy z-axis linear motors or advanced haptics—if it vibrates, you can feel it. Nothing out of the ordinary.
The wireless modules worked very well. I had no trouble connecting to 2.4 and 5GHz Wi-Fi networks, with speeds on par with other devices I use around the house. I also had no issues using my Airpods Pro with my phone – they paired easily and there were no hiccups or delays with sound.
Contactless payments went smoothly, with no extra hassle or digging into the setup required – just add your card and use it. For the NFC, fans can heave a sigh of relief.
But how does the Vivo V23e compare to the rest of the market? Let’s see which phones are in the same price category as Vivo’s entry:
The latest entry in the super popular series shares some similarities with the Vivo V23e: it also has 8GB of RAM, an Helio G96 at its core, and horrible video recording quality. But the similarities end here. The Redmi has a 120Hz display, a 108MP main camera, and a more powerful 5,000mAh battery, backed by a 67W charger. It also includes a thinner chin and a much better punch-hole selfie camera cutout.
With its series of racing-inspired smartphones, Realme has made a lot of noise recently. And the GT Master Edition is well worth the money. Despite having 2GB less RAM, it should be substantially faster than Vivo’s entry, thanks to its 120Hz screen and Snapdragon 778G CPU. It also has a slightly larger battery at 4300mAh and faster 65W charging. And again, we get a hole-punch selfie camera cutout.
The M52 5G offers almost the same features as the Realme GT Master Edition (120Hz screen, Snapdragon 778G, 6GB RAM), but with a 5000mAh battery and a slower 25W charger. It also has slightly better cameras on paper and a Samsung logo on the back, which could perhaps mean something to you.
If you’re looking for raw power, the F3 beats almost every competitor here with its Snapdragon 870 chipset. It offers a large 4,520 mAh battery and charger despite having only 6GB of RAM and a technically inferior 48-megapixel camera. It’s relatively fast at 33W, so you can play longer and at better graphics settings.
As you can see, compared to the competition, the Vivo V23e is a somewhat peculiar device. While it technically ticks all the boxes for a modern phone, it doesn’t stand out in any respect. It looks interesting on the back, but old-fashioned on the front. The phone has an AMOLED screen, but it runs at 60Hz. The Vivo packs 8GB of RAM (I’m not even counting the 4GB of SWAP),
But with a mid-tier processor, that’s pretty much useless. On paper, it has a good camera, but it doesn’t always deliver good photos and videos. Overall, the Vivo V23e feels like a reliable formula for the mid-tier smartphone of yesteryear: it’s got everything, but nothing outstanding at the same time. This formula might have worked in the past. But when competitors are working hard to stand out among the mid-tier and higher-end smartphones, this device leaves a lot to be desired.