The Vivo V-series phones are nothing short of consistent: thin, lightweight mid-range devices that prioritize sleek aesthetics and powerful selfie cameras.
So it is with Vivo V23 Pro. The first in the series to be nicknamed “Pro” is indeed the Vivo S12 Pro rebranded for the global market. However, it’s ideally earned its place in the V series thanks to its clear design focus and dual selfie camera – even if it’s a shame to see the excellent OIS front-facing camera from last year’s V21 not making a comeback.
Design and build
- Slim (7.4mm) and light (171g)
- Color-changing glass finish
- curved body
Vivo is no stranger to making beautiful phones, even among the more affordable options, and the V23 Pro is one of the best looking phones in its price range.
Despite the large display, the phone feels relatively small thanks to its thin body (only 7.4mm) and lightweight design. The curved edges of both the case and the display itself make the phone look even thinner than it actually is, resulting in a phone that’s much more comfortable to hold in your hand than other phones with similarly sized screens.
To be honest, you’ll probably notice the phone’s dazzling rear before you get to its size. The V23 Pro is available in two colors, but Stardust Black is clearly second only to the Sunshine Gold version I tested.
This lustrous golden hue somehow changes under certain lighting conditions, becoming a pure, vibrant turquoise. We’ve already seen phones that seem to shift and shimmer in the light, but Vivo has taken them to the next level: specially treated glass reacts to sunlight, so it changes color and stays that way for a while. If you leave something that blocks part of the phone from light, you can even temporarily imprint this design on it.
This is a wonderful trick that makes the V23 Pro (and its simpler sibling, the V23, which shares the finish) truly unique in the phone market. Of course, as is always the case with unusual designs, it won’t matter if you’re going to protect your phone with a case anyway.
This is especially true since the jury doesn’t know how tough this thing is. The display has a Schott Xensation α coating – Corning’s Gorilla Glass competitor – but Vivo hasn’t applied a similar protection to the back of the phone, nor is there an IP rating for water resistance.
Display and sound
- 6.56″ AMOLED screen
- refresh rate 90 Hz
- Mono speaker
While 120Hz refresh rate displays have become commonplace in the last year or two – even in many budget phones – Vivo is sticking with a slightly slower 90Hz panel here. This may be a concern for some hoping for extra smooth scrolling or gamers hoping to maximize frame rates, but I suspect most users will find the transition from traditional 60Hz to 90Hz panels impressive enough.
The cost savings also have another benefit: Vivo uses an AMOLED screen rather than an LCD. This means deeper blacks, better contrast and richer colors, but also means Vivo could include an in-display fingerprint sensor.
Specs aside, this is an attractive display, bright enough to be used comfortably in any light, and rich enough to do justice to photos, movies, and games. The biggest downside is the rather large central notch, which is necessary to accommodate the two selfie cameras, but looks quite massive compared to options elsewhere.
Specifications and performance
- Powerful MediaTek Dimensity 1200 Chipset
- Up to 12 GB RAM and 256 GB storage
- Smooth operation without delay
Since this is the first professional phone in the V series, it’s no surprise that a premium chipset is installed here. The V23 Pro is powered by the Dimensity 1200 processor, MediaTek’s flagship from a year ago. It doesn’t have the absolute most powerful processor on the market like the later Dimensity 9000 or rival Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, but the average user is unlikely to notice the difference.
Together with 8 or 12 GB of RAM and 128 or 256 GB of storage, this is enough to make this phone powerful enough. I tested the top spec model and it was fast, smooth and responsive no matter what I used.
A similar story in benchmarks. It’s not going to compete with the most powerful phones on the market for those who care a lot about frame rates in their mobile games, but it proves its power and capability when compared to other phones on the market at the same price.
The Dimensity 1200 also includes 5G support so you can take advantage of the latest connectivity standard. Wi-Fi 6 is not supported (only the older Wi-Fi 5), but Bluetooth 5.2 and NFC support round out the phone’s connectivity.
Battery and Charging
- Great battery life
- Return 70% of the charge in half an hour
- No wireless charging
Battery life is another area where the V23 Pro won’t break any records, but it has plenty of power for most users.
The 4,300mAh battery here is enough to easily get the phone through a day of normal use, and lighter users will likely find it will stretch through the rest of the second day.
The included 44W charger was enough to get 70% of that battery back in half an hour of charging in my test – even faster than the 63% that Vivo advertises. Unfortunately, there is no support for wireless charging, but this remains typical for this price.
- Dual 50MP selfie camera
- Triple rear camera 108 MP
- No optical image stabilization (OIS)
When evaluating a camera, I usually start with the rear camera, but for the V23 Pro it seems appropriate to go the other way around.
So, on the front of the phone, you’ll find a pair of selfie cameras: a 50MP main lens with an f/2.0 aperture and an 8MP ultra-wide-angle lens with an f/2.3 aperture.
This main lens is obviously the star and is quite impressive. The high-resolution sensor delivers crisp and clear shots in good light. The f/2.0 aperture is good for a selfie camera, but still not up to the level you’d expect from a rear lens – dynamic range remains a bit below what you might hope for, resulting in some blurry backgrounds, but overall it’s impressive.
It’s a shame that Vivo didn’t include the optical image stabilization (OIS) that was in last year’s V21. It’s a game-changer in selfies, and without it, the V23 Pro setup feels more mundane, especially in low-light shooting where this OIS can enhance the experience with improved clarity and dynamic range.
Instead of OIS, this phone has a second lens, an 8MP wide-angle one. This is good. We’ve seen ultra-wide-angle selfie cameras before, but they’ve mostly fallen out of fashion. Sure, it’s good for group selfies, but with reduced detail and questionable color reproduction, you won’t want to use this lens if you can avoid it.
On the back you will find three lenses. The 108-megapixel f/1.9 main lens is a great shooter, with the same strengths as its selfie counterpart. Unfortunately, like this lens, there’s no OIS here, which holds it back a bit in low light, but thanks to its wider aperture and larger sensor, it holds up better than the front-facing camera.
Next to it is another 8MP ultra-wide-angle camera and a 2MP macro camera. They, like the front ultra-wide ones, are pretty easy to forget. It might be nice to be able to shoot in more circumstances, but the results are clearly average, especially in the dark.
In terms of video, the V23 Pro is somewhat unusual in that it supports 4K recording from both the back and rear. and front cameras – the truth is only up to 30fps. The downside is that, again, there is no optical stabilization, which is likely to have more of an impact on most vloggers than a simple jump in resolution.
- Android 12
- Launches Vivo FuntouchOS skin
- No guaranteed number of updates
Vivo is in a strange position when it comes to Android software. In 2020, he introduced Origin OS, his latest Android skin, but over a year later, it remains exclusive to China. Instead, the rest of the world gets phones running the company’s old software, FuntouchOS.
Although there are variations here. Phones shipped to India and other Asian countries tend to come preloaded with malware and ads, while models in Europe are relatively clean.
I’ve been reviewing one of these Asian phones and find the pre-installed apps and ads disappointing, but it’s worth saying that efforts are being made to improve things and so I expect the phone to improve in this regard over time. .
It helps that the phone is already shipping with Android 12, which boasts a number of new features and security improvements. Not everything has made it through Vivo – there’s no sign of customizable “Material You” color palette tools, but things like screenshot scrolling, microphone and/or camera usage alerts, and a new privacy panel all show up here.
While Vivo has promised that its premium X series flagships (including the recent X70 Pro and X70 Pro+) will receive three years of Android mainstream and security updates, no such promise has yet been made for the V series. So while it launches with Android 12, I don’t know what future versions of Android the phone will be updated to.
Price and availability
The V23 Pro is already available in India and some other Asian markets, but that’s it for now. Vivo has promised it will be released in other markets in Asia Pacific, the Middle East, and Europe “within the next few months,” but don’t expect it to ever make it to the US or Canada.
Here’s how much the phone currently costs in India, where it’s available on Flipkart, with approximate price conversions to give you an idea of what to expect in other markets.
- 8GB + 128GB – £38,990 (around £390 / €460 / $520)
- 12GB + 256GB – £43,990 (around £440 / €520 / $590)
The price makes this a straight-up mid-range phone, which is why it’ll compete against the OnePlus Nord 2 and Honor 50. Check out the rest of our favorite mid-range phones to learn more about the competition, or take a look at our pick of the best Vivo phones for other choices from the company.
The V23 Pro is a solid mid-range phone, but it’s a pity that “reliable” is almost as good as it gets.
It’s particularly disappointing that the USP V21 – its optically stabilized selfie camera – hasn’t made a comeback. The dual-lens setup is fine here, but nothing special, and never really feels like a significant upgrade over other selfie cameras at the same price.
Good specs and decent battery life certainly help, as does the phone’s attractive design and slim body.
They make the V23 Pro a well-rounded and competitive package, but apart from the aesthetics, there just isn’t enough here to make this phone stand out.
Vivo V23 Pro Specifications
- Android 12 with Funtouch 12 OS
6.56″ FHD+ AMOLED, 90Hz, HDR10+
Dimension MediaTek 1200
8/12 GB RAM
128/256 GB internal memory
Main camera 108 MP, f/1.9
- 8 MP f/2.2 ultra wide camera
- 2MP, f/2.4 macro camera
Main selfie camera 50 MP, f/2.0
- 8MP ultra-wide selfie camera with f/2.3 aperture
Fingerprint scanner (in display)
- Two SIM cards
4300 mAh non-removable battery
charging 44 W
- Stardust Black or Sunshine Gold
159.5 x 73.3 x 7.4mm