vivo V25 Pro review: Great midrange hardware mired by bloatware

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Techaeris Rated 8.5/10

Midrange smartphones have come a very long way in terms of hardware. Five to seven years ago, a midrange phone wouldn’t be a serious consideration for anyone who wanted decent performance. Thankfully, smartphones like the vivo V25 Pro have made the midrange smartphone something worth considering. But like many other midrange smartphones, the vivo V25 Pro is mired by bloatware.

While much of the bloat can be deleted or disabled, seeing so many useless apps no one asked for is exhausting. I understand that some smartphone companies can keep costs down by adding unwanted apps from developers who pay to be on the phone, but maybe tone it down a little. Still, there are many things to like about the vivo V25 Pro, which may soften the frustration of the bloatware situation. On with the review.

Specifications

The vivo V25 Pro has the following features and specifications:

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  • Network Technology: GSM / HSPA / LTE / 5G
  • Body Dimensions: 158.9 x 73.5 x 8.6 mm (6.26 x 2.89 x 0.34 in)
  • Weight: 190 g (6.70 oz)
  • Build: Glass front, glass back
  • SIM: Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)
  • Resistant to drops, scratches, and sweat
  • Display Type: AMOLED, 120Hz, HDR10+, 1300 nits (peak)
  • Size: 6.56 inches, 104.6 cm2 (~89.6% screen-to-body ratio)
  • Resolution: 1080 x 2376 pixels (~398 ppi density)
  • OS: Android 12, Funtouch 12
  • Chipset: MediaTek Dimensity 1300 (6 nm)
  • CPU: Octa-core (1×3.0 GHz Cortex-A78 & 3×2.6 GHz Cortex-A78 & 4×2.0 GHz Cortex-A55)
  • GPU: Mali-G77 MC9
  • Internal Storage: 128GB 8GB RAM, 256GB 12GB RAM UFS 3.1
  • Rear Camera: Triple 64 MP, f/1.9, 25mm (wide), 1/1.72″, 0.8µm, PDAF, OIS 8 MP, f/2.2, 16mm, 120˚ (ultrawide), 1/4″, 1.12µm 2 MP, f/2.4, (macro)
  • Camera Features: LED flash, HDR, panorama
  • Video: 4K@30fps, 1080p@30fps
  • Front Camera: Single 32 MP, f/2.5, (wide), 1/2.8″, 0.8µm, AF
  • Camera Features: HDR
  • Video: 1080p@30fps
  • Communication: WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot Bluetooth 5.2, A2DP, LE GPS Yes, with A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS, GALILEO, QZSS, NavIC
  • USB: USB Type-C 2.0, USB On-The-Go
  • Sensors: Fingerprint (under display, optical), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
  • Color changing back panel color
  • Battery: Type Li-Po 4,830 mAh, non-removable
  • Charging: Fast charging 66W, 40% in 15 min, 71% in 30 min (advertised)
  • Colors: Pure Black, Surfing Blue
  • Model Number: V2158

What’s In The Box

vivo V25 Pro
In the box
  • vivo V25 Pro
  • TPU case
  • vivo Rapid Charge brick
  • USB-C charging cable
  • Wired earbuds
  • USB-C headphone dongle
  • SIM pin
  • Manuals and Documentation

Design

The design of the vivo V25 Pro is probably its best overall attribute. This phone in Surfing Blue is gorgeous! The back is made of glass and features a coloring-changing paint that reacts to UV light. The feature allows you to create designs or writing with UV light, though it doesn’t last very long and eventually fades. But still, very fun and unique.

The vivo logo is etched on the back subtly and minimally. The camera module is very well done, and both Apple and Google should take some notes here. The camera bump is minimal, and the lenses do not protrude very far. It looks clean and elegant, unlike the iPhone 14 Pro Max or Pixel 7 Pro.

The vivo V25 Pro has a polished frame that compliments the matte aluminum back and is slightly curved. The left side of the frame has nothing on it, and the right side houses the volume rocker and power button. Both buttons are placed at a reasonable height allowing for easy operation. The top of the frame only contains one microphone, while the bottom houses another microphone, SIM tray, speaker, and USB-C port.

The front of the vivo V25 Pro features a glass display that curves slightly over the sides but is not too extreme. I am not fond of displays that curve too far off the sides as they invite my palm to register touches. This display is curved nicely but not so much that it’s a problem for false touches.

vivo includes a simple TPU case that is slim but does offer some protection. I like it because it adds nearly no bulk and is clear, allowing that amazing Surfing Blue color to be shown off. vivo also includes wired headphones, a USB-C headphone dongle, a huge Rapid Charging brick, and a lengthy USB-C cable in the box.

Overall, the design of the vivo V25 Pro is very well done. The materials used don’t feel super premium but do not feel cheap. For this price point, I think vivo did an excellent job in build, build quality, materials, and aesthetic design.

Display

vivo V25 Pro
Great display

The display on the vivo V25 Pro is its second best feature and comes with bells and whistles sometimes only found on more expensive phones. One of those features is the 120Hz refresh rate, which is excellent for gaming. This panel also has 1300 nits of brightness which is very good for a midrange smartphone. It gets plenty bright enough outdoors, looks good in daylight, and is decently good in direct sunlight.

The display is HDR10+ and has a resolution of 1080 x 2376 with a PPI of 398, which makes it just a bit better than FHD+ but not quite QHD. The display sits at 6.56″, slightly smaller than the big boys and only noticeable if you’re holding a Pro Max or 7 Pro next to the V25 Pro.

The colors on the vivo V25 Pro display can be manipulated by the user within settings. vivo gives you three color modes, Standard (default), Professional, and Bright. TCL and other smartphone makers do something similar. Standard looks colorful with some extra saturation, Professional pulls the color saturation way back and gives a more natural look, and Bright pushes the saturation even further. There is also a color temperature adjustment to make things cooler or warmer based on the user’s preference.

Because this is an AMOLED display, I chose to use the Bright setting because AMOLEDs do a great job of displaying that extra saturation. It’s probably not everyone’s cup of tea, but there are options for color adjustment, which is fantastic.

Overall, the display on the vivo V25 Pro is fantastic. It’s got most of the flagship specs and is only missing more brightness (though 1300 nits is plenty bright) and a higher resolution (still, this resolution is excellent).

Software

Boy, I’m glad we don’t start our reviews with software! I enjoyed writing the last two sections of this review because those areas are the strongest points of the V25 Pro. Sadly, the software is the V25 Pro’s lowest point. Android 12 is OK; nothing to complain about with that. The Android 12 goodness and functionality is here, so kudos for that.

But dig deeper into Funtouch OS and the choking amount of bloatware apps, and things get depressing. I must stress most of the bloatware apps can be deleted or disabled. But just having them preinstalled is a big swing and a miss for me. This isn’t unusual for an Android smartphone maker like vivo; they’re not unique here. TCL does similar things as does Doogee and others. But I wish they’d quit it. Here are some of the preinstalled apps to expect:

  • Facebook
  • Agoda
  • Lazada
  • Linkedin
  • Netflix
  • Viu
  • WallRod
  • YT Music
  • Spotify
  • Two folders with placeholder apps that are not downloaded but can be downloaded
  • Gamecenter
  • V-Appstore
  • iManager
  • Themes
  • Shopee
  • vivo
  • vivoCloud

Some of these apps tie into vivo’s ecosystem and app store. I’m not sure why we need any other app store besides Google’s. Again, this isn’t unique to vivo; many other smartphone makers like them create their app stores and alternatives. Heck, even Samsung does this! All the extra apps take up storage space, and it would be nice if smartphone makers would quit adding all these extras.

Funtouch OS is the overlay; it’s OK, not great but also not horrible. It would have been nice to have vanilla Android with no overlay. I’m not fond of the icons vivo uses, but all of that can be fixed with a custom launcher if you find it annoying.

Overall, too many bloatware apps and the OS overlay soured me on the software experience of the vivo V25 Pro.

Performance

The vivo V25 Pro sports the MediaTek Dimensity 1300 CPU paired with the Mali-G77 MC9 GPU. MediaTek and Mali are both doing decent things, but they still lag behind Qualcomm a bit. The performance of the V25 Pro is good; I wouldn’t say excellent, though.

It is fair to say that the performance is what I would expect of a mid-range smartphone, so in that sense, it’s right up there with Motorola and TCL’s offerings.

The basics are excellent and what I mean is scrolling, pinching to zoom, opening apps, navigation, the responsiveness of apps, and general everyday use. These are no-brainers, and every smartphone from budget to flagship should at least do these things well, and the V25 Pro does an excellent job in that department.

Keeping multiple apps open in the background seems to be OK, and there were only a few times when I felt the system needed me to close all the apps to make it run smoother. That usually only happened when playing intensive games like Asphalt 9 or Call of Duty.

Speaking of gaming. Light gaming is excellent, and more intensive games are very good. The 120Hz refresh rate certainly helps, but you can feel the phone get warm and battery draining when playing intensive games. That’s not unusual; even flagship phones can get warm and drain the battery. The point is you can do some decent gaming on this device.

Overall, the vivo V25 Pro is a strong performer, not perfect, but also not miserable. It does an above-average job in the performance area for a mid-range smartphone.

vivo V25 Pro
Love the looks of the V25 Pro

Speakers/Sound

The speaker on the vivo V25 Pro is weak. It’s OK for spoken word and speakerphone calls, but if you intend to game, watch movies, and listen to music, you should use the included headphones. Or even better, use a good pair of headphones. That’s about all I can say about the speakers.

Camera

The cameras on the vivo V25 Pro are actually very good. There are some instances where it blows out the highlights and struggles with color, but the results aren’t bad. Cameras on mid-range smartphones are the one area where things can be improved, and the V25 Pro is no different.

Night Mode works well, and wide-angle photos look good. There is a 64MP option within the camera settings, but I’m not sure it’s giving us much more to look at. All the other modes are here as well, portrait mode, pano, live photo, long exposure, double exposure, pro sports mode, time-lapse, slo-mo, dual view, and vlog movie.

There is even a PRO Mode where you can adjust shutter speed, aperture, white balance, and everything a pro camera does. Even with all the extras and features, the cameras are okay, not spectacular but also not horrible.

Overall, I think buyers looking at the V25 Pro are probably coming from a lesser device, which will be an upgrade for them. If you’re coming from an iPhone, Pixel, or S22, you’re not going to get any improvements here. I still think buyers of this device are likely coming from a lesser device, and the camera will seem like a huge improvement.

vivo V25 Pro Camera Samples

Reception/Call Quality

The vivo V25 Pro isn’t available in the United States and doesn’t work on Verizon, so I tested call quality with a video call. The quality of the call is great, with no issues. Bluetooth reception is a typical 30-35 feet, depending on your situation. All basic stuff here.

Battery Life

The vivo V25 Pro has a 4,830mAh battery which lasted me all day with about 35% left in the tank. This is with Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Cellular, full brightness, and regular operation of the phone. Doing anything intensive, such as gaming, will drain the battery faster. That’s pretty straightforward and true for all smartphones.

Overall, the V25 Pro battery is great for a mid-range smartphone. I think most people will be happy with it; gamers will just have to plug in while gaming.

Price/Value

The vivo V25 Pro isn’t available here in the U.S.A., but our Canadian friends and friends in the U.K. can buy it. The Canadian price is CAD$829, which is about US$600, give or take. The value is there if you’re OK with having to deal with deleting bloatware.

Wrap Up

The V25 Pro is a stunning smartphone in terms of looks. The color, the design, and the build are all top-notch. The specs are also very good for a mid-range smartphone. Based on those observations, it’s an excellent device, but adding the bloatware, Funtouch OS, and weak speakers; might turn some buyers off. I think, if you can get past the bloatware, it’s a fantastic phone.

Last Updated on November 2, 2022.

vivo V25 Pro

CAD$829

Design

9.5/10

Display

9.0/10

Software

6.5/10

Performance

8.5/10

Speakers/Sound

8.0/10

Camera

8.5/10

Reception/Call Quality

9.0/10

Battery Life

9.0/10

Price/Value

8.5/10

Nailed it

  • The looks of this phone are fantastic
  • The Sailing Blue color with color changing back is the one to get
  • The 120Hz, 1300 nit, FHD++ display is great
  • Performance is decent and gaming is good
  • Cameras are okay, just about what to expect from a midrange smartphone
  • Battery life is great
  • The price is right if you want to deal with deleting all the bloatware
  • I love that they include a simple TPU case with the phone

Needs work

  • The amount of bloatware apps is staggering
  • I wasn't a fan of Funtouch 12
  • The speakers are weak they could be better
  • Cameras are okay but don't expect flagship performance
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