Vivo V25 Pro Review: UV-Activated Gimmicks Aside, It’s a Great Phone for Less than $450 (If You Live in India)

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The Lowdown

There is much to like about the V25 Pro. Its attractive design has a large, beautiful display offering up to a 120Hz refresh rate, and its camera is very good. The RAM and storage options are generous, and the MediaTek Dimensity 1300 SoC is highly capable. And unlike most of the phones sold in the US, Vivo includes plenty of useful accessories right in the box, including a case, a screen protector, wired headphones, etc., so there are no extra expenses.

Overall
3.5

Pros

  • Beautiful design and solid build
  • Bright display with a 60-120Hz adaptive refresh rate
  • Adaptive RAM adds up to 8GB when using power-hungry apps
  • Lots of accessories included in the box
  • Cameras are very good
  • NFC and Google Pay work in the US

Cons

  • No IP rating
  • Mono speaker is easy to accidentally cover when gaming or watching movies
  • Comes with a lot of bloatware installed, but most can be removed
Vivo V25 Pro Review: UV-Activated Gimmicks Aside, It's a Great Phone for Less than $450 (If You Live in India) Listen to this article

Vivo may be an unfamiliar smartphone brand to many in the United States. Still, as of August this year, it is the sixth largest smartphone manufacturer worldwide with a 4.29% market share¹ and 149 million smartphones shipped². Since 2011, Vivo has made a name for itself by creating smartphones that offer high-end features at mid-range prices. Available now in India, the Vivo V25 Pro is their latest model, and it happens to be the first Vivo product I’ve ever tried. Let’s take a look.

The back of the vivo V25 Pro showing its UV activated color changing capabilities.

The Vivo V25 Pro is available in Starlight Black or Surfing Blue.

¹ source; ² source

Unboxing the Vivo V25 Pro

Included in the box are the smartphone, an 80W FastCharge brick (UK plug), a USB Type-A to Type-C charging cable, a pair of wired earbuds, a 3.5mm headphone jack to USB Type-C dongle, a SIM tool, a plastic overlay with a surfing woman graphic, a clear TPU case, and a product information & warranty booklet. The phone ships with a factory-installed screen protector, which I greatly appreciate.

The Vivo V25 Pro Hardware

The V25 Pro measures approximately 6.3″ tall by 2.9″ wide by 0.4″ thick, and it weighs 6.7 ounces. The front is dominated by a 6.56″ (2376×1080) FHD+ AMOLED display that has a 32-megapixel punch-hole selfie camera at the top. Centered above the selfie cam where the glass and metal frame meet is a slender, 1″ long ear speaker; disappointingly, it doesn’t combine with the bottom speaker for stereo sound.

Vivo has a history of protecting its smartphone displays with Schott Xensation glass, a German Gorilla Glass competitor. I can’t say for sure if it is present here, but it’s certainly possible. In any case, the V25 Pro comes with a screen protector installed, and that’s a good thing.

The sides of the glass display are beveled, as we often see with most brands’ flagship models.

The vivo V25 Pro front

The Vivo V25 Pro is not a flagship device, but it sure looks like one.

The Vivo V25 Pro is a larger phone, but it is slightly shorter, less broad, and less weighty when compared to the OnePlus 10T (6.42″ tall and 2.97″ wide, 7.2 ounces) or the Google 6 Pro (6.5″ tall by 3″ wide, 7.41 ounces), for instance. I found the V25 Pro to be very comfortable to hold; there are no sharp corners, and the smartphone is solidly built.

Honestly, if I knew nothing about the V25 Pro and picked it up, I would assume it was a much more expensive flagship model! If nothing else, my momentary confusion is a sure sign that it’s time for premium brands to up their game on their non-folding smartphone flagships.

Vivo V25 Pro Review: UV-Activated Gimmicks Aside, It's a Great Phone for Less than $450 (If You Live in India)

The HDR 10+ display has adaptive brightness with eye protection that will turn on automatically at sunset (when enabled); you have the option of setting the refresh rate to 60HZ, 120Hz, or Smart Switch, which will save battery life by adjusting the refresh rate between 60Hz and 120Hz depending upon what you’re using your phone for.

Vivo V25 Pro Review: UV-Activated Gimmicks Aside, It's a Great Phone for Less than $450 (If You Live in India)

The V25 Pro can be unlocked with the usual passwords or patterns, but it also has face unlock and an under-glass fingerprint reader located about a half inch up from the bottom of the display. I found the fingerprint and face unlock functions to work accurately and as expected.

The vivo V25 Pro in hand with its display on

Worth noting is that Vivo claims a peak brightness for the V25 Pro is 1300 nits. I have no way to measure that, but the display is bright enough to see when outdoors easily. 

The metallic power button and volume rocker are located on the right.

The right side of the vivo V25 Pro showing the power and volume burrons

The glass display dips stylishly into the shiny frame; there are no antenna bands on any of the sides, which makes the Vivo V25 Pro look like many other flagship devices.

On the top, there is a microphone.

The top and bottom edges of the vivo V25 Pro are beveled.

The top and bottom edges of the Vivo V25 Pro are nicely beveled. Tiny letters that I honestly didn’t notice until I cropped this photo say “Professional Photography.”

There are no buttons on the left side.

Vivo V25 Pro Review: UV-Activated Gimmicks Aside, It's a Great Phone for Less than $450 (If You Live in India)

There is a dual nanoSIM tray, a microphone, a USB Type-C port, and a mono speaker on the bottom. Although the Vivo V25 Pro doesn’t have stereo sound, the mono-speaker is quite loud and sounds surprisingly good.

Sure, the resulting sound isn’t as deep or rich as one would expect from a phone rocking stereo speakers, but it is not bad at all. My only real complaint is that when watching videos or playing games, it’s very easy to block the sound if your hand is in the wrong spot.

Vivo V25 Pro Review: UV-Activated Gimmicks Aside, It's a Great Phone for Less than $450 (If You Live in India)

Interestingly, the Vivo V25 Pro has a gasket around the nanoSIM tray, which I would expect to see on a smartphone with an IP rating, yet there is none stated for this model. You should keep it away from the pool or hot tub, just to be safe.

On the back of the Vivo V25 Pro is a large, rectangular module containing the 64-megapixel main camera with hybrid optical and electronic image stabilization, an 8-megapixel super wide-angle camera, a 2-megapixel super-macro camera (4cm distance), and an LED flash. The module only extends by about 1mm; even without a case on, there is no wobble. I think that as far as camera modules go, this one looks really good.

Vivo V25 Pro Review: UV-Activated Gimmicks Aside, It's a Great Phone for Less than $450 (If You Live in India)

The rear camera modes include Night, Portrait, Photo, Video, 64MP, Pano, Live Photo, Slo-Mo, Time Lapse, Pro, AR Stickers, Vlog Movie, Documents, Pro Sports, Long Exposure, Double Exposure, and Dual View.

Vivo V25 Pro Review: UV-Activated Gimmicks Aside, It's a Great Phone for Less than $450 (If You Live in India)

Photos Taken with the Vivo V25 Pro

Overall, I was very impressed with the V25 Pro’s camera; it only let me down when I was trying to take photos of the shoreline at dusk from a gently rocking sailboat. I can’t even be mad, though; not many smartphone cameras can handle that stress.

The Vivo V25 Pro’s Party Trick

The lightly textured, matte back of the Vivo V25 Pro is made with color-changing, UV-reactive Fluorite AG glass. When the back glass is exposed to UV light, anything that covers the glass will stay sky blue, while the UV-exposed areas will change to deep ocean blue.

Vivo included a plastic stencil of a surfing woman with my review unit, and as silly as it might seem, it was still kind of cool.

ThermoWorks Thermapen Mk4

Vivo V25 Pro Review: UV-Activated Gimmicks Aside, It's a Great Phone for Less than $450 (If You Live in India)

It only takes a couple of seconds of direct UV exposure for the stencil pattern to emerge; the longer you leave it exposed, the more obvious the design will be.

Vivo V25 Pro Review: UV-Activated Gimmicks Aside, It's a Great Phone for Less than $450 (If You Live in India)

The stencil only needs to be on the V25 Pro’s back for a little bit to activate the color change.

Yes, it’s a gimmick, but it’s a fun and playful party trick that isn’t seen every day. Since the Vivo V25 Pro ships with a clear TPU case, you will notice that anything blocking UV, including your hand holding the smartphone, will leave a color-change pattern. The effect gradually fades away unless you remain outdoors and create a new pattern. If you tire of the effect, you can always get a different case.

Vivo V25 Pro Review: UV-Activated Gimmicks Aside, It's a Great Phone for Less than $450 (If You Live in India)

Vivo V25 Pro Memory, Operating System, and Speed

The V25 Pro is offered in two memory configurations, 8GB RAM and 128GB storage or 12GB RAM and 256GB storage. I received the latter version and was pleased to see that, like many of the other brands under the BKK Electronics’ umbrella, including OPPO, realme, and OnePlus, Vivo offers you the option to extend your RAM by up to 8GB.

With that option selected, this V25 Pro has up to 20GB of RAM for more intensive apps.

Vivo V25 Pro Review: UV-Activated Gimmicks Aside, It's a Great Phone for Less than $450 (If You Live in India)

The Vivo V25 Pro runs Android 12 with a Funtouch OS 12 overlay.

Vivo V25 Pro Review: UV-Activated Gimmicks Aside, It's a Great Phone for Less than $450 (If You Live in India)

This is my first time trying the Vivo overlay, and even though I generally prefer a more stock Android experience, I don’t hate it. Funtouch offers many ways to customize on-display items, and it throws in some tricks I appreciate, like numbered alerts on the upper right of app icons instead of dots.

Vivo V25 Pro Review: UV-Activated Gimmicks Aside, It's a Great Phone for Less than $450 (If You Live in India)

Swiping right on the homescreen pulls up exactly what I want to see — the Google news feed. At the top right of the display, though, there is an extra option that, when pressed, opens Jovi Home. Jovi Home offers app shortcuts, app suggestions, weather, and other customizable convenience options.

 

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I have to say, though, that out of the box, the V25 Pro comes loaded with a lot of bloatware. There are tons of apps, games, and services installed that may not apply to your region or that you may not ever want to use. Thankfully, the majority of them can simply be deleted.

The MediaTek Dimensity 1300 provides the V25 Pro’s processing power, and I have had zero complaints about it. My typical smartphone use includes dealing with email, clicking links, researching products, scrolling through social media, checking out the latest videos on YouTube, reading Kindle eBooks, playing a few word-based games, and sending and replying to messages through a lot of messaging apps.

Obviously, the way I use my phone is not the way you’ll use yours.

If you are a graphics-intensive gamer, your experience may differ. For how I use a smartphone and the few games I play, I never experienced any lags, stutters, or issues, even with many apps running in the background; I consider that a win.

Vivo V25 Pro Battery Life

The V25 Pro has a 4,830mAh battery, which seems about right for a phone with a 6.5″+ display. I found that I could get a solid 7 or so hours of use before I started getting range anxiety. If you only use your phone a few times a day for an hour of screen time or so, then you could likely get a couple of days’ use out of it without any stress.

While this Vivo doesn’t offer wireless charging, up to 66W fast charge is an option with the included 80W FastCharge brick if you live in a region that uses a UK charger. Even so, using a PD charger, I never felt like it took a long time to recharge. So, no complaints there.

Vivo V25 Pro Carrier Compatibility

Although not specifically meant for the North American market, the Vivo V25 Pro will work here. It supports the bands listed below, which you can compare with your carrier’s supported bands.

2G GSM: GSM850/900/1800/1900MHz

3G WCDMA: B1/2/4/5/8

4G FDD_LTE: B1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/13/17/18/19/20/26/28/66

4G TDD_LTE: B38/39/40/41

5G SA: n1/2/3/5/7/8/20/28/40/41/66/77/78

5G NSA: n1/3/5/7/8/28/38/40/41/77/78

One potential deal-breaker in the US would have been if Google Pay and NFC weren’t supported, but that’s one thing you won’t have to worry about; they work!

Vivo V25 Pro Review: UV-Activated Gimmicks Aside, It's a Great Phone for Less than $450 (If You Live in India)

Should You Get the Vivo V25 Pro?

The Vivo V25 Pro is an obvious and solid choice if you live in a country where it can be easily purchased; right now, that’s India. In the US, it faces stiff competition from other similarly priced Android and iOS smartphones, including the new Google Pixel 6a, the Samsung Galaxy A53 5G, and the Apple iPhone SE, which offer local carrier support and payment plans for those who want them.

There is much to like about the V25 Pro. Its attractive design has a large, beautiful display offering up to a 120Hz refresh rate, and its camera is very good. The RAM and storage options are generous, and the MediaTek Dimensity 1300 SoC is highly capable. And unlike most of the phones sold in the US, Vivo includes plenty of useful accessories right in the box, including a case, a screen protector, wired headphones, etc., so there are no extra expenses.

The V25 Pro recently launched in India for 35,999 rupees (less than $450); it’s not widely available worldwide yet, but you can learn more about it here.

The Vivo V25 Pro sells for about $450; it is available directly from the manufacturer in India. In the US, your best bet will likely be eBay.

Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample

What I Like: Beautiful design and solid build; Bright display with a 60-120Hz adaptive refresh rate; Adaptive RAM adds up to 8GB when using power-hungry apps; Lots of accessories included in the box; Cameras are very good; NFC and Google Pay work in the US

What Needs Improvement: No IP rating; Mono speaker is easy to accidentally cover when gaming or watching movies; Comes with a lot of bloatware installed, but most can be removed

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About the Author

Judie Lipsett Stanford
Editor in Chief of Gear Diary, Secular Humanist, techie, foodie, hoarder of Kindle eBooks, lover of live music, and collector of passport stamps.