The premium mid-range smartphone segment has been quite stagnant for a while. While most phones in the price bracket focus on offering a great price-to-performance ratio, Vivo’s V series is known for its excellent point-and-shoot cameras. I tried the Vivo V29 Pro for about a month, and here’s my experience with the company’s latest mid-range device.
Vivo V29 Pro specifications: 6.78-inch 120Hz AMOLED screen | MediaTek Dimensity 8200 chipset | 12GB RAM + 256GB storage | 50MP + 12MP telephoto + 8MP ultrawide + 50MP selfie sensor | 4,600mAh battery with 80W fast charging | FunTouch OS 13 based on Android 13
Design and display
While most smartphones in this price segment look and feel the same, the Vivo V29 Pro has a fresh design that instantly makes it stand out from the crowd. I got the Himalayan Blue colour, which has a textured look that looks really beautiful.
The phone has a glass back, which makes you feel like you are holding a premium device, but makes it slippery. While the phone offers a decent grip, if you are someone with not-so-big hands, the 6.78-inch AMOLED screen might feel large. I am someone who often refrains from using phones with covers, but during my usage, I found myself putting on the cover for extra grip.
The Vivo V29 Pro has a 120Hz AMOLED screen, which I noticed is pretty crisp compared to other phones that cost the same. The screen is more than usable under direct sunlight and even on sunny days not once did I feel like it could be brighter. This is by all means an excellent device if you want to play games, watch movies or just browse the internet while soaking in sunlight during Delhi’s hazy winter or boiling summers.
Another thing I like about the phone is the curved display. I am not a fan of “curved 3D” screens, but the Vivo V29 Pro’s curves felt natural, and for the first time I felt like I could live with a curved screen.
Performance and UI
The Vivo V29 Pro has the same processor as its predecessor – the Vivo V27 Pro. The Dimensity 8200 might not be the fastest processor on the planet, but when it comes to multitasking, the device did not lag once.
During my gaming sessions, which lasted anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours, I experienced no overheating issues or frame drops. Most games run on the highest settings, so if you are someone who plays BGMI, Diablo 4, MLBB or other titles, this is a solid device by all means even though Vivo does not advertise it as a gaming phone.
As for the software, the Vivo V29 Pro runs on FunTouchOS 13 based on Android 13 out of the box. While FuntouchOS gets a lot of hate, I find it pretty smooth and feature-packed for everyday usage. The phone comes with bloatware like ‘Hot Apps’ and ‘Hot games’, but they can easily be disabled or uninstalled.
The default launcher has some pretty consistent animations, which I loved. I have used stock Android, OneUI, Realme UI, and MIUI, but for some reason, the app launching and switching animations on FunTouchOS felt really smooth. The only gripe I have with the software is the dated-looking Quicktile settings panel, but I have learned to live with it over time.
Vivo advertises its V series as camera-centric phones, and the Vivo V29 Pro is no exception. The phone comes with a 50MP primary camera, which takes really good photos no matter how the lighting conditions are. Images come out pretty crisp and detailed and have no minimal to no noise. Vivo also offers a toggle that lets you quickly switch between natural and oversaturated photos, and it works as advertised.
Also, this is currently one of the few mid-range phones with a usable 12MP telephoto lens, so if you are someone who loves to take photos of humans, this might be your only choice in the under Rs 50,000 price segment. While the telephoto lens performs similarly to the primary camera most of the time, sometimes I had trouble zooming in on subjects like a plant when trying to take photos from the telephoto lens. Maybe it’s just me, but if it’s a software issue, I hope Vivo fixes it with an update.
The ultrawide camera is, however, a bit of a letdown, but that is the case with all phones in the price bracket. Images are not that detailed, come out soft sometimes and have noise if you take photos in the nighttime. However, they are more than usable if you want to share them on social media.
As for the selfie camera, the photos are really good. The 50MP shooter manages to retain even the tiniest of details, and while I am not someone who takes a lot of selfies, the Vivo V29 Pro has one of the best front cameras I have ever used on a smartphone.
— Anurag Chawake (@antechx) November 17, 2023
Like the V27 Pro, the Vivo V29 Pro features a ring Aura light, which can change colour depending on the available light and is supposed to help with nighttime photos, but I frankly did not find any practical use for the same. The device can record videos in 4K at 60fps on both the front and rear camera, and this is something I commend Vivo for since most phones that don’t cost a fortune cannot do the same.
Most phones today come with a 5,000mah battery, but the Vivo V29 Pro packs a slightly smaller 4,600mAh battery, that offers more or less the same backup. My typical day involves listening to music for around 8 to 10 hours on YouTube on 5G, checking messages on WhatsApp, browsing the internet for around an hour or two and playing games for some time. Even if you are a heavy user, the Vivo V29 Pro will easily last you a day. Vivo also bundles an 80W fast charger in the box, but I did not find myself charging the phone before sleeping.
What’s not to like then?
The Vivo V29 Pro is a solid all-rounder mid-range phone with an excellent camera setup. While there’s much to like, some might bash Vivo for not upgrading the processor. The software experience is also a hit or miss, with people often comparing FunTouch OS to Samsung’s TouchWiz. On the hardware, I felt like the Vivo V29 Pro should have offered some IP rating and support for NFC and stereo speakers. While the speakers are adequate, I have no idea why Vivo opted for a single speaker setup when phones under Rs 10,000 pack dual speakers.
Is the Vivo V29 Pro worth the price?
The Vivo V29 Pro might not be the fastest or the best camera phone for the asking price, but for an asking price of Rs 42,999, it is a solid premium mid-range device that offers an excellent camera experience and a dedicated telephoto lens that is more than usable. If you are looking for a device that offers lag-free performance, can take good photos and videos, has an excellent design and doesn’t mind the lack of stereo speakers and IP rating, the Vivo V29 Pro is an easy recommendation. Frankly, there’s not much to hate here, but if you want phones that offer more bang for the buck, there are better options that might offer more performance like the OnePlus 11R or the Nothing Phone (2) with its unique design.