Vivo V30 Pro Review: Putting The Focus Where It Counts

PROS:

  • Thin, lightweight, and beautiful design
  • 50MP wide-angle selfie camera with autofocus
  • Impressive triple 50MP camera system
  • Long-lasting, fast-charging battery

CONS:

  • No stereo speakers
  • Thin edges make it difficult to grip and pick up
  • Limited global availability

RATINGS:

SUSTAINABILITY / REPAIRABILITY

EDITOR’S QUOTE:

With breath-taking elegance and ZEISS-tuned Triple Main Cameras, the Vivo V30 Pro offers unbeatable value to mobile shutterbugs and design-conscious buyers alike.

It’s really difficult these days to pin a phone down to a specific market tier or device range, especially since brands tend to advertise every single model as the best in its class. Technology has advanced to a point that what some might consider mid-range due to one or two features might surpass flagship models in other aspects. That seems to be the case with the Vivo V30 Pro, arriving on the heels of the Vivo V30 that we reviewed just last month. The “Pro” in its name is pretty telling, promising a higher level of experience while still staying faithful to the spirit, not to mention the design, of the base model. In what ways does the Vivo V30 Pro actually improve on the Vivo V30, and are those enough to warrant giving this pricier version a serious look? We give it a whirl to find out.

Designer: Vivo

Aesthetics

Something can be beautiful without being too flashy. A flower’s charm, for example, often comes from its simplicity and the pleasing way it combines shapes and colors in a way that only Mother Nature can really accomplish. The Vivo V30 Pro tries to capture that spirit almost literally, combining subtle details and minimalist aesthetics in a composition that delights the eyes without being distracting. It’s no coincidence that Vivo’s designs for the V30 Pro are clearly patterned from nature, and it definitely pulls this feat off with aplomb.

It’s not just a matter of painting patterns on the phone either. Our Bloom White review unit, for example, looks like it has flowers pressed on its back. This “3D Petal Pattern” was accomplished by 3D engraving 13 million tangent lines on the material’s surface using photolithography. The greenish-blue Waving Aqua, on the other hand, employs thousands of tiny magnetic particles to create the illusion of rippling waters. The visual effects are subtle, almost invisible unless you take a second look, but they definitely add to the Vivo 30 Pro’s elegance.

Coupled with its thin profile and lightweight body, the Vivo V30 Pro exudes class and beauty without being overbearing. The process and cost of such designs might sound overkill for what would be classified as a mid-range phone, but these designs not only demonstrate Vivo’s manufacturing prowess, they also reflect the evolving tastes of smartphone owners today who want an attractive phone they won’t need or even want to cover up with a case.

Ergonomics

Despite the large 6.78-inch screen, Vivo manages to make the impossible possible with a thin and lightweight handset. Only 7.45mm thin and 188g light, the Vivo V30 Pro is comfortable and pleasurable to hold, even after long periods of time. That thinness is very accentuated by the curved edges of both the screen and the rear panel, a trend that is slowly dying and being pushed out by flat edges. Some defend that this design is gentler on your palms, but others criticize it for also reducing the phone’s grip, making it more likely to slip from your grasp.

If there is one drawback to the Vivo V30 Pro’s very thin edges, it’s that it makes it a bit tricky to pick it up from a table or any solid flat surface. There’s very little area for your fingers to grip the edges and you might find the phone slipping or sliding before you can have a solid hold on it. The included clear case adds some thickness and texture to fix that, but it also puts a less premium layer of material between you and your phone, no matter how transparent it is.

Performance

Gone are the days when you could easily predict a phone’s performance by simply looking at its specs, especially the processor. The time when MediaTek’s silicon was considered cheap and underpowered is long over as well, and the Vivo V30 Pro is living proof of that. Granted, the 4nm Dimensity 8200 processor it’s using is actually last year’s generation, but it’s hardly any slouch. In fact, it manages to beat Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 7 series from the same generation in some benchmarks, which is quite telling.

What all this means in practice is that the Vivo V30 Pro can handle everyday tasks without breaking a sweat. Sure, you shouldn’t expect it to run toe-to-toe with high-end and more expensive smartphones, but setting graphics settings to medium is sure to still satisfy your gaming needs. The cooling system is effective, though not exactly stellar, so expect your hands to feel some heat after prolonged gaming. The best part of its performance, however, is the generous 5,000 mAh battery that’s guaranteed to last you more than a day of average use. With the included 80W charger, you don’t even need to wait long to get it from zero to full, just a little under 50 minutes, in fact.

The large 6.78-inch 120Hz AMOLED display mirrors the phone’s back in providing a beautiful sight, though it’s naturally flashier and more eye-catching. The panel is bright and the colors are vibrant, though they tend to lean more towards being very saturated by default. While the visual experience is superb, the same can’t be said of the audio aspect. There’s a single bottom-firing speaker that is very basic. You’ll be hard-pressed to detect much bass, for example, and the quality degrades noticeably at maximum volume. You might be better off connecting Bluetooth speakers if you really want to spread your tunes around.

Smartphones these days almost feel like cameras that just happen to have phone functionality because of the heavy emphasis put on mobile photography. The Vivo V30 Pro is no exception and, in fact, celebrates it and takes it to the next level. It challenges the status quo of using different sensors for different cameras and comes bearing 50MP cameras for primary wide, ultra-wide, and 2x telephoto. In fact, it even uses a 50MP sensor for the front-facing camera, complete with a wide-angle lens and autofocus.

For its camera system, Vivo enlisted the expertise of optics experts ZEISS, and the results definitely speak for themselves. The output of the main camera is clear, highly detailed, accurate, and just gorgeous. That is true even at night, with Vivo’s special night mode kicking in. The 2x optical zoom of the dedicated telephoto, while not that far in reach, is still better than relying on digital zoom and cropping the way the Vivo V30 does. The ultra-wide camera, while decent, isn’t as impressive as these other two, but you’ll still get clear and detailed images from it, regardless of the lighting condition.


One special feature of the Vivo V30 series, which can be seen from the unusual design of the phone’s camera bump, is the square Aura Light that sits below the cameras. If you’re familiar with the effect of ring lights in diffusing a gentler glow on your face, then you’ll know how this feature works. Instead of a focused light like a typical LED flash, it spread the light around more evenly, making it the perfect illumination for portrait photos. Even better, the Aura Light can automatically change its intensity and warmth depending on ambient lighting, all thanks to AI, of course. Now if only Vivo could do the same for the front-facing camera, then it would really be able to leave its competition in the dust.

Sustainability

Despite the Vivo V30 Pro’s nature-inspired design, the phone itself isn’t exactly that environment-friendly, at least as far as its build materials go. It’s not exactly an outlier in this regard and it merely follows the industry status quo. Sadly, it’s also an opportunity for Vivo to rise above the rest and set a new industry standard, but we’ll probably have to wait a bit longer for the company to really take its sustainability efforts to the next level.

At least the Vivo V30 Pro is designed to last long, especially with an official IP54 dust and water protection rating. It’s far from being the highest and is, in fact, the bare minimum for waterproof devices, but it’s also something that’s usually missing from most smartphones on this tier. When accidents do happen, however, you have very little option other than to send it to Vivo or its authorized repair centers for servicing. Self-repair is just not a thing in this space yet.

Value

Truth be told, it’s hard to find any fault with the Vivo V30 Pro. Yes, it doesn’t max out all the potential that more powerful hardware can provide, but it also doesn’t tax buyers for features they may never use in the first place. It has a pretty good balance of features and tends to perform well in areas that matter the most, such as mobile photography and battery life. Plus, it looks stylish and classy, so you’ll probably fall in love with it quickly.

The expected $500 price tag brings a bit of uncertainty, though. It’s definitely higher than its sub-$400 peers, but it offers features you won’t find on more expensive handsets either. The biggest deal-breaker, however, is its availability. The Vivo V30 Pro will only be sold in select markets in Asia, at least for now, so all that beautiful design and impressive cameras will be out of reach for many people around the world.

Verdict

Smartphones are no longer just tools for communication or even for staying connected to the Internet. They have become irreplaceable partners in creating and preserving memories, as well as extensions of our personalities and aspirations. Smartphone designs have matured over the years, shedding off flashy and gimmicky features for reliable functionality and appealing aesthetics. This trend has trickled down even to the so-called mid-tier market, as embodied by the Vivo V30 Pro.

Inspired by nature, the Vivo V30 Pro’s beauty is subtle yet impactful, employing innovative manufacturing techniques to create more natural designs that catch the eye and soothe the soul. It’s no racehorse, but what the phone lacks in raw processing power it makes up for in reliability and value, offering a more balanced product. At the same time, its Triple 50MP Main Camera system and 50MP front-facing camera challenge the status quo and prove beyond reasonable doubt what is possible even on this tier. All-in-all, the Vivo V30 Pro is a well-rounded contender that you’ll want to consider for your next phone purchase, presuming it’s even available in your area.