With the local launch of the vivo V29 5G and vivo V29e 5G finally out of the way, we take a look at the regular model to find out if it’s worth your time and money. Is the vivo V27 5G‘s successor a good buy? Read our review to find out.
First, let’s talk about the hardware. The vivo V29 5G is available in two colors — Magic Maroon and Starry Purple — in the Philippines. It’s outfitted with 12GB of RAM along with 256GB or 512GB of internal storage, without the option to expand the storage via a microSD card slot.
Update, October 17: Here’s a video from our Here’s how to shoot better portraits with vivo V29 5G’s Aura Light 2.0 feature!
The Starry Purple colorway has a smooth, glossy finish on top of its marble-like glass back, while the Magic Maroon variant, which we’re using, flaunts a matte surface that does a fantastic job of keeping fingerprints and smudges away. vivo says the latter uses the company’s Photochromic finish, allowing it to quickly change color and turn deep purple under UV light or sunlight.
Here’s the Starry Purple color variant, unboxed
You can tell that the vivo V29 5G drew a lot of inspiration from its predecessor. Not surprising considering the two were launched just months apart. Both have a glass back, a front piece made of glass, and a plastic frame to hold the ensemble together. The back and front panels are slightly curved, too, making the unit comfortable to hold despite its generous screen size of 6.78 inches. Measuring just 7.46mm at its thickest point, this phone is quite sleek as well.
And the large camera island is back, bigger than we remember it on the V27 5G. This time around, vivo has repositioned the Aura Light flash of the previous model, placing it under the main camera. The tiny ring light has also been improved with a color temperature slider, hence the formal naming upgrade to Aura Light 2.0. This allows you to shoot portraits with a warmer or cooler tone depending on your preference. The ring light emits 36% more brightness compared with the previous generation.
You get an IP54 rating for dust and water resistance, and vivo says the V29 5G has undergone a series of stress tests, including humidity and heat-endurance tests, to “ensure a lasting and worry-free experience.” Many modern phones, including some entry-level ones, are IP54-rated, so that isn’t saying much.
The company has stuck with the single-speaker configuration of the vivo V29 5G’s predecessor, which is quite a letdown considering the premium pricing and market positioning. In terms of loudness and sound quality, the smartphone is average at best. There’s no headphone jack here, too, but that’s expected of a modern midrange handset.
The curved display is of the AMOLED variety and offers higher-than-1080p visuals with a resolution of 2,800 x 1,260 pixels, resulting in a pixel density of 453 dots per inch. The fact that this panel comes close to the sharpness of flagship-grade 1440p screens is impressive, that’s for sure. It supports a 120Hz refresh rate as well as HDR10+ and high-frequency 2,160Hz PWM dimming, which effectively reduces screen flickering and minimizes eye strain and discomfort associated with it.
If you often stream movies and shows on your phone, you’ll be pleased to know that the vivo V29 5G comes with Widevine L1 certification out of the box and serves HDR content on apps like Netflix provided your subscription allows it. Three refresh modes are available in the Settings menu — 60Hz, 120Hz, and Smart Switch. Naturally, the latter will automatically select the most appropriate refresh rate according to the usage scenario.
Take note that although a higher refresh rate makes visuals smoother, it will also increase power consumption and may cause the device to heat up faster than usual. We found that the vivo V29 5G supports three refresh-rate configurations — 60Hz, 90Hz, and 120Hz.
The cameras at the back and up front are mostly identical to the previous release. That means you get a triple-camera setup on the rear headlined by a 50-megapixel Samsung GN5 image sensor that sits behind an optically stabilized lens. The primary camera is joined by an ultrawide option with 8 megapixels and a 2-megapixel monochrome depth sensor that replaces the 2-megapixel macro sensor of the V27 5G.
The punch-hole display sports a 50-megapixel camera as well, coupled with a pretty wide lens. You can shoot ultrawide selfies with this camera to show more of the background or capture additional people in the frame, or you can zoom in up to 2x digitally if you prefer a tighter shot, and phase-detection autofocus is also onboard. Additionally, there are plenty of filters and portrait options to choose from, so the flexibility here really ushers in new ways of taking advantage of that sharp selfie camera.
The 50-megapixel rear camera performs great overall. However, color rendition isn’t entirely natural; daytime scenes tend to look vibrant and punchy, offering high contrast and wide dynamic range. We settled with this more saturated default look because the Natural color profile looked a bit muted to us. By default, the vivo V29 5G saves 12.5-megapixel photos, and those look fine on the smartphone’s screen. There is practically no grainy noise to speak of, which you love to see.
The dedicated Night mode works great on the main and ultrawide cameras, as expected. Low-light shots offer a lot of detail and dynamic range that make them look both rich and lively.
Portrait mode is another highlight and can be used at 1x and 2x magnifications, with the latter being the default setting. We recommend shooting vertical portraits with a 2x zoom for fewer distractions. Enabling the vivo V29 5G’s Aura Light flash in dim environments will brighten your shots without the harshness of traditional LED flash. Warm light generally works well for most skin tones. Both rear- and front-facing cameras also let you shoot video with artificial bokeh, and it’s impressive how realistic the background blur looks in good lighting.
The vivo V29 5G is powered by a midrange Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G chipset, which is based on 6nm technology. It’s a bit of a shame given the price and competition; we would have wanted to see a newer chipset with more powerful and higher-clocked CPU cores, but that’s not to say the Snapdragon 778G isn’t a competent silicon. Plus, it has more performance cores — albeit older and lower-clocked ones — compared to the 4nm MediaTek Dimensity 7200 processor used in the V27 5G.
Like its predecessor, the vivo V29 5G supports 8GB of virtual RAM expansion for a total of 20GB dynamic RAM as well, if you don’t mind giving up storage for marginally better multitasking performance. Personally, we think 8GB is too much for virtual RAM.
Most games will run fine on this phone, even heavier titles like Genshin Impact, Honkai: Star Rail, and Diablo Immortal. There’s plenty of physical RAM for some hardcore multitasking, too.
vivo has kitted the V29 5G with a 4,600mAh dual-cell battery inside, alongside support for the company’s 80-watt FlashCharge tech and a dedicated power-management chip for better discharge efficiency. Based on our testing, the unit can be charged from zero to full in about 50 minutes, or 45% after 15 minutes plugged in using the included power brick and cable. With moderate use, the battery typically lasts a full day on a single charge.
Similar to what came before, the vivo V29 5G delivers strong camera performance, particularly when it comes to shooting daytime scenes and portrait-style shots with the rear and front cameras. It also packs a fast and sharp curved AMOLED display and offers a decent 5G chipset for day-to-day tasks and gaming — all in an attractive, water-resistant design that gives off flagship vibes.
After weeks of testing, we found that the successor to the vivo V27 5G stays in familiar territory for the most part. Then again, that’s not such a bad thing considering how big of an improvement the previous model was across the board. You get an IP rating, faster charging, a slightly sharper screen, and better camera sensors on this iteration for the same price, too.
In the Philippines, the vivo V29 5G has a suggested retail price of P24,999, or roughly $439 converted, for the 256GB storage variant. The top-end 512GB version, on the other hand, is priced at P26,999 ($474), making it a no-brainer to spend a little more for double the storage space and added peace of mind.
vivo V29 5G specs
- 6.78-inch curved AMOLED display, FHD+ resolution, 120Hz refresh rate
- 6nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G processor with 5G
- Adreno 619 GPU
- 8GB/12GB RAM
- 128GB/256GB storage
- Triple 50-megapixel main, 8-megapixel ultrawide, 2-megapixel macro rear cameras with OIS + EIS, Aura Portrait flash system
- 50-megapixel front camera with autofocus
- Under-display fingerprint reader
- 4,600mAh battery with 80-watt fast wired charging
- FuntouchOS 13 based on Android 13
- IP68 rating for dust and water protection
- Colors for the Philippine market: Magic Maroon, Starry Purple
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