Vivo V25 review: One of the best-looking budget phones, and then some

It's one of the best budget Android phones under $400, if you can find it in your region.

Vivo V25 back panel
(Image: © Jay Bonggolto / Android Central)

Android Central Verdict

The Vivo V25's color-changing back design is a rare sight in this price range, lending a premium feel to this mid-range model. This is backed by impressive cameras and a surprisingly long battery life. It does, however, have a less snappy performance than the competition and has a few other flaws.

Pros

  • +

    Color-changing textured glass back

  • +

    Impressive stamina

  • +

    Bright screen

  • +

    Stellar back and front cameras

  • +

    Decent low-light performance

Cons

  • -

    Downgraded chipset

  • -

    Mediocre ultrawide camera

  • -

    No firm software support in the long term

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Vivo tried to set a trend in the mid-range category with the launch of the V23 5G last year, featuring a color-changing glass back panel to catch everyone's attention. Indeed, it was one of the most attractive budget phones in 2021, despite some flaws in the camera and software departments.

The Chinese phone maker remedied a few of those shortcomings with the release of the Vivo V25 5G this year, bringing back a few traits from its predecessor while also leaving out some key elements. The end result is a real looker with a few rough edges to the phone that may leave you wanting more.

Is the Vivo V25 up to the market's increasingly high standards, or does it represent a step back rather than an upgrade? This review will help you find out. Vivo sent me both the vanilla and Pro models in Surfing Blue (which I'll review later), but the company had no say in my verdict, nor did the company have prior access to this review.

Vivo V25: Price and availability

Vivo V25 back panel

(Image credit: Jay Bonggolto / Android Central)

The Vivo V25 is available in several territories across Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. Vivo hasn't specified whether it will launch the phone in the UK or Europe, though a future release in these regions is possible given that the V21 and V23 were rolled out in those territories.

The Vivo V25 5G retails for INR 34,990 on Amazon India (opens in new tab), but you can now get one for INR 29,980. The phone starts at INR 32,999 if purchased through Vivo's online storefront (opens in new tab). Thankfully, it's currently 15% off, bringing the price down to INR 27,999 for the 8GB/128GB variant.

Of course, larger memory configurations are more expensive. The 12GB/256GB variant has a regular MRP of INR 36,999, but you can currently get one for INR 31,999 thanks to an ongoing promotion.

Vivo V25: What I like

Vivo V25 back camera module

(Image credit: Jay Bonggolto / Android Central)

Design is one of the phone's standout features. While it's more gimmicky than practical, the color-changing Fluorite AG Glass that covers the back panel changes its hue when exposed to UV or sunlight. I tried it using a pattern drawing that Vivo included in the box, and the result was fun.

You can also be creative with this trick. You can use, say, a SIM card tray ejector to block light from hitting certain portions of the back panel, resulting in a two-tone pattern that takes after the shape of that same material. This is a rarity in the budget Android phone segment, with the Realme 9 Pro/Pro+ and the Oppo Reno5 Pro+ Artist Edition boasting the same gimmick with different color-changing methods.

I'm also surprised that Vivo used frosted glass for the back panel construction, with a turquoise finish that's pleasing to the eye. More importantly, it puts other mid-rangers in this price range that use a plastic back to shame.

Vivo V25 color-changing back panel

(Image credit: Jay Bonggolto / Android Central)

One of Vivo's strengths in the last few years has been its cameras, and this remains true with the V25 series. While the Vivo V23 was an exception, the company's flagship models in the last few years have been a significant step up, and this appears to have rubbed off on the V25.

The latest mid-range model sports a 64MP main camera (f/1.79, 0.7μm sensor size) with OIS, an 8MP ultrawide camera (120-degree optical field of view), and a 2MP macro sensor. What this all means is that the V25 takes decent selfies, bright daylight photos with the main camera, and clear low-light shots thanks to OIS. Optical image stabilization was particularly missing from its predecessor, so its addition to the current model is a huge improvement.

The pictures I took with the phone's primary shooter had more than enough detail even after cropping, and the dynamic range proved to be another strength for the company. The main sensor also does an excellent job of keeping noise in dark areas to a minimum. It's an understatement, to say the least, but it bears repeating that the phone's noise reduction capability is superb.

This only further cemented Vivo's position in night photography. The V25's low-light photos are remarkably better than those taken with many of the best budget Android phones at this price point, with more shadow details courtesy of its Night mode.

The Vivo V25's camera is its major strength, and the main shooter is great in most conditions.

Of course, comparing low-light and daytime photos reveals a general drop in detail with the main shooter. However, the phone still takes clear photos that can compete with flagship models.

I'm more impressed by the handset's selfie camera. While it doesn't have a secondary sensor like the V23, the 50MP shooter housed in a punch-hole cutout includes an eye autofocus feature that does wonders in keeping your headshots in focus and eliminating blur when in motion. You can rely on the selfie snapper both in well-lit settings and total darkness, with the latter handled by its virtual ring light. This feature is quite similar to what I saw in the Tecno Spark 9 Pro Sports Edition.

Vivo V25 front camera interface

(Image credit: Jay Bonggolto / Android Central)

Simply put, the Vivo V25 takes decent shots in poor lighting as well as well-exposed and crisp images in well-lit areas, as you can see in the sample images below.

However, its video recording capabilities are somehow limited. You can still shoot 4K video, but its frame rate is capped at 30 frames per second. You'll need to downgrade to 1080p if you wish your recording to be stabilized at 60fps.

Vivo V25 camera samples