vivo’s been on a roll lately with its releases, from the entry-level Y27 to the budget midrange Y36. Now, they have released the vivo V29 5G, a premium midrange offering that takes over the slot of the vivo V27 5G released earlier this year. We’ve spent around two weeks with the phone, and we daresay it’s a worthy successor. Read on for our thoughts.
For my personal devices, I like keeping the aesthetics somewhere along the minimalist black-and-white scale. That being said, the vivo V29 review unit we got in a Starry Purple colorway is something I will have no problem adding to my everyday carry. The top-to-bottom purple gradient has an eye-catching wave and glitter effect that becomes more prominent when hit by light. The camera island also does not take too much away from the design with its integrated glittery finish. The topmost module is the wide-angle camera, and directly below it is the main shooter. Below these two is the Aura Light 2.0 flash module. Off to the upper right of the camera island are the traditional LED flash module and the monochrome depth sensor.
Flipping the phone around, the vivo V29 greets us with a huge 6.78-inch AMOLED display with slim bezels. The top side has a punch-hole selfie camera and slim call earpiece, while near the bottom is the in-display fingerprint scanner. A tour around the edges reveals a bare left; the power and volume rockers on the right; microphone pinhole and “Professional Portrait” branding at the top; and the dual nano-SIM card tray, another microphone pinhole, USB Type-C port, and single speaker grille at the bottom.
Despite its size, the vivo V29 is easy to wield even with just one hand, thanks to its slim profile and beveled side edges on the front and back. Making the phone feel nicer in hand is its solid build which features glass on both the front and rear. The body is also IP54 dust and water-resistant.
Overall, the vivo V29 both looks and feels premium, with the added peace of mind of a durable body.
At the heart of the vivo V29 is a mid-range octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G, with four cores each running at 2.4GHz and 1.8GHz, and an Adreno 642L GPU. This is paired with 12GB of RAM as a standard across all pricing variants, and either 256GB or 512GB of non-expandable storage. The 2021-released processor may already have some years under its name, but it will still be a fast, reliable performer across the board. While the card tray does not have space for a microSD card (it only has slots for back-to-back dual nano-SIM cards), the 256GB storage option should still prove plenty for most people. However, if you’re a heavy storage user, you may want to consider going for the more sizable and only slightly more expensive 512GB variant.
For its face, the vivo V29 sports a huge 6.78-inch AMOLED display with a higher-than-most FHD resolution of 2800×1260 px and pixel density of 452 ppi making for a very sharp viewing experience. Color quality is likewise great with the Standard display setting, with a Bright setting if you want your colors to be more vivid in exchange for accuracy, or Pro mode for a duller output perfect for color grading photos and videos. The panel maxes out at a 120Hz refresh rate if you want the smoothest viewing experience possible. For eye care, the phone comes with a better-than-average 2160Hz of PWM dimming, which should lead to less eye strain.
In the imaging department, the vivo V29 sports a 50MP main shooter with a wide f/1.9 aperture and 1/1.56-inch sensor; an 8MP f/2.2 with 1/1.4-inch sensor ultra-wide secondary camera; 2MP f/2.4 monochrome camera for depth; and a 50MP f/2.0 selfie camera. All cameras are electronic image stabilization (EIS) compatible, with the main shooter made more capable with hardware-based optical image stabilization (OIS). This should result in clearer images when going handheld with slow shutter speeds, as well as more stable in-motion videos. But wait; there’s more! The vivo V29 is equipped with the Aura Light 2.0 module. Originally appearing on the last-generation vivo V27, the Aura Light is a built-in ring light that functions separately from the traditional flash module. Composed of 4 LED lights (two tuned to cool color temperatures and two tuned to warmer color temperatures), Aura Light 2.0 provides 23 levels of adjustment to provide nice, even, and flattering lighting on your dimly lit subject.
Powering the show is a 4600mAh battery pack which should deliver day-long performance. Combined with the 80W vivo FlashCharge standard, which is one of the highest we’ve seen in a premium mid-range device, the phone should have very little downtime.
User Experience: 5/5
My over two weeks spent with the vivo V29 was stellar. As a daily driver, it excels in most things you would want and care about. So much so that it’s hard to pick one thing to highlight above the others.
Like the back colorway, the vivo V29’s display is lovely to look at. It gets nice and bright even in direct sunlight, and you can tune colors to your preference, whether you like them more muted or more vivid. Viewing media was great and immersive because of the huge display, the curved edges, and the HDR10+ certification providing better colors and contrast in supported video streaming platforms. Though only a single speaker configuration is present for sound, it gets acceptably loud and remains decent even on max volume. The display is also nice and responsive thanks to the 1000Hz touch sampling rate, and the up to 120Hz refresh rate is a real visual treat that makes the standard 60Hz setting feel stuttery in comparison. Granted, maxing out the refresh rate leads to less battery life. But if you are just going to be near a power outlet anyway, might as well enjoy the silky smooth experience.
For the benchmarks, the vivo V29 scored 2,477 on the 3D Mark Wild Life test and 9,245 on the PCMark Work 3.0 benchmark. In real-world use, the vivo V29 was able to handle all the games we threw at it. Demanding titles such as Genshin Impact, Diablo Immortal, NBA 2K, and Asphalt 9 were virtually smooth 99% of the time, with all graphics settings maxed out, even with lots of particle effects happening on screen. Online competitive games such as Mobile Legends Bang Bang, Pokemon Unite, and Call of Duty Mobile also had no trouble keeping steadily high frame rates at maximum quality. Of course, the phone does warm up a bit when pushing the CPU and GPU to their limit, but nothing too alarming. Should you need an extra oomph of performance, the phone’s Ultra Game Mode allows the phone to pool compute resources into the game you’re currently playing.
The 4600mAh battery combined with the energy-efficient Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G processor powered the vivo V29 for almost 16 hours in the PCMark Work 3.0 battery life test. In everyday use, I found the phone to be able to last up to 9 hours of screen on time with data always on, 120Hz refresh rate on, and 50% screen brightness across mixed use of social media, gaming, and imaging. The phone is even able to go much longer if the refresh rate is capped at 60Hz. For charging, vivo claims that the V29 is able to charge up to 50% in just 18 minutes using the bundled 80W power brick. We found this to be accurate, and charging the phone to full from 0% took only around 45 minutes—one of the fastest charging times we’ve seen in this segment.
As a shooter, the vivo V29 lives up to the hype of its marketing. The main camera images come out nice and clear, with bright colors that don’t suffer from over-processing. Contrast and dynamic range are both great in scenes with tricky lighting. The wide-angle camera likewise churns out good images, though the details are not as sharp around the edges of the outputs compared to the middle. For low-light scenarios, the vivo V29 is able to pull in plenty of light without sacrificing too much of the details and without introducing too much noise in the post-processing. As for videos, the vivo V29 is likewise able to produce sharp, detailed, and nicely colored outputs at up to 4K 30fps for both front and rear shooters.
Meanwhile, the Aura Light 2.0 system really does help with properly illuminating subjects in dark conditions. Compared to a normal flash module which produces flat photos with harsh highlights and shadows, the Aura Light 2.0 is able to provide soft fill lighting with automatically suggested color temperatures (from white, to warm yellow, all the way to red) based on the detected lighting conditions. Bonus point that it doesn’t blind your subject as what usually happens with traditional flash.
As a final point on imaging, the vivo V29 comes with a camera and camera app that is great for content creation and vlogging. As mentioned earlier, photos and videos come out great for both front and rear cameras. You have wide-angle options for both sides as well, 0.6x on the rear and 0.8x on the front. EIS is also available for both sides (which combines with OIS in the main rear camera), with processing that does not lead to noticeable jitters around the edges. There’s even an in-camera teleprompter feature if you like shooting scripted content!
Overall, the vivo V29 is a really great phone that manages to strongly distinguish itself from its equally spec’d competitors with what it offers in the imaging department.
Selling for PHP26,999 for the 12GB RAM + 512GB storage variant and PHP24,999 for the 12GB RAM + 256GB storage variant, the vivo V29 finds itself in an increasingly competitive premium midrange territory. This segment has a number of decent contenders, and it takes a lot to be noticed in the busy division. The vivo V29 manages to do exactly that thanks to its reliable performance on all things that matter, with the above-average display pixel density, blazing fast charging, OIS-enabled main shooter, great image processing, and Aura Light 2.0 making it stand out.
- Display: 6.78-inch 2800×1260 px 3D Curve FHD AMOLED display with 120Hz refresh rate, 2160Hz PWM dimming, 1000Hz touch sampling rate, and HDR10+ certification
- Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G
- OS: Funtouch OS 13 (Android 13)
- RAM: 12GB
- Storage: 256GB or 512GB
- Camera: 50MP f/1.9 with a 1/1.56-inch sensor with Optical Image Stabilization (main rear); 8MP f/2.2 with 1/4-inch sensor ultra-wide camera (secondary rear); 2MP f/2.4 monochrome camera (depth rear); 50MP f/2.0 (front)
- Connectivity: 5G, 4G LTE, Wi-Fi 5, Bluetooth 5.2, GPS, NFC, USB Type-C, dual nano-SIM
- Battery: 4600mAh, 80W vivo FlashCharge
- Others: In-display Fingerprint Scanner, Aura Light 2.0 rear fill light, IP54 dust and water-resistance
- Dimensions: 164.2 x 74.4 x 7.5mm
- Weight: 186g
- Colors: Starry Purple and Magic Maroon
- Pricing: PHP 26,999 (12GB RAM + 512GB storage) and PHP 24,999 (12GB RAM + 256GB storage)
- Beautiful colorways
- Silky smooth display and performance across the board
- Great cameras at the front and back for both photos and videos
- Long battery life with blazing fast charging
- No 3.5mm jack
The vivo V29 ticks all the boxes you need in a daily driver—all-day battery, awesome cameras, and reliable performance—at a really competitive price tag.
Reviewed by Chris Noel Hidalgo
Also published in GADGETS MAGAZINE September 2023 Issue.