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vivo has been making a strong impact in the smartphone market recently. The BBK-owned brand even overtook Samsung to secure the top spot in one of the world's major smartphone markets and is gaining attention in Europe and Latin America as well. One of the big reasons for vivo's recent success is that it offers smartphones with excellent cameras and an outstanding user experience, all without asking for crazy high prices.

vivo's V series smartphones play a significant role in their success story, known for offering excellent cameras at an affordable price. The vivo V27, in fact, got a lot of praise from our sister-site Pocket-Lint for being a great budget phone with really good cameras. The vivo V29 is the latest offering from the company, and it brings an even better Aura ring light experience and a unique design.

We've been using the vivo V29 for the past few weeks and are really impressed with it. In this review, we'll dive deep into everything the vivo V29 has to offer and see if it's worth your money.

vivo V29 PBI
vivo V29
Best Affordable Camera Phone
8 / 10

vivo V29 is the company's latest midrange smartphone, offering great camera abilities, design, and features at an affordable price. It comes with a large 6.78-inch curved AMOLED screen, a main 50MP camera with OIS, and a 50MP front camera. This model is among the first budget-friendly vivo phones to include IP68 water resistance.

Material
3D Magnetic Particles Glass back, Fluorite AG Glass front
IP Rating
IP68
Dimensions
164.18 × 74.37 × 7.46 mm
Weight
186g
Display
6.78-inch, AMOLED, 120Hz, 452 PPI, 2800 × 1260-pixel resolution
SoC
Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G
RAM
8GB, 12GB
Storage
128GB, 256GB, 512GB
Operating System
Funtouch OS 13 (Android 13)
Battery
4,600 mAh
Ports
USB-C
Front camera
50 MP (Auto-Focus)
Others
Aura Ring Light
Connectivity
5G, LTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.2
Security
Under-display fingerprint scanner, Face unlock, PIN, Pattern, Password
Colors
Starry Purple, Peak Blue, Noble Black, Velvet Red
Pros
  • Large curved AMOLED display
  • Great primary camera
  • Unique rear finish with 3D magnetic particles
  • All-day battery life
  • Sleek design with IP68 durability
Cons
  • Performance could be slightly improved
  • No wireless charging
  • Can be slippery without a case

Price and availability

vivo v29 pocketnow images 5
Pocketnow / Sanuj Bhatia

vivo introduced the V29 officially in August 2023, but it's currently available for purchase in only a select few markets. vivo says the V29 will soon be available in a total of 39 countries worldwide, including major regions in Europe, Asia, and Latin America.

Presently, you can purchase the smartphone in Spain for €529. While there's no official information about its pricing in the rest of Europe, considering the €529 price tag in Spain, we anticipate it will be similarly priced in other European markets. It's worth noting that the vivo V29 is also scheduled to launch in India on October 4, 2023.

We will update this review as and when more information becomes available.

Design

vivo v29 pocketnow images 9
Pocketnow / Sanuj Bhatia
  • Dimensions: 164.18 × 74.37 × 7.46 mm
  • Weight: 186g
  • Colors: Starry Purple, Peak Blue, Noble Black, Velvet Red
  • Build Materials: Unique-looking 3D Magnetic Particles / Fluorite AG Glass / Color Changing Glass / IP68

The vivo V29 shares a lot of design language with its predecessor, the V27. It has a curved screen in the front and a curved back with a rectangular camera module in the top left corner. The camera system now includes a bigger main camera, an ultra-wide sensor, and a much larger Aura Ring Light, which we'll talk about more below. There's also a small 2MP monochrome sensor next to the flash.

The back has been given a unique finish, especially the Peak Blue version we tested. This unique look draws inspiration from mountain peaks and features about 15 million micron-sized magnetic particles that reflect the light in a special way, creating a unique look. If you like glossy finishes, the Peak Blue V29 will catch your eye for sure.

vivo v29 velvet red 6
Pocketnow / Sanuj Bhatia

The Starry Purple version also features this distinct finish. The V29 comes in Velvet Red too (shown above), which looks more like pink/purple and features a smooth gradient finish. But if you prefer something simpler, the V29 is also available in a Noble Black variant. While the latter two models have a Fluorite AG Glass back, the others, like Peak Blue and Starry Purple, use a plastic back that feels surprisingly high-end.

The layout of the phone is standard. There is a USB-C port, a speaker grill, and a SIM tray at the bottom. The power button and volume rockers are on the right side, while the top and left sides are left blank. Despite its slim profile and dual-curved back and front, vivo has ensured the buttons on the V29 are tactile and easily reachable.

On the whole, the vivo V29 has a very good in-hand feel. The curved back and screen make it an overall sleek package that's a joy to use. It is quite lightweight as well, coming in at around 186 grams, and didn't cause any fatigue during prolonged usage. It's a bit slippery, though, so having the included clear TPU case helps. But even with the case on, the phone stays slim and easy to handle.

The vivo V29 is a joy to use thanks to its sleek design and comfortable in-hand feel.

Durability-wise, the vivo V29 is on-par with most modern-day flagships as it is IP68 dust and water-resistant — something we rarely see in budget smartphones. vivo even claims that the V29 can take up to a 1-meter-high roll and drop test, although we didn't try that ourselves.

Display

vivo v29 pocketnow images 8
Pocketnow / Sanuj Bhatia
  • 6.78-inch, 2800 × 1260-pixel resolution, AMOLED, 120Hz, 452 PPI
  • Curved Edges
  • Under-display fingerprint scanner

Moving on to the display, the vivo V29 features a big 6.78-inch AMOLED panel with a 120Hz refresh rate. This screen features 2800 × 1260-pixel resolution, 452 PPI, and supports HDR10+ playback. It is curved on the sides, and even though it isn't quad-curved like the HONOR 90, I have to say that it is one of the most beautiful-looking displays that I have seen in this segment. The bezels on the sides are minimal, and even the top and bottom bezels are very small.

If I had to sum up my experience with the vivo V29's display in one sentence, I'd say it's an absolute delight to use.

The color reproduction is excellent, and the sunlight visibility is also very good. Playing games, surfing the web, watching videos, and reading were all enjoyable experiences on the vivo V29. The 120Hz refresh rate made the experience smooth and fluid. vivo also includes several display technologies to reduce harmful blue light and screen flickering to protect your eyes.

Camera

vivo v29 pocketnow images 3
Pocketnow / Sanuj Bhatia
  • 50 MP primary camera sensor with OIS and f/1.9 aperture
  • 8 MP ultra-wide angle + 2MP monochrome sensor
  • 50 MP selfie camera with auto-focus
  • Aura Ring Light wit Smart Color Temperature Adjustment and even lighting

And now onto what makes the vivo V29 really shine – its cameras. The vivo V29 packs a similar camera setup as its predecessor, featuring a 50 MP main camera, an 8 MP ultra-wide lens, and a 2 MP monochrome sensor. On the front, the selfie camera remains at 50 MP but now has auto-focus and a wider f/2.0 aperture for better-lit selfies.

The primary camera is the star of the show. It takes excellent photos with plenty of detail and sharpness. The colors are quite lively, leaning towards a bit more vivid side, especially when compared to the iPhone 14 Pro Max, but not oversaturated. The images are crisp, with a broad dynamic range and hardly any visible noise. Even when dealing with tricky lighting, the V29 manages to capture a wide range of details — something that even the best flagship smartphones fail to do.

vivo v29 velvet red camera
Pocketnow / Sanuj Bhatia

Even in low light or areas with artificial lighting, the camera manages to impress. It captures a good amount of light even without using the Aura Ring Light, thanks to the built-in optical image stabilization (OIS). The Ring Light comes in handy for low-light situations where using the flash isn't ideal. It evens out the lighting on your subject, and the automatic color adjustments work seamlessly.

The vivo V29 has one of the best primary cameras in the midrange segment.

However, the ultra-wide angle camera and the monochrome sensors are a little underwhelming. You'll notice a drop in overall quality, sharpness, detail, and color. However, if you don't use the ultra-wide camera often, it should do the job for occasional shots. For the best results, sticking to the main camera and selfie shooter is your best bet.

Talking about the selfie shooter, the V29 features a 50 MP selfie shooter with auto-focus f/2.0 aperture. Just like the previous model, the V29 delivers some of the best front-facing shots. Selfies are full of detail and sharpness, consistently impressing with their quality. On the whole, if selfies are your thing, the V29 won't disappoint.

The vivo V29 might just have the best camera of all the midrange smartphones, but don't just take my word for it – take a look at the sample pictures down below and decide for yourself.

Camera samples

Daylight

Wide vs Ultra-Wide vs 2x

Low/Artificial Light

Hardware and software

vivo v29 pocketnow images 2
Pocketnow / Sanuj Bhatia
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G processor
  • 8GB + 128/256GB or 12GB + 256/512GB
  • Funtouch OS 13 (based on Android 13)

Moving onto the internals, the vivo V29 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G chipset, the same chipset that powered the last year's Nothing Phone (1). The chip has one Cortex-A78 clocked at 2.4GHz, three Cortex-A78 clocked at 2.2GHz, and four Cortex-A55 at 1.9GHz. Adreno 642L handles the phone's graphics and it comes in choices of 8/12GB RAM and 128GB, 256GB, or 512GB storage.

In everyday use, the Snapdragon 778G works well. It handles multitasking, switching apps, and some games without a hitch. There were a few instances when animations stuttered, especially during the initial setup when there were lags, but once everything was settled, the phone felt fast and responsive most of the time.

However, if you're into gaming, this might not be your best bet. Games like Call of Duty, Asphalt 9, and Battlegrounds Mobile India (Indian version of PUBG Mobile) had to be set to lower graphics for smooth play. But, if your usage involves scrolling Instagram, texting on WhatsApp, browsing, and similar tasks, this phone is pretty capable.

On the software side, the vivo V29 comes with Funtouch OS 13 straight out of the box. It looks a lot like stock Android but with a few (useful) added features, such as multi-window gestures, customizable animations, and themes. vivo promises two major Android OS updates and three years of security updates for the V29.

The vivo V29 can handle everyday tasks easily, but for serious gaming, it might not be the top choice.

If I had to nitpick on the hardware side, the speakers aren't the greatest. They're clear and loud but lack bass, and there's only one speaker, so we don't get any kind of stereo effect. As for the software side, it seems as if the Funtouch OS lowers animations refresh rate quite aggressively to save battery life, but we managed to force 120Hz and still got good battery life. And speaking of battery...

Battery

vivo v29 pocketnow images 4
Pocketnow / Sanuj Bhatia
  • 4,600 mAh battery
  • 80W fast wired charging
  • No wireless charging

The vivo V29 comes with a 4,600 mAh battery, which might not be the biggest compared to some other midrange phones. But, it actually performs quite well. I managed to get through a full day with no issues – that involves using the phone for email, surfing web, taking photos, and playing games – and I consistently got screen-on-time (SoT) of more than 6 hours on a full charge.

For those days when you need a quick charge, the V29 comes with super fast 80W FlashCharge. vivo says the smartphone can go from 0 to 50% in less than 18 minutes, and I found that to be true. Plus, the charging adapter is still included in the box. If I had to find a small issue, it's that there's no wireless charging, which is a bit disappointing. But honestly, I didn't really miss it because the battery life is really impressive.

Verdict

vivo v29 pocketnow images 6
Pocketnow / Sanuj Bhatia

So, should you buy the vivo V29? Well, if you are looking for a smartphone that's lightweight, feels good in your hand, has a fantastic display with software that complements it well, and boasts exceptional camera capabilities, all without having a price that doesn't break the bank, the vivo V29 is your best bet.

The only slight drawback might be in its performance, but if you're not into heavy graphics-intensive gaming, that might not even bother you. Plus, the battery life is solid, and charging times are short. All in all, if you're looking for a midrange smartphone that offers impressive camera features, the V29 won't disappoint.

vivo V29 PBI
vivo V29

Best Affordable Camera Phone

8 / 10

vivo V29 is the company's latest midrange smartphone, offering great camera abilities, design, and features at an affordable price. It comes with a large 6.78-inch curved AMOLED screen, a main 50MP camera with OIS, and a 50MP front camera. This model is among the first budget-friendly vivo phones to include IP68 water resistance.