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Vivo V29 review: Putting you in your best light

By Liu Hongzuo - 31 Mar 2024
Launch SRP: S$649

Introduction, Design and Handling, User Interface and Experience

Note: This review was first published on 10 January 2024.

Vivo V29 review.

Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder

We can’t imagine there’d be too many people who’d be in the market for a phone catering to the needs of live streamers or TikTok celebrities. But here we are, with the Vivo V29 midrange handset with all the selfie perks in one device.

Let’s start with its biggest selling point. Vivo V29 has something called Aura Light 2.0, which is an additional ring light alongside its existing LED flash and triple rear camera setup. Aura Light 2.0 goes beyond what conventional smartphone flash offers, emulating the ring light used by most live streamers and TikTok dancers. Without spoiling too much, it exceeds our expectations, so you’ll have to read the review to see how it fares.

Other interesting perks are its physicality, with its 7.46mm body and 186g weight, making it a very lightweight alternative to heavier midrange handsets on the market. It also comes in a unique, translucent 3D finish that defies the standard, “boring” midrange smartphone palettes.

Despite its attention to a lithe form factor, Vivo also managed to squeeze in a 6.78-inch AMOLED display with above-average resolution, peaking at 2,800 x 1,260 pixels and 120Hz refresh rate.

While it sounds like an impressive design language with a built-in feature set to satisfy live streamers, we also want to know if the S$649 Vivo V29 (12GB RAM + 256GB storage) holds up as a standard midrange smartphone or something better.

  Vivo V29
  Vivo V29
Launch SRP
  • From S$649
Operating system
  • Android 13 with FunTouch OS 13
Processor
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G
Built-in Memory
  • 12GB RAM
Display
  • 6.78-inch / 2,800 x 1,260 pixels / AMOLED
  • 60-120Hz refresh rate
Camera
  • Rear:
  • 50MP main camera, f/1.88, OIS, AF
  • 8MP wide-angle, f/2.2, 120° FOV
  • 2MP monochrome, f/2.4
  • Front:
  • 50MP main, f/2.0, AF
Connectivity
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 (2.4GHz, 5GHz), Bluetooth 5.2, A GPS, OTG, NFC
Storage Type
  • 256GB internal storage
  • Dual SIM, Dual Standby (Nano SIM)
Battery
  • 4,600mAh
  • 80W fast-charging (11V/7.3A)
Dimensions
  • 164.18 × 74.37 × 7.46mm
Weight
  • 186g

Practical looker

The Vivo V29's rear (in Starry Purple) comes in a translucent-like, 3D finish.

A careful look around the Vivo V29 will tell you that Vivo put in a lot of effort to make the phone physically appealing. Despite its huge camera lenses and ring light, the phone keeps everything nearly flush and neat inside a rectangular camera island, minimising awkward bobbling when placed face-up on a desk.

This is even before you get to its unique, translucent, three-dimensional colourway on the rear, which stands out among boring or plain-looking midrange alternatives (our review unit came in a dreamy, gradient-toned Starry Purple). The rear finish is surprisingly stain-resistant, with no smudges or marks in our bare-naked daily use (in other words, without slapping on a phone case).

Aerospace-grade metal rims.

To finish off its aesthetic appeal, Vivo V29 used high-polish, aerospace-grade metal borders that also do not smudge or stain easily. 

If the Vivo had opted for a flat display instead of its curved appearance, the V29 would’ve scored full marks in the looks department.

Vivo V29 isn’t just pretty for the sake of it, and the Chinese phone brand ensured that it did get other perks beyond its camera features.

Display of the Vivo V29.

For instance, the 6.78-inch, 60-120Hz refresh rate AMOLED panel it carries has a higher screen resolution (2,800 x 1,260 pixels) than most midrange alternatives with Full HD resolution. Our only complaint is the lack of HDR10 support, which we’ve come to expect on phones of every price bracket and tier. However, the higher resolution is easily more perceptible than HDR10 support on a small screen, so the trade-off is acceptable.

It’s also very slim and light, at 7.46mm and 186g, respectively. Most midrange phones start at 8mm and weigh 200-210g onwards for this screen size, which can be tiring for some during use. Vivo V29 doesn’t have that issue.

These little tweaks are what separates Vivo V29 from other mobiles, and it caters well to people who enjoy compact, lightweight handsets that don’t compromise on display sharpness and clarity.

Vivo V29.

As with most beautiful things and people, the Vivo V29 is not perfect. The phone has below-average audio performance with its single, downward-firing speaker, offering bloated mids with little definition in high notes. Its speaker position is also awkward since you’d likely cover the audio vents when watching videos in landscape mode. 

It also lacks an official IP rating certification, so it lacks water or dust resistance. It's not that the phone would get damaged upon a small splash of water, but without tested certification, it's unclear how carefree one can use it, and it is best to be cautious. That said, the lack of such certification is not out of the norm for midrange phones.

Finally, the slim profile also means forgoing a 3.5mm wired headphone port, which could have been helpful for users who didn’t include a pair of true wireless earbuds in their phone-buying budget. For an affordable pair, you can consider these from Creative.

User Interface, user experience

Vivo V29 comes with a reskinned Android 13 (Funtouch OS) that can be upgraded to Android 14 after a firmware update.

Vivo V29’s day-to-day operations feel typical for a mid-range smartphone. You won’t get flagship-quick bootups or speedy app launches. It does, however, handle in-app browsing fluidly.

The optical in-display fingerprint sensor is a nice touch that complements its slim profile, and it’s highly accurate; it doesn’t trigger on unregistered fingers and yet triggers within a second. We’d prefer a slightly higher placement for better access (food for thought: can phone companies make fingerprint detection and placement customisable? That would be rad).

The fast and accurate in-display optical fingerprint sensor could be placed a little higher for better handling.

Another notable feature (and a major plus point) coincided with our Vivo V29 review period: we could use the Android 14 version of FuntouchOS after a firmware update. To us, it’s crucial that phones of every pricing bracket get regularly updated for security reasons, and V29 does not disappoint with such a timely software upgrade despite its mid-range classification.

Beyond these noteworthy points, Vivo V29’s core features mostly focus on its camera capabilities, which we’ll go into detail under our next section, Imaging.

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7.5
  • Design 8.5
  • Features 8
  • User-Friendliness 8
  • Performance 7
  • Value 7.5
The Good
Powerful ring light is better than most smartphone flash
Excellent battery life
Above-average display resolution
Already has its Android 14 update
The Bad
No IP rating
Mediocre audio
Mediocre benchmark performance
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