Reviewing the capabilities of the vivo V27 5G from the perspective of a content creator.
As a content creator, one who focuses on festive events and light-ups, I’m always on the lookout for easier ways to take attractive photos and videos.
Trained the old fashion way, I still believe that DSLRs are indispensable for event photography. But operating in a tropical city where there’s a noteworthy event every other week, walking around weekly for hours while encumbered by 3 – 4 kg of camera gear quickly becomes a chore I groan to think about.
The vivo V27 5G smartphone thus attracted me the moment I read about it. vivo’s April 2023 flagship-level addition to its stylish V series, this beautiful 6.78” lifestyle smartphone comes packed with a long list of features that seems perfect for a content creator’s needs. The Aura Light Portrait System, hybrid image stabilization, a Sony IMX766V sensor, to name but three.
What’s even more amazing is that the V27 is priced in the mid-bracket, despite these attractive, flagship-model features.
Long story short, I was most keen to investigate just how much I could rely on the vivo V27 5G for “work photography” needs. With a review unit in hand, I then went about downtown for two days photographing and videoing various scenes that’d be tough for even my Nikon DSLRs to capture without a tripod and proper skills.
The following are my discoveries. Which I present with a smile.
- vivo V27 5G Key Features
- vivo V27 5G Camera Test — Different Real World Scenarios
- Aura Light Portrait System
- Natural Color
- Night Photography and Video Testing — i Light Singapore 2023 and GastroBeats 2023
- Further Night Testing – Video Stabilization and AI Video Enhancement
- Other Aspects of the vivo V27 5G
- Review Conclusion
vivo V27 5G Key Features
Since I don’t intend for this post to be the usual sort of tech review, I’m not going to present a long list of the specifications of the vivo V27 5G. For that, allow me to direct you to gsmarena.com’s spec list.
Instead, I’ll list the key features of this flagship V series smartphone.
- 7.36 mm thick and 180 g heavy, with a 2.3 mm one-piece narrow frame
- 6.78” 120Hz, 1 billion colours, AMOLED screen. 2400 × 1080 (FHD+) resolution.
- Android 13 (Funtouch 13) OS
- 50 MP, f/1.9, main wide camera | 8 MP, f/2.2, 16mm, 120˚ ultrawide camera |2 MP, f/2.4, macro camera
- 50 MP, f/2.5, selfie camera
- MediaTek Dimensity 7200 4nm Chip for higher processing speeds while using less power
- 8 GM extended ram for multitasking
- Aura Light Portrait System—detects low ambient light and adds brightness for radiant, delicate, complexion shots
- Sony IMX766V Sensor with Optical Image Stabilization for brighter night shots
- Portrait Studio suite of functions for balanced, brighter shots
- HD Autofocus
- Real-time Extreme Night Vision, Super Night Mode, and XDR Photo for superior night shots
- 4600 mAH battery with 66W flashcharge
To me, these key features spell one message; one that is immensely attractive to me.
The various camera features strongly suggest that the vivo V27 5G is well equipped for tough photography scenarios; particularly, low-light environments and night scenes.
With an energy-saving MediaTek Dimensity 7200 chip and a 66W flashcharge capability, it looks the case too that the V27 is capable of hours of photography and videography without running into battery issues.
I have a whole section on V27 image capture below. For the moment, let me just say that I used my fully-charged review unit for four hours, taking hundreds of photos and tens of video clips, and the battery level was still above 65 percent.
More importantly, this midrange smartphone never once got hot during use, not even when I was shooting a four-minute clip. (This is very important to me; I get jumpy when a smartphone heats up) As far as power conservation is concerned, I think the V27 5G delivers what it promises.
A Colour-Changing, Colour “Morphing” Case
This is another key feature of the vivo V27 5G, a cosmetic one that I didn’t include in my list above.
To be honest, it’s not a feature that caught my eye—I look at smartphones with a utilitarian eye. When I first read about it, I was baffled too. Colour changing under UV light? Huh?
A quick test under Singapore’s brilliant sunshine quickly cleared up my confusion. In essence, my review unit was the Emerald Green version and it comes with a back casing that’s jade-like in appearance. Milky light green with vague wavy patterns and all.
Under sunlight, the colour steadily darkens to a rich teal. If only parts of the casing are exposed to sunlight, brief and unique abstract patterns would be created. Briefly, as in the jade colour soon returns.
It’s an interesting aesthetic feature. For me, it wouldn’t be what I’d buy the phone for, but I agree that it’s a beautiful and fun feature to have.
It’d certainly make the V27 a great fashion accessory too.
Size and Weight
A quick word on the size and weight of the V27 5G.
I love a BIG smartphone screen; frankly, I wonder who doesn’t.
With its size and 120Hz refresh rate, the V27’s AMOLED is definitely a joy to watch videos on or play games with.
The size makes it a little difficult to bring around though—I wouldn’t feel comfortable leaving the phone in my pocket with so much sticking out. On the bright side, it’s thin, comfortable to hold, and surprisingly light. It’s significantly lighter than my smaller Samsung S22.
This lesser weight is a huge attraction to me. When I’m moving around with my DSLR gear, the last thing I need is another weighty gadget. The V27 wouldn’t be a burden in such situations if it doesn’t altogether remove the need for me to bring a DSLR about.
You know, I completely overlooked this for a few days as I assumed most if not all better smartphones nowadays would have some sort of IP rating.
Curiously, the V27 5G doesn’t come with any IP rating. This means you really have to be quite careful not to get it too wet or dusty, etc.
Now, I’ve never dropped a phone into water—touch wood—so the lack of an IP rating doesn’t seem a big deal to me. Still, it would have been a great assurance, yeah? This is one area that the V27 mildly disappointed.
vivo V27 5G Camera Test — Different Real World Scenarios
‘Right! Here’s what I did to test the content creation capabilities of the vivo V27 5G. In other words, the many camera functions.
It’s a two-day “love affair” that involved visiting two exhibitions at Gardens by the Bay, and the month-long i Light Singapore 2023 outdoor programmes around Singapore’s Marina Bay.
Before I begin, let me just highlight that the camera interface of the V27 5G is similar in format/layout to other Android phones of recent years, but each panel comes with all sorts of “enhancement” functions. Not just the usual HDR option but things like Natural Color and AI Video Enhancement.
There is also a devoted panel for portraits shots, which is equipped with all sorts of fun filters and effects, as well as Night and Micro Movie panels. (The latter allows you to quickly create social media perfect clips)
These settings provide a lot of fun and exciting possibilities; frankly, a new user will have fun for days. On the flip side, certain useful functions such as Ultra Video Stabilization aren’t immediately obvious. I admit with embarrassment that I shot over 30 video clips before I even realised there was such a setting.
Daylight Photography and Video Testing — Rose Romance 2023
Most modern smartphones, even budget ones, perform well in daylight scenes. Thus, I didn’t expect the vivo V27 5G to disappoint in this area. But I’ll let some sample shots do the talking.
In a nutshell, gosh, I expected the V27 to do well but the results still impress. Pictures taken are sharp and remarkably accurate in color, with or without me fiddling with the Natural Color setting. 90 percent of the time, auto exposure, autofocus, and bokeh are accurate too AND without me needing to tap the screen.
The only times when I had issues were when I zoomed in on the roses but forgot to manually refocus. (I should have used the Super Macro setting instead) Like any other smartphone camera, image quality markedly dips the more you zoom in.
On that, I’ll say it’s best not to go beyond the 2x setting provided by the camera interface unless you’re keen on post-editing. At the maximum 10x level zoom, the quality is, err, best left unmentioned.
Vice versa, super wide shots are generally reliable although there is a slight dip in sharpness, dynamic range, and exposure accuracy. However, the reductions are more or less unnoticeable when viewed on a smartphone screen. Frankly, I only noticed them when viewing the pictures with my desktop monitor.
Have a look at my Rose Romance 2023 post to see the rest of the pictures I took that afternoon.
Here are three more shots too to show the difference between the cameras. Click to view larger pic.
Moving on, videos taken at FHD, 30 fps, produce very much the same results. What’s notable here is also how well the optical stabilization works. It doesn’t completely smoothen “walking” footage, but still footage appears as if I was using a tripod.
I’ll go ahead and say it. For daylight scenes, I think the V27 5G camera is comfortably reliable for content creation needs as long as you don’t need to zoom in too much. If you’re only using the main camera, the colour and exposure accuracy will save you a world of post-editing too.
Interlude – Further Video Testing and Food Shots
Done with the floral show, I headed over to the nearby Jurassic Nest Food Hall for dinner. To test the V27 5G’s ability with food shots too.
Indoor food shots yielded much more impressive results. If you’ve ever been to the Jurassic Nest Food Hall, you’d know how dim the interior is. How photography is made doubly difficult too with all the warm lighting.
The V27 main camera handled these challenging conditions magnificently. What it produced is extremely near what I was seeing in person, with a dash of brightening to highlight details. This result, by the way, is consistent with the food shots that I took the previous evening.
Video Taking at FHD, 60 FPS Setting – Love the Last March
My last itinerary for the day was a “video shoot” at Love the Last March sculpture, a 192-metres outdoor attraction just steps away from the Flower Dome. 192-metres—superbly long and completely perfect for further testing video stabilization.
Two observations, which you can see in the video below:
- The V27’s “standard” stabilization didn’t quite work that well here, although results are arguably still better or at least on par with what my Nikon D780 can do. To be fair, I should highlight that the sculpture is spread over two slopes. I wasn’t walking on even pathways.
- Once again, the auto exposure and autofocus impress. It’s really great that I could just “film away” without having to worry about manual refocusing.
Aura Light Portrait System
While at Love the Last March and over the next few evenings, I took every opportunity to try the much-promoted Aura Light Portrait System.
If you’ve read any of the official sales literature by vivo, you’d know that this is the key selling point of the V27 5G. The system that, as claimed, produces breathtaking portrait photos even in low-light conditions.
It works in two ways too. Right beside the rear camera is a light ring. If the Aura Light Portrait System is active and you’re using the rear camera, the ring lights up with white light. The light then provides additional illumination for better low-light photos, better complexion capture, etc.
If you’re using the selfie camera, half of the screen will be flushed with brilliant white light. (The V27’s screen is capable of up to 1,300 nits brightness, i.e., it’s brilliantly bright) The camera interface also conveniently provides an oval frame for you to position your face for the best effect.
What’s further important to note is this. For the rear camera, Aura Light is available whether or not you are using the Portrait panel of the camera interface. However, for the selfie camera, it’s only available in the Portrait panel.
I want to talk a bit about this setting, which I fiddled with a lot.
Natural Color is a setting you can instantly turn on in the Photo panel of the camera interface. Information on it is a bit lacking online, including on the official product page. Going by what was prompted within the camera interface, it reduces brightness, saturation, etc.
You know what? Going by actual output, the difference is sometimes tough to notice.
I put it as this. As far as this setting is concerned, I think it’s something “fun” to fiddle with. But even without it, photo output is still great in quality.
Night Photography and Video Testing — i Light Singapore 2023 and GastroBeats 2023
As mentioned earlier, the V27 camera interface has a devoted Night panel. Whether you use this panel or the Photo panel, low-light images require a moment to take and you’d be prompted to keep the smartphone steady. Note that if you use the Night panel, you can shoot with filters made for night photography, with better night processing too.
In general, whether or not Night mode is used, image quality is superior, though not exactly to the extent that post-editing is completely unnecessary. The usual nuisances with smartphone night photography processing occasionally surface—excessive noise, excessive noise reduction, mild blotchiness or over saturation, etc. But on the whole, these are infrequent.
Once again, I let the photos and videos themselves elaborate.
Of course, if you were to examine my night photos at 100 percent zoom, you will notice some noise, sketchy edges, etc. But on smartphone screens, these are hardly noticeable. To me, they could easily be corrected with basic photo editing too, with the process no different from what I do with my DSLR images.
In short, I think the V27 5G camera is impressively reliable as a “point-and shoot” as far as low-light photography and videography are concerned. It can’t be expected to match the output of a full camera setup but what it produces is not far behind.
For certain scenes, it’s even on par.
Further Night Testing – Video Stabilization and AI Video Enhancement
Two settings/enhancements that I didn’t extensively test during my two days at Marina Bay were Ultra Stabilization and AI Video Enhancement.
The former is hidden inside the button for video stabilization and, ahem, I didn’t know it was there till I sat down and went through every setting, after the above photo outings.
The latter is available as a button on the Video panel. This setting sometimes turns off after the camera is not used for an extended period. In other words, I kept forgetting to turn it back on. This resetting business is an issue I had with Natural Color too.
To cut the story short, I shot more videos over the next few days and during these rounds, I discovered the following:
- Day or night, I don’t see Ultra Stabilization exhibiting much difference from Standard Stabilization. (To remind, Standard is already quite amazing) In fact, I feel Ultra sometimes creates a ripple-like effect when the camera suddenly stops moving.
- Frankly, most night scenes that I shot didn’t need AI Video Enhancement. The V27 itself tells you so by switching on HDR instead of night enhancement. When it is needed though, the video is digitally brightened; sometimes, quite dramatically. (Indigo skies become a mid, luscious blue) Whether this works for you, or not, depends on the scene.
Other Aspects of the vivo V27 5G
No one buys a smartphone just for the camera, or do they? Regardless, I should at least briefly review the other aspects of this smartphone.
6.78” AMOLED Screen: What’s there not to love about such a large curved screen, with its 120Hz refresh rate and FHD+ resolution? Not to mention, the phone is light and thin despite its size. The zoom function is a bit dicey, though. Because of the length of the V27 5G, the top and bottom of FHD/4K videos would be cut off after zooming in. This could result in captions being cut off.
Audio: Like many smartphones, the V27 5G’s speaker is located on the bottom edge where the USB port is. It’s loud enough, for me, but this single speaker creates a slight aural imbalance when watching videos in landscape mode. If you’re particular about sound, it’s best to use earphones.
Speed and Funtouch 13: I must admit I’m a bit lost over what to say about these aspects other than I had no issue with the standard apps that I use. Funtouch 13 is also something slightly different from what I’m used to on my Samsung S22 but like all such systems, it’s a matter of getting used to it. Offhand, it feels more organized and intuitive.
I think there is a lot to love about the vivo V27 5G. Seriously a lot. Doubly so when you consider its mid-range price.
It’s beautiful in two ways. The casing changes colours under sunlight. The screen is big and clear with a high refresh rate too. Best of all, despite such a large screen, the phone is thin and lightweight.
The camera delivers absolutely superb results too. There are some issues with zooms, etc, and the many functions of the camera could take a while to get used to. But overall, the V27 camera can quite reliably function as a point-and-shoot. As a content creator, I will say I’m more than comfortable relying on this smartphone for a wide variety of photo and video shoots, day or night.
(And it is indeed reliable, as you can tell from the videos shared. I am already using all these videos for other posts.)
Coming to the Aura Light Portrait System, I think it’s a great thing to have. There is no doubt that it helps with difficult low-light scenarios. However, the Aura Light is powerful and its intensity cannot be adjusted. In my case, this often creates an unsightly reflection in my glasses, thus limiting the angles I could use the selfie camera with.
The above said, I personally feel Aura Light is only necessary with very dim settings. Without it, the V27 5G can still take amazing great night and portrait photos, albeit, with some results needing a smidge of post-editing. You can also use the Aura Light system to create better food shots, etc.
I repeat something that I wrote earlier. I don’t think people will buy a smartphone just for its camera. But the vivo V27 5G is definitely worth buying because of its superior camera.