vivo V23 review

GSMArena Team, 26 January 2022.

6.44-inch, 90Hz, HDR10+ AMOLED display

In yet another case of "quite similar, yet pretty different", the vanilla V23 borrows most of the display specifications of its bigger sibling. Vivo still went for an AMOLED panel. One is slightly smaller at 6.44 inches in diagonal than the 6.56 inches on the V23 Pro. The resolution is technically the same at FullHD+, though the two phones have a slightly different aspect, with the V23 rocking a taller 20:9 aspect and hence a few extra vertical pixels and a native resolution of 1080 x 2400 pixels. Not a major change compared to the 1080 x 2376 pixels on the V23 Pro. Though, the smaller display-diagonal does technically result in a slightly higher pixel density as well, at around 409 ppi. In person, both phones look perfectly sharp and pretty-much identical, though.

vivo V23 review

The overall shape of the two panels is arguably their biggest difference. Whether or not you prefer the flat look and feel of the regular V23 or the aggressively curved edges of the V23 Pro is a matter of personal choice, though. Other than that, the two panels look oddly identical due to their very similar notch designs. Yet again, it's odd how similar yet different vivo managed to make the V23 and the V23 Pro.

The two panels do still differ a bit in terms of performance. Not drastically so, but still enough to conclude that the V23 has a slightly lesser display. The V23 managed a maximum of 435 nits of maximum brightness on the slider - pretty close to the V23 Pro. Unfortunately, the V23's max auto brightness falls noticeably behind the V23 Pro at a max of 629 nits. That is still quite usable outdoors, but not really in direct sunlight. On a slightly more positive note, the V23 has slightly dimmer whites at minimum brightness.

Display test 100% brightness
Black,cd/m2 White,cd/m2 Contrast ratio
vivo X70 Pro+ (Max Auto) 0 1022
vivo X70 Pro (Max Auto) 0 993
Google Pixel 6 (Max Auto) 0 846
Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G (Max Auto) 0 846
Samsung Galaxy A32 (Max Auto) 0 814
Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G (Max Auto) 0 800
vivo V23 Pro (Max Auto) 0 798
Xiaomi Mi 11T (Max Auto) 0 798
Samsung Galaxy A52 5G (Max Auto) 0 787
Honor 50 (Max Auto) 0 748
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro (Max Auto) 0 725
Poco F3 (Max Auto) 0 716
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 (Max Auto) 0 682
Realme GT Neo2 (Max Auto) 0 659
Realme 8 (Max Auto) 0 657
Realme GT Master (Max Auto) 0 634
OnePlus Nord 2 5G (Max Auto) 0 633
vivo V23 5g (Max Auto) 0 629
Poco M3 Pro 5G (Max Auto) 0.366 536 1464:1
Poco X3 Pro (Max Auto) 0.4 534 1335:1
Honor 50 0 525
Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G 0 514
Poco F3 0 511
Poco M4 Pro 5G (Max Auto) 0.33 510 1545:1
Xiaomi Mi 11T 0 498
Realme GT Neo2 0 498
Samsung Galaxy A32 5G (Max Auto) 0.338 497 1470:1
Google Pixel 6 0 477
Xiaomi Redmi 10 (Max Auto) 0.4 477 1193:1
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 0 475
vivo V23 Pro 0 463
vivo X70 Pro+ 0 458
Realme 8 0 458
Poco X3 Pro 0.327 458 1401:1
vivo X70 Pro 0 457
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro 0 457
OnePlus Nord 2 5G 0 438
Realme GT Master 0 437
vivo V23 5g 0 435
Samsung Galaxy A32 5G 0.286 426 1490:1
Poco M3 Pro 5G 0.28 413 1475:1
Poco M4 Pro 5G 0.264 410 1553:1
Xiaomi Redmi 10 0 396 1494:1
Samsung Galaxy A32 0 393
Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G 0 383
Samsung Galaxy A52 5G 0 378

The same general comparative observation is also true for color accuracy. Like the V23 Pro, the vanilla V23 is decent in this department but not amazing and just slightly worse than the Pro. You get a choice between a total of three color modes - standard, bright and professional. Both standard and bright target the DPI-P3 color space. Neither manages to hit deltaE value anywhere near what we would consider color-accurate. Bright mode boosts the primary channels to convey the feeling of a brighter display since that's one way the human eye works. Professional mode targets sRGB instead and is a bit better in terms of accuracy, but still not quite color-accurate. Generally speaking, all of the color modes tend to lean on the colder side with a slight blue tint. You can correct for that by sliding the included color temperature slider a bit, but don't expect any major improvement in color accuracy.

Color modes - vivo V23 review
Color modes

The V23 is well-equipped when it comes to HDR support. You get HDR10, HDR10+, and HLG, with just Dolby Vision missing from the list. Of course, the actual quality of the HDR playback is a whole different story, considering the maximum brightness the panel is capable of. While not ideal, we still found HDR to look notably better than SDR in our testing. We are happy to report that the V23 has the highest possible Widevine L1 DRM certification, which means that services like Netflix can offer HD and higher streaming resolution. In this particular case, 1080p, since that is enough to saturate the native resolution of the display.

HDR support - vivo V23 review Widevine - vivo V23 review Netflix playback support - vivo V23 review HDR on YouTube - vivo V23 review
HDR support • Widevine • Netflix playback support • HDR on YouTube

As of writing this review, the Netflix app refused to serve HDR content, which is probably a whitelisting issue. YouTube was perfectly happy to give us HDR, though. The V23 Pro was exactly in the same boat.

High refresh rate handling

Refresh rate and its handling is yet another similarity between the vanilla vivo V23 and the V23 Pro. The panel can refresh at up to 90Hz, which should be considered "basic" or "entry level" high refresh rate on the current smartphone scene. In terms of handling, you get a few options, including fixed 60Hz and 90Hz modes and "Smart switch". Unfortunately, the latter doesn't work well at all.

Refresh rate options - vivo V23 review
Refresh rate options

Scrolling through the vivo UI and its menus actually work just fine. The phone goes up to 90Hz when you interact with it and then back down to 60Hz after a few seconds of inactivity. That's pretty good when it comes to battery saving.

Automatic refresh rate switching works great in the UI and in menus - vivo V23 review Automatic refresh rate switching works great in the UI and in menus - vivo V23 review Automatic refresh rate switching works great in the UI and in menus - vivo V23 review
Automatic refresh rate switching works great in the UI and in menus

Unfortunately, the auto-refresh rate falls apart once you start launching apps. There just seems to be no rhyme or reason for the switching. Both Chrome and the default vivo browser chose to work at 60Hz and never went up to 90Hz on their own. That was the case for most other apps we tried.

Apps working at 60Hz - vivo V23 review Apps working at 60Hz - vivo V23 review Apps working at 60Hz - vivo V23 review Apps working at 60Hz - vivo V23 review Apps working at 60Hz - vivo V23 review
Apps working at 60Hz - vivo V23 review Apps working at 60Hz - vivo V23 review Apps working at 60Hz - vivo V23 review Apps working at 60Hz - vivo V23 review
Apps working at 60Hz

Very few apps we tried actually managed to start at 90Hz in automatic refresh rate mode. Once again, without any obvious logic behind which apps.

Apps working at 90Hz - vivo V23 review Apps working at 90Hz - vivo V23 review Apps working at 90Hz - vivo V23 review
Apps working at 90Hz

We also tried a few games which we know, for a fact, can run above 60fps and make use of a higher refresh rate. Unfortunately, most titles didn't manage to trigger 90Hz mode. A fact that was only made sadder by vivo's otherwise stellar automatic game recognition when it comes to triggering its gaming optimizations. Dead Trigger 2 was the sole exception we encountered, which automatically ran at 90Hz. Interestingly, this was not the case on the V23 Pro during its review. Perhaps vivo is actually working on its refresh rate switching logic, and we can hope for some desperately-needed improvements?

Most games refuse to automatically run in 90Hz mode - vivo V23 review Most games refuse to automatically run in 90Hz mode - vivo V23 review Most games refuse to automatically run in 90Hz mode - vivo V23 review
Most games refuse to automatically run in 90Hz mode

At least there is a silver lining in vivo's decision to specifically add a strict 60Hz mode and a strict 90Hz one. For gaming purposes, you can just go in and flip over to 90Hz. Most of the games we tried did, in fact, feel smoother while running at a fixed 90Hz, which suggests that they were making proper use of the mode and getting frame rates above 60fps.

vivo V23 review

Here's hoping vivo's automatic refresh rate switching mode eventually gets fixed.

Battery life

The vivo V23 has a 4,200 mAh battery. Far from the biggest around, but still very respectable for its thickness of 7.39mm on the Stardust Black or 7.55mm on the Sunshine Gold and weight of 179 grams on the Stardust Black and 181 grams on the Sunshine Gold.

Better still, the V23 managed to make surprisingly good use out of that capacity scoring a very respectable 103 hours of total endurance rating.

vivo V23 review

This is actually the first time we are testing a MediaTek Dimensity 920 phone at the office, and its efficiency does not appear to disappoint. We figured about as much, seeing how it is manufactured on the same 6nm process as the Dimensity 1100 and 1200, which we know do well in the battery department. We believe the cellular modem is the same or quite similar inside all three chipsets as well, so are the CPU cores, for the most part. Though in a different configuration and with slightly different clocks.

In any case, the vivo V23 and its Dimensity 920 managed solid numbers all-around in both on-screen and off-screen tests.

Our battery tests were automated thanks to SmartViser, using its viSerDevice app. The endurance rating denotes how long the battery charge will last you if you use the device for an hour of telephony, web browsing, and video playback daily. More details can be found here.

Video test carried out in 60Hz refresh rate mode. Web browsing test done at the display's highest refresh rate whenever possible. Refer to the respective reviews for specifics. To adjust the endurance rating formula to match your own usage patterns check out our all-time battery test results chart where you can also find all phones we've tested.

Charging speed

It was great to see vivo's excellent 44W FlashCharge on the higher-end V23 Pro, and it's even better to see it trickle down to the vanilla V23 as well. This is the exact same tech found on the flagship X70 as well.

vivo V23 review

Seeing how the V23 has a slightly smaller battery than the V23 Pro logic would dictate that it should charge faster. Unfortunately, that's not really how battery charging works, and it is actually typical to see slower overall charging rates with the decrease of total battery capacity. You just have to extend lower wattage charging and trickle charging periods more to preserve the health of a smaller battery, and you might have to battle harder against heat. This appears to be the case on the V23 since it does charge a bit slower than its V23 Pro sibling. Perhaps it is just not making full use of the 44W of available current.

Thirty minutes on the charger get the vanilla V23 from 0 to 60% charge (as opposed to 65% on the V23 Pro), and a full charge takes just over an hour (the V23 Pro needs just under an hour). The difference in charging speed between the V23 and Pro is minor, and both phones manage really respectable numbers.

30min charging test (from 0%)

Higher is better

  • Xiaomi 11T Pro
    100%
  • Realme GT Master
    100%
  • Oppo Reno6 5G
    100%
  • OnePlus Nord 2
    98%
  • Realme GT Neo2
    97%
  • Oppo Reno6 Pro 5G (Snapdragon)
    91%
  • Realme 8 Pro
    88%
  • Xiaomi 11T
    86%
  • vivo X60 Pro+
    84%
  • vivo X70 Pro+
    80%
  • vivo X60 Pro
    68%
  • Poco F3
    67%
  • vivo V23 Pro
    65%
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 10
    65%
  • vivo X70 Pro
    64%
  • vivo V23 5g
    60%
  • Realme 8
    56%
  • Poco M4 Pro 5G
    54%
  • Samsung Galaxy A72
    54%
  • Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
    53%
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro
    50%
  • Poco X3 Pro
    50%
  • Google Pixel 6 (65W)
    48%
  • Google Pixel 6 (18W)
    41%
  • Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
    34%
  • Realme 8i
    30%
  • Poco M3
    25%
  • Samsung Galaxy A22 5G
    23%
  • Samsung Galaxy A22
    23%

Time to full charge (from 0%)

Lower is better

  • Xiaomi 11T Pro
    0:21h
  • Oppo Reno6 5G
    0:29h
  • Realme GT Master
    0:30h
  • OnePlus Nord 2
    0:31h
  • Realme GT Neo2
    0:32h
  • Realme 8 Pro
    0:38h
  • Oppo Reno6 Pro 5G (Snapdragon)
    0:39h
  • Xiaomi 11T
    0:41h
  • vivo X60 Pro+
    0:42h
  • vivo X70 Pro+
    0:48h
  • Poco F3
    0:56h
  • vivo V23 Pro
    0:57h
  • vivo X60 Pro
    0:58h
  • vivo X70 Pro
    1:00h
  • vivo V23 5g
    1:03h
  • Poco M4 Pro 5G
    1:07h
  • Poco X3 Pro
    1:08h
  • Realme 8
    1:09h
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 10
    1:13h
  • Samsung Galaxy A72
    1:15h
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro
    1:21h
  • Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
    1:28h
  • Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
    1:39h
  • Google Pixel 6 (65W)
    1:50h
  • Google Pixel 6 (18W)
    1:53h
  • Samsung Galaxy A22
    2:20h
  • Realme 8i
    2:21h
  • Samsung Galaxy A22 5G
    2:29h
  • Poco M3
    2:30h

Speaker test

Unfortunately, the V23 only has a single bottom-firing speaker, just like its bigger brother. No stereo setup, not even a hybrid one with the earpiece. That's a bit of a letdown seeing how you can get some pretty good stereo speaker setup in other phones for this price.

The speaker here is decent but not overly impressive. It managed an Average loudness score in our testing with a pretty clean frequency response curve. At least that's a plus. The V23 and V23 Pro actually perform so similarly in the audio department that we had to double-check if we didn't have the sample files mixed up. We guess consistency counts for something. We didn't find any loudspeaker equalizers to play around with.

Use the Playback controls to listen to the phone sample recordings (best use headphones). We measure the average loudness of the speakers in LUFS. A lower absolute value means a louder sound. A look at the frequency response chart will tell you how far off the ideal "0db" flat line is the reproduction of the bass, treble, and mid frequencies. You can add more phones to compare how they differ. The scores and ratings are not comparable with our older loudspeaker test. Learn more about how we test here.

Reader comments

  • T4techdroid
  • 02 Sep 2022
  • DkP

S20 Fe 5g is a bit outdated regarding os . So its only gonna get updates till Android 13 , It was released on 2020 with Android 10 out of box . Eventually samsung relaunched s20 fe 5g 2022 version its really pricier than old s20 fe 5g

Samsung S20NFE 5G is far more better than the crappy vivo V23.

  • Rain
  • 16 Jun 2022
  • EXv

This would be great if 5000mAh