vivo V23 review

GSMArena Team, 26 January 2022.

Funtouch OS 12 now on top of Android 12

Vivo has been making strides in the software department latterly. As things currently stand, the company already has its "next-gen" OriginOS out and about, but only limited to the Chinese market. Meanwhile, international units still get Funtouch OS, which is now up to version 12. Just because vivo's focus is split between the two custom OS flavors doesn't mean Funtouch is being neglected, though. On the contrary, just recently, Funtouch OS 12 started shipping with the latest Android 12 core underneath. This is what the vanilla V23 and the V23 Pro, and the X70 flagship family of devices are all running.

vivo V23 review

Generally speaking, you can see some new Android 12 features poke through here and there, like Google's new privacy-focused green notification dot that indicates when the camera or microphone are being used or the increased "bounce back" animations on most UI components. Overall, however, the UI and UX are distinctly custom, which comes courtesy of Funtouch OS 12.

If you had some past experience with Funtouch OS 11 or older, many of its stock-ish-looking UI elements, which were kind of the norm, are gone and have been substituted with a highly customized and customizable UI. Some of the changes are pretty nifty, too, including the system menus being tailored towards a single-handed use. Some of the menus' content moves to the lower half of the screen when you swipe down, but not all, which is odd. Vivo has revamped its default selection of widgets to make them more intuitive and easier to use as well.

Lockscreen - vivo V23 review Homescreen - vivo V23 review Folder view - vivo V23 review Settings menu - vivo V23 review Settings menu - vivo V23 review Settings menu - vivo V23 review
Lockscreen • Homescreen • Folder view • Settings menu

The recent apps menu, for example, has one of those useful proprietary features. You can choose between the standard carousel formation and a horizontal tiles layout - sort of like MIUI, only scrollable horizontally.

The app drawer, although stock-ish looking, has an expandable recommended apps category on the top (most commonly used ones), whereas using the vertical scroller on the right would highlight the apps beginning with the selected letter.

Recent apps - vivo V23 review Recent apps - vivo V23 review Notification shade - vivo V23 review Quick toggles - vivo V23 review App drawer - vivo V23 review App drawer - vivo V23 review
Recent apps • Recent apps • Notification shade • Quick toggles • App drawer

The notification shade has been revamped too, in terms of looks mostly - the quick toggles are now square-shaped, and the accent color around the menus (including the quick toggles icons) is blue, and there's no way to change either. Applying different themes would only change the icon pack and wallpaper. At least the theme store is quite rich.

Themes - vivo V23 review Themes - vivo V23 review Themes - vivo V23 review
Themes

The rest of the UI gets plenty of love too. In the Dynamic effects sub-menu, vivo has grouped quite a few customizable aspects of the home screen, lock screen, animation effects, etc. There are even various charging and facial recognition animations.

The Ambient light effect gets more granular control with the option to enable it only during a limited time period, or you can choose which apps to trigger it.

Dynamic effects - vivo V23 review Ambient light effect - vivo V23 review Ambient light effect - vivo V23 review Ambient light effect - vivo V23 review Ambient light effect - vivo V23 review Ambient light effect - vivo V23 review
Dynamic effects • Ambient light effect

The always-on display settings are in a different sub-menu, however, but the phone still gives you plenty of options to tinker with - a wide selection of animations, clock styles, colors, backgrounds, the lot.

Always-on display - vivo V23 review Always-on display - vivo V23 review Always-on display - vivo V23 review Always-on display - vivo V23 review Always-on display - vivo V23 review Always-on display - vivo V23 review
Always-on display

The vivo X70 Pro had a rather annoying issue with its fingerprint reader. There used to be no way to summon the icon on a locked screen unless you triggered the motion sensor. This thankfully appears to be fixed on the V23 pair. Now, waking the display simply brings up the fingerprint reader as well. However, we are still not particularly happy that the double-tap-to-wake function is buried in the Smart motion menu.

vivo V23 review

The Sound menu holds a few pleasant surprises. Just like Samsung, vivo is paying attention to people with hearing problems, and you can calibrate the sound to be heard by elderly people or those with impaired hearing. Additionally, notifications and calls get separate volume sliders. The vibration intensity can be adjusted for calls and notifications independently. No system-wide eq is available for the loudspeaker, though, which could be both a negative and a positive depending on how you look at it.

Sound options - vivo V23 review Sound options - vivo V23 review Sound options - vivo V23 review Sound options - vivo V23 review
Sound options

The previously mentioned Smart motion menu holds a handful of familiar screen-on and screen-off gestures along with some new additions. One of those requires you to wave in front of the screen during an incoming call to answer hands-free - useful if you're cooking, for example.

Smart motion menu - vivo V23 review Smart motion menu - vivo V23 review Smart motion menu - vivo V23 review Smart motion menu - vivo V23 review
Smart motion menu

Holding the volume down key can be used to launch an app or do a certain task, although the list of the latter is limited to launching the camera app, turning on/off the torch or starting recording audio. The so-called Quick action feature doesn't work when playing music for obvious reasons. Why isn't there a double-press option for Quick action, though?

Shortcuts and accessibility - vivo V23 review Quick action - vivo V23 review S-capture - vivo V23 review Screen-split - vivo V23 review Easy Touch - vivo V23 review
Shortcuts and accessibility • Quick action • S-capture • Screen-split • Easy Touch

All of these customizable gestures, actions and additional features are great to have around, but we feel like vivo could have organized them a bit better. As things currently stand, it is hard to find certain options, even when you know for a fact that they exist and consequently, discovering new things is even harder.

Lastly, there's a little something for the gamers. A dedicated Ultra Game Mode is available, and it has it all. Most of the features mitigate disturbance during gameplay or let certain apps display heads-up notifications. One of the most intriguing features that have been around on vivo phones for a while is the ability to turn off the screen and keep the game running in the background. Especially useful for turn-based games or those requiring some sort of "farming" and "grinding".

Ultra Game mode - vivo V23 review Ultra Game mode - vivo V23 review Ultra Game mode - vivo V23 review Ultra Game mode - vivo V23 review Ultra Game mode - vivo V23 review
Ultra Game mode - vivo V23 review Ultra Game mode - vivo V23 review Ultra Game mode - vivo V23 review Ultra Game mode - vivo V23 review
Ultra Game mode

Interestingly enough, the "Eagle eye" option from the V23 Pro is missing on the regular V23. Since it works by hooking into the graphical pipeline and applying some tweaks to things like contrast and memory handling, we can only assure that it is hardware-dependent, at least to some degree. Vivo probably couldn't or didn't want to spend the effort to make it work on the MediaTek Dimensity 920 chipset.

All things considered, Funtouch OS 12 offers a modern and highly-customizable experience. It also works well and feels snappy on the Dimensity 920 chipset. Vivo even gives you the option the speed up transitions further, which is just another option to add to the myriad of customization available here. If you can appreciate a custom Android experience with all of its specifics and particulars, then you should definitely enjoy this one. However, those who want to use Android as Google intended might not be okay with the colorful iconography and the highly customized system menus and animations.

Synthetic benchmarks

The regular V23 is running a very recent Dimensity 920 chipset. In contrast, the V23 Pro uses the well-established and proven Dimensity 1200 chip.

vivo V23 review

As we mentioned, this is the first time we are seeing a Dimensity 920 phone at the office. The 6nm chip already managed to impress us nicely in terms of battery efficiency, and we have experienced excellent responsiveness with everyday tasks while using the V23. We are still quite interested in putting the Dimensity 920 through its benchmark paces just to see how well it holds up in raw numbers.

Before we get to that, however, a few words on the specs of the Dimensity 920 are in order. The Dimensity 920 is pretty similar to the Dimensity 1200 and 1100. It is based on the same TSMC N6 process and also uses the same "big" ARM Cortex-A78 cores and "LITTLE" Cortex-A55 ones. The Dimensity 920 has a total of two big CPU cores, clocked at up to 2.5 GHz and six more Cortex-A55 ones, working at up to 2.0 GHz. Compared to the Dimensity 1100 and 1200, which both have four Cortex-A78 performance cores each. That's one difference to consider.

Another major difference is the Mali-G68 GPU cores used inside the Dimensity 920. This is the first time we are encountering these as well. The Dimensity 920 has a total of four GPU cores, clocked at 950 MHz. Our vivo V23 review unit is the higher-tier variant that pairs the chipset with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.

Let's kick things off with GeekBench and some pure CPU tests. Rather expectedly, the Dimensity 920 sits around the middle of the pack of diverse devices with varying chipsets we chose out to compare against. Having two instead of four beefy cores understandably puts the Dimensity 920 at a disadvantage compared to the Dimensity 1200, as seen inside the vivo V23 Pro. Particularly in multi-threaded workloads.

GeekBench 5 (multi-core)

Higher is better

  • vivo X60 Pro
    3490
  • vivo X70 Pro+
    3469
  • vivo V23 Pro
    3021
  • vivo X70 Pro
    2956
  • Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
    2801
  • OnePlus Nord 2
    2792
  • Poco X3 Pro
    2574
  • vivo V23 5g
    2140
  • Realme 8i
    1886
  • Realme 8s 5G
    1842
  • Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
    1820
  • Poco M4 Pro 5G
    1797
  • Realme 8 5G
    1784
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro
    1780
  • Realme 8
    1690
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 10
    1599
  • Samsung Galaxy A52
    1577
  • Poco M3
    1398
  • Xiaomi Redmi 10
    1294
  • Samsung Galaxy A32
    1277

GeekBench 5 (single-core)

Higher is better

  • vivo X70 Pro+
    1106
  • vivo X60 Pro
    1034
  • vivo X70 Pro
    875
  • vivo V23 Pro
    850
  • OnePlus Nord 2
    814
  • Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
    771
  • vivo V23 5g
    739
  • Poco X3 Pro
    735
  • Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
    636
  • Realme 8s 5G
    616
  • Poco M4 Pro 5G
    597
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro
    569
  • Realme 8 5G
    569
  • Realme 8i
    539
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 10
    534
  • Realme 8
    533
  • Samsung Galaxy A52
    525
  • Samsung Galaxy A32
    361
  • Xiaomi Redmi 10
    361
  • Poco M3
    308

The same logic applies to other chipsets like the Snapdragon 860, 778G and 870, all of which have the Dimensity 920 beat in raw performance. Out of these, the Snapdragon 860 seems to be the closest Snapdragon competitor in terms of overall CPU performance. While the Snapdragon 778G has a clear edge in multi-threaded loads, when it comes to single-threaded tasks, it is also quite close to the Dimensity 920. All the while, the newer MediaTek chip handily beats out the Dimensity 810 and, naturally, the Dimensity 700 series silicon, as well as all the lower-end MediaTek G models. That's a pretty great place to be in if you ask us.

AnTuTu and its more compound benchmarking suite paint a very similar overall picture, this time for the vivo V23 as a whole. That includes testing things like RAM and storage, as well as the GPU. The V23 is clearly holding its own as an excellent mid-range performer.

AnTuTu 8

Higher is better

  • vivo X60 Pro
    639612
  • vivo V23 Pro
    635060
  • Poco F3
    631850
  • OnePlus Nord 2
    512164
  • Poco X3 Pro
    453223
  • Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
    429675
  • vivo V23 5g
    406498
  • Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
    334981
  • Realme 8s 5G
    329661
  • Realme 8 5G
    302059
  • Realme 8
    298328
  • Poco M4 Pro 5G
    296721
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro
    295442
  • Realme 8i
    293507
  • Samsung Galaxy A52
    261282
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 10
    218788
  • Poco M3
    177904
  • Samsung Galaxy A32
    174332

AnTuTu 9

Higher is better

  • vivo X70 Pro+
    837833
  • vivo X60 Pro
    720352
  • vivo V23 Pro
    716766
  • vivo X70 Pro
    694499
  • OnePlus Nord 2
    598022
  • Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
    506432
  • vivo V23 5g
    476058
  • Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
    386474
  • Realme 8s 5G
    383409
  • Realme 8 5G
    361505
  • Realme 8
    357488
  • Poco M4 Pro 5G
    353663
  • Realme 8i
    308544

The Mali-G68 MC4 GPU is a bit less impressive than the CPU part of the Dimensity 920, but still holds its own. Looking at some off-screen GFXBench runs, since those are not influenced by the device display resolution, it is clear that the Snapdragon 778G with its Adreno 642L and even more so the Snapdragon 860 and its Adreno 640 have the Dimensity 920 handily beat.

GFX Manhattan ES 3.0 (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • vivo X70 Pro
    108
  • vivo X70 Pro+
    94
  • Poco X3 Pro
    93
  • vivo V23 Pro
    89
  • Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
    69
  • vivo V23 5g
    63
  • OnePlus Nord 2
    59
  • Realme 8
    48
  • Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
    39
  • Poco M4 Pro 5G
    37
  • Samsung Galaxy A52
    35
  • Realme 8 5G
    35
  • Realme 8i
    33
  • Realme 8s 5G
    28
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 10
    21
  • Samsung Galaxy A32
    21
  • Poco M3
    17

GFX Manhattan ES 3.0 (offscreen 1080p)

Higher is better

  • vivo X70 Pro+
    147
  • vivo V23 Pro
    140
  • vivo X70 Pro
    129
  • OnePlus Nord 2
    123
  • Poco X3 Pro
    102
  • Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
    77
  • vivo V23 5g
    68
  • Realme 8
    53
  • Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
    43
  • Realme 8s 5G
    41
  • Poco M4 Pro 5G
    40
  • Samsung Galaxy A52
    39
  • Realme 8 5G
    38
  • Realme 8i
    37
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 10
    24
  • Samsung Galaxy A32
    24
  • Poco M3
    19

To be fair, the delta between these chips shrinks quite a bit as test difficulty ramps up and we move on to the newer OpenGL ES 3.1. This definitely makes sense, since we expect newer chips to get more optimized drivers and consequently make better use of newer renderers.

GFX Car Chase ES 3.1 (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • vivo V23 Pro
    45
  • vivo X70 Pro
    40
  • Poco X3 Pro
    38
  • OnePlus Nord 2
    38
  • vivo X70 Pro+
    33
  • Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
    28
  • vivo V23 5g
    22
  • Realme 8
    18
  • Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
    16
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro
    16
  • Samsung Galaxy A52
    15
  • Realme 8s 5G
    14
  • Poco M4 Pro 5G
    13
  • Realme 8 5G
    13
  • Realme 8i
    11
  • Samsung Galaxy A32
    8.1
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 10
    7.9
  • Poco M3
    5.9

GFX Car Chase ES 3.1 (offscreen 1080p)

Higher is better

  • vivo X70 Pro+
    66
  • vivo V23 Pro
    53
  • OnePlus Nord 2
    46
  • vivo X70 Pro
    45
  • Poco X3 Pro
    45
  • Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
    33
  • vivo V23 5g
    27
  • Realme 8
    20
  • Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
    19
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro
    19
  • Samsung Galaxy A52
    17
  • Poco M4 Pro 5G
    16
  • Realme 8s 5G
    16
  • Realme 8 5G
    15
  • Realme 8i
    14
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 10
    9.3
  • Samsung Galaxy A32
    9.3
  • Poco M3
    7.2

GFX Manhattan ES 3.1 (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • vivo V23 Pro
    79
  • vivo X70 Pro
    77
  • Poco X3 Pro
    67
  • vivo X70 Pro+
    58
  • OnePlus Nord 2
    57
  • Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
    49
  • vivo V23 5g
    40
  • Realme 8
    29
  • Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
    28
  • Samsung Galaxy A52
    26
  • Realme 8s 5G
    24
  • Poco M4 Pro 5G
    23
  • Realme 8 5G
    22
  • Realme 8i
    22
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 10
    15
  • Samsung Galaxy A32
    13
  • Poco M3
    11

GFX Manhattan ES 3.1 (offscreen 1080p)

Higher is better

  • vivo X70 Pro+
    105
  • vivo V23 Pro
    91
  • vivo X70 Pro
    85
  • Poco X3 Pro
    75
  • OnePlus Nord 2
    75
  • Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
    56
  • vivo V23 5g
    45
  • Realme 8
    33
  • Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
    32
  • Samsung Galaxy A52
    29
  • Realme 8s 5G
    27
  • Poco M4 Pro 5G
    26
  • Realme 8 5G
    25
  • Realme 8i
    24
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 10
    17
  • Samsung Galaxy A32
    15
  • Poco M3
    13

With mostly the same logic in mind, it is also worth mentioning once again that the V23 is running Android 12, as opposed to some of the other devices on these charts, at the time of their respective reviews. The newer Android in itself likely offers some performance benefit as well.

Speaking of which, with Vulkan as the renderer, the Dimensity 920 can, at times, outpace the Snapdragon 778G, at least as found inside the Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G at the time of its review.

GFX Aztek ES 3.1 High (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • vivo V23 Pro
    34
  • vivo X70 Pro
    31
  • OnePlus Nord 2
    30
  • Poco X3 Pro
    26
  • vivo X70 Pro+
    25
  • Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
    19
  • Realme 8
    12
  • vivo V23 5g
    11
  • Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
    11
  • Samsung Galaxy A52
    10
  • Realme 8s 5G
    9.7
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 10
    5.6
  • Samsung Galaxy A32
    5
  • Poco M3
    2.8

GFX Aztek ES 3.1 High (offscreen 1440p)

Higher is better

  • vivo X70 Pro+
    27
  • vivo V23 Pro
    23
  • vivo X70 Pro
    21
  • OnePlus Nord 2
    21
  • Poco X3 Pro
    17
  • vivo V23 5g
    16
  • Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
    13
  • Realme 8
    7.7
  • Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
    7.2
  • Samsung Galaxy A52
    7
  • Realme 8s 5G
    6.2
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 10
    3.7
  • Samsung Galaxy A32
    3.3
  • Poco M3
    2.8

GFX Aztek Vulkan High (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • vivo V23 Pro
    32
  • vivo X70 Pro
    29
  • Poco X3 Pro
    27
  • vivo X70 Pro+
    26
  • OnePlus Nord 2
    26
  • Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
    20
  • Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
    11
  • Realme 8
    11
  • vivo V23 5g
    10
  • Samsung Galaxy A52
    10
  • Realme 8s 5G
    8.9
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 10
    5.3
  • Samsung Galaxy A32
    4.4
  • Poco M3
    4.1

GFX Aztek Vulkan High (offscreen 1440p)

Higher is better

  • vivo X70 Pro+
    29
  • vivo V23 Pro
    21
  • vivo X70 Pro
    20
  • OnePlus Nord 2
    20
  • Poco X3 Pro
    18
  • vivo V23 5g
    15
  • Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
    14
  • Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
    7.5
  • Realme 8
    7.5
  • Samsung Galaxy A52
    7
  • Realme 8s 5G
    5.8
  • Poco M3
    4.2
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 10
    3.5
  • Samsung Galaxy A32
    2.9

3DMark and its Slingshot Extreme test shows mostly the same trend with the vivo V23 scoring quite close to the Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G with Vulkan doing the rendering instead of OpenGL ES.

3DMark SSE ES 3.1 (offscreen 1440p)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
    5010
  • vivo V23 5g
    4170
  • Realme 8
    2610
  • Realme 8s 5G
    2567
  • Samsung Galaxy A52
    2529
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 10
    1471
  • Samsung Galaxy A32
    1323
  • Poco M3
    1175

3DMark SSE Vulkan 1.0 (offscreen 1440p)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
    4231
  • vivo V23 5g
    4040
  • Realme 8
    2639
  • Realme 8s 5G
    2439
  • Samsung Galaxy A52
    2406
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 10
    1372
  • Samsung Galaxy A32
    1371
  • Poco M3
    1106

3DMark Wild Life Vulkan 1.1 (offscreen 1440p)

Higher is better

  • vivo X70 Pro+
    5332
  • vivo V23 Pro
    4713
  • OnePlus Nord 2
    4224
  • vivo X70 Pro
    4148
  • Poco X3 Pro
    3401
  • Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
    2491
  • vivo V23 5g
    2315
  • Realme 8
    1486
  • Poco M4 Pro 5G
    1232
  • Realme 8s 5G
    1231
  • Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
    1107
  • Realme 8 5G
    1104
  • Realme 8i
    1102
  • Samsung Galaxy A52
    1040
  • Samsung Galaxy A32
    686
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 10
    482
  • Poco M3
    368

In any case, the Dimensity 920 and its Mali-G68 MC4 GPU offer solid graphical performance better than that on Dimensity 800 and 700 series of chips, as well as the G ones, plus most of the Snapdragon 700 ones and lower.

Since the Dimensity 920 is making its first appearance at the office, we also made sure to run a thermal-throttling test on the vivo V23. The phone itself never got too hot, not even with torture testing. Its big metal frame, naturally, soaked up most of the heat from the internals and did get noticeably warm but never uncomfortable to hold. That speaks well of the thermal design vivo has in place here, as well as the reasonable amount of heat that the Dimensity 920 puts out in general. After a full hour of CPU testing, it still managed to maintain most of its performance with no jarring stutters or sudden drops. Perfect behavior overall!

CPU throttling test - vivo V23 review CPU throttling test - vivo V23 review CPU throttling test - vivo V23 review CPU throttling test - vivo V23 review
CPU throttling test

Looking at the overall performance picture of the Dimensity 920 and the vivo V23 it powers, we see a solid, all-around performer. The Dimensity 920 looks like a solid addition to MediaTek's mid-range lineup. It offers a reasonable step down in performance compared to the popular Dimensity 1200 without sacrificing some obvious features like connectivity or DSP. As for the V23 itself, vivo did an excellent job with its latest Funtouch OS 12 and Android 12 combo. It runs well with practically no hiccups.

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