vivo Xplay5 Elite review: Edging in

Edging in

GSMArena team, 27 June 2016.

Unboxing

The Vivo Xplay5 Elite comes in a large box, one that the space-saving flat-packers at Ikea will scoff at. On the other hand, the lavish packaging points to the phone's top-shelf position.

Package contents - Vivo Xplay5 Elite review Bumper case on - Vivo Xplay5 Elite review Bumper case on - Vivo Xplay5 Elite review
Package contents Bumper case on

Other than the presentation, the contents are pretty solid too. You get a fancy-looking (read Apple-looking) AC adapter capable of outputting 2A of current at 9V, a microUSB cable, an in-ear headset, plus a clear silicone bumper case.

Vivo Xplay5 Elite 360-degree spin

The handset measures 153.5 x 76.2 x 7.6mm - a millimeter shorter than its inspiration Galaxy S6 edge+, but is a hair wider and also thicker. And the S6 edge+ has a larger 5.7-inch display at that. The current S7 edge (again with a marginally larger 5.5-inch display) is 2.6mm shorter and 3.6mm narrower, though a fraction of a millimeter thicker. In short, the Xplay5 is no space saver.

It's also not particularly light, tipping the scales at 168g, 15g more than the S6 edge+ and 9g on top of the S7 edge.

Hardware overview

Okay, so the Vivo Xplay5 Elite looks like a Galaxy S6 edge+ on the front and like an iPhone 6s Plus on the back, that much is already established. We'll try then to refrain from copycat remarks.

Vivo Xplay5 Elite next to the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (where did our S6 edge+ go?) - Vivo Xplay5 Elite review Vivo Xplay5 Elite next to the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (where did our S6 edge+ go?) - Vivo Xplay5 Elite review Vivo Xplay5 Elite next to the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (where did our S6 edge+ go?) - Vivo Xplay5 Elite review Vivo Xplay5 Elite next to the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (where did our S6 edge+ go?) - Vivo Xplay5 Elite review
Vivo Xplay5 Elite next to the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (where did our S6 edge+ go?)

The Xplay5 Elite has a metal unibody with materials and craftsmanship well befitting its name. The premium nature of the phone is evident just by looking at it, and picking it up in your hand only adds to that impression.

Vivo Xplay5 Elite review

Undoubtedly, the headline feature of the smartphone is its dual-edge display, and it just doesn't get old, not yet at least. The actual display curvature is very subtle, only about a millimeter or two and with a pretty large radius, but the effect is there. It is reinforced further by the side bezels, curved more prominently towards the extreme edges.

Curved displays are cool - Vivo Xplay5 Elite review Curved displays are cool - Vivo Xplay5 Elite review
Curved displays are cool

Vivo sticks to capacitive keys below the display, there's no physical home button, or onscreen navigation bar. The keys have no backlighting, but that's hardly an issue in actual use - after all they're not going anywhere. They do have the "reverse" arrangement with Back sitting on the right so some users may require getting used to.

What's there to say about the area above the display - there's just the usual stuff here. A central earpiece, with the front-facing camera on its left and the ambient light/proximity sensor on the right.

Standard top bezel - Vivo Xplay5 Elite review Capacitive keys on the chin - Vivo Xplay5 Elite review
Standard top bezel Capacitive keys on the chin

They aren't the most compact of bezels, though, that's for sure. Samsung uses capacitive keys on the chin too, and yet manages to keep the edge models smaller, despite using larger displays. In Vivo's defense, at least there are keys in the bottom bezel, so it's not entirely wasted.

The back is almost flat, in the ubiquitous Rose Gold attire, and with a very fine satin finish. You can't escape the fact that smartphones need radio signal reception and there are two antenna bands splitting the back in three. A Vivo logo is etched dead center.

Vivo Xplay5 Elite review

The camera module is in the top left corner, a dual-LED flash right next to it. The camera lens protrudes slightly, less than a millimeter, so it shouldn't catch the seam of your pocket. The front glass element is a hair below the lens ring, but we're not sure if that constitutes enough protection. At least it's something though.

The fingerprint sensor is on the back of the Xplay5 Elite, which is common with Chinese phablets. It's perhaps placed a little higher than usual, though that perception faded with use, so we'd say it's a non-issue.

Satin back - Vivo Xplay5 Elite review Camera bump - Vivo Xplay5 Elite review Fingerprint sensor - Vivo Xplay5 Elite review
Satin back Camera bump Fingerprint sensor

The power button and the volume rocker are on the right side and they are pretty well placed for right thumb or left forefinger access, requiring only minor grip adjustments to press.

On the left there's nothing but the card tray. It takes two nanoSIMs and zero microSD cards, but how much more than 128GB would you really need?

Physical buttons on the right - Vivo Xplay5 Elite review Physical buttons on the right - Vivo Xplay5 Elite review Card slot on the left - Vivo Xplay5 Elite review
Physical button on the right Card slot on the left

The microUSB 2.0 (not the Type-C) is on the bottom with the loudspeaker and primary mic on either side. Up top you'll find the 3.5mm jack and the noise-canceling microphone.

Bottom with microUSB port and speaker/mic combo - Vivo Xplay5 Elite review Bottom with microUSB port and speaker/mic combo - Vivo Xplay5 Elite review Top features the headphone jack and secondary mic - Vivo Xplay5 Elite review Top features the headphone jack and secondary mic - Vivo Xplay5 Elite review
Bottom with microUSB port and speaker/mic combo Top features the headphone jack and secondary mic

With those sharp sides, curved display edges and slippery metal back, the Xplay5 Elite was never going to be the most comfortable smartphone to handle. It's what you pay for striking looks and premium materials, but we can see how the trade-off can make sense to a lot of people. Plus you can always put on the bundled case for an immediate improvement of grip.

Vivo Xplay5 Elite in the hand - Vivo Xplay5 Elite review Vivo Xplay5 Elite in the hand - Vivo Xplay5 Elite review
Vivo Xplay5 Elite in the hand

Reader comments

  • AnonD-594446

I finally have this phone available for my online shop n the price is $689. The next question is is that worth it? Well since the American people have Samsung S7 I'm not so sure that they would go out of their way to check out this Vivo phone no matt...

  • Anonymous

Bro the camera is much better than xperia xz.look at the picture.the sky looks more better than the cold xperia xz.the dxomark is just a hardware score not real life performance.if u thinking to buy xperia xz just think twice just buy another flagshi...

  • Aasis

its camera is not so good....its must be like sony Xepria XZ