Vivo Shines with a New Mobile that Includes Two Gifts: We Review the vivo V40 SE

Smartphones & Tablets | May 22, 2024

Vivo Shines with a New Mobile that Includes Two Gifts: We Review the vivo V40 SE

Since the beginning of this century, our market has been one of the best at integrating the use of these devices into our daily lives, especially due to the use of WhatsApp, which has even encouraged older people to use smartphones.

According to the consultancy Canalys, the mid-range is the best-selling category, accounting for 45% of the total for mobile phones priced between 200 and 600 euros. The next bracket is for mobiles costing less than 200 euros, and finally, those costing more than 600 euros.

This highlights the importance that companies place on mobile phones in this price range, as recently demonstrated by Samsung with the Galaxy A35 and A55. vivo is another company that has decided to strongly focus on the mid-range segment, introducing a new model with a fresh nomenclature, the vivo V40 SE.

This model is an effort to make the mid-range more affordable, succeeding the V29 Lite, but with a better name. It will be sold in our country for only 299 euros in a single version featuring 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of internal memory. However, the sales package does not include a charger due to regulations that will come into force in 2025, which vivo has already decided to adopt. Importantly, the company will sell the mobile phone for the same price of 299 euros along with a 44W charger and TWS 3e earphones, and this is not a promotional offer. By including accessories valued at about 60 euros, it becomes one of the mid-range bargains.

Plastic and Lightness

One of the decisions that must be made to keep a mobile phone affordable is to avoid using expensive materials. vivo understands this, which is why the vivo V40 SE features a plastic construction. In hand, it feels like a budget phone, but the reality is that the vast majority of people use a case, which makes this less relevant.

Moreover, the use of plastic means this mobile weighs less than 180 grams, which is notable given the size of the battery it incorporates, and ensures that holding it for long periods isn’t uncomfortable. Additionally, plastic makes the device more durable than those with glass bodies, a point that vivo has emphasized because they want the smartphone to be worry-free for users.

There are two finishes available: one in vegan leather that is really pretty, and a matte black that is elegant but much more generic than the former. Both are less than 8 mm thick, a detail that vivo has always taken care of, but it remains notable, especially in this price range. And yes, they are water-resistant, but only to IP54.

Unique Performance

The category in which this vivo V40 SE falls is peculiar. It sits in the lower tier of the mid-range, where for about 100 euros more, there are mobiles that are almost as basic as it gets. This context is important. The processor in this mobile is that of an entry-level terminal, the Snapdragon 4 Gen 2, a chipset not designed for gaming, which is noticeable. However, there is a way to enjoy better performance in games, which is by activating the High-Performance mode in the options sidebar. And it makes a difference.

The performance of the phone does not cause issues, but it doesn’t match that of slightly more expensive Xiaomi models. It does compare well with other models at the same price point. Where it notably excels is in memory. And this is important because many people switch phones because they run out of storage space.

vivo V40 SE - 01

This model is sold in a single memory configuration, featuring 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of internal storage, which is more than the base versions of many high-end devices. Even its main competitor, the Samsung Galaxy A35, has only half of that in its base version. The RAM is also slightly higher, and it can be expanded by an additional 8 GB using virtual RAM.

It features two speakers, with one located in the earpiece for calls. Additionally, it has IP54 protection against splashes, but it is not rated for submersion, at least not officially. It’s noteworthy that it lacks a headphone port, something that is still commonly seen in this type of mobile. However, since it comes with a pair of wireless earphones as a gift, this is not a major issue for most buyers.

vivo V40 SE - 02

In terms of connectivity, the device offers GPS, Wi-Fi 5, Bluetooth 5.0, and also eSIM, which is starting to become popular among more affordable models. Having eSIM is advantageous when traveling abroad, as it allows you to purchase a local data plan without needing to remove your primary SIM card.

Very Bright Screen

In recent years, we’ve seen how the panels of mid-range models have significantly improved. It’s been some time since 120 Hz refresh rates are no longer exclusive to high-end models, and this vivo V40 SE proves it. However, the screen of this model can switch between 60 and 120 Hz, but it cannot do so dynamically like the more expensive models.

vivo V40 SE - 03

Something similar happens with the brightness. It has an average peak brightness of 1,200 nits, a figure that not long ago was reserved for more expensive models. At times, with HDR content, it can even reach 1,800 nits in some areas of the screen. This panel is 6.67 inches, and it has a slightly more elongated proportion than other models. The resolution is 2400 x 1080 px and the technology is AMOLED. This allows it to have an under-panel fingerprint sensor, which is appreciated when unlocking the device. Additionally, it is quite fast, despite being optical. The quality of the panel is quite high, especially considering the price of this mobile.

Four Cameras

The camera system on this device is similar to what’s seen in its alternatives. There is a 16 Mpx front sensor and on the back, a main 50 Mpx camera, an 8 Mpx wide-angle, and a 2 Mpx macro. The latter could arguably have been omitted, although it’s known that brands include these sensors for those buyers who believe that having more cameras is better.

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The camera quality is not the best we’ve seen in this price range, but it meets expectations. It isn’t a bad camera by any means, but the contrast is too strong and the colors are overly saturated. The wide-angle camera has a lower resolution and it shows, though the daytime results are good, better than expected.

Video recording with the main rear camera delivers expected results. It’s not spectacular, but that wasn’t anticipated. What we didn’t like, however, is that video recording with the front camera is very shaky. We don’t expect optical stabilization, but electronic stabilization would be preferable. This will only matter to those who record a lot of video with the front camera while moving, which isn’t typical.

Huge Battery

Battery life is a key aspect in the mid-range category, and vivo has emphasized in its presentations that this is particularly important here. Most buyers of this type of mobile switch devices because their screen has broken, their storage is insufficient, or the battery no longer lasts as long as it used to.

Vivo promises that the 5,000 mAh battery will provide more than a notable experience for users, also featuring 44 W fast charging. Additionally, they promise less than 20% degradation over 4 years. This should guarantee sustained use at a good level for longer than people typically keep their mobiles.

Regarding battery life, we’ve managed to nearly reach two days when it’s mostly used on Wi-Fi and indoors. If we go out, take photos, and shoot videos, the battery drains faster, but we’ve never had trouble getting through the day without recharging.

Funtouch 14

It has been some time since vivo moved away from having an almost clean version of Android in Europe, which is how they originally entered the continent. The vivo V40 SE comes equipped with Funtouch 14 based on Android 14. The system is quite smooth, always bearing in mind the category in which this model is positioned. Funtouch OS has evolved to include more features and customizations that may appeal to a broad user base, maintaining a balance between offering a rich user experience and keeping the system’s performance fluid and responsive.

vivo V40 SE - 05

The aesthetic remains quite Asian, though it’s not particularly unattractive either. Noteworthy are the mini music widgets, for example, and the ability to customize even the smallest details, such as the fingerprint sensor animation or the facial unlock animation.

Funtouch 14 also introduces new ways to personalize the lock screen, as well as new filters for video recording. It retains the Android option to change icons and system colors based on the wallpaper set.

One of the drawbacks typically associated with mid-range mobiles compared to more expensive ones is the update policy. In this case, vivo promises two years of major updates and three years of security patches, which is standard. This is an area where Chinese manufacturers have not yet matched the policies of companies like Samsung or Google.

Should I Buy It?

This mobile’s main rival in this generation is the Samsung Galaxy A35, a device that costs 80 euros more and comes without a charger or headphones. However, it is true that it surpasses the vivo in terms of support years and, above all, in water resistance since the Samsung has IP68.

vivo V40 SE - 06

There are other alternatives to this mobile, especially models from previous years, but it is one of the few times we see a mid-range mobile launched at a highly competitive price that also includes accessories such as headphones or a fast charger.

Vivo is proving to know the buyer very well. Now, all that remains is for it to continue building a recognizable brand image, with investment in football-related advertising as the spearhead. Competition is not easy, but doing things well helps.

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