Here comes the part where Vivo V11 Pro really needs to perform against its competitor, Oppo F9. Phone comes with a dual camera setup, with a 12MP main camera having an f/1.8 aperture with 1.28-micron pixels backed up by a 5MP camera with an F/2.4 which acts as a depth sensor. Vivo V11 on the other hand comes with a dual camera setup of 16 MP main camera and 5 MP depth sensor.
Vivo V11 Pro's camera performs well enough with basics like daytime, low light, and high-contrast shots, but only in very specific conditions. Host of AI additions here are fairly unnecessary, often serving only to butcher an otherwise decent image. If you want a basic smartphone camera for pretty good shots in most conditions, Vivo V11 Pro is fine. If you want all the extra bells and whistles or need a versatile camera for a variety of tricky shots, this is sadly not the phone for you. To make things better, however, in main camera settings, you can switch to 24MP, making me think Vivo is using interpolation to bump resolution without adding any extra detail. On a positive side, I was really impressed by HDR mode on Vivo V11 Pro. It didn't overdo results, nicely balancing areas of deep shadow and brightness without giving it telltale HDR look. In fact, camera's HDR was its biggest standout for me. Daytime shots are generally pretty good, but you'll need to stick with primary camera.
Phone has a 25MP front-facing camera and it just adds too much noise, to make resulting photos worthwhile. I very quickly gave up on it for selfies because shots it took were grainy and lacked sharpness. On video front, you can only shoot 1080p at 30 fps which is quite disappointing, and with no stabilization available, resulting footage comes out quite shaky.
Low light and night-time photography was a mixed bag. Given a static subject and sufficiently steady hands, Vivo V11 Pro can capture some good-looking images. Add a person or moving subject to scene and image is noticeably worse. Vivo V11 Pro doesn't crush blacks as much as phones like Huawei P20, so expect a lot of noise in the dark. Blown-out highlights in things like street lights were a problem at night too, which is a shame considering how well phone handles dynamic range in daytime. Panorama stitching is very spotty, with blurry stitching points and general fuzziness across image. Same goes for basically all of "AI" camera features. Lighting effects are pretty cheesy and not terribly well done. Monochrome background effect worked well, but color added to faces in foreground throws things off.
Background blur in portrait mode shots still looks too artificial, and edge detection is just as bad here as most phones, especially around hair. If you really like portrait mode shots, you'll probably be able to live with it, but it's far from convincing. AI beauty modes have never been my cup of tea, and that hasn't changed with Vivo V11 Pro. However, they offer a huge range of reality-bending tweaks here, from position and size of your nose and eyes, to length of your chin, width of your face, and your skin tone. Lastly, Vivo has also added Apple iPhone X-like Animoji feature on Vivo V11 Pro, calling it Funmoji. It can be accessed from default TouchPal keyboard. Its implementation isn't done quite well, and it fails to detect facial expressions properly, but is better than what Asus and some other companies have tried
Overall, with a heavy heart I have to admit that Vivo V11 Pro doesn't match up camera performance of phones like Huawei Honor Play or Oppo F9, which are prices in same range as Vivo V11 Pro. It still is a good camera, however, for most casual phones users won't mind drawbacks with Vivo V11 Pro's cameras.
Unlike Vivo Nex S, Vivo V11 Pro ships with a global version of software. Vivo's FunTouch OS 4.5 sits on top of Android 8.1 Oreo and delivers a lot of additional functionality. It's still a blatant iOS rip off, but if you don't mind that it's manageable. Unfortunately, there's still no option to enable app drawer. Vivo V11 Pro supports iOS-like gesture navigation which is a little different from what was introduced in Android Pie beta, but it's pretty easy to adapt. A swipe up from bottom left takes you back a step. Swiping up from center takes you home and swiping up and holding brings up app overview screen. A swipe up from right opens control center and swiping down from top of screen drags down notifications shade. It'll be interesting to see if any of this changes with update to Android 9 Pie. Google Play is installed out of the box along with a bunch of standard Google apps, and Gmail notifications came through just fine. There is a couple dozen pre-installed Vivo apps to contend with, but some of them can be uninstalled.
Unfortunately, if you switch to gesture navigations, you'll no longer have a convenient way to summon Google Assistant, which is otherwise accessed by long pressing the on-screen home button. You also can't switch between apps as quickly as with virtual buttons, so additional screen real estate gesture navigation enables comes at the cost of some lost functionality. In China, Vivo V11 Pro comes with Jovi AI voice assistant while in India, you get three features, smart camera with face beauty mode which will analyze your skin type, tone and gender, and apply effects. It also detects the scene when you are clicking photo and adds effects to make your photos look better. There is smart scene mode, a Google Assistant card like interface that can be accessed by swiping left to right from home screen. It will show calendar events, weather updates, steps you walked (using gyroscope) and shortcuts for most used apps. It's a handy tool to have, and I don't have any complaints.
Funtouch OS also comes with "Motorbike Mode" which when activated will put phone in do not disturb mode. By default, it will reject all incoming calls while you are driving and can also send auto respond messages to callers that you are driving and will respond as soon as possible. Lastly, music app is also integrated with audio effects, which Vivo call DeepField. Basically, its equalizer presets with effects like 360 degrees panoramic surround, mega bass, clear voice, concert hall, and more. It's not great, but it does add a little fun to your music listening experience, only if you want to.
Rest of software experience on Vivo V11 Pro is pretty much what you'd expect from a Vivo device carrying ColorOS. Vivo fans will be delighted while stock Android users might have to pass on this one.
Vivo V11 Pro is available in market now for around $350. It comes in three different colors: Starry Night, Dazzling Gold and Nebula. It is a solid all-rounder at this price and offers better value than Oppo F9, but for a bit more money. Think of it as a Vivo X21 with a bigger battery and better front camera, but at a much more reasonable price, which is a good recipe.
However, it's hard to ignore Xiaomi Pocophone F1 at this price level but getting your hands on one is likely to be difficult for a while, whereas Vivo V1 should have better online and offline availability. Then there's Nokia 7 Plus, a phone that has very similar specifications as Vivo V11 Pro, but with allure of stock Android One and much better construction quality. Battery life and fast charging tech on this phone is also worth mentioning here. Only issue I would want to highlight is that software could have been tuned better. In-display scanner isn't the fastest, but it in its early stages, so it will take time to get perfected.
There are some aspects of the Vivo V11 Pro that I wish were different. A USB Type-C port would have been preferable, in-display fingerprint sensor still feels a bit sluggish, electronic stabilization is missing, and custom OS could use more polish. In the end, it's still a strong device to consider, with its water drop notch and futuristic fingerprint scanner.