In the end, it always comes down to finding the right balance. Customers want the most bang for the buck with the least amount of compromises possible. Seemingly quite aware of this dynamic, Vivo based its strategy on upmarket finish and feel but did well to not overlook the equipment and performance.
Now, some may argue that Vivo's taking a risk by going too upmarket perhaps for a relatively low profile brand. That could well be a skewed perspective though - maybe Vivo knows its target markets well enough.
The V3Max is the best device the company can offer in the midrange although this doesn't mean much on markets long dominated by more established brands. To Vivo's credit, the phone appears very well built - something we've become accustomed to with Vivo handsets. If you can get over the Apple knockoff look and feel, you'll get to appreciate the premium quality finish and comfortable handling.
The first place to look for alternatives is right next door where rivals Oppo have the R5 and R7. The smaller-screened 5.2-inch R5 loses by a country mile - for every full battery charge on the V3Max you'll need to do two on the R5, and no fast charging tech will offset that.
The Samsung Galaxy A9 has a marginally larger footprint, and at 7.4mm is not exactly thick either. It has a larger 4000mAh battery and it shows in the superior battery endurance rating.
The Meizu MX4 Pro is worth a look as well. Yes, it's thicker than the V3Max, but it's cheaper, its 5.5-inch display has QHD resolution, its camera can shoot 4K video, and it will significantly outlast the V3Max in terms of battery life if you're mostly into web browsing. It also has a fingerprint sensor. The newly released MX5 is worth a look too as it's thinner, while retaining most of its predecessor's virtues, save for the QHD resolution.
Next up on the contender list is Xiaomi with the Redmi Note 3. The phone offers Snapdragon 650 performance for half the price. It's not as thin as the V3Max, but the added nearly 2mm bulk translates to a larger battery, which some may appreciate more.
The LeEco Le 1s sports a MediaTek Helio X10 chipset, which for its price (nearly half the V3Max's) is awesome. Its only caveat is the poor battery life, but other than that the 13MP camera records 4K video.
Lenovo has a similar offering with the Vibe K4 Note. The 5.5-incher packs MediaTek MT6753, which isn't as potent as the Snapdragon 652, but is solid enough offering adequate performance. The battery is larger, too at 3,300mAh.
Lastly, let's not forget the never settling OnePlus 2. It has a similar price tag to the V3Max and offers Snapdragon 810 chipset, vanilla Android experience and a solid 13MP shooter with 4K recording.
The V3Max is another well-built and decently equipped phone from Vivo, which shouldn't come as a surprise if you caught a glimpse of the likes of the X5Max and the X6. The phone easily looks better than most midrange alternatives, including ones from major brands and has one of the fastest fingerprint sensors around. The premium DAC is another nice surprise but it probably contributes to a price tag that might put many people off.
That's the thing, looking at the shiny metal case that screams iPhone one may think they spent all their budget on the outside and put all sorts of rubbish inside. They would of course be wrong but the copycat design may always backfire.