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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.