The V27 continues on a path set by the V23 at the beginning of 2022 by offering a UV-light-sensitive, color-changing rear panel on at least some of its available colorways. Another staple of the lineup - the slimline and lightweight body, is also here to stay.
Just like the V27 Pro, the V27 opts for a dual-curved design where both the back glass and the display are rounded towards the sides and meet in a super-thin plastic frame. It all makes for a really premium look and feel though it may be somewhat detrimental to grip and handling depending on how you look at it - the frame, in particular, makes picking it up from a table a bit troublesome.
Focusing on the good stuff instead, the color-changing back panel of our Emerald Green review unit starts off as a gradient with a pale greenish bottom that gets even lighter towards the top, where a smokey, marble-like, effect joins in as well.
That's not its final form, of course. Expose it to sunlight for just a brief couple of seconds, and the back turns into this deep dark teal hue. You can try and paint stuff on it deliberately, though simply holding it is sure to leave non-exposed patches and create a unique end result every time.
Depending on where you are in the world, the V27 may also be available to you in Magic Blue, Noble Black, or Flowing Gold (or Glow, they're not entirely decided, it seems). It just so happened that we had the Pro in Magic Blue, and here's how they look side by side - in a pre-UV-exposure state.
The Flowing Gold and the Noble Black colorways don't have the UV-sensitive treatment, and all but our Emerald Green colorways have a frosted anti-glare finish. The Emerald one is regular glossy glass to the touch, and we'd argue that it's a bit grippier thanks to that, though that has proven to depend a lot on the type of skin you have.
The oversized camera assembly is even bigger than what we had on the previous generation though the three-in-a-row arrangement does look neat. The ring-like flash also looks good, and the satin-finished metal plaque (it's metal, isn't it?), ties it all together. The metal piece is color-matched to the pre-UV-exposed state of the glass panel and stands out a lot when the phone turns dark.
Shifting our gaze to the front of the V27, we're seeing the same 6.78-inch OLED display we're already familiar with from the V27 Pro. The slim bezels and sloping sides make for a very up-market appearance - the V27 is a notch up in looks than most of the midrange competitors.
Not so premium is the lack of an IP rating - it's not that you should expect it at this price point or market segment, but if the Galaxies can do it, perhaps its absence elsewhere deserves to be pointed out. We have no reliable information on what type of glass is used to protect the display.
You get an under-display fingerprint reader of the optical variety on the V27, and it's as fast and reliable as the next one. We're not entirely fond of its rather low position, but once habit settles in, that shouldn't be an issue.
Unsurprisingly, a selfie camera punctures the display near its top edge. Right above the screen, where the glass meets the frame, you'll find a thin slit that serves as the outlet for the earpiece. Unfortunately, it doesn't double as a speaker - you only get one of those, on the bottom of the V27.
Also on the bottom is the card slot, and it takes a couple of nano SIMs back to back. The provision for a microSD card is now gone - the V25 still had a shared slot. You'll note that the card tray does have a gasket to prevent dust and water from entering the inside of the V27 though here.
The physical controls of the V27 consist of a power button and a volume rocker, both of them on the right side of the phone in a slightly thickened stretch of the otherwise 2.3mm-thin frame. While made of plastic themselves, they still click very reassuringly, and they're easy to reach with either hand without weird finger exercises.
The vivo V27 measures 164.1x74.8x7.4mm (same as the Pro) and weighs 180g (2g lighter, oddly). It's about 5mm taller but 0.6mm narrower and 0.4mm thinner than the V25, and this marginal increase in footprint seems like a very reasonable trade-off for what is a meaningful bump in screen size.
With the curved sides and slim profile, the V27 feels a lot more compact than blocky flat-sided rectangles like the Galaxy A54 and the Nothing Phone (1). The likes of the Realme 10 Pro+ and the Redmi Note 12 Pro+ do manage a better job of packaging for compactness, but we still feel the vivo has an edge.