Mobiles – Vivo V20 review: A Stellar 5G smartphone
Vivo the Chinese smartphone company has a dedicated popular V series that caters to the premium mid-range segment. The recent addition to the company’s line up is the Vivo V20 series, which includes three devices: a standard variant, a Pro version and the SE model. The company mainly focuses on the camera capabilities of the V-series, but this time the company has focused on the design of the V20 series too. We have already reviewed the Pro variant a while ago and today we are here with another review, this time of the regular variant, which is the Vivo V20.
Looking at the phone we can say that the company has improved a lot in terms of pricing. The device has landed with a Rs 3,000 cheaper price tag, which seems like that the company is ready to take on Samsung and OnePlus.
We have been using Vivo V20 for a while now and indeed it is an incredible smartphone. But before we check out how the device performed, allow us to throw some light on the design of the mobile phone. Although this is the slightly cheaper variant of the Pro variant, the phone looks similar to its elder sibling and is quite different from the SE model.
The design is the best part about the phone. We have the Midnight Jazz colour variant but you can also choose from the Moonlight Sonata and Sunset Melody. The phone changes its hue from grey to blue and surprisingly the phone is not slippery at all, as most of the phones these days are quite slippery but not in the case of V20. The rear of this beauty is resistant to scratches and the anti-fingerprint coating does not catch smudges. However, the company still provides a clear case that protects it from accidental falls. That is good!
The device is also really lightweight and slim and bears a rectangular rear camera module, which makes the phone wobble a little when placed on a flat surface. The phone has a plastic frame with a glossy finish and the power button here is textured that doubles up as a fingerprint scanner with a volume rocker just above it. These are well placed so one can reach there with no trouble using one hand. We think the company has nailed it in terms of design, but we wish Vivo V20 had an IP rating seeing that the much cheaper phone these days come with an IP certification for water and dust resistance.
Moving to the front, the phone has a 6.44-inch full-HD+ AMOLED display with 1,080×2,400 pixels of resolution and a 20:9 aspect ratio. The device has an in-display fingerprint scanner that is fast, accurate and instant except when your hands are wet or greasy. In some cases, it demands a little bit of extra pressure to get it working. The Vivo V20 display is the best thing about this smartphone. The screen refreshes at 60Hz, which could come as a disappointment for some but we did not mind it because the AMOLED display is really good. A higher refresh rate could have been even nicer.
The AMOLED display here delivers vibrant colours, deeper blacks and the brightness is sufficient too, thanks to the incredible contrast ratio. At the top of the display, there is a U-shaped front camera module. It is also worth noting that this phone has slightly pronounced bezels especially at the bottom, but apart from this the Vivo V20 display is one of the best things about the device.
The professional colour mode in the display settings offers moderately muted hues therefore the human subjects look more natural. Under this setting, one can also customise screen colour in the display settings itself. Like we said before the phone lacks Gorilla glass protection and to compensate the company has provided a screen protector pre-applied. All in all, the display and the design are pretty much stellar and neat.
PERFORMANCE AND CAMERAS
At its heart, Vivo V20 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G chipset, which we have already seen on much cheaper devices by Redmi. It could have been much better if the company had provided a more powerful Snapdragon 765G, which comes on the OnePlus Nord. But still, the 720G on the V20 smartphone is a good upgrade over the previous generation that is Vivo V19 (click here for the Review) that houses the Snapdragon 675.
The device did not disappoint us in our day to day usage but sometimes it took a couple of seconds to launch an app from the notifications. It has been paired with 8GB of RAM or either 128GB/ 256GB of storage that can be expanded up to 1TB using a microSD card. We have tested the 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage model.
Speaking of gaming, we didn’t come across any major stutter or lag. While playing Call of Duty Mobile on this phone at Max framerate and High graphics settings it delivered extremely smooth and solid gameplay. The heat management on this smartphone is impressive too although it does not have the vapour chamber liquid cooling tech. We noticed that in half an hour or more of gaming on the Vivo V20 it does get a little bit warm, though it cools down really quickly when you turn off the game.
On the software front, the Vivo V20 smartphone’s Funtouch OS 11 is Vivo’s custom skin based on Android 11. It is so far the best OS skin giving you a stock Android-like experience inspired by OnePlus’s Oxygen OS. The company has revamped the look, feel and optimized its UI and is much better now.
Vivo’s custom OS offers some interesting features like the ultra game mode, which helps in optimising system resources, locks notifications therefore gaming improvement. Just like Motorola smartphones, you can activate the flashlight by just shaking the phone however it does not turn it off. Also, the revamped power menu on the Android 11 takes up a longer time to activate than normal on this phone. Unlike its previous generation of Android skin, it doesn’t get a lot of bloatware or Ads popping up.
Alright, now it’s time to talk about the cameras. Vivo claims to offer professional-grade photography features to its V-series of smartphones. Vivo V20 features a triple camera setup at the back. You get a 64-megapixel Samsung ISOCELL GW1 primary sensor with an f/1.89 aperture. Further assisted by an 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle lens with f/2.2 aperture, a 2-megapixel monochrome sensor with an f/2.4 aperture. While on the front it comes with a 44-megapixel selfie sensor with an f/2.0 aperture.
Starting with the front first, Vivo V20 comes with an eye autofocus feature which makes sure that the eye which is closest to the camera is always tracked. It should be noted that this functionality is available on the front as well as the rear cameras. The front 44-megapixel selfie sensor’s output and the quality are really amazing. But one of our favourite features is that the camera app has dual video modes, which activate when we click on an 8-shaped or infinity icon.
So basically what it does is also activates the rear camera as well as the front one at the same time. That is quite an impressive feature for the vloggers. In addition to this, you can also opt for the picture in picture mode while also offering the lens guide option. We preferred video shooting in the ultra-wide mode offering more frames while recording video. You can also choose the dual rear mode to show a video in standard and ultrawide definition.
Not only this the front camera also gives you the option to record selfie videos in Slow Motion. The selfie camera also has a portrait mode, which gives you the option of applying filters to your selfies. You can apply these filters before taking a selfie, too.
We have already talked about the rear camera specifications in the beginning but the interesting part here is its secondary lens is three in one. Basically, the 8-megapixel lens lets you shoot pictures in ultra-wide, macro and also senses depth.
The motion autofocus feature we are seeing on many flagship devices is provided in the V20 too. How does it work? Suppose we have a moving subject, on double-tapping, it will make sure that autofocus keeps tracking it even if the subject is moving hence giving you more stable images. The dynamic range is quite good even in the low light situation too. The focusing of the camera is fast, which is worth appreciating. As you can see the samples here while taking pictures in portrait mode the edge detection is on point, very natural and even falls off so portrait mode has also done a great job.
The tripod mode makes sure when you click pictures, the delivered images are stable and detailed. The Pro mode, or you can say the manual mode, offers from 50 ISO level to 3200 ISO, which is apt for low light photography complementing the AI noise reduction algorithm. Presets are also given to adjust white balance otherwise you can use the scale to adjust it manually.
Moving ahead to the video modes, the standard camera allows you to record in 2x and 1x. Here you get the option of a super-ultra-wide angle option so you can shoot in this mode as well. Under the resolution section, you have the option to record video in 4K, 1080P and 720P. The ultra-wide supports up to 1080P with a frame rate option of 30 or 50fps. Moreover, in 4K you can also shoot at 30 or 60fps.
Personally speaking, we are quite impressed with the Vivo V20’s camera performance even during backlit conditions, whereas the dynamic range is very good. The colours are very close to natural, not oversaturated. As per our preference, the camera outputs are excellent while focusing is very good. So V20 is a clear winner in terms of selfies and the photos look lively with a warm colour tone.
Moving to the battery, the Vivo V20 equips a 4,000mAh battery that supports a 33W FlashCharge fast charging solution. For regular users the phone’s battery lasted for a day and a half, which consisted of gaming, binging videos and scrolling through our multiple social media accounts. But if used extensively you would need to put it on a charge before heading to the office the next day. Getting to the audio quality, the call quality is great however the single bottom-firing speaker is not that impressive. It could have been louder.
All in all, Vivo V20 is a capable mid-range phone. The detail preservation and colour balance while maintaining better highlights with a wider dynamic range in pictures is great. The device’s screen also manages background HDR very well. The phone’s design is classic though but we would have loved it more if the company had given a better chipset and higher refresh rate panel.
Decent battery life
Could have come with a better chipset
A higher refresh rate screen
Lacks IP rating
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