Vivo’s V series has been synonymous with good design and bringing good selfie and primary cameras. Interestingly, the camera-centric V series is also the oldest from the smartphone maker and the lineup has seen steady and consistent launches since it debuted in the country. The Vivo V19 was launched in India in May, and now we have the Vivo V20 which is being marketed as the country’s ‘slimmest smartphone of 2020’. However, handset maker Oppo had launched one of the slimmest smartphones of this year — the Oppo F17 Pro (Review) a few weeks ago and it looks like other handset makers, including Vivo, are now following suit.
With the shift in consumer spending habits in the wake of the global coronavirus pandemic, low-to-mid-range smartphones are where the smartphone buyers are moving. The mid-to-high-end segment — $400 to less than $600 — grew its share of the market by almost four points to 11.6 per cent in the second quarter of 2020 and devices from Samsung, Huawei, and other Chinese vendors like Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo are the main vendors driving these segments, according to market research firm International Data Corporation (IDC). The $400 or Rs 30,000 price segment is where Vivo’s V series smartphones have done pretty well in the past.
Along with an ultra-slim design language, the Vivo V20 brings distinctive colour options, Android 11 OS out of the box, and a 44-megapixel selfie cam which is a big highlight of the smartphone. The Vivo V20 essentially falls under the Rs 25,00 price segment which has seen some really good launches, including the Realme X3 as well as the much-hyped OnePlus Nord. Here is how the smartphone fared in real life.
We have seen smartphone makers grow radically in terms of quality and design in the past few years. Vivo’s V series phones have also been lauded for bringing good design language, and the Vivo V20 isn’t any different. It is easily one of the most gorgeous looking phones out there. The handset maker is offering the device in three distinctive colour options: Midnight Jazz, Moonlight Sonata, and Sunset Melody. We got the latter for review and man, it looked incredible. This colour variant brings together hues of orange, blue as well as light mauve when viewed from different angles.
While the glass sandwich design has been tried-and-tested hit for most OEMs, Vivo, too, has chosen glass to manufacture the V20. The rear has something that Vivo calls AG Matte Glass finish which essentially renders a smooth, delicate and frosted finish to the smartphone. This is similar to what we have seen on the pricier Vivo X50 Pro (Review).
The handset maker is marketing the V20 as the ‘slimmest smartphone’ of the year, and that’s not wrong; at 7.38-mm thickness, this device is slimmer than the Oppo F17 Pro which is 7.48-mm thick, thus, making it comfortable to hold during prolonged use. The frame of the device is the same colour as the rear, albeit for the use of glossy polycarbonate. Vivo has accommodated a standard 3.5-mm headphone jack which is refreshing to see in 2020.
The power button and the volume rockers are housed on the right edge while the SIM card tray is placed on the left side of the phone. The bottom of the Vivo V20 sports a USB Type-C port that sits between the speaker grille and the 3.5-mm headphone jack. It was good to see the company bundle a protective transparent silicone case in the box.
The rear also houses a triple camera setup and a flash which is in a stepped fashion, again similar to what we have seen on the Vivo X50 Pro. Around the flash is a silver accent which adds a premium touch to the phone. The plain Vivo branding sits on the bottom left corner, and the rest of the back is neat. The front of the phone houses a crisp and bright AMOLED display which is 6.44-inch and has an FHD+ resolution along with an aspect ratio of 20:9. Like any other AMOLED panel, this one too offered deep blacks and pronounced colours.
The display also arrives with a feature which is slightly dated for 2020 — the waterdrop notch that houses the 44-megapixel selfie cam. While most OEMs have shifted to punch hole displays, it seems rather odd that Vivo ditched that in favour of a waterdrop notch screen. Also, the higher refresh rate is missing in the Vivo V20, and one would have to settle for a 60Hz screen. That being said, the AMOLED display compensated for the lack of a higher refresh rate panel to a large extent.
Vivo is shipping the V20 with Android 11 out of the box and has done away with the previous version of its proprietary Funtouch OS, in favour of a clean and new Funtouch OS 11 which features new desktop icons, an improved dark mode, new live wallpapers, an improved Jovi virtual assistant and several customisation options. A cleaner UI means there was less bloatware — we did not see unnecessary apps such as WPS Office and others such apps pre-installed on our review unit. Some pre-installed apps, however, came from Google itself: there were apps such as the Google Lens, Google Assistant, and Google Files that cluttered the app drawer. Funtouch OS 10.5, as we had mentioned earlier in the review of Vivo X50 Pro, did away most of the immature-looking app icons and brought the beloved Android’s system navigation gestures. You get the same sweet deal with the Funtouch OS 11, and there are options to customise it as well.
The Vivo V20 scored 1500 in multi-core test and 541 on the single-core test on Geekbench. The phone arrives with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G chipset which is a step up from the previous-gen Vivo V19. The 700 SD series chipset ensured the performance is pretty good for day-to-day usage. Also, in terms of gaming performance, and playing games like Asphalt 8 was sans any hiccups. Titles such as Super Clone also ran smoothly on the device. The phone does not heat up significantly when it is stressed.
One of the main USPs of the Vivo V20 is the selfie camera. Vivo is using a segment-first 44-megapixel Eye-Auto focus selfie camera which it says, is an advanced algorithm that tracks and focuses on the eye of the subject, irrespective of the movement. We found the selfies taken in daylight to be very clear, and with almost no flaws whatsoever. Selfies taken indoors during the daytime were equally good, if not better. The edge detection was on point, and the skin tones and colours looked natural and bright. There was no crazy smoothening of the skin by default, but of course, there are beauty filters that would let you adjust the skin tone, whiten or even buff the skin for selfies. The selfies taken at night were also natural-looking and well-lit. Night-times selfies taken outdoors fared much better than most devices in the price category. It is safe to say that Vivo V20 kind of lives up to the promise of a crazy selfie camera phone.
In terms of the primary cameras, the V20 is a minor downgrade from the V19 if you go by the sheer number of sensors. The V19 had a quad-camera setup, but the Vivo V20 gets three sensors comprising of an upgraded 64-megapixel camera, an 8-megapixel ultra-wide sensor that doubles up as a macro lens and a 2-megapixel monochrome sensor. Photos taken in the daytime using the 64-megapixel main cam were detailed. Also, the dynamic range was on the higher side. The ultra-wide lens is also capable of shooting detailed with the right colour balance. The mono sensor also manages to click decent B&W images.
Night-time imaging was good, thanks to the dedicated Super Night Mode which churned out detailed images which otherwise were lost. The dedicated Night Mode feature also brings Black and Golden, Blue Ice, Green Orange, Cyberpunk filters which are similar to what we have seen on the X50 Pro. It is an interesting and novel feature for sure. Also, Vivo borrows a feature from HMD-Nokia’s ‘Bothie’ and with that users can shoot from both the selfie and rear cameras simultaneously.
Vivo has fitted a 4,000mAh battery in the V20 which seems a little less when compared to the likes of Samsung Galaxy M51 which brings in a 7,000mAh battery. However, Vivo V20’s battery lasted us an entire day on a single charge with 4G running on one SIM card. Also, the company’s proprietary 33W FlashCharge technology easily charged the device in an hour and 10 minutes from zero to 100.
Vivo has made an impressive-looking phone with a big 44-megapixel selfie camera that offers good overall performance. It is easily the slimmest phone out there and does not tire you during prolonged usage. We used the Sunset Melody colour variant and were impressed by the mixed hues of orange and blue that the phone reflected. Also, the smartphone runs the latest Android 11 out of the box that makes it a pretty sweet deal.
Talking about some of the alternatives in this price bracket, there’s the OnePlus Nord (Review) and Samsung Galaxy M51 (Review) that are decent options.
Vivo, LG V20, Mobile phone, Front-facing camera, Selfie
World news – US – Vivo V20 Review