My acquaintance with Vivo began with the Vivo X50 Pro smartphone. It left me with mixed feelings. It is powerful, and with a Gimbal camera, but a somewhat contradictory design, as well as the price point, were off-putting. To anyone interested, you can read my review in more detail. So, it was very interesting to test the new Vivo V20 smartphone, which, together with the “younger” V20 SE version, were recently revealed.
It is worth saying that the V series from vivo is synonymous with good design and high-quality photos from the main and front-facing cameras. Interestingly, the entire V series is camera-oriented. Largely thanks to its mid-range V-series phones, with an elite design and attractive features, the company managed to take its rightful place in the mid-range segment.
The global coronavirus pandemic and the economic troubles it causes around the world have changed the habits and consumer capabilities of many people and made them look more closely at low- and middle-range smartphones. According to market research company International Data Corporation (IDC), in the second quarter of 2020, the mid-range segment – from $400 to $600 – increased its share of the smartphone market by almost four points – to 11.6 percent. The main suppliers of devices in this segment are primarily Samsung and Huawei, as well as other Chinese companies such as Xiaomi, Oppo and vivo. So, vivo V20 is positioned by the company as a smartphone in the middle price segment. Let’s take a closer look at it.
vivo V20 specifications
Here are the full technical specifications of the new product from vivo.
|Network||Technology||GSM / HSPA / LTE|
|Launch||Announced||2020, September 30|
|Status||Available. Released 2020, October 19|
|Body||Dimensions||161.3 x 74.2 x 7.4 mm (6.35 x 2.92 x 0.29 in)|
|Weight||171 g (6.03 oz)|
|Build||Glass front, glass back|
|SIM||Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)|
|Size||6.44 inches, 100.1 cm2 (~83.7% screen-to-body ratio)|
|Resolution||1080 x 2400 pixels, 20:9 ratio (~409 ppi density)|
|Platform||OS||Android 11, Funtouch 11|
|Chipset||Qualcomm SM7125 Snapdragon 720G (8 nm)|
|CPU||Octa-core (2×2.3 GHz Kryo 465 Gold & 6×1.8 GHz Kryo 465 Silver)|
|Memory||Card slot||microSDXC (dedicated slot)|
|Internal||128GB 8GB RAM, 256GB 8GB RAM|
|Main Camera||Triple||64 MP, f/1.9, 26mm (wide), 1/1.72″, 0.8µm, PDAF
8 MP, f/2.2, 120˚, 16mm (ultrawide), 1/4.0″, 1.12µm, AF
2 MP, f/2.4, (depth)
|Features||Dual-LED dual-tone flash, HDR, panorama|
|Video||4K@30fps, 1080p@30/60fps, gyro-EIS|
|Selfie camera||Single||44 MP, f/2.0, (wide), AF|
|Video||4K@30fps, 1080p@30fps, gyro-EIS|
|Comms||WLAN||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot|
|Bluetooth||5.1, A2DP, LE|
|GPS||Yes, with A-GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, BDS|
|NFC||Yes (market/region dependent)|
|USB||USB Type-C 2.0, USB On-The-Go|
|Features||Sensors||Fingerprint (under display, optical), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass|
|Battery||Type||Li-Po 4000 mAh, non-removable|
|Charging||Fast charging 33W|
What’s interesting about the vivo V20?
If you carefully examined the table, you saw that this smartphone runs on the new version of Android 11 with a specially designed proprietary Funtouch OS 11 shell. Yes, this is one of the first mobile devices that has the latest version of the popular OS already installed. In addition, the main focus is on the design of the smartphone, or rather on its interesting back plate using gradient solutions.
The new product from vivo runs on a fairly powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G processor, which is complemented by an Adreno 618 graphics coprocessor, 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage. In addition to the triple main camera with a 64MP main lens, you will definitely enjoy the 44MP selfie camera. Completing the picture is a 6.44-inch AMOLED FHD+ screen that promises vibrant, lifelike colors, albeit with a 60Hz refresh rate.
What’s in the box?
At first glance, we see a sufficient set, which has everything. In a bright branded box, in addition to a smartphone, you will find a power adapter with a rather long charging cable (take that, iPhone 12 buyers), as well as wired headphones, paper manuals, and warranty cards.
There’s also a sufficiently high-quality silicone protective case, which will protect the smartphone and wont hide its beauty very much. Interestingly, the case also protects the USB connector, so in order to charge the device, you will need to open a special cover.
It may not be convenient, but it is practical, because it protects the port from dust and dirt that can get there.
Over the past few years, we’ve seen smartphone manufacturers dramatically improve the quality and design of their devices. Vivo’s V-series phones have also been praised for their attractive, distinctive designs, and the vivo V20 is keeping up with that trend. This smartphone can easily be called one of the most beautiful on the market.
I have two models for review, but I liked the Sunsen Melody one the most. It looks incredible.
This color option combines shades of orange, blue, and light purple, depending on what angles you look at. My photos do not always convey this, but believe me, this color combination will not leave anyone indifferent. This glass back is called AG Matte Glass. It gives the smartphone a smooth and delicate matte texture. This is similar to what we saw with the expensive vivo X50 Pro.
In addition, the vivo V20 has a sleek frame with curved edges, like many of its competitors, however, it is thanks to this finish the Chinese company has managed to distinguish its device from competitors.
The edges of the device are the same color as the back, made of glossy polycarbonate. Why a plastic frame? Vivo say they say that they settled on such a solution in order to reduce the weight of the device.
The smartphone is one of the lightest in its price segment and at 7.38mm thick, it feels surprisingly thin. The V20 is covered in a curved 2.5D glass, and at 171g, it sits comfortably in your hand. It is truly one of the thinnest and lightest smartphones on the mobile market.
The location of control buttons, connection ports and other interfaces is familiar. On the right, you’ll find the power and volume buttons. Interestingly, the power button is textured, so you can always tell when your finger is on it. Moreover, the buttons are very well placed so I could reach them without any problem.
On the top there’s only a noise canceling microphone is placed, which is barely noticeable.
On the left side is a SIM tray that can accept two SIM cards along with a micro SD card. This will allow you to expand the built-in storage if desired.
Finally, there is a 3.5mm headphone jack, a USB Type-C port for connecting a charger, PC connectivity, and a speaker grill at the bottom.
More than a sufficient set of ports and connection interfaces, many will appreciate the presence of a mini-jack and the ability to expand the storage with a micro SD card without sacrificing a second SIM card. Unfortunately, I have no idea whether the smartphone has any protection standard, at least IP53 certification.
Now back to that wonderful gradient back plate. Here we find a triple camera module and a flash. The location is similar to what we saw in the vivo X50 Pro, but here the module is more accurate and does not spoil the design impression at all. Around the flash is a silver accent, which adds a premium feeling to the phone. The very island of the camera does not protrude too much from the body, so the smartphone feels steady on a flat surface, and the protective case completely hides this protrusion.
In addition, the back panel does not collect fingerprints, almost … They can actually be seen from a certain angle, but they are easily erased.
The front of the phone houses a crisp and bright 6.44-inch AMOLED display, with FHD+ resolution, with an aspect ratio of 20:9. Like any other AMOLED panel, this one also features deep blacks and vibrant colors.
A 44-megapixel front camera was placed at the top, almost in the center, in the drop-shaped notch, and above it there was a place for the earpiece speaker. Using a notch in 2020 may look odd when compared to the competition, but when you think of the iPhone 12 with its huge notch, you just forget about such a small thing.
While most smartphone makers have switched to perforated displays, it seems rather odd that vivo ditched this in favor of a waterfall screen. In addition, the vivo V20 has a 60Hz refresh rate, so the AMOLED display largely compensated for the lack of a panel with a higher refresh rate, but more on that later.
To protect the all-glass surface of the smartphone, the Chinese company uses durable protective glass on both the front and back. To do this, the back of the phone uses a layer of Gorilla Glass 5, and in front, a layer of SCHOTT Xensation UP glass to protect the screen.
The smartphone is very convenient to use. It is lightweight, thin and almost non-slippery despite the glass back. Its matte surface helps with the grip. In addition, as I said, there is a protective case. The dimensions of the smartphone allow it to be used with one hand, but when I wanted to get to the top edge, I often had to grab it with the other hand.
The materials used by vivo are high quality and durable. Even the polycarbonate frame is very durable, so it is almost impossible to deform the smartphone. Can you smash the screen? Even bulletproof glass can be broken if you set your mind to it.
Great AMOLED display
The Vivo V20 has by far one of the nicest displays in this price segment so far. This is because the smartphone uses a 6.44-inch AMOLED FHD+ panel (2400 x 1080 pixels), which offers vibrant and lifelike colors. The dimensions of the display are just enough to maintain good readability, which is a big advantage of the vivo V20. However, the company could still work to reduce the bezels and the rather large chin, because, frankly, they break the harmony of the phone’s overall aesthetic. The decision to give preference to the teardrop notch of the front camera also looks strange, because of which the vivo V20 manages to achieve a rather meager 83.7% screen-to-surface ratio.
But there are no issues with the quality of the display itself. The viewing angles are good and there are no color distortions or other issues that would get in the way of viewing content.
The display uses a rather unusual 20:9 aspect ratio, so it is elongated, and also provides good experience when reading text or watching videos or images thanks to its high pixel density (408 ppi). The panel’s contrast ratio is also impressive as the display can operate at 2,000,000:1. The panel supports HDR 10 for high-quality video playback and has a high peak brightness of 600 nits for comfortable use even in direct sunlight.
Perhaps someone will be surprised at the rather “low” refresh rate of 60 Hz by modern standards, but believe me, the AMOLED display compensates for this inconvenience. Reading, writing messages, watching videos, viewing content on the Internet and even playing on such a screen is great.
Yes, it may sometimes lack smoothness, but all this is compensated by the AMOLED technology. The colors are bright, clear, it is a pleasure to read from such a screen. I even forgot that the refresh rate is 60 Hz. We also haven’t forgotten about the dark mode and Always On Display, as well as all the other advantages of AMOLED displays. You can change the color mode of the screen and even adjust the color temperature according to your preference.
The color gamut in standard mode is based on the DCI-P3 standard with a slight offset. The average grayscale range is 2.29, the curves are fairly stable. The color temperature ranges from 7000 to 8000. The average DeltaE deviation for the extended Color Checker palette (shades of gray + a wide range of color shades) is 4.23 which is more than acceptable. The colors are a little cool, but not abnormal.
In professional mode, as it should be, the color space is narrowed to the sRGB standard, and the picture becomes much warmer. At the same time, the color temperature approaches the ideal, being in the range from 6500 to 7000. The gamma is approximately the same (2.25). And the average deviation of DeltaE for the extended Color Checker palette is 2.25. The screen in terms of the quality of settings in this mode is close to the professional panel – photographers will like it very much. In general, the smartphone display is great.
Recently, smartphone manufacturers have been focusing more on the biometric security of their devices. In-screen fingerprint scanners have become commonplace. They exist even in the middle range.
The new product from vivo was no exception. A fingerprint scanner is there in the screen.
By the way, it’s optical, so it works almost flawlessly. Maybe not as fast as in the flagship models, but the scanner worked almost every time. The sensor is fast enough and I was pleasantly surprised several times – the fingerprint scanner worked even when my finger was a little wet.
You can also choose to unlock your device by face as a biometric security option. Yes, someone will say that it is sometimes not safe enough, but unlocking is almost instant, even in the dark.
vivo V20 performance
While the vivo V20 is striking in design, it leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to the hardware under the hood. Looking at the specs, you can see that vivo had to make some tricky decisions in the hardware department. The device received only an eight-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G SoC, which is not among the most powerful chipsets. The chipset is complemented by an Adreno 618 GPU. Of course, the Snapdragon 720G is not a leader in its class, but it is similar to the Snapdragon 730G in terms of performance and still handles all daily tasks and even heavy games just fine. Perhaps it would be worthwhile to use vivo V20 and Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G for better competition, but believe me, you will not notice a significant difference, because this chipset is more of a marketing ploy.
Note that the vivo V20 also has 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, although I had 256GB in my test device. Quite a good set considering that the memory can be expanded with a Micro SD card. This equipment is enough for daily tasks and you can even run several apps at the same time.
Synthetic tests also showed nothing new. The chipset works at its level. It’s still the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G.