Vivo V20 Review: Android 11, Interesting Cameras and Swanky Design, But… Rs 24,990?

The Vivo V20 joined News18’s ever burgeoning pile of review devices about three weeks ago. Immediately, it raised an interesting debate. About half a decade ago, the smartphone industry was rather different. Budget phones showed venomous lags, the term ‘phablet’ was thrown around with scorn by those with small palms, and product briefings were far, far away from mobile phone cameras with a hundred million little pixels packed into less than half a square inch of space. Back then, we were still bickering over whether phones should really have screens larger than 5 inches, and more importantly, how slim could phones really go. Back then, Chinese OEMs Gionee and Vivo were fighting tooth and nail over who bagged the title of the slimmest phone in the world – with the Gionee Elife S5.1 and the Vivo X5 Max, both claiming 5.1mm phone bodies.

Fast forward to now, and we have successfully normalised the presence of triple rear cameras on budget phones costing less than Rs 10,000. We’ve also normalised screen sizes of 6.5 inches, and phones comfortably go close to 10mm thickness and weigh close to 200 grams. Case in point – the Poco X3. In such a market, Vivo was quick to point out that their phone is super slim by present standards, without sacrificing the specifications. The Vivo V20 in question measures only 7.38mm in thickness – a mean feat, considering the specifications on offer. It has a 64-megapixel triple rear camera, a 6.44-inch full HD+ AMOLED display, and a 4,000mAh battery too. However, it also costs Rs 24,990.

At a price point that today has the venerable OnePlus Nord, and at a slight premium, the Google Pixel 4a, would you really pay for a phone just because it is slimmer than what’s around? Or, has Vivo really pulled a magic bunny out of the hat with the Vivo V20?

On standalone terms, there are no two ways about it – the Vivo V20 does feel good. Given the general bulk of smartphones these days, the Vivo V20 feels like a premium phone simply out of its sheer sleekness. The 7.38mm width, which I’m sure Vivo’s engineers worked their socks off to achieve, does the trick and how. It doesn’t feel flimsy or too light – instead, it feels like a sleek slab of well-engineered glass that can slip into tight-fit pockets well enough.

I didn’t find its plastic sides taking anything away from its premium in-hand feel. On top of that, the matte, frosted rear glass has attracted practically no smudges or fingerprints, which is a real boon. Interestingly, Vivo has seeded all of us the Sunset Melody gradient colour shade that shifts through the many wavelengths of the setting sun rays, as you shift your gaze across the back of the phone. While plenty of my colleagues and peers have gone gaga over it, I’m not a big fan of carrying around a phone that shifts from azure blue to deep orange. That, though, is just my boring colour preference.

In all honesty, Vivo has really nailed the premium gradient finish on the Vivo V20, and the Sunset Melody variant does look gorgeous for all those flamboyant enough to carry a phone like this. Nitpick I may be doing, but let nothing take away the fact that the Vivo V20 is, by most parameters, a phone that’s rather fancy to hold, use and carry. Its slim body further helps in an easy grip, and you’d realise that over time, the one extra millimetre that has been shaved off the phone’s bulk does make a difference in its ergonomics.

The Vivo V20 features a 6.44-inch, full HD+ AMOLED display, with 20:9 aspect ratio. On paper, this is about as much as you can expect from a premium smartphone. However, there is one important thing about the display here, that feels out of place. On premium phones, users would expect a display that sits flush with the frame of the smartphone, or bears curved edges that mould into the minimal side frame. On the V20, however, the display is slightly raised from the side frame. This, coupled with the rather plasticky and shiny side frame, unfortunately reminds of older generation smartphones that probably could have gotten away with the premium tag. Today, with the likes of the OnePlus Nord and the Redmi K20 at hand, this hardly qualifies as premium…Read more>>