vivo V21 Review — One For The Selfie Lovers
vivo has marketed the vivo V21 as the perfect device for low-light selfies as it is powered by a Dimensity 800U chipset and sports a 44MP front camera that comes with OIS.
+ Selfies look clear in low-light, even without dual flash on
+ Thin build feels nice on the hands
+ Accessories provided feels sufficient
+ Decent battery life for such a capacity
- It looks like the vivo X60 series
- Colour seems off for cameras
- Lacks 3.5mm headphone jack
- Some may find the price to be a bit high
We’ve taken a look at the vivo X60 Pro previously and this time around, we are testing out the company’s latest device in this vivo V21 review. Powered by the Dimensity 800U chipset, this smartphone has an emphasis on selfies. Will it impress us? Let’s begin, shall we?
You can expect the following items to be included inside the box:
- vivo V21
- SIM ejector
- Soft case
- Charging brick
- USB-C cable
- Earphone (3.5mm)
- USB-C to 3.5mm dongle
The vivo V21 comes with a 6.44-inch AMOLED display where, as you can see above, it sports a waterdrop notch that houses its 44MP selfie camera. The bezels around the display isn’t that noticeable and that’s good.
If you look at the right hand side of the device, you’ll find the usual volume rockers and power button, in which the latter has a nice textured finish to it. Move over to the left side and you’ll find that it’s completely naked with nothing to see.
Moving to the bottom, you will find the SIM tray, a microphone hole, USB-C port, and the phone’s speaker grille.
Heading over to the top, you’ll find that there’s nothing except for its secondary microphone hole. From this angle, we can see some of the camera bump behind.
Finally, we switch to the rear and as you can see here, we’ve got our hands on the Sunset Dazzle color variant, which comes in an iridescent finish. Other than that, the triple camera setup can be found on the top left as well as the vivo branding towards the bottom.
vivo V21 Specifications
|CPU||MediaTek Dimensity 800U 5G Octa-core (2×2.4GHz Cortex-A76 & 6×2.0GHz Cortex-A55) 7nm|
|Display||6.44-inch (2404×1080) FHD+ AMOLED 90Hz refresh rate|
|Camera||64MP OIS + AF
Night mode, Portrait, HDR, Flash, Panorama, Live Photo, AR Stickers
|Selfie camera||44MP OIS
Portrait mode, HDR, AI camera, Dual flash
|Connectivity||LTE Band 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/20/28/38/39/40/41
WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz + 5GHz)
33W fast charging
|Dimensions||159.68 x 73.9 x 7.39mm|
This is actually the first time we’ve tested MediaTek’s Dimensity-series chipset and as we can see here from Antutu’s test, the Dimensity 800U’s score is what we’d expect from a mid-range device. It even beat the Snapdragon 732G in the form of the Galaxy A52.
In Geekbench 5, we find that the single-core performance to be quite decent. It’s multi-core score shows a similar result, not too high and not too bad for a mid-range smartphone.
Though the V21 manage to outscore both in Sling Shot and Sling Shot Extreme tests compared to the SD732G on the POCO X3 NFC, it seems that it lacks behind when it comes to the Ice Storm Unlimited scores.
Over at PCMark Work 2.0’s test, the phone doesn’t score too well as it’s last on the list, where we can see that both Snapdragon 720G and Snapdragon 732G has an advantage over the device.
Coming to the battery test, you might think that the vivo V21 doesn’t last very long with it lasting 11 hours and 30 minutes. It is actually a decent performance considering the battery capacity that it comes with.
When it comes to real-life battery life, I find that with my normal usage, the vivo V21 would end up with around 60% to 65%. Usage would include social media browsing on Instagram and Facebook, messaging apps, as well as watching videos. Expect the power to be lower however if you use intensive power consuming apps such as Waze and the likes. You could get a longer battery life by switching to the 60Hz refresh rate but when you have a higher option, I don’t see why wouldn’t you want it turned on, right?
If you’re wondering on how fast the 33W fast charger is, well I’ve managed to get the device to juice up from 19% to 69% in a 30-minute charging period, just to let you know how long that you need to fully charge the phone.
Though the vivo V21 looks quite similar to the vivo X60 Pro that I’ve reviewed before at first glance, the former uses a rather traditional waterdrop notch. For me, it’s better than the conventional punch-hole notch right in the middle as at least there’s no lit up space in between, which for me is a distraction.
120Hz refresh rate is higher than 90Hz, it’s simple calculation. Despite that, I feel that the one on this device is just good enough as it could be smoother. I’d say the bare minimum refresh rate that phones should have these days is 90Hz as it makes everything seem smoother which is essentially what you would want from a display.
Despite the fact that the speaker on the device is loud enough, it would’ve been nicer to have come with stereo speakers instead. That would’ve improved on the experience significantly.
The vivo V21 runs on Funtouch OS 11.1, which is based on Android 11. I don’t have anything that’s worthy to criticize about it. UI wise, I didn’t find any issues such as lag or sluggishness when using the device, so that’s a good thing. Considering on how big the RAM is, I am not surprised.
To my surprise, the camera UI is slightly different from the one found in the vivo X60 Pro. While the former shows the lens option at the middle, the vivo V21’s three camera lens can be selected at the ‘Lens’ option located at the bottom right. Other than that, it’s pretty much the same.
The vivo V21 focuses on low-light selfies and as you can see here, it comes with a dual flash system on the front in case you need to brighten up your environment. With that being said, let’s see how the cameras perform.
While we know that vivo is focusing on the selfie capabilities of the device, let’s start off with the main rear cameras first. Overall, the quality is average. I find that using the High Resolution mode, which uses the 64MP camera, offers better tone and realistic colors. Otherwise, the colors on all three cameras comes out a bit washed out. I wasn’t too happy with the macro lens as the color representation seemed more dull than what it’s supposed to be in real life.
Moving over to the selfie camera, I’m not one who loves to take selfies but I’m actually impressed with the results. In conditions where even light source is scarce, it does a mighty fine job and they end up pretty clear. It’s worth noting that this applies even without the dual flash feature enabled. In fact, I feel that selfies taken without it comes out nicer. All the selfies were taken in extreme low-light condition except for one, which you can tell from the lighting. There are also plenty of filters that are available in your hands, should you want to play around with it.
Check out the full sized images right here.
The key specifications of this smartphone seems rather average on paper. I for one am not a huge fan of taking selfies but if you do, this seems like the device for you. The OIS helps in shooting them and the results in low light is pretty impressive. Plus, there’s quite the number of settings and filters on hand for you to play around with.
If you fit the category above and don’t mind spending RM1,599, the vivo V21 is a good smartphone for you. If they could change the look of it, tweak the color variant so that it doesn’t look much like the vivo X60 series, and reduce the price just a little bit, it would likely attract more users to the device.
We would like to thank vivo Malaysia for providing the vivo V21 that was used in this review.