[First Cut] Vivo U20: Upping the spec ante for U!
A clear cut above the U10, but up against some serious competition
It might not have been grabbing as much attention as the likes of Redmi, Realme, and OnePlus, but Vivo has had a phenomenal 2019, rising to become one of the top smartphone brands in India, and actually challenging the likes of Samsung. And one of the reasons for the brand’s rise has been its excellent mid-segment offerings, best epitomized by its two new series, the Z and the U series, both of which are believed to have done well. So clearly a lot is expected from the latest addition to the U series, the Vivo U20.
The U20 comes after the U10, which scored on its processing power and large battery at a surprising price. And well, those twin features are likely to be major attractions for the U20 as well. The phone comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 675 chip, which is not too common at this price point (just as the Snapdragon 665 was not at the U10’s price) and once again brings a 5000 mAh battery to the fight, with an 18W fast charger as well. What’s more, the U20 also comes with a larger and higher resolution display – a 6.53-inch full HD+ one, as compared to the 6.35-inch HD+ one on the Vivo U10. In terms of memory, the U20 has a 4 GBN and 6 GB RAM variants, with 64 GB being onboard storage, expandable by 256 GB using a dedicated micro SD card slot. The connectivity options like 4G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS are present as well, and the phone runs on FunTouch OS 9 on top of Android 9. There is a 3.5 mm audio jack present (on the base) and while some might not be too pleased with the micro USB port for charging, we do not think it is a deal-breaker. Not yet.
Where, however, the Vivo U20 might seem to be missing a trick is in the camera department. Yes, the phone does come with a triple camera arrangement at the back, but whereas the likes of Redmi, Realme, and Samsung have been upping the megapixel ante (with 48-megapixel snappers at this price point), the Vivo U20 sticks to a 16-megapixel main sensor, combined with an 8-megapixel ultra-wide sensor and a 2-megapixel macro sensor. The selfie camera is a 16-megapixel one as well. No, we have not really used the cameras enough at the time of writing to pass judgment on them, but suffice to say that on paper, they do seem a little behind the competition.
And the same goes for the design of the device. It is not as if the Vivo U20 is bad looking – no, we got the Racing Black variant (there’s a Blaze Blue one as well) and it cut a smart figure. Some might turn their noses up at the plastic back but we think it looks good and comes with a gradient finish that reflects light in S-shaped patterns on its back. The gold-bordered camera capsule on the top left corner of the back, actually adds a pleasant contrast to the black back. The front is of course now the near-staple “notched” display with bezels being kept to a minimum. The display is LCD but seems reasonably bright. The bigger display and the (still) big battery means that this is a relatively large phone – 162.2 mm tall and 193 grams heavy – but again, we do not really see this as a deal-breaker. As we said earlier, the Vivo U20 is not a bad looking phone by any means, but its design game is not quite in the class of Realme and Redmi.
Still, at its price of Rs 10,990, there’s no doubting that the Vivo U20 will be a contender in its category, especially for those who are looking for some serious processing power (the 675 is comparable to the 710 which is seen in even more expensive devices) and a large, relatively quick charging battery. In fact, there are many who would consider this to be a very good entry point for mobile gaming enthusiasts, as they would be getting a speedy chipset, a decent amount of RAM and a big display, all of which would be capable of going on and on for a while, thanks to a large battery. Its higher price point than the U10 means it faces more competition, and just how well it fares against it will be revealed in our review in the coming days. Stay tuned.