Vivo V20 Pro Review: The Stylish Sultan of Selfies?
Betting on them front cameras again
It has been V20 mode for Vivo for the past couple of months. The brand has released three variants of its V20 series in this period of time – the Vivo V20, the V20 SE, and now the V20 Pro. A common thread running through all these is not the “V20” title but also the stress on the selfie cameras. The V20 brought a 44-megapixel selfie camera with autofocus and eye-tracking to the market, then the V20 SE came up with a more affordable but still reasonably powerful 32-megapixel snapper, and now it is the turn of the Vivo V20 Pro to take the selfie game up another notch – well, literally, with a dual selfie camera, one of which is 44 megapixels with eye autofocus and the other an 8 megapixel ultrawide.
Of course, as this is the V20 with the “Pro” tag, it gets some other boosts too – it comes with 5G connectivity, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G chip, and a very eye-catching design. Oh, and also, the highest price tag of the series. But does it deliver enough to justify it?
Delivering decent shots…and smashing selfies!
Well, if it is selfies that you seek, then the answer to that question is a resounding yes. The V20 was one of the best selfie cameras we have seen on a smartphone, and the V20 Pro takes it up a notch with lots of detail and some of the best selfies we have seen. Eye autofocus which tracks eye movement is very handy for those who shoot videos using the front camera as the subject stays in focus. And the addition of the ultrawide sensor just adds more variety to what was already a very good camera. Yes, the results are a little on the saturated side, but we do not see too many folks complaining about that, as details are generally well captured. We actually felt that the results were better than what we got on the V20. A huge surprise was how eye tracking worked even when the lights went and we were in near-complete darkness. Even the stickers fell perfectly on our faces. Speaking of which, there are a number of shooting options and software tweaks out there to let you do a whole lot more with your selfies.
The performance of the front cameras – the troika of the 64-megapixel main sensor, the 8-megapixel multi-function camera (it does ultra-wide, macro and bokeh), and the 2-megapixel monochrome sensor – is very good too, although they do get overshadowed by the selfies. The main sensor captured some very good shots in terms of detail although it did touch up the color a little. The multi-functioning camera is a great touch and honestly, we think it beats having sensors dedicated to different functions crowding the back of the phone. That said, the camera app sometimes would automatically switch to the 8-megapixel sensor from the 64 megapixel one the moment we were trying to take a relatively close shot and that was sometimes annoying because we just wanted a larger resolution shot.
Yes, you can always turn off the option, but it is a bit of a pain at times and very very disconcerting. We also could not really spot the difference the monochrome sensor made, though. The low light performance of the V20 Pro was decent enough for its price segment, and we, in particular, liked the way in which it handled colors – when we could keep our hands stable enough, we got some rather bright colors even in low light. Speaking of keeping our hands steady, it would have been great to have OIS at this price point (there are some devices with it now), but in most conditions, you get very good stills and decent enough videos. Still, make no mistake about it – the selfie cameras are the real stars here.
A steady, sometimes snappy performance from a Snappy Dragon
This, of course, brings us to the other big feature on the V20 Pro – that Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G. The chip is the same that we have seen on the likes of the bestselling OnePlus Nord and just as on that device it turns in a very tidy performance here. No, this is not designed to run high definition games at maxed-out resolutions but you can get a decent Call of Duty or Asphalt experience here, especially if you group it with some decent Bluetooth headphones (there is no 3.5 mm audio jack here, alas). There is only one RAM and storage variant – 8 GB / 128 GB and while some might bemoan the absence of expandable memory, we think most will be able to manage just fine with the amount of onboard storage. We had no problems running multiple apps and switching between them.
The 6.44-inch full HD+ (2400 x1080) AMOLED display comes with a regular 60 GHz refresh rate, but as we have said before, barring scrolling, the difference does not really jump out at us. It is a reasonably bright display with just a touch of saturation, which you can tone down if needed. It comes with an in-display fingerprint scanner that like most of its kind, is not super fast but does a decent enough job. Running the show is the job of a 4000 mAh battery which enables the phone to see out a day of normal usage. Thanks to a 33W charger it gets charged briskly enough too – about 65 percent in half an hour, and the full hundred percent in under an hour. It is not as insanely quick as some phones out there but frankly, we think getting your phone topped up in less than an hour suffices for most folks. In connectivity terms, you get 5G (not available in India yet but expected in the future), Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and GPS.
A very slick design…and Android 11 too
The Vivo V20 Pro is easily the best looking of its siblings. It comes with a glass front and back, and while the front is largely predictable, it is the back that grabs attention. It comes in two shades: Sunset Melody which is a blend of blue and pink with the shades switching between each other as light falls on the phone, and the less funky but more classy Midnight Jazz which is a blend of greyish silver and black. The backs are flat and feel good to hold and the camera unit is a square-ish unit at the back, which juts out a little but fits right into the straight lines design ethos of the device. It is not exactly a small phone – at 158.82 mm, it is definitely on the taller side – but it is impressively slim at 7.39 mm (Vivo is calling it the slimmest 5G phone) and is not heavy either at 170 grams. We would call it one of the most stylish phones in its price segment – mind you, we vote for the less-dhinchak (that’s what we call it in Delhi) Midnight Jazz shade.
A surprising ace up the Vivo V20 Pro’s sleeve is the fact that it is one of the few phones out there to be running Android 11. It comes with its elaborate (although increasingly less cluttered) FunTouch OS skin on top of Android 10 out of the box, but we got an update to Android 11 within a few days of the phone’s release and that puts the V20 Pro in a special zone for the time being. FunTouch OS itself does come with its share of preinstalled apps but also comes with a number of image and video editing and camera shooting options – all of which just add a bit of software muscle to that very good camera set-up that the phone already has.
A price that is a challenge…for itself!
The Vivo V20 Pro is available in a single RAM and storage variant of 8 GB/ 128 GB and is priced at Rs 29,990. And that price is the biggest cross it has to bear, for it faces some very tough competition. Leading the challengers is the OnePlus Nord which has the same processor, 5G connectivity, and even dual selfie cameras (although not really in the same class) but also a similar-sized display with a 90 Hz refresh rate, a cleaner Oxygen UI (albeit on Android 10 at the time of writing), a rear camera with OIS (better videos!), and with not just a more affordable 8 GB/128 GB variant at Rs 27,999 but actually a 12 GB/ 256 GB variant that at Rs 29,999 is perhaps one of the best options below Rs 30,000.
There is also the Samsung Galaxy M51 which serves up a bigger display, decent cameras, and a huge 7000 mAh battery starting at Rs 24,999. And well, camera freaks might also consider the Realme X3 Superzoom which brings in excellent cameras and a Snapdragon 855+ processor at a price of Rs 27,999, although its display is not quite in the same league. And lurking, of course, near the Rs 30,000 mark is the device that is many a smartphone photographer’s dream – the Pixel 4a.
That’s quite a lot to contend with. But the very fact that the V20 Pro does not seem out of place in that company tells you how good it is. No matter how good the competition, not too many come with the sort of slick design and powerful selfie cameras that it does. Those who love to snap themselves and flaunt their phones would be hard-pressed to find a better option at this price point. The V20 Pro does not crush its competition, but simply opens up a whole new front, and for the moment, emerges as the undisputed Sultan of Selfies and Style below Rs 30,000!
- Sleek design
- Good selfie camera
- Decent overall performance
- Android 11 update
- Just one RAM/Storage variant
- No expandable storage and no 3.5 mm jack
- Battery life is middling
- Could be seen as expensive
It is the third V20 device from Vivo in a short period of time. And like its namesakes, it too brings a snappy selfie camera and a snazzy design to the table. But will that be enough for the Vivo V20 Pro to stand tall against the likes of the OnePlus Nord and the Pixel 4a?