Specs. It used to be the be-all and end-all of smartphones even a couple of years ago. Things have changed for the better. Now, users care more about apps, the feel of a phone in the hand, the colour scheme and the components that go into the camera set-up. In fact, for some the front camera can sway a purchase decision.
Vivo, which is known for its stylish designs in the mid-segment, has had a good year. In a sea of black slabs, it’s one of the few Android phones which has managed to ride the wave without faltering. Instead of focusing on three-four things, the company has zeroed in on two big elements on its new device, the Vivo V20 Pro.
A far more practical choice over the many Xiaomi devices that have launched this year, the V20 Pro is enraptured by the lifestyle market. No, it doesn’t have the latest flagship Android processor but that doesn’t make the phone a bad choice.
Not a Brady bunch member
Unlike any Android phone out there, the notch as we had known earlier is back. Not as wide as on iPhones but it’s clearly visible and it clearly distinguishes the phone from the Brady bunch. The notch hasn’t been bunged in simply for making the phone look different. There are some sensors that the notch holds. Plus, there are two selfie cameras — 44MP AF and 8MP.
We had the Sunset Melody variant for review. It has a colourful gradient finish that deserves to be used without a back cover. At the same time, it can be somewhat of a fingerprint magnet but not as much as the Xiaomi Mi 10T, which is like carrying a mirror around.
Weighing only 170g, it’s very comfortable to hold and vlog with.
Perfecting the selfie
Speaking of vlogging, all eyes are on the front camera though the rear camera panel looks neat. The 44MP selfie camera is just like what we had seen on Vivo V20 but if you already have that phone, you wouldn’t obviously look at the Pro model.
It’s a lot of megapixels to play with and it’s worth having. The technology you get here is something you would find, say, on a Sony camera. The eye auto-focus technology ensures as soon as your face gets into the frame, the camera latches on to your eyes, no matter how much you move around, ensuring great focus. Even if more people join in, the focus will remain on your eyes. It’s something that vloggers would like to have.
Not just that, the front camera can shoot 4K@60fps, which is more than enough for all vlogging needs. But you sacrifice in terms of stablisation, so it’s best to keep it 4K@30fps. There is a slow-mo option too but I feel there is a loss of details in this mode.
The other achievement for Vivo is the way selfies get captured. While taking photos with the sun behind the head, the camera can mess things up badly. The V20 Pro identifies the face well and keeps it in focus without allowing the light to overwhelm the selfie. As for the night mode, it’s great but I am not a fan of photos with even a low degree of noise.
Another astonishing technology, which I don’t use, but has made great strides is AI. There are a lot of AI beauty filters on the phone... to make the chin longer, the face appear fuller or the nose appear prominent. People like it and Vivo makes these filters work pretty well. I wouldn’t trade in my Mr Bean features for beauty filters!
There is a super wide-angle camera on the front which works well but not being a selfie fan, it’s suffice to say that it has potential.
The main 64MP camera on the back is the same as what we saw on the Vivo V20. The same goes for the cameras keeping it company. There is dynamic range and the camera is able to retain most details even in photos full of shadows. The ultra-wide angle camera is good and the same can be said for the night mode.
It brings me to a quibble. If the back camera panel remains the same, why call this phone a Pro model? Is it because the Pro option has Snapdragon 765G over Snapdragon 720G on the V20? Yes, gaming is as spot on as, say, on the OnePlus Nord but the phone needed something more. Perhaps 90Hz display refresh rate on the AMOLED panel.
Is it for you?
Being light and well designed matters to consumers. There are a slew of good features to keep users happy — great AMOLED screen, good battery life from the 4,000mAh option (33W fast-charging means you can juice up fully in around 65 minutes), and, of course, an awesome selfie camera. With the display notch, Vivo has dared to make a style statement while ensuring all vlogging needs are well taken care of. It’s competition? The OnePlus Nord. Does it win? Let’s say, it settles for par.
Overall, the Vivo V20 Pro (Rs 29,990 for 8GB+128GB) champions the cause of selfie enthusiasts and vloggers.
Pictures: The Telegraph
At a glance
Display: AMOLED, 2400×1080 (FHD+)
Camera: Front — 44MP (eye AF) + 8MP wide angle; rear — 64MP+8MP+2MP
Processor: Snapdragon 765G 5G
Battery: 4,000mAh (33W fast-charging)
OS: Funtouch OS 11 (Based on Android 11)
Price: Rs 29,990
Vivo V20 Pro vs OnePlus Nord
- Both phones have clean looks
- Vivo V20 Pro is slightly lighter than OnePlus Nord
- The camera module is better designed on the V20 Pro
- The selfie camera is far better than what you get on Nord
- The screen calibration is a tad better on OnePlus Nord
- OnePlus Nord comes with a 90Hz refresh rate display
Vivo V20 Pro (left) and OnePlus Nord Pictures: The Telegraph