[i2pc pros_icon=”icon icon-check-2″ cons_icon=”icon icon-ban-3″ show_title=”false” title=”Pros & Cons” show_button=”false” pros_title=”Pros” cons_title=”Cons” ][i2pros] A balanced screen
Stable in-game performance
The “wow” effect of the flash for selfies.[/i2pros][i2cons] which often comes under marketing.
The teardrop design
Slowdowns in camera mode
The Vivo V21 5G tries to twist the expectations of a mid-range smartphone a bit by offering a 44-megapixel selfie camera and its surprising dual LEDs. For 32,900 Tk, it has a glass coating, a 90 Hz Full HD + screen, and 5G compatibility.
You may never have heard of Vivo. If the name tells you a little something, it may be that you watched Euro football. The brand is indeed an official sponsor. Anyway, here are some characteristics of the Chinese brand to make the presentations.
Vivo is, first of all, a very young brand in Bangladesh since its arrival dates from October 2020. It has therefore been with us for less than a year. In this short period of time, Vivo has released a dozen smartphones. Then, it’s a brand that tries some innovations here and there. It was Vivo that introduced the first smartphone with an under-display fingerprint sensor, the Vivo X20 Plus UD. More recently, the brand used a smartphone camera equipped with a gimbal system to provide stabilization at the level of a camera.
With the Vivo V21 5G, the Chinese company once again offers a somewhat innovative feature. It stands out thanks to a dual-front LED system to magnify selfies. The camera for selfies, as Quebecers would say, also has 44 megapixels. Beyond that, it is a smartphone with characteristics worthy of the mid-range.
The design of the Vivo V21 5G is relatively classic. Flat front and back, it has a glass coating that glides well under your fingers. We find the small notch in the center of the screen accommodates the selfie camera exactly like in the V20. The coating on our model is a midnight blue that is not completely matte. It indeed displays subtle reflections. A nice touch for a mid-range smartphone, which also does not take too many fingerprints.
A fun little detail, the thickness varies depending on the color: the Twilight Blue version that we tested measures 7.29 mm compared to 7.39 mm for the flamboyant sunset glow color.
The sides of the smartphone do not take on a rounded shape as seen on slightly more expensive devices. That being said, when felt, the polished edges avoid the slightly rough touch that is visible in some entry-level phones. The weight of the Vivo V21 5G is well balanced, and it hardly protrudes from the pocket.
On the menu of slight concessions in the design, we can note the very slight borders at the top and bottom, but it is impossible to blame them for 32,900 Tk each.
The photo block takes up the design of the X60 Pro (of course, it is not the same sensors) with its square shape. There is a large lens on top and two smaller ones below. The flash is installed in a beautiful wide location, which adopts a pastel purple color.
The sound management and locking buttons have taken up residence on the right edge. The USB-C port, the loudspeaker, and the slot for the SIM cards are at the bottom. Note that it can either accommodate two SIM cards at a time or a SIM and a microSD. The left side as well as the top edge are free of any frills.
On the protection side, the Vivo V21 5G comes with a protective film for the screen. The Vivo V21 5G has an IP 52 certification. This means that it is protected against dust and that it is slightly resistant to water (not enough to immerse it in a basin or in the glass either).
At first glance, the Vivo V21’s screen seems a bit frozen. You will have to go to the options to activate 90 Hz to really appreciate its 6.44-inch Full HD + panel. I also tended to turn off the ambient light in order to enjoy it better. Once these settings menus have been passed, we benefit from a completely classic smartphone screen, even rather well thought out.
Note in testing that some competitors, for the same price, offer 120 Hz. The difference in use is not very great, but 120 Hz is still faster than 90 Hz. Three color modes are offered: the standard, which is a little cold; the professional, which is closer to reality; and the bright, which pushes the contrast a little.
If we measure the capabilities of the screen more precisely using our probe and the Calman software from Portrait Display, we can say that it manages to display a good color temperature. As standard, it pushes a little in the blues and displays 7665K. As a professional, it offers 6447K when we usually say that 6500K is the value to target if you want a balanced temperature.
The brightness is excellent for a mid-range model. We measured 700 cd/m2. Indeed, whatever the brightness, we can always see the screen well enough not to squint too much. There remains the coverage of the different color spectra. On the sRGB spectrum, we get a good 146%. On the DCI-P3 spectrum (more difficult to manage), we are very close to 100% with 98%.
Overall, the color fidelity is very good. The Delta E on the DCI-P3 is 3.66, an excellent value since we tend to say that below 3, the difference cannot be seen with the naked eye.
The interface of the Vivo V21 5G is called Funtouch OS 11.1. It’s based on Android 11, and if I had to sum up my experience with it, I’d say it’s an interface that does its job well but lacks a bit of customization. It knows how to stay sober; no pixie powder, and it’s also nearly bloatware-free (apart from the pre-installed TikTok, which sent me notifications shortly after switching on, without even entering any identifier in the application).
As for the good points, you can find everything in two clicks, readability is there and you benefit from all the features you can expect from a smartphone in 2021: eye protection in the evening, dark theme, the capture of the screen with three fingers, a slight overlay of the interface in game mode, as well as modes favoring the disconnection “Do not disturb” and “Without distraction”.
The latter is also a little light. It’s just a matter of listing the apps that you don’t want to see for a given time, and these, in addition to graying out on the home screen, can no longer send you notifications. We would have liked a little more control and fine-tuning.
The same goes for most of the customization options, which, although present, remain quite wise and limited. When manipulating the size of icons, for example, you have to get up early to notice a real difference.
Another small hitch was that the keyboard layout sometimes seemed too tight. Even after getting used to it, I tended to repeat myself several times for certain characters. We bet that this minor concern will disappear after a few months of use. In order to fully enjoy the contents of SVOD services in HD, the Vivo V21 5G is well compatible with the Widevine L1 DRM.
The Vivo V21 5G has a MediaTek Dimensity 800U SoC, coupled with 8 GB of RAM. In terms of performance, it is slightly behind a Snapdragon 765G from Qualcomm, for example, found in the OnePlus Nord.
We had already seen it in our Oppo A94 test, and according to our benchmark tools, the one present in the Vivo V21 5G is slightly better optimized. It outperforms a slightly more expensive Samsung Galaxy A72 with a Snapdragon 720G by a few points in most benchmarks.
The smartphone is rather fast, even if it lets out a few micro-friezes from time to time. Note also that the processing of photos by the algorithms is a bit slow to relax. So much so that it sometimes feels like we’re going back to the very beginning of digital cameras, where we had to wait a few frustrating seconds between each shot.
It’s a shame for a smartphone that puts so much emphasis on the photo in its communication. I would point out that I did not notice the same latency in the processing of photos in selfie mode, which seems better managed overall (apart from the rather poorly optimized AI Extreme Night mode).
I had some difficulty installing Fortnite. By proceeding in a classic way, I managed to install the Epic Games launcher, but the latter told me that the Vivo V21 5G was not compatible with Fortnite. However, a quick tour on YouTube was enough to see that many players managed to run the game on the V21. I’m going to avoid telling you how I managed to install it (don’t worry, anything rocket science), but I might as well warn you.
Fortnite runs like clockwork. There are some small slowdowns at 30 FPS with the 3D scale at 100%. At 75% on the 3D scale, the game is perfectly fluid and you can fully enjoy Epic Games’ Battle Royale.
To take pictures with the Vivo V21 5G, you can count on four sensors:
On the back, the main sensor has 64 megapixels (f/1.79);
an 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle sensor (f / 2.2);
a 2 megapixel (f/2.4) macro sensor;
and on the front, a 44-megapixel sensor (f/2.0).
On the video side, it is possible to film in 4K/60 FPS with the main sensor and in 4K/30 FPS with the selfie camera.
The Vivo V21 5G relies heavily on self-inning with its dual LED system. It would be lying to say that there is not a “wow” effect the first time you use it or show it to someone. It seems so simple as a function, that one wonders why no brand of a certain size has ever thought of it. But once the surprise is over, is the result really conclusive? For the occasion, let’s start our photo part with selfie mode.
In Selfie mode, four types of settings are available to adjust the brightness: Auto, Aura, Spotlight, and Light Off. We can therefore light it up either with the famous double LEDs, the aura that comes from the screen (which will light up in white), or with daylight.
Let’s start by seeing the rendering in natural and artificial light, but without using a flash. In general, we take full advantage of the high definition of the shots. The skin is not too smoothed by the algorithms (at least we don’t look like an alien). Even in full motion, the focus is very good. And for once, the rendering of the artificial lights is rather successful.
In low light, for example with street lights, the Vivo V21 5G struggles a little to focus, as we will see later also with its main sensor. For photos taken in total darkness, we can see that there is a clear difference with the double flash (necessarily). However, the rendering is not the most pleasant in my opinion.
The use of such a powerful flash offers an uneven rendering. In the shot where my face is overexposed, I tried to use the “AI Extreme Night” mode. This one is similar to a night mode but for the selfie mode. In use, I found it quite poorly adjusted. It tended to solicit maximum light output from the phone, rather than trying to catch more light.
Overall, this dual flash will not replace a secondary light that you might buy off the shelf. From my point of view, the main thing when it comes to selfies on this phone is the definition of the shots. Dual LEDs are more of a marketing thing than anything else, and they won’t drive purchases on their own.
As long as we focus on photos of single subjects, let’s switch to portrait mode. This one manages rather well to outline its model, including curly hair where the algorithms tend to oversimplify the features. It lightens the skin a bit too. much, though, almost making it look pale. The images also deserved better sharpness.
The main sensor has a fairly cold, even faithful color temperature, which is obviously not a problem. The blues and greens, even in strong light conditions, retain a natural saturation, as can be seen in the photo of Parisian buildings against a blue sky below, or in the forbidden direction in the second shot in the gallery.
In street scenes with lots of detail, it manages to keep everything crisp and not too washed out. In the photo with the arch, we can see that the street behind remains clear. On the other hand, in the two vertical photos taken on a fairly narrow street, we see that the camera is having trouble choosing where to focus. For the close-ups, as on the collage and the tag, there is nothing to report; they are clear and the colors are well respected.
The ultra-wide-angle sensor has the merit of being able to capture more elements in a single scene. Once we have said that, we quickly notice that The color processing is much duller, even darker (and it’s not just because the weather is not nice on our shots) than with the lens major.
The distortion in the photo with the arch is quite obvious. If we add the number of blurred elements in the photo, it will undoubtedly be a sensor to be used on an ad hoc basis. In the image, the management of the dynamics is also to be reviewed.
At night, the Vivo V21 5G does very well with public lighting. It avoids the lens flare effect, and there is not even a need to use night mode. The first shot below illustrates this well. For its part, the night mode is not recommended. In addition to capturing too much light and thus displaying a bluish rendering, as the second and third shots in this gallery show, it requires a short loading time between each shot. Finally, one in two photos taken at night with outdoor lighting leads to a blurry result. Without lighting and without night mode, we do not see much (which is relatively normal, that said).
Macro mode is pretty forgettable. It struggles to focus, and when it does, the rendering lacks detail.
The photo mode interface is one that we can salute. We find everything we want in no time, and in almost every shot, a dedicated mode is offered to us. If we are aiming at someone, the wore mode is offered to us and accessible with a tap of the finger. If it is a photo of a building, the building model will be suggested. A very good idea.
With its single speaker located on its lower edge, the Vivo V21 5G deploys decent sound. It lacks a bit of bass, but it compensates with a very present middle, without forcing too much in the treble. There is also no sizzling to deplore.
The Vivo V21 5G has a 4000 mAh battery. Tested via our Viser protocol, which simulates a classic activity, it manages to last 14 hours and 5 minutes. For its price range, it is a rather honorable autonomous vehicle.
On the charging side, you can count on 33W fast charging (the charger is provided in the box). Tested by us, here are the results starting from a load of 3%:
In 5 minutes, it displays 14% autonomy;
In 15 minutes, it displays 33% autonomy; in
In 45 minutes, it displays 78% autonomy.
The Vivo V21 is 5G compatible and can access the n1, n3, n7, n8, n28, n40, n41, and n78 bands. It also has the following 4G frequency bands: B1/B2/B3/B4/B5/B7/B8/B12/B17/B18/B19/B20/B26/B28/B32/B66 in FDD LTE and B38/B39/B40/B41F in TDD LTE.
On calls, the voice is compressed but not too robotic. The quality is therefore good, except when there are loud noises around me. There, the noise reduction is effective, at the cost of a somewhat robotic effect on my voice during loud sounds. On the other hand, the microphone cuts out well when we are silent and does not transmit the horns and other engine noises to my interlocutor.
The Vivo V21 5G is Bluetooth 5.1 and Wi-Fi 5 compatible.
The Vivo V21 5G is available at a recommended price of 32,990 Tk. It comes in two colorways: the one we tested, Twilight Blue, and Sunset Glow.