The Vivo V21 5G is a stable mid-ranger that shows most of the attributes that we’ve come to count on from this fascinating model – each good and unhealthy.
It’s a slim, gentle, and stylishly constructed system that’s a pleasure to stay with daily. It doesn’t look fairly so recent from the entrance because it does the again, with a considerably dated show notch. However there’s a superb motive for that.
Vivo telephones usually ship with some sort of stand-out digicam function that you simply hardly ever see elsewhere, and the V21 5G isn’t any totally different. Its 44MP selfie digicam is arguably the most effective and most versatile you’ll discover for this kind of cash.
Ably assisted by optical picture stabilization (OIS) and a devoted twin flash system, this may very well be the proper cellphone for wannabe vloggers on a good finances.
The primary digicam system is fairly extra bizarre, able to mixing it with most of its contemporaries, however actually not among the many best possible.
Like earlier Vivo telephones, there’s a little bit of a weak spot in terms of efficiency. It’s not that the V21 5G performs significantly poorly in daily phrases, however it’s merely nowhere close to as highly effective as the most effective of its contemporaries.
There are additionally a couple of lingering questions over the western launch of the V21 5G. The mannequin we had been despatched has a whole lot of bloatware and an incompatible mains plug. We count on every of those components be adjusted for the suitable markets, however it’s an indication that the model remains to be considerably tentative over pushing into wider markets.
Finally, whereas we admire the Vivo V21 5G’s distinctive qualities and really clear strengths – particularly that selfie digicam – it’s maybe too area of interest and downright quirky to be an unequivocal advice.
The OnePlus Nord 2, the Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite, and the Xiaomi Poco F3 all provide better-rounded packages with extra common enchantment. However selfie addicts, TikTokers, and aspiring vloggers ought to undoubtedly give the V21 5G a more in-depth look.
Vivo V21 5G value and launch date
- Launched within the UK on June 17
- Retails for £399 (round $550 / AU$750)
After first launching into the Indian market on Might 6, 2021, the Vivo V21 5G made its method to the UK on June 17. It prices £399 (round $550 / AU$750) for the solitary 128GB mannequin that’s accessible on this nation.
This locations the Vivo V21 5G instantly up in opposition to some critical competitors. The OnePlus Nord 2 and the Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G are each accessible for round this value, as is the mighty Poco F3.
On the time of writing there isn’t any phrase on a US or Australian launch for the cellphone.
- Slim, trendy profile
- Entrance of cellphone seems to be dated because of teardrop notch
The Vivo V21 5G continues the model’s knack for producing slim, classy-looking telephones – at the least from the again.
Take a fast look on the cellphone’s rear panel and also you may assume you’re one other member of the flagship Vivo X60 household. There’s the stylishly machined rectangular digicam module, the marginally matte but shimmery end, our mannequin’s trendy purple-tinged Nightfall Blue tone, and the delicate Vivo brand within the nook.
Contact that rear panel and also you’ll be touching silky, textured glass – the sort you may count on to see in a much more costly system. Issues get barely much less premium as you flip the cellphone in your hand. There’s a barely low cost appear and feel to the shiny plastic used for the body.
A heavily-textured energy button on the right-hand edge restores a few of that Vivo poise. For those who had been holding out hope for a 3.5mm headphone jack, although, we’ve acquired unhealthy information for you. At simply 7.3mm thick, there seemingly wasn’t area to incorporate such a function.
This can be a moderately gentle cellphone, too, at 176g. Regardless of having a really related footprint to the OnePlus Nord 2, it’s a superb 13g lighter, probably because of using plastic and a a lot smaller battery.
Full the 180-degree rotation and also you’ll come to comfortably the worst a part of the V21 5G’s design. Whereas the chin appears a smidgen much less pronounced than the OnePlus Nord 2’s, and regardless of Vivo’s speak of two.5D display screen curves (we’re probably not seeing it), your consideration will inevitably be drawn to the cellphone’s show notch.
Sure, the very function that defines the Vivo V21 5G for the higher additionally does so for the more serious. This teardrop notch appears to come back from the smartphone design guide of a number of years in the past, earlier than punch-hole cameras turned the norm, however given the OIS and dual-LED flash included right here, an bizarre sized punch-hole possible would not have executed the trick.
- 6.44-inch 1080 x 2400 AMOLED is shiny and balanced
- 90Hz refresh charge just isn’t absolutely the quickest, however nonetheless fluid
The Vivo V21 5G has a 6.44-inch 1080 x 2400 AMOLED show with a 90Hz refresh charge and HDR10+ help. It’s a really related spec to different mid-range contenders just like the OnePlus Nord 2 and the Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G.
As with most telephones, it defaults to 60Hz, however may be switched to both 90Hz or a Sensible Swap mode that robotically adjusts to probably the most applicable refresh charge for the duty. It’s doable to get a 120Hz AMOLED show for this kind of cash, however the Xiaomi Poco F3 is a little bit of an outlier on this and different respects.
The Vivo’s show will get good and shiny too, as much as 500 nits in typical situations. That’ll go even greater in auto mode, do you have to stray exterior into shiny daylight.
In terms of colour accuracy, the default Customary display screen setting right here was sufficiently balanced that we didn’t really feel compelled to tinker with it. You possibly can change to the hotter Skilled or the cooler Shiny settings if it’s to not your liking, nonetheless, and there’s a Colour Temperature slider in case you want to high quality tune the profile.
- 64MP predominant digicam able to respectable, sharp photographs
- 44MP entrance digicam the standout, with uncommonly achieved selfies
The Vivo V21 5G’s defining function is its digicam, however not the one you may assume. Its predominant digicam providing is a 1/1.72-inch 64MP sensor with OIS, which is respectable, however not spectacular.
It does an inexpensive job capturing sharp, natural-looking photographs although. Its auto HDR facility doesn’t all the time deal with extremes of sunshine and shade brilliantly, however apart from that we now have few complaints. No, it’s less than the usual of the OnePlus Nord 2 with its flagship-level sensor, however few different sub-£400 telephones are hitting these heights proper now.
The V21’s predominant sensor is backed by a decidedly run-of-the-mill 8MP ultra-wide sensor and a nigh-on ineffective 2MP macro sensor. Once more, that is very like contemporaries such because the Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G and the OnePlus Nord 2, so whereas it’s underwhelming, it’s additionally par for the course.
Extremely-wide photographs lack the element and distinction of the principle sensor, and the way in which that you simply entry this secondary digicam is needlessly fiddly. Whereas most digicam UIs would place a 0.6x possibility alongside the 1x and 2x, Vivo’s requires you to faucet the lens possibility, adopted by an excellent wide-angle button. That’s an additional stage that basically didn’t should be there.
Whereas the Vivo V21 5G’s evening mode photographs, for our cash, nearly outshine the Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G’s, they fall nicely behind the OnePlus Nord 2 on brightness and element as soon as once more.
Nonetheless, as we talked about on the outset, the Vivo V21 5G isn’t right here to impress you with its predominant digicam. It’s right here for the selfies, and on that entrance it’s actually fairly distinctive.
We had thought that the OnePlus Nord 2’s 32MP selfie digicam was fairly spectacular, however the V21 5G’s blows it out of the water – and does the identical to a superb few flagship telephones value two to a few instances the cash.
Vivo has taken the bizarre step of packing a big 44MP selfie sensor into the V21 5G. That’s uncommon sufficient in itself, however think about OIS and two LED flashes (one both facet of the notch), and you’ve got an unusually well-equipped selfie machine.
These specs aren’t mere idle field ticking both. Selfies taken with the V21 5G have an uncommon quantity of element, and are significantly better (albeit not completely) uncovered than you is likely to be accustomed to from a less expensive cellphone. Highlights within the background usually stay clear fairly than blowing out right into a milky nothing.
This excellence extends to indoor and low gentle selfie snapping. We took a sequence of similar photographs in difficult lighting with the Vivo V21 5G and the OnePlus Nord 2. The V21 5G’s had been invariably a lot sharper and clearer, its pores and skin tone remaining remarkably full and distinct.
That’s the case even with Extremely Night time mode activated, at which level the V21 well employs a white viewfinder alongside these two flashes. That is deeply spectacular stuff.
Selfie movies profit from this setup too, with super-stable, clear footage at 1080p. Vloggers take be aware. You possibly can shoot 4K selfie movies too, however you’ll lose the good thing about OIS, which is a disgrace.
Digital camera samples
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Specs and efficiency
- MediaTek Dimensity 800U just isn’t aggressive for the value
- 128GB of storage and a microSD slot
The Vivo V21 5G runs on a MediaTek MT6853 Dimensity 800U chipset. It’s backed by a wholesome 8GB of RAM, however the selection of chip remains to be a little bit of a disappointment.
Our downside right here isn’t the truth that this isn’t a mainstream Qualcomm chip. Certainly, we’ve seen this chip earlier than within the likes of the Oppo Reno 4 Z 5G, the Realme 7 5G, and the Xiaomi Redmi Be aware 9T, and we discovered it to be a robust performer in every case. However these telephones all had a a lot decrease launch value than the Vivo V21 5G.
Main members of the Vivo V21 5G’s peer group are a lot quicker. The OnePlus Nord 2 launched with the considerably newer and extra succesful MediaTek Dimensity 1200 5G, whereas the Poco F3 packs the flagship-troubling Snapdragon 870, and the Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G is true up there with the Snapdragon 780G.
It’s a measurably giant efficiency hole. In Geekbench 5, the Vivo V21 5G scored a median of 1,823 for the multi-core check. The OnePlus Nord 2 scored round 2,600, the Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G scored round 2,900, and the Poco F3 scored 3,369.
That hole is even wider in terms of GPU efficiency. Within the 3DMark Wild Life check, which simulates intense cell gaming situations, the Vivo V21 5G scored round 1,607, whereas the OnePlus Nord 2 acquired round 4,230, the Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G 3,160, and the Poco F3 scored round 4,090.
Unsurprisingly, actual world gaming isn’t too nice on the Vivo V21 5G. Genshin Affect defaults to the bottom graphical settings, and nonetheless doesn’t precisely run silky clean.
In sensible phrases, the Vivo V21 5G snaps by means of common duties simply high quality. But it surely lacks the buttery clean app and menu transitions of these aforementioned contemporaries, and we by no means fairly felt that very same sense of flagship opulence that we get with the OnePlus Nord 2.
A minimum of a part of that is likely to be all the way down to Funtouch 11.1, Vivo’s customized Android 11 UI, which is barely too busy for its personal good. We’ll give Vivo a specific amount of advantage of the doubt right here although, because the mannequin we had been despatched clearly isn’t meant for western markets.
It comes preloaded with apps reminiscent of PhonePe, Dailyhunt and Moj, which clearly wouldn’t seem in a European mannequin. The extra localized Vivo telephones that we’ve reviewed not too long ago have been much more stripped again of their software program choices, so we’ll simply point out the boatful of bloatware that has discovered its manner onto this specific Vivo V21 5G and transfer on.
Funtouch itself is in any other case a reasonably gentle, inventory tackle Android nowadays. It’s not as centered or cohesive as OxygenOS and even Sony’s UI, however it’s no worse than Xiaomi’s MIUI or Oppo’s ColorOS.
The storage provision is robust, with 128GB of built-in reminiscence and a microSD card slot do you have to want to crank that capability up additional.
- 4,000mAh battery good for 2 days of sunshine to average use
- 33W charger will get you to full in lower than an hour
The Vivo V21 5G runs on a 4,000mAh battery, which is a bit smaller than these of the rival handsets talked about elsewhere. There are not any worries on the stamina entrance, although. We had been routinely capable of get by means of a full day of utilization with lots to spare.
Certainly, a full 15-hour day with round 4 hours of screen-on time would usually go away us with round 50% left within the tank, even with the show set to 90Hz. For those who’re not a very heavy person or a dedicated gamer – and if you’re, this actually isn’t your cellphone – then you may very nicely get by means of two full days on a single cost.
Even on the media consumption entrance, the Vivo V21 5G does fairly nicely. We ran a 90-minute looped 720p video, with the display screen at full brightness, and the Vivo misplaced 8%. This compares favorably with the Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G, which misplaced 11%, whereas the Poco F3 misplaced an identical 7%.
The V21 5G comes with a 33W quick charger, which is similar because the Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G and the Poco F3, however nicely wanting the OnePlus Nord 2 5G’s 65W monstrosity. It’s apparently good for zero to 100% in 52 minutes, however we’ll simply should take Vivo’s phrase on that. The mannequin we had been despatched got here with an Indian plug, so we had been unable to check it.
Do you have to purchase the Vivo V21 5G?
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First reviewed: July 2021