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vivo V20 and V20 Pro Review: Selfie Monsters

We review vivo's new offerings!

Verdict: The vivo V20 and V20 Pro leans heavily on the company’s established selfie dominance to woo consumers, though there’s plenty to like here aside from that. They’re the prettiest phones we’ve seen yet in the mid-range market, and there’s enough performance under the hood to satisfy all but the ardent speedsters. It’ll be facing tough competition from Xiaomi’s recently launched flagship slayers, but there’s still a subset of the phone-buying population that prefers the vivo brand over the brand that everyone’s talking about.

Pros

  • Incredibly striking gradient design
  • Good selfie cameras
  • First phones to have Android 11 in PH
  • Clutter-free UI
  • Incredible battery life

Cons

  • Middling camera performance for rear cams
  • A little pricey for what they offer

vivo’s new mid-range phones have arrived in the Philippines, and boy are they pretty. The vivo V20 and V20 Pro are two of the prettiest phones you can get right now, with both phones blending snazzy looks with solid performance. As an added bonus, the two phones are currently the only devices in the mid-range category that comes with Android 11 out of the box, making them solid choices for people who want to enjoy the latest version of Android in a great, mid-range package.

Design

vivo is offering the V20 and the V20 Pro in three colorways, but really you should only consider getting it in Sunset Melody. The back is like a chameleon, shifting colors dramatically depending on how the light hits it. Sometimes it’s deep purple, sometimes it’s a reddish-orange depending on the light.

The effect varies depending on the lighting condition, but the impact is the same: the V20 and V20 Pro are the prettiest phones you’ll see this year.

As far as design goes, the two phones are near identical. The devices sport the same brutally square camera module that we’ve seen on their X50 and X50 Pro flagship, which compliments their mostly flat backs. One way to differentiate the two devices when looking at them from the back is to look for the 5G after vivo’s name. If it only has the vivo logo without 5G attached to the end, you’re looking at the vanilla V20. The V20 Pro will have 5G after vivo’s name.

Both phones have their volume rocker and power button on the right side, and their USB Type-C port and speaker grille on the bottom. One weird difference is that the vanilla V20 has a 3.5mm jack while the more expensive V20 Pro doesn’t, which is odd since both phones look to have space to put said jack in.

Overall the look and feel of both phones are very similar, which tells you a lot about how vivo is standardizing the look and feel of their smartphone range.

Display

Both phones essentially share the same display: a 6.44-inch full HD+ resolution panel (2400 x 1080) with an in-display fingerprint reader embedded underneath. The two phones can be distinguished by their front-facing cameras: the V20 has a single front-facing camera in a traditional water-drop notch, while the V20 Pro has two selfie cameras in a bigger, u-type notch.

As far as display quality goes, the AMOLED looks very good, with excellent contrast and vibrancy that really makes things pop.

The under-display fingerprint scanner for both phones work extremely well – I was able to get into both phones rather quickly with a single tap of my finger without any issues at all.

Fans of fast refresh rates might want to look elsewhere, as the V20 and V20 Pro are locked at 60Hz. That’s not really a big deal for me personally – I’d rather get a really nice-looking AMOLED panel that only has a 60Hz refresh rate VS an LCD display that has 90Hz or more.

Cameras

Both the V20 and V20 Pro have similar cameras on the rear: you get a 64-megapixel rear camera with an f/1.9 aperture, a multi-use 8-megapixel ultra-wide camera with an f/2.2 aperture that can also pull double duty as the macro camera, and a 2-megapixel depth sensor.

vivo V20

Both phones also share the main front, 44-megapixel selfie camera, though the V20 Pro has an additional 8-megapixel front camera for wide-angle shots which makes it handy for socially-distanced selfies.

vivo V20 Pro

The main shooters are decent enough and take really good photos when there’s plenty of light. They do stumble a bit when there are more challenging lighting conditions though since there’s really no OIS like the one in the company’s more expensive X50 phones.

vivo V20:

vivo V20 Pro

The main draw for the two phones is the selfie cameras. The selfie cameras are advertised by vivo as having an “Eye Autofocus” feature – basically using your eyes as reference points when taking selfies for sharper images.

It does work to a degree, though vivo’s trademark beautification feature is overaggressive at times, but that’s pretty much expected for the brand. The front camera can also take 4K/60 videos as well, a nod to vloggers and other content creators that require a phone that has high-resolution front shooters.

Performance and battery

Under the hood of these two striking phones are Qualcomm’s mid-range workhorses: Snapdragon 720G for the V20 paired with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of expandable storage, and a Snapdragon 765G with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of non-expandable storage.

We’ve seen how the two processors perform in other Android phones before, suffice to say that they’re both pretty capable processors that can make short work of most Android apps without any issues. They’re also capable of medium to heavy graphics in games, which makes both the V20 and V20 Pro solid choices for the gaming crowd.

The Snapdragon 765G processor on the V20 Pro allows the phone to tap into the 5G network of the telco of your choice, but take note you’ll need to have a SIM that’s provisioned for 5G for this to work.

What’s really interesting about the V20 and V20 Pro is the fact that they’re the first phones to ship with Android 11 in the Philippines, beating out every other major brand including Google themselves to the punch.

vivo’s FunTouch UI has been one major sore point in the brand’s offerings, but that’s changed in recent devices, as the company has toned down the UI elements and removed many of the annoyances in the UI overlay. That’s changed for the better with the new phones – you get an almost pure Android experience here with very little bloatware or annoyance.

The battery is the same for both phones at 4000mAh, and both devices get 33W fast charging capability. Thanks to the power-efficient nature of Qualcomm’s mid-range processors and that AMOLED display, you’re getting all-day battery life. Our battery rundown test recorded a score of 13 hours and 31 minutes for the V20 Pro. Our battery benchmark got interrupted for the V20, but not before registering a score of 8 hours and 12 minutes from 100% down to 67%. That’s incredible battery life for both phones.

Wrap-up and conclusions

vivo is going back to its roots for its new phones, offering solid performance, a beautiful chassis as well as a heavy emphasis on selfies for the V20 series. It’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but vivo thinks there’s a huge chunk of the population that still prioritizes selfie performance above everything else. We’ll just have to see if the buying public agrees with them.

vivo hasn’t officially announced pricing for the two phones as of yet, but our friends over at Walastech has already uncovered SRPs for when the phones go live: the vivo V20 will go for Php 19,999, while the V20 Pro will go for Php 24,999. We’ll have to see if the official prices match the rumors when both phones are officially priced later today.

John Nieves

John is a veteran technology and gadget journalist with more than 10 years of experience both in print and online. When not writing about technology, he frequently gets lost in the boonies playing soldier.

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