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Vivo V20 SE Unboxing, Review: Worthy Makeover 

Is the cheapest V20 variant worth considering?

Verdict:  As the most affordable phone under the V20 series, vivo packed a number of compelling features to the V20 SE. Fast 33w wired charging, consistent camera performance from its 48-megapixel rear camera, and a proven, tried-and-tested AMOLED display make the phone punch above its weight class. FunTouchOS gets its biggest (and best) makeover so far, but vivo can still improve on it by addressing some glitches and missing features.  

With the unveiling of the V20 series today, the V20 SE serves as the most affordable model under brand’s latest mid-range lineup. vivo made sure that the V20 SE offered great value for money, incorporating features that are usually found on its more expensive siblings at a more palatable price point.  

Pros 

  • FunTouchOS 11 the best overhaul we’ve ever seen on a vivo phone
  • Well-optimized main and selfie cameras
  • Fast 33w wired charging

Cons 

  • Inconsistent gaming performance especially with MOBAs
  • Very basic video features 

Unboxing and Packaging Contents 

The V20 SE has a packaging dressed in blue, with vivo and V20 SE branding in silver and a V-shaped hologram. Inside the box, you get the usual contents: the phone itself, documentation, case, USB-C cable, 33w charger, and a pair of earphones. Yes, the V20 SE still ships with a wall charger despite other brands choosing to ditch it from their packaging completely.  

Design and Display 

While the front looks similar to last year’s S1 down to the notch shape, the V20 SE’s rear panel shares the same design language used on the V19 Neo with the rectangle-shaped module. You get three rear cameras in that module, along with the LED flash.  

Our review unit’s Gravity Black color changes in color depending on how the light hits it. It has a glossy, mirror-like finish that attracts fingerprints like crazy. You’re better off using the case that comes with the phone if you are the type who is annoyed at endlessly wiping off the back panel. 

Like with most mid-range vivo phones, you get a polycarbonate frame and back—despite not using glass or aluminum, vivo knows how to keep the overall build of their phones solid to the core. Curves are more pronounced on the V20 SE, contributing to its svelte figure and more ergonomic design.  

Save for the SIM tray that is now located on top, the port and layout of the V20 SE remain the same as its predecessors: power and volume controls on the right side, and headphone jack, loudspeaker, and USB-C port at the bottom. 

Like its predecessor, you get a Full HD+ AMOLED display with the V20 SE, though it is slightly bigger now at 6.44-inches. While it sticks to a now-aging 60hz refresh rate, we still prefer the inky blacks of AMOLED over IPS. Another plus for the V20 SE is that it has Widevine L1, which means you can enjoy Netflix shows in Full HD. 

Just like any vivo phone with an AMOLED panel, the V20 SE does come with an in-display fingerprint scanner and always-on display. Being the pioneer for in-display fingerprint scanners, unlocking the V20 SE using our registered fingerprints was always a breeze.   

Cameras 

The V20 SE settles for a triple rear camera setup consisting of a 48-megapixel f/1.8 main camera, an 8-megapixel f/2.2 ultra-wide-angle camera, and a 2-megapixel f/2.4 depth sensor. There’s no dedicated macro camera here since the ultra-wide-angle camera doubles as a macro shooter. Honestly, we prefer this kind of approach instead of stuffing the phone with so many cameras that have little to no use.

Between the 48-megapixel main camera and 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera, both have consistent colors and detail retention in good lighting. In low-light situations, the ultra-wide-angle camera suffers from a significant loss in detail. Should you want to shoot photos in low-light-you are better off using the 48-megapixel main camera. 

vivo gives emphasis to great selfies, and the V20 SE’s 32-megapixel selfie snapper delivered consistent performance regardless of lighting conditions. Should you want to take selfies in really low light, the V20 SE’s Super Night Selfie is a useful feature. 

As for videos, the V20 SE can shoot up to 4K at 30FPS and Full HD at up to 60FPS. While the V20 SE’s feature set for videos is pretty basic—it is as minimalist as the video UI of early iterations of iOS—the V20 SE does get things done in terms of video quality. Check out this content we shot using the V20 SE below:

 

Performance and Battery Life 

Instead of an Helio processor, the V20 SE uses a Snapdragon 665 processor—one of Qualcomm’s more popular budget mid-range processors—that is paired with 8GB RAM and 128GB internal storage.  

The whole processing package works just fine for everyday tasks, though its gaming performance is a mixed bag. Despite being able to push Asphalt 9 to over 22FPS (while sacrificing on FPS stability), we could not enable high frame rate mode on MOBA games like Marvel Super War, limiting us to 30FPS. 

We found that strange considering we have tested a number of Snapdragon 665-powered phones that can easily run MOBA games at 60FPS, so we’re guessing that vivo just needs to do some software fixes to address this issue. 

As for the software side, the V20 SE uses FunTouchOS 11. While it is still based on Android 10, FunTouchOS 11 is the biggest UI overall we have seen from vivo in recent memory. Icons are now closer to Google’s Material Design language, and the typeface used for the text looks much more modern than previous FunTouchOS iterations. 

The notification panel gets a major makeover: gone are the days when vivo employed an iOS-like interface with notifications and quick controls. Instead, you get a proper, unified notification panel that looks close to stock Android.  

With its 4100mAh battery, we got around 14 hours 38 minutes with our video loop test, which is up to par for a phone powered by a Snapdragon 665 processor. Unlike its predecessors, you get a faster 33w wired charging solution with the V20 SE. Topping up the battery to 100% takes around an hour. 

 

Wrap up and conclusions 

The budget mid-range segment is one of vivo’s weak points for the past few years, but the V20 SE is proof that the brand is finding ways to be more competitive in this lucrative, saturated segment. Aside from incorporating its tried-and-tested AMOLED display and a very capable 48-megapixel main camera, the addition of 33w wired charging and a fully revamped FunTouchOS makes the V20 SE one of vivo’s best attempt at the budget mid-range segment. 

While we do not know the official price of the V20 SE, an article by WalasTech said that it will be priced at Php 15,999.

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One Comment

  1. That’s a very steep asking price for a phone with a sd 665 soc, which is more of a budget chip. You can just buy the Poco X3 NFC with overall better specs and cheaper price tag. Said chip is also not really a good choice for gaming. For 16k, all you really get are fancy cameras and a nice paint job. My two cents.

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