In cricket terminology, Vivo known for selfie focussed smartphones, is improving its game with launch of new devices. We have witnessed growth of Vivo’s V series of smartphones from close quarters and have almost been impressed with each smartphone and their latest smartphone to be used by us was Vivo V9. Now Vivo has come out with new X series of smartphone and I have the opportunity to use this phone for few days. The USP of this phone is its under display fingerprint scanner which is an innovatie technology and Vivo has been able to implement it to great extent. Besides this, the new X21 also brings many impressive features on the table and in this review we shall find out whether it jsutifies the price of Rs. 35,990 demanded by the company.
Specifications: Almost High End
- 6.28-inch Full HD+ display (19:9 aspect ratio, 1080p)
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 octa-core processor with AI clocked at 2.2GHz with Adreno 512 GPU
- 6GB RAM
- 128GB internal storage expandable up to 256GB
- 12MP with f/1.8 aperture + 5MP with f/2.4 aperture, dual rear cameras with 2 x 12 million pixels using Dual Pixel technology
- Connectivity options of 4G LTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Dual-band Wi-Fi (2X2MIMO), Bluetooth V5
- FunTouch OS 4.0 based on Android 8.1 Oreo
- 3200mAh battery with fast charge
Design – Same as of V9 with minor tweaks
On the design front, Vivo X21 has same design which we have seen on Vivo V9. On the front, you will find full screen display with notch which is the lates trend among Android phones. Despite the fact that probably this phone has the highest screen-to-body ratio on the market right now yet the screen is beezleless from the three sides and on the bottom there is slim non-screen space and this you will find in almost all the latest Android smartphones having full view display. on this phone, power button and volume rocker are placed on the right, while the SIM and microSD card tray is moved to the bottom of the phone. This phone has Hybrid Dual SIM slot (nano + nano SIM cards/microSD card). The speaker grille and a micro-USB port is also placed at the bottom edge. In V9 SIM tray was on the left side. Left side of the phone is plain and 3.5mm audio jack is placed on the top.
On the back, you will find vertical dual rear cameras with LED flash below the camera module. You will find fingerprint sensor on the front on the screen.
The Vivo X21 is sleek phone with thickness of 7.28mm and weighs jsut 150gms. It has a shiny back panel with curved edges which enables you to hold it comfortably with single hand. It has all black aluminium frame with gorilla glass 3 protection on the front. It looks premium and beautiful. But you have to be careful as the finish of the back cover attracts fingerprints and you will be required to clean it quite often or best option is to use the transparent silicon cover that comes with the phone.
In-Display Fingerprint Scanner- Works Most of the Time
Vivo has moved from conventional fingerprint sensor to in-display fingerprint scanner on X21. In this phone the fingerprint scanner is embedded beneath the display as shown in above image. Infact there is no physical fingerprint sensor at the back or on home button but on the display and you will have to press hard on-screen fingerprint sensor to unlock the device. The fingerprint sensor is developed by Synaptics and on the lockscreen, a circular shaped fingerprint pops up and you are required to press it to unlock the device. Three different styles of animations for this fingerprint indicator are available and you can choose the same as per your likings in the settings.
It takes time upto one minute to register your fingers on this fingerprint sensor which is bit longer compared to regular fingerprint scanner registration. After set-up process, this fingerprint scanner unlocks the phone smoothly for most of the time especially when you are indoors but the moment you are outside and your registered finger has a little bit sweat then it will not work. Even indoors the success rate of fingerprint sensor is not hundred percent and sometimes I have to struggle with it to unlock the phone as it will not recognise my finger. I have to try repeatedly to unlock it. Probably, it is early days and with some update this in-display fingerprint sensor will be more efficient. This is evovling technology and in due course Vivo will put this to perfection Saving grace is that if you are frustrated with not always accurate fingerprint scanner of X21 then you can use face unlock feature which is perfect and works nicely.
The X21 comes with impressive hardware specifications. It is powered by Octa Core Snapdragon 660 mobile processor clocked at 2.2GHz with Adreno 512 GPU. In V9 the company had used Snapdragon 626 processor and 660 is faster and more efficient.This phone comes with 6GB RAM, 128GB of internal memory which is expandable up to 256GB with microSD card. This phone is packed with 3200mAh battery with fast charge which charges from zero to full in approximately 100 minutes or so.
Snapdragon 660 CPU is one step below the fastest 845 processor but still it works quite efficiently and Vivo has optimized beautiflly this processor to X21. Switching between the apps is smooth and I have not observed any heating issue despite the fact that I have used it continuously to see movie on it for two hours. You will love to play games on this phone and to increase your enjoyment level, this phone also comes with Game mode which enhances your gaming experience. With the huge 6GB RAM and more than sufficient 128GB of internal storage, this phone runs without any hitch as you can open any app or multiple of apps smoothly and can perform all tasks with ease. Call quality is very good and audio output is also immersive as it has AK4376A Hi-Fi audio chip. You will enjoy music while listening with earphones given with the phone. This phone is packed with 3200mAh battery and is good enough to last upto 5 to six hours if you are extensive users of the phone. In my case, I have been using this phone for checking my mails quite often, accessing my social feeds, watching media content for atleast one hour, accessing different news sites and gaming for few minutes and end up charging the phone after 8 hours which is not bad.
This phone supports 4G LTE and runs on Android 8.1 Oreo-based Funtouch OS 4.0 developed by Vivo and shape and look of icons look like iOS. Vivo’s skin has retained all the standard features of Android 8.1 and the phone runs smoothly as butter.
Display is Sharp
This phone has impressive 6.28 inch FHD+ Super AMOLED display with resolution of 2280×1080 pixels and 402PPI with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection. This is full view display with an aspect ratio of 19:9. This display provides an immersive experience because of slim bezels and has probably the highest screen-to-body ratio on the market right now with a smaller notch. The display is vibrant and bright having good viewing angles. It produces actual colors and crisp text and sunlight visibility is very good.
Camera – Impressive
Vivo has downgraded X21’s camera from the V9, if you go by the specifications. The X21 is mounted with 12MP rear camera with PD technology, f/1.8 aperture and secondary 5MP camera withf/2.4 aperture compared to16MP rear camera with LED flash and secondary 5MP camera. But despite the difference in hardware specifiactions compared to V9, the X21 camera has been made more effective as it comes with Dual Pixel technology which means that photosensitive cells are doubled and which results in detailed and clear shots with dynamic range and the images captured in daytime and in night come out vibrant. Moreover, its A1 enabled camera can detect a user’s age, gender, and analyze backgrounds. I am extremely impressed with its zoom capability and bokeh mode. I have captured lot of images in Malaysia with this phone in daytime and in the dark. Images captured from distance are also very clear.
The X21 camera has various modes such as professional, Panorama, Face Beauty, Videos, and AR Stickers.
Vivo has never disappointed with its selfie cameras and they have continued this tradition in this phone also. Although X21 has 12MP front-facing camera with f/2.0 aperture and PD technology compared to 24MP on V9 yet its performance is good. It has an AI-assisted beautify mode which automatically enhance your selfies. It produces good selfies with plenty of details captured in good light. It comes with various modes such as group selfies, and AR Stickers.
Verdict – All Rounder
Vivo X21 is an interesting device with its immersive full view display, powerful rear and front cameras, good design and innovative but evolving under display fingerprint scanner. Its design looks glamorous and you can flaunt this device. It has been able to knock at the door of premium segment. Had this phone been powered by flagship Snapdragon 845 processor and USB Type-C port then in my opinion it would have got dramatic entry to premium segment. Probably, Vivo has left this entry for their next device! At price of Rs. 35,990 this phone is worth considering if you want to experience indisplay fingerprint sensor, stylisy and light weight phone with bright display and ofcourse good cameras. This phone will face tough competition from OnePlus 6 which provides almost stock Android experience and has faster processor and Dash Charging support for the battery. In our opinion, Vivo X21 is little bit expensive. Had it been priced in the range of Rs. 30K then it could have been different story altogether.