Updated on 2018-06-09 by Geetansh Arora
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Vivo X21 is the latest entrant in the smartphone world launched in last week in May 2018 and was first seen in the CES 2018. Vivo X21, which is more or less Vivo V9 but with this new technological marvel called in-display fingerprint sensor. We took out Vivo V21 for a spin and here are our findings.
Let us talk about the design and build quality. The smartphone packs a glass back with curved edges making it a good grip. It is not a refreshing new design and we are not complaining. The aluminium frame with glass backs melds into each other quite nicely. The device is just 7.5mm thick and this makes It quite sleek without all the flashiness. On the front, there is a tall 19:9 AMOLED Display which happens to be quite a giant as well being 6.28 inches in size. With a Full HD Plus resolution of 1080 x 2280 pixels and pixel density of 402PPI, this display is not the best one we’ve seen but it certainly is good enough for the mid-segment where this device is fighting. It has vibrant colours and solid brightness levels.
Vivo X21 inherits Its design from V9, ergo the notch. Like it or not, It is the new cool. The only comfort is that It is quite smaller than iPhone X. The smartphone has lost all bezels and It couldn’t drop that fat chin. On the back, we find the familiar, vertically stacked dual sensor camera with a sharp rim around the camera housing, followed by a LED flash. There is a bold, shining Vivo branding at the centre with a ‘designed by Vivo’ written at the bottom end. Vivo has not compromised on placing 3.5mm jack but the existence of MicroUSB instead of USB-C feels odd.
Vivo X21 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, which is a shining octa-core CPU with all new Kryo cores. The CPU consists of 4x2.2 GHz Kryo 260 & 4x1.8 GHz Kryo 260 and this is not flagship grade but is still serious power. Adreno 512 is also onboard as GPU coupled with plush 6GB of RAM. There were no performance issues in our testing, you can’t tell difference in the performance compared to Snapdragon 835 until It gets too extreme, which is really appreciated. We pushed the device with multiple heavyweight apps and games running all at once and it took it all with grace, thanks in part to the giant 6GB RAM. Multitasking is enjoyable and app switching is really smooth.
The performance of the device is right on point from the most casual of apps to the most demanding ones, it can take it all and more. We particularly enjoyed gaming on this device, Adreno 512 is just crazy fast and the big 6.3-inch FHD+ panel augments the experience. It would have been the best performer in the range, hadn’t It been for OnePlus devices. Overall, we are quite pleased with the performance, it is super smooth and packs a glaring punch when It is required. The smartphone comes with 128GB of onboard storage which is already a high point, yet is expandable via MicroSD. On benchmarking, Vivo X21 scored a sizeable 141235 on AnTuTu and we got scores of 1571, 5779 on GeekBench single core and multi-core tests.
Let us talk about the camera now, Vivo X21 is not under-gunned when It comes to cameras as It has a dual sensor setup with the primary shooter being a 12 MP (f/1.8, 1/2.5", 1.4µm, Dual Pixel PDAF) and the second one being a 5 MP (f/2.4) with LED flash. The camera app looks quite like the one on iOS. The inspiration is all over the smartphone experience. In general, the camera performance is impressive with good lighting and it is not top of the table but it is kind of good. As the lighting gets a bit low, the noise and grains increase resulting in mediocre shots. The second sensor means portrait effects and the smartphone does is quite well, It is not the finest and most realistic ones we have seen but edge detection and separation are on point most of the times. On the front camera, we have a 12MP, f/2.0 sensor which does take decent shots with a good amount of detail but again struggles as the lights go down. It gets the job done most of the times. The front sensor also has portrait effects though they are software based and they are again not the best but do produce decent selfies otherwise. The image processing needs a bit of refinement as the photos get excessively sharpened sometimes.
It goes without saying that Vivo has done a good job with amazing hardware into X21 but the same can’t be said for software. The software has been Vivo’s let down for quite many smartphone models and X21 is just the latest in line. Vivo X21 runs on Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box with Vivo’s custom skin FunTouch OS 4.0. Again, as everything else FunTouch OS goes beyond the word ‘inspiration’ to rip off elements from iOS. The solace comes from the fact that we can install Nova launcher and get around the true-android way in style. There are a host of minor nagging issues here and there in the skin which sums up resulting in quite a struggling experience. Vivo can love iOS and Apple all they want but they need to refine FunTouch in greater ways If they want their software to not spoil the drive of the impressive hardware they ship.
The battery on Vivo X21 is a non-removable 3200mAh one which is again not a delighting news considering the giant 6.3-inch display this battery has to power. On normal use, It would last through the day but once you start to crank it up, get your charger ready by the end of the day or even before. Talking of charging, there is fast charging thanks to Qualcomm’s QuickCharge which makes the smartphone charge to full in just 110 minutes. There is no USB-C here, which feels kind of off in the price range but we have no complaints with the MicroUSB port on the smartphone.
Let us talk about something Vivo has been flaunting a lot and is actually the major innovative medal for this smartphone - The In-display fingerprint scanner. While you take this smartphone in hand you notice that there is no fingerprint sensor at the back or front, so where is It? Vivo has been the first smartphone manufacturer to get It hands on the in-display fingerprint scanner. It is not that bad, It works fine in most cases but It is still not up to the responsiveness and fluidity. It is not all over the screen so you have to put your fingers on a certain spot for It to work. Its fast but is still a split second slower than other contemporary fingerprint scanners like the one on Pixel 2 or OnePlus 6. It is a good add-on and we believe a lot of smartphones are going to have it in future, alongside face unlock which is also there on the smartphone which is a tad faster and feels more natural.
The sound levels are pretty decent and balanced, the speaker is not the loudest but It certainly has enough. Its a single downward firing speaker like most smartphones. Vivo X21 also has an active noise cancellation with dedicated mic, so the in-call noise is reduced and It works fine. Vivo X21 does not come with any IP rating so you need to keep your phone safe from water and dust or any other damage.
The smartphone is an overall complete package but slightly overpriced and faces competition from the top-notch OnePlus 6 and Honor 10.
If you would like to read the reviews given by customers who bought Vivo X21, check out the links below
The best price of Vivo X21 is around Rs. 36990. The prices keep changing so please check the latest price and available deals & offers at links below
Vivo X21 is the first smartphone with in display fingerprint sensor. It has good build quality with powerful hardware configuration that allows you to multitask smoothly. The camera is good but not the best. Overall the smartphone is a good option to consider given the looks and the performance but faces stiff competition from OnePlus 6 and Honor 10 in this price range.