Expert Rating
4/5
Design
★★★★★
★★★★★
Display
★★★★★
★★★★★
Software
★★★★★
★★★★★
Camera
★★★★★
★★★★★
Performance
★★★★★
★★★★★
Battery
★★★★★
★★★★★
Pros
  • Great design
  • Strong performance
  • Amazing battery life
Cons
  • Camera quality could’ve been better
  • Heavy UI

Soon after introducing the first smartphone in the U series – the U10 – Vivo has now launched another device to expand its portfolio of budget-centric offerings for the online segment. Dubbed the Vivo U20, the handset is built on the same premise as the debut smartphone in this range – powerful specs available at a mouth-watering price. But can Vivo repeat the magic? I try to dissect that in this Vivo U20 review.

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Specs at a glance

Display
Size 6.53 Inch
Resolution 1080 x 2340 pixels
Performance
CPU Dual core, 2 GHz + Hexa Core, 1.7 GHz, Snapdragon 675
RAM 4 GB
Storage
Internal memory 64 GB
External memory Up to 256 GB
Battery
Capacity 5000 mAH, Li-ion, Non removable
Camera
Primary camera 16 MP
Secondary camera 16 MP
Connectivity
Network support Dual SIM 4G
Other options Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS
Others
Battery Capacity 5000
Operating system Android 9.0 Pie

Summary

As is evident by the spec sheet, the Vivo U20 takes the best parts of the U10, while upgrading some of the aspects. You’ll get the two-day battery life with a 5,000mAh pack, and there’s a triple-camera setup too. But the newer smartphone gets a better primary camera, whereas the processor is improved too. Another feature that users would love is the 6GB RAM that should aid the multitasking experience. However, since the U10 and U20 aren’t much different, we’ll only focus on the upgrades.

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The lowdown

One look at the Vivo U20 from the back and you might mistake it for an offering from Realme’s stable. As with most modern phones, the Vivo handset features a gradient panel with a hue that gradually changes from blue to purple. That also means light bouncing off surface creates a shimmery effect.

The rear is quite slippery though, and doesn’t do well in terms of managing fingerprints either. I liked the golden accent around the triple-camera array, which once again, is reminiscent of Realme’s devices.

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You must be wondering why I mentioned the rear of the phone first. Well, that’s because all the smartphones look almost the same from the front. That’s not a necessarily a bad thing, especially in case of Vivo’s U20. It features a teardrop notch atop the display and really slim bezels on three of its sides, with a slightly thicker bezel at the bottom. The 6.53-inch full HD+ screen is a delight to look at. The IPS panel is crisp and offers ample brightness for it to be read outdoors.

Other design elements of the Vivo U20 are fairly standard, including the placement of ports and buttons.

Since the performance is among the biggest upgrades, let’s talk about that. Similar to its sibling which was the most affordable phone with the Snapdragon 665 CPU, the Vivo U20 is the cheapest device with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 675 SoC. The gaming-centric chip features an octa-core configuration and has already proved its mettle. Basically, the U20 offers smooth performance no matter what you do. Gaming is a lot of fun as well, as I loved long sessions of the Asphalt 9: Legends and PUBG Mobile. Moreover, the device stays cool to the touch even after an hour of playing. As mentioned above, the U20 is available with 6GB RAM, though you can also opt for the lower-end variant with 4 gigs of RAM.

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The onboard storage is 64GB, which offers ~52GB out of the box to the end user. And if you need more, then you can top it up by another 256GB by inserting a microSD card in the dedicated slot.

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Interestingly, with the U20, Vivo is changing things up with its camera app. While it’s not a complete redesign, it does make accessing a few options easier. You can access the Super macro, bokeh and ultra-wide angle modes by simply tapping on the camera opening-type icon and similarly get the 2x zoom mode (digital zoom) by pressing the button on the right, while the device is being held vertically. That said, I’d have liked if the zoom button was present towards the bottom, as in this manner you’d be able to shoot single-handedly. What’s even stranger is that the wide-angle mode isn’t located at the same location.

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Before I talk about the image quality, here’s a look at the camera stack: a 16-megapixel primary shooter with f/1.8 and PDAF support, an 8MP wide-angle lens and a 2MP sensor. Simply put, the U20 shows significant improvements over the camera prowess of the Vivo U10.

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To delve deeper into the subject of image performance, the landscape shots deliver a lot of details and colour reproduction is spot on too. The same experience carries over to the close-ups and low-light images. Sadly however, the night mode doesn’t improve the image as much. Talking about special modes, the super macro images are just passable, though the wide-angle shot manages to keep the fish-eye effect to a minimum.

For videos, the device can shoot full HD videos, though there’s no stabilisation whatsoever. For selfie aficionados, the Vivo U20 gets a 16MP shooter that outputs usable pictures, though they tend to be soft. Overall, the U20 is a good camera phone, but not the best in its segment.

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Pro Tip: Vivo U20 features Glance lockscreen

Instead of offering a basic lock screen experience, the handset comes with Glance lock screen that makes usage much more interactive. News, interesting facts, sports, entertainment all packaged in stunning images and short content. What’s even better is that you’ll get them all without needing to download an app or even unlocking the phone.
Glance is extremely simple to use as well – just press the power button (to access the lock screen) and then continue swiping left to find more content. And if you find something that piques your interest, then simply tap on ‘more’ to read about it. You can also personalize the feature as per your liking by choosing which categories or topics you would want to see more of.

At this point, I’ve already bemoaned the not-so-refined experience of Vivo’s FunTouch OS, so I won’t bore you with that. For better or worse, the experience remains the same as recent offerings from the brand’s stables… and the device boots 9th iteration of its custom skin running on top of Android 9.0 Pie.

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Rounding up the specs is a 5,000mAh cell that promises long endurance for the Vivo U20. You don’t need to juice it up before the next day even with the use of heavy tasks. Thanks to the 18W Dual-engine charging support, the device can be juiced up quickly too – 10 to 100 percent in about two hours.

Verdict

The Vivo U20 is a capable smartphone that doesn’t give any reason to complain about much. Add to it, its strategic pricing – Rs 10,990 for the base model, and Rs 11,999 for the higher-end 6GB RAM version – and you know that it’s a solid offering.

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Now if you consider the competition, the Vivo’s U20 doesn’t have it easy. There’s the newly-launched Realme 5s (review) that ships with a 48MP quad-camera array along with a 5,000mAh battery, and is priced at Rs 9,990 for the 3GB RAM version. For the same price, there’s Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 8 (review) that also offers quad rear cameras and features 4GB RAM by default. Yet, these devices can’t match the performance capabilities of the U20. So if you value underlying hardware more than the imaging prowess and are looking to buy a phone south of Rs 12k, then you shouldn’t ignore the Vivo U20.

Editor’s rating: 4 / 5

Pros

  • Great design
  • Amazing battery life
  • Strong performance

Cons

  • Camera quality could’ve been better
  • Heavy UI

Photos by Raj Rout

Vivo U20 Price
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Rs. 10,990.00
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Rs. 11,990.00
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