vivo V21 (5G) review

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Introduction

If you want to make TikTok videos, or you know someone who is, you already know the importance of the selfie video format. In other words, a growing number of people – especially young people – want phones that are better aimed at capturing selfies and selfie video content. Preferably more affordable.

vivo V21 5G review

Surprisingly, few devices, even from the popular flagship group, have really offered much in terms of improvements to selfie cameras.

Enter the vivo V21 duo. Their call for fame is undoubtedly 44MP, f / 2.0 selfie camera with autofocus and OIS. It’s not something you see every day. Not by a long shot.

vivo V21 5G
and live V21

vivo V21 5G • vivo V21

It is interesting to note that while we have the V21 5G for review today, it is literally identical to the vanilla vivo V21 down to the Dimensity 800U 5G chipset. We guess they have only removed the 5G antenna for the 4G-only model. A bit of an unorthodox approach, but we are not complaining as the regular V21 gets all the goodies that its 5G sibling has.

an overview of vivo V21 / V21 5G specifications:

  • Body: 159.7×73.9×7.3mm, 176g; plastic back, plastic frame, glass front.
  • Screen: 6.44 “AMOLED, 90Hz, HDR10 +, 500 nits (type), 1080x2400px resolution, 20: 9 aspect ratio, 409ppi.
  • Chipset: MediaTek MT6853 Dimensity 800U 5G (7 nm): Octa-core (2×2.4 GHz Cortex-A76 & 6×2.0 GHz Cortex-A55); Mali-G57 MC3.
  • Memory: 128 GB 8 GB RAM, 256 GB 8 GB RAM; UFS 2.2; microSDXC (uses shared SIM slot).
  • OS / software: Android 11, Funtouch 11.1.
  • Rear camera: Wide (head): 64 MP, f / 1.8, 26 mm, 1 / 1.72 “, 0.8 µm, PDAF, OIS; Ultra wide angle: 8 MP, f / 2.2, 120 degrees, 16 mm, 1 / 4.0 “, 1.12 µm; Macro: 2 MP, f / 2.4.
  • Front camera: 44 MP, f / 2.0, (wide), AF, OIS.
  • Video recording: Rear camera: 4K @ 30fps (no OIS), 1080p @ 30 / 60fps; Front camera: 4K @ 30 fps (no OIS), 1080p @ 30 fps.
  • Battery: 4000mAh; Fast charge 33W, 63% in 30 minutes (announced).
  • Various: Fingerprint reader (on display, optical); selfie LEDs.

The mighty selfie camera aside, the V21 duo doesn’t skimp on the rest of its spec sheet either. It is a surprisingly thin phone that measures 159.7 x 73.9 x 7.3 mm and overturns the scale of 176 grams while still containing a respectable 4,000 mAh battery.

The midrange MediaTek Dimensity 800U, found at their cores, is paired with 8GB of RAM. And in front and in the middle there is the offensive and smooth 90Hz AMOLED panel with HDR10 + support.

The camera setup on the back is also not too shabby with a 64MP head snapper, 8MP ultra-wide and a 2MP macro.

vivo V21 5G review

All in all, what we have with the V21 on paper is a solid midranger. However, the MSRP of just over EUR 300 makes the 5G model we are reviewing here vulnerable to lots of competition. And this competition can often deliver some of the things vivo has left out, like intrusion protection, a stereo speaker setup, 3.5mm jack and NFC, to name a few. What the V21 has, however, is a clear spotlight feature in its selfie camera setup. So the real question becomes just how well it is performed in practice and whether it is good enough to draw a trendy crowd of social networking-savvy customers.

Unboxing

The V21 has a surprisingly rich retail package. Of course, this may not necessarily be the case in every market, but our device had everything essential in the box and then something.

Starting with the charger, vivo has its own FlashCharge 2.0 tech. On the V21 and V21 5G, it can charge up to a maximum of 33W. It is rated for 5V @ 2A, 9V @ 2A or 11V @ 3A by output. There is also Super FlashCharge 2.0, as seen on the vivo X60 Pro +, which can go up to 55W.

As far as we managed to gather, both of these use a similar proprietary charging method that uses higher voltages, similar to Qualcomm’s Quick Charge, instead of higher simultaneous currents, such as VOOC and its derivatives. Information on the subject is a bit scarce, but that should mean that FlashCharge 2.0 can work at a full 33W or near them with a standard USB Type-A to Type-C cable, like the one included in the box. Just make sure it is of decent quality. We only explain this as it kind of is a plus for vivo that you do not necessarily have to worry about always having the proprietary cable at hand.

vivo V21 5G review

Also in the V21 box – a pair of white earplugs marked in vivo, with a microphone and in-line control. Interestingly, these are not Type-C, but rather standard 3.5 mm. You also get a small Type-C for 3.5mm dongle to attach them to the phone. Probably a more versatile setup, both for using the quite decent sounding knobs on another device as well as connecting other headphones to the V21.

Finally, you also get a nice clear TPU case in the box. It has a flap to seal the Type-C port on the phone – a brave insert but not a replacement for actual gaskets and a proper intrusion protection rating.

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