Vivo launched the Vivo U10 in India in late September to compete with Xiaomi and Realme. The Vivo U10 is powered by the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 processor as the Redmi Note 8 and Realme 5. With the competition exchanging phones at such a high rate, it was time for Vivo to release an update. with the Vivo U20. The naming clearly indicates that it is a higher-quality model than the Vivo U10, and we expect this smartphone to keep the competition alive on the market.
Equipped with a powerful Snapdragon 675 SoC, this phone could stand out from the competition. Will this be enough to guide your choice in the right direction? We put the Vivo U20 to the test to find out.
Vivo U20 design
When we got our hands on the Vivo U10 (test), we pointed out that it was box-shaped and bulky. The new Vivo U20 is not much different, it weighs 193 g and is 8.9 mm thick. We think some people find it too unwieldy for everyday use. The display has grown and the IPS LCD panel of the Vivo U20 measures 6.53 inches. It has thin bezels on the sides and Vivo claims a 90.3 percent screen-to-body ratio. We found the display to be bright enough outdoors and it had decent viewing angles. Vivo has chosen a full HD + panel, which is a welcome improvement to the U10's HD + display.
The back of the Vivo U20 is flat, but the sides are rounded, which helps hold it in your hand. Vivo has opted for a plastic back wall and a plastic frame. The back has a glossy surface that makes it a fingerprint magnet. We constantly had to wipe the back of the smartphone, and ultimately we decided to use the included case to avoid stains.
We found that the power and volume buttons were positioned a little too high for comfort, and they needed a bit of mixing to achieve. The fingerprint scanner mounted on the back is also positioned a little too high for our taste. Vivo continues to use a micro USB port on the U20, which should have been dropped in favor of USB Type-C. The 3.5mm headphone jack and speaker are located on both sides of the micro USB connector along with the main microphone.
There is a triple camera setup on the back of the smartphone, which is housed in a slightly raised module.
Vivo U20 specifications and software
The Vivo U20 has impressive hardware, with the highlight being the Qualcomm Snapdragon 675 SoC. This is the same processor that powers the Redmi Note 7 Pro (Review) that was launched at a higher price earlier this year. It has a lot to offer, and if you want to play games and multitask, you should be able to do it on the Vivo U20 with ease. Competitors at this price level, including Realme 5 (review) and Redmi Note 8 (review), use the relatively less powerful Snapdragon 665 SoC.
Vivo has matched this SoC with 4 GB or 6 GB RAM, while the memory for both variants is 64 GB. Surprisingly, Vivo offers UFS 2.1 storage, which helps with transferring files to and from smartphones. The memory can be expanded by up to 256 GB with a microSD card.
Vivo has set the base 4 GB RAM variant at Rs. 10,990, while the 6 GB RAM variant is priced at Rs. 11,990. You can also choose between two color options: Racing Black and Blaze Blue. We had the Racing Black variant for this test, which we liked. If you prefer gradients, Blaze Blue is for you.
Connectivity options on the Vivo U20 include Bluetooth 5, dual-band WiFi, four satellite navigation systems, and FM radio. Vivo has packed a 5,000 mAh battery into the U20 and is supplying an 18 W dual engine quick charger in the box.
Vivo delivers the U20 with Funtouch OS 9.2, which runs on Android 9 Pie. A lot of bloatware is preinstalled. You get apps like EasyShare, GameCenter, Gaana, Amazon Shopping, Helo, Dailyhunt, Opera, Facebook, WhatsApp, WPS Office and one called iManager. Some of them are overloaded with notifications, and it's better to just uninstall them.
For Funtouch OS, you have to swipe up from the bottom of the screen to switch quickly, which is exactly the opposite of the action for any other Android smartphone. This can be annoying and confusing for the user. Vivo has also made some other adjustments. Users can change the UI theme, as well as animations for loading and face recognition.
Vivo's intelligent assistant Jovi is also integrated into the smartphone. It can help you identify products that you are pointing the camera at and remind you to drink water all day. There is Google’s digital wellbeing and parental controls to help you manage how you spend your time on your smartphone. Smart features like waking up and launching apps quickly by drawing alphabets on the lock screen are also available.
Vivo offers a motorcycle mode that rejects all incoming calls when you are on the move and automatically sends an SMS to callers.
The Ultra Game mode is equipped with functions such as automatic off-screen playback, with which a game can be played even when the display is switched off. You can block notifications and automatically answer calls in hands-free mode to minimize interruptions while playing. If you don't want to be disturbed, it can immediately reject calls instead. You can customize these options for each game.
There is also a "Sound Localization Training Center" in this mode, and this is the first time we have seen anything like this on a smartphone. This feature is intended for PUBG Mobile and trains you to recognize the sounds of the game to improve your performance. If you're a serious player, you may find it useful, while casual gamers can ignore it.
Vivo U20 performance and battery life
The Vivo U20 has managed to get our attention for its aggressive price and powerful processor. The Snapdragon 675 made its debut with the Redmi Note 7 Pro, and when it came on the market, it was the most powerful processor in a smartphone, priced below US $. 15,000 and now it has made its way to a lower budget. There was no lag when scrolling through the Vivo U20's user interface, and no jerking when switching between multiple apps. Since we had the top-end version with 6 GB RAM, there were no problems with multitasking, and the phone could switch seamlessly between several apps.
The U20 was quickly unlocked with the fingerprint scanner attached to the back and the face unlock function. The display is not as powerful as the AMOLED panels of some other phones, such as B. the Samsung Galaxy M30s (review), but it gets bright enough outdoors. The speaker was not loud and sounded thin.
Our benchmark tests gave us a good idea of how the Vivo U20 with its Snapdragon 675 processor beats the Redmi Note 8 and Realme 5s powered by the Snapdragon 665. The Vivo U20 scored 210,249 points higher in the AnTuTu Benchmark v8 than the 169,832 from the Redmi Note 8 and 167,487 from the Realme 5s. The U20 also achieved 504 and 1,638 points in Geekbench's single-core and multi-core tests, respectively. We also recorded 42 fps and 7.8 fps in the GFXBench T-Rex and Car Chase benchmarks.
We played PUBG Mobile on the Vivo U20, which had the default setting "High" with graphics set to "HD" and the frame rate to "High". We noticed no problems with these settings and were able to play the game well. Just like we saw with other Snapdragon 675 phones, the Vivo U20 felt a little warm after playing for about 20 minutes. We also noticed a battery loss of 5 percent during the same period.
The battery life for the Vivo U20 is quite good, and this smartphone can work without problems with a battery charge of over a day and a half. When we used it, which consisted of an active WhatsApp account, playing PUBG Mobile, taking some camera samples and using GPS for navigation, we had 45 percent at the end of 24 hours. In our HD video loop test, the smartphone managed 14 hours and 59 minutes.
Charging the 5,000 mAh battery doesn't take long. The included quick charger gave us 33 percent in half an hour and 67 percent in one hour. A full charge takes about two hours.
Vivo U20 cameras
Vivo has selected a triple camera setup for the U20, consisting of a 16-megapixel primary camera with a Sony IMX499 sensor, an 8-megapixel super wide-angle camera and a 2-megapixel macro camera. For selfies, it has a 16 megapixel camera. The camera application is similar to what we saw on the latest Vivo smartphones. The modes Night, Portrait, Pano, Live Photo, Pro, AR and Time Lapse are available. It also has a Jovi feature that uses Vivo's Jovi Assistant to recognize what the camera is pointing at and find e-commerce deals for similar products.
There are quick switching options for HDR and various filters that can be applied before recording. The camera app offers a switch for double zoom, which the phone carries out digitally. There are separate switches to switch to the wide-angle and super macro cameras, which we think would have been better integrated.
With the Vivo U20, the focus can be saved quickly and the exposure can be set correctly. In addition, HDR is activated automatically when recording in bright surroundings. Photos taken with the Vivo U20 looked good, but didn't show the best details. This became clear when we zoomed in and we could see a slightly grainy edition. The wide-angle camera provides a wider field of view, but we could see distortion around the edges and the sensor couldn't capture details.
Close-ups performed better because the phone achieved good details and a natural depth of field between the subject and the background. Portraits had good edge detection and the U20 blurred the background correctly, but you can't adjust the degree of blur in this mode. There is a separate bokeh mode that allows you to control this. We believe that these two modes should have been combined. The photos taken with the macro camera were good, but limited to a resolution of 2 megapixels.
The performance of a camera in low light is not very good. The Vivo U20 lacked the details and delivered grainy results. Switching to night mode resulted in brighter images, but they weren't much better. The phone keeps the shutter open longer, so in this mode you need to keep calm while taking a picture. The overall quality of the cameras was far from the best we've seen in this price range.
Selfies taken indoors were also below average quality, and you'll notice graininess as you zoom in. It's best to limit these selfies to occasional social media sharing.
The maximum video recording is 4K for the primary camera and 1080p for the selfie shooter. We found that video stabilization is adequate for daytime shots, but the focus speed could have been better. In poor lighting conditions, a clear shimmering effect was observed, which was also visible in the viewfinder during recording.
Vivo stirred up the competition when it launched the U10 in the Sub-Rs. 10,000 stores and the company repeats this with a slightly better positioning with the Vivo U20. This new smartphone offers powerful hardware and a large battery at an aggressive price. Nevertheless, the U20 is not a perfect all-rounder. We couldn't let go of the cameras.
If you're looking for a device that is primarily intended for gaming, the Vivo U20 should be at the top of your list. You could also consider the Realme 5s and the Redmi Note 8 (Review) as possible alternatives to the Vivo U20.