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Vivo U20 review: A true upgrade over first gen U-series smartphone

Vivo U20 review: The Vivo U20 comes with a Snapdragon 675 processor, 16MP triple rear camera setup, and 5,000mAh battery. Here is what it has to offer.

Rating: 4 out of 5
Rs. 10,990
Written by Mohammad Faisal | New Delhi | Updated: November 24, 2019 2:57:02 pm
vivo u20 review, vivo u20 performance, vivo u20 performance, vivo u20 price, vivo u20 specifications, vivo u20 features Vivo U20 review: In our review, we found the U10 to be a value for money device and the Vivo U20 has all the ingredients for the perfect dish.

Vivo U20, the second smartphone in Vivo’s online exclusive U-series, is here to succeed the Vivo U10 smartphone launched this September. The U-series targets young smartphone users who value specifications the most in a device and the U20 is no different. Vivo has upgraded the design, specification, and camera of the U10 to make the Vivo U20.

In our review, we found the U10 to be a value for money device and the Vivo U20 has all the ingredients for the perfect dish. But does it manage to pull it off like its predecessor? We test out the Vivo U20 in our review to know what it can do.

Vivo U20 specifications: 6.53-inch FHD+ display | Qualcomm Snapdragon 675 processor | 16MP + 8MP (ultrawide) + 2MP (macro) triple rear cameras | 16MP selfie camera | 5000mAh battery | 18W fast charging via micro-USB | Rear-mounted fingerprint sensor | Android 9 Pie

Vivo U20 price: Rs 10,990 for the 4GB RAM/64GB storage variant and Rs 11,990 for the 6GB RAM/64GB storage

Vivo U20 review: Design and display

In terms of design and display, the Vivo U20 is a clear upgrade over the U10. The phone comes in Racing Black and Blaze Blue. I had the latter which has a purple and blue gradient style glossy back. The plastic back has no physical textures but sports a 3D S-shaped wave design and looks almost like glass.

The display of Vivo U20 produces vibrant colours and the brightness levels are also good.

The build of the phone impressed me a lot because it grips perfectly though its size is a bit bigger than usual thanks to the curved edges at the back, The whole package looks quite lively and catches bystanders’ eyes.

At the front, the Vivo U20 sports a big 6.53-inch IPS LCD display that now comes with Full HD+ resolution of 2340×1080 pixels. The phone has a broad chin and the waterdrop notch on top feels a bit broader for eyes to ignore but since the side bezels are so slim, the aesthetic appeal of the phone is not compromised.

The display of the Vivo U20 produces vibrant colours and the brightness levels are also good. However, the viewing angles are disappointing. Both the brightness and colours take a hit when you see the screen from an angle other than the straight 90-degrees. While using the phone outdoors, there is not much problem as the screen is not too reflective.

Vivo U20 review: Performance, UI, and gaming

The Vivo U20 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 675 processor paired with Adreno 612, which is an upgrade over the SD665 + Adreno 610 on its predecessor. The same chipset has featured in phones like Redmi Note 7 Pro and is known to deliver great performance. The processor is no different on the Vivo U20 as the phone easily handles extensive usage, flood of notifications, and multi-tasking.

In terms of design and display, the Vivo U20 is a clear upgrade over the U10.

Switching between apps is smooth and the phone doesn’t lag even when you keep heavy apps opened in the background. The phone runs Funtouch OS based on Android 9 Pie and Vivo has added some new elements to the interface including dynamic transition effects as well as multiple animation styles for face unlock, charging, and entering home screen after you unlock the device. The Ultra Game Mode, Dark Mode, and gesture navigations on the Vivo U20 are welcome additions as well.

In the gaming department, the Snapdragon 675 puts the Vivo U20 way ahead of its predecessor. The phone can play PUBG Mobile at HD graphics on High frame rates. The gameplay is good with no lags or stutters. The frame drops are only minimal and can go unnoticed. The temperature of the phone goes up a bit around where the camera sensor and fingerprint sensor are located, but doesn’t get too high to hinder gameplay. Call of Duty Mobile runs as smooth as the casual games like Tennis Clash and Warrior Legends on the Vivo U20.

Vivo U20 review: Camera

The Vivo U20 sports a triple rear camera setup carrying a 16MP primary lens paired with an 8MP ultrawide lens and a 2MP macro lens. The primary camera takes good pictures in daylight conditions with punchy colours and nice dynamic range. The exposure levels aren’t that good but the photos carry a decent amount of detail.

Vivo U20 camera sample: Normal mode. (Image resized for web) (Express Photo: Mohammad Faisal) Vivo U20 camera sample: Normal mode (Image resized for web) (Express Photo: Mohammad Faisal) vivo u20 camera Vivo U20 camera sample: Normal mode. (Image resized for web) (Express Photo: Mohammad Faisal) Vivo U20 camera sample: Normal shot. (Image resized for web) (Express Photo: Mohammad Faisal)

The ultrawide sensor on the Vivo U20 is not a bit exciting. The ultrawide shots not only lack detail and vibrancy, but the field of view is also not that great. Vivo has replaced the depth sensor with a 2MP macro lens but the quality of the pictures clicked in macro mode is not exciting.

vivo u20 camera Vivo U20 camera sample: Ultrawide shot. (Image resized for web) (Express Photo: Mohammad Faisal) vivo u20 camera Vivo U20 camera sample: Macro shot. (Image resized for web) (Express Photo: Mohammad Faisal) Vivo U20 camera sample: Macro shot. (Image resized for web) (Express Photo: Mohammad Faisal)

The selfie camera is an actual improvement over the Vivo U20. The 16MP selfie shooter takes good pictures with proper colours. It keeps the skin tone close to normal while retaining nice levels of detail.

Vivo U20 camera sample: Selfie camera (Image resized for web) (Express Photo: Mohammad Faisal)

Vivo has included the 2x digital zoom in the U20, which comes handy when you are trying to click a portrait shot, but the portrait mode doesn’t apply blur to the picture and it is basically the same normal shot mode. To blur the background, you have the bokeh mode that can’t be used with the 2x zoom. Also, the edge detection for bokeh mode is not accurate, but since it doesn’t take an aggressive approach, it doesn’t look that bad.

Vivo U20 camera sample: Left– Normal, Right– Bokeh mode (Image resized for web) (Express Photo: Mohammad Faisal)

In low light conditions, all three sensors on the back and the selfie camera struggle a lot. The results are far from desirable but that is the case with almost all the budget devices. There is a night mode in the camera app but all it does is whitewash the whole picture resulting in over-exposures in the parts which are sufficiently lit and disrupting the colours throughout the image.

Vivo U20 review: Battery

The Vivo U20 is backed by a 5,000mAh battery with support for 18W fast charger that comes in the box. The phone lets you have a full day of above moderate usage including an hour of social media browsing, four hours of streaming videos and music, an hour of gaming session, and about an hour of reading news and PDF books.

The 18W fast charger takes close to two hours to fully charge the Vivo U20 from 15 per cent mark. The phone has a micro USB port and it could have been better if it came with a Type-C port. At the bottom, the Vivo U20 also sports a 3.5 mm audio jack along with a single bottom-firing speaker.

The Vivo U20 is backed by a 5,000mAh battery with support for 18W fast charger that comes in the box.

The audio is loud enough to enjoy videos, music, and gaming without using earphones but it sounds a bit like noise at full volume, which is not surprising given the price range of the smartphone. The rear-mounted fingerprint sensor works quite well but the placement is a bit high for comfort. The face-unlock on the Vivo U20 is also good and recognises face instantly. Under poorly lit conditions, the face-unlock takes close to a second but there you can always use the fingerprint sensor.

Vivo U20 review: Verdict

The Vivo U20 is a true upgrade over the U10 but ends up feeling more like the Redmi Note 7 Pro. Vivo U20 does pretty well for its price range and it has all the elements one looks for in a budget device including the camera, battery, and performance. The Vivo U20 is also a good option for those who want to play graphics-heavy games but don’t want an expensive device.

However, while there is not much to criticise the phone, the U20 is a classic case of camera-count gimmick where only the primary lens is decent and the rest are there for show. If the Vivo U20 came with only a single rear camera, it would not have affected the outcome of this review.

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