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Vivo U20 First Impressions: Pros, Cons, And The X-Factor

Rohit Arora

Vivo today announced the launch of the company's second smartphone in the online-only U-series line-up. The new Vivo U20 is the successor to the Vivo U10, which was launched recently in the Indian market at a starting price of Rs. 8,999. The Vivo U20 carries a slightly higher starting price of Rs. 10,990 for the 4GB RAM + 64GB ROM variant. The 6GB RAM + 64GB ROM variant of the Vivo U20 will sell at Rs. 11,999. The smartphone will be made available on and Vivo India E-Store starting 28th November, 12 PM onwards.

Vivo U20

The Vivo U20 has been launched in the highly competitive sub-15K price segment, which is largely dominated by the likes of Xiaomi and Realme. At a starting price of Rs. 10,990, the U20 pickup a direct fight with the newly launched Realme 5s and the Xiaomi Redmi Note 8.

We have spent some time with the Vivo U20 to bring our first impressions of the new budget smartphone from Vivo. Let's have a look.

The Good

Big 6.53-inch Full HD+ Display With A New Screen Protector

The Vivo U10 was a good budget all-rounder but it lacked a high-resolution 1080p screen. The company heard the feedback and swapped the 720p panel with a high-resolution Full HD+ screen, which it calls Halo Full View display. The Vivo U20 sports a 6.53-inch IPS LCD screen with a resolution of 1080x2340 pixels. The company claims that the Full HD+ screen is Widevine L1 DRM certified to stream HD content on popular media streaming applications.

The display on the Vivo U20 offers 90.3% screen-to-body ratio. As far as display protection is concerned, Vivo has offered Panda MN228 display protection that as per the brand scores 700 on the Vickers hardness test results. We will compare the Panda MN228's durability capabilities with the Gorilla Glass 5 protective glass that protects the Redmi Note 8's full HD+ panel.

As far as color reproduction and user-response are concerned, the full HD+ is vivid and has good viewing angles. It is very touch responsive and will come as a delight to users who are always hooked to their mobile handsets for video playback and gameplay. In comparison to the Vivo U20, the Realme 5s at a starting price of Rs. 9,999 also flaunts a 6.5-inch screen but it lacks in resolution. The Realme's budget handset only offers a 720p screen with Gorilla Glass 3+ protection.

Long-Lasting 5,000mAh Battery

Like its predecessor, the Vivo U20 is also backed by a big 5,000mAh battery cell. In our initial tests, the battery on the Vivo U20 lasted for more than a day with moderate to heavy usage. We are yet to push the battery cell to its limits to evaluate its lasting capacity. Vivo claims that the 5,000mAh battery cell can offer 273 hours of standby time, 21 hours of Instagram usage, 17 hours of Facebook and 11 hours of YouTube usage on one full charge.

The company bundles an 18W fast-charger in the box with the Vivo U20. In comparison, the Realme 5s is also backed by a 5,000mAh battery cell but ships with a 10W charger in the box. On the other hand, the Redmi Note 8 is backed by a smaller 4,000mAh battery cell but is accompanied by an 18W fast charger in the box.

Snappy Qualcomm Snapdragon 675 AIE SoC + 4GB/6GB RAM

The Vivo U20 has an edge over the competition in the processing department. While the Realme 5s and the Redmi Note 8 draws power from the Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 SoC, the Vivo U20 is backed by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 675 chipset. Both the SoCs are fabricated on the 11nm process and have same clock speed; however, they differ in the architectures of the CPU cores. The SD675 uses comparably powerful Kryo 460 cores as compared to the Kryo 260 cores on the Snapdragon 665 processor.

The SD675 also has a better GPU. The Vivo U20 uses Adreno 612 whereas the other two handsets work on Adreno 610 GPU. Last but not least, the SD 675 powering the Vivo U20 also uses better image processing engine and supports Quick charge 4+. The SD665 has slightly inferior image processing engine is only limited to Quick Charge 3 technology.

Overall, the Vivo U20 has a better chipset when compared to the Realme 5s and the Redmi Note 8. You can also purchase the 6GB RAM variant of the Vivo U20 whereas Realme only offers the Realme 5s in standard 4GB RAM variants with different storage configurations. Xiaomi on the other hand offers the Redmi Note 8 in three variants- 4 GB + 64GB (9,999), 6GB + 64 GB (Rs. 14,999) and 6GB + 128GB at Rs. 15,999.

Dedicated microSD Card Slot

Like the Realme 5s, the Vivo U20 also offers a dedicated slot for microSD card storage expansion. You can expand the 64GB built-in memory of the handset if you find it limiting your storage requirements. At any point, the phone supports two nano-SIM cards and a micro SD card.

The Bad

Comparatively Inferior Camera Hardware

While the competitors are offering high-resolution 48MP sensors, the Vivo U20 is still stuck with a 16MP primary sensor. Moreover, Xiaomi and Realme offer quad-lens camera setups where Vivo has offered three-lenses on the Vivo U20. The Vivo's budget handset lacks a dedicated depth-sensor and the bokeh is created via camera software. For selfies, Vivo has offered a 16MP front-facing camera which comes equipped with all sorts of beautify modes and filters.

In our brief testing, we found the Vivo U20 to be a good overall budget camera device. The SD675's Spectra 250L ISP comes into rescue to match the image quality on the pixel-binned shots captured by the Realme 5s and the Redmi Note 8 as both uses slightly inferior Spectra 165 ISP- curtsey- SD665. However, the Realme 5s and the Redmi Note 8 Pro offers far detailed shots when you capture images in their dedicated 48MP mode. The Vivo U20's 16MP shots cannot match the detailing and the crispness o the 48MP pictures.

We are still testing the cameras on the three devices so stay tuned for our detailed review and camera comparison of the three budget handsets.

The X-Factor

In my opinion, the 5,000mAh battery unit with 18W fast charger and the Snapdragon 675 SoC is the X-factor of the Vivo U20. Combined, the Vivo U20 has an edge over the competition that somehow reflects in the overall performance.

Should You Buy The Vivo U20?

Vivo has given yet another budget all-rounder in the form of the U20. The fact that the company is selling it online makes thing interesting for users and tough for the rivals- Realme and Xiaomi. If you are looking for a good all-round performance in the sub-15K price-point, Vivo U20 is a great option. We will talk in detail about the handset's multitasking, gaming, camera and battery performance as a daily driver in our comprehensive review.

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