One of the latest entrants in the mid-priced 5G smartphone market is the eagerly awaited Vivo V21 5G. One of the few devices that do not spare features with a mid-range price, the Vivo V21 5G gives a little extra bang for the buck where it counts. If you or someone you know is into capturing video and selfies, or you want your tech not to break the bank – take a look at our in-depth review.
The Vivo V21 5G has a similar design to many other devices from Vivo. Our review unit featured a colourful rear panel and was visually distinct. Given the commonplace nature of black, white and silver devices – this was a lively and welcome option. The device is formed from plastic, with a glass front display and features a camera bump but not a fingerprint reader on the rear.
The device feels comfortable in hand and feels lightweight to hold (176g). The device measures 159.7 x 73.9 x 7.3 mm (6.29 x 2.91 x 0.29 in). The device has not been IP rated and does not feature Gorilla Glass.
Photo and Video
As a mid-ranger, it is not going to have all the bells and whistles of its flagship cousins, but this phone still seems to deliver where it counts for most without the frills.
The cameras on this phone are an easy sell to anyone who wants excellent selfie capabilities and will be shooting video. On the front, the 44 MP, f/2.0, (wide), AF, OIS camera is sure to please as its dual-LED flash and HDR take selfies even in the dark look pretty incredible. The triple rear camera system uses wide, ultrawide and macro cameras to create good quality photos. The rear macro lens was a letdown, as it was very frustrating to get good shots even in ideal conditions. While shooting video, the lack of OIS on both camera sets (front/rear) was only marginally noticeable and took decent videos with excellent contrast/colour.
The MediaTek Dimensity 800U 5G chipset is focused almost exclusively on power efficiency. While the performance did not stand out, the V21 5G will adequately perform most tasks. The hardware could easily support general application use, light gaming and video/self capture without sweating much.
In our complex gaming tests, the device averaged a meagre 40.9 frames per second. This will leave games playable over the average threshold of 24-30 fps, but it certainly did not stand out in terms of performance in this regard.
Charging and Battery Life
While on the surface, the 4000 mAh battery life will not turn heads, but the V21 5G’s highspeed charging will. In our testing, this midrange phone kicked it out of the park with a stunning 0-71% charge in 30 minutes (using the included power supply.) Unlike many other higher-priced competitors, high-speed charging is something we are enthralled to see on this midrange device but is certainly not common. Unlike many other similar devices, it also supports up to 33W wireless charging, but a wireless dock is not included in the box.
We have come to expect average audio quality in this price range, and this is no exception. The V21 5G has a single speaker on its bottom edge, which performs reasonably well and gets loud enough without overdoing it. Despite being limited by the single speaker, vocals, dialogue, and music are enjoyable.
Out of the box, the 6.44″AMOLED, 90Hz, HDR10+, 500 nits display is bright and colourful. The colours are vibrant, albeit slightly saturated at times but with great contrast. The display remains visible in bright sunlight; however, the pre-installed screen protector complicates visibility. There is no Netflix HDR streaming certification, although this display is HDR10+ certified. The 6.44” display is cut-out/hole-punched at the top to allow for the front-facing camera.
Memory and Storage
Standard with all variants of this device is 8GB of RAM; however, Vivo does offer both a 128GB and 256GB internal storage option. There is a dual-sim card slot that supports 1 micro SD spot yet cannot accommodate both SIMS and the SD at the same time.
This device supports numerous 2G, 3G, 4G LTE and 5G bands for many mobile network operators. It is worth verifying if you will use 5G, if your carrier is supported as there are several frequency bands supported on this device. Wifi 5 (AC) is supported along with Bluetooth 5.1. The device uses USB-C 2.0 and USB On-the-Go but does not support the faster USB-C 3.0 standard. NFC is not supported and given the prevalence of mobile payments this seems to be an unfortunate oversight.
Retailing for £399 (apr. $550USD) for the 8/128GB variant, the V21 5G is comparable with similar mid-range devices in this category like the Samsung Galaxy A52 5G and the Redmi Note 10.