Vivo V21 5G Review: The Selfie Phone

Vivo is the following Chinese phone emblem the arena is set to sit down up and take realize of. Just while you concept there was once actually no house for every other mid-range challenger, Vivo by some means manages to stand proud of the group.

Its telephones normally have one function that opponents on the identical worth don’t and the V21 5G’s celebration trick is its selfie digital camera. The 44Mp shooter has optical stabilisation which is unprecedented on front-facing cameras. At least it’s the one one I’m acutely aware of to own OIS, tech normally reserved for the primary rear digital camera.

It takes nice pictures, even in low gentle, and may just make this the phone selfie addicts or those who wish to use the entrance digital camera to shoot movies for TikTook, YouTube or Instagram.

But is the remainder of the V21 as much as scratch? You’ll in finding out if you happen to stay reading.

Features & design

  • 3mm
  • 176g
  • Plastic body + again

The V21 is a slender phone at a whisker over 7mm thick. The rear digital camera meeting stands proud, because it does on such a lot of telephones, and there’s added pastime right here with a stepped segment containing the flash.

Vivo V21 5G review

Vivo provided me with a Dusk Blue phone to check, which is a lot more sombre and serious-looking than the Sunset Dazzle colourway. Maybe I used to be hoping for one thing a bit of extra thrilling on account of the sparkly field which units expectancies top.

And whilst some variations of the phone simply have a easy Vivo brand, European fashions are tarnished through massive CE and bin emblems, plus the fashion quantity and Vivo’s complete corporate identify.

Vivo V21 5G review

You wouldn’t essentially know the body and again have been produced from plastic: the sleek matt end of the again particularly may just simply be glass, and there’s a intensity to the color when gentle shines on it.

On the precise facet is a textured energy button under a quantity rocker and the SIM tray is positioned at the backside edge, reverse the speaker grille.

Although there’s a speaker simply above the display screen, that’s for phone calls handiest: sound is mono from the V21 and it’s unusually tinny with out a bass. There’s no 3.5mm headphone jack, however there may be Bluetooth 5.1 so you’ll attach wi-fi headphones. And within the field you can in finding stressed out headphones at the side of a USB-C to a few.5mm adapter.

The V21 5G additionally has Wi-Fi 5, GPS and NFC, and Google Pay is supported.

Unfortunately, there’s no IP score in any respect so, technically, you shouldn’t permit the V21 to get rainy. It’ll most likely live to tell the tale the unusual splash and use in gentle rain, regardless that.


  • 44in, 90Hz AMOLED exhibit
  • 1080×2400 pixels, 20:9 ratio, 409ppi

Vivo can have trimmed some specifications in an effort to hit the V21’s worth level, however the display screen isn’t one among them. And because it’s so essential, that’s an excellent factor.

It makes use of AMOLED tech which means that nice viewing angles, colors and distinction. It additionally way you’ll have an always-on exhibit if you happen to don’t thoughts taking the hit on battery existence. It’s one thing even house owners of the newest iPhone don’t get, and if you happen to use your phone as a substitute of an eye fixed to stay monitor of time, it’s an actual bonus (particularly as there’s no notification LED).

Vivo V21 5G review

It’s vibrant sufficient, too, at round 500 nits while you push the slider the entire method to the precise. But it’ll cross even brighter outdoor when it must.

Some might say the ‘water drop’ notch is a little old-fashioned and that Vivo will have to have long gone with a extra modern-looking punch-hole design however given the standard of the digital camera it properties, it’s simple to forgive. And you’ll successfully disguise it with one of the most default wallpapers which can be black on the best.

What you gained’t realize are the 2 LED ‘spotlights’ that disguise within the bezel simply above the display screen. They’re known as spotlights as a result of they don’t simply illuminate in brief like a flash: they light up you so you’ll additionally shoot video in dim stipulations, in addition to lighting fixtures your face for selfies.

Vivo V21 5G review

The different hidden function, up to now the keep of flagship telephones, is an under-display fingerprint sensor.

Though it’s able to operating at 90Hz, the display screen’s default surroundings is 60Hz, once more to maximize battery existence.


  • 64Mp primary digital camera
  • 8Mp ultrawide, 2Mp macro
  • 44Mp selfie digital camera

You’ve no proper to be expecting flagship-level rear cameras at this worth, and also you don’t get any. If you wish to have the ones, glance to Vivo’s X70 Pro+, which is a real flagship.

The primary 64Mp digital camera is able to excellent pictures and has OIS which is helping with sharpness in low gentle. Don’t be fooled through the method to transfer to 2x within the inventory digital camera app regardless that: there’s no telephoto lens.

Vivo V21 5G review

To transfer between lenses you need to faucet at the Lens button and you’ll transfer between vast, ultrawide and super-macro lenses. That’s extra of a bother than simply having a sequence of zoom ranges on the backside of the display screen.

As with such a lot of 8Mp ultrawide cameras on mid-range telephones, symbol high quality is simply first rate, however not anything particular. And the 2Mp macro lens is nearly there for display, as a result of patrons need no less than trio of cameras in this day and age.

It’s the selfie digital camera that shines right here, generating sharp, detailed pictures each indoors and outside. Front cameras are in most cases the second-class citizen however, with roles reversed for the V21 5G, it’s the perfect phone for somebody who takes a number of selfies or must document video of themselves.

Vivo V21 5G

There are a number of filters and results to make a choice from, together with one that makes the background monochrome and leaves your face in color. The portrait mode takes this a lot additional with a number of attractiveness choices akin to making your face thinner, converting the illusion of your chin, nostril and cheeks. The aperture slider simulates bokeh and you notice in real-time how the background will glance.

Unfortunately, with out a intensity sensor, what’s background and what’s now not is decided through instrument and that implies it’s now not amazingly correct. Wisps of hair may well be blurred, whilst true background parts aren’t.

When taking pictures video, it’s value noting that the OIS doesn’t function if you choose 4K video, and the one different choices are 1080p and 720p. Something that may be a deal-breaker is that you’ll document handiest at 30fps with the entrance digital camera.

On the rear, it’s conceivable to shoot at 60fps in 1080p, however that drops all the way down to 30fps in 4K (and also you additionally unfastened OIS).


  • MediaTek 800U 5G chipset
  • 8GB RAM
  • 128GB garage + microSD card

It’s nice to look 8GB of RAM, and the cheap quantity of garage can also be supplemented by the use of an affordable microSD card.

But, Vivo has reduce a fairly massive nook within the processor division with the 800U. This is a chip we’ve observed in a lot inexpensive telephones, akin to Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 9T which we reviewed virtually a 12 months in the past. It’s a tight funds chip with 5G toughen, however right here it doesn’t fit the fee level too neatly.

It’s to not say the V21 doesn’t carry out neatly in day by day tasks, it does. Apps release abruptly sufficient, Android 11 runs great and easily. But it’s now not a really perfect selection if you happen to like to play video games and wish them to run at 90Hz and at top element ranges.

You can play video games and the V21 gained’t get overly sizzling, however you’re going for a gaming phone at a an identical worth (or relatively extra) if this can be a precedence. As you’ll see from the effects under, it lags in the back of different mid-range telephones.

If there’s some just right information, it’s that Vivo doesn’t weigh the phone down with many further apps for Western markets. In truth, bearing in mind how a lot we criticised earlier Chinese variations (such because the V20), I used to be shocked at simply how shut Funtouch 11 is to inventory Android 11 in UK information.

Vivo V21 5G review

By default, you may have each more than one house monitors and the app tray which is available from any house display screen while you swipe up from the ground of the display screen. There’s a smattering of additional apps akin to iManager which frees up RAM and will plays safety scans, however no additional folders of video games and apps which might be in reality simply shortcuts to Vivo’s personal storefront.

If you wish to have a fully inventory enjoy, you’ll nonetheless wish to go for one among Google’s personal telephones, however don’t be eliminate through Funtouch on legit UK variations of Vivo telephones.

Battery existence

  • 4000mAh battery
  • 33W rapid charging
  • No wi-fi charging

There are not any surprises right here: a 4000mAh battery is rather same old on such a lot of Android telephones, regardless that it’s spectacular to look in a handset this skinny.

It’ll last as long as two days with gentle use, however when you get started enabling options such because the 90Hz refresh price, the always-on display screen and use challenging apps (akin to video games), that estimate will shrink abruptly.

The battery results of 14h 58m in PCMark’s Work 3.0 check was once spectacular at simply shy of 15 hours.

Unfortunately, the funds doesn’t prolong to wi-fi charging, however the 33W rapid charger integrated within the field will refill neatly over 60% of the battery’s capability in simply part an hour.

Price & availability

Although it was once introduced again in the summertime, the V21 5G has long gone on sale in the United Kingdom and different Western nations handiest lately.

The legit worth is £399 in the United Kingdom, however you’ll already in finding giant reductions. Amazon, as an example, is promoting the V21 5G for just £299, which makes it significantly extra sexy and way it’s more uncomplicated to forgive the less-powerful processor. There’s an legit case for £29.99, however you get a clear silicone case integrated within the field.

The phone is not to be had in the USA or Canada, however you’ll import one from every other nation if you happen to in reality need to get your fingers on it.

For choices, see our roundup of the most productive mid-range telephones and best possible funds telephones.


When you’re purchasing for a mid-range phone, sacrifices are in most cases inevitable. The stand-out options are the selfie digital camera and the nice display screen, however those come at the price of a quicker processor and luxuries akin to water resistance and wi-fi charging.


Vivo V21 5G: Specs

  • Android 11
  • 6.44in FHD+ (1080×2400) AMOLED, 90Hz
  • MediaTek MT6853 Dimensity 800U 5G processor
  • 8GB RAM
  • 128GB interior garage
  • 64Mp f/1.8 primary digital camera
  • 8Mp f/2.2 ultrawide
  • 2Mp f/2.4 macro
  • 44Mp f/2.0 selfie digital camera
  • Fingerprint scanner (in-screen)
  • Wi-Fi 5 dual-band
  • Bluetooth 5.1
  • GPS
  • NFC
  • Single/Dual-nano SIM
  • USB-C
  • Mono speaker
  • 4000mAh non-removable battery
  • 33W rapid charging
  • 160 x 74 x 7.3mm
  • 176g

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