Vivo had recently launched the second phone under its U Series – the vivo U20. It’s the successor to the vivo U10 which received quite a nice response and feedback from buyers and now, the vivo U20 comes with further improvements. It is now powered by a more powerful processor and packs a huge 5000mAh battery. However, the pricing is still very humble as the phone starts at Rs. 10990. As per the specs sheet, the phone should be a good deal for most people but is it really worth paying for U20 when there are competitors out there? Let’s find out.
Design & Display
The vivo U20 features a 6.53-inch In-cell LCD 2.5D display with an aspect ratio of 19.5:9. It is a Full HD+ display with a pixel density of about 394 PPI. There are minimal bezels around the display. The display is bright, sunlight visibility is also good. The colors are vibrant and texts look quite sharp.
There is a waterdrop notch above the display which houses the 16-megapixel camera and above the camera, there is an earpiece, but, there is no notification LED. On the right edge of the phone, there are the power button and the volume rockers whereas the dual SIM card slot and the dedicated microSD slots are placed at the left edge. vivo has opted for a triple slot instead of two separate slots for microSD and SIM cards. The bottom of the phone houses the 3.5mm audio jack, microphone, micro USB port, and the loudspeaker grill.
The back of the phone is quite packed with cameras. There is a triple camera setup placed at the left edge which houses three cameras vertically. There is the 16-megapixel Sony IMX499 sensor with f/1.78 aperture, 8-megapixel 120° wide-angle camera with f/2.2 aperture and a 2-megapixel macro lens with f/2.4 aperture. Below the three sensors, there is an LED flash. The camera module has some sort of ring going around it and it protrudes out a bit. There is a fingerprint sensor next to the camera module, placed symmetrically in the middle.
The back has a gradient look and it’s quite glossy. It looks premium but attracts fingerprints quite easily. We have the Racing Black color version, and the phone also comes in Blazing Blue color with a clear case right in the box, and using it makes the camera bump less noticeable. The phone is a tad heavy to hold in the hand, due to the huge 5000mAh battery. In terms of design, looks and display the phone is quite good actually and despite being a bit heavy, most people who are looking for a phone with a great battery won’t complain including me.
vivo is a brand that has been emphasizing the camera at a lot for its smartphones and the vivo U20 is no exception. At the launch of the phone, the company had given a lot of importance to the camera. On paper, the camera department looks quite good on the vivo U20. There is the 16-megapixel Sony IMX499 sensor with f/1.78 aperture, 8-megapixel SKHynix Hi-846 sensor 120° wide-angle camera with f/2.2 aperture and a 2-megapixel GalaxyCore GC2375 sensor with f/2.4 aperture for macro shots. On the front, the vivo U20 sports a16-megapixel camera for video calls and selfies. However, we can see the presence of an LED flash only on the back but not on the front.
The camera UI is quite good – Simple but with toggles the most used features like flash, HDR, filters, aspect ratio, and the camera settings on top. A button in the camera UI for camera settings is something new here and it’s a well-thought implementation in my opinion. At the bottom, there are the options to switch between ultra-wide camera and super macro. Beyond that, outside the viewfinder, there are those classic scrollable camera modes and there are quite a few of them-Night, Portrait, Photo, Video, along with an option opens up more modes like Panorama, Live Photo, Slo-mo, Time-Lapse, Pro, AR Stickers, Jovi AI and Doc mode. Below that there is an image preview button on the left, shutter key at the middle and the toggle for changing between the front and rear camera on the right side. The vivo U20 supports Camera2 API by default, but it doesn’t support capturing in RAW.
Now, in terms of the actual performance of the camera, pictures taken in broad daylight are quite nice, macro shots are also quite good, and the wide-angle camera gets the job done. There is no dedicated depth sensor or a telephoto, so the software processes the portrait shots. The portrait shots are great most of the time, but not the best as sometimes it messes up the edge detection. The photos taken in low light are decent, but the situation can ben improved a bit using the Night Mode.
The front camera on the vivo U20 is good. It comes with AI-based beautification which improves shots for many, but well, I’m not a fan of beautification so I turned it off right away. Overall, in terms of pictures, the vivo U20 is quite nice for the budget and will not disappoint! In terms of videos, it can record in 4k 30 fps and 1080p videos at up to 60 fps. The video quality is good and EIS works fine, although EIS works only for 1080p videos. You can also record full HD videos using the ultra-wide camera and the phone also supports slow-mo and time-lapse captures.
The vivo U20 is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 675 64-bit octa-core processor built which has got two Cortex A76-based Kryo 460 CPUs clocked at 2GHz and other six Cortex A55 Kryo 460 CPUs, clocked at 1.7GHz. It comes with Adreno 612 GPU and 6GB LPDDR4x RAM. The actual performance of the phone is quite good. There were no issues with regular usage like browsing, watching videos and multitasking. Even during intense gaming, I didn’t notice any frame drops or lags, especially while playing PUBG with settings set to medium. I tried a couple of games on the phones and well it handled everything quite nicely. So, performance-wise, there aren’t any compromises for the price you pay, I would say. However, if you’re a gamer and if you have the extra budget, you may look for alternatives but at this price, this is one of the choices out there for gamers as well. And for normal users, the performance is beyond the limit they can push.
In terms of software, the vivo U20 runs the Funtouch OS 9.2 based on Android 9 Pie. I saw that the phone is having the security patch for November and small updates are always rolling out, which is a good thing in terms of bug fixes as well as for keeping the phone safe. As of now, there are no words from vivo regarding the Android 10 upgrade.
FunTouch OS 9.2 is quite improved. There are navigation gestures by vivo which I am a fan of works great but ultimately I feel comfortable more with the navigation button. There are many features packed into the software like Smart Wake, Smart Turn On/Off for the display, One-handed Mode, App clone and a lot of other features.
There is the Game Cube, which is quite handy while gaming. There is Flashlight Notifications Option that blinks for incoming calls, messages and event alerts. In terms of bloatware, there are quite a lot of preinstalled apps – Facebook, WhatsApp, Gaana, Amazon, Dailyhunt, Opera, Paytm and WhatsApp and of course, users can uninstall these apps anytime, so that’s not an issue you may be bothered about.
The vivo U20 packs a huge 5000mAh battery and the phone can easily last for two days under moderate usage. I could easily get through one and a half days after I fully charged the phone. The phone supports 18W fast charging and as per my observation, the phone takes just around 50 minutes to get charged from 0-50% and for one full charge, it takes around two hours. There is also support for reverse charging so that you can charge another phone by connecting it to the vivo U20. In terms of battery life and with that reverse charging, the phone reminds me of the Zenfone Max series from ASUS. After the Zenfone Max series, this is the first time, I have seen any phone performing this well in terms of battery. I’ve been able to get 6-7 hours of Screen-on-time with around 2-3 days of standby which includes lots of battery-intensive gaming & video streaming.
The vivo U20 is a really promising phone and it’s worth spending the amount on it. The overall performance is good, the camera is promising & battery life is killer on the device. U series devices by vivo compete against budget devices of Redmi & Realme and for the overall experience & quality, I would recommend buying U20 over those.