Vivo’s latest addition to its V20 series is the Vivo V20 Pro. It’s an upgraded Vivo V20 with a more powerful SoC and a second selfie camera for a slightly higher asking price. This makes it a direct competitor to the OnePlus Nord. It’s priced at Rs. 29,990 for the sole configuration which has 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage.
Just like the Vivo V20, the Vivo V20 Pro focuses on design and cameras. Vivo claims it’s the slimmest 5G smartphone in its segment, which should appeal to many buyers looking for a slim and light smartphone. However, is it any good? More importantly, should you pick this over the OnePlus Nord? We aim to answer these questions in this review.
Vivo V20 Pro 5G design
The Vivo V20 Pro looks more or less identical to the Vivo V20. It’s slightly shorter but just as wide, and relatively slim. The Sunset Melody colour that I have is 7.49mm thick, but if you pick the Midnight Pass trim, the phone is a tiny bit slimmer at 7.39mm. It’s also light at just 170g thanks to the plastic frame, which feels quite sturdy.
The power button on the right has a textured finish making it easy to identify by touch. The rounded edges of the frame make the V20 Pro comfortable to hold and use with one hand. The SIM tray is placed at the bottom, but unlike the Vivo V20, the V20 Pro does not have a hybrid tray or a dedicated slot for a microSD card, and only two Nano-SIMs are supported. Considering you only get 128GB of storage, power users might find this a bit limiting.
The patterns created on the Sunset Melody colorway when light hits the back panel look very funky. Vivo has used a matte-finish back made of Corning Gorilla Glass 5, so it doesn’t pick up fingerprints easily, and should offer good protection against scratches too. The camera module doesn’t protrude much, which is nice.
The display on the Vivo V20 Pro is once again very similar to that of the V20. It is a 6.44-inch full-HD+ AMOLED panel with Schott’s Xensation Up cover glass. Colours are rich, it gets very bright, and there’s HDR support too. There’s no high refresh rate, which is something the OnePlus Nord has the upper hand with. Then there’s the notch. Due to the second selfie camera, the V20 Pro has a wide notch which makes this phone look rather old-fashioned. A dual hole-punch cutout would have been a better choice.
Overall, the Vivo V20 Pro is a well-built and good-looking smartphone. It’s slimmer and lighter than the OnePlus Nord, making it a bit easier to manage one-handed.
Vivo V20 Pro 5G performance and software
The Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G in the Vivo V20 Pro gives this phone a much-needed performance upgrade over the Vivo V20. Not that the latter was a slouch, but above Rs. 25,000, it’s good to have a more competitive SoC. With 8GB of LPDDR4X RAM, the V20 Pro breezed through benchmarks. Real-world app performance and multi-tasking are also handled very well. The lack of a high refresh rate is a bit jarring, especially if you’re coming from a phone with a 90Hz display, but otherwise the experience is good. The Vivo V20 Pro also has dual-band Wi-Fi ac, Bluetooth 5.1 and GPS, but no NFC or FM radio.
Videos look great on the Vivo V20 Pro thanks to the vivid AMOLED panel. HDR videos on YouTube play smoothly, but some streaming apps such as Netflix failed to detect this display as HDR-capable. The volume level of the speaker could have been better, especially for listening to media outdoors, and the sound quality is quite average.
The Vivo V20 Pro is a good phone for gaming since it can handle even demanding titles fairly well without overheating. The usual heavy-hitters such as Call of Duty: Mobile ran very well and gameplay was smooth.
My Vivo V20 Pro unit shipped with Android 10 but I received the Android 11 update during the review period. This is one area where the V20 Pro is ahead of the OnePlus Nord, which is still on Android 10. Funtouch OS 11 on the V20 Pro is packed to the gills with shortcuts and customisation options. From changing the animations for a variety of tasks such as charging, face recognition, etc, to blocking calls and notifications when gaming, there’s a lot you can do.
The V20 Pro also has quite a bit of bloatware in the form of third party apps and games, but these can be uninstalled or removed from the homescreen if needed. Thankfully, ads and spammy notifications from Vivo’s first-party apps aren’t a big problem.
Vivo V20 Pro 5G cameras
The Vivo V20 Pro boasts of impressive camera specifications. For selfies, you get a 44-megapixel primary camera with a f/2.0 aperture and autofocus, and an additional ultra-wide-angle 8-megapixel camera. On the back of the phone, you get a 64-megapixel primary camera with an f/1.89 aperture, an 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera with autofocus that doubles up as a macro camera, and a 2-megapixel monochrome camera which is only used to enable the ‘Graded B/W’ filter in Photo mode.
Vivo boasts of having eye autofocus (Eye AF) for the main selfie camera in stills and video. When shooting, the camera app is quick to lock focus on your eye and it will follow your face pretty accurately if your frame changes. This doesn’t necessarily improve the details of the photo or video, but close-up shots of yourself are sharp and have the kind of depth in the background that you simply don’t get from fixed-focus selfie cameras.
Compared to the OnePlus Nord, the Vivo V20 Pro’s primary front camera captures a much warmer colour tone which doesn’t look too natural, but many people would find this appealing. HDR also works well, and backlit backgrounds are properly exposed. The ultra-wide camera is useful for groups, or to get more of a scene in the frame, but details are slightly poorer compared to shots taken with the main camera. Low-light selfies are very usable as long as there’s a decent amount of ambient light. You can even use Night mode for selfies, a feature that’s missing on the OnePlus Nord.
You can even shoot 4K 60fps videos with the front camera. Videos look very good on the phone’s display but when watched on a laptop, the colours tend to look off. The ultra-wide front camera can only shoot up to 1080p video, and the quality is noticeably poorer. In this respect, the OnePlus Nord’s front ultra-wide camera does a better job with videos; the quality is better and you can record up to 4K 30fps. Video quality isn’t great in low light but it’s usable, provided there’s enough artificial lighting.
As for the rear cameras, the Vivo V20 Pro captures sharp 16-megapixel pixel-binned photos in the daytime with its main 64-megapixel sensor. Colours look a bit boosted but you get plenty of detail in landscape shots. Close-ups pack in excellent detail too, with good sharpness and colours. The V20 Pro’s camera AI is pretty clever in recognising scenes and suggesting the best shooting mode. If you’re close enough to your subject, it will automatically switch to the 8-megapixel ultra-wide camera for a macro shot.
Portrait mode works very well, and you can add style and beauty filters along with adjusting the level of background blur. In low light, Night mode works well in preserving details and maintaining good exposure. This helps when using the ultra-wide camera in low light too. Just like with other recent Vivo phones, you can apply different night filters for a more dramatic look to your photo.
The camera app also offers plenty of other shooting modes. ‘Double exposure’ overlays shots from the front and rear cameras in real-time, so you can create some trippy-looking photos. ‘High resolution’ mode essentially shoots at the full 64-megapixel or 44-megapixel resolution, depending on which camera is selected. Finally, you can also have a picture-in-picture mode or dual-view mode when shooting videos. Speaking of videos, the quality is good in daylight and the stabilisation works well. However, there’s noticeable jitter in the footage in low light, due to the electronic stabilisation.
Other than this hiccup, the cameras of the Vivo V20 Pro are very capable and offer fairly reliable performance, on the whole. Compared to the OnePlus Nord, the V20 Pro offers slightly sharper selfies and more interesting shooting modes, however the Nord does have a slight edge when it comes to video performance.
Vivo V20 Pro 5G battery life
The Vivo V20 Pro features a 4,000mAh battery which lasted for a little more than 16 hours, in our HD video loop test, which is more than what the OnePlus Nord managed. You also get 33W fast charging, so the V20 Pro can be charged up to roughly 93 percent in an hour. With my typical usage, I was easily able to make this phone last for about a day and a half, or sometimes a bit more.
The Vivo V20 Pro is a solid offering, and one that competes fairly well with the OnePlus Nord (Review). Features such as 5G, 4K 60fps selfie video recording, the crisp AMOLED display, and quick charging help this phone put up a strong fight against OnePlus’ offering. However, the V20 Pro does fall a bit short on the value front. For it’s asking price of Rs. 29,990, you could instead get the top-end variant of the OnePlus Nord, which has 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. Throw in the 90Hz display and OnePlus’ reputation for updates, and you have a product that’s pretty hard to beat.
If you’re looking for a mid-range 5G smartphone that’s not a OnePlus Nord, the V20 Pro gets our recommendation.
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