The Vivo V21 5G shares a lot of design similarities with the two times more expensive Vivo X60 Pro. You'd find it difficult to tell them apart at first glance, but the hardware inside tells a much different story. For one, the V21 doesn't come with Leica-approved optics, and instead of a Qualcomm chip, the V21 uses the MediaTek Dimensity 800U. It also has a front 44MP selfie camera with optical image stabilisation (OIS), a feature normally found on a phone's rear cameras.
- 6.44-inch, 90Hz, AMOLED FHD+ display
- MediaTek Dimensity 800U processor
- 8GB RAM, 128GB onboard storage
- 4,000mAh battery
If you like taking selfies, you'll probably love this phone. While I really don't see much of a point of OIS on a front camera, it's useful in low light situations, I suppose. But since the V21 is designed with selfies in mind, it also sports two front LED flashlights. The phone also uses the screen to light you up as needed. As with most Chinese-designed phones, the front camera also has a bunch of software selfie enhancements. It can smooth your skin, narrow your chin, apply virtual makeup, and teach you how to pose. In short, it will make you look good.
In addition to the excellent front camera, the rear shooter is also pretty good. It uses a 64MP main, 8MP ultra-wide, and 2MP macro. There's also a ultra-wide angle mode, but it's not easily accessible for some reason only understood by Vivo. While there's a button to toggle between 1x and 2x, you need to press the Lenses button to toggle ultra-wide mode. This button also lets you select the Super Macro mode to focus close-up on objects.
The V21 runs Funtouch OS, which is powered by Android 11. It's snappy, and feels pretty smooth. The MediaTek Dimensity 800U processor runs games like Need For Speed No Limits and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang with no lag. The non-removable 4,000mAh battery lasted almost 18hr 45min in our video-loop battery test at 100% screen brightness. On Geekbench 5, the V21 did 586 in single-core and 1,770 for multi-core tests. That's solidly mid-range performance. The 6.44-inch AMOLED FHD+ display was bright and vibrant with a maximum of 500 nits. You'll enjoy watching videos with this phone.
Other features include a microSD slot, but that uses one of the two dual-SIM slots. I'm also not a fan of only having one single speaker outlet — you have to be careful not to block it while gaming. Retailing at S$599 without a contract, it's a bit more expensive compared to the much cheaper Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 5G, but it does have more features. You can get it at Lazada or Shopee. It may also come with grocery vouchers as rebates.
Note: Review unit provided by Vivo.
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