vivo V21 5G review: Upping the selfie game

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vivo has always delivered when it comes to its V series of devices, making waves when it comes to the design, specs, and features. The new vivo V21 5G is no exception.

We got our hands on the vivo V21 5G and here are our thoughts on it as a daily driver.

Design

Our review unit comes in the stunning Sunset Dazzle, and boy does it scream chic! The iridescent color is complemented by the phone’s slim body measuring 7.39mm. The rear has a frosted matte finish, which means you don’t have to worry much about fingerprint smudges. It does feel a bit slippery at times but there’s a clear jelly case that comes in the box to solve that.

The V21 5G’s camera bump looks a lot like its predecessor’s and those in vivo’s X-series smartphones. It doesn’t protrude as much even though the bump is on the bigger side and it doesn’t make the phone wobble when you set it on its back on a flat surface.

Using this phone with just one hand is no issue. Although the device is quite big (159.68 × 73.90 × 7.39mm with a 6.44-inch screen), reaching for the power button and volume rocker doesn’t take a lot of hand movements. However, if you have smaller hands like me, it can be strenuous to reach for the bottom of the screen when your thumb’s by the buttons.

Display

In front, the phone’s huge 6.44-inch AMOLED display is interrupted by a dewdrop notch. Scrolling through different apps is smooth when on the 90Hz refresh rate, and you can choose to take it down to 60Hz when you need to save up on battery.

Watching videos is fun on this phone, too, as it delivers a crisp and vibrant picture. The only downside is its speakers, which are a bit lackluster for my taste. The sound isn’t as loud as I want it to be and it’s not as full, but this can be easily fixed by using your earphones.

Camera

The phone’s rear array consists of a 64MP main camera, an 8MP ultrawide, and a 2MP macro shooters. It takes crisp shots, capturing the details of your subject. Images may turn out pasty, but shots look great with the cameras’ bokeh effect and 44MP front shooter.

I like my selfies more natural, and even though the V21 automatically has Beauty Mode turned on, you can easily toggle it off. The camera offers different lighting features to make your selfies look better such as Aura and Spotlight mode. Aura is great for when you need a less harsh light in less-than-desirable lighting situations, while Spotlight works well in dimly-lit scenarios, thanks to the phone’s two LED lights at the upper edge of the screen.

Photo from vivo

The V21 5G can record videos in 4K at 30fps, an impressive feat for a midranger. In addition, it has an Ultra Stable mode, shooting at 1080p at 60fps, that gets rid of any shake. You don’t even need a gimbal.

Performance

The V21 is powered by a 5G-ready MediaTek Dimensity 800U chipset paired with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. It can run graphics-intensive games like Sky: Children of the Light without any lag. 

Its battery can last all day, like when I would use it for light social media browsing, playing games, and spending hours binge-watching Binging with Babish on YouTube. Charging is done in a breeze—filling the phone from 20% to full charge takes just a little over an hour thanks to the 33W vivo FlashCharging tech.

Out of the box, the phone runs on FunTouch 11.1 based on Android 11. It has a user-friendly interface that’s easy to navigate, although there’s a lot of bloatware that comes pre-installed. They can take up a lot of the phone’s storage and make starting up the phone time-consuming.

Speed says

When I first saw the LED lights on top of the vivo V21 5G’s front camera, my first thought was that this phone will be great for making TikTok videos. True enough, the feature makes the device a great choice for creators who love shooting videos and photos. It’s an impressive midrange smartphone with almost flagship features and a solid choice for those looking to upgrade to a 5G-ready phone without breaking the bank. 

The vivo V21 5G is priced at P23,999 and can be pre-ordered prior to its release on June 5 in all vivo stores nationwide, as well as Lazada and Shopee.

Words and photos by Ayie Licsi

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