Vivo’s V series joins the 5G club in Singapore with the V21, already having hit the stores at SG$599. The Chinese brand offers the model in two colours, Sunset Dazzle and Dusk Blue, with an 8GB+128GB configuration.
With a neat look and ultra-slim body, the dual-SIM smartphone is a heavy contender in its segment, against alternatives like Oppo Reno5 5G and Galaxy A52 5G. The V21 5G is available across all of Vivo’s sales channels including Lazada and Shoppee at SG$599, currently offered with a discount of SG$60.
At present, there are no reports of the 8GB+256GB config that is on sale in other regions, being made available in Singapore.
Vivo 21 Singapore Price (@Red White Mobile)
Vivo 21 Singapore In a Nutshell
The Dimensity 800U processor by MediaTek serves as the engine of the V21, with an octa-core CPU and a modem that supports dual 5G standby. While the handset has 128GB of ROM and 8GB of RAM, Vivo boasts of an extended RAM technology that can add 3GB to the speed. The 5G capabilities extend to both SA and NSA (Standalone and Non-Standalone) networks. The phone runs on the Functouch OS 11.1 (based on Android 11), which is heavily customisable and brings along a handful of pre-installed apps.
The V21 has chosen a simple yet sophisticated design language by using flat surfaces on both sides, with a matte finish on the rear adding to the elegance. The lively outlook of the Sunset Dazzle and the sombre tone of the Dusk Blue is sure to appeal to the distinct preferences of the customers. The 6.44” AMOLED FHD display is bordered by a thin frame holding a waterdrop notch for the selfie camera. It also has a capacitive in-display fingerprint scanner. The phone is a shade slimmer than its counterparts at 7.3mm, except for the camera module placed in a protruding style.
The triple-camera assembly on the rear has a 64MP primary snapper supported by an 8MP wide-angle lens and a 2MP macro lens. Vivo has outdone its competitors not with the 64MP primary, but with the 44MP front camera that is capable of recording 4K video and has an image stabilization feature.
The energy cell is a 4000mAh battery that can be fast-charged from 0-100% within 65 minutes using a 33W adaptor. The smartphone is equipped with all the usual sensors; Accelerometer, Ambient Light Sensor, Proximity Sensor, E-Compass and Gyroscope. Found in the box is the handset, a 33W adaptor and cable, a headset with earphone jack adaptor, SIM eject tool, a phone case, protective film and documentation.
Vivo 21 Design & Display
Vivo takes an old-school approach to V21’s design; a waterdrop notch on the screen for the front camera on a thin bezel, curved sides and a flat rear with a matte finish and a projecting camera island. Although the manufacturer offers only two colours, the options fit well for two extreme styles – Sunset Dazzle for the vibrant and Dusk Blue for the sober. Made of plastic, the curved sides hold the volume and power buttons on the right, a Type-C port, loudspeaker and mic on the bottom and a secondary microphone on the top. A dual-slot is also fit into the bottom, and the second slot can also be used for expanding memory with MicroSD cards.
The triple-camera is arranged in a triangular stack, with the two supporting lenses in a row below the bigger primary lens. The phone does feel considerably slim, although the thickness is only 0.6mm lesser than its Oppo and Samsung counterparts. On the charts, the dimensions are marked at 159.68×73.90×7.29mm (HxWxT) and the weight at 176g.
The 2404×1080 display puts up a decent show in its price segment, with the 6.44” AMOLED FHD switching between the refresh rates of 60Hz and 90Hz with the Smart Switch mode. Although it proved to be far from ideal for gaming, the display impresses with its HDR10+ support that brings out an amazing colour contrast and high levels of brightness. Usage under sunlight is quite convenient, as the display outputs about 800 nits in bright conditions and 500 nits in typical conditions.
The OS provides three display modes – Standard, Professional and Bright. The Professional mode targets a wider range of colours, but it does not warrant the ‘professional’ tag as the colours aren’t entirely accurate. The Bright mode offers a crisper image than the Standard mode but does not increase the brightness as the name suggests. A Gorilla Glass is not mentioned on any of its marketing material, so it is safe to assume that Vivo has left out this key build aspect.
Vivo 21 Software & Performance
Vivo may have limited its specs to keep the pricing under SG$600, as the MediaTek Dimensity 800U is engineered to support higher speeds and better displays. That said, the chipset handles a heavy workload without causing the phone to heat up. The CPU uses two Arm Cortex-A76 cores that clock up to 2.4GHz and six Arm Cortex-A55 cores that reach 2GHz. The Arm Mali G57 MC3 graphics unit drives the display without strain, managing 4K content without any hassle. The modem supports dual 5G standby, which means you can access 5G networks through both SIM slots and is capable of reaching download speeds of up to 2.3Gbps. The 8GB RAM uses LPDDR4 technology while the UFS 2.2 technology comes in handy while transferring large files on the 128GB ROM. Technicalities aside, the smartphone performs well in almost all areas except gaming, where it has trouble notching up the refresh rate to 90Hz.
The UI of Funtouch OS 11.1, simplistic only in terms of design, is heavily customizable and comes with a multitude of built-in apps. The Always-On Display feature has a lot to offer with multiple skins available, and can also be triggered to run on a schedule. The Lockscreen Poster feature lets users change styles and dynamic wallpapers, and also has plenty of animations for notifications, reading fingerprints and charging.
Jovi, Vivo’s AI, is accessible by swiping left on the home screen and has three sections (Shortcuts, Suggestions and My Services), with the Suggestions tab using AI-based learning for better utilization. Jovi can also be replaced with Google feed if preferred.
Multi-Turbo settings are accessible through the System Settings and have an ART++ Turbo mode which enables the faster launch of apps. The Ultra Game mode (similar to MIUI’s Game Turbo) allows calls and other functions to be taken up in the background during gameplay. The gaming features don’t stop with this, as there is also a Game Centre and Game Space available which can be used, respectively, to download games without the Play Store and to launch them.
Vivo 21 Camera
The V21 pushes the processor to the limit with its camera to good effect. The 64MP main camera is a Quad-Bayer unit that clicks photos at 16MP by default. The daylight photos are brilliant, with unnoticeable detailing and no oversaturation. The colours and lines are similar between the default mode and the 64MP mode, with the lines seeming more prominent than required in certain cases. The other available modes are Eye Autofocus, Night and Ultra-Wide Night, Bokeh and Multi-Style Portrait, and Super Macro for still photography and 4K and Ultra-Stable modes for video recording. The OIS (Optical Image Stabilisation) is also a neat feature that prevents shakiness in the picture.
Portrait mode brings out results with good subject separation and you can also choose the type of bokeh (visual quality of the out-of-focus areas). The Macro lens just about manages, being a 2MP lens that requires some effort to focus well. Video recording is available with 30fps at 4K and 60fps at 1080p. The Ultra Stable mode adds a bit of EIS (Electronic Image Stabilization) on top of the OIS, which is about the only thing that exceeds the expectations of the camera setup. Low-light photos and recording are sharp but do not fare as well when it comes to ultrawide night modes.
The eye-catcher on this device is the selfie camera, a 44MP lens that does better than most primary cameras on other phones. To accentuate this further, the Dual View mode is capable of recording from both rear and front cameras at the same time, with side-by-side or picture-in-picture frame arrangements. The front camera also has a wide-angle mode and portrait mode which do not disappoint. Apart from these, there are also other filters and modes tailor-made for enhancing selfies. Like the rear camera, it is also capable of 4K video and has an Ultra-Stable mode as well. The 44MP camera falls short only when it comes to low-light photography, with the pictures often going out of focus even in low darkness levels.
The camera UI sticks to the one from the previous version of V21, and it would have been more interesting to have the newer one available on the X60. The only struggle with the interface is switching between the ultra-wide or macro and the main camera, with a separate lens icon to enter the secondary cameras and a tiny x to return to the primary. The Pro mode has a handful of adjustments: exposure compensation from -3 to +3, ISO between 100 and 3200, and shutter speed from 1/2000 to 32 seconds. The settings menu gives you the choice of enabling options like triggering the shutter with voice or a palm gesture.
Vivo 21 Battery
The FlashCharge technology by Vivo juices up the 4000mAh battery with a 33W adaptor. Although Vivo has developed phones with 55W charging, the V21’s segment does not call for it. Endurance testing had the smartphone going for about 123 hours; about 17.5 hours of video playback, 16.5 hours of browsing or 32 hours of talk time. A 5000mAh cell would have been a better choice, but the manufacturer would have had to sacrifice the Ultra Slim tag for it.
The charging speed may not be the best in the industry, but from a user’s perspective, it is more than sufficient. In half an hour, the battery reaches 64% and reaching full charge from 0% takes just over an hour. The battery lasts for a day without much difficulty, but the battery utilization can be tweaked further by choosing optimum display and game settings. For instance, the Smart Switch Rate mode which controls the display’s refresh rate is an unnecessary feature that does not work as well as the 90Hz auto mode but still consumes more power.
Who is this phone for?
The Chinese phone maker has kept dynamism in mind while creating this model, as it would suit users with a wide range of tastes. It has also chosen a good mix of components to go with the modern-classic look.
You should buy this phone if:
- You are very active on social media, especially with Vlogs, Tiktoks and self-recording (essentially to make use of the spectacular 44MP front camera)
- You are looking for a phone which blends with your workspaces – Sunset Dazzle for the creative or free-spirited, and Dusk Blue for business persons
- You require high internet speeds and want good features at an affordable price range
You should not buy this phone if:
- You are a gaming enthusiast; a 120Hz display is amiss
- You prefer your phones to bear rough handling; lack of a Gorilla Glass could prove inconvenient
- You are only looking for a 5G handset, as there are cheaper options available in the $300 range with lower specs
At $600, the V21 is worth the dollar spent – packing all the features and specs that you could ask for. The cameras grab the spotlight, in particular the front 44MP lens. The processor used is neither a low-range one nor is it pushed too hard, giving an optimum performance with little to no heating. The design is effortlessly agreeable and does not set off any red flags with the critics, although the build of the smartphone may require careful handling. The AMOLED display ticks off most of the requirements, except for a high refresh rate. Overall, the Vivo V21 5G is a dependable buy and should be good to go with tempered glass and a case.
Sources from: (GSM Arena review, n.d.) (NDTV Gadgets review, n.d.) (Vivo SG specs page for V21 5G, n.d.) (Funtouch OS official page, n.d.) (Lazada listing, n.d.) (Shopee listing, n.d.) (Mobyshop listing, n.d.) (Dimensity 800U official page, n.d.)