Vivo V20 SE: A mid-ranger with nice screen and camera

Mala Bhargava | Updated on: Nov 06, 2020

This business of Special Edition is about to go out of hand. Apple used the term for their specially small but still powerful iPhone, but now companies are beginning to use it for no particular reason other than in imitation of Apple. There is actually nothing special about the Vivo V20 Special Edition — and nor need there be. Every smartphone can’t be special and not everyone wants a special phone either. The V20 SE is a simple mid-range phone with a few things going for it, and a few things not.

For a bit of background, the V20 (not-SE) was a very pretty phone with a glass back and some interesting colours that was quite unique. The V20 SE doesn’t seem related to that phone, but it’s nevertheless nice looking, even though the back is plastic. It looks very glassy and glossy and is in fact super reflective, with an interesting shading and distortion to it that catches the light beautifully. It may be too reflective and shiny for some, but equally others will like the flash and dazzle. The surface does take on finger smudges, sadly, but it’s also easily wipe-able and not stubborn. The shade we have is called Gravity Black, apparently. The other colour is Aquamarine Green.

The phone is about 6.44 inches. It can feel slippery, so you may as well use the transparent case provided in the box. Everything is much where you’d expect it to be on this device and that includes the 3.5mm headphone jack. There’s also a dedicated microSD card slot apart from the two SIM slots. In the box, you’ll also get a pair of earphones, which, in these times, is quite generous.

Like so many phones these days, the V20 SE has a mix of desirable and underwhelming features.

The device has a nice AMOLED display but at this price don’t expect any special refresh rate. This is entirely okay for those who haven’t been using that feature already. It’s really more that reviewers have become accustomed to a 120Hz refresh rate. The display has a tiny tear-drop notch and it’s been designed to be easily ignored, so I don’t see it as a big downer. There is a slight bit of a thickening of the bottom edge of the screen though and this gives the front a little dated look. But again, let’s remember that there are a whole lot of people who don’t care that someone else thinks it looks dated as it may be a huge upgrade from what is already being used. On the more contemporary side, there’s an in-display fingerprint sensor on this phone.

The hardware specs on this phone are also a mix. There’s 8GB of RAM, which can’t get better at this price range, and there’s 128GB of internal storage, which is fine. The processor is a Snapdragon 665, and that’s on the lower side of mid-range, if that bothers you at all. The phone works on Android 10 with Vivo’s Funtouch OS. It’s adequately smooth, but yes, nothing like some of the smartphones available even at the same price. There’s no outright jaggedness but it doesn’t feel quite snappy either. It is however, perfectly usable for basic tasks if it should appeal to you for other reasons. Vivo’s interface does all right for itself, except that you will find apps you never opted for pre-loaded. Some of these, you can offload as quickly as they set up. Flipkart, Spotify, Snapchat, for example, can be uninstalled, while some of the system apps obviously stay right where they are.

The main camera on the V20 SE is a 48MP and it takes pretty nice photographs, both indoors and out. In fact, for a mid-range phone, it’s quite nice as is the 32MP selfie camera which results in quite clear photos that don’t see overly done. There’s an accompanying ultra wide 8MP and a 2MP macro. These are nice for occasional use but best used in good light.

There’s a 4,100mAh battery, which is about okay.

Overall, the V20 SE is a little over-priced for what it offers thanks to the competition that comes with more advanced hardware. But if you particularly like how it looks or are otherwise loyal to the Vivo brand, it could well suit you.

Price : ₹20,990

Pros : Comfortable to hold, not bad looking if you like it flashy, separate memory card slot and 3.5mm jack, good screen, smooth for basic tasks, generous extras, adequate RAM, nice main camera

Cons : You have to deal with smudges, slightly dated front, plastic framing and back, needs more advanced processor, somewhat overpriced.

Published on November 06, 2020
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