Technophile

Vivo V20Pro: Five cameras and a beautiful sunset melody

Mala Bhargava | Updated on December 09, 2020

The third in a series brings more photography smarts and a better processor but doesn’t quite outdo its competition

Vivo has just added another phone to a series it’s calling the V20. The new entrant, the V2Pro, now joins the V20 and the V20 SE in what may be the completion of the line-up since we’re bringing the year 2020 to a close.

The V20Pro is being touted as the slimmest 5G phone in its category, but that’s truly neither here nor there in a world where 4G isn’t quite reliable. While you can feel a certain degree of satisfaction at its being ‘future-proof’ it’s still just marketing for the time being.

A setting sun

That said, the V20Pro certainly is slim with a marvellously smooth glass back that looks amazing if you were to select the Sunset Melody colour option. The same colourway has been used on the V20 which was a flatter, and, I must say, nicer looking device. The Sunset Melody back has a gradient that changes colours as you move it around to reflect the light around, but no matter what angle you choose, it looks like a sunset on a beach. It looks like a premium device, despite shiny framing, and is maybe a little feminine, in which case you might want to explore the other colour option called Midnight Jazz.

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On the back, the cameras are arranged in an exceptionally neat square. I rather like the style. More than anything I like the smoothness of the glass on the back which shows up minimal smudges and is just really nice to the touch. The phone can be covered up with a translucent case, one of which has been provided in the box along with a lot of other extras that companies usually don’t bother any longer. There’s a pair of earphones, the 33W charger and cable, a case and a USB-to-3.5mm adaptor so you can use the older style headphones. The phone is very nicely balanced in the hand and generally has pretty good ergonomics. All the buttons are on one side, leaving the other free of anything at all and looking quite tidy.

Of the two buttons on the right, the power button has thoughtfully been textured so you can tell the difference between it and the volume rocker just above. That’s a nice touch. I suppose they could have put in a fingerprint sensor on the power button but instead it’s an in-display sensor and works quite well. The display itself is a 6.44-inch FullHD AMOLED with great colours, adequate brightness and crispness — but no special high refresh rate and an almighty ugly notch marring its beauty. The notch hides two front cameras, but it instantly takes you to another era in smartphones and looks very mid-range, which is a pity as it takes away from an otherwise premium look. But then one can argue that the iPhones all get away with the biggest notch there is, so why shouldn’t someone else have a shot?

But then Vivo isn’t particularly Apple and the V20 Pro doesn’t work on one of the most powerful chips but on a mid-range one, the Snapdragon 765G. It’s the same one used by the OnePlus Nord; so the phone is being compared with it, specially since it’s in the same price category. The Nord however, has different spec variants, while the V20 Pro has a single model with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage. The battery is a 4,000mAh with 33W charging. There’s no additional storage possible with a memory card here, so if you’re someone who stores a tonne of stuff, factor that in. The device probably should have had more storage because it’s being positioned as a camera phone that can shoot a whole lot of video for vloggers and so they should have had enough space to put those videos in.

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The V20Pro is still on Android 10, out of the box though it’s supposed to be upgrading to Android 11. The Vivo interface, FunTouch OS, is a bit tamer these days, which is welcome, but one unfortunate thing is the number of pre-loaded apps on this device. You have Amazon, Flipkart, Snapchat, Dailyhunt, PhonePe and many others that you could get from the Play Store if you wanted. Instead, you’ll need to uninstal those that let you do so. Vivo’s own (Why does everyone need a compass app?) will of course, refuse to uninstal. Altogether these eat up some 12 per cent of the storage onboard.

Cameras have come a long way on mid-range phones and that’s something you can easily see on several Vivo phones, including the V20Pro. There are three cameras on the rear — a 64 MP with an f/1.9 aperture, an 8MP ultra wide lens that doubles up as a macro camera, and a 2MP depth sensor. In good outdoor light, the main camera does very well with colour accuracy and dynamic range. Many notoriously difficult colours, such as blue-green and shades of pink come out quite true to life. There’s also adequate detail and one often sees things in the images that you might miss when looking at an object off camera. The rear camera doesn’t do badly indoors in artificial light either. It fills the picture with light and manages not to look artificial. The depth camera is good with bokeh, focusing on an object and blurring the background well. There is a portrait mode with an attempt at iPhone-like Portrait Lighting for the rear camera but I couldn’t test that with no one around to focus on.

At times though, light sources get blown out and lose a little of their colour warmth. Vivo’s camera app is full of features and modes and takes quite some exploring. There’s the usual ‘AI’ to detect scenes and objects, sometimes with very amusing results. The camera, for instance, decided a textured orange curtain I own was a document and wanted to get ready to scan it.

The front camera beautifies you somewhat no matter what. Otherwise, it does fine except for the problem of blowing out light sources here as well. There are a lot of tricks with the front cameras — there are two lenses, a 44MP wide and an 8MP ultra wide. These are supposed to keep you always in focus — and they do. This is meant for those fond of shooting self video. An interesting mode this phone has is the double exposure which shows an overlay of the user on the scene in front, mixing both front and back camera in what is sometimes an artistic combo.

The cameras are fun but I certainly don’t like the way companies, Vivo included, is using suffixes like Pro without adequate reason. There’s nothing particularly Pro about this device and calling it that doesn’t make it so. In the same way, there was nothing Special Edition about the V20 SE. I would suggest completely ignoring these additions to the name. It doesn’t beat the Nord on performance somehow, but probably has an edge with the camera and design.

Vivo V20Pro
  • Price: ₹29,990
  • Pros: Very nice looking, good set of cameras with a lot of modes and features, slim and light, fast charging, reasonable price
  • Cons: Disappointing notch on screen, should have bigger battery, no variants, no expandable storage, nothing very Pro

Published on December 05, 2020

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