Vivo is upping the game in the Indian smartphone market with series of new launches. After the V20, the company has now come up with another variant in the same series called the V20 SE. If the name of the new Vivo phone isn't a given, the V20 SE is targeted towards budget shoppers who cannot afford the premium V20.
Vivo V20 SE strikes as a premium phone when held and even looked at. The glossy back, sleek body, lightweight design makes for excellent first impressions. For a phone that's priced at Rs 20,999, the Vivo V20 SE is one of the better-looking phones out there.
Vivo V20 SE had to cut some corners to accommodate the affordable price tag. For instance, the plastic body is used instead of glass to keep the phone's affordable factor in check, but again, you won't tell the difference unless you actually hold the phone in your hand. Moreover, if you use a phone case on the phone, it really doesn't matter if the phone has a plastic or a glass back.
Taking cues from its higher-end sibling, Vivo V20 SE is sleek at 7.83mm and light at 171gms, making it easier to hold and carry without issues. But the phone is slippery without a case, so you ought to be careful with it. The volume and power buttons sit on the right side, while the USB Type-C port, speakers and 3.5mm jack are found at the bottom. Nothing in this phone will challenge your muscle memory.
On the back shiny panel is a triple camera setup inside a rectangular module on the top right corner, which protrudes a little but not as much as it does on the V20. Finally, the dual-tone gradient texture is subtle, just the way we like as it is not too bling for our taste.
Vivo V20 SE gets a 6.44-inch Super AMOLED display with Full HD+ resolution, which means it is not compact and it is bright and vibrant. The flat panel is a good thing to avoid accidental touches and that screen guard coming right off the corners after mild use. There's a notch that holds the front camera, which seems a bit old design compared to the new punch-hole trend.
The V20 SE display offers good viewing angles, the colours are accurate and it doesn't pose any problems while using under direct sunlight. But we sure miss the higher refresh rate as the V20 SE is limited to 60Hz. If you've used 90Hz on Android, using the V20 SE will surely feel like a downgrade in terms of experience. You won't know the difference if you've used 90Hz on a regular basis.
Vivo V20 SE has a 48MP main camera with f/1.8 aperture, 8MP ultra-wide lens that doubles as a macro camera and a 2MP depth sensor. It is definitely a huge step-down from the V20. On the front, there's a 32MP snapper, which as expected, produces some good selfies.
The primary sensor delivers shots with balanced colours, contrast and decent dynamic range. Outdoor lighting is ideal to get the best results as dim indoor lighting and dark scenes can slightly hamper the image quality. The wide-angle shots appear dramatic with surprisingly good colour accuracy. The edges don't seem too distorted.
The bokeh shots in portrait mode delivered good results with soft bokeh and accurate edge detection in most cases. But we found trouble with the focusing in case of shooting certain objects. The selfies came out good with the 32MP sensor, capturing good amount of light and getting the details right. Low-light selfies are a different case altogether, but that's natural without any software optimisation. The night mode in the camera does some retouching to brighten your image, but the results are not comparable to Pixel phones.
It's also worth noting that the AI Image Matting is a nice feature, that's not just a namesake. The plethora of editing options are entirely unique and fun to play around with.
Check out a few samples below:
Vivo V20 SE is not a performance-centric phone. It has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 chipset, paired with 8GB RAM, which should ideally be sufficient for most of your day-to-day operations. We did not have any issues with the phone's performance on a daily use-case. Even in case of gaming, the phone held its ground pretty well. Call of Duty with medium graphics setting won't disappoint you. There was no heating issue as well. But we wouldn't be joining the big leagues yet as you'll notice frames drop on this phone, giving enemies with better phone an edge.
Getting around the phone was pretty straightforward with FunTouchOS 11 based on Android 10. The phone is expected to get Android 11 soon. The overall software experience is satisfactory, once you put away all the bloatware in one folder. While doing so, make sure you turn off notifications or be prepared for some unnecessary pings.
The UI is snappy, but the chipset's lag can be felt while launching new apps. That minute delay is noticeable as compared to other phones, but that's something you'll have to settle for if you're looking to save some bucks.
From social networking, internet browsing, IM apps, calls - all while switching back and forth between 4G and Wi-Fi is something this phone is more than capable of handling. The fingerprint scanner under the display works efficiently. There's a microSD card supporting up to 1TB, which we doubt we'll be using but it's nice to gloat.
Vivo V20 SE features a 4,000mAh battery with 33W flash charge. In our daily operations (minus gaming or binge-streaming), the phone managed to get us through the day with some juice left before plugging the charger back in. On any day, you can expect a full day's worth of use as long as you keep your binge-watching sessions to until after midnight. But the 33W flash charge is a nice addition at this price range, which helped power up the phone quickly. You can fully power up the phone in less than an hour.
Overall, Vivo V20 SE for its asking price is a solid option to be considered. It has few key USPs such as compelling design - sleek and light, impressive cameras, fast charging with a lasting battery and a bright enough display. The performance is decent, but if you really want more on the performance front, OnePlus Nord for a few thousand extra bucks will make a sound choice.