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Vivo V20 SE Quick Review: Pros, Cons And The X-Factor
Vivo has introduced a more affordable variant of its recently launched V20 smartphone. Priced at Rs. 20,990, the Vivo V20 SE is a mid-range handset with a focus on design and camera performance. Similar to its elder sibling, the V20 SE also brings a sleek design and flaunts a big 6.44-inch AMOLED display; however, it runs Android 10, unlike the V20 that's among the first few smartphones to offer Android 11 out-of-the-box.
We got to spend some time with the new V20 SE to find out about its performance and features. Here's what we found out.
The X-Factor- Design And Camera
Similar to the V20 and previous V-series smartphones, the V20 SE also focuses on design and camera. The handset has a sleek (7.83 mm) and lightweight body (171 grams) which makes it fit comfortably in hands. The buttons placement is also practical making the overall design quite ergonomic. The smartphone comes in two color options- Gravity Black and Aquamarine Green. Both the variants have glossy back panels which easily attract smudges, fingerprints and scratches. Thankfully, Vivo offers a transparent TPU case in the box which will offer some degree of protection while using the device in day-to-day use. The Vivo V20 SE comes equipped with a Type-C charging port, mono bottom-firing speaker and a 3.5mm audio jack.
32MP Selfie Camera And 48MP Triple-Lens Rear Camera
The SE variant skips the massive 44MP selfie shooter and comes equipped with a 32MP front-facing camera. There's no ‘Eye-Autofocus' mode to maintain pin-sharp focus but you do get some nifty software additions such as Super night selfie, Aura screen light and a Professional portrait mode which offers various software-enabled features like Face Beauty, Pose Master, bokeh effects, and a range of artistic styles to help you step up your selfie game for social media platforms. As far as picture quality is concerned, selfies look crisp and maintain good detailing. The software-backed portrait mode delivers a pleasing bokeh.
For rear cameras, the V20 SE boasts a tripe-lens setup featuring a 48MP primary sensor with an f/1.8 aperture aided by an 8MP wide-angle sensor with a wide 120 degrees field-of-view. The wide-angle shots look highly distorted but you can correct the distortion by reducing the FOV to 108 degrees. The wide-angle lens can also be used as a macro lens to capture tiny objects with a close-range distance of as close as 2.5cm. The 2MP depth-sensor is offered to create bokeh with pictures and also to apply Face Beauty effects directly in videos while shooting. The V20 SE can also shoot 4k videos at 30fps. We will talk about camera performance in detail in our comprehensive review.
Dedicated microSD Card Slot
Similar to the Vivo V20, the V20 SE also comes equipped with a triple-slot SIM card tray. You can use two active SIM cards and a microSD card at the same time to expand the phone's 128GB internal memory to further 1GB to store additional multimedia files. This might seem like a small feature but comes extremely handy in the day-to-day routine, especially for consumers who still rely on offline storage rather than OTT apps to consume music and video content.
Slightly Improved Software Experience
While the V20 SE fails to offer Android 11 out-of-the-box, the phone still manages to deliver slightly improved software user-experience, thanks to the new Funtouch OS 11 skin. The new custom skin brings a native app drawer and ditches the annoying iOS-like control centre for a traditional quick settings panel to offer access to most-widely used shortcuts. The Funtouch OS 11 runs smoothly on the V20 SE and brings some nifty features such as Ultra Game mode, Eye protection mode, fluid Android 11 gestures, flashlight notifications, three-finger screenshot amongst various other useful features that improve the user experience.
Dated 60Hz Refresh Rate Display
Similar to the Vivo V20, the V20 SE also flaunts a 6.44-inch FHD+ AMOLED screen. The display comes with a tall 20:9 aspect ratio (90.12% screen-to-body-ratio) and supports HDR10 which makes it a decent panel for video playback, reading and gameplay. The decent brightness levels and AMOLED class color reproduction allows for an immersive video playback experience. However, the panel lacks a higher refresh rate and lacks the fluidity of a 90/120H refresh rate screen. If you fancy a higher refresh rate panel, the Vivo V20 SE wouldn't cut the deal. Moving on, the OLED panel houses an in-screen fingerprint scanner which works without any issues and unlocks the device in a jiffy.
Slow Chipset Hampers User-Experience
The V20 SE is powered by the Qualcomm's 2019 Snapdragon 665 SoC which is mostly seen on entry-level smartphones such as Realme 5/5S, Vivo U10, Xiaomi Mi A3, Redmi Note 8, etc. The CPU is aided by ample 8GB RAM for multitasking. The 6th gen. Qualcomm chipset employs 4 Kryo 260 (A73) performance cores (2.0GHz) and 4 Kryo 260 (A53) power-efficient cores (1.9GHz). It's a decent SoC for day-to-day tasks but falls short of expectations when you try to push the handset to its limits.
For instance, the V20 SE failed to offer a smooth gaming performance (Adreno 610 GPU) with heavy games and felt underpowered while running apps that demand a powerful chipset. You must understand that the V20 SE isn't a game-centrc phone and shouldn't be your first choice if you are an avid gamer.
Mediocre Battery Life
The sleek design isn't the ideal form-factor for long-lasting battery performance. The V20 SE's slim chassis houses a modest 4,100 mAh battery cell which can barely last a full day with moderate to heavy usage despite a power-efficient chipset. If your multimedia consumption and voice/video calls number is high, you would need a charger or a power bank handy on a regular day. Thankfully, the V20 SE ships with a 33W fast-charger in the box, which recharges the phone's battery from flat to 100% in less than an hour.
Should You Buy The Vivo V20 SE?
The V20 SE seems like a decent mid-range device for consumers who prefer good looks and a feature-rich camera setup over a powerful gaming-focussed handset. The Special Edition V20 has some noteworthy features; a big AMOLED screen, dedicated microSD card slot and a feature-rich camera hardware. If these features top your priority list, the V20 SE wouldn't disappoint you. We will evaluate the phone's performance in detail in our comprehensive review in the coming week.