Vivo U20 first impressions: Bridges the gap between Redmi and Realme

Vivo U20 first impressions: Bridges the gap between Redmi and Realme

Subhrojit Mallick | 26 Nov 2019
HIGHLIGHTS

Vivo U20 launched in India starting Rs 10,990.

The phone comes with mid-range specs at a budget price.

First sale of the Vivo U20 will go live on November 28.

We’re reaching the fag end of the year and smartphone season is not over yet. While we saw action in the high-end segment with the Realme X2 Pro last week, Vivo also silently announced the Vivo U20(₹ 10990 at amazon) aimed to dethrone the Redmi Note 8 and the Realme 5s as the go-to budget option. Priced slightly higher than both devices, the Vivo U20 packs never-before-seen hardware for almost under Rs 10,000. Prepaid users, however, get another Rs 1,000 off. Sounds exciting?

What makes the Vivo U20 an attractive proposition in the budget segment is the processor the phone runs on. The  Snapdragon 675 is the one powering the Vivo U20. Earlier this year, it debuted on the Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 Pro, which, as we all know, went to become a popular choice in the mid-range segment. The chipset is primed for gaming, giving budget phone buyers the extra firepower to compete with users playing on more expensive phones. More than that, there’s 18W fast charging and a FHD+ display, both of which should aid the gaming experience.

From the get go, the Vivo U20 feels fast. Something you won’t expect budget smartphones to do. Snappy transitions, quick app launches, and fast game loading times. We’re not sure how the phone will hold up in long-term usage yet, considering memory fragmentation after prolonged usage. Nevertheless, you get up to 6GB RAM but the storage is capped at 64GB. There is an option to expand it without compromising on the second SIM. It’s still a lot more than what most budget phones offer, but if the goal is to compete with the Xiaomis and the Realmes, 128GB storage should be an option.

The Vivo U20 also brings a triple-camera setup at the back. It sports an undisclosed 16MP primary camera that’s being pitched as a good low-light shooter, an 8MP ultrawide lens with 120-degree field of view, and a macro sensor. The camera setup is clearly composed to take on the new Redmi Note 8 and the Realme 5s, but the lack of a 48MP sensor might hurt the perception of the Vivo U20 as a reliable camera phone. We say perception because we have seen instances where sensors with smaller resolutions beat the 48MP camera in some smartphones. We’ll have to see if the Vivo U20 is one of them in the final review. On the front, the Vivo U20 packs another 16MP camera for selfies which is aided by the usual beautification algorithms for ‘better’ selfies.

The battery on the Vivo U20 has a 5,000mAh capacity which should be enough to last you the day, even with a good amount of gaming and social media. But what’s more interesting is the capability of 18W fast charging out of the box. That’s something the Redmi Note 8 also offers.

The design of the Vivo U20 is far from original, however. It blatantly apes the design of the Realme 3 Pro, replete with the S-shaped shine on the gradient glass back. Granted the build quality is far better than Realme phones, but it doesn’t look original at all and will get lost in the crowd of phone rocking gradient colour designs. I’m also not a big fan of the golden ring around the camera. It also has a micro-USB port even when the popular budget phones have switched to USB-C ports.

First Impressions

The Vivo U20 comes out as a well-primed budget device that competes well with the Redmi Note 8 and the Realme 5s, at least on paper. We will find out the best out of the three eventually in our review, but for now, it seems the Vivo U20 is plugging in the gaps left by the Note 8 and the Realme 5s. A gaming SoC, fast charging, large battery, Full HD display, and more. What it’s missing is a high-resolution camera and the software experience is a lot better on rival phones, as of now.

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Subhrojit Mallick

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