It has been barely two months since the launch of the Vivo U10, and now the company has expanded its online-only U-series with the new Vivo U20. The two devices have a lot in common, and this move shows that Vivo wants to keep up with Xiaomi, Realme, and other competitors. This phone is being pitched as a successor to the U10 but it is priced slightly higher. With its large screen, high-capacity battery and powerful processor, this new model could definitely disrupt the sub-Rs. 15,000 market yet again. We’ve been able to spend some time with this device prior to its official launch, and here are our first impressions.
This new Vivo U20 looks very similar to its sibling. The front is quite bare, with nothing noticeable other than a small waterdrop notch at the top of the screen for the 16-megapixel front camera. The screen is larger and higher resolution than that of the Vivo U10 (Review), at 6.53 inches and 1080×2340 pixels, compared to 6.35 inches and 720×1544 pixels. It isn’t too difficult to handle, but definitely needs some stretching to reach the upper corners.
The display has narrow borders in keeping with current styles. It is quite bright but we found the colours a little dull and washed-out in our brief time with this device. Our full review will show how good it is for general usage as well as watching videos and playing games. Our unit came with an adhesive scratch protector already installed. Interestingly, Vivo is highlighting this phone’s Widevine L1 DRM certification which enables HD video streaming.
Vivo seems to have moved away from gradients and patterns for this model. We have a relatively simple single-tone finish called Racing Black, which is actually a very deep grey-blue colour when seen under the light. The other option that has been launched is called Blaze Blue, which does appear brighter with a bit of a blue-purple gradient. The material is plastic, but despite being glossy it isn’t slippery. We didn’t much care for the gold trim around the camera module and the gold Vivo logo in the lower left corner, but some people will like the splash of personality.
The design of the camera module is slightly different compared to the one on the Vivo U10, but everything’s in the same place. The fingerprint sensor on the rear is also pretty much identical, and is within reach. The Vivo U20 has three rear cameras – one 16-megapixel primary camera, an 8-megapixel wide-angle camera, and a 2-megapixel macro camera.
The overall construction quality and finish of the Vivo U20 are quite good. It’s a bit hefty at 193g and it’s 8.89mm thick. Only the ring around the camera module feels a little rough. The power and volume buttons are all on the right and feel decent too. The tray on the upper left has two slots for Nano-SIMs and a separate microSD card slot.
We’re a little disappointed to see a Micro-USB port on the bottom rather than a Type-C port, and we think that Vivo’s target audience will also be expecting the company to move on now. There’s also a 3.5mm audio socket and a speaker on the bottom.
The U20 is built around Qualcomm Snapdragon 675 processor, and Vivo markets it as having an “AI Engine”. There’s a 5000mAh battery, which explains some of the bulk and weight. You have a choice between 4GB with 64GB of storage for Rs. 10,990, and 6GB of RAM with the same 64GB of storage for Rs. 11,990. Other specifications include dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5, and GPS. You get an 18W charger in the box, and Vivo says that this phone will charge quickly but hasn’t specified a standard.
With these specifications, Vivo is bringing a lot of power to a low price. Competitors in the sub-Rs. 15,000 segment right now include the Redmi Note 8 Pro (Review) and Realme 5s (First Impressions), which means that the new Vivo U20 promises great value.
Vivo’s Funtouch OS software is sure to be divisive. Fans of stock Android will hate the level of customisation here, especially the quick settings panel that needs to be pulled up from the bottom of the screen, like on older iPhones. Funtouch OS 9.2 runs on top of Android 9, so maybe the next major version will fix this. We were happy to see the November 2019 Android security patch already running on our demo unit.
This version of Funtouch OS includes a system-wide Dark Mode. The Jovi Smart Scene page, to the left of the first homescreen, shows widgets with information such as activity tracking, sports scores, and news. You can customise the UI with themes, but we aren’t fans of the Lockscreen Poster feature which shows random images and potentially ads on your lockscreen. Several apps were preloaded on our demo unit including Whatsapp, Facebook, WPS Office, Dailyhunt, Gaana, and Amazon Shopping.
If Vivo is hoping to take Xiaomi and Realme on, a lot will come down to camera quality, which we will evaluate very soon in our full review. We’ll also test battery life, display quality, general usability, and of course raw performance. Overall though, from our first impressions, it seems as though the Vivo U20 could be quite popular, especially with fans of the brand.