VIVO X21 UD

VIVO X21 UD Review: Not a Regular Successor to X20

The VIVO X20-series handsets are the most outstanding devices ever launched by this brand. They come with an 18:9 screen, Snapdragon 660 chip, 24MP camera on the back and front, long battery life and many more. Thanks to these features the VIVO X20 could become one of the leaders in the domestic market and not only. However, on January 24, the manufacturer held a conference where revealed it took only 4 months after the X20’s release to reach 10 million sold units. This is a great result if taking into account the 3000 yuan ($475) price tag. Say, the OPPO R9, which is considered to be one of the most successful Chinese smartphones, achieved this number in 5 months. On March 19, the new-gen flagship named the VIVO X21 UD was announced. As the name suggests, this is the under-display variant of the regular model. Thus it’s the second phone in the world after the VIVO X20 Plus UD. There are three color options of black, white, and red. And they all are priced at 2898 yuan ($458). Many think the company has switched to the iPhone X-like bangs screen. And this is the only change it comes with. But we deeply believe in more enhancements made by the manufacturer. So let’s figure it out.

VIVO X21 UD

VIVO X21 UD Design

Want it or not, but the selling point of the VIVO X21 UD is the full-screen, which is emphasized on the box.

VIVO X21 UD

Not surprisingly, VIVO put the phrase of Russian World Cup sponsor on the packaging to show off it is among the main sponsors. Honestly, VIVO has been investing in the advertisement of sports events for a while. But The FIFA World Cup is the biggest of them.

The box includes the phone itself, a protective cover, headphones, a charger, a USB cable, and a user manual.

VIVO X21 UD

There are too many full-screen smartphones available on the market. But the VIVO X21 UD’s visual impact is something more.

The 6.28-inch large screen almost occupies all the space of the front panel. Although the iPhone X’s bangs screen was first, the iPhone X’s 4.56mm doesn’t look attractive when put next to the VIVO X21’s 1.66mm ultra-narrow frame. However, the X21 doesn’t use the 3D light sensor. That’s why the bangs part is way smaller. Therefore, it occupies over 90.3% of the fuselage.

Once the phone is unlocked, the wallpaper with a black top hides the bangs part.

VIVO X21 UD

In addition, it is worth mentioning that the VIVO X21 is on par with the iPhone by adding P3 wide color gamut support (P3 color management technology) that brings a richer level of color display.

The upper side of the screen carries the light sensor, handset, and a front camera.

VIVO X21 UD

As for the bottom side, the VIVO X21 UD uses way narrowed chin, which is 1/3 of the X20.

VIVO X21 UD

A 3.5mm audio jack is placed on the top.

VIVO X21 UD

On the bottom, it carries a SIM card slot, micro USB port, and a speaker.

VIVO X21 UD

VIVO X21 UD

The power button, as well as the volume rocker, are on the right side.

VIVO X21 UD

VIVO X21 UD

The VIVO X21 UD uses a glass material on the back. Finally, the company has switched to glass from metal, and this is the first time when it uses a four-sided 3D glass body that provides excellent visual and holding feelings.

VIVO X21 UD

A standard dual-camera is placed vertically in the upper left corner.

VIVO X21 UD

VIVO X21 UD Full-Screen Experience

We also understood the new type of a bangs screen provides a better visual experience. But it also brings tons of problems. The way how we interact with the phone changes completely. Say, the iPhone X cut down the home button and came in with new screen gestures to increase the efficiency of many apps. But it requires some time for users to learn those gestures. So how the VIVO X21 UD solves this problem?

Seems, VIVO didn’t look for innovative solutions and just visualized the traditional Android keys. Once the navigation bar is hidden, three lines appear on the bottom automatically. They correspond to the multi-tasking, return home, and original position. Everything is done by sliding from left to right and up to down (and vice versa).

VIVO X21 UD

Next, actually, the VIVO X21 UD comes with a 19:9 screen ratio that should be larger than the traditional 18:9 screen ratio, in theory. In practice, when comparing to the latter it shows 20% more area when playing the Honor of Kings.

VIVO X21 UD

Finally, the main advantage of the VIVO X21 UD is the under-display fingerprint recognition technology. As we know, it uses a photoelectric reflection technology specifically adapted to the RGB pixel of the OLED screen emit light through a 0.68mm thickness of a glass cover. But as this technology is the same used in the VIVO X20 Plus UD, we won’t repeat how it works.

VIVO X21 UD

VIVO X21 UD Performance

The VIVO X21 UD is packed with a Snapdragon 660, which is considered to be the best offer in the super mid-range market. This is the same chip found on the previous model as well as the OPPO R11. So we know much about its performance and architecture. However, it’s the direct successor of the Snapdragon 653. Its performance has been improved by 20-30%, while the photo performance has been upgraded to the Spectra ISP found on Snapdragon 800 series chips. The energy consumption has evolved using the 14nm process. It comes with a strong power saving capability. Well, seems everything is the same. But we have to sadden VIVO haters. This phone is using the special version of the chip named the Snapdragon 660AIE. As the name suggests, it comes with a multi-core artificial intelligence acceleration chip to catch up with the trend of very fashionable AI. Before we start testing the phone, you should know the SoC is paired with a 6GB of RAM and a 128GB of internal storage.

AnTuTu

The VIVO X21 UD scores over 140.000 points. So we can state its performance is very close to the previous-gen flagship chip’s performance.

VIVO X21 UD

GeekBench

In terms of multi-core running points, the Snapdragon 660 has increased greatly. In comparison to the Snapdragon 653, it’s improved by 23%.

VIVO X21 UD

GFXBench

The Snapdragon 660’s GPU has a nearly 30% running advantage over the Snapdragon 653.

VIVO X21 UD

PCMark

The Snapdragon 660 runs at the same level as the Samsung Note 8 and Samsung Galaxy S8.

VIVO X21 UD

Androbench

The continuous read speed is around 300MB/s.

VIVO X21 UD

Gaming

When playing the Honor of Kings in the high frame mode, the VIVO X21 showed quite stable performance at around 60fps.

VIVO X21 UD

VIVO X21 UD Camera

Like the VIVO X20, the VIVO X21 comes with a 24MP (supports full-pixel dual-core focusing) + 5MP dual-camera. But the 24MP main camera transforms to 2 pixels to synthesize a 1.28μm large pixel. That’s why it’s said the phone provides a 12MP output resolution.

Even when there is a heavy fog, the phone is capable of taking astonishing photos at a good quality.

VIVO X21 UD

VIVO X21 UD

VIVO X21 UD

VIVO X21 UD

The blurring effect works well. It can be clearly seen on macro shots.

VIVO X21 UD

VIVO X21 UD

VIVO X21 UD

VIVO X21 UD

VIVO X21 UD

VIVO X21 UD

It should be noted that many samples appear warm and overly bright. This is not the case when the VIVO X21’s white balance is inaccurate, but because the P3 wide color gamut causes the display to fail to accurately restore the picture color.

The phone is capable of capturing good photos even at extremely dark conditions. Thanks to the brightness addition, the phone shots photos with many details. But the disadvantage is that the screen noise slightly increased. The light source is also a little overexposed.

VIVO X21 UD

VIVO X21 UD

VIVO X21 UD

VIVO X21 UD

VIVO X21 UD

VIVO X21 UD

On the front, the VIVO X21 UD uses the same camera sensor as on the back. It supports 3-level beauty. Thanks to a large sensor the camera identifies the border between the portrait and the background. Therefore, all the beautification features are used properly right on the face of the object. Moreover, it works smartly and even the screen’s brightness doesn’t affect the process of using more natural filters.

VIVO X21 UD

VIVO X21 UD

It is worth mentioning that the VIVO X21 camera comes with an AR cute shooting mode. Like some beauty apps, it adds a variety of small accessories that can automatically recognize faces, allowing girls to be sultrier when taking selfies.

VIVO X21 UD VIVO X21 UD

VIVO X21 UD Battery

This smartphone is packed with a 3200mAh battery. It’s an acceptable capacity. But if taking into account we are dealing with a 6-inch screen smartphone, would be sufficient for a daily use?

PCMark life test

This benchmark shows the phone will last 8 hours and 19 minutes on a single charge. Say, the Huawei Mate 10 Pro provides up to 9 hours and 30 minutes of a lifetime. But it is packed with a 4000mAh battery. So we should state the VIVO X21 UD’s power consumption is way better.

Online video and game testing

When we started the online video playing test, the power was 87%. The brightness was set at 53%, while the volume was at 20%. After 30 minutes it was dropped to 82%. Thus, in 30 minutes it consumes 5%. A quick calculation shows the phone can provide a video playback up to 10 hours.

As for playing games, a 30-minutes of playing the Honor of Kings high-frame mode, the power was dropped from 81% to 74%. So the phone can provide a continuous playing up to 7 hours.

In terms of charging, the phone comes with a 9V2A fast charging head. We started the test when the remaining power was 5%. It took 80 minutes to charge it fully. But what’s amazing, it charged up to 55% in 30 minutes. By the way, the phone doesn’t use a USB Type-C interface.

VIVO X21 UD

Wrap Up

Actually, the VIVO X21 UD is a head higher than its predecessor. First, it is packed with a special-shaped screen that comes with not only the bangs but also uses a 19:9 aspect ratio. Plus, the P3 technology provides way richer color reproduction. Second, it continues using the under-display fingerprint technology that makes it unique. Till the date, no other manufacturer adopted anything like that. Third, the manufacturer switched to a 3D glass body that makes it more stylish and better in terms of ergonomics. Fourth, though it is still using the same Snapdragon 660, this version comes with AI. So we can say, the VIVO X21 UD provides an outstanding performance and it is one of the best offers in the market at 3000 yuan.