Vivo X21: Minimalistic design, dependable performer

By Krishna SinhaChaudhury

New Delhi, June 7 (IANS) Chinese smartphone maker Vivo has focussed primarily on selfie-centric smartphones and is among the few players who are credited with starting the selfie-centric smartphone craze in India.

The effort has borne fruit and Vivo has been refreshing its smartphone line-up from time to time in the country.

However, this time around, it has come out of its comfort zone to introduce an innovation in its new Vivo X21 smartphone.

We are talking about the in-display fingerprint scanner embedded in the display — a feature that brands as big as Apple and Samsung have not introduced in their flagship devices.

Priced at Rs 35,990, the smartphone comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 chipset paired with 6GB RAM and 128GB on-board storage that can be further expanded up to 256GB via a MicroSD card slot.

Here is what we think of the latest smartphone from Vivo.

The smartphone’s much-talked about USP — the in-display fingerprint sensor — which is similar to a camera sensor, sits comfortably around 0.68-mm below the AMOLED screen.

Unlike what we saw on the Honor 10, which uses Qualcomm’s ultrasonic fingerprint scanner for biometric authentication, the Vivo X21’s sensor is within the display and not under the cover glass.

The fingerprint scanner was accurate and fast and we could unlock the smartphone even with wet fingers.

Vivo X21 sports a glass sandwich design that does not look particularly striking.

However, it is a decent looking device with a design language that does not scream for attention.

The phone would appeal to those who are clearly not looking for a colour-shifting smartphone such as the Honor 10.

The frame of the device is made from metal while the rear is made of glass and fortunately is not a fingerprint magnet.

The smartphone has a 6.28-inch FHD+ display with Super AMOLED panel and 402 pixels per inch (PPI) display density.

The display was vivid with good amount of saturation with deep blacks and sunlight legibility and is protected by third generation Corning Gorilla Glass.

Vivo’s latest iteration comes with a “notch” — wherein the top of the display cuts into the screen to accommodate the earpiece, sensors and a 12MP front camera.

Photos shot with the device’s 12MP+5MP primary camera came out well and it was quick to focus while shooting in “auto mode”.

Selfies, however, seemed to be a little overexposed but that should not be a bummer.

Thanks to 6GB RAM and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 chipset, the smartphone was fast and did not show any stutter or lag.

The smartphone is fuelled by a 3,200mAh battery that lasted a day on normal usage including browsing videos and running several social media apps.

The bundled charger was pretty fast and charged the smartphone from 0 to 50 per cent in half an hour.

What does not work?

The smartphone runs Vivo’s custom Funtouch OS 4 based on Android 8.1 Oreo which could put off some buyers.

A Micro-USB port in a smartphone that boasts of being the harbinger of futuristic technology such as an in-display fingerprint scanner is disappointing.

Conclusion: Vivo X21 is a good overall performer with a sturdy design. We would recommend the smartphone to those looking for a minimalistic design and want to flaunt the new in-display fingerprint sensor.

(Krishna SinhaChaudhury can be contacted at

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