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Vivo V21e 5G Review – Cutbacks on Obvious Gimmicks

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By Akhil Kapoor - 
20th Jul 2021
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Vivo V21e 5G
Review Summary

Vivo V21e 5G cutbacks on obvious gimmicks i.e. a 2MP macro snapper. Plus, it gets rid of a high refresh rate, Dimensity 800U 5G, OIS, and a few other really useful specifications. Talking about Vivo V21e 5G individually, the phone is well-built and has a promising specs sheet, however, it is literally priced too high. Dimensity 700 5G chipset is powerful but at Rs. 25,000/-, I expect a faster processor instead like Dimensity 800U 5G or even Snapdragon 765G or so on.

PROS
  • RAM extension feature
  • 8GB RAM + 128GB internal storage
  • Only 7.6mm thick stylish design
  • Superfast 5G technology

 

CONS
  • Standard 60Hz refresh rate
  • Dual-rear camera
  • No OIS support
  • No Gorilla Glass protection
  • No dust and water resistance
Key Specs
Battery Capacity
Battery Capacity
4000 mAh
Operating System
Operating System
Android v11
Screen Size
Screen Size
6.44 inches
Highlights:
  • Yes
  • 4000 mAh
  • Android v11
  • 6.44 inches
Vivo V21e 5G Review

Vivo introduced the V21e 5G on June 24 which is about two months after it introduced Vivo V21 5G. The phone is sort of a body double of V21 5G although it has been trimmed down which means the higher refresh rate is gone, the better processor is gone as well as OIS is also gone. But there are not just trade-offs but the Vivo V21e 5G has gained a faster charging speed at 44W, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and it is way lighter than its full-fledged version.

Also Read: iQOO 7 Full Review 

However, it is not just the specs sheet but if you are willing to buy it, you need to know how the phone performs when subjected to real-life tests and use cases. Thus, here’s a hands-on Vivo V21e 5G review that you must read.

Vivo V21e 5G Price in India, Variants, Availability

Vivo V21e 5G in India is available in two colourways i.e. Dark Pearl and Sunset Jazz. You have a single storage option i.e. 8GB/128GB at a price tag of Rs 24,990/- on Amazon India. You get up to Rs 13,700/- off using an exchange program on Amazon India as well. There are other offers on-board including No Cost EMI, Standard EMI, Extra 2500/- off on Exchange (time-sensitive), and others.

Vivo V21e 5G Specs at a glance

Before we talk in detail about the Vivo V21e 5G let’s see what the on-paper specs look like?

  • Display: 16.35cm (6.44-inch) AMOLED Display
  • Processor: Mediatek Dimensity 700
  • Storage: 8GB/128GB
  • Software: Funtouch OS 11.1 (based on Android 11) 
  • Rear cameras: 64MP+8MP
  • Front camera: 32MP
  • Battery: 4000mAh, 44W flash charging
  • Weight: 167g
  • Dimensions: 160.63 x 73.91 x 7.79 mm
Vivo V21e 5G Design and Build

Vivo V21e 5G is a trimmed-down version of V21 which literally means it has made a few cutbacks to gain the status of a budget phone. Talking about the design, it resembles much of V21 pretty much look-wise. The front is glass (of course) with an 84.4% screen-to-body ratio which means the screen real estate is huge. The bezels are small as per the pricing and the phone feels extremely light at just 165 grams. The phone is slim at just 7.67mm which means holding the phone won’t be an issue anyway.

Talking about the build quality, it is truly premium. Vivo has used a plastic back and a plastic frame for V21e 5G and it is matte shiny. This means it will be a fingerprint magnet if you don’t have a phone case on it so beware.

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The camera bump is huge and protrudes a lot above the backplate. It is the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra of Vivo when it comes to camera bump. This means the phone will wobble if you keep it on a flat surface face up. Hopefully, you will have a case on the phone or you will risk scratching the glass on top of the camera bump. One of the good things about V21e 5G is that it gets away from using gimmicky decorative macro and depth sensors and instead, it has a dual-camera setup which is far better than having a quad-camera setup.

Talking about the I/O ports and buttons, there’s a 3.5mm headphone jack and a secondary mic on top; a USB-C port, a bottom-firing loudspeaker, a primary mic and a dual SIM card slot at the bottom; and finally, a power button and volume rocker on the right and that’s all about it.

Vivo V21e 5G Display

Vivo V21e 5G hosts a 6.44-inch AMOLED panel with 1080×2400 pixels resolution with a 20:9 aspect ratio. There’s 430 it’s of typical and 600 nits of HBM as per advertised. However, it is specs on-paper which means you should be reading the hands-on review below to actually know about the smartphone better.

The distinction between the display mounted on V21 5G and V21e 5G is basically small i.e. there’s no HDR10+, 90Hz support on the latter but the rest of everything remains almost the same.

Do Check Out: AMOLED Vs OLED: Which is Better and Why?

Although the brightness isn’t that much, I was able to view the screen in daylight when you aren’t using the phone in direct sunlight. The phone has an HBM of 600 nits that should be able to get around most harsh lighting conditions.

The colours on the display are punchy and refined since you are using an AMOLED panel and it is any day better than an LCD solution. Just like its elder sibling V21 5G, the V21e 5G does have Widevine L1 certification which means you can view FHD+ content on OTT platforms with ease.

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The device has a standard 60Hz refresh rate which is down from 90Hz found on the V21 5G. Perhaps this is standard although I would have expected it to be bumped to 90Hz as well which is far better and fluid than the usual refresh rate.

Overall, the display is a wholesome experience with the right proportion of colour accuracy, colour reproduction, size of the display, and brightness among other factors.

Vivo V21e 5G Performance

Vivo V21e 5G is powered by MediaTek Dimensity 700 5G made on a 7nm node. The chipset is clocked at a max 2.2GHz and has a Mali-G52 MC2 GPU. To put things into context, this is the same processor that we have already seen with the budget Poco M3 Pro 5G and Realme Narzo 30 5G.

Vivo V21e 5G packs in a MediaTek Dimensity 700 5G which is a powerful processor, to be honest. However, it is just underwhelming for a phone that is priced about twice as much as other smartphones with the same processor. This creates a lot of avenues for discussion as it is not just about a few bucks but almost double the price of a Poco M3 Pro 5G with the same Dimensity 700 5G SoC.

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Anyhow, the processor itself is competent enough to carry out all day-to-day tasks with ease. The processor offers support to all apps so opening and toggling between many apps are just simply for the chipset to handle. In fact, I have played multiple high-graphics games and the chipset won’t let you down. I am talking about a max Medium graphics and High frame rate but that’s more than enough if you don’t want to pay up for advanced chipsets be it Dimensity 800U.

iQOO Z3 is far more powerful than Vivo V21e 5G so you can consider this as an option if you will.

Vivo V21e 5G Software

Vivo V21e 5G runs on the Android 11-flavoured FunTouchOS 11.1 which is rich in customizations. It has improved manifold over the years making it one of the highly optimized and sought-after custom UI out there. But it is infused with bloatware and you will find many when you set up the phone. Of course, you can remove some but not all and that’s a problem since these unwanted apps are still munching on the available storage.

Compare: Samsung Galaxy F22 vs Samsung Galaxy M32 vs Samsung Galaxy A32

Talking about the UI performance, the interface is buttery-smooth. Apps open in a jiffy and toggling between them is much more fluid now. You can open a tonne of the app (a subject that the processor can handle) and toggle between them with ease thanks to existing RAM and VRAM availability.

Vivo V21e 5G Camera

Vivo V21e 5G has a dual rear camera setup and a single front camera. This includes a 64MP primary shooter at the back with f/1.8 aperture, PDAF, along with an 8MP ultrawide snapper that has an f/2.2 aperture and 120-degree field of view. At the front, you get a 32MP primary snapper with an f/2.0 aperture. For context, Vivo V21e 5G shares the camera specs with V21 5G although it removed a third 2MP macro sensor and curtails the selfie shooter from 44MP to 32MP. Here’s how it performs actually.

Let’s take the primary 64MP rear camera first. It is a Quad-Bayer unit and captures images at 16MP although you can still capture images at full 64MP resolution. Talking about the binned mode, the photos look good, to be honest. Vivo V21e 5G is also being marketed for its cameras and no doubt the 64MP sensor does a good job at it. The photos showed saturated colours, decent image quality at daylight, and portrait mode was among its USPs.

The sensor has an AI backing it that recognizes scenes and tweaks settings to grab beautiful shots. Note that the sensor isn’t perfect and I am not even trying to imply it because the shots had some deficiencies including overexposed highlights, not so wide dynamic range among others. You can even zoom at up to 10x although expect a lot of quality loss as you move forward from a sweet spot 2x to oily-looking 10x shots.

Apparently, the large sensor aids in low-light photography as well. It shows ample amounts of detail especially in dark areas and shadows in low-light conditions.

Unlike Vivo V21 5G, there’s no macro sensor here. The secondary sensor on-board V21e 5G is the 8MP ultrawide snapper which has a wide field of view at 120-degree. The sensor does capture beautiful shots with decent colours and contrast. I wouldn’t say this is perfect as well although the system corrects barrel distortion pretty well if not best.

Talking about the front camera, it is a 32MP sensor and I wouldn’t say it is any bad either. It is great for video calls and selfies especially when you can capture convincing portrait shots with bokeh effects. However, I was able to see skin smoothening in selfies even after turning off beautification mode which is annoying, to be honest.

Both front and rear camera assembly can shoot videos at 1080p@30fps only. You can go upwards of 120fps for slow motion but that’s all you can stretch it.

Vivo V21e 5G Battery

The battery capacity on Vivo V21e 5G is the same on the non-e variant. I am talking about a 4,000 mAh battery which is currently considered as decent in the Android sphere as you can easily get a larger (say 4,500 or 5,000 mAh) battery at this price tag. In any case, the phone’s battery does play out well as I spend a day on just a single charge.

Read More: Top 10 Tips To Keep Your Smartphone Battery Healthy

I have been using the phone as a daily driver for some time now and it turns out it is good in terms of battery backup. I recorded almost 17:30 hours on charge on an HD video loop which is phenomenal. Perhaps what gives V21e 5G an edge over V21 5G in terms of battery is the charging speed.

Apparently, Vivo V21e 5G arrives with a 44W fast charging speed capable of juicing up the battery from 0 to 72% in half an hour. Vivo V21 5G took 30 minutes to charge to 64% so there’s definitely some growth here. It takes around 20 minutes to charge to  100%.

Vivo V21e 5G Audio, Connectivity, Biometrics

I tested the loudspeaker too because it is imperative on a smartphone. V21e 5G sports a single bottom-firing loudspeaker and turns out it is loud enough for a good movie watching or music listening experience. The sound quality is good as well and I have no problems with it. However, at sub 25K INR, I expected a stereo speaker instead but Vivo did disappoint me a bit here.

Vivo V21e 5G has a number of connectivity features. This includes dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth v5.1 that supports both LE and A2DP, there’s GPS support which includes systems such as QZSS, BDS, Galileo, Glonass, and A-GPS. You get a USB-C 2.0 port with Vivo V21e 5G along with a 3.5mm headphone jack. There’s no NFC though.

Check Out: What is Carrier Aggregation? Why is it so important

The device sports two SIM card slots with 4G support. You can connect two 4G SIM cards just like I did with Jio 4G and Vi 4G. I didn’t have any connectivity issues though and the sound quality was on-point. You get 5G coverage as well, however, call it a marketing gimmick but even though V21e 5G supports 5G, it supports just a single band (n78). This means even if you have 5G at your possible which is not plausible for at least this year (and next year), you will have to connect to the same band to get access to 5G.

You get the usual Pattern and PIN unlocking mechanisms on Vivo V21e 5G. Apart from that, the Chinese smartphone maker has shipped an under-the-display fingerprint scanner on-board which is blazing fast. It unlocks the phone with a simple tap on the screen. You can use Face Unlock on board as well which lets you unlock the phone just by looking at the front camera for some milliseconds at the earliest. I never had to wait for long to unlock the phone via Face Unlock unless the lighting condition is bad. This is because V21e 5G uses a 2D software-based Face Unlock whereas UD FPS is hardware-based.

Vivo V21e 5G Pros & Cons

Pros 

  • RAM extension feature
  • 8GB RAM + 128GB internal storage
  • Only 7.6mm thick stylish design
  • Superfast 5G technology

Cons 

  • Standard 60Hz refresh rate
  • Dual-rear camera
  • No OIS support
  • No Gorilla Glass protection
  • No dust and water resistance
Verdict
Vivo V21e 5G cutbacks on obvious gimmicks i.e. a 2MP macro snapper. Plus, it gets rid of HRR, Dimensity 800U 5G, OIS, and a few other really useful specifications. Talking about Vivo V21e 5G individually, the phone is well-built and has a promising specs sheet, however, it is literally priced too high. Dimensity 700 5G chipset is powerful but at Rs 25,000/-, I expect a faster processor instead like Dimensity 800U 5G or even Snapdragon 765G or so on. The underwhelming processor at this price tag takes away many brownie points that V21e 5G accumulated for faster charging speed, no-frills design, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Poco M3 Pro 5G, iQOO Z3, Realme Narzo 30 5G, are a few alternatives that you can look out for at a comparatively lower price tag.


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