vivo V20 review

GSMArena team, 30 October 2020.

Android 11 + Funtouch 11

The vivo V20 is one of the first devices to ship with Android 11 out of the box, and it also carries vivo's latest Funtouch OS 11. Unlike the previous iterations of the OS, Funtouch 11 looks and feels like stock Android. We have the standard app drawer at hand, close-to stock recent apps menu, and a notification shade with the usual circular quick toggles. Speaking of, the brightness slider has been moved under the quick toggles for easier reach, unlike the PIxels where the slider is above them.

Dirac Audio Tuner - vivo V20 review

The rather stock-ish nature of FunTouch 11 can be further recognized by the small amount of pre-installed apps. If we don't count the essential ones like the gallery, the FM radio and the Voice recording apps, the rest are negligible. There are compass and level meter apps along with the so-called iManager. It's basically an app that clears the memory cache, analyzes your data usage, does virus scans and helps you keep your storage tidy. All of the features are built into the OS, though, so nothing out of the ordinary.

You have the usual set of navigation gestures with additional quick access to Google's Assistant by swiping diagonally from the lower-left and lower-right corners of the screen.

Since the phone's software is based on Android 11, it offers the Android 11-intrinsic features. For instance, the notifications are now grouped, so your friends' notifications won't get lost in the clutter. In case you've missed anything, there's detailed notification history.

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Home screen, recent apps, notification shade and notification history

Other notable Android 11 features include Bubbles (a Messenger-like char heads, which aren't widely supported yet), better permission handling (which was an issue with Funtouch in general), built-in screen recorder, and the power menu has been completely overhauled. Once you hold down the power button, along with the three usual buttons like Emergency calling, Power off, and Restart, there's also the Device controls button - quick and easy access to your home automation and smart devices. What we found a bit annoying, though, is that you should hold down the power button too long before the menu appears.

In case you want to learn about the tidbits regarding Android 11, read our Android 11 review.

Now that we've got the Android 11-specific features out of the way, let's take a look at what Funtouch 11 has to offer. Interestingly enough, we found that most options concern aspects of the UI appearance. You can change the font, mess with the themes, and choose between a handful of Always-on display styles. The Dynamic effects menu lets you change the system animations and effects.

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General settings and Always-on display options

The Ambient light effect, for example, lights up the edges of the display for notifications, calls and even lets you choose which apps to trigger the effect. It's not something we haven't seen before - Samsung, OnePlus, and Xiaomi do that, but vivo takes it one step further and lets you choose not only the style but also the duration of the ambient light effect. You can turn this into a substitute for notification LED.

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Dynamic light effects

The fingerprint reader is definitely one of the accurate ones, yet not the fastest. We suspect that the chipset is to blame because it takes almost a second for the screen to unlock after the fingerprint is recognized. We can't go as far as saying it ruins the whole unlocking experience, but we feel that there's some room for improvement.

vivo V20 review

Of course, there are some of you who plan to play games on the V20 and will be happy to hear that there are a handful of useful features that enhance the gaming experience. All the features are under the Ultra Game Mode. There's a sidebar with a list of optimized settings for the current game and another one for quick settings during gameplay.

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Ultra Game Mode

There are a handful of options to minimize the disturbance during gameplay like blocking notifications and heads-up notifications. Some games may support the so-called Esports Mode that gives a boost to the hardware and also applies an adaptive fresh rate where available. However, we remain skeptical of this feature and suspect that it's just simple interpolation to make up for the lack of frames. Say you are running a game at 45fps, the software will insert additional frames to fill the gap to 60fps. After all, only a few high-end phones actually support adaptive refresh rate and this AMOLED screen doesn't seem to have that option.

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Ultra Game Mode

Another good idea but rather poorly executed is the 4D Game Vibration feature. Haptic feedback is always neat during gaming, though, it feels nice only when the vibration motor is precise and strong a the same time. We can say that the V20's motor is only the latter. Precision lacks so don't expect much from the 4D Game Vibration option.

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Ultra Game Mode

Last, but not least, this mode gives you the freedom to turn off the phone's screen while the game is running in the background. This would save an immense amount of juice when playing some types of online or turn-based games.

All in all, we really liked the new Funtouch 11, and it signals a rapid change in how the company is looking at the OS. Going for the more vanilla aesthetics and user experience, vivo might win over more fans in its markets outside China. We were even surprised by the small amount of pre-installed apps on the device. And performance-wise, Funtouch 11 feels smooth and responsive, so no complaints there too.

Performance

The vivo V20 is based on the Snapdragon 720G platform, which in turn is based on the 8nm manufacturing process. It's not the most recent SoC, but it does hold pretty well in 2020 and gets the job done. It uses an octa-core CPU with two core clusters - 2x 2.3GHz Kryo 465 Gold cores and 6x 1.8GHz Kryo 465 Silver cores. An Adreno 618 GPU takes care of the graphically-intensive tasks.

And even though most of its competitors offer greater raw performance, as you can see from the charts below, the vivo V20 manages to outgun them in the memory department. The base memory configuration starts at 8GB/128GB and goes up to 8GB/256GB. That's twice as much as the rivals have to offer.

GeekBench 5 (multi-core)

Higher is better

  • Realme X3 SuperZoom
    2579
  • OnePlus Nord
    1953
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 Lite 5G
    1927
  • Realme 7 Pro
    1811
  • Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Lite
    1694
  • vivo V20
    1686
  • Samsung Galaxy A51
    1294

GeekBench 5 (single-core)

Higher is better

  • Realme X3 SuperZoom
    756
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 Lite 5G
    616
  • OnePlus Nord
    610
  • Realme 7 Pro
    576
  • vivo V20
    554
  • Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Lite
    521
  • Samsung Galaxy A51
    347

AnTuTu 8

Higher is better

  • Realme X3 SuperZoom
    477905
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 Lite 5G
    318117
  • OnePlus Nord
    312794
  • Realme 7 Pro
    278414
  • vivo V20
    276006
  • Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Lite
    253271
  • Samsung Galaxy A51
    175363

GFX Manhattan ES 3.1 (offscreen 1080p)

Higher is better

  • Realme X3 SuperZoom
    65
  • OnePlus Nord
    38
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 Lite 5G
    38
  • vivo V20
    31
  • Realme 7 Pro
    30
  • Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Lite
    30
  • Samsung Galaxy A51
    10

GFX Manhattan ES 3.1 (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Realme X3 SuperZoom
    56
  • OnePlus Nord
    34
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 Lite 5G
    32
  • vivo V20
    27
  • Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Lite
    26
  • Realme 7 Pro
    25
  • Samsung Galaxy A51
    8.9

GFX Car Chase ES 3.1 (offscreen 1080p)

Higher is better

  • Realme X3 SuperZoom
    41
  • OnePlus Nord
    21
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 Lite 5G
    21
  • vivo V20
    18
  • Realme 7 Pro
    18
  • Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Lite
    17
  • Samsung Galaxy A51
    6.6

GFX Car Chase ES 3.1 (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Realme X3 SuperZoom
    35
  • OnePlus Nord
    19
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 Lite 5G
    17
  • vivo V20
    15
  • Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Lite
    15
  • Realme 7 Pro
    14
  • Samsung Galaxy A51
    5.6

3DMark SSE Vulkan 1.0 (offscreen 1440p)

Higher is better

  • Realme X3 SuperZoom
    5364
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 Lite 5G
    3080
  • OnePlus Nord
    3067
  • vivo V20
    2451
  • Realme 7 Pro
    2358
  • Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Lite
    2248
  • Samsung Galaxy A51
    1554

The Snapdragon 720G is a competent, fully capable chipset, but it's no match against OnePlus Nord's Snapdragon 765G, let alone Realme X3 SuperZoom's Snapdragon 855+ chip.

Reader comments

Screen On Time = SoT

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