Vivo X21 Review: First of Its Kind in India

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Searching for the Vivo X21 reviews? Well, you have landed on the right page. We have been using the Vivo X21 UD (as known in China where UD denote Under Display fingerprint sensor) for some time know as our daily driver. The biggest talking out of the phone is its in-display fingerprint sensor, which is certainly innovative and industry first. But is the X21 Under-Display Fingerprint Sensor good enough? Moreover, is it a good phone? That’s precisely what most of the users will be interested to find out. (हिंदी में पढ़े)

Let’s dig further in our Vivo X21 review.

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Vivo X21 Specification

Model Vivo X21
Display 2.2GHz 6.28-inch Super AMOLED; 19:9 aspect ratio
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 processor; dedicated AI core
Internal Storage 128GB with microSD Card support; expandable up to 256GB
Software Android 8.1 Oreo-based Funtouch OS 4.0; Android P beta
Primary Camera 12MP+5MP with dual pixel, f/1.8 aperture and f/2.4 respectively, LED flash, 4K@30fps
Secondary Camera 12MP dual pixel sensor with f/2.0 aperture and soft LED flash, 4K@30fps
Battery 3,200mAh with fast charging support
Dimensions and weight 154.5 x 74.8 x 7.4 mm; 156g
Others 4G LTE support, WiFi, Bluetooth, USB, and GPS, fingerprint sensor, and facial recognition
Price in India Rs 35,990/-
Sensors Accelerometer, light sensor, proximity sensor, digital compass, virtual gyroscope, under display fingerprint sensor
Connectivity Dual Sim Dual VoLTE, Dual-Band Wi-Fi (2X2MIMO), IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 5.0, Hybrid SIM slot

Vivo X21 Review: Design and Build

The Vivo X21 flaunts a monolithic design and is basically a refinement of Vivo V9 (review). The body is engineered using glass and metal.

One thing that’ll grab your intention immediately is the notch cut out on the front. Yes, whether you approve or not, the notch is here to stay. The phone is almost bezel-less with a screen to body ratio of 85.2 percent.

With dual rear optics setup placed on the top left edge, the rear panel looks clean.
As we started using the phone as our daily driver, we really liked the arched back and tapered edges of the phone that ensure it really fits well in the palm resulting in a firm grip. Despite having a large 6.28-inch display the phone really feels like a regular 5.5-inch display phone (from last year) which means single-handed usage is very much feasible. You’ll need to adjust your grip slightly, though.

  • The Vivo X21 feels outright premium in-hand with glass finish rear panel and almost bezel-less front.
  • It comes in Black and Ruby Red hues and looks elegant
  • With 154.5 x 74.8 x 7.4 mm dimensions and 156.2gram weight the phone is extremely well balanced and comfortable to hold.
  • The X21 screen is protected by a Corning Gorilla Glass 3 and further Vivo has slapped a good quality screen-protector on top to keep minor scratches under check.
  • Vivo also bundles a good quality transparent case, which is much appreciated.
  • The X21 rear panel doesn’t attract as many fingerprint smudges as other glass back phones.

Also Read: OnePlus 6 Review – Gratifying Experience

Vivo X21 Review: Display and Notch

The Vivo X21 display is certainly an eye candy and most users will find it treat to watch especially if they are upgrading from an affordable IPS LCD display phone. The 19:9 aspect ratio AMOLED panel is bright and appears to be well calibrated. It uses DCI -P33 color with 99 percent color gamut. Like all AMOLED screens, this one too manages deep blacks and excellent contrast ratio.

The notch on top of the display isn’t really a deal breaker as many haters (including me) would have anticipated. The X21 comes with a comparatively smaller notch which you hardly notice when consuming content. Having said that, like OnePlus, and Huawei – Vivo should also offer an option to hide notch for those who don’t like it. Probably, Vivo will introduce this feature with an upcoming OTA update. Another thing that Vivo needs to fix is the black bars on sides while watching different aspect ratio content on Youtube or other apps. There is no Zoom to fill option.

  • The 6.28-inch display is feels similar to the OnePlus 6. It also runs on full HD resolution and has the same 403 ppi pixel density.
  • Quality of display is top notch.
  • You can not hide the notch. The status bar shows only system icons and no app icons.
  • Color calibration and Contrast ratio leaves no room for complaint.
  • For those who love to tinker with color of their display there is no option here.
  • Vivo is also offering Samsung-like Always On display with different clock faces and customization options.
  • It’s shame that despite featuring a good display, the Vivo X21 can’t stream content in HD quality on Netflix, Amazon Prime, due to lack of DRM level 1 certification.
  • There is no Zoom to fill option to stretch YouTube videos to full screen.
  • Sunlight Legibility is not an area of concern here.

Also Read: Oppo F7 Review – Has it been rendered obsolete by Realme 1?

Vivo X21 Review: Under Display Fingerprint

The fingerprint sensor on Vivo X21 is one of its kind. The sensor itself is developed by Synaptics and is sandwiched between the pixels of the OLED screen.  Before we could really test it, we have to go through the setup process that took a few seconds longer than regular fingerprint sensor.

We have been regularly using for more than a week. The first generation in-display fingerprint sensor gave us a sense of using a futuristic tech, and the ‘amaze-factor’ prevented us from being irritated when it didn’t work, which wasn’t very often. To make it work every-time once has to apply slight pressure so that the sensor reads rigs of the fingers easily.  Having said that, it is a tad slower than the regular fingerprint sensor.

It is also worth mentioning here that the in-display fingerprint sensor also works with apps that require authentication such as banking apps password apps like LastPass and more.

  • The Vivo X21 is first in-display fingerprint sensor phone in India.
  • The in-display fingerprint sensor works well but is a tad slower than usual sensors.
  • The dedicated screen space lit up at full intensity to ensure that the optical sensor has enough light to read a fingerprint.
  • The animation effect add more cool to the unlocking process. You can also customize default animation effects.
  • It also works well with tempered glass and screen protector.
  • The Vivo X21 also support face Unlock which is extreemly fast thanks to dedicated IR sensor. Works well in low light too.

Also See: 16 OnePlus 6 Hidden Feature, Useful Tips and Tricks

Vivo X21 Review: Performance and Software

For performance, the Vivo X21 relay on the Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 660 chipset, which currently leads the 600+ pack. The mid-range chip is paired with Adriano 512 GPU and 6GB of RAM. I have been using the phone as my daily driver for some time now and until today I haven’t faced a single performance related issue.

The phone runs smoothly without any jitteriness or lag. I was able to load apps in a jiffy and switching between multiple apps didn’t take more than the blink of an eye. We put it through gaming test by trying out games like PUBG and Marvel’s Future Fight it manages to pull through without breaking a sweat.

Vivo also generously adds 128gigs of onboard storage and has added support for microSD card up to 256GB. Though the slot is hybrid and you will have to compromise on secondary sim for storage expansion.

Connectivity wise, the X21 is very well equipped as it is one of the early adopters of Dual SIM Dual VoLTE technology. It also supports, dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, WiFi Direct, hotspot, Bluetooth 5.0, A-GPS, FM radio and micro USB 2.0 (Type-A). That’s right, no USB Type – C and it’s sad to see a brand like Vivo still persisting with Type-A port in premium 2018 flagship.

Let’s discuss the software bit. Here one will find the Vivo X21 Android, 8.1 Oreo-based Funtouch OS 4.0. The ROM is stable and is feature rich but being an Android fan, I really detest iOS style menus and home screen. Like the Vivo V9, it too has the option to switch to all gesture interface which is again something I don’t see myself using as of today. However, it must be mentioned that gestures work smooth and it’s comparatively easy to access recent apps.

The Vivo X21 is also eligible for Android P Beta upgrade from the day one. You can expect it to be one of the firsts in the queue to be upgraded to Android P.

  • It offers reliable performance with Snapdragon 660 clocking upto 2.2GHz under its hood.
  • Ample RAM and ROM size further compliments the chipset and ensure consistent performance.
  • The X21 gaming performance is also very good.
  • The Funtouch Os 4.0 is generous on feature count but don’t expect a stock-ish feel.
  • The major UI issues are cosmetic and can be mostly fixed by a third party launcher app.
  • Features like face unlock, App clone and smart split, motion & click are also on offer.
  • The Vivo X21 supports Dual SIM Dual VoLTE and Bluetooth 5.0. The presence of MicroUSB 2.0 Type-A port instead of Type-C port is mildly upsetting.

Vivo X21 Benchmark Scores

Benchmark standards Score
Antutu 133825
Geekbench single core 1588
Geekbench Multi core 5613
PC Mark 6276
3D Mark Sling Shot Extreme OpenGL ES 3.1: 1341; Sling Shot Extreme Vulkan 1043

Also See: Nokia 7 Plus Review – Is it worth Rs 26,000?

Vivo X21 Review: Camera

The Vivo X21 camera setup includes dual rear sensors 12MP + 5MP with f/1.8 and f/2.4 aperture, respectively. On the flip side, there is a 12MP selfie camera with f/2.0 aperture. Both front and rear cameras are equipped with dual pixel technology which we have been seeing in Samsung flagships and Google Pixel 2. The overall UI of the camera apps is pretty much inspired by Apple’ iOS camera app.

We tested out Vivo X21 dual camera portrait mode by capturing different subjects in several conditions and in most conditions results were pleasant enough to publish on Instagram and Facebook. More often than not, it manages to detect edges of the subject and blur out the background. It also comes with the ability to adjust bokeh intensity after clicking the picture which is certainly handy.

I am really not much into selfies and prefer to stay behind the camera but I found the Vivo X21 selfie camera does pack a punch. Vivo is also offering a portrait mode for selfies. One thing common between both front and rear cameras of the X21 is that both cameras tend to over sharpen the images. Barring that, the X21 cameras perform really well for its price.

Shot with an upcoming Vivo X21 phone.

A post shared by Deepak Singh Rajawat (@dsrajawat) on

  • The outdoor images taken in decent lighting turned out well.
  • Portrait mode works well as it manages to detect edges and blur out the background.
  • The saturation levels and the cotrast ratio are good.
  • The Selfie camera comes with beautify mode and it’s performance is satisfactory.
  • The Vivo X21 can record 4K videos with both front and rear cameras.

Vivo X21 Camera Samples

Vivo X21 More Camera Samples (original size)

Vivo X21 Review: Battery and Audio

The Vivo X21 packs a decent 3200mAh battery and the battery backup is pretty amazing. After making numerous call, attending mail from multiple mail account, and bit out media consumption, music playback and socializing, I had about 15 percent left in the tank at the end of the day. The 2AMP 9Volt charge is also effective as it comes with dual engine quick charge technology which refills it in about an hour and fifteen minutes (approx.).

The Vivo X21 comes with a mono speaker which is not out an out loud. What is worth mentioning here is the music playback over the headphone. Vivo is using Hi-Fi AK4376A chipset which certainly enhances the audio experience when you are using headphones.

  • The battery backup is good, availability of quick charge certainly help.
  • Vivo also offers power saver mode which cut down background apps for extra useage time.
  • The Mono loudspeaker is average at best.
  • The Audio experince over the headphones is impressive that to dedicated Hi-Fi chip.
  • Deepfield Sound Effect is also at play here.
  • Thumbs up for offering a good quality Vivo XE710 earphones with the phone.

Also Read: Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus Review – Charming Indeed!

Vivo X21 Review: Should You Buy It?

The Vivo X21 bring something unusual to the table with its in-display fingerprint sensor. This adds a spark to the phone, something that’s always appreciated in products associated with technology.

If you try to look beyond that, the phone certainly manages to hold its ground pretty well. It comes with an excellent display, offers solid performance, and the camera is pretty much at par with the competitions. The support for dual SIM dual VoLTE and Android P beta out of the box certainly makes it a sweet package.

Having said all that, at Rs 35,990 it will face a tough challenge from OnePlus 6 which also has a similar price tag.


  • Reliable performance
  • Industry first in-display fingerprint
  • Good quality display
  • Dual SIM Dual VoLTE
  • Good Cameras


  • No Type-C port
  • UI needs improvements
Deepak RajawatDeepak Rajawat
Experienced technology journalist with over 7-years of experience. Before embracing online journalism, he has worked with several legacy publications including print editions at Hindustan Times and The Statesman. He also has a keen interest in Sports, which he used to cover with equal enthusiasm in his early career.

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4 years ago

I can’t play fortnite game in vivo x21 35k😥

5 years ago

wow vivo x21 is a slim, gorgeous looking, lightweight smartphone with good chipset performance, expected camera outputs and sustainable battery. “