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Watch: vivo V21 5G and V21e Review - 2021 selfie kings?

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Huawei
vivo has two new smartphones for the Philippine market that caters to selfie lovers who want more from their phones.
Watch: vivo V21 5G and V21e Review - 2021 selfie kings?
Similar packaging

vivo introduces the next iteration of its popular V-series line with the new V21 5G and V21e. The new phones feature several improvements including the usual spec bumps and new features.

Our favorite new feature is the Extended RAM where the phone automatically borrows 3GB from the internal storage and adds it to the built-in 8GB of RAM. This means users have the option to have up to 11GB of RAM as needed.

On paper, the two phones look nearly identical but as we ran our usual battery of tests, we found that there are notable differences in processor, memory, battery, and camera performance.

vivo V21 5G and V21e Review - Selfie kings!


Performance

AnTuTu results for both devices
AnTuTu results for both devices

Inside the vivo V21 5G is the 7nm MediaTek Dimensity 800U octa-core processor, Mali-G57 MC3 GPU, 8GB LPDDR4X RAM, 128GB UFS 2.1, and 4,000mAh battery with 33W FlashCharge. While the vivo V21e has the 8nm Snapdragon 720G octa-core processor, Adreno 618 GPU, 8GB LPDDR4X RAM, 128GB UFS 2.1, and 4,000mAh battery with 33W Flash Charge.

In AnTuTu and GeekBench, it is clear that the V21 5G's 7nm SoC was able to outperform the V21e by an average of 10 percent in performance.
CPDT Disc speed test
CPDT Disc speed test

On paper, both phones featured the LPDDR4X RAM and the UFS 2.1 but the scores from the CPDT disc speed test were vastly different in sequential read and write speeds.

In gaming, the vivo V21 5G has the edge because of the more powerful SoC that is paired with a 90Hz refresh rate display over the V21e's 60Hz display. Unsurprisingly, both phones are capable of running older games like Call of Duty without a hitch when tweaked in the settings while harder games like Genshin Impact have a mixed result. We recommend tweaking the graphics settings to low graphics settings for a smoother experience.

Moving on to connectivity, we have yet to have experienced issues with the WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, and 4G/5G signal with either phone. Connections with the WiFi and Bluetooth are quick to set up and are stable while in range. 5G quality and the signal will still depend on your area's availability.

Both phones feature the Face Unlock and In-Display fingerprint scanner. The initial setup of both security features is easy and straightforward. The Face Unlock is fast and accurate that sometimes we didn't notice that it scanned our face and unlocked the phone already. It struggles when the user is wearing a mask and face shield. The In-Display scanner is not as fast as the Face Unlock but it is faster than previous generation In-Display fingerprint scanners. Surprisingly, the fingerprint scanner works even if our finger is wet from alcohol.

You can even change its animation to your liking.
PCMark Battery test
PCMark Battery test

Both phones feature a 4,000mAh battery with a 33W Flash Charge. In the usual PCMark Battery test, the vivo V21 5G lasted for over 17 hours and 23 minutes while the vivo V21e lasted for 13 hours and 52 minutes. 

In our real-world use, where we would unplug the phone at 8PM and end our day at 8PM, the vivo V21 5G had 30 percent battery left while the vivo V21e had 25 percent battery left. This was after a day of constant LTE, WiFi, or 5G (when available) connection.

Under heavy load like playing Genshin Impact or when using 5G, the battery drains faster.

The included 33W FlashCharge wall charger charges the battery from 0 to 100 percent in an hour.  Surprisingly, the phone doesn't get hot when charging.

vivo also continues to improve its software offering with the new Android 11-based FunTouch OS 11. It features several visual tweaks and under the hood changes. Pre-installed are vivo versions of the usual Google apps with several other apps. All are removable. We advise taking the time to remove them one by one upon initial set-up.

Here are the pros and cons of the phone. 

Pros - Beautiful construction, good, fast performance, good cameras, long-lasting battery life, fast charging,
Cons - No IP rating but with gasket, bloatware

vivo V21e Specs

Display: 6.44-inch 2.5D curved AMOLED screen w/ HDR10, FHD+ 2400 x 1080 resolution at 409 ppi
CPU: 2.3GHz 8nm Snapdragon 720G octa-core processor
GPU: Adreno 618
RAM: 8GB LPDDR4X
ROM: 128GB UFS 2.1 expandable via microSD card up to 256GB
Back Camera: 64MP f/1.89 w/ PDAF + 8MP f/2.2 120-degree ultra-wide-angle + 2MP f/2.4 macro + LED flash
Selfie Camera: 44MP f/2.0 w/ Eye AF, EIS
Battery: 4,000mAh w/ 33W FlashCharge
OS: Android 11 w/ FuntouchOS 11.1
Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 ac (2.4GHz/5GHz), 4G LTE, Bluetooth 5.1, OTG, GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, dual SIM
Sensors: Accelerometer, light, orientation, proximity, gyroscope, sound, magnetic
Others: In-Display fingerprint sensor, Hi-Res Audio, dual mic, USB-C, Colors: Diamond Flare, Roman Black
Dimensions: 161.24 x 74.37 x 7.38 mm
Weight: 171g
Price: PHP 17,999 (PHP 16,999 new SRP)

vivo V21 5G Specs

Display: 6.44-inch 2.5D curved E3 AMOLED screen w/ 90Hz refresh rate, HDR10, FHD+ 2400 x 1080 resolution at 409 ppi
CPU: 2.4GHz 7nm MediaTek Dimensity 800U octa-core processor
GPU: Mali-G57 MC3
RAM: 8GB LPDDR4X
ROM: 128GB UFS 2.1 expandable via microSD card up to 256GB
Back Camera: 64MP f/1.89 w/ PDAF, OIS + 8MP f/2.2 120-degree ultra-wide-angle + 2MP f/2.4 macro + LED flash
Selfie Camera: 44MP f/2.0 w/ Eye AF, OIS, EIS
Battery: 4,000mAh w/ 33W FlashCharge
OS: Android 11 w/ FuntouchOS 11.1
Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 ac (2.4GHz/5GHz), 5G, 4G LTE, Bluetooth 5.1, OTG, GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, dual SIM
Sensors: Accelerometer, light, orientation, proximity, gyroscope, sound, magnetic
Others: In-Display fingerprint sensor, Hi-Res Audio, dual mic, USB-C, Colors: Sunset Dazzle, Dusk Blue
Dimensions: 159.68 x 73.9 x 7.29 mm (Dusk Blue), 159.68 x 73.9 x 7.39 mm (Sunset Dazzle)
Weight: 171 g (Dusk Blue), 177 g (Sunset Dazzle)
Price: PHP 23,999 (PHP 21,999 new SRP)

Verdict

vivo continues to offer beautifully designed phones with lightweight and slim bodies that pack a punch. Out of the two, we recommend getting the V21 5G because of the improved performance, 5G, longer battery, and 90Hz refresh rate display.

But that doesn't mean the V21e is a slouch, its performance is competitive in its price category but the V21 5G is for those who want a more future-proof phone.

We like the camera performance and these phones have some of the best selfie cameras around. The battery is surprisingly enduring even though it is just at 4,000mAh. The 33W charger is a lifesaver too being able to charge in an hour.

Our only gripe is that the phone doesn't have an IP certification and there is a lot of bloatware pre-installed. Both are minor.

Do you agree with us?


Vivo V21 5G

Build/Design - 4.25
Multimedia Experience - 4.25
Cameras - 4.25
Performance - 4
Average - 4.19/5

Vivo V21e

Build/Design - 4
Multimedia Experience - 4
Cameras - 4.25
Performance - 4
Average - 4.06/5
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