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Vivo V21 5G review: For influencers on a budget!


Upcoming YouTubers, Tiktokers, and any kind of new content creators stop here and give the Vivo V21 5G a look . The V21 has an interesting collection of features that will appeal to both casual users and those who regularly create content. But this choice should be a conscious one, since the shortcomings, especially on the main camera, can spoil the experience. Keep on reading our review to figure out if the Vivo V21 5G is the right one for you.


  • Excellent selfie camera
  • Funtouch OS is very light
  • Good battery life and charging
  • 90Hz AMOLED Screen


  • Main camera could be better
  • Bland design
  • The SoC lags behind
  • Some gaming features feel out of place

Vivo V21 5G in a nutshell

The Vivo V21 5G was released on May 6th on European and Asian markets for an MSRP of 349.00 euros (~$392.00). Unfortunately, the device is not available in the US market, which seems unlikely to change. You may still be able to import the device from abroad or find a store that imports the device, but I would generally advise against it.

Design stuck in the past

The design of the Vivo V21 5G is okay.
And I mean that with the fullest sense of the word “okay.” The main body is made out of plastic with a glossy finish, while the back has some interesting gradient changes in color when you look at it from an angle.

What I liked

  • Discrete camera bump.
  • Serrated button.
  • Lightweight.

What I disliked

  • Outdated design.
  • Fingerprint magnet.

NextPit Vivo V21 5G Side
The power button feels really nice to the touch! / © NextPit

In the front, we find the typical center drop notch we have come to see in this price range for the past two or three years. And this is what takes so much off from the design of the Vivo V21 5G. If not for the discreet camera bump on the back, you would be right to assume that this phone was released two years ago.

But, following an old design means that it’s tried and tested. And that is definitely true here. With dimensions of 6.29 x 2.91 x 0.29 inches, the device can effortlessly be grasped in your palm and won’t be easy to fall, even in the weirdest selfie poses! Another thing I really enjoyed is the textured power button that provides pleasant tactile feedback to the touch.

But in general, I avoided touching the back of the device, especially without the included case. The Vivo V21 5G is not “fun to touch” because the entire back is a fingerprint magnet.

Bright AMOLED display

The Vivo V21 5G display is one of the strongest features of the phone.
 And how could it not be? Being a phone centered around content creation, the display needs to reproduce details with accurate colors and in a high enough definition. The AMOLED display here does the job well. With a resolution of 1080 by 2400 spread out in 6.44 inches, the display reproduces content with great details.

What I liked

  • Bright AMOLED display.
  • 90Hz refresh rate.
  • Smart Switch for refresh rates.

What I disliked

  • Competition has better displays.

NextPit Vivo V21 5G Display
The drop notch is getting kind of old in 2021 / © NextPit

It is also quite bright. With 500 nits of brightness, you can be certain to clearly see the display under almost any lighting conditions, while the HDR10+ certification guarantees that the movies you watch will be pretty pleasant to the eyes. I mean, this is no surprise. AMOLED displays have, in theory, an infinite contrast ratio, so it is difficult for content to look bad on them. 

But the fun does not end here. The display is also capable of cranking up to a 90Hz refresh rate, with also the option for the software to choose whether the refresh rate should be at 90Hz or be lowered to 60 Hz automatically to save power.

NextPit Vivo V21 5G Camera
Please do not touch!  / © NextPit

Funtouch OS is definitely funny, but for a while

Vivo here again leaves
me tumbling in bed every night from indecisiveness. The Funtouch OS is an Android skin that either impresses me or leaves me completely irrelevant. Ok, perhaps sometimes it even offends me, especially when it comes to camera beautifying filters that remind more of a Snapchat filter than anything else.

What I liked

  • Very light on resources.
  • An extensive selection of Dynamic effects.
  • Some gaming-focused features may be interesting to some users.
  • Extended RAM can give an extra 4 GB of RAM.
  • Will get Android 12.

What I disliked

  • The integrated apps could be better.
  • Many of the features are centered around gaming, while the device is not.
  • The beauty filters are turned on by default.

This is a lot of customization options even for an Android device / © NextPit

I digress. In general, the UI is pretty fun to play around with. It feels pretty much like a stock version of Android, but for tiny details and choices that make it feel a bit different, like a large selection of varying charging sounds and animations! I can’t exactly understand the cosmetic appeal of such a feature, but I guess some users like it. 

Yet, some features feel entirely out of place. The Ultra Game Mode, for example, allows users to have several options automatically turned on and off during gaming, as well as other optimizations that are expected to make their gaming experience better.

For example, the user can disable the three-finger screenshot gesture for games, which I find quite useful. Still, at the same time, there is a finicky “enhancement” of sounds for earbuds that basically equalizes different frequencies depending on your age? Or the Game surround sound that is supposed to help you more accurately place sounds in your environment, depending on your audio device and whether you want a wider or shorter sound stage.

Now other than that, this feature is only supported by only one game. There is also the fact that this device is certainly not a gaming one, so I find most of these tricks to be useless.

Average performance

In terms of performance, the Vivo V21 5G
mimics its design. It feels like the MediaTek MT6853 Dimensity 800U is struggling to keep up with modern games. We have seen better performance for the price, but I feel like this is a very well-thought-out choice by Vivo. Yes, performance may be average at best, but the device has, as we will see in the future, excellent battery performance.

What I liked

  • It can play games.
  • Good power consumption.
  • Exceptional thermal performance.

What I disliked

  • It struggles with medium and high graphics.
  • Already feels outdated in 2021.

The MediaTek SoC manages to keep everything up and running even after a lot of hours of use, while you will never feel the device warm up. Even under heavy stress tests the SoC kept cool, and the device never felt anything but slightly warm to the touch. In our tests, the MT6853 managed a 570 single-core score and 1801 multicore score. But especially, the multicore score was prone to variation between our tests, falling to as low as 1657 at our fourth consecutive round. 

I found this odd since the device does not heat up during the tests, so thermal throttling seems improbable. These results were not enough to put a funny smile on me, but I cannot say that for the price, I am disappointed. The Vivo V21 5G will hold its ground for years to come for daily tasks, but don’t expect it to manage smooth fps at high settings. Regardless here are some numbers for you: 


Benchmark Vivo V21 5G Performance
GeekBench 5 Single-Core:  Multi-Core: 
First Pass 570 1801
Second Pass 601 1723
Third Pass 555 1730
Fourth Pass 551 1657
PCMark Work 3.0 7146 
3DMark Wild Life 1604

Camera: The Swiss knife of vlogging

And here comes the interesting part!
 Cameras. The main spec sheet of the Vivo features a 64 MP shooter with optical image stabilization, accompanied by a constellation of an 8 MP Ultra-Wide and a 2 MP macro lens. But unlike most mid-range devices with inflated MP counts, the Vivo V21 5G excels where you least expect it: The 48 MP selfie camera.

What I liked

  • Decent specs for the price.
  • Superb selfie camera with OIS.
  • Dual selfie flash LED lights.

What I disliked

  • Photos from the main camera are of dubious quality.
  • The camera app is cramped with not so useful features.
  • HDR struggles.

NextPit Vivo V21 5G Selfie
Dual selfie flash and weird filters? I think that’s the fun part in Funtouch! / © NextPit

I have to admit that I have never encountered such an odd balancing of main and selfie camera specs in a mid-range device. But the rule of thumb with cameras and especially with the Vivo V21 5G is to not let the numbers fool you.

Yes, in spec, the main camera shooter may be considered decent for the price, but in practice, the device suffers from plenty of issues when it comes to image processing. Sometimes artifacts will pop up, sometimes the details are off, and sometimes the pictures taken will be decent.

But where the main camera falls to borderline mediocrity, the selfie camera shines. At 48 MP, the pictures shot by the selfie camera are simply fantastic! The details are crispy while the colors are natural, and the contrast is good. The selfies you will get from the Vivo V25 5G will often surpass the images of even flagship devices. The only thing that is slightly problematic is the filters that I would either keep to a minimum disabled in their entirety. 

The selfies without the filter have excellent color. The available beauty filters, though, can cause giggles! / © NextPit

Aside from the great image quality of the selfies, the camera is also able to shoot videos at 4K, and it also has optical image stabilization, but these are mutually exclusive. Add the inclusion of two bright flash LED lights, and you have an exceptional phone for vlogging and TikTok.

Excellent battery autonomy

The most vital point of the Vivo V21 5G is undoubtedly the battery
. I used the device for several days to provide my entire house with Internet, using Wi-Fi tethering. This is admittedly a very battery-intensive task, but I also ran some battery tests like PCMark.

What I liked

  • Excellent autonomy on intensive tasks.
  • Charging speeds.

What I disliked

NextPit Vivo V21 5G Case
The battery keeps cool even with the included case / © NextPit

The Vivo V21 5G managed to pull out entire workdays without needing a recharge, while with normal use, I found myself only recharging it once every two days. This is to be expected, after all, from the combo of the 4,000 mAh battery and the very power-efficient SoC. 

With the included 33 Watt charger, we see extremely fast charging speeds, thanks to the proprietary charging technology from Vivo. In our test, the device was fully charged for approximately an hour, with a 65% charge over 30 minutes. So although it is not the best in terms of charging speed, I do find that this point becomes irrelevant when you just need one hour of charging for about two days of use.

Vivo V21 5G charging speeds

Charging time Battery percentage
15 minutes 35%
30 minutes 65%
45 minutes 80%
60 minutes 100%

Vivo V21 5G technical specifications

Vivo V21 5G technical specifications

Technical specifications in a glance
Device name Vivo V21 5G
Screen  1080 x 2400,  AMOLED, 90Hz, HDR10+
SoC MediaTek MT6853 Dimensity 800U 5G
Memory 8/128 GB, 8/256 GB UFS 2.2
Expandable memory Yes with MicroSD card
Main Camera 64 MP, f/1.8 with OIS
Ultra-Wide Camera 8 MP, f/2.2
Macro 2 MP f/2.4
Video  Main camera: 4K at 30fps, 1080p at 30/60fps | Selfie camera: 4K at 30fps, 1080p at 30fps
Selfie Camera 44 MP, f/2.0, OIS
Audio Single mono speaker
Battery 4,000 mAh Li-Po
Wired Charging Up to 33 Watts
Wireless Charging No
Price  Not available in the US

Final verdict

The Vivo V21 5G manages to hold up to modern-day challenges. Yes, it may not be the best device in any common aspect for the price, like battery performance, SoC, or photography from the primary camera. Still, it wins hearts with excellent selfies and a handy set of features. This makes it an ideal device for content creators who don’t exactly want to invest in a flagship.

On the other hand, if you do not belong in this particular category of media creators on a budget, then the V21 5G is a tough choice. Gaming performance is okay at best, while the benefits of the Funtouch OS only become relevant in stronger performers.

Vivo V21 5G – where to buy?

The Vivo V21 5G may not be available in the US, but this should not stop you from looking for the right device! Below I include a very comprehensive list of devices organized in price-ranges, so you can find the one for you!

Best 2021 Phone’s lists by price range:


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