What's the next big thing for smartphones? An in-display fingerprint sensor, and Vivo X21 is one of the first devices to come out with it. Unlike traditional sensors mostly placed on the bottom bezel of a phone's front or pushed to the rear, the sensor here is embedded underneath the display and there is an illuminated fingerprint icon, making it easy to identify where the scanner is. Placing the finger on that spot instantly registers the fingerprint. However, setting up the scan or unlocking the phone for the first time took a little longer than expected. Initially, the sensor would fail to register the scan, but in less than a day, one would get the hang of how much pressure to apply.
Another USP of Vivo X21 is the dual-camera set-up at the back - a 12 MP primary lens and a 5 MP secondary shooter - easily capturing images in the bokeh mode. But there is no dedicated portrait mode setting and the same can be accessed by tapping on the portrait icon within the default photo mode. Next, the device suggests placing the subject within 2m for better portrait bokeh and I was able to adjust the depth effect in real time. There is also an option to switch focus and background depth after capturing bokeh images using the rear camera set-up. The 12 MP front camera does an excellent job of selfie shooting in portrait mode but does not support refocussing while editing. It also offers face unlocking.
Overall, it is a sleek, good-looking device with possibly the highest screen-to-body ratio, giving a bezel-less feel. The 6.28 inch full HD plus AMOLED display has a notch on the top. The SIM tray is on the bottom panel along with the speaker grill and the micro USB charging port.
The device runs FunTouch OS4, built on Android 8.1 Oreo. The notification bar can be accessed from the top, but one has to slide up from the bottom of the screen to access shortcuts. It is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 processor, comes with 6 GB of RAM and packs in a 3,200 mAh battery that managed to last a day with average usage. The phone comes with a fast charger that can top up 50 per cent of the battery in 30 minutes.
As for browsing, streaming videos or capturing images, the X21 turns out to be a decent performer. There is no sign of lag or loss of frame while playing games. It is priced at Rs 35,990, but then, OnePlus 6 has the same price tag and comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845.