Vivo X21 Unboxing & First Impression

For the last 3 years, OPPO’s R series devices dominated the premium mid-range market in Singapore. But there is a new competitor in town and it is one that OPPO should be afraid of. This new competitor is no other than Vivo and their X series.

For those that are unaware, Vivo is OPPO’s main competitor/rival back in their homeland. Both companies sell similarly specced and priced products, spend a ton of money on advertisement and open a lot of physical stores in China.

Vivo is finally bringing their premium mid-range X series to Singapore with the X21 priced at S$799, available at M1 and StarHub. In this article, we will be taking a quick look at the Vivo X21. (Full review coming soon. Stay tuned!)

Unboxing – All You Need is Included!

The box of the X21 looks exquisite. It also gets a lot of attention, but probably for the wrong reason. Vivo is the official smartphone sponsor for 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia and judging from the design of the box, they are very proud of that.


Inside the box, you will find everything you need: wall adapter and Micro USB cable, earphones, SIM removal tool, user manual and a case. A screen protector has even been applied, so you do not need to pay extra for any basic phone accessories.


The website doesn’t say anything about fast charging, but the wall adapter supports 9V 2A, so what gives? Does the Vivo X21 support fast charging? I will leave that for my full review.


First Impression – What OPPO’s R15 Should Have Been

With last year’s iPhones switching from metal to glass housing, many manufacturers are following suit; Vivo and OPPO are no exception. With a grayish glass back and a black metal frame, both really reflective, the X21 is one eye-catching device.


Despite both having a glass back and metal frame, the Vivo X21 feels a lot nicer in the hand compared to OPPO’s R15. Why? The X21’s rear glass is curved at the sides and the metal frame is curved sharply in the middle, making it feel thin.


Meanwhile, OPPO’s R15 feels light but thick, losing the appeal of its predecessors, the R11 and R11s. I may be a huge fan of OPPO, but if you were to ask me to choose between the X21 and the R15’s design, I would pick the X21 without hesitation.

Yes! The headphone jack is still here, located at the top.


Unlike most phones I have seen, the SIM tray of the X21 is located at the bottom, so you can swap SIM cards even with the included case on. Beside it is the Micro USB port, as well as a single speaker grill. Micro USB on a S$799 2018 device? Hmm…

Now, to the front. Like most phones coming out in 2018, the X21’s display has very little bezel, and a notch. To be honest, the notch isn’t as bothersome as many reviewers paint it out to be.


Next, the most exciting aspect of the device, but also the most disappointing one, is the in-display fingerprint scanner. The X21 is the first smartphone to have a fingerprint scanner under its display and that sounds very cool, until you use it.


Setting up my fingerprint on the X21 was a torturous process, with many failed attempts. Unlocking the device was also slow and prone to failures with the in-display fingerprint scanner. Clearly, the technology isn’t ready for prime time yet.

On the other hand, the face unlock on the Vivo X21 works fabulously, detecting my face quickly in various lighting conditions. It may not be as secure as fingerprint, but I have resorted to using it over the in-display fingerprint scanner due to its speed.

As for the cameras, I want to keep most of the surprises for my full review, but I can confidently say that the Vivo X21’s cameras produces incredible photos for a under S$800 device, both front and back. Here are sample shots I took with the cameras:

The Vivo X21 runs Funtouch OS 4.0, an updated version of what we saw on the V7+ earlier this year. The layout remain almost untouched, but its design has been refined and some of my concerns were addressed. A huge improvement.

Conclusion – A Very Promising Device

Over the next few days, I will being testing out different aspects of the Vivo X21 and will be covering all of them in my full review. I am loving what I have seen thus far and have very high hopes for the Vivo X21. Stay tuned for my full review!


Love the Vivo X21’s AR stickers!!!


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