The Best Vivo Phone for 2021

Vivo might be one of the largest smartphone brands you’ve never heard of. That may soon change, however, with the company’s ongoing push into new international markets beyond its native China.

In recent years fellow Chinese phone makers Huawei, Oppo, and Xiaomi have all entered Europe and other international markets, and now it’s Vivo’s turn. The company is already in possession of one of the largest smartphone market shares globally, so it’ll be interesting to see how this latest expansion affects its influence.

Indirectly affiliated with the likes of Oppo, Realme and OnePlus (under BBK Electronics), Vivo makes a range of capable Android smartphones, from the affordable to the ultra-premium.

At this early stage in its global expansion, most of the phones we’ve reviewed happen to be Chinese units, running region-specific software, however, that doesn’t detract from the excellent hardware Vivo has dropped inside these devices and paints a picture of what to expect from the international handsets now launching, like the X60 Pro, X51, and Y20s, which you’ll all find below.

There’s also the company’s iQOO sub-brand to consider, which offers remixed takes on its parent brand’s devices that strike an even more competitive price/performance balance, with a slight gaming focus. If you can spend a little more, the Nex line is the company’s true flagship space, though the last – the Nex 3 – is no longer on sale, so we’re waiting to see what’s next for Nex.

A quick note on software: Vivo has two operating systems in use at the moment. Origin OS is limited to the firm’s latest phones and is currently only available on Chinese models. Funtouch OS is found on older handsets, and global launches, though will eventually be replaced by Origin. The few phones with official European versions also run Funtouch, but a stripped back version that’s closer to a stock Android experience – and much better for it.

While some devices in this list have been reviewed running on Chinese firmware, we’ll be updating this chart as the various international versions become available; check back for an always up-to-date list on the best Vivo phones you can buy.

1. Vivo X60 Pro – Best in the West

The X60 Pro is the only member of the X60 series officially launching in the UK and Europe, but it’s good enough that we’re not complaining.

This is one of the thinnest, lightest flagship phones of the year, and features a flawless frosted glass finish.

The 6.56in 120Hz AMOLED display is gorgeous, and the Snapdragon 870 processor is more than enough for most, albeit not quite the best around.

The real strength, other than the design, is the Zeiss-branded triple camera: a gimbal-stabilised main lens, ultrawide, and 2x zoom portrait lens. They’re enough to make this one of the best camera phones around this year.

The only real downsides here are the lack of wireless charging and waterproofing – but if you won’t miss them then the X60 Pro is a great choice, and hands-down Vivo’s best in the West.

Read our full Vivo X60 Pro review

2. Vivo X51 – Best in the West

Vivo’s first true offering in Western markets was the Vivo X51 and it’s still a great choice for many – even if it’s essentially simply a re-branded take on the Asian X50 Pro.

Its main hook is a gimbal-stabilised main camera and a competent 5G-capable Snapdragon 765G chipset.

Competition in this premium mid-range space is particularly hot, and the price is the only drawback, making this device worth it only if you can find it at a discount – which shouldn’t be too hard now that it’s a year old.

Read our full Vivo X51 review

3. Vivo X60 Pro+ – Best Camera

The leather-coated X60 Pro+ is Vivo’s most powerful phone right now, though unfortunately it’s only available in China and India – so buyers elsewhere will have to import.

This is a photography flagship, boasting a camera spec that wouldn’t be out of place in an Ultra-class phone from other brands: a 50Mp main lens, 48Mp gimbal-stabilised ultrawide, 32Mp 2x zoom, and 8Mp 5x periscope.

You get all of that for a lot less than you might elsewhere, but only because Vivo has skipped luxuries like wireless charging, an IP rating, or stereo speakers – though internal specs are top notch, with the Snapdragon 888 at its heart.

Bear in mind that while the Chinese version of the phone runs Vivo’s new Origin OS, the Indian model instead runs the company’s older Funtouch OS software.

Read our full Vivo X60 Pro+ review

4. Vivo V20 – Best for Selfies

The more modest Vivo V20 still excels in areas like a beautiful, thin design that’s lightweight and feels nice in the hand.

Its rear cameras aren’t as accomplished as those found in the pricier X range but the 44Mp front-facing camera is an impressive inclusion all its own – meaning it’s ideal for the TikTok generation.

You may find alternatives with better specs but you’ll have a hard time finding a phone that looks this sharp and delivers to the V20’s specific audience as well as this phone does, without spending a lot more.

The V20 is available across Asia, though European and US buyers will have to import it. You may also want to consider the more recent Vivo V21, which we haven’t reviewed yet.

Read our full Vivo V20 review

5. Vivo Y20s – Best on a Budget

The Y20s is another phone that’s officially on sale in the UK, and it’s one of the cheapest phones in the market.

Specs are understandably basic, but stripped-back software helps performance stay mostly smooth, and the low-power specs yield a multi-day battery life – the best we’ve ever tested.

Other budget phones may offer stronger specs or a higher resolution display, but by nailing battery life and ease-of-use the Y20s makes a strong case for itself.

Read our full Vivo Y20s review

6. Vivo Iqoo 3 – Best for Gaming

The Iqoo 3 is a 5G gaming powerhouse.

In addition to its top-notch performance and outstanding battery life, it’s incredibly good value for money (provided you’re willing to import it if you’re not in China or India). Pick it up without 5G and the price goes down even further.

Gaming-specific feature highlights include pressure-sensitive triggers along its side and an Ultra Gaming mode that offers incredible customisation over the phone’s gaming experience; covering “4D” vibration, air trigger customisation and more.

Add to that the fact that it’s powered by Qualcomm’s flagship Snapdragon 865 processor and there’s little to dislike about the Iqoo 3, aside from its limited availability internationally.

Read our full Vivo Iqoo 3 5G review

7. Vivo X50 Pro+ – Best Design

More of a variation on a theme than a defined step up, at the time it launched the Vivo X50 Pro+ offered one of the best smartphone camera experiences around, with great versatility in a range of shooting conditions and a top-notch telephoto setup too.

Great specs and a killer design only add to the phone’s appeal, but Vivo’s Funtouch OS user experience is still hard to live with. It’s another model with no Western release too, so for many this is import-only.

It’s also been surpassed by the more recent X60 Pro+ – though since that’s only available with a leather finish, some may still prefer this older, glass-coated phone instead.

Read our full Vivo X50 Pro+ review

8. Vivo X50 Pro – An X51 for Less

The Vivo X50 Pro is essentially the Asian version of the Vivo X51. That means it’s easy to find cheaper than the X51, but you’ll have to deal with the hassle of importing it and there are software quirks to be aware of.

It sports a different build of the company’s FuntouchOS user experience for the Asian market, as well as support for a different set of 5G bands, but the underlying hardware is much the same.

That gimbal stabilisation is great for both low-light still photography and ups the ante when it comes to shooting video on a smartphone, not to mention there’s also a 5x periscopic zoom camera, a portrait snapper and an ultrawide to add even more versatility to the photographic setup this phone offers.

As with the X51, if these desired camera features aren’t at the top of your list, however, then your money may go further elsewhere.

Read our full Vivo X50 Pro review

9. Vivo Y70 – Affordable Mid-Ranger

The Vivo Y70 is another of the company’s few phones officially on sale in the West.

It’s much more affordable than the X51, coming in at the lower end of the mid-range market – though this is a competitive space to be in.

The Y70’s biggest selling point is probably the 6.44in AMOLED display – tech that’s still a rarity at this price, though the compromise is that it’s only 60Hz refresh rate.

Otherwise, you get solid performance from the Snapdragon 665 chipset, a decent 48Mp main camera, and 33W fast charging.

Read our full Vivo Y70 review

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