Vivo U10 review: Another value for money phone from Vivo

Not a lot has changed for Vivo over the past few launches, and the company has maintained a consistent look across its recent models. The Vivo U10 is somewhat bulky and boxy, with a flat rear but rounded sides. This phone is definitely a handful at 8.92mm thick and 190.5g in weight, and some people might find it too unwieldy for everyday use. That’s despite having a 6.35-inch screen, which isn’t too huge by today’s standards.

Our review unit is the Electric Blue variant, which of course has a bold gradient on the back. There’s a light shade of blue radiating outwards from the fingerprint sensor and a darker one around the Vivo logo at the bottom, both of which fade into a deep navy blue around the border of the phone. The finish of the rear isn’t slippery at all, which does help with usability. This phone is also available in plain black for those who prefer to go low-key.

There’s a waterdrop notch at the top of the screen, and a pretty thick chin below it. Our test unit came with a pre-applied plastic screen protector. The rim around the sides of the phone has a shiny, colour-coordinated finish but is clearly plastic and not metal.

The camera module is surrounded by a gold metal rim, but thankfully doesn’t stick out very much. Thankfully, the fingerprint sensor doesn’t require too much of a stretch to reach. The power and volume buttons are on the right, while the SIM tray is on the left. There’s a Micro-USB port, a 3.5mm audio socket, and a speaker on the bottom.

Vivo seems to have used decent quality plastic, and we have no issues with the construction quality of this phone. It feels as though it should be able to withstand rough treatment, but there are no guarantees of toughness or reinforced materials to keep it safe in case it falls.

The company gives buyers a simple plastic case, a USB cable, an 18W charger, and a SIM eject pin in the box, in addition to the pre-applied screen protector. There’s no headset, but that shouldn’t be a problem for anyone.

We start with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 SoC, which is a very recently launched chip. We’ve so far seen it on a few phones in the sub-Rs. 15,000 segment such as the Xiaomi Mi A3 (Review) and Oppo A5 (2020). It’s also the same chip that powers the Realme 5 (Review), a competitor to this phone in the sub-Rs. 10,000 market. This means that performance should be pretty impressive.

The 6.35-inch screen has an HD+ resolution of 720×1544 pixels, which is expected. Vivo has used an IPS panel. There’s dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5, GPS, and all the usual sensors including a compass and gyroscope. The battery capacity is 5000mAh, and as mentioned earlier, 18W fast charging is a headlining feature. The tray on the left has slots for two Nano-SIMs as well as a microSD card.

As for software, we have Vivo’s Funtouch OS 9.1, a slightly updated version of the highly customised skin running on top of Android 9. As we’ve said many times before, Funtouch OS deviates extensively from the stock Android look and feel, and we find much of that unnecessary. This is sure to be a polarising factor for buyers and users. Nothing much is different on the new Vivo U10, other than a system-wide dark mode – teasers of a new desaturated aesthetic and cleaned-up UI elements do not seem to have made it to this version.

In short, there are a few major points to note. You have to swipe upwards from the bottom of the screen to pull up all the quick shortcuts and toggles, and even then the layout is confusing. Vivo promotes its own smart assistant, called Jovi Smart Scene, but it’s pretty much just a screen to the left of the first home screen with panels for the weather, calendar events, and news updates with some promoted content thrown in. Your lock screen will show random photos and advertising messages each time you wake the U10 from sleep unless you disable this.

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