While Xiaomi and Samsung have been engaged in fighting each other for the top spot in the India smartphone market, Vivo has been sitting comfortably amongst the top five OEMs for several quarters now. The reason for this is the company’s ability to excel in those aspects of a smartphone that attract Indian users the most.
In the already crowded Rs 8,000 – Rs 12,000 smartphone segment, Vivo has come up with the new U10. So, what sets it apart from the crowd? Well, for one, it offers specs that command a higher price tag. Also, it makes the most of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 chipset, which was launched specially for gaming and photography.
For the U10, Vivo has chosen the same old flashy gradient-design back panel. If you aren’t an avid Vivo follower, you’d hardly notice any difference between the stylings of the U10, Y12, and Z1 Pro. Of course, they all have different patterns when looked from different angles, but the basic design remains the same. The back panel is made of plastic but feels good, and the phone doesn’t look cheap in any sense of the word.
The handset has a 6.35-inch HD+ LCD display, which bright enough and usable under direct sunlight. Another feature that we'd like to highlight is its ease of use. The multiple navigation options facilitate one-hand operation. Moreover, unlike most Android smartphones, you don’t have to reach the top of the screen to reveal shortcuts – you just have to swipe up to access the Shortcuts menu.
The phone is equipped with the Snapdragon 665 processor, which was launched specially for gaming and camera. One of the USPs of the phone is its gaming performance. In fact, Vivo has included a special Game Mode in the device to boost the overall gaming experience. Once enabled, features like 4D vibrations and Do Not Disturb Mode come into play. We decided to test the phone with PUBG Mobile. Barring once or twice, we didn’t experience any stuttering while playing the game, and the phone’s temperature wasn’t alarming at any point during the entire gaming session.
What we’d like to discuss here is Game Mode. The game recommended lowest graphics by default, but we chose to the highest setting. Now, if you have Game Mode enabled on the device, you will see a lot of options, for example 4D, vibration, which can be modified according to a user's needs. The first thing that we noticed was Sound Localisation Training Center, which allows a player to train in determining the enemy’s position by listening to the sounds of footsteps and gunshots coming from different directions.
You can practice by tapping specific sound options available. What’s noteworthy here is that you need to have surround sound headphones to use this feature to its full effect. The other interesting thing that we liked was 4D vibration, which essentially sends vibrations through the phone when you kill an enemy. Other usable options include blocking notifications, which means that you can enjoy a game without any interruptions.
Other than gaming, a few features that stand out include Jovi AI-powered assistant, which is inspired by Google Assistant. You can summon it by pulling the drop-down menu and tapping the icon in the top right corner of the screen. Here you can follow your favourite events like cricket scores, latest movies in your city, fitness data, and favourite articles, pictures or texts.
Vivo U10 comes with Funtouch OS 9.1 atop Android 9 Pie, which offers multiple options and modes, like motorbike mode. Motorbike mode auto-rejects incoming calls, mutes notifications, and auto-replies to texts when you are riding a bike.
The phone has a 5000mAh battery that provides enough run-time for gaming and complete day-to-day tasks. You can choose ‘Low Power Mode’, which lowers the CPU and GPU usage to an extent and makes other adjustments to extend the overall run-time. There is also Super Power-Saving Mode, which only allows you to access Contacts, Phone and Messages. Overall, gamers can easily wring out a day’s run-time on a single charge.
Vivo has always highlighted its phones’ camera performance, and the U10 is another example of the manufacturer’s commitment to its smartphones’ photo capturing abilities. The camera performance of the U10 is more or less the same as its competitors – we weren’t disappointed by the results in daylight conditions. The camera app is a bit cluttered, but once we started capturing photos and videos, we got the hang of the controls quickly.
As already mentioned, in daylight hours, the camera worked quite well and captured enough details, such as phone numbers in the background and minute designs on effigies. The portrait mode – which is perhaps one of the most talked-about functions of smartphone cameras today – worked well for human subjects. The camera neatly picked up the subject’s outlines, while the background remained out-of-focus. However, when using the same mode for capturing images of inanimate objects, we noticed that parts of the subject were blurred.
While shooting indoors, there was a noticeable loss in quality, however, the time-consuming Pro Mode comes in handy here and can help capture better images. As far as low light photography is concerned, the phone disappoints, and we missed a dedicated night mode. Just like the rear camera, the selfie camera works well in broad daylight but underperforms during night time. In a nutshell, the phone’s camera captures satisfactory images only in daylight and well-lit conditions.
At a starting price of Rs 8,999, the Vivo U10 is a complete package for those who are into smartphone gaming, given its large battery facilitates prolonged gaming sessions. While the design and display are the strong points of the phone, bloatware and camera performance in low light conditions will disappoint customers.
Affordability and gaming