MANILA - Vivo beat the competition with an in-display fingerprint sensor on the X21, the first commercially released phone in the Philippines to have that feature.
The result is a nearly seamless front, interrupted only by the cutout at the top of the screen for the front-facing camera and speaker.
It's a clean but anonymous look as manufacturers from Oppo, Huawei, LG, Asus and Xiaomi have all embraced the notch that was popularized (or made notorious) by Apple on the iPhone X.
The in-display sensor is fast and makes it easier to unlock the phone compared to fumbling with one's index finger for rear-mounted scanners.
The X21 looks almost identical to the V9 except for its marquee feature. It has a 6.28-inch Super AMOLED screen that's bright and sharp, and dual cameras on the top left corner of the phone's rear.
As trailblazing as the X21's in-display senor is, its charging port is stuck in 2016, using micro USB instead of the Type-C standard.
The phone charges quickly, nonetheless, and the 3,200 mAh battery is more than enough for a day of heavy use which included browsing social media feeds, keeping track of chat groups and streaming video.
The camera is a surprise, producing clear and bright shots for its price point. Here are some samples: