The US and Russian presidents shook hands and smiled as they went in for talks at a plush 18th-century villa in the Swiss city of Geneva.
However, though both sides said the tone of the meeting had been positive and constructive, the feeling was that it had been workmanlike rather than chummy.
Biden had flown into Geneva the evening before and spent the night at the five-star Intercontinental Hotel.
Putin jetted in just before the summit, his motorcade whisking him straight to the sumptuous La Grange venue.
The even-handedness stretched to the layout of flags outside the entrance for when Putin and Biden flanked Swiss President Guy Parmelin for a photograph before the two guests headed in for talks.
Putin, Biden shook hands for less than four seconds, exchanged a few words, and smiled before heading inside.
They were seated on either side of a globe of the world, with their respective flags behind them.
Journalists were invited in to witness their opening remarks, but all decorum went out the window as the reporters charged into the room.