Vivo x pro. Vivo X60 Pro review

Vivo X60 Pro review

With a good-looking design, well-rounded camera array and slick user interface, the Vivo X60 Pro is a solid jack-of-all-trades Android phone. However, it launched at the same price as some higher-spec contemporaries, making it harder to recommend.

Cons

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Two-minute review

Vivo’s main line of 2021 smartphones is the X60 range – this was technically launched in late 2020 in China, but its global rollout was in 2021. Of the four phones in the series, the Vivo X60 Pro is the only one coming to most regions.

This is a top-end smartphone, with a price that matches the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S21 and Xiaomi Mi 11; in the specs department, though, the Vivo X60 Pro doesn’t quite rival those top-end powerhouses, which is why we can’t score it higher.

That’s not to say this is a bad phone, by any means, and it’s hard to find any major faults with the Vivo X60 Pro – there were a few user interface issues that we’ll detail in the Software and Performance and Specs sections, and its battery life wasn’t quite as strong as we’d like, but neither of these issues ruins the experience of using the phone.

In fact, there’s lots about the phone we found ourselves liking. It has a good-looking design, with an understated rear and a screen with gently-curving edges that we found ourselves admiring from time to time.

The user interface is slick too, thanks to both its design and a 120Hz display that makes navigating the device snappy and smooth. And while the photo quality isn’t groundbreaking, the Vivo X60 Pro’s camera combination of main, ultra-wide and telephoto is something of a rarity, so that alone is enough to celebrate.

Where the Vivo X60 Pro falls down is in comparison with the competition – it costs the same as Samsung and Xiaomi’s smartphones, but doesn’t compete well enough. The handset doesn’t have the top chipset available to it, its cameras are good but not great, and the battery life and charging speed leave a lot to be desired.

If you find the Vivo X60 Pro in the sales for a lower-than-launch price you should consider buying it, as it’s a great Android phone – it’s just hard to recommend at the list price, with the Samsung Galaxy S21 and Xiaomi Mi 11 overshadowing it.

Vivo X60 Pro price and availability

The Vivo X60 Pro launched for £749 / AU1,099 – that converts to about 1,200, though Vivo doesn’t sell its smartphones in the US.

For some context, at launch the Xiaomi Mi 11 cost exactly the same as the Vivo in both the UK and Australia for its 128GB storage version, and the Samsung Galaxy S21 cost 799 / £769 / AU1,249 for the same – we weren’t kidding about the being similar (well, except in Australia for the Samsung phone).

Design

At 179g the Vivo X60 Pro is a fairly lightweight phone, which might make it appealing to some compared to the myriad super-sized smartphones that proliferate this price tier. It measures 158.6 x 73.2 x 7.9mm, so it’s quite thin when put beside competing phones too.

The phone has a USB-C port, as well as a volume rocker and power button on the right edge, but there’s no 3.5mm headphone jack – sorry, wired headphone fans. All the buttons felt within reach for us, and we found the handset pretty easy to use one-handed.

The display and rear of the phone are coated in glass, while the frame is aluminum; it looks and feels very sleek, although it might not be as durable against drops and knocks as a plastic device.

On the back is a rectangular camera array housing the three rear snappers – this doesn’t stick out too far, and doesn’t affect the ‘ability’ of the phone at all.

The phone comes in a choice of two colors: Shimmer Blue, a paleish pearlescent shade, or Midnight Black – the phone pictured through this review – and which looks distinctly navy-blue to us. Whichever color you opt for, this is a good-looking phone with an understated design.

Display

The Vivo X60 Pro has an average-looking screen for a phone of its price, but with how good the displays can look on this kind of handset, that’s not a bad thing. It’s a 6.56-inch panel that curves gently at the edges, and is broken up by a cut-out for the front-facing camera at the top edge. The bezels around it are unobtrusively thin.

In terms of tech specs, you’re looking at 1080 x 2376 resolution, or FHD, which is generally average for a smartphone though a little behind the Xiaomi Mi 11 or Samsung Galaxy S20, both with 2K displays. It’s AMOLED, with support for HDR10, so colors are bold and bright.

That’s a solid array of tech specs, though the screen lacks the high resolution or bespoke display features that phones from top competitors like Xiaomi, Samsung and Oppo offer.

The screen refresh rate is 120Hz, as on most modern premium phones, which means the image updates 120 times per second, where the ‘standard’ that older and budget phones use is 60Hz. This makes motion look smoother when scrolling or playing games, though it drains battery quickly. if you want, you can drop to 60Hz, or choose a Smart-switch mode which jumps between the two depending on your task.

Cameras

The Vivo X60 Pro packs four cameras, one on the front and three on the back. On the rear, the main camera is a 48MP f/1.5 snapper, and we were generally impressed by its performance. Photos looked bright, with lots of detail, and the lens’s built-in gimbal stabilizer is really effective at countering the effects of shaky hands on a photo.

For better or worse, however, the overall quality of a particular image felt very dependent on the whims of the post-processing. Close-up snaps looked great, with photos of food and other objects looking bright and bold, but the AI software wasn’t as handy at ‘fixing’ wider shots of parks or skylines, which had a reduced dynamic range as a result. Still, they didn’t look bad, and a quick spin through a photo-editing app could easily improve them.

If we had one issue with the main camera, it’s that darker areas of otherwise-well-lit snaps were ‘crushed’ to black or near black making it harder to see details in these areas and leaving them looking murky compared to vibrant areas elsewhere in the image.

The second rear camera is a 13MP f/2.5 telephoto camera for zoom shots, which enables optical zoom up to 2x, and we’re pleased to see such a snapper here, as many flagship phones omit such a lens. Photos taken with this camera looked good, resembling non-zoomed photos in terms of vibrancy and detail, although with the same blacks-crushing issues as mentioned above.

You can zoom beyond the optical limit up to 20x digital, and while snaps we took towards the long end of the range were too blurry to be usable, we often took good-looking photos in the 5x-10x range.

Finally on the rear there’s a 13MP f/2.2 ultra-wide camera, with a much wider field of view than the main snapper. Photos taken with this were a little darker than their main-camera counterparts, but we were pleasantly surprised by the relative lack of distortion which often afflicts this kind of photo.

An issue we found with a couple of the cameras, for which the software is probably to blame to some degree, is that they struggled to handle exposure. For some shots, bright lights or the sky were blown out, more so than you’d normally expect even on an average camera phone.

The front-facing camera is a 32MP snapper with a f/2.5 aperture. Selfies looked vibrant and bright, and the high resolution lets you crop in to re-frame a shot. Portrait mode on this camera was frankly horrid though, as the automatic beauty features were far, far too overzealous in washing over textures and features – stick to ‘standard’ selfies.

Video recording goes up to 4K resolution at 60fps, and while that spec may seem standard for a smartphone, it’s here that the main camera’s built-in gimbal stabilizer rears its beautiful head. Videos we recorded look incredibly smooth, no matter how jittery our hands were (or whether we were moving), perfect for action reels or post-coffee tests. Just note that the aforementioned gimbal stabilization is disabled if you turn the recording specs up to full.

Beyond standard photography and videography, the Vivo X60 Pro has a few useful features including a fairly effective night mode, slow-motion and time-lapse video recording, and a moon photography mode that we sadly didn’t get the opportunity to test.

Performance and specs

Powering the Vivo X60 Pro is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 870 chipset, which is a powerful processor that we’ve seen in a few mid-range and low-cost handsets, but it’s the phone’s biggest weakness compared to its rivals. Most top-end phones, and lots of mid-range ones too, use the Snapdragon 888, the most powerful processor available to Android phones at the time of the X60 Pro’s launch.

As a result, the Vivo phone is powerful, but not as powerful as other phones that cost this much money – and if processing power is a priority for you, there are many cheaper phones that offer more of it.

When we ran the device through a benchmarking test it returned a multi-core score of 3,381 – that beats out other Snapdragon 870 phones like the Poco F3 (3,369) and Moto G100 (2,875), but doesn’t match up to Snapdragon 888 handsets like the Realme GT (3,508), Xiaomi Mi 11 (3,569) or OnePlus 9 (3,654).

In practice, we found the Vivo X60 Pro fairly snappy in use, especially for gaming, with freezes or lagging fairly rare when playing top titles. Depending on how you use your phone, and which games you play (and at what graphical or performance settings), you may find you don’t need the top processing power the Snapdragon 888 provides over the 870.

There’s a game optimization mode, as many phones have, which channels maximum processing power to the game you’re playing, and mutes notifications while you’re playing. We found that this didn’t turn off swipe navigation, though, so when tapping controls at the top of the screen we’d sometimes accidentally swipe down and bring up the notifications list. Also, enabling this mode doesn’t automatically mute notifications by default – you have to do that yourself.

We didn’t rate the X60 Pro’s speakers – music played through them sounded a little tinny and flat. You might not mind this when playing a quick game, but you might want to use headphones for listening to music or watching a movie.

Software

Like most Android phone makers, Vivo uses its own Android ‘fork’ that it lays over the top of Google’s software – Vivo’s is called Funtouch.

Funtouch 11, a version of Android 11, brings mainly cosmetic changes to the user interface, but compared to lots of custom UIs it’s pretty similar to ‘stock’ Android, and there’s also no real bloatware. We found the phone’s software lovely and clean, and navigating the interface felt smooth and fluid, especially thanks to the high display refresh rate.

We did notice one weird bug though. As with most phones, you can change the UI font, and there was a major bug in one of the pre-installed fonts (i.e., not a third-party font that we installed). When using this font, there was always a large gap in the text after punctuation, breaking up sentences with weird spaces. It’s not clear why this happened, but we’d expect pre-installed customization features to work better than this.

One useful aspect of Funtouch is that it has better horizontal-screen functionality than most UIs, and you can scroll through menus when holding the phone in this orientation, which isn’t a common feature of Android phones – it’s useful for certain productivity and business functions.

Another feature we appreciated was the customizable dynamic effects – for example, you can change the animation that appears when the phone is charging or when you input your fingerprint, and choose ambient light effects that appear on the curved edge of the screen when you’re playing music or receiving a notification. It’s not a game-changing feature, but it’s a cool addition that not all phones have.

Battery life

The Vivo X60 Pro has a relatively small battery compared to lots of its premium rivals – at 4,200mAh, it’s 300mAh less than the batteries in the OnePlus 9 or Oppo Find X3 Neo, two contemporaries, and we were never totally sure if the phone would last us a whole day of use or not.

If we kept the phone in our throughout the day, only using it for the occasional text or to stream music, we generally made it to bedtime with some juice left in the tank. But with more intensive use – say, a couple of games of Call of Duty: Mobile during the day plus some photography, social media and more, we’d often find battery anxiety kicking in.

As with most phones, the Vivo X60 Pro has a battery-saver mode that reduces battery drain by turning off background syncing, limiting data consumption to 4G speeds, turning on dark mode and more, and this ensured the phone would definitely survive a day. But if you use your phone heavily, or easily get the battery jitters, you might find this phone isn’t ideal for you.

Charging is at 33W, which pales in comparison to the Mi 11’s 55W, or the 65W of the OnePlus 9 series and Realme GT, although the Samsung Galaxy S21 is even slower at just 25W.

While that’s a fair charging speed, which will see the battery charged from empty to full in just over an hour, fast-charging is becoming an expected feature on premium phones, and the Vivo device misses out.

Buy it if.

You find it in the sales We’ve complained about the Vivo X60 Pro’s price throughout this review, as it’s the handset’s Achilles heel, but if you can get it at a decent discount it could make the phone a much more tempting proposition.

You like taking zoomed photos Not all smartphones, even at this price point, have telephoto cameras – the Xiaomi Mi 11 is one example. If you like taking good-looking zoomed-in shots, this is a good option.

You like clean software Compared to many other Android forks, Vivo’s Funtouch is clean and free of bloatware, with a few useful extra features that we appreciated.

Don’t buy it if.

You want fast charging At 33W, the Vivo X60 Pro takes a good while to power up, and in an era of fast-charging handsets it feels slow – some phones can now power up in 30 minutes or less, rather than an hour or more.

You want a mid-range phone Despite having some specs in common with them, the Vivo X60 Pro isn’t a mid-range phone, not at its price. You can spend less to get equivalent specs if you shop around.

The rivals tempt you We’ve hammered this point somewhat, but the Galaxy S21 and Mi 11 offer better specs than the Vivo X60 Pro at equivalent prices, so if you like the look of them they’re better value.

You might also want to check out our Vivo X60 review

Vivo X80 Pro Smartphone Review: Modest, Incremental Improvements

Vivo is back again with yet another flagship phone trying to push mobile photography to new levels, although it may be too soon to know for sure if the X80 Pro will ever do that.

The X80 Pro comes basically six months after the previous 70 Pro, and only roughly 12 months after the X60 Pro. At this rate, Vivo’s product cycle will see two flagships come out every calendar year. That’s great for the company’s own exposure, but makes newer features also feel a little too incremental.

Vivo has already staked a real claim to being one of the best in the business at mobile photography. As I’ve certainly noted in my reviews, its phones come with serious abilities, and a slew of features and customizations any photog could appreciate. Except the brand is still largely unknown in the West, so not everyone on this side of the world knows that yet. It’s building a strong following in China and India, and is likely to branch out further as others take notice.

The X80 Pro may or may not be the phone that helps the cause. Vivo’s partnership with Zeiss continues here, setting the stage for what may come as the two try to make magic together.

Design and Build

Unlike the evolution from the X60 to the X70, the move to the X80 doesn’t come with any dramatic change in design philosophy. The 6.78-inch AMOLED is the same, with the same resolution (3,200 x 1,440), same refresh rate (120Hz), same peak brightness (1,500 nits), same curved edges, and same pinhole front camera location.

From the front, sides, and bottom, it looks identical to the X70 Pro. Buttons are in the same spots, as are the ports, speaker, and microphone. Where things start to differ is in the rear. The camera module is roughly the same size, only it looks totally different with a circular array and a wider mirrored bump that is actually useful for selfies with the rear cameras. The matte finish covering the rest of the back panel is otherwise the same as the X70 Pro. Not to mention wireless charging is also included here, as it was last time.

The components underneath get a predictable upgrade, as Vivo is the latest to bring in Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor. My review unit had 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, though other variants come with 8GB of RAM or 512GB of storage. As before, there is no memory card slot, so the onboard storage does matter. Other things, like the Extended RAM feature come into play here, taking 4GB of idle storage and treating it as memory to boost the system when necessary.

It is a 5G phone, but not as much in North America because it has limited support for 5G bands that work here. You won’t run into any issues with 4G LTE, and you can certainly travel to various countries using it without issue.

Camera Features

Zeiss’s presence is supposed to edge further forward here, where we should begin seeing the fruits of its collaboration with Vivo. Previous elements carry on, including the Zeiss T Coating covering the rear camera array and elective Zeiss Color when shooting with the Photo mode.

The camera array lines up closely with the X70 Pro, starting with the 50-megapixel main camera (23mm equivalent) that goes with a slightly different Samsung ISOCELL GNV sensor. It’s the same size (1/1.3-inch), though reportedly a custom-made sensor for Vivo that combines both dual-pixel autofocus and four-in-one pixel binning to quicken focusing in low-light conditions. Since it’s just an offshoot of Samsung’s GN1 sensor in the X70 Pro, you can still shoot 100-megapixel shots in High Resolution mode.

The 48-megapixel ultra-wide camera (14mm equivalent) uses the same Sony IMX598 sensor and 114-degree field of view going back to the X60 Pro. Perhaps controversially, depending on how you look at it, Vivo chose to remove the gimbal stabilization using the company’s own 360-degree Horizon Leveling Stabilization technology for steadier stills and video. Instead, it moved it to the telephoto lens.

In keeping with the theme here, it’s the same 12-megapixel Sony IMX663 sensor with 2x optical zoom (50mm equivalent) and f/1.6 aperture. This is the camera that plays a bigger role with portraits, and is Vivo seems to think that gimbal stabilization will make those portrait shots look better, including in low-light conditions.

The 8-megapixel periscope telephoto with 5x optical zoom (125mm equivalent) is also exactly the same as it was in both the X60 Pro and X70 Pro. The 32-megapixel front-facing camera is also the same.

Vivo believes visible changes will be more evident by way of its updated V1 Imaging Chip. It gives the image signal processor a boost, which the company quantifies by claiming images will come out 16% brighter and with 12% improved white balance for low-light shots. Indeed, it points out that some portions of an image could be 350% brighter with less noise and more vibrant colors.

Software Features

This is a tough one to quantify. Vivo’s camera app and layout is essentially the same, save for a couple of new modes called Dual View and AI Group Portrait. In Pro mode, Vivo added an “APC” setting that lets you change the perspective of anything you shoot in real time. It’s supposed to help you correct the optical “lean” when shooting something from various angles.

Look through the settings and you will see it added a “Remove moles” toggle that, when enabled, will take out any moles it sees on people while using Beauty mode.

One tweak that made sense was to put more settings closer to the actual interface. Tap the top-right settings button, and you can adjust the aspect ratio, timer, as well as turn on framing lines, level, stabilization, watermark, effects, and switch between auto and manual FOCUS.

The X80 Pro runs on Android 12 and Vivo’s Funtouch 12, which feels very similar to the previous build.

Image Quality

Main Camera

I’m not sure I noticed a significant difference in output from this phone compared to its predecessor. Not that I expected one, given how similar the two devices are, but I tried to find whatever nuances that struck out at me.

Not surprisingly, the main camera is more than capable of capturing superb photos. I did have to dial down the exposure often, and it is true that images will look brighter across the board, not just in low-light settings. Zeiss’s color mode adds a warmer tone, but I’m not sure what else it really brings to the table, except for maybe more muted colors. HDR is virtually the same.

Photos are vibrant, with good detail, though Vivo still needs to work on the dynamic range in high contrast situations. That’s where the exposure slider can help, so in tougher conditions, I would try Pro mode as an alternative. With dark or low-light shots, Night mode wasn’t always necessary, but there were occasions where a longer exposure made for a better shot attempt.

The main camera defaults to a binned 12.5-megapixel output, which is ideal if you’re shooting in varying lighting conditions. The full High Resolution mode is okay, but again, I didn’t see a dramatic difference in output.

This phone does pick up more noise in darker areas than its predecessor did. I noticed this in various modes, including Pro and Night, and am not sure why. Somewhere in the software computation, the increased brightness possibly comes with that kind of trade-off. It may not be as noticeable when sharing images with others on phones, but once you look at them on larger tablets or computers, those artifacts become much easier to see.

Ultra-Wide

Vivo removed the gimbal stabilization from this lens, though it never applied to still images in the first place. I didn’t catch any real change in output here, so results will still be good, just not all that much better than before. Vivo does have some work to do to figure out how to remove distortion and gooey pixels along the edges.

The ultra-wide also doubles as the Super Macro mode, and when you get it right, the results look amazing. When you don’t, the visual evidence will make that obvious. You can get really close to a subject, but you also can’t control how much the software sharpens it, forcing you to try editing softer edges or tones in post afterward.

Telephoto and Hybrid Zoom

Gimbal stabilization does have some positive effects on shooting with the telephoto lens, and that includes low-light conditions. These photos won’t be as sharp, but there’s no doubt Vivo produces very good ones compared to competitors when staying within the phone’s limited optical range. Low-light shots are a little better this time, which is a nice perk to see, but there is a caveat.

That caveat happens once you move beyond the optical range. Hybrid zoom is not good, falling right off a cliff when you go beyond the periscope lens’ limits. The 60x zoom is objectively awful, and even at 15x in bright daylight, pixelation is hard to hide.

Portrait Mode

It’s easier to capture a portrait shot in varying conditions this time around, though the improvements are highly incremental; there was a bigger jump between the X60 and X70. It’s nice to be able to change the f-stop either before or after taking the shot, and Zeiss’ five portrait effects are always available under the Style section if you want to experiment with those.

Pro Mode

The key with Pro mode is to understand how some of the supporting features work. You need to in order to offset some of Vivo’s own excesses. For example, you can try SuperRAW to shoot in 14-bit and fend off noise with up to 10 RAW images bracketed together for the best possible output. A regular RAW shot will bracket three, five, or seven together when you turn that setting on within the interface.

This is the mode that can either truly impress or disappoint, and the line is thin between them in certain circumstances. Night or low-light shooting is one of them, and fraught with potential downsides. Get it right, and the results can turn out fantastic, producing images that mop the floor with the iPhone 13 Pro or Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra.

Night

I’ve already touched on Night mode, which is slightly better in the X80 Pro, but there’s no leap forward here. You will get good shots, especially when you have some light sources helping to add some depth to an image, and it is dependable when you use it with a tripod. I would like more control over the length of the exposure (it’s automatic), but apart from that, I expect bigger steps in future devices.

The Style sub-section that Night shares with the Long Exposure mode is cool and worth playing around with. It may also be a good idea to move Long Exposure next to Night within the interface to make it easier to access when you need it.

Special Modes

Long Exposure is still my favorite of the special modes, and I’m hoping Vivo expands on it a little more with additional effects going forward. The X80 Pro doesn’t offer any new ones, but everything within the mode works as it has before.

Pro Sports needs work. It takes time to learn how to keep a subject sharp, and Motion Autofocus is key to that, which you can find in the camera app’s settings. Decide between auto or manual FOCUS for what works best. This mode differs from the Sports Pan feature Vivo squeezed into the Portrait mode, a clear copy of Google’s Action Pan, only far more limiting because it only works on human beings, not animals or objects.

Don’t Buy vivo X60 PRO Before Watching This VIDEO! | Full Review

Video Features

This review focuses on the X80 Pro’s still photo performance, but I did try out some video. The phone shoots with the same resolution options its predecessor did, so don’t expect any major shifts in that regard.

One cool thing is the change in style and filtering. Zeiss’s Cinematic tone is an option to shoot in 2:39:1 with bokeh effects to boot. I would’ve liked to be able to shoot in 4K at 24fps in that mode, but results are still nice at 30fps or 60fps. With movie LUTs and filters available, there’s plenty of room for creativity shooting this way.

Taking a Baby Step Forward

The Vivo X80 Pro is to Vivo what an “S” device is to Apple iPhones. It brings modest improvements in some areas, but otherwise retains a vast majority of the build and software features. The camera arsenal the company established in its past two flagship predecessors remains intact, edging the needle a tad forward, though not offering any dramatic leaps to wow anyone who knows what Vivo can do.

Is it one of the best camera phones available? Sure it is. I’m just not sure Vivo needed to release it only months removed from its predecessor. The company is mum on when or if an X80 Pro will come this year. Odds are good it will, and if it does, it will make this phone feel like more of a momentary update rather than any sort of upgrade. I can understand if someone is moving up from a different phone, or from an X60, but this device’s similarities to the X70 are patently obvious throughout.

Are There Alternatives?

Vivo’s X70 Pro is a very worthy alternative because you will get much of the same output and performance with it. The Xiaomi 12 Pro took a very similar approach, improving output incrementally compared to previous models, and its night and low-light shooting is very competitive.

Samsung did the same with the Galaxy S22 Ultra, which continues to drop in price as the months go on. If you prefer to stay within iOS, the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max are still the best Apple can offer right now.

Should You Buy It?

No, not if you already have the Vivo X70 Pro or Pro. There isn’t enough here to warrant that kind of upgrade. Even if you do have a different phone and want to try out a Vivo device, you may be better off holding off until it becomes clearer what the company is going to do before this year’s out.

Vivo‘s X90 Pro combines a huge 1-inch sensor with Zeiss T optics and MediaTek’s newest powerhouse chipset

Early Verdict

Vivo’s X80 Pro charmed us. Despite not being a perfect smartphone, its camera system and processing were excellent, so we could overlook some heat management woes and an aggressive beauty filter. Its successor, the X90 Pro upgrades the main camera with a massive 1-inch sensor, but dials back its zoom range. It also swaps out Qualcomm power for MediaTek, upgrading the charging speed in the process. Far from an incremental upgrade – this reads like a totally different phone on paper – but has Vivo ventured too far from a winning formula with its latest flagship?

Vivo x80 pro vs Vivo x70 pro vs Vivo x60 pro

Pros

  • Class-leading camera sensor
  • Premium styling and materials
  • Very fast charging speeds

Cons

  • – No periscope zoom camera
  • – Vivo’s gimbal tech is absent
  • – Unlikely to launch in the US

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Vivo has confirmed that it will be launching its latest flagship, the X90 Pro, globally, and while that does include Europe, it won’t be hitting shelves in the US.

With its 1-inch Sony sensor, that’s a crying shame, as the X90 Pro is only the second smartphone to launch with the behemoth Sony IMX989. The first phone to feature it – the excellent Xiaomi 12S Ultra, launched exclusively in China – making Vivo’s offering the sensor’s global debut of sorts.

So what does the X90 Pro offer other than a big main camera sensor? Quite a lot actually. For starters, the primary camera’s lens use Zeiss T glass, and there are Zeiss highlights within the camera UI too.

Also read our guide to the best Android phones.

Vivo’s also introducing the latest version of its proprietary performance chip – the V2, which supports with tasks like image processing, and there have been upgrades across the board when it comes to design and spec. The charging, for example, has been bumped up to 120W for a full charge in as little as 29 minutes.

Vivo’s also swapped out the power for MediaTek Dimensity 9200 silicon, making it the first phone to feature the flagship chipset announced at the end of 2022.

But the Vivo X90 Pro doesn’t appear to upgrade in every area. Its screen is slightly lower resolution than the excellent X80 Pro, which we loved when we tested it. This year, Vivo’s also dropped the periscope camera, taking the telephoto range back from 5x to 2x zoom, and Vivo’s trademark gimbal system is also missing.

So it appears Vivo’s putting all its eggs in the main camera’s basket – Smart move or a misfire?

Specifications

Rear cameras: 50MP main, 50MP ultrawide, 12MP telephoto (1x zoom) Front camera: 32MP Processor: MediaTek Dimensity 9200 Memory: 256GB storage 12GB RAM Screen Size: 6.8-inch 1260 x 2800 Battery: 4,870mAh Size: 164.07 x 74.53 x 9.34mm Colors: Legendary Black (vegan leather)

Key features

The absolute key headline grabber here is that 1-inch 50MP camera. The sensor was created as part of a collaboration between Sony and Xiaomi, which gained Xiaomi exclusivity over it for a time. It is unequivocally the largest camera sensor in a traditional form factor smartphone, besting Samsung’s 200MP Galaxy S23 Ultra in terms of sensor size by some margin. Now Vivo’s rocking it, we’re excited to see how it stacks up with Zeiss glass and Vivo‘s typically cool processing.

vivo, review

On first impression, it packs all the characteristics of a big sensor: a shallow depth of field and great noise handling. As a result, for anyone who seldom switches to their zoom camera, the X90 Pro looks like an instant contender for the best main camera on any phone out now.

But the elephant in the room really is the downgrade in the Vivo X90 Pro’s zoom range versus last year’s phone. With zoom champs like the S20 Ultra packing two zoom ranges – 3x and 10x telephoto – Vivo’s 2x maximum reach is underwhelming.

Thankfully, the secondary cameras do pack decent hardware, with the 2x 50MP lens sporting a 50mm focal length with an f/1.6 aperture, and that’s matched with a Sony IMX758 sensor. As for the ultra-wide angle camera, it shoots with an f/2.0 aperture and a Sony IMX663 sensor.

vivo, review

Vivo’s V2 chip is also worth talking about. We’ve been seeing more brands supplement ISPs with their own processors – Oppo with its MariSilicon X on Find X5 Pro and Find N2, for example.The V2 Chip supports imaging across both the camera and the display, so everything on-screen looks spot on.

Getting into specifics, it features an AI noise reduction algorithm and an upgraded HDR algorithm, so is tailored to supplement the ISP when capturing challenging scenes.

It also upscales on-screen frame rates, so even 60fps content appears to look smoother than it might on other 120Hz displays, and does so with minimal impact on the phone’s battery, according to Vivo.

Build and handling

The Vivo X90 Pro is a premium phone. The second we got it in our hands, the vegan leather back echoed camera designs of old, while the weighty camera bump asserted itself, as did the stark metal trimmings around the frame and rear.

On the right side are power and volume buttons, at the base is a USB-C port, and the top side sports a flat strip of glass, inside which sits an IR blaster and the words Professional Photography.

While it’s a thick phone thanks to its huge camera, the X90 Pro’s sides taper in elegantly, with the curved front and back meeting the polished metal frame seamlessly. On the back Vivo’s included a Zeiss insignia to hit home the fact this phone packs Zeiss hardware and software, and the top and bottom of the back are also divided by a novel metal strip with the words Xtreme Imagination, Vivo/Zeiss co-engineered.

All these insignias and words might sound tacky, but thankfully they’re all relatively subtle, and generally, once we got past the heft of the X90 Pro’s massive camera bump, we were impressed by the package on the whole.

Vivo has bumped up the battery slightly year on year, so the X90 Pro packs a 4870mAh battery, bringing it in line with the 5000mAh competition, and there’s also fast wireless charging support too, capping out at 50W with the right charger.

Wired charging is where the X90 Pro’s been boosted the most, up from 100W to 120W, so a full charge should take just 29 minutes, and in under 9 minutes, you can power up to 50 percent.

Performance

Vivo‘s X90 Pro is the first phone to launch with MediaTek’s mighty Dimensity 9200 chipset, and the first flagship to launch in the west with a MediaTek SOC as opposed to a Qualcomm Snapdragon chip.

The chip sports a host of advancements – it’s the first to support RGBW sensors natively and includes a number of AI ISP upgrades for superior noise reduction, even for RAW photos. It also offers plenty of gaming benefits too over alternatives, most notably raytracing support.

In our brief time with it, everything on the Vivo X90 Pro 5G appeared to run smoothly, and even RAW shots from its mighty 50MP camera were snapped without any hanging about.

Early verdict

The X90 Pro seems like a mighty smartphone on first impression. At this stage, though, we’re more excited by what it represents than we are about the phone itself.

Firstly, it represents brands taking a punt on really advanced camera hardware in their phones and going all-in on larger sensors. The huge, 1-inch Sony IMX989 is a game changer for mobile photography, and the more brands that get on board and invest in it, the sooner we’ll see the best it can offer. It will also herald a new breed of smartphone photographers – RX100 owners, for example – leaving their pricey compact cameras at home.

Vivo’s X90 Pro also represents a punt on MediaTek. Thus far, Qualcomm has been the flagship chip maker of choice, but if the X90 Pro’s performance lands well, then it could drive chipset competition and innovation like never before, which will directly impact imaging and computational photography. As too will the increased use of custom ISPs like the Vivo V2 chip – a further trend the X90 Pro represents.

In summary, the Vivo X90 Pro looks like a brilliant phone from the offset, and it could be the best camera phone of the year with that huge 1-inch sensor. While there appear to be some shortfalls compared to last year’s model, as a package, we look forward to finding out if it’s more than the sum of its parts.

Vivo X90 Pro review: another Zeiss zinger

Photography has long been phone maker Vivo’s speciality. The Chinese brand has delivered some stunning snappers in the past, giving Samsung, Apple and Google a real run for their money. Now it’s back with the Vivo X90 Pro, which is heading to other territories imminently after making a splash back home with its oversized 1-inch camera sensor and Zeiss optics.

In Vivo’s back yard, the Pro is the middle child of the X90 range. It’s packing higher-end hardware than the vanilla X90, but loses out to the pricier X90 Pro, which hasn’t been cleared for takeoff to other countries. That means it’s the de facto flagship for us Brits. Does it do enough to justify that title?

Design build: back in black

With its imposing circular camera bump, you can instantly tell the Vivo X90 Pro means business on the photography front. It dominates the back of the handset, which is adorned with one or two too many branding slogans for our liking. Seriously, did we really need the phrase “Xtreme Imagination” in cursive font, or three separate shout-outs to Zeiss for providing its lens know-how?

It looks a little businesslike wrapped in black vegan leather, but the polished metal frame and curved edge display have a real premium feel. The glass has a shallower radius than you’ll find on rivals like the OnePlus 11 and Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, so it sits more comfortably in your palm, but means light reflections are a little more distracting.

This is a beefy phone, tipping the scales at 215g. It feels reassuringly sturdy though, and IP68 dust and water resistance means it should survive a brush or two with the elements.

Vivo has followed the rest of the phone industry in doing away with the 3.5mm headphone port, and you won’t find a microSD card slot on the SIM tray – just twin nanoSIMs. But the X90 Pro does keep one feature that used to be commonplace: an IR blaster, for replacing your existing gadget remotes.

Screen sound: simpler, still stellar

On the surface, the X90 Pro’s Full HD-and-a-bit resolution AMOLED is a backwards step from the 1440p panel seen on last year’s X80 Pro. Both are stretched over 6.78in, so pixel density takes a hit here. The old phone also had a higher 1500 nit peak brightness, while its successor tops out at 1300.

You’d need a microscope and light meter to really see the difference, though, and in all other respects it’s a very good looking display. Small lines of text looks perfectly sharp, images are well defined, and viewing angles are superb. There’s the usual epic contrast and deep, inky blacks we’ve come to expect from OLED, and brightness is still sufficient for clear outdoor viewing, even in bright sunshine. It helps make HDR10 content really pop, too.

Colours are fairly restrained out of the box, giving images a more natural tone. There’s a temperature slider and three other colour profiles to choose from if you’d like a little more punch, but there’s no adaptive setting that reacts to ambient light.

It’s a high refresh rate panel, with locked 60Hz and 120Hz settings as well as a dynamic mode that swaps between the two for the best balance of smoothness and battery life. We found it quick to respond to swipes and scrolls, if not quite a match for the blazing fast OnePlus 11. Certain apps also felt smoother when 120Hz was forced on, rather than leaving the phone to make its own mind up.

On the sound front, the usual combo of downfiring main speaker and earpiece tweeter get decently loud and have a clear mid-range that suits podcast listening and YouTube video catch-ups. There’s no real semblance of bass, even when you crank it, so headphones are a must for music.

Performance software: doing it different

MediaTek CPUs aren’t all that common among top-tier Android phones, at least here in the West where Qualcomm reigns supreme. That makes the Vivo X90 Pro something of an outlier – but doesn’t mean it’s at all sluggish. This is the first phone we’ve tested with a Dimensity 9200, an eight-core chip that is both quicker and more power efficient than the outgoing Dimensity 9000.

It has no trouble keeping pace with the latest Snapdragon chips in day-to-day duties, opening apps quickly and scrolling through Android homescreens smoothly. It can also multitask without any serious signs of slowdown, which is down in part to the 12GB of RAM. It can’t match the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 in synthetic benchmarks, but there’s still enough pep here to consider the X90 Pro a capable top-end phone in 2023.

Gaming is a similar story. Most Play Store releases default to their highest settings, and we had no trouble running 3D titles like Call of Duty: Mobile at high refresh rates. Gameplay was consistently smooth, even when the action got frantic, and the phone stayed cool to the touch. The GPU even supports the flashy ray tracing tech usually reserved for high-end PCs and next-gen consoles, so while no Android games support it yet, it’ll be ready when they do.

You get 256GB of on-board storage, with the operating system eating up around 27GB right out of the box. It doesn’t help that Funtouch, Vivo’s take on Android for global markets, is especially bad for pre-installed bloatware: as well as a handful of own-brand apps that simply duplicate Google’s more familiar ones, there’s a whole heap of unwanted third-party additions – plus an entirely separate app store. It’s largely redundant for western phone owners, who are more familiar with the Google Play Store.

Elsewhere the interface thankfully leaves Google’s vision for Android intact, with gesture navigation, all the usual quick settings shortcuts, and the Discover feed just a swipe away from the homescreen.

Battery life: bigger is better

It might not have a class-leading capacity, but the X90 Pro’s 4870mAh battery is still a modest increase over last year’s model, and easily enough to get you through the day without needing to hunt down a plug socket. Even with a mix of YouTube videos, Spotify streaming, web browsing and social media, plus a whole lot of camera snaps, we made it to bedtime and the low battery power saving mode had yet to kick in. That’s pretty much what we expect from any premium phone right now.

The Vivo shows up its rivals when it comes to charging, though, managing super-quick 120W top-ups using the bundled power brick (which is no longer a given if you’re shopping Apple or Samsung). A 50% top-up genuinely takes less than ten minutes, and a complete refuel can be had in half an hour. That’s not only quicker than the outgoing Vivo X80 Pro’s 80W, but wipes the floor with both the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max.

Fast wireless charging also makes the cut, at 50W if you have a powerful enough Qi pad, and you can reverse wireless charge your smaller gadgets if you’ve got juice to spare – or simply can’t face public transport with a flat pair of wireless headphones.

Cameras: one inch punch

The X90 Pro isn’t the first phone we’ve tried with a 1in camera sensor – that’ll be the Sony Xperia Pro-I, although that had a cropped output rather than putting the entire sensor to work. And unlike the Xiaomi 12S Ultra, which never officially left China, Vivo will actually let UK shoppers get their hands on one.

Pixel count is a generous 50MP, and it has all the extras you’d hope for, including optical image stabilisation (OIS), dual-pixel phase detection autofocus (PDAF) and laser autofocus. There’s also a wide f/1.8 aperture for a delightfully shallow depth of field, Zeiss T glass to cut down on distracting light reflections, and picture processing courtesy of a dedicated V2 imaging chip.

This all translates to astonishing amounts of natural bokeh. Background blur quickly disappears on other phones once your subject is more than an arms’ length away, but it’s preserved brilliantly here, giving shots a more dramatic look. It’s a superb choice for portraits, beating even the very best rivals’ digitally enhanced portrait modes. Soft FOCUS isn’t all that helpful when photographing documents, so it automatically switches to the ultrawide camera’s macro mode for close-ups. We just wish Vivo had added a screw thread to that giant circular camera bump, so serious photographers could attach ND filters and the like.

In general, daylight snaps are superbly detailed, with well preserved dynamic range and exposure that’s almost always on point, without overly exaggerated HDR effects. The Zeiss natural colour mode produces more nuanced, true-to-life tones than big-name rivals like the Google Pixel 7 Pro or Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, which lean towards more punchy images, but usually delivers rich and impactful photos. Image noise is practically non-existent, but sharpening can be a little aggressive.

Low-light performance is comfortably among the best we’ve seen from a phone camera, even before you reach for the Night mode. Noise is kept to a minimum while preserving detail, and colours are convincing. There’s even a handheld astrophotography mode that can take convincing shots of the moon.

The main sensor is only one third of the story, of course: there’s also a 12MP ultrawide and 50MP telephoto. The latter maxes out at 2x optical zoom, which is a step behind the more mainstream Samsung Galaxy S23, and there’s no periscope zoom this time around – another cutback compared to last year’s Vivo X80 Pro. It does offer up to 40x digital zoom, but you quickly see diminishing returns as you increase the magnification.

It otherwise a good match for the main sensor in terms of colour, contrast, exposure and overall detail. It can’t compete for depth of field, but the Zeiss-assisted portrait mode does a decent enough job of compensating. Low-light performance is also consistent, if again a step behind the main sensor.

The 12MP Ultrawide is a noticeable step down from the main and zoom lenses in terms of visible detail, and it has a more limited dynamic range to boot. Colours are on par, though, so it’s still handy for those expansive landscape shots where the main sensor simply can’t fit it all in.

Vivo X90 Pro verdict

There’s no denying the Vivo X90 Pro’s main camera takes a stunning photo, with a natural depth of field that no portrait mode comes close to matching. It’s a very capable phone elsewhere, too, with great battery life, Rapid charging and high-end performance.

It does regress in a few places, though. The periscope zoom lens and gimbal stabilisation tech seen in its predecessor are absent here, and screen resolution has taken a hit. That 1-inch sensor goes a long way to making up for it, but means it’s not quite as versatile as premium rivals from Samsung or Google.

According to Vivo the X90 Pro will make its way to Europe – we just don’t know exactly when. The same was said about the X80 Pro last year, and that proved very tricky to find in the UK, so we’re hoping things have improved for 2023. We only know Malaysian pricing, at 4,999 MYR (about £950), so it’s going to command a premium figure once it gets to Blighty.

Still, if you prefer close-ups and bokeh blur to zoomed-in snaps, it’ll be well worth tracking one down.

Stuff Says…

camera cleverness from Vivo. The X90 Pro isn’t the ultimate all-rounder, but its 1in main sensor does a few photography styles very well indeed.

Astonishing camera quality

Long battery life and Rapid charging

Funtouch OS has a lot of bloat

One or two spec regressions from the previous gen

Could be a challenge to get hold of one

Vivo X90 Pro review

The X90 Pro’s main camera is the best around right now, bar none. The rest of the phone is pretty great too, but rivals edge it on performance, software experience, and camera versatility – so only buy this if the camera is your priority.

Last year we crowned the Vivo X80 Pro our favourite phone camera of the year – so it’s fair to say that we’ve been a bit excited for the X90 Pro, which takes things one step further with a whopping great big one-inch camera sensor.

It’s already given the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra camera some stiff competition, and even this early in the year there’s a chance this could be 2023’s best phone for photography – well, except for Vivo’s X90 Pro, which is sadly staying a China exclusive.

The regular X90 is no slouch elsewhere either, with one of the latest flagship chipsets, a welcome grippy leather finish, and all the usual fast charging and top display specs you’d expect.

Design build

I have mixed feelings about the design of the Vivo X90 Pro, but let’s start with the good.

Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry

I’m a fan of the black vegan leather finish you’ll find on the rear of the phone, which makes it both grippier and more durable than most rivals – and helps it stand out amongst the sea of glass slabs.

It’s durable elsewhere too. The IP68 rating should keep the phone safe from both dust and water, while the screen is made from Schott Xensation α – a recent rival to the popular Gorilla Glass.

I also like the fact that, despite being quite a large phone overall, it feels comfortable and deceptively light in the hand. I say deceptive because it still weighs a healthy 215g, but somehow seems to carry that weight well.

So what am I less of a fan of? For starters, look beyond the leather finish and the phone’s rear is…busy. There’s a subdued Vivo logo, a less subdued blue Zeiss logo, a strange metallic strip with ‘Xtreme Imagination’ inscribed in calligraphy, and a honking great camera module.

Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry

That camera sticks out of the phone a good half-centimetre, and feels a little more obnoxious for the fact that only three of the ‘lenses’ are real – the bottom-right is simply the spot where a fourth lens would be on the more powerful X90 Pro, which is only sold in China. The camera as a whole is probably powerful enough to justify its size – more on that later – but you will have to learn to live with its design.

Screen speakers

The display is one of the few areas where the X90 Pro doesn’t quite throw everything at the wall, though it’s by no means a bad screen.

Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry

You get a large 6.78in AMOLED panel, with curved edges that keep it comfortable to hold. The 1260 x 2800 resolution is plenty, though admittedly is a drop down from last year’s X80 Pro, which packed a QHD display, as many of the X90 Pro’s rivals do too.

Similarly, the 120Hz resolution is nothing to complain about, but it’s a shame that Vivo hasn’t used a modern LTPO display with fully dynamic refresh rate from 1-120Hz, which would allow the phone to save battery when that fast refresh isn’t really needed.

1300 nits peak brightness isn’t bad, but again, you can find slightly better elsewhere such as on the Galaxy S23 Ultra if you often need to use your phone in bright, direct sunlight.

This are all nitpicks that mean the X90 Pro’s screen definitely isn’t the best around, but is still excellent. It’s bright, punchy, and attractive, with HDR10 support for applicable content. Unless screen specs are your Mastermind specialty, you’ll find a lot to love here.

Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry

The stereo speakers are a little more underwhelming, which is to say: they’re fine. I find it hard to get too worked up about phone speakers either way, and these are pretty standard: good enough to play tunes in a pinch or take a call on speakerphone, but with some clear limitations. Again: not the best, but good enough.

Specs performance

Vivo made an unusual choice with the X90 line. While the top-end X90 Pro is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 – the chip du jour for flagship phones – the X90 Pro uses rival MediaTek’s Dimensity 9200.

On paper, it’s a similarly specced flagship chip, and should be a close match, though in benchmarks it actually lags a fair bit behind 8 Gen 2 phones like the Galaxy S23 Ultra or OnePlus 11. On the graphics-heavy GFXBench tests included below, note that every other phone included runs at a higher resolution – so what seem to be strong numbers for the X90 Pro aren’t actually so impressive.

In reality, I’m not sure how much any of that matters. The X90 Pro is so exceptionally fast and fluid that no-one could ever accuse this phone of being slow. Serious mobile gamers may see the appeal of the small step up in the Snapdragon, but no-one else would ever notice the difference day-to-day.

It probably helps that Vivo ships the X90 Pro with 12GB of RAM by default, which helps with nippy multitasking. The 256GB storage allowance is also generous, though it’s perhaps a shame that there’s no option to upgrade this further – or expand it with a microSD card.

Naturally there’s 5G support, along with the latest Bluetooth 5.3 standard and the not-quite-latest Wi-Fi 6 – for some reason it doesn’t support the more recent Wi-Fi 6E, though it’s unlikely your router does either.

Camera video

Until now I’ve been upbeat, but perhaps not awe-inspired, about the X90 Pro. Here’s where that changes.

Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry

This phone was always going to come down to its camera. The Vivo X80 Pro was 2022’s best camera, and it would take some doing for Vivo to exceed that – but it has.

Let’s get the main downside out of the way first: there’s no periscopic zoom here. The main camera and ultrawide are joined by a 2x zoom ‘portrait lens’, which still gets decent results up to 5x magnification or thereabouts. Again, the China-only X90 Pro does get that deeper zoom, it’s just not included here, which is a slight drawback in comparison to the likes of the S23 Ultra.

For my money, the quality of the other three lenses more than makes up for that shortcoming. The best by far is the main camera, which is powered by the 50Mp Sony IMX989 sensor. This 1in sensor is the biggest around right now, which means it can capture more light for deeper dynamic range, broader colours, and far better lowlight performance, all bolstered by Vivo’s in-house V2 image processing chip.

At night there is no phone I’d rather have in my for photos than this. Bright lights are carefully exposed to minimise glare without a loss of detail from darker spots of the frame. And areas that should be dark – like the night sky – tend to stay that way. Other flagships come close, but none deliver quite the same effect.

The sheer sensor size also means this shoots a little more like a mirrorless or even DSLR camera, with a shallower depth of field. That means you get a natural bokeh effect even without using portrait mode, and photos that look more, well, photographic.

There’s a downside: the shallow depth-of-field means it’s easy to get bits of your subject out of FOCUS, so you’ll have to work a little harder to frame shots. However, learn how to use it and you’ll take photos that simply don’t look like they’ve come from a smartphone.

Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry

vivo, review

I find the phone’s default colours a little over-saturated, but luckily a single tap enables the Zeiss Natural Colour mode – the camera company has long collaborated with Vivo on its camera hardware and software, including a T anti-glare coating on the lenses here.

The Zeiss photo mode keeps true-to-life tones without any lose in detail or dynamic range, and I much prefer it. There’s a whole range of other filters, some powered by Zeiss and some by Vivo alone, including a surprisingly good vintage film mode and a rather silly Zeiss option to add JJ Abrams-style lens flare to every photo.

Move beyond the main camera and you get a 12Mp ultrawide and a 50Mp, 2x telephoto. The ultrawide is the weakest of the three rear lenses, with a drop in detail, a flatter colour palette, and diminished lowlight performance. That criticism almost feels unfair though, as it’s still among the better ultrawides out there.

The 2x telephoto is even better. It’s a shame there’s no periscope, but this camera – which Vivo markets as a ‘portrait’ lens – fares well enough at low zoom levels to cover most use cases, and good stabilisation means it can even take acceptable zoomed shots at up to 10x, though understandably these can’t compete with a true periscope.

With a smaller sensor, it’s no match for the main camera in dimmer light, but colours and crispness are better than the ultrawide manages in other conditions, making it a happier substitute. And with a broader depth of field, it can cover for the main shooter when the bokeh isn’t quite right, lending a versatility to the whole setup.

The selfie camera impresses too. The 32Mp sensor is impressively high resolution, though the aperture of f/2.5 is a little more limited. Still, shots impress when that detail can shine through in good lighting, but don’t expect any of the low light magic you’ll find from the cameras on the other side.

Video recording from the rear cameras goes up to 4K@60fps or 8K@24fps. Unless you need the resolution, you might be better off sticking to 1080p, at which point you’re able to use the phone’s ‘Ultra’ stabilisation, which is among the best around – and helps deliver yet more excellent low light capabilities.

Battery charging

If camera is the main area the X90 Pro excels, then the battery probably comes up second.

The 4870mAh cell is generous, and close to the biggest you’ll find in a flagship. Most importantly, it translates to a phone that easily lasts a full day of use, and usually a fair bit longer.

Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry

When it comes to charging, the 120W charger included with the phone is about as fast as they come. With the phone’s optional ‘Fast charging’ setting enabled, it restored an impressive 70% of the phone’s battery – so basically a day’s worth – in just 15 minutes of charging, one of the fastest scores we’ve ever recorded.

Vivo has also included support for wireless charging and reverse wireless charging. You can technically charge at up to 50W speeds wirelessly, but only with Vivo’s official accessory, which is sold separately – though it will work fine at slower speeds on regular Qi chargers.

Unfortunately, I have to add that I’ve found the reverse wireless charging – which allows you to wirelessly charge other devices from the phone – to be entirely unreliable and borderline non-functional. Trying two pairs of earbuds and another phone, all begin to charge but seem to lose the connection quickly, only rarely managing to sustain charging. Hopefully this is fixed in an update, because for now it basically isn’t working.

Software updates

Finally we get to arguably Vivo’s key weak point in its ongoing attempts to break into Western markets: software.

The awfully named Funtouch OS is still Vivo’s international Android skin (in China it instead ships the distinct OriginOS), and it’s still pretty frustrating.

Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry

There’s some variation here to be fair. Global versions of the phone ship packed with bloatware – much of which can’t be uninstalled – but as a rule there’s substantially less of this on official European models.

What doesn’t change is the problem of over-optimisation. Funtouch aggressively manages app networking, battery use, and even permissions in the background, creating problems as it shuts off apps you thought were running, or blocks notifications.

Other incompatibilities are harder to explain. For some reason the autofill capability of my password manager, 1Password, will not work on this phone. It works on every other phone I test, including the previous Vivo X80 Pro, but for some reason I can’t autofill a password to save my life on this one.

Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry

One definite improvement is in long-term support at least: Vivo is now promising the X90 Pro will receive three Android version updates (taking it past this year’s Android 14 and through to Android 16) with security patches over the same period.

That’s not as impressive a commitment as you’ll get from Samsung, OnePlus, Google, or some others, but it’s a step up for Vivo, means you can rely on this phone to run well for at least a few years.

Price availability

The Vivo X90 Pro costs €1,199 across most of Europe – a €100 increase on last year’s X80 Pro.

Vivo had initially promised that the X90 Pro would launch in the UK too, but has since confirmed to Tech Advisor that this launch has been cancelled, so it’s import-only unfortunately. A US launch was never on the cards.

The price puts it pretty directly against competitors like the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max, but that’s a big ask for a phone with less brand recognition, fewer repair and warranty options, and a less polished software experience.

I still reckon that this is one of the best Android flagship phones around, especially where the camera is concerned, but at this price I’d forgive anyone for sticking with what they know.

Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry

For the full competition, check out our guide to all the best phones right now, the best phone cameras you can find, or the best Vivo phones for more from the brand.

Verdict

The Vivo X90 Pro is a powerful flagship by any measure, with perhaps the best phone camera you can buy outside of China – though it’s not without compromises.

Everywhere from the display, to the chipset, to the software experience, the X90 Pro is always good – and often great – but never the best around.

That all changes with the camera, where Vivo’s phone is almost unrivalled, especially when it comes to the absolutely brilliant main camera – by itself undoubtedly at the top of its game. The only real camera complaint is that with no periscope lens, this lacks the versatility of some rivals, including Samsung’s S23 Ultra.

Specs

  • Vivo V2 ISP
  • 50Mp f/1.75 main camera (Sony IMX989)
  • 12Mp f/2.0 108-degree ultrawide lens (Sony IMX663)
  • 50Mp f/1.6 2x portrait telephoto lens (Sony IMX758)
  • 32Mp f/2.45 selfie camera