It has been a while since I last reviewed a flagship device. That is because I’ve aged and chosen to see the value of things. I’m kidding, I age backwards.
Jokes aside, the truth is, the smartphone industry has not changed much over the past two years since I got my iPhone XS. Android wise, I’m still rocking the Google Pixel 2XL that has a dead pixel (hint). So you can imagine how demanding I am as a consumer, let alone a tech reviewer.
When vivo asked me if I wanted to give their latest flagship, vivo X50 Pro 5G, a shot, I was thinking to myself, what’s new? It turned out to be a Gimbal Camera System. Sounds gimmicky but I decided to give it a try.
This review is broken down into six sections:
- Technical Specifications of the vivo X50 Pro 5G;
- Cameras/Gimbal Camera System;
- Battery Life;
- Audio; and
If you want to skip right ahead to the sections you want to know more about, just scroll to it. Let’s begin.
The vivo X50 Pro 5G is beautifully made and its Alpha Grey back definitely earns my swipe to the right anytime. Beyond its glamorous exterior, its interior is equally attractive as well.
Technical Specifications of the Vivo X50 Pro 5G
|Front camera||32 MP f/2.45|
|Rear camera||48 MP f/1.6, 13MP f2.46, 8MP f2.2, 8MP 3.4|
|Screen||6.56-inch at 90Hz|
|Operating System||Funtouch OS 10.5|
|Network||2G, 3G, 4G and 5G|
|SIM Slot Type||Dual Nano-SIM slot|
Sure, one may argue that the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G is no way at the tier of its 800 series. However, that does not mean it is not a good processor.
According to Qualcomm, the 765G “unites 5G and AI to power select premium experiences for gamers across the globe, including 5G gaming at multi-gigabit speeds and select Qualcomm® Snapdragon Elite Gaming™ features and support for all-day battery life.”
Looks like I am not the only one who is into value over cost.
Coupling the Snapdragon 765G with 8GB of RAM, you get a formidable duo that can keep the vivo X50 Pro 5G running without encountering any stutters. Slide in a 90Hz refresh rate into the combo and you get a silky smooth experience navigating the device and gaming.
During my two weeks with the device, I have yet to experience any lags or noticeable slowness to opening apps so it is all good in my books.
Now let’s talk a bit about the infinity/curved screen display before we move to the software section. I mentioned in my previous article that I was worried about accidentally touching the screen, which hinders my video-watching experience. Well, it happened again but not as frequent. It is better because of the casing they included in the box, which the thickness prevented by finger from accidentally touching the screen. So all good there though I still prefer a flat screen than a curved one.
The vivo X50 Pro runs on the latest Funtouch OS 10.5. If you are worried about it not being Android because of all the Huawei issue, don’t. That’s because underneath the Funtouch OS 10.5, it is still powered by Google’s Android 10.
Funtouch OS is vivo’s user interface (UI) that is specially designed by vivo to enhance your experience using their devices. So, if you look at the clock app, notes app, audio recorder app, etc., you will find a different look and feel from the stock Android version.
User interface aside, the Funtouch OS also includes other features, like Jovi, vivo’s artificial intelligence engine, exercise planner and iManager.
Speaking of iManager, love it. It cleans up junk files and clears cache so that the memory of the vivo X50 Pro 5G can continue to operate at a tip-top condition and keep lags at bay. But that’s not the primary reason why I appreciate it. The iManager detects security risks – system vulnerabilities, hazardous apps and trojan virus. With information security a key concern in today’s day and age, the iManager actually gives me peace of mind.
Of course, not everything about the software is beautiful and sweet. One thing that I don’t like about is the regular updates I receive. I do not know if it is because I am using a new device, there seems to always be something to update every few days on the vivo X50 Pro 5G. I know it is for the better experience but it kind of annoys me with the pop-up every now and then.
Another thing I dislike is the search for local and web content, which you can activate it by using a finger to pull down the screen. It is slow and sometimes unresponsive. I often have to go back to my trusty Google search bar to get my searches done.
Hopefully, with more updates (sigh), the search experience can be better using the default search feature.
Cameras/Gimbal Camera System
Everything about smartphones these days focuses on the cameras. A few years back, we thought one was enough. Fast forward to today, most phones have five. One at the front and four at the back.
The vivo X50 Pro 5G takes great photos. Of course, what matters is also the subject in the frame. With AI scene detection, you don’t really have to be a pro to take pro-like photos. Just look at these images that I took during one of my runs. I would say that the AI scene detection of the vivo X50 Pro is pretty accurate and it makes a good camera assistant. It detects what you are going to shoot and recommends the best angle for it. For my shots, most of the time, I’m asked to take wide-angle shots because of the breathtaking view. Nice, right?
If you are taking a subject that is far away, you have the option of using up to 5x telescopic zoom. You can push it a little more as the vivo X50 Pro 5G has a Hyper Zoom that lets you zoom in up to 60x. Of course, the image that you take will look like the one below. So for normal images, I will recommend that you do not go above the 5x telescopic zoom.
Now, you must be wondering, why did vivo put in a 60x Hyper Zoom when the quality is lacklustre. Well, the answer lies in the moon. There is a feature called Supermoon, which allows you to take a pretty clear image of the moon. I thought that it was a gimmick at first but boy was I in for a treat. This was taken by the vivo X50 Pro without any attachments except my steady hands, which is needed when you zoom in from 30 – 60x. Impressed? Me too.
Portrait mode was once the headline dominating feature of all smartphones. Now, it seems to have taken second place, making way for the wide-angle lens. Nevertheless, vivo did a good job keeping the second son in good shape. Pun unintended. Just look at my portrait here.
If I am not wrong, you can toggle the aperture for your portrait mode to as low as 0.95 though the specifications stated 1.6. But I wouldn’t go there. I think aperture f2.0 is still the best combination for portrait photos on this device. If you push it higher between 0.95 and 1.3, you will see the blurry edges appearing, which make your photos look too artificial.
When it comes to low-light or night photography, which I mentioned far too many times that you avoid doing on your smartphone, I’m actually quite impressed with the shots taken on the vivo X50 Pro. You can clearly see that the device put in a lot of hard work to sharpen the images and it did very well doing so. Sure, there were noises here and there but the camera did well keeping it minimal.
All in all, I don’t really have much issue with the vivo X50 Pro’s cameras. I think they can take really great shots and the Supermoon feature? Get out of here. It makes me extremely excited about the future of smartphone cameras. I mean, to take a super clear shot of the moon, I need to spend thousands of dollars for the camera and lens. For slightly more than a thousand bucks on a smartphone, I can get a good enough image of the moon? I say money well spent!
Now to the moment you are waiting for. The Gimbal Camera System. Gimmick or not? Not!
As a gimbal fan, I know that the ninja walk is the best way to use the gimbal to capture silky smooth footage. However, I always feel that the real test comes down to when you are running with it and that was what I did.
The gimbal worked pretty well. To give you some context, I was running. Not jogging. Although you can see from the footage that the Gimbal Camera System was trying to adjust itself constantly to the movement, it works. I feel that this is a game-changer for many aspiring film-makers and travel vloggers on a tight budget. Imagine the videos they can make with just a smartphone!
vivo X50 Pro 5G has a whopping 4,315 mAh battery. It is a capacity that is rare in today’s devices. Rarer than rare Pokémon.
The big battery capacity lasts me about 2 days. I am never a heavy smartphone user. My day-to-day use include checking on my emails, social media and watching YouTube videos. So if you do more than that, I would say you are good for 1.5 days.
If I needed a charge, I can get it juiced up quickly thanks to the vivo FlashCharge. vivo claims that a 30 minutes charge can give you up to 57 percent of power. During my test, it was not too far off at 51 per cent.
Remember when I mentioned my concern about the single mono-speaker at the bottom of the vivo X50 Pro? Turns out my concern was unfounded. It can get pretty loud for a single speaker. Of course, the downside is still it being at the bottom and it gets muffled easily when I hold it in my right hand to watch my videos. I wouldn’t say that the audio is crisp and clear but it is definitely better than I expected. Here’s the sound test. It’s not even the loudest yet.
vivo has come a long way with its smartphone technology and the vivo X50 Pro 5G is its living proof. Its cameras, the new Gimbal Camera System and battery life are definitely three key reasons why you should consider the vivo X50 Pro as your next smartphone. Audio wise, I believe I wouldn’t mind paying a hundred bucks more for stereo but if you are not an audiophile, the mono speaker is good enough.
At only S$1,099, I feel that the vivo X50 Pro 5G should definitely be on your shortlist if you are in the market for a new device. It is now available at all major telcos i.e. M1, StarHub and Singtel and authorised retailers.