TodayPic

Like

  • Sleek lines and slender design,
  • Impressive zoom
  • Gimbal camera keeps video super steady
  • 5G connectivity

Don’t Like

  • Lack of stereo speakers
  • Not water resistant
  • Swipe down to answer calls

The Vivo X50 Pro is a midrange phone on the higher end of that spectrum and has many of the trappings of an enticing flagship. Starting at approximately $670, you get a crystalline screen, 5G, a powerful battery, a speedy display and fast charging. But the phone also has a camera feature that undeniably distinguishes it from its rivals. The X50 Pro is the world’s first mass-produced phone with a built-in gimbal camera system that allows you to capture smooth, fast-action video with the click of a button. Out of Vivo’s trio of X50 handsets — which the Chinese phone-maker is marketing as a professional photography flagship — the X50 Pro is the only one to boast this futuristic feature. But Vivo did make a few compromises. For instance, it lacks stereo speakers (a big drawback for music lovers like myself) and it isn’t water resistant, which many phones of this class are. It also has a midrange processor (Snapdragon 765G) instead of the most advanced chipset available.

If you’re not fussed about shooting action video, you’re better off buying Vivo’s base X50 or the OnePlus Nord. Both have comparable specs but don’t charge a premium for advanced video gimbals and hardware. The X50 and Nord feature a quad-camera system led by a 48-megapixel shooter, the same chipset and a fast display, but are nearly $100 to $200 cheaper respectively. But if being splash-proof is important to you, consider the iPhone 11 ($699 at Apple).

Vivo doesn’t currently have plans to officially release the phone in the US. But X50 phones have been released in parts of Asia and Europe, so they’ll be reasonably easy to import. Pricing also varies based on country with prices trending higher in Western countries. In India, the base variant (with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage) starts at 49,990 rupees (approximately $670, £510 or AU$930), while in Eastern Europe it starts at the equivalent of $780. 

Vivo’s X50 Pro features a 6.5-inch AMOLED display. 


Sareena Dayaram/CNET

The X50 Pro’s gimbal camera delivers

The X50 Pro has multiple rear cameras. The entire setup uses a gimbal-like system and a combination of optical image stabilization and electronic image stabilization to produce incredibly stable video. Vivo says its gimbal system reduces shakiness by up to three times compared to traditional stabilization technology, thanks to a “double ball structure” that allows it to rotate on three axes.

I captured a bunch of video in different lighting conditions to see how well the X50 Pro stacked up against another phone known for its video-camera prowess, the iPhone 11 Pro Max. In short, the X50 Pro performed very well. When I recorded video while walking in daylight and panning the cameras from side to side, I didn’t see much of a difference between the two phones. Both captured stable footage without any obvious jerkiness. 

The differences were noticeable, however, when running, especially in darker conditions. Although the X50 Pro’s output was steady and seamless, there were several times when the camera went out of focus and blurred slightly. The iPhone 11 Pro Max’s footage, on the other hand, always remained in focus but was extremely shaky. In the end, I preferred video from the X50 Pro because it was easier for me to watch stable video with occasional blurs rather than jerky footage. Apart from video, another use-case for the gimbal system is taking photos while zooming. I was able to more easily capture some great photos zoomed in because of the stability it provided. 

Bottom line: The X50 Pro’s gimbal-style camera is impressive and generally delivers what it promises. But it cannot replace a full-sized gimbal — it is built into a phone after all. And while its technology is unique, its videos aren’t earth-shatteringly better than, say, what you get on the pricier iPhone 11 Pro Max.

The X50 Pro’s design is slender and classic

Though its design isn’t wholly unique, the Vivo’s X50 Pro is still a sleek phone with a classic aesthetic. I prefer designs like this because they’re more enduring rather than envelope-pushing trends that seem to fade away (remember pop-up selfie cameras?). The X50 Pro has a spacious 6.56-inch curved display with a discreet hole-punch selfie camera. On the back there’s a larger than average rectangular protrusion that’s home to a rear quad-camera module and the phone’s headline gimbal feature.

The X50 Pro comes in gray, which I love. Its subtle sheen adds to the phone’s premium look. Overall the X50 Pro is neither heavy or exceptionally lightweight, but it is relatively slim, which allows me to type out emails and messages using one hand.

The X50 Pro’s screen has a higher 90Hz refresh rate than most phones, which have 60Hz displays. It offers a silky smooth experience, which I really like, though it’s not as high as the 120Hz screens on the OnePlus 8 Pro and Galaxy S20.

Vivo’s rear camera setup is headlined by a 48-megapixel shooter.


Sareena Dayaram/CNET

The X50 Pro’s multiple cameras have range

In addition to the phone’s main 48-megapixel sensor, there are two telephoto shooters and an 8-megapixel ultrawide-angle lens. These multiple cameras offer plenty of variety and range in terms of photographic possibilities, which I really appreciate. For example, the ultrawide camera has a 120-degree field of view, while the periscope zoom camera can zoom in on an object up to 60x.

In general, the X50 Pro captured crisp and vibrant photos that captured my surroundings wonderfully and with accurate colors. But in certain lighting conditions, during sunset for example, photos were more saturated and punched-up in the X50 Pro than the iPhone 11 Pro. Whichever photo you prefer is likely a matter of personal preference, but you can see the difference for yourself in the photos below. Keep in mind that the monitor you’re viewing these pictures on has an affect as well.

The Vivo X50 Pro captured a fiery yellow-orange sunset (left), while the photograph taken by the iPhone XS Max (right) was more true to life. 


Sareena Dayaram/CNET

This photo was taken indoors with the default lens. As you can see, there was natural light pouring through the windows and it wasn’t the easiest lighting conditions for the camera to work with, but the image came out well.


Sareena Dayaram/CNET

This image was taken using the default shooter and is more saturated in the photo than it was in real life.


Sareena Dayaram/CNET

This image was taken at night using the camera’s dedicated Night Mode setting.


Sareena Dayaram/CNET

The phone’s 60x zoom, known as “Hyper Zoom,” doesn’t close in as intimately as the Galaxy S20 Ultra’s 100x “Space Zoom,” but I was still blown away by the sheer power of it. Photos were blurry, but they still retained detail that I couldn’t see with my own eyes. And when I didn’t need to zoom that far, I was also able to take sharp and detailed images at 5x optical zoom, which few phones have.

Vivo’s X50 Pro has range. Using its 60x hyper zoom, I was able to zoom into the sign on the hotel on the opposite side of the harbor. I couldn’t see the sign with my naked eye and did not know it existed till I zoomed in with the phone.


Sareena Dayaram/CNET

This image was taken on default settings (1x).


Sareena Dayaram/CNET

Zooming in 5x.


Sareena Dayaram/CNET

Zooming in 10x.


Sareena Dayaram/CNET

The four zoom modes side by side.


Sareena Dayaram/CNET

The phone’s ultrawide lens captured sprawling landscapes and sunsets. Colors, however, weren’t as true to life as they appeared when I took pictures with the X50 Pro’s other lenses in most lighting conditions. For some reason, blues were darker on images taken with the ultrawide lens. This isn’t a major flaw, but color accuracy is super important to photographers, and they’re who Vivo is actively courting with this phone.

X50 Pro’s software features and UI

The X50 Pro runs FunTouch OS 10.5 on top of Android 10. It’s a clean interface that’s easy to use. There was some bloatware, but most of it could be turned off and it didn’t bother me much. The X50 Pro also comes with dark mode, an always-on display option and an app drawer. It also has circular icons, which I prefer to the rigidness of square ones.

Like most Android 10 phones, you’ll use swiping gesture controls to navigate through the phone. But the phone does have some unintuitive controls of its own. In the early days of my reviewing the X50 Pro, for example, I accidentally hung up on a bunch of incoming calls. That’s because to answer a call you need to swipe down as opposed to up, which is the more common direction on Android phones. 

X50 Pro battery and performance

The X50 Pro’s battery comfortably lasted me throughout the day with mild usage. That means I used it for light gameplay, reading the news on various apps, answering emails, scanning my social media account and chatting with loved ones on WhatsApp. When I continuously played an HD video on Airplane mode for battery tests, the phone lasted 15 hours, 22 minutes at 50% brightness. 

When it did eventually run out of juice, it took the phone between 52 to 73 minutes to reach a full charge using the bundled 33-watt flash charger (during the three times that I tested it). That’s a pretty good time — most premium phones take about 90 minutes to fully charge.  By comparison, Apple says the fast charger that comes with its iPhone 11 Pro can hit a 50% charge in 30 minutes. Fast charging is super handy, especially for those occasions when I’m about to leave my apartment and I realize my phone is almost dead. 

The phone’s Snapdragon 765G processor (the G stands for gaming BTW) is a lower-cost option for phone-makers to equip their phones with 5G. It isn’t as powerful as the Snapdragon 865 chipset (as seen in the OnePlus 8 Pro ($999 at OnePlus) and the Galaxy S20 line), but the 765G provided more than enough power for all my processing needs. The X50 Pro stacked up well in benchmark tests against other phones equipped with the same chip like the OnePlus Nord and LG Velvet. And when I played more demanding, graphics-intensive games such as PUBG, I didn’t notice any lags or stuttering. The gaming experience was immersive and graphics were crisp.

3DMark Slingshot

OnePlus Nord

OnePlus 8 Pro

Apple iPhone SE

Samsung Galaxy A51

Vivo X50 Pro

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

Geekbench v.5.0 single-core

OnePlus Nord

OnePlus 8 Pro

Apple iPhone SE

Samsung Galaxy A51

Vivo X50 Pro

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

Geekbench v.5.0 multicore

OnePlus Nord

OnePlus 8 Pro

Apple iPhone SE

Samsung Galaxy A51

Vivo X50 Pro

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance.

Vivo X50 specs vs. X50 Pro vs. rivals

Vivo X50 Vivo X50 Pro OnePlus Nord OnePlus 8 iPhone 11
Display size, resolution 6.5-inch AMOLED 6.5-inch AMOLED; 2376×1,080 pixels 6.44-inch; 2,400×1,080 pixels 6.55-inch AMOLED; 2,400×1,080 pixels 6.1-inch LCD Liquid Retina; 1,792×828 pixels
Dimensions (Inches) 6.28 x 2.96 x 0.29 6.28 x 2.97 x 0.29 inches 6.23 x 2.88 x 0.32 inches 6.3 x 2.8 x 0.31 inches 5.94 x 2.98 x 0.33 inches
Dimensions (Millimeters) 159.54 x 75.4 x 7.55mm 158.46 x 72.8 x 8.04mm 158.3 x 73.3 x 8.2mm 160 x 72.9 x 8.0 mm 150.9×75.7×8.3 mm
Weight (Ounces, Grams) 174.5g 181.5 grams 6.49 oz; 184g 6.35 oz; 180g 6.84 oz; 194g
Mobile software (at launch) Android 10 Android 10 Android 10 Android 10 iOS 13
Camera 48-megapixel (main), 8-megapixel (ultra wide-angle), 5-megapixel (macro), 13-megapixel (portrait telephoto) 48-megapixel (main), 8-megapixel (ultra wide-angle), 8-megapixel (periscope), 13-megapixel (portrait telephoto) 48-megapixel (standard), 12-megapixel (wide-angle), 2-megapixel (macro), 5-megapixel (depth-sensing) 48-megapixel (standard), 16-megapixel (ultra-wide), 2-megapixel (macro) 12-megapixel (wide), 12-megapixel (ultra-wide)
Front-facing camera 32-megapixel 32-megapixel 32-megapixel, 8-megapixel (wide-angle) 16-megapixel 12-megapixel with Face ID
Processor Snapdragon 765G Snapdragon 765G Snapdragon 765G Snapdragon 865 A13 Bionic
Video capture 4K 4K 4K 4K 4K
Storage 128GB, 256GB 128GB, 256GB 128GB, 256GB 128GB, 256GB 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
RAM 8GB 8GB 8GB,12GB 8GB, 12GB Not disclosed
Expandable storage No No No No No
Battery 4,200 mAh 4,315 mAH  4,115 mAh 4,300 mAh Not disclosed, but Apple claims it will last 1 hour longer than iPhone XR
Fingerprint sensor Yes Yes In-screen In-screen None (Face ID)
Connector USB-C USB-C USB-C USB-C Lightning
Headphone jack No No No No No
Special features 5G enabled, 20x Digitial Zoom, 90Hz refresh rate Gimbal-like camera, 60x hyperzoom, 90Hz refresh rate, dual SIM support, 33W fast charging 5G enabled, 90Hz refresh rate, 30W fast-charging 5G enabled; Warp Charge; 90Hz refresh rate Water resistant (IP68); dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM); wireless charging
Price (USD) at launch $470 for 128GB (converted from 34,990 rupees) $665 for 128GB (converted from 49,990 rupees ) $572 (converted from 500 euros) $699 (8GB RAM/128GB), $799 (12GB RAM/256GB) $699 (64GB), $749 (128GB), $849 (256GB)

Source
CNET – Photography

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