The Vivo X80 Pro is the continuation of a series of flagship devices set to conquer the global market. While it’s well known in China and Asian countries, the push into Europe started with the Vivo X51 (called the Vivo X50 Pro elsewhere) in 2020.
We’ve seen quite a few models already-the X60 Pro and X70 Pro+ followed (both in 2021) and now the Vivo X80 Pro wants to grab your attention. And attention is something Vivo is throwing out: its sponsorship of (delayed) 2020 has shown just how seriously Vivo takes things.
you might think the X80 Pro is a camera. But it’s not: it’s a smartphone, and there’s a lot more at stake than just camera performance. Yes, the camera is capable, but it’s complex and offers a wealth of features that won’t be for everyone.
The rest of the phone is good too: there’s plenty of power, decent enough battery life, and a great display that looks good in pretty much all conditions, but Vivo’s FunTouch OS software seems to cause issues it shouldn’t. That’s what keeps the X80 Pro from offering the smoothest experience – and while no phone is perfect, to persuade a Pixel 6 Pro or Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra customer to switch to Vivo, you’ll need to improve that experience.
164.57 x 75.30 x 9.10mm; 219g.
Vivo continues the design trend that started with the Vivo X70 Pro+, with the biggest focus being the huge camera unit on the back of the phone. It dominates the top half of the phone as a large square block containing a circular section that houses some of the lenses, with a periscope camera protruding from the circular.
It’s similar to the X70 Pro+ with the lenses arranged in a row down one side, but that’s not the only similarity to the X70 Pro+. These phones look very similar, with rounded edges, the same button layout, and an inscription on the top that means “professional photography.” We like this little addition. It’s an interesting point, similar to the “Sound by JBL” writing on the Redmi Note 11 Pro+.
Glass is used for the rear, but it has a matte texture. In fact, it’s a lush finish, dubbed Cosmic Black: it’s silky smooth and shimmers when the light hits it. Inside the box is a case that actually only protects the back of the phone and is soft to the touch, a bit like leather.
In reality, the supplied case does not offer any protection for the display. So if you really want to protect your phone, you should look for something better. And that’s a good thing because the Vivo X80 Pro is a pretty slippery device.
The Vivo X80 Pro comes with stereo speakers that support gaming or social media video playback, but there’s no 3.5mm headphone jack. To protect the headset from the ingress of dust and water, it has an IP68 protection class.
6.78 inches, 3200 x 1440 pixels (517ppi).
LTPO AMOLED, 1-120Hz
The Vivo X80 Pro has a very powerful display. It’s similar to the X70 Pro+, with rounded edges and fairly minimal bezels. The front camera is in a recess in the middle.
It’s an LTPO AMOLED display, which means it can switch between 1-120Hz refresh rates depending on what you’re doing. The goal is to achieve the best refresh rate and save power by slowing down the refresh rate when it doesn’t need to update quickly, like when reading static text.
There’s also the option to choose between 60 and 120Hz, as well as the option for FHD+ resolution instead of full resolution. All of these measures are designed to conserve battery life.
The display is bright and luminous, offering good visibility even in bright weather.
Curved edges aren’t as en vogue as they used to be: while they’re still a hallmark of big flagship phones (mainly to support one-handed use), they mean some content can flow over the edges and some touches cannot be registered so well directly at the edges.
That’s why you’ll find flat displays on gaming phones, but we like the overall effect here and found there’s little to complain about-it’s a great display that makes your content look good.
Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, 12GB (+4GB) RAM
4700mAh battery, 80W wired, 50W wireless
The Vivo X80 Pro gets the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, the hardware that will power many flagship devices in 2022. That sets it apart from the standard Vivo X80, which gets the MediaTek Dimensity 9000 instead (and won’t be available in Europe).
That means it’s 5G-capable, and we’ve found connectivity to be pretty good, with no issues with Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, but we’ve occasionally seen the X80 Pro Sample drop cellular connectivity and report that there is no SIM, before quickly restoring all services and returning to normal. This might be a limited exception-but we’ll keep an eye on it and update as necessary.
As for the core hardware, it’s a powerful phone and delivers flagship performance; it offers a lag-free experience and we’ve found it handles demanding games like Call of Duty Mobile with flying colors. During intense gaming, the device heats up a bit, but not to an extent that would worry us, but it definitely does get warm.
The battery isn’t the biggest you’ll find in this size of the device, with some pushing over 5000mAh. Instead, it has a 4700 mAh battery with an 80W cable charger and a 50W wireless charger. The UK sample we tested comes with an 80W charger in the box, and considering other devices charge extra for this, that’s a welcome addition.
While not the fastest, the charging process takes around 35 minutes, which is very useful. Battery life is generally pretty good in our experience, and we’ve found it to get through a day of mixed-use without encountering any issues.
The software experience that FunTouch OS 12 offers over Android 12 seem stable enough. It looks and acts like stock Android, for the most part, giving you a few options like navigation controls when you first set up the phone.
If you delve a little deeper, you’ll find a huge number of customization options such as B. how the animation works, custom sound options for headphones, and much more. It took some wrestling for some features to work properly-Do Not Disturb, for example, refused to use the On a busy schedule, you have to search a lot to find the option to get a new wallpaper on both the home screen and the lock screen – and then it seems more random or more difficult than it needs to be.
We’ve also noticed that some notifications appear rather randomly, including, alarmingly, those for our video doorbell. These aren’t always delivered, so when using this phone, we’ve had to keep another switched on to ensure we get these notifications. Then there are other annoyances: the Albums app included with Vivo issues a “Reminders” notification based on three boring photos we took the day before and restricts the ability to disable system-level notifications, which is extremely annoying.
So the software is a mixed bag: it’s close to being a truly great experience, but there are still some preloaded redundancies and additional options that don’t always seem to do anything other than change.
Many phones boast of a “quad-camera,” but few actually have four viable lenses. Not so the Vivo X80 Pro, which offers a good camera in each of these positions. The system was developed in cooperation with Zeiss, as was the case with the X60 models.
That means you get the Zeiss T* marking on the back of the phone, which conveys a kind of quality perception, although, in reality, it feels like the Zeiss involvement has led to a range of filters and options in the camera that replicates some of the things Zeiss has done in optics elsewhere.
That means you’ll find Zeiss portrait options and access some Zeiss video options, including a cinematic 2.39:1 aspect ratio. There’s also a wide range of filters and styles, but it makes you I wonder how many people want those when they’re recording rather than editing a style after the fact. Also, be warned that these often stay in place once you’ve selected them. So when you come back to take a selfie, the previous filter is often still in place, which might surprise you— there’s an option in the Preserve Settings menu that you might want to turn off.
Although Vivo allows you to edit images, any effects you applied to the photo when it was taken are permanent, with the exception of bokeh in Portrait mode. There are filters in the Albums app that you can later apply to photos, but these seem to have different names than those offered in the Camera app itself, so it’s inconsistent at best.
As I said, the camera system is good. One of the interesting things that Zeiss does with photos is the ability to activate Zeiss Natural Color with a tap. The idea is to sidestep the saturated look So tap the Zeiss button and you’ll find the sky less blue, the grass less green, and your photo less exciting.
As with some of the features Sony is pushing on its Xperia phones, there’s a feeling that the pursuit of photographic purity often runs counter to what’s actually popular in smartphone photography and social media. Realism often takes a back seat as people tweak contrast and increase saturation for richer results, but it’s there when you want it.
Then there’s the problem that the main camera has a shallow depth of field-f/1.57. This means if you get too close to a subject of some depth, it’s likely to blur because you only have a short distance to focus on the flower photos we’ve included. While the larger aperture is ideal for low-light situations, you may need to use a different lens for sharper close-ups.
And in low light, the rear camera performs well. It’s able to capture color in low light, which the Pixel 6 Pro doesn’t, although the most valuable mode is only 6 seconds long, and unless you hold the camera steady-or if there’s movement-all you get is a blur.
Of particular interest is the introduction of the two periscope cameras. These offer great quality at longer distances, and from the normal viewfinder, you can tap or pinch to activate 2x and 5x zoom – with up to 60x digital zoom on top.
By default, the 2x lens is used as the portrait lens that gets close to the subject. You can also opt for the 1x or 5x lens, though, with the X80 happily jumping through its lenses. The portrait lens is gimbaled to compensate for the camera shake and capture sharp shots. Edge detection on portraits works well.
Vivo boasts of video stabilization, and even that isn’t as easy as it should be: at first you can enable different levels of stabilization, but once you’ve picked the ultra option, there’s another toggle switch elsewhere for “super anti-shake pro”. There’s also a horizontal lock (with a portrait or landscape option) that offers tremendous stabilization when you’re moving around a lot. The performance is really impressive, but it should be implemented in a simpler way.
In reality, there are plenty of options for those wanting to record video, including 4K/60fps and 8K/20fps, – but there’s also the option for 1080/24fps in the cinematic section. Certainly, there is no shortage of things to pay with.
The front camera is pretty good. Once you turn off the pesky watermark, disable mirroring, and turn off beauty mode that makes you look like your face has been smeared, you get good results, but it has a tight focus and can get caught if you move. It doesn’t seem to have the AI intelligence that some other cameras have in tricky situations, and it doesn’t clean up noise in low light as effectively as some rivals in darker shots.
In reality, there’s more to this camera than we can list in a review, but returning to the earlier point that Vivo seems to want you to do everything in the camera app rather than in an editing app afterward optimize – and we wonder if that’s what people want. Because when you capture something that’s specially styled, there’s no turning back-but when you capture a great normal picture, you have a whole world of editing possibilities to be more creative.
All in all, it’s a compelling camera system that can get a good result in most conditions, even if you decide not to use any of the additional settings or options.
The Vivo X80 Pro is a viable flagship phone with a focus on the camera. The camera is a little muddled and tries to do way too much for you. Ditto for the FunTouch OS in general, making too much fuss about things that don’t need to be—worst of all, some notifications never arrive. But at its core, this is a powerful smartphone that offers a flagship experience.