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Vivo X50 Pro Review: Pros, Cons And The X-Factor
Vivo X50 Pro is the company's most expensive smartphone in India after the 'Nex' series. The new series marks the brand's second innings into the premium price bracket which is mostly dominated by the likes of OnePlus and Samsung with a recent entry by Xiaomi (Mi 10 5G) and the Apple iPhone SE 2020. The X50 Pro doesn't stress on the specifications; instead, it focuses on delivering a pro-grade photography experience with good overall performance.
- Stunning Design
- Vibrant 90Hz Refresh Rate Panel
- Good Overall Camera
- Gimbal Mode Works Well
- Impressive Low-Light Shooter
- Lacklustre Software Experience
- No IP Rating
- No microSD Card
Priced at Rs. 49,990, the X50 Pro brings the world's first miniaturized gimbal camera setup for super steady video output. The smartphone is powered by the all-new 5G-enabled Qualcomm chipset and flaunts a 90Hz refresh rate OLED panel.
In short, it has all the bells and whistles of a premium smartphone but does this spec-sheet translates to a good real-world performance? The following review might help you out in making the right decision.
Gimbal Camera For Steady Video Recording
The Vivo X50 Pro's camera setup features a miniaturized gimbal camera system. The tiny setup applies both OIS and EIS to effectively cut down jerks while you shoot videos with the handset. This first-of-its-kind miniaturized physical motor is stacked on the 48MP primary sensor to produce shake-free videos. While the primary sensor can capture 4K 60fps videos, the ultra steady mode maxes out video resolution at 1080 60fps.
The output is crisp and smooth. The tiny gimbal motor effectively cuts down unwanted jerks and shakes. As a result, the video output looks excellent if you are simply walking and shooting videos. The steadiness remains intact even if you are running at a steady pace and recording handheld videos.
The results are pretty impressive for a miniaturized gimbal setup placed inside a square inch of a camera module. This makes the X50 Pro a great video recording device for content creators, especially for avid travelers who create travel blogs for YouTube and Instagram.
But there is some room for improvement. The gimbal system is not very effective in counteracting the sudden jerks, especially if you pan the camera in the X-axis. The Galaxy S10 Lite with Super Steady mode performs better in similar situations.
The Vivo X50 Pro comes in a sleek metal-glass body which feels robust in hands. The curved OLED screen has extremely thin bezels and a punch hole at the top left corner. The phone has a glass sandwich design with a premium frosted finish at the rear panel that feels quite satisfying to touch. Vivo has also managed to keep thickness and weight in check despite giving a periscope camera array at the rear panel.
The X50 Pro has a thickness of 8.04mm and weighs 181.5 grams making it fairly lightweight and comfortable in day-to-day use. It feels much lighter than the OnePlus 8-series devices, the Mi 10 5G and the Apple iPhones.
The X50 Pro has a snappy in-screen optical fingerprint scanner. The smartphone comes equipped with a dual-SIM card tray, a Type-C charging port and single bottom-firing speaker.
Overall, the Vivo X50 Pro is easily one of the best-looking smartphone you can buy today in the Indian market. The smartphone is available in Alpha Grey color variant.
Crisp And Vibrant 90Hz AMOLED Display
The X50 Pro has one of the finest curved OLED screens and is undoubtedly the best OLED on a Vivo smartphone. It's a 6.56-inch panel with 2,376 x 1,080 pixels (398ppi) that takes up the entire front of the handset to offer an immersive viewing experience. The OLED display has a 90Hz refresh rate and 180Hz touch sampling rate which makes it extremely touch responsive.
That said, the UI navigation and scrolling feel buttery smooth on the X50 Pro. The screen also offers support for HDR10+ support and DCI-P3 color gamut. It offers deeper blacks and excellent viewing angles. The panel is also Widevine L1 DRM certified to offer HD video playback on popular streaming applications. The peak brightness level is adequate for indoor use but not the best we have tested for outdoor use in this price segment.
Periscope Camera For Up To 60x Zoom
The Vivo X50 Pro can zoom up to 60x. The far-field zoom is achieved by an 8MP periscope camera which uses a rather narrow f/3.4 aperture. The 135mm lens supports four-axis optical image stabilization and offers up to 5x optical zoom and up 60x digital zoom. The 5x optical zoom shots turned out very good. The colors look natural and images show good contrast. Even the 10x shots show decent details and can be posted on social media platforms. You can keep zooming in on the subject to 60x but the output keeps deteriorating due to the digital nature of the far-field zoom.
Vivo X50 Pro Captures Impressive Portraits
The X50 Pro uses a 13MP depth sensor that captures excellent portraits. The dedicated depth sensor uses a narrow f/2.48 aperture but produces impressive results when fed to ample lighting. It is essentially a 50mm lens with 2x optical zoom creating pleasing bokeh. Check out the subject isolation in the above image. It almost looks like an image shot on a DSLR. The camera app also allows you to control the bokeh effect in real-time and you can also customize the effect after taking the shots.
Impressive Low-Light And Night Photography Results
The Vivo X50 Pro is an excellent smartphone for low-light and night photography, thanks to the miniaturized gimbal camera setup. As it keeps the primary sensor stabilized, more light can enter into the camera setup to help you capture bright shots in challenging light situations. It is because of the gimbal setup that the X50 Pro takes well-lit shots even with the standard photo mode. The images come out well exposed and show vibrant colors and good contrast. You can enable the dedicated night mode if the ambient light is really low. The night mode takes around 3 seconds to deliver results. It cuts down the noise, preserves the highlights and shadows and creates well-lit shots.
Tripod Mode For Dark Scenarios
Vivo has also added a ‘Tripod mode' for extra dark scenarios. The mode can create some remarkable shots if you have a tripod handy. This particular mode takes around 18 seconds to capture a shot and the results are mind-blowing. I can confidently say that Vivo has somehow managed to surpass Google Pixel smartphones for night time photography. The company has also thrown in some nice filters to let you experiment with night photography. These include- Black and Golden, Blue Ice, Green Orange and Cyberpunk.
Smooth Day-To-Day And Gaming Performance
The Vivo X50 Pro does not come at par with the SD865 powered smartphones but with the new Snapdragon 765, the Qualcomm's mid-range 5G-enabled chipset and 8GB of RAM, the X50 Pro ensures smooth day-to-day performance. The X50 Pro can easily handle multitasking and power-intensive tasks. I could easily edit 1080p 60fps and even 4K videos in the phone's feature-rich native video-editing app and even on third-party apps without any performance issues. The phone's software is also very well optimized and runs smoothly for most of the part.
The X50 Pro can also handle the most popular gaming titles. The 7nm chipset has the capable Adreno 620 that allows for lag-free and immersive gaming on the curved AMOLED display. The phone's lightweight and sleek body make long gaming sessions fun. Most importantly, I also did not experience any heating and throttling issues on the handset. The smartphone maintained good overall performance even with long gaming sessions and video playback.
Good Battery Life And Fast Charging
The X50 Pro is powered by a modest 4,315 mAh battery cell which draws power from a 33W fast charging adaptor. The phone can easily last a day with light to moderate usage and the bundled 33W fast-charger can refuel the battery cell from flat to 50% in less than 30 mins. The fast charger takes around 70 minutes to recharge the battery to 100%.
Display’s Peak Brightness Level Could Have Been Better
The AMOLED panel on the X50 Pro gets comfortably bright for indoor use at both higher and standard refresh rates. The brightness seems to take a slight hit if you are using the X50 Pro under direct sunlight with the screen running at 90Hz refresh rate. It seems that the peak brightness is only applicable at lower refresh rate which shouldn't be the ideal case.
No IP Rating And No microSD Card Support
While the design is an instant head-turner, it has one drawback. For a smartphone which is priced Rs. 50,000, the lack of an official IP rating for protection against water and dust is a big letdown. Vivo should have offered a water-resistant chassis with the X50 Pro to make the most out of the smartphone's usage in the day-to-day routine. Also, you cannot expand the internal storage on the Vivo X50 Pro as the handset does not offer microSD card support.
Least Intuitive Software Skin
It is only the software user-experience where the X50 Pro fails to impress to some extent. The problem is not how the FunTouch OS runs on the new premium device but how it is designed as a custom skin to run on Google's open-source mobile OS. Even though it is very well-optimized and comes loaded with useful features, the custom software skin just feels less user-friendly. For instance, the notification tray will give you a tough time if you have swiped down all the notifications and then try to close the tray without clearing all the notifications.
Vivo has added the app drawer but you cannot customize the order of apps nor can you change its background. Also, you cannot disable or delete the search history of the app search bar in the drawer. The FunTouch OS also doesn't allow you to place apps of your choice on the default lock screen. You are forced to download additional lock screens from the Vivo's app store to place apps of your choice. If you enable the dark mode, the video slider tool also turns dark which is going to give a tough time if you want to scroll the video to a specific time.
There are many other pain points that you will experience while using a Vivo device. But I am still glad that major issues have been addressed by the brand. The FunTouch OS gets many other things right such as Android 10 gestures, Game mode features, dark mode, Always-on Display mode, animations, etc. The settings menu offers functions to tweak almost everything about the UI which lets you make the most out of an Android ecosystem.
You should only invest in the Vivo X50 Pro if you are a content creator and always shooting videos for your YouTube channel or IGTV. It's a smartphone for photography enthusiasts who take mobile photography seriously. The miniaturized gimbal camera setup is no gimmick and is very much capable of recording shake-free videos. Also, the phone's low-light camera capabilities have impressed us a lot.
Considering the lack of 5G infrastructure in India, Vivo should have also launched a 4G-only variant of the X50 Pro with the same gimbal camera setup. This would have reduced the overall price to a good extent to make the X50 Pro a good option for buyers in India. That said, If you don't care much about steady video recording, there are several alternatives to the X50 Pro.
You can consider the OnePlus 8, Realme X50 Pro, Xiaomi Mi 10 5G, iQOO 3 5G and the recently launched Realme X3 SuperZoom. These smartphones have faster chipsets for good overall performance; however, none matches the camera performance of the X50 Pro.