Vivo made a big splash when it launched its new Vivo X50 Pro to global markets, including our own when they invited us for a soiree at the lush Marble restaurant in Rosebank, giving attention to its unique gimbal system, a first in smartphones. Niceties aside, how does the Vivo X50 Pro fare in real world? We take a deep dive to bring you that answer.
If the Vivo X50 was designed to bring a sense of confidence and serenity, the X50 Pro sends a message of luxury. That is mostly thanks to the glass material it uses on the back of its premium configuration.
It’s still a rather eccentric touch by today’s standards but not entirely original to some extent. After all, Apple is known for its glass rear obsession.
More than just being flashy, that textured glass back does also serve a practical purpose. It increases the phone’s gripp-ness, making it easier to hold the phone with confidence. That’s especially important given how thin and light the X50 Pro is, opposing the power it packs inside.
The front of the phone may not be as fancy but it is from being unexceptional, especially when the display is turned on. You’ll easily forget the punch-hole cut-out in the corner as your eyes take in the colours of the 6.56 AMOLED FHD+ display, which is capable of a 120Hz refresh rate. It is one of the brightest and most vibrant screens we’ve come across, making it easier to use the phone even under a bright sun.
The X50 Pro makes a few compromises in the hardware department, save for one important camera detail we’ll get to later. That means you’re getting 2020’s best, or at least early 2020, with a Snapdragon 765G providing the muscle, including 5G connectivity. There’s ample 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of UFS 3.1 storage.
What all this boils down to is a smartphone that won’t be wanting in power for whatever purpose you may have for it, be it for number-crunching games, frantic multi-tasking, or long days of binge-watching. We reckon synthetic benchmarks will put it around the area of this year’s top smartphones, though your own mileage will vary, of course. Suffice it to say, we found no instance of the Vivo X50 Pro chocking on any of the tasks we put it to.
Sooner or later, however, that phone’s battery will run out, even if it’s a large 4,315 mAh pack. That’s where Vivo’s 44W charging comes in. It only took 30 minutes to charge the phone from about 32% to 100%, well in line with the manufacturer’s advertised figures. Of course, you’ll need to always use Vivo’s charger for that magic to happen.
Vivo explains that the X series has always been geared towards offering pro photography features, but it is also where the phone makes its one and most important compromise. Unlike the somewhat entry range X50, the X50 Pro sports Vivo’s touted new gimbal system.
That said, it was almost as if the Vivo X50 Pro was made for the gimbal action, at least for taking still photos.
Of course, the X50 Pro has a dedicated night mode which, like all night modes, uses an HDR-like algorithm to compose multiple exposures into one bright shot. It works great even though you do not have a steady hand. It’s one of the many areas where that gimbal works wonders.
The X50 Pro does have a 5x optical zoom lens attached to a 13-megapixel sensor and while the output isn’t terrible, it’s not exactly outstanding either. Colour reproduction seems to be a bit inconsistent, depending on your zoom level, though at 5x zoom the amount of detail captured is quite impressive. The advertised 60x zoom is, of course, a hybrid type that is barely usable.
Although Vivo has a specific smartphone line just for selfies, the X50 Pro’s 32-megapixel front camera takes great photos nonetheless. Our only criticism, as always, is the creamy output even when beauty mode is turned off. Speaking of modes, Vivo’s camera app naturally supports a good number of them, even going as far as modifying aspects of your face if that is your thing.
The Vivo X50 Pro runs on the company’s latest Funtouch OS version that’s thankfully based on Android 10. That is not, however, the most notable part of the phone’s software experience.
The Vivo X50 Pro is an admirable 2020 premium smartphone that ticks all the boxes without going overboard. Powerful specs, well-performing cameras, and no-nonsense fast charging make it a well-balanced option in the smartphone market today. It definitely has the makings of a contender in the premium smartphone race but a spec sheet does not a successful smartphone make.
Unfortunately, these very same features also make it harder to stand out from the crowd. In that sense, the Vivo X50 Pro with its Gimbal System stands a better chance at getting noticed. The R17499 is definitely worth noting but rather unwarranted as the LG Velvet 5G comes in at R11799.