We had already begun to understand vivo's intentions at the time of the X50 and X60 Pro Plus. In recent years, the brand has brought to the market diamonds in the rough which, series after series, has improved and made more and more competitive, then arriving at the highly appreciated Vivo X70 Pro Plus. However, we are now in 2022 and the brand has decided to discover its cards and focus on poker, taking quite a few risks: Vivo X80 it is the new top of the range of the company, it has a first-class hardware with some goodies never seen before in a smartphone, but it costs 1299 euros.
And it is precisely on the basis of the price that we will evaluate it: because from a smartphone that officially costs 1300 euros I expect the best in every sector. In short, it is useless to go around it: the risk that, by selling a product at this price, vivo took the longest step of the leg is very high. But as we will see, the brand has decided to aim for the top in every sector, introducing features never seen in a smartphone until today.
Vivo X80 Pro review: features, camera, price and alternatives
Design and materials
Although at first glance many might say that the design of the vivo X80 Pro it is similar to what we saw with the X70 Pro Plus, in reality the brand's new smartphone takes its cue from another product that we reviewed at the beginning of 2022: the iQOO 9 Pro (review here). And that's okay: let's not forget that iQOO is a sub-brand of vivo, and I'm pretty sure that even in the vivo X80 Pro the huge camera bump positioned on the back (identical, in fact, to that of the iQOO) was born for a double purpose: to highlight the collaboration with Zeiss and, above all, to improve the dissipation of the temperatures generated by the now well-known Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen. 1. And, I anticipate, there are (almost) successful, but halfway.
Indeed, however, there are similarities with the X70 Pro Plus. Both products front feature a 6.68-inch OLED QHD + panel, and the back cover continues to be made with a glass panel made with a technology called AG Fluorite, which gives it a matte and "bright" look at the same time, very similar to that of sandpaper.
What actually changes is the appearance of the camera bump which, although it continues to be broadly the same size, in the vivo X80 Pro it has all the cameras inserted in a circular section, with the exception of the periscope zoom, which has been positioned in a corner of the rectangular area.
In short, whether you hate it or love it, the positioning of the cameras certainly seems to make more sense in this respect vivo X80 Pro rather than in the X70 Pro Plus, but the camera bump has a small problem: if the back cover is able to manage fingerprints very well, the glass that protects the entire area of the cameras instead suffers a lot and, to eliminate fingerprints and dust, it will have to be cleaned continuously.
There is also an IR blaster, positioned in the upper frame, and integrates a pair of stereo speakers that are able to guarantee audio with good spatiality, but with a small balance problem (which we will talk about very shortly).
As for the screen, in the vivo X80 Pro we are at the top of the category. If we want to be honest, in the brand's new top of the range the company used the same, identical panel that we saw in the iQOO 9 Pro: and it did well. Also because we are talking about a second generation LTPO 1440p AMOLED, with a variable refresh rate capable of up to 120 Hz and a peak brightness of 1500 nits. And there is poco to do, when you look at an E5 panel, you are never disappointed in the quality and subtlety of the colors. Even in blacks and the contrast are excellent, and there really is poco to object to the work done by iQOO and Samsung.
It is compatible with Dolby Vision and HDR10 +, but the only note I would do on the management of the automatic brightness that I definitely found poco conservative: it happens that in some moments you find yourself with this super display too bright for the environment in which you are using it and, punctually, you may feel the need to lower the brightness manually.
What doesn't make me crazy, however, is the touch refresh rate, which with its 300 Hz is a bit below expectations: let's be clear, the touch responds well, but not with that immediacy that we found in smartphones such as the Xiaomi 12 Pro (review here). Furthermore, especially in the curved edges of the screen, I had various difficulties with the gestures to return backwards: it is probably a software optimization problem that will be corrected in a future update, but it happens that the system does not detect the gesture to go back carried out. on the side areas, forcing the user to repeat it several times, paying much more attention.
The screen is LTPO 2.0 type but, even if the brand guarantees the 1Hz refresh rate to save battery, in my tests I found that the management of the refresh rate tends to stop at a minimum value of 10 Hz.
Hardware and Performance
One of the most innovative hardware features of the vivo X80 Pro it's right in the screen. The new smartphone is the first model to integrate Qualcomm's "new" fingerprint reader, which uses 3D ultrasonic technology that truly leaves you speechless. With the vivo X80 Pro fingerprints are recognized in 0.2 seconds, and it is also possible to activate an additional security system with which, to start a specific app or unlock the device, the system will require the use of two fingerprints at the same time.
But before talking about hardware and performance, I wanted to make a little note on the sensor. You see, when I used the quotation marks talking about the “new” fingerprint sensor, it is because this technology is not really new at all, quite the opposite. Qualcomm presented it two years ago, and this gives further credit to vivo: the brand has decided to use a decidedly innovative technology capable of profoundly influencing the user experience, which other brands have totally ignored for years. And they did it in my opinion for one reason only: laziness. So again when I saw this sensor in the new one vivo X80 Pro I was doubly happy. Well done.
But now we come to the numbers. Snapdragon 8 Gen. 1, 12 GB of RAM of LPDDR5 type and 256 GB of internal memory of UFS 3.1 type. These are the characteristics of the sample that we received in the test, and it is useless to go around it: it is a hardware capable of guaranteeing top performance in any operation you can ever ask of a smartphone. Whether you want to edit a video in 4K, or play a game with complex 3D graphics, the vivo X80 Pro always carries out everything without any problem.
Except one: overheating. Because yes, despite the fact that the company has used the same "trick" of the camera bump with dissipation functions, the management of the temperatures of the "oven" which is the Snap 8 Gen. 1 is very different from what we have seen in the gaming model of the brand.
And without going around it too much: the smartphone heats up, quite a lot, and has the typical Qualcomm processor throttling. And it is something that is very noticeable in the AnTuTu stress test: to run it I had to increase the safety temperature to 50 degrees (against the typical 45 °) and from the graph you can see a lot how much, in a fluctuating way, the performance of the processor varies from 60 to 80 percent, held back by a very conservative management of the frequencies of the various cores of the SoC. And despite this, in 15 minutes of testing the temperature reached around 49 degrees.
So I hope that, although there are those around who say that the Snap 8 Gen. 1 is the best SoC available, you will agree with me when I say just the opposite: I do not like this processor at all. However, it is true that in the vast majority of cases, the vivo X80 Pro it will not suffer from obvious overheating problems, which, however, may become more evident in long gaming sessions.
Good capsule audio and cellular network reception, as well as connection and performance with WiFi networks. What has left me quite perplexed is the stereo sound. As I said, it guarantees a good reproduction volume, but the balance of the levels needs to be improved: the volume emitted by the speaker positioned below is significantly higher than the upper one, and it is something that ruins the stereophonic effect. Really a shame, also because from a smartphone that costs 1300 euros, as I told you, I expect the best in every sector.
Photos and videos - vivo X80 Pro
We now come to the heart of this vivo X80 Pro: the cameras. Many of the smartphones on the market boast a four-camera system, but few models actually have four usable lenses. Not so with the vivo X80 Pro, which boasts a “real” quad-camera system, created in collaboration with Zeiss. There is a new 50 megapixel f / 1.57 main camera that uses a custom Samsung GNV sensor with optical image stabilization (OIS), a 48 megapixel f / 2.2 ultra wide angle camera with autofocus and Sony IMX598 sensor, an optical zoom 2X 12-megapixel f / 1.85 with Vivo's gimbal stabilization system and, finally, an f / 5 periscopic 3.4X tele with OIS. The front camera is a 32 megapixel camera and uses a fixed focus system.
And let's get straight to the point: the collaboration with Zeiss did not involve the use of optics made by the brand, but the integration of a series of filters and, as we will see shortly, computational photography systems that should replicate some of the most famous optics produced. from the brand. Then there is a mode called “Zeiss” which will modify the color management, to ensure images as natural as possible.
That said, the images taken with the main camera, powered by the V1 Plus imaging chip, are well saturated and rich in detail and the dynamic range management continues to be a strong point of the brand. Noise handling is pretty good, and it's just as good when taking photographs in night mode. Vivo for some time now has become one of the brands with which night photography is the protagonist, and in vivo X80 Pro it continues to be so as long as you always use the main camera.
However, there is a problem that should not be underestimated: the low depth of field (f / 1,57) of the main lens. Which means that if you get too close to a subject that has some depth, blur is likely to occur because the focus distance is very short.
Because by switching to ultra-wide things change a bit. Of course, considering the type of optics, the photographs taken in good lighting conditions are more than decent, with good detail and good management of the dynamic range, but compared to the main color reproduction in some cases could be rather inconsistent, for the fault of a more marked contrast and black tones that are too "squashed". The ultra wide also suffers from distortions that are perhaps too evident, especially with close subjects, which I would not have expected from a 114 ° field of view. But, despite the absence of micro-gimbal stabilization, the ultra-wide one does quite well even in night photos in which of course, the quality will be lower than the main one, but all in all decent, with good details, good management of noise and a few episodes of pastel colors.
In terms of zoom I would say that we are there, or rather, we are average. The 2x optical zoom guarantees good quality shots which however continue to be not exactly consistent with those taken with the main one, while the 5X periscope camera in some cases tends to increase the sharpness levels too aggressively, but still guarantees more images. that good, as long as you stop at 5x magnification.
The 2x zoom is equipped with Vivo's micro-gimbal stabilization system which would suggest that the smartphone tends to take advantage of this perspective to take night photos: but in reality this is not always the case. It happens very often that, especially for night photos, the device tends to crop the images taken with the main one. And don't ask me why. However, when actually used, the 2x camera is capable of capturing very bright shots with good detail even at night.
Excellent portraits, which can also be taken using one of the 5 filters made in collaboration with Zeiss which, let's face it, are quite similar to each other except for the "cinematic" one, which produces shots with an aspect ratio far from 4: 3, with a very pleasant depth effect.
As for video, there is another nice one Pippone to do. I'm sorry but that's how it is. The maximum recording resolution is 8k at 30 fps, and there are dozens of stabilization effects and methodologies. There is a cinematic mode created in collaboration with Zeiss that generates 24 fps videos with a fantastic blur effect, but that only works with people: the AI that manages it recognizes faces and focuses on the subject but, for example, I tried it with my dog and the effect didn't work.
Then there is a fantastic stabilization system that the company has called "horizontal line" with which, in a nutshell, you can rotate the smartphone as you want, but the shot will always remain perfectly horizontal: and if you have ever used a Insta360 or an Insta Go 2 you know what I'm talking about. Actually the camera of the vivo X80 Pro has so many features, that a single review is not enough to explain them all, but it would take a separate study.
The point, however, is one: whatever the mode in which you record, the videos don't seem to hold up to comparison with the fluidity found in the iPhone 13 Pro. Because, you want the stabilization, you want the chosen effect, the images suffer. always small shots and not always smooth, neither in preview nor in playback.
Then there is another limit with videos: to be able to record them using all the available optics, you will have to stop at 30 fps: regardless of the resolution, when you go to 60 fps you can only use the ultra-wide and the main one, but not the other cameras.
The front camera is pretty good: once beauty mode and mirroring are turned off, the shots are of good quality, although the handling of the dynamic range could be quite flat in certain lighting conditions and are not too modified by intelligence. artificial.
To animate vivo X80 Pro Android 12 customized with the FunTouch OS 12, the graphic interface of the brand which - year after year - tends to offer a graphic experience very tending to the Android Stock. Which I really appreciate. Although this is a GUI it might look like poco invasive however, actually going through all the menus and settings, you will find a large number of possible customizations, such as the functioning of the animations, the customized audio options and much more.
In short, it is a very simple and intuitive and rather pleasant graphical interface, even if the work he has to do alive is still very long. Generally speaking, the animations do not seem who knows how fluid, especially considering the 120 Hz of the panel, and I found some problems related to the notifications, which in some cases arrive but in a completely random way and not immediately.
In short, from a software point of view, my opinion is quite conflicting: the vivo interface is the one with the greatest possibility of offering a truly exceptional user experience, but the necessary optimization work is still long. It must be said, however, that the sample we received for testing will certainly be updated when the smartphone enters the market, and I am convinced that many of these problems will be solved by the company, especially considering that the brand guarantees device updates for at least 3 years.
The 4700 mAh battery of the vivo X80 Pro it is certainly not the largest that can be found in this price range, but I must say that it guarantees more than enough autonomy for the vast majority of people. In my tests I have generally always exceeded 6/7 hours of active display, using the smartphone in a rather stressful way and always setting the refresh rate to the maximum. All in all, these are good performances, but they are also possible because - in order to manage the temperatures - in general the frequencies of the SoC are a bit castrated.
The charging is also good, which is 80w wired and 50w wireless: with the cable, it will take about 37 minutes for a full charge and 20 minutes to get to 74%. It is certainly not the fastest solution on the market, but in my opinion it is more than enough.
Price and considerations
There is nothing to do: for 1299 euros, a smartphone like the vivo X80 Pro it must necessarily guarantee the characteristics and experience of an ultra-premium product. Also because, at this figure, it puts itself in direct competition with the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra and, above all, with the iPhone 13 Pro Max. And ok, without considering the iPhone, just thinking that the S22 Ultra has one better zoom, the S-Pen and above all a street price that has now settled at around 1000 euros, it is natural to come to the conclusion that the road taken while alive is very uphill.
Be clear, vivo X80 Pro it is a truly quality smartphone, with a camera capable of guaranteeing exceptional functionality, even if perhaps too confusing. It has a great display, certainly the best fingerprint sensor on the market and is made with premium materials. The collaboration with Zeiss feels and how, but from a software point of view there is still a lot of work to be done. Is it worth spending 1299 euros for such a smartphone? Certainly in vivo X80 Pro each sector aims for the top, but the optimization work to be done is still long. Personally, I would expect the street price to settle around 1100 euros: at that price, then it will surely be a great buy.
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