Chinese smartphone maker, Vivo, has struggled to keep up with the pandemic to some extent. The company lost a spot amongst the top 5 smartphone makers in India, to Samsung, and it has had troubles with stocks and production thanks to lockdowns. However, the Vivo X50 Pro is perhaps the best way to keep consumer confidence alive and kicking.
The headline here is the camera, of course, but Vivo isn’t putting all its eggs in that basket. The phone has a pretty package to go with its flagship-class camera and does enough to hide the fact that it doesn’t use a chipset that users spending nearly 50k on a phone expect. The software is much more refined than many other Vivo smartphones so far (though not without some unnecessary bloatware), the design is undoubtedly flagship-class, and its battery lasts a full day without a hitch.
So, where the X50 Pro really sits apart is the fact that it doesn’t just have a good camera, something that Vivo and Oppo have done before, but also stands on its own as a darned good phone.
Minus the avid gamer, it’s really hard to see who would have a problem with this device. And even if you do game a lot, the X50 Pro did handle literally every game we played, from simple ones to PubG Mobile. But from a longevity perspective, a Snapdragon 865 would put the gamer’s mind at ease more.
Nevertheless, the camera is what Vivo wants you to buy this phone for. And though this system has its merit, the full quad-camera setup isn’t all good news.
To start with, the primary camera is supported by a “gimbal” system, which offers better image stabilization than traditional optical image stabilization (OIS) systems. It also lets you shoot better low light photos because you can use slower shutter speeds than otherwise possible. You won’t always get a good shot, but they’ll almost always be passable, to say the least.
Consistency is where this camera shines. It’s obviously good in well-lit settings, but it really does the best for those who shoot in low light more often, and even more for those who buy phones to shoot videos. You can shoot videos in 4K resolution at 60 frames per second, which is important for creators and influencers.
However, the phone’s best photos are confined to the primary sensors here. The gimbal system and a 48MP Sony sensor seem to have added enough to the cost that Vivo had to compromise on the other sensors. The ultra-wide and two telephoto cameras don’t really belong on a phone priced in this range. These cameras resolve color accurately enough, but they often struggle with details, especially in below-average light conditions.
Whether you should buy the X50 Pro though is a tough decision still. The gimbal system does make a difference, but using it side-by-side with an iPhone 11 Pro Max, it’s hard to see the difference in regular videos. Yes, Vivo’s system is markedly better in low light or when you’re, say, shooting a video while jogging. But it may just be one of those things that don’t make a practical difference to most users out there.
The X50 Pro is an all-rounder, and that’s a good thing. But there are phones like the OnePlus 8 Pro etc. that are tough contenders. Essentially, the Vivo X50 Pro makes sense only for those who want this particular camera system and have use for it, for everyone else, there are plenty of options out there.