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Vivo X50 review: come for the cameras, stay for the cameras

On: August 8, 2020

Vivo and OPPO both rank among the top five smartphone brands in India. Despite serious competition from heavyweights like Xiaomi and Realme, these brands have been able to stand out thanks to their long-term focus on offline channels, and growing expansion online.

Also readVivo V19 review: a good looking smartphone with powerful cameras

While both brands have typically shied away from the premium segment in India, things have changed this year. OPPO recently launched its Find X2 flagship, while Vivo introduced its X-series devices. Vivo is heavily focussing on the camera prowess of the X50 and X50 Pro. I’ve been using the Vivo X50 for some time now, and it’s time to see whether it delivers on its promise.

Design and display

Vivo is offering the X50 in two colour options – Glaze Black and Frost Blue. I received the latter and it’s one of the best-looking devices I have seen in recent times. Contrary to the name, the Frost Blue variant has a silverish paint job with a blue tint that reveals a golden hue when the light hits the device at an angle. The frosted matte finish on the back does a good job of hiding the smudges and fingerprints.

Moreover, despite being glass-clad with a metal chassis, the smartphone is quite ergonomic thanks to the curved back panel, 7.5mm thinness and 171.5g weight.

Coming to the front of the device, the Vivo X50 is equipped with a 6.56-inch E3 AMOLED display with 2,376 × 1,080 pixels resolution. The display features a 92 percent screen-to-body ratio, DCI-P3 colour gamut, 1,300nits peak brightness and most importantly, a 90Hz refresh rate with 180Hz touch sampling rate. The smartphone gives you an option to select between smart (automatically switches the refresh rate depending on the display content), 60Hz and 90Hz. Other display features include an eye protection mode, low brightness anti-flicker and colour temperature adjustment.

The screen offers good viewing angles with vibrant colours and sharp text. The AMOLED panel is bright enough to be legible in direct sunlight as well. The display comes with Widevine L1 certification, which means you can stream HD content on Netflix, Amazon Prime and more. The display also features an optical fingerprint scanner, which is super fast and accurate. There’s also a face unlock feature, which works well.

Other elements of the Vivo X50 are pretty standard including the volume and power button on the right, noise-cancelling mic on top and USB Type-C port, a dual SIM card tray, loudspeaker and the primary microphone at the bottom.

Cameras

The headlining feature of the Vivo X50 is AI quad-camera module on the rear panel. The rectangular camera island is home to a 48-megapixel Sony IMX598 primary sensor, an 8-megapixel super-wide lens with a 120-degree FOV, 5-megapixel macro lens and a 13-megapixel portrait lens. In the front, there’s a 32-megapixel selfie camera inside the punch-hole cutout.  The camera app comes with features such as a 48MP mode, panorama, live photo, slo-mo, pro, doc mode, time-lapse, AR Stickers, fixed macro, night mode and Jovi Vision.

The pictures taken in bright daylight turned out to be detailed with crisp colours. The camera handles the dynamic range and exposure very well too. By default, the camera captures 12-megapixel pixel-binned shots. and if you wish to click high-resolution 48-megapixel shots, you will have to toggle on the 48MP mode. This mode adds more details to the shots, which is ideal if you intend to print the images.

The AI scene recognition is on by default and is quite accurate in identifying the frame that you are capturing. There’s a slight colour pop, which looks aesthetic for social media users but might irk purists. Vivo touted the night time imaging prowess of the X50 and those claims are valid. The camera captures well detailed night shots that are low on noise.

There are also four funky filters to play with – Black and Gold, Blue Ice, Green orange and Cyberpunk, which gives a quirky touch to the low-light images. Depending on the scene and filter you use, you might need to hold the camera steady from four to 15 seconds in order for the images turn out sharp. The X50 also offers an Astro mode for capturing stars by using long exposure, however, Delhi has been cloudy lately and I couldn’t test this feature at the time of writing the review.

I was particularly impressed by the imaging prowess of the additional sensors on the Vivo X50. The 5-megapixel macro lens allows users to get close up to 1.5cms from the object and focuses well too. The 8-megapixel wide-angle camera works as intended. There’s a very slight barrel distortion but not quite visible at the first glance. As for the 13-megapixel portrait lens, it works exceptionally well except on some occasions when it failed to detect edges accurately, especially against a lighter background. Moreover, if you simply swipe to the portrait and click a picture, you won’t get the bokeh effect. Instead, you have to tap on the ‘Lens’ button on the viewfinder and click on Bokeh.

As for zoom, Vivo has equipped 20X zoom on the X50, however, the resulting images are grainy after 10X zoom.

The 32-megapixel selfie camera in the front is quite good, delivering images with natural skin tones. However, despite turning off the beauty mode, the camera does apply a little bit of skin smoothening. Additionally, while portrait selfie works very well it again needs to be turned on from the Lens icon for the blur effect. The front camera gets three different selfie filters, beautification options and posture guidance.

Performance, software and battery

Vivo has equipped the X50 with Snapdragon 730 SoC, which is 1.5 year old 8nm octa-core chipset clubbed with the Adreno 618 GPU. The fact remains that the same processor comes in smartphones in the Rs 20,000 price bracket. Vivo is offering the X50 in 8GB + 128GB and 8GB + 256GB  configurations.

Having said that, thanks to the ample RAM and 90Hz refresh rate, the whole interface feels snappy. The handset handles multitasking very well and not once did I experience a lag or hang during my long stint with the device. Not only does it load apps fast, but also handles gaming very well. The smartphone is equipped with Multi-Turbo, Ultra Game Mode and Game Assistant for the enhanced gaming experience.

PUBG Mobile loads in HD graphics and High frame rate settings by default. The gameplay is super smooth even in the highest setting, which is a testament to the gaming prowess of the device. The Vivo X50 does heat up after a while of playing PUBG on high graphics settings though, but that’s to be expected.

Coming to the software, the Vivo X50 boots the Android 10-based Funtouch OS 10.5 out of the box. This iteration of Funtouch OS lets users enable the app drawer from the settings. The software is loaded with features like Digital Wellbeing, Motorbike mode, Dynamic Effects (custom animations for various elements like fingerprint scanner), always-on display and more.

However, you also get bloatware such as DailyHunt, Amazon, Flipkart, UC Browser, Helo and more apart from the ubiquitous Hot Games and Hot Apps folders. While the two folders cannot be removed, the others can be uninstalled to free up space.

In the battery department, the Vivo X50 is equipped with a 4,200mAh cell with support for 33W FlashCharge 2.0. In my experience, the provided charger tops up the battery from zero to 100 percent in just above 1 hour. I had my review unit set to the 90Hz refresh rate for the majority of my stint with it, and could easily end the day with 10-20 percent battery in the bank with heavy usage. When set to 60Hz, the Vivo X50 required charging around noon the next day, which is impressive. However, personally, I would trade the extra battery life for the smoothness of the 90Hz refresh rate.

The competition

The Vivo X50 has been launched with a price tag of Rs Rs 34,999 and Rs 37,999 for the 8GB + 128GB and 8GB + 256GB configurations.respectively. The recently launched OPPO Reno4 Pro is the prime contender with a single 8GB +128GB variant priced at Rs 34,990. The smartphone comes with 6.5-inch 90Hz curved display, 48MP quad cameras, 32MP selfie camera, 4,000mAh battery with 65W fast charging and the Snapdragon 720G chipset, which offers similar performance.

Then there’s the Realme X3 SuperZoom Edition (review), which costs Rs 27,999 for the 8GB + 128GB variant, and Rs 32,999 for the top-end 12GB + 256GB option. The smartphone offers the flagship Snapdragon 855+ processor and a 90Hz display. While the Realme X3 SuperZoom has good cameras, the Vivo X50 has a slight edge here with better overall results.

Lastly, there’s the OnePlus Nord, which is the brand’s highly anticipated mid-range phone. The Nord features a 90Hz display, 30W Warp Charging and the same 48MP quad cameras as the flagship OnePlus 8. It also comes with the powerful Snapdragon 765G chipset, which offers 5G support and is therefore future-proof. Additionally, the OxygenOS 10.5 interface is clean and optimized.

Bottomline

Vivo is marketing X50 with the tagline, “Photography. Redefined.” and it delivers on its promise. The Vivo X50 has one of the best camera setups and imaging prowess I have tested in recent times. While the overall performance of the phone is good, the pricing is on the higher side considering that the Snapdragon 730 is a mid-range chipset. That said, if flagship-level performance is not your priority, and you want a phone that’s stylish and offers exceptional cameras, the Vivo X50 is an excellent choice.

Pricebaba’s rating: 8 / 10

What works:

  • Stylish design
  • Vibrant display
  • Brilliant cameras
  • Fast charging

What doesn’t:

  • Dated processor
  • Bloatware on Funtouch OS
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Abhiman Biswas

Abhiman is obsessed with all things tech. His hobbies include reading on his Kindle and clicking random pictures on his phone. His secret superpowers happen to be mixing great cocktails and lip reading. In his spare time, you are likely to find him cleaning his aquascape, researching new species of aquatic fishes and planning which aquatic plants to buy next.