Vivo X80 Pro Review: The best camera on a smartphone, once again

Vivo X80 Pro Review: The best camera on a smartphone, once again

Vivo X80 Pro Review: The best camera on a smartphone, once again

When it comes to Chinese phone brands’ reputation on an international stage, Vivo probably isn’t as well known as Huawei, Xiaomi, OPPO, or OnePlus. But those of us who follow the smartphone scene closely know Vivo has been making really good phones for a couple of years now, and last fall’s Vivo X70 Pro Plus was, in my opinion, the best smartphone camera for still photos. This wasn’t just some half-baked opinion — I pitted the X70 Pro Plus against every top contender in a series of camera shootouts and Vivo won all the key categories like nighttime and ultra-wide photography.

XDA Best Award

And so I was very eager to try the new Vivo X80 Pro (the company hasn’t mentioned anything yet about a “Plus” branding this year), because if last year’s Vivo X70 Pro Plus is still arguably the best camera phone today, what heights will the X80 Pro reach?

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After heavily testing the Vivo X80 Pro for the past 11 days, I can say, yes, the cameras are still awesome — and it completely mops the floor with the iPhone 13 Pro in key categories like low light photos — but I’m not sure the Vivo X80 Pro’s cameras are that much better than the X70 Pro Plus. In fact, there’s one camera decision I don’t agree with.

vivo x80 pro and iphone 13 pro and s22 ultra

    Vivo X80 Pro

    Vivo X80 Pro

    The Vivo X80 Pro is the latest flagship from Vivo, refreshing the best smartphone cameras for another year at the top.

      Features:



      Pros:



      Cons:



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Vivo X80 series: Specifications

Specification Vivo X80 Pro Vivo X80
Dimensions & Weight
  • 219g
  • 206g
Display
  • 6.78-inch AMOLED
  • QHD+ (3200 x 1440)
  • LTPO 3.0
  • 120Hz adaptive refresh rate (1Hz to 120Hz)
  • Up to 1000Hz touch sampling rate
  • 105% DCI-P3 coverage
  • 1500nits brightness
  • HDR10+ support
  • 6.78-inch Samsung AMOLED E5
  • FHD+ (2376 x 1080)
  • 120Hz refresh rate
  • 100% DCI-P3 coverage
  • 1500nits brightness
SoC
  • Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
    • 1x ARM Cortex-X2 @ 3.0GHz
    • 3x ARM Cortex-A710 @ 2.50GHz
    • 4x ARM Cortex-A510 @ 1.80GHz
  • Adreno 730 GPU
  • 4nm process
  • MediaTek Dimensity 9000
    • 1x Arm Cortex-X2 @ 3GHz
    • 3x Arm Cortex-A710 @ 2.85GHz
    • 4x Arm Cortex-A510 @ 1.8GHz
  • Arm Mali Mali-G710 GPU
  • 4nm process
  • MediaTek Dimensity 9000
    • 1x Arm Cortex-X2 @ 3GHz
    • 3x Arm Cortex-A710 @ 2.85GHz
    • 4x Arm Cortex-A510 @ 1.8GHz
  • Arm Mali Mali-G710 GPU
  • 4nm process
RAM & Storage
  • 8GB/12GB LPDDR5 RAM
  • 256GB/512GB UFS 3.1 flash storage
  • 8GB/12GB LPDDR5 RAM
  • 128GB/256GB/512GB UFS 3.1 flash storage
Battery & Charging
  • 4,700mAh
  • 80W fast wired charging
  • 50W fast wireless
  • 4,500mAh
  • 80W fast wired charging
  • 50W fast wireless
Other features
  • X-axis linear motor
  • IP68 dust and water protection
  • Ultrasonic in-display fingerprint scanner
  • Stereo speakers
  • VC cooling chamber
  • GPU Fusion
  • IR Blaster
  • X-axis linear motor
  • In-display fingerprint scanner
  • Stereo speakers
  • VC cooling chamber
  • GPU Fusion
Rear Camera(s)
  • Primary: 50MP ISOCELL GNV, OIS
  • Secondary: 48MP IMX598 ultra-wide
  • Tertiary: 12MP telephoto, 2x optical
  • Quaternary: 8MP periscope (5x optical, 60x digital)
  • Vivo V1 Plus imaging chip
  • Zeiss optics
  • Zeiss T* lens coating
  • Primary: 50MP IMX866
  • Secondary: 12MP ultra-wide
  • Tertiary: 12MP telephoto, 2x optical, 20x digital
  • Vivo V1 Plus imaging chip
  • Zeiss optics
  • Zeiss T* lens coating
Front Camera(s)
  • 32MP
  • 32MP
Connectivity
  • 5G NR
  • NFC
  • Wi-Fi 6
  • Bluetooth 5.2
  • 5G NR
  • Wi-Fi 6
  • Bluetooth 5.2
  • USB Type C
Software
  • Android 12 with FunTouchOS 12
  • Android 12 with FunTouchOS 12

About this review: XDA’s Editor-in-chief Aamir Siddiqui and I each tested our own unit of the Vivo X80 Pro for over a week, and this review combines both our thoughts. Both review units were provided by Vivo. Vivo India additionally took Aamir and other Indian media persons and YouTubers to Dubai for an immersion session centered around the phone. Vivo did not have any input in this review. Vivo is also running a campaign on XDA around this phone, but that is handled by the sponsorship team independent from the editorial team.

Vivo X80 Pro: Design and Hardware

  • Typical, but premium glass-and-aluminum construction, with an eye-catching large camera module
  • One of the first wide-release flagships to use Qualcomm’s awesome 3D Sonic Max scanner
  • The screen looks very good, but brightness lags behind some rivals

The Vivo X80 Pro continues the design language set by the Vivo X70 series, which introduced the giant reflective camera island and frosted glass coating. In terms of overall shape and dimensions, it feels identical to the Vivo X70 Pro Plus. In China, the Vivo X80 Pro also comes in an orange leatherback but for the global market, there is only the black glass version.

The Vivo X80 Pro

The X80 Pro is a typical Android glass-and-metal slab, so there’s a 6.8-inch, 3200 x 1440 OLED panel with a variable refresh rate of up to 120Hz. It’s a beautiful panel — as is the case with every flagship Android phone these days — but if I must nitpick, I notice that it doesn’t get as bright as the Galaxy S22 Ultra or OPPO Find X5 Pro’s panels. On really sunny days, you will have to crank the brightness to maximum.

Here’s a tangible example of the difference in brightness levels: for the below photo, I had to set all three phone screens to roughly the same brightness levels for the camera, and the Galaxy S22 Ultra is at roughly 35% brightness compared to the Vivo X80 Pro and X70 Pro Plus’ 55% brightness.

The X80 Pro is well-built, with clicky, tactile buttons that are located in easy-to-reach places, and a relatively (by 2022 flagship standards) lightweight of 219g. It’s neither too wide like an iPhone 13 Pro nor has pointy corners like the Galaxy S22 Ultra. It should fit in the palm nicely for most people. One nitpick: the phone’s aluminum top has the words “professional photography” printed, which feels tacky. Yes, there’s a Zeiss logo and camera lens spec marked on the camera module too, but those are acceptable in my opinion as that’s what camera lenses have done for years. More on the cameras later. Also, note that the top of the device also houses the IR blaster — you see this only on rare phones outside of Xiaomi.

Inside the phone is a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 with 12GB of RAM and a 4,700 mAh battery. Pretty standard stuff. What’s noteworthy is the in-display fingerprint reader: it’s not just another optical scanner that we’ve seen dozens of times in Chinese Android phones. Instead, the X80 Pro uses Qualcomm’s 3D Sonic Max scanner, which has a much larger scanning area than not just optical scanners, but also the older ultrasonic Qualcomm scanner used in the Galaxy S22 Ultra. The scanning area is so large, in fact, that the phone gives you an option to shrink the scanning area, or use the edges of it to quick-launch an app of your choosing. Simply press your registered finger on that part of the scanner with the app icon, and the phone unlocks and jumps directly to the app. You can even have the phone accept two fingerprints simultaneously.

Two subjective points of note: I really like the new circular camera module design and think it’s an aesthetic improvement over last year’s odd-looking module, though that off-centered periscope lens may throw some people off. Beyond that, I personally am not a fan of the frosted coated back; there’s micro-texture on it (you can see in the photo below) which makes the phone feels slippery and silky. I like the feeling of silk in clothing or bed sheets, but for a phone, I much prefer the dense feel of a ceramic back (like in some OPPO or Xiaomi phones) or grippy matte glass like the Galaxy S22 Ultra.

But that’s just me, and I have heard other reviewers (including Aamir) say they love the feel of this texture. The good news for me is Vivo includes a faux-leather case that is much nicer than typical jelly freebie cases you get in other Chinese phones. The case protects the corner of the phone, doesn’t get in the way of the camera module, and more grippy leather-like texture.

All the other high-end flagship flourishes are here: Gorilla Glass Victus protection for both front and back, wireless charging at up to 50W speeds if you use Vivo’s proprietary charger, and wired charging up to 80W speeds with Vivo’s charging brick that’s included with the phone in the box.


Vivo X80 Pro: Cameras

  • Main camera uses a new Samsung GNV sensor that was “custom-built” for the Vivo X80 Pro
  • The X80 Pro packs an upgraded V1+ imaging chip self-designed by Vivo
  • The X80 Pro is a master at HDR shots, very rarely blowing out lights the way other phones do

vivo x80 pro cameras

The Vivo X80 Pro’s camera system consists of a 50MP main camera; 48MP ultra-wide, 12MP 2x portrait lens, 8MP Periscope 5x zoom lens.

The camera system of the Vivo X80 Pro is very similar to the one seen in the X70 Pro Plus — you still have four lenses covering the ultra-wide, wide, telephoto (2x zoom), and 5x zoom focal lengths, backed by Vivo’s self-developed imaging chip, and the cameras are all covered by Zeiss’ T-Coating (which reduces lens flare). The 50MP main camera (wide lens) got a sensor upgrade to Samsung’s GNV (not to be confused with the GN5 sensor used in other recent Vivo phones). The GNV, however, is not an entirely new sensor, but an upgraded version of the GN1 sensor Vivo’s been using for two years.

The 48MP ultra-wide, 12MP 2x telephoto (which Vivo calls “portrait lens”), and 8MP 5x Periscope zoom lens all use identical hardware as the X70 Pro Plus. But the brain processing the hardware got an upgrade: the X80 Pro houses a dedicated imaging chip named V1 Plus, which as the name implies is an iterative update on the V1 chip that made its debut in the X70 Pro Plus.

One last change: the gimbal stabilization system that supported the ultra-wide lenses before has been moved to support the 2x portrait lens, because that lens got some new nifty tricks.

First, let’s look at all four lenses’ shots together as one set. We can see the X80 Pro has good optical focal length versatility, from a 114-degree ultra-wide (focal length equivalent of around 16mm) all the way to 5x optical zoom (125mm equivalent), but it falls short of the superior range of the Galaxy S22 Ultra, whose optical zoom reaches up to 10x. We can also see the X80 Pro doesn’t keep color temperature as consistent across all four lenses the way iPhones or OPPO’s Find X5 Pro do.

That’s about it as far as nitpicking shortcomings. In everything else, the X80 Pro’s cameras knock it out of the park.

Main camera, good lighting

The Vivo X80 Pro’s main camera captures pixel-binned 12.5MP shots that are richly detailed. The large 1/1.31-inch sensor size pulls in a lot of light and produces a clear separation between subject and background in shots. Colors are livened up a bit but are not too exaggerated. While Vivo’s cameras will brighten up dark scenes quite a bit when we move to low light shooting conditions, during the day, the camera is smart enough to leave shadowed areas somewhat darker for contrast.

The shutter speed is responsive and the focus is fast — just an excellent main camera to shoot with.

Main camera, low or challenging light conditions

Now we move to challenging lighting conditions — whether it be low light, against backlight, or high contrast scenes — and this is where Vivo’s digital imaging superiority starts showing itself. Like the Vivo X70 Pro Plus, the X80 Pro is uncanny at producing HDR shots and almost never blows out bright light sources. Just look at all the shots below: every single one is perfectly balanced. Each wave of the flame that’s bursting into the hot air balloon is visible. Every strand of light in the neon skyscrapers of Hong Kong are depicted in accurate colors. Whether it’s an exaggerated half-moon over the skies of Dubai or a dark street corner, every light source is well illuminated, you can see the details.

The Vivo X80 Pro is uncanny at producing HDR shots and almost never blows out bright light sources

The degree to which the Vivo X80 Pro can properly expose contrasty scenes is more apparent when you see the same photos taken by other phones. Look at the below shots, look at how the X80 Pro managed to expose highlights without blowing them out, while still keeping shadows intact. Now, look at the iPhone 13 Pro shots, which are quite frankly, a mess. Every light is blown out, and the shadows are gone because the overall shot had to be brightened. Samsung’s Galaxy S22 Ultra did a pretty good job but still blows out some lights.

Here’s another side-by-side, captured one after the other. It’s not even close how much better the X80 Pro shot is over the iPhone 13 Pro’s.

And spoiler: the gap in HDR capabilities between the X80 Pro and Apple and Samsung’s phones will widen when we move to the ultra-wide camera. But first, more low-light photo samples captured by the main camera of the X80 Pro.

One nitpick we could have is that Vivo’s shots are so perfectly balanced that they look slightly unnatural, almost like they’ve been edited in Photoshop (they have not — these are all straight out of the camera). I can see how that’s a fair argument, that our eyes don’t see every light source perfectly too. But even going by the “natural” argument, I’d pick the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s shot over the iPhone 13 Pro’s completely blown-out look.

Ultra-wide, good lighting

With a combination of pixel-binning, fast f/2.2 aperture and decent half-inch image sensor, the X80 Pro’s ultra-wide camera packs a lot of details and pulls in more light than the ultra-wide lenses used by the Galaxy S22 Ultra or iPhone 13 Pro. There’s not much to report for ultra-wide shots in ideal lighting conditions: shots look great, with no serious detail dropoff at the edges.

Ultra-wide, low or challenging light conditions

This is where Vivo’s camera really shows its superiority over rivals. Most smartphone’s ultra-wide sensors do fine under great lighting, it’s shooting at night when things fall apart — images get noisier, details are much softer, etc. Vivo’s X80 Pro ultra-wide mostly avoids this fate.

The ultra-wide is where Vivo shows its superiority over rivals

The second shot in the above set was shot in a dimly lit street, and it’s a much better ultra-wide shot than what most other phones could muster. The difference is jarring when you see the samples side-by-side and zoomed in 100%.

100% crops

100% crops, X80 Pro (left); iPhone 13 Pro (middle); S22 Ultra (right).

As mentioned, Vivo’s ultra-wide handles HDR significantly better than Samsung and Apple’s best phones do too. Look at the lights in Vivo’s shots, then look at them in the Galaxy S22 Ultra and iPhone 13 Pro’s shots.

Here are more samples of the X80 Pro’s ultra-wide taking easy wins against the same captured by an iPhone 13 Pro.

Zoom/Portrait lenses

In this category, I won’t bother separating photos into good and low light because smartphone zoom lenses, no matter how great, all suffer in low light situations. We can just examine samples as a whole. The Vivo X80 Pro packs a 2x telephoto zoom that Vivo dubs as a portrait camera, and a 5x Periscope zoom. The 2x telephoto is pretty good, but the 5x Periscope zoom lens is a noticeably weaker Periscope than Samsung’s 10x Periscope. Let’s look at 2x zoom first.

We can see Vivo’s 2x shots do a good job of retaining details and looking like a lossless zoom. However, 2x optical zoom in 2022 is nothing to be that impressed by, considering the iPhone and Samsung have really good 3x zoom. But Vivo doesn’t really see this 2x telephoto as a zoom lens, but rather, as a lens for snapping portraits.

To that end, Vivo introduced a couple of tricks: first, Vivo moved the gimbal system to support this 2x portrait lens, with the idea that it will offset hand shakiness when taking portraits at night (which would shoot at a slower shutter speed) and for stabilizing videos. For the most part, portraits are good, and I do think this 80mm equivalent is an ideal portrait focal length.

There’s noticeable bokeh that is part authentic, part software created, and it looks quite natural. You can also adjust the degree of bokeh or even focus points after the shot. I am also a huge fan of new filters this year, including a vintage film look that I’ve been using every time I step out.

There’s also a cinematic filter that shoots in ultra wide-screen and in a lower res, grainy film footage look. I really like the atmosphere of the rainy shot with umbrellas I randomly captured one afternoon.

The cinematic filter also works in videos; in this mode, the phone shoots in the same ultra wide-screen format and at 24fps and produces artificial bokeh around subjects (the results are similar to the iPhone 13 series’ cinematic mode). Resolution is capped at 1080p, which ironically adds to the feel of a “real film” because it’s a bit grainier and choppier than typical 4K/30 footage. The gimbal stabilization does help slightly, as even walking footage with the 2x lens is sort of stable. See the footage for yourself (I added the moody soundtrack myself to help convey the vintage film vibe). These are not the sharpest or cleanest footage, but between the decently realistic artificial bokeh, wide-screen format, and 24fps feel, it has a “mood” that I like. And yes, I will have more conventional video footage later in the article.

Moving to the 5x Periscope zoom, the X80 Pro’s photos are pretty good, and obviously better than a phone without a Periscope zoom like the iPhone 13 Pro, but Vivo’s zoom shots are inferior to the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s zoom shots, and we are not talking purely optical zoom differences here — even the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s 5x digital zoom is arguably as good as Vivo’s 5x optical zoom. And once we go to 10x and beyond, the Galaxy S22 Ultra just flat out wins. The shots that you get out of the 5x zoom are pretty good though on their own, and perfectly usable on social media.

Selfie camera

The X80 Pro’s 32MP selfie camera remains unchanged from the last two X series flagships, and that’s not a bad thing — it’s a capable and versatile lens, with a lot of filters, beautifying options, and even different types of flash. For the most part, I ignored all the filters and just took standard selfies; I appreciate that my skin isn’t overly whitened or smoothened. Aamir’s selfie in front of the hot air balloon was taken in early morning before sunrise so it’s a low light shot, and notice the flash is flattering and not too harsh.

Videos

The X80 Pro can shoot video up to 8K, but for best results, stick to 4K/30. Stabilization and colors are both very good. During the day, the X80 Pro tends to produce an overly bright video (noticeable in the side-by-side clip alongside the Galaxy S22 Ultra), but this light sensitivity works in Vivo’s favor once the sun sets, as Vivo’s videos from either lens are better illuminated and less noisy than rivals.

2022 seems to be the year Android flagships finally catch up to the iPhone in video capabilities

At the beginning of this article, I mentioned there was one area the Vivo X80 Pro may have taken a step back for me, and it’s the lack of gimbal stabilization for the ultra-wide camera. I shoot a lot of walk-and-talk ultra-wide videos, and videos from the X80 Pro are noticeably not as stable as the X70 Pro Plus. This is nitpicking, as the X80 Pro’s video performance is very good. 2022 seems to be the year Android flagships finally catch up to the iPhone in video capabilities. There are also a bunch of video features available in the camera, including the ability to set horizon as your stabilization level (you can then flip the phone 360, and it would still continue to maintain the horizon), ability to use filters and beauty modes while filming and an “AI video enhancement” that applies HDR to videos.

But is the Vivo X80 Pro camera actually better than the X80 Pro Plus cameras?

If you actually read through and examined the photo samples above, it’s undeniable that the Vivo X80 Pro’s cameras consistently produce superior photos than the Galaxy S22 Ultra or iPhone 13 Pro in the main and ultra-wide lens, with Samsung taking the win in zoom.

But here’s the thing — the Vivo X70 Pro Plus would have beaten the Galaxy S22 Ultra and iPhone 13 Pro in those same shots anyway. So is the X80 Pro camera actually better than the X70 Pro Plus? I took a series of side-by-side shots and, uh, I’m not sure.

In the above set, we can see colors, exposure, and details, are all virtually identical. The X80 Pro’s gimbal didn’t benefit the X80 Pro’s 2x lens any more than the X70 Pro Plus’s regular 2x lens. The X80 Pro’s 5x shot does exhibit better colors. Moving to really low light scenes shot and we can see some color differences in how the V1 and V1+ processed the first set of graffiti in a really dark alley. I suppose the X70 Pro Plus went for punchy colors while the X80 Pro kept colors more natural and closer to real life, but other than this shot, the other shots are nearly identical.

This camera section is getting long enough as is, so I won’t share any more photos or videos, but rest assured, I’ve taken hundreds of photos with the X80 Pro and X70 Pro Plus side by side and I can’t see a difference in shots in 99% of them.

This is both good and bad news for Vivo. The good news is Vivo’s X70 Pro Plus cameras are so good that it’s still arguably the co-champion in mid-2022, but the bad news is the Vivo X80 Pro barely brings any tangible camera improvements, unless you count the new portrait video modes (which I like a lot, but I know many would never use).


Vivo X80 Pro: Software

  • The X80 Pro runs Android 12 with FunTouchOS 12 on top
  • You can now open apps in floating window, which FunTouch couldn’t do up until a recent update
  • But it’s still not as polished as OneUI, ColorOS, or OxygenOS

Vivo X80 Pro

Vivo has an interesting software situation going on here — while brands like OPPO and Xiaomi use mostly the same software for both their Chinese and international release (with the only difference being the latter has Google apps pre-installed), Vivo has two very different software — OriginOS for mainland China, and FunTouchOS for everywhere else. I have covered OriginOS in previous hands-on articles, and it’s safe to say OriginOS is very different from traditional Android. FunTouchOS is much closer to the Android most readers know.

This section is where Aamir and my opinions diverge a bit — while I think FunTouchOS is not as polished and aesthetically pleasing as OPPO’s ColorOS or Xiaomi’s MIUI, I am still mostly okay with FunTouch, particularly since Vivo finally developed support for floating app window (a feature I increasingly consider essential in modern big-screen phones). Most Android things I value behave as they should here, from the app tray that’s a swipe up away, the notification shade at the top, or the options to lock or wake the screen via double taps. I also like FunTouch’s interactive widget, which I use to control Spotify.

My gripes with FunTouchOS are mostly nitpicking territory — animations aren’t as lively or buttery smooth as ColorOS or MIUI, and the action needed to trigger one-hand-mode is complicated and much harder to pull off with one hand than any other phone I’ve tested in recent memory.

Aamir, however, isn’t a fan of FunTouchOS. To him, the OS is reminiscent of the MIUI 7 era. For one, the phone in India comes preloaded with a fair bit of third-party app bloat, including Amazon, Byjus, Cred, Dailyhunt, Josh, LinkedIn, Moj, MX TakaTak, Netflix, ShareChat, and Spotify. These are in addition to the apps that come from Vivo, like Hot Apps, Hot Games, EasyShare, Vivo.com, iManager, and of course, the slew of Google Apps. The experience after first booting this top dollar flagship smartphone is like a budget smartphone in India that had these preloaded apps for cost subsidy. It’s not good.

Then there are smaller issues scattered around the OS. Like, for instance, the lockscreen wallpaper carousel feature is auto-setup and takes a bit to figure out how to disable (Settings > Lock Screen & Wallpaper > Lock Screen Settings > Lockscreen Poster > Disable). The Always-On Display can only display app icons for four apps that you select, and you cannot select a fifth one. These four can also just be from Phone, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp, Telegram — you can’t even select Messages or Gmail here as an option. There is an option called Ultra Game mode, and while it is useful in many ways, the option to remove a game from this mode is not really intuitive — there’s no indication of there being an edit mode (there is an edit mode though, long press an icon and it will enter into edit mode), and the UX just shows off easy access to add more apps to the mode.

There’s also aggressive background task killing in the name of “battery optimization”, which then further ends up causing notification and app sync delays. Initially, Aamir had a lot of delay in when messages and emails would arrive, often coming in over 10 minutes late. The app that we use to log charging readings was also killed 5 minutes into the test, making it very difficult to graph the charging time. The fix to this aggressive killing is located at Settings > Battery > Background Power Consumption Management, and choosing your key apps and flipping them from “Smart Control” to “Don’t restrict background power usage”. This will then let apps wake themselves up in the background for notification sync.

A lot of this may sound like nitpicking, and it is, but we expect better polish and a better experience from a top-tier flagship irrespective of how great their camera is. All other OEMs have received flak for how polished the flagship experience is, and they’ve gone on to refine and improve it. We hope the same for Vivo, but for now, this is the situation with the OS.

Beyond the OS, Vivo is promising three generations of Android updates and three years of security updates. This isn’t class-leading, but it’s a tad bit better than just offering two generations and three years. Do keep in mind that Vivo does not officially allow for bootloader unlocking at all, so you will be stuck with whatever software solution the company provides. However, devs sometimes do find unofficial bootloader unlocking solutions, though this is not to be banked upon when making a purchase decision.


Vivo X80 Pro: Performance, Battery Life and Charging

  • 4,700 mAh cell brings solid battery life — not bad, not great
  • Haptics and speakers are a bit weak compared to other premium flagships of 2022
  • Thermals are a better than other flagships

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 here paired with 12GB of RAM brings satisfactory performance for me. I encountered no issues day-to-day in terms of running apps and doing smartphone things. I do notice the haptics and speakers here are slightly below the best of the best — they’re fine here, but not as the level of speakers or haptics found in the Galaxy S22 Ultra or even Xiaomi 12 Pro.

I personally don’t really care about benchmarks, but the X80 Pro scored well. It managed to finish a 20-minute extreme stress test from the app 3D Mark (which the Xiaomi 12 Pro could not do), and the X80 Pro scored higher on the PCMark and GeekBench.

I find the X80 Pro’s battery performance acceptable. I run my phone at the maximum possible settings — WQHD+ resolution (the phone actually ships out of the box at 1080p) — with refresh rate up to 120Hz, and on really heavy use days (like on a Saturday afternoon when I am out snapping lots of photos, texting and tweeting regularly, and streaming podcasts during bus rides), I can drain 12-15% battery in one hour. Obviously, such usage would only mean a fully charged phone can last me only six to seven hours. But that’s about par the course for the Galaxy S22 Ultra, and last year’s X70 Pro Plus (with a smaller battery) definitely burned even faster.

When I’m not actively pushing the phone and use it more like an average workday, then the X80 Pro can make it to the end of a 12-hour day with around 15% to spare. This is an acceptable battery in my opinion — not good, not bad. And of course, the phone can be charged very fast via the included 80W brick, so usually, I find a 10-minute late afternoon top-up to be enough to ensure the phone can go well into 3 or 4 am.

Charging Graph showing the time taken to charge the Vivo X80 Pro. The device takes about 23 minutes to charge from 0% to 50%, and about 46 minutes to charge to a full 100%

For fast charging, the Vivo X80 Pro can go from 0-100% in under 46 minutes with the 80W included charger, but what’s more beneficial to me are those moments when I need a short top-up before heading out for the night. The X80 Pro, on one evening, charged from 28% to 54% in 10 minutes.


Should you buy the Vivo X80 Pro?

Vivo X80 Pro

As much as I am impressed by the Vivo X80 Pro’s cameras again, part of me has wondered if Vivo is releasing phones at too rapid a pace because the Vivo X80 Pro only brings very, very minor improvement over the Vivo X70 Pro Plus. I think the X80 Pro looks a bit better, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip is obviously an upgrade over the Snapdragon 888, the X80 Pro has longer battery life. But otherwise, the screen and overall performance are similar, and so too, is that camera system. Because I really like the new portrait video mode and filter, I can find appeal in the X80 Pro’s system over the X70 Pro Plus. But honestly, if you don’t care about portrait videos, if you’re just talking about shooting with the main camera, ultra-wide camera, selfies, etc, the two camera systems across the generations are the same. Maybe Vivo’s V1 Plus chip will bring further improvement and refinement as the Vivo X80 Pro’s software matures more, but as of right now, there isn’t a big jump. Again, I know this sounds harsh, but you have to keep in mind that’s because I had such high opinions of the X70 Pro Plus already. Also note that we are comparing the Pro Plus from last year to a Pro from this year — there’s nothing to indicate that Vivo plans or does not plan to release a Pro Plus too, which would then change the comparison a bit.

Vivo’s strategy with the X series, which releases twice a year, is that each new release is definitely not aimed at consumers who owned the previous model. Meaning, the X80 Pro is aimed at people new to Vivo phones, or X50/X60 series owners. Likewise, the X90 series (which if Vivo keeps pace will be out this September or October) won’t be intended for people who buy the X80 Pro, but rather those who own the X70 or older phones. Whatever the case, we are starting to see fewer year-on-year improvements from flagship Android brands, I’m not sure what to make of Vivo trying to make six-month-on-six-month improvements.

Still, the Vivo X80 Pro is an excellent phone in a vacuum, and until the Google Pixel 7 series and the Apple iPhone 14 Pro series come out in the later half of 2022, I don’t think any other phone will challenge its main and ultra-wide camera this year.

You should get the Vivo X80 Pro if:

  • You take a lot of photos with your phone — particularly at night — and you want stunning shots that are immediately Instagram-able without requiring edits
  • You want a versatile portrait camera
  • You want a premium phone with all accessories included such as fast charging brick, screen protector, earbuds, and a good case that you’d actually want to use

You should not get the Vivo X80 Pro if:

  • You are picky about your Android skin and want one with fluid animations and customizable aesthetics
  • You care about long term software updates — the X80 Pro is only guaranteed three years of Android updates while Samsung and Google offer four years
  • You already own the Vivo X70 Pro Plus

    Vivo X80 Pro

    Vivo X80 Pro

    The Vivo X80 Pro is the latest flagship from Vivo, refreshing the best smartphone cameras for another year at the top.
    View at Flipkart


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