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The X factor: vivo X50 Pro smartphone review

The X factor: vivo X50 Pro smartphone review

vivo X50 Pro gets it right on camera, design

The vivo smartphone brand is not a household name in this part of the smartphone ecosphere. It should be, if the quality of the X50 Pro is anything to go by.

A little background: vivo is one of several phone brands that have emerged out of China in the last few years and shaken up the smartphone market by offering premium features at relatively low prices. Price may have been the original USP, but serious investment in improving technology and design has transformed these brands into top contenders. Case in point, vivo.

vivo’s parent company maintains nine R&D centres, six in China but also in Taipei, Tokyo and San Diego. Its sales network spans across more than 30 countries and regions, and the company says its devices are in the hands of more than 350 million users worldwide.

Design
The first thing you notice when you unbox the X50 Pro are the curves. The screen and the back are both curved at the edges giving the phone a leaner and elongated silhouette.

Because the display can take advantage of the entire front real estate, the phone is slimmer than similar-sized devices and fits better in the palm despite its 6.5-inch girth.

The device comes in (alpha) grey-apparently the only colour available for the X50 Pro. Light dances off the extra smooth façade as a result of a reflective sheen applied during the manufacturing process.

The phone’s slim profile however means the camera architecture protrudes quite a bit at the back and the phone balances awkwardly on a flat surface.

vivo has cleverly hidden the optical fingerprint sensor under the display, further maximising the screen utility. The fingerprint sensor combines with face recognition for extra security.

The phone is slimmer than similar-sized devices and fits better in the palm.

Display

Smartphone manufacturers face a dilemma when designing devices-how to squeeze in as much screen size as possible without making the device unwieldy.

vivo’s solution to this predicament is the curved ‘Ultra O’ screen which wraps around the device for a true edge-to-edge screen. The display is a 6.56-inch 2376×1080 (FHD+) with a 90Hz refresh rate.

The HDR10+ output creates more details of dark surroundings and avoids over-saturation in highlighted areas.

The vivo X50 pro has a 90Hz high refresh rate with a 180Hz response rate. These numbers may not mean much until you compare with devices with lower stats. Then the differences in terms of crispness of the images, movies, and games become clear.

Smartphones are now very much gaming devices. The combination of the powerful processor, high refresh rate and response rate and the HDR display of the vivo X50 Pro means the device can comfortably support high FPS (frames per second) games.

Performance
The vivo X50 Pro runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G chipset, with 8GB RAM and 256GB of storage.

The company says the device will support 5G connectivity ‘depending on local market conditions’, although this is not expressly a 5G device.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G is a powerful processor and you are guaranteed fast computing speed and smooth multitasking.

Powering the X50 Pro is a 4315mAh battery, at the high end of the industry standard. Should you unexpectedly run out of juice, the 33W vivo FlashCharge 2.0 fast charge technology should get you back up and running in no time.

Sound (when recording) rarely receives any attention from device manufactures. A video, even a well-shot one, loses some of its magic if the sound is lost in the noise. vivo X50 Pro utilises 3D sound tracking with three microphones to accurately detect sound direction. Directional audio tracking technology and image recognition algorithm work together to keep sound and image in sync and focus.

Camera
Ever since the first person turned the camera onto themselves, pouted and took what later became known as the selfie, smartphone brands today live and die on the strength of their camera.

vivo has invested considerable resources in sharpening its camera technology.

vivo has without a doubt invested considerable resources in sharpening its camera technology in the X50 Pro. One of these areas is the use of a Gimbal Camera System. In professional video recording, a gimbal is a handheld 3-axis stabilisation device designed to give a camera operator the independence of handheld shooting without camera vibration or shake. The effect can be replicated in a smartphone, a not insignificant technological breakthrough.

vivo’s gimbal camera system uses a double ball structure to achieve triple-axis rotation, ensuring clear photos and videos while in motion. The X50 Pro’s built-in miniature gimbal module moves in the opposite direction of shaking motions, providing increased stability for the main camera.

The Gimbal Radar, an on-screen animated ball that reflects the gimbal’s movement, lets users know when the frame is stable. vivo has combined gimbal with a motion-deblur algorithm, customised sensors, and continuous focus tracking to further enhance the image and video clarity.

The main camera set-up is a 4-sensor architecture that includes a 48MP gimbal main camera, a 13MP portrait camera, an 8MP wide-angle and macro camera, and an 8MP 60x hyper zoom camera.

vivo calls its camera system ‘AI quad-camera’, and for good reason. The system can recognise the subject in front of it and adjust automatically. For example, point it at a word document and it immediately asks to enable document correction.

You can also select from several modes and the sensors will adjust for lighting- for example, night mode allows to shoot in in low light settings. The Super Night Mode and Astro Mode combine to enable users to capture great photographs of both city and country scenes at night. The Portrait Mode allows users to separate the subject from the background and apply separate effects for a more refined result. The photos are bright and crisp and compare favourably with much pricier brands.

The front camera is offset to the left and cuts into the footage when watching a video. Under-the-screen camera technology is maturing so this is something vivo may want to look at.

The X50 Pro sells for Dhs2,999 in the UAE, a good value in my opinion for a 6.5-inch device with FHD+ and intelligent camera setup.

vivo TWS Earphone Neo

While you are at it, why don’t you compliment the vivo X50 Pro with the brand’s own set of earphones?

The TWS Earphone Neo feature noise-cancelling technology for clearer phone calls and several voice-activated smart controls.

The earphones are powered by Qualcomm’s 4th-Generation TWS platform, the QCC3046, which offers low latency, high precision, and stable listening experience, as well as the latest Bluetooth 5.2 technology with a maximum range of 10m.

The TWS Earphone Neo feature noise-cancelling technology.

The 14.2mm ultra-large driver unit is one of the largest units in the true wireless stereo (TWS) industry. It can process different sounds easily in a powerful dynamic range.

Dual beamforming microphones and Smart Call Noise Reduction algorithm in the TWS Earphone Neo detects environmental noise to produce clear audio.

A built-in ‘Slide Bar’ allows users to control the earphones by sliding the finder up and down.

Each earphone provides up to 4.5 hours of listening time (at 50 per cent volume).

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