Vivo is one of China's biggest phone brands, and now it's teaming up with German lensmaker Zeiss to level up its photography game. Those boosted cameras, plus a gorgeous display and impressive battery features, make Vivo's newest phones worthy of your attention.
Vivo unveiled its inaugural global flagship phones for this year, announcing the X60, X60 Pro, and the X60 Pro Plus, on Thursday. Positioning the X60 Pro Plus as a "professional photography flagship," Vivo is flexing its maiden collaboration with Zeiss, which co-engineered the device's image system. Although Vivo is relatively unknown in the West, the Chinese company is one of the world's top 10 phone manufacturers by market share -- and it's used by several Avengers too.
I spent a couple of days with the highest-end X60 Pro Plus, and can say it delivers on a premium Android experience complete with some extra bells and whistles you may not expect. There's a 6.56-inch AMOLED display, a speedy refresh rate (120Hz), the newest Qualcomm processor available (Snapdragon 888), fast charging (55-watt bundled charger) and a periscope-style telephoto camera seen on ultra-premium flagships such as Samsung's Galaxy S21 Ultra.
Apart from the Zeiss collaboration and the incremental upgrades, new to the series is the X60 Pro Plus' so-called extended RAM technology. Vivo claims 3GB of the phone's "idle" storage can be used as RAM to "achieve a +3GB RAM effect," promising to boost the device's performance.
Missing in the X60 Pro Plus are things like an IP rating for water resistance, which many phones of this class have, and expandable storage. That will be forgivable for most since the one variant of this phone has 256GB storage.
At the time of this writing, Vivo didn't share how much these phones will cost internationally, but we can look at the X60's pricing in its native China as a reference point (although prices tend to vary depending on country). The base X60 Pro starts at 4,498 yuan (converts to about $690, £500 or AU$910), and the X60 Pro Plus starts at 5,998 yuan (about $920, £670 or AU$1,210). Unfortunately, Vivo currently has no US rollout plans, but it shouldn't be too difficult to import. It's being released in more than 20 markets worldwide including the UK, India, the Middle East and Europe over the next few months.
The X60 Pro Plus has periscope lens bragging rights
The Vivo X60 Pro Plus has four rear cameras, consisting of a standard lens, ultra-wide lens, portrait lens, and a periscope-style telephoto lens (just like its predecessor). Huawei's P30 Pro was the first phone to include a Periscopic lens, which allows for insane long zooming, and it's since been picked up by Samsung on its Ultra phones. Apple is rumored to adopt the technology late next year. Compared to regular telephoto cameras that offer 2x or 3x optical zoom, periscope-style cameras can typically do 5x or even 10x optical zoom by using more than one lens along with the camera sensor. For its part, the X60 Pro Plus boasts 5x optical zoom, and 60x digital zoom.
Last year, I showed you how far you can zoom in with 60x zoom on the Vivo X50 Pro, so you can take a look at that to get a sense of this phone's digital zoom capabilities.
Vivo X60 Pro Plus cameras in action
Whether I was attempting to snap the perfect portrait of my dog napping in our living room or action shots of Rocky running on a hiking trail, the five cameras on this phone, along with the many accompanying modes, made it easy to take wonderful and versatile shots. Night-time imaging was impressive too, with the X60 Pro Plus taking crisp, detailed photos. There is also night mode for video on the main camera.
Even when I took pictures facing bright, sunlit windows, the camera managed to capture punched-up images of the indoor surroundings. Below you can see what I'm talking about, especially when juxtaposed with iPhone 12 Pro Max photo, which took more true-to-life, albeit less saturated photos. Whatever you prefer is likely a matter of personal preference. I realize this might not be an apples-to-apples comparison (pun intended), but my hope is that it gives you an indication of where the X60 Pro Plus stands on the spectrum of phone cameras.
X60 Pro Plus has a 'vegan' leather finish
The X60 Pro Plus features a design similar to a number of high-end Android phones we've seen in recent years. On the front is a curved display with a centrally located punch-hole notch, and on the back there's a "vegan" leather rear that reminds me of last year's Oppo's Find X2 Pro.There's a camera bump on the back and a blue Zeiss label emblazoned on its right side. I realize Vivo wants to flex its partnership with the 175-year-old German lensmaker, but I think it could have achieved a similar result with more subtle labelling.
Speaking of the display, the X60 Pro Plus relied on a high-res AMOLED display (made by Samsung). It has a speedy refresh rate of 120Hz, but you can dial it back to 60Hz if you want to save on battery life. Most phones have refresh rates of 60Hz, which means the screen refreshes 60 times in a second. 120Hz displays can look a lot smoother when scrolling through webpages.
Vivo X60 Pro Plus has 55-watt bundled charger
The X60 Pro Plus astounded me with its blazing-fast charging speeds. In fact, this was probably one of my favorite features because you only need 20 minutes for your phone to get enough charge to last you between a half or full day. Within 20-25 minutes, the 55-watt in-box charger juiced up the phone from 0% to around 70%, and within 45 minutes the 4,200-mAh battery was fully revitalized.
The X60 Pro Plus runs on the Snapdragon 888, Qualcomm's latest processor found in a number of Android flagships including Samsung's Galaxy S21 Ultra and Xiaomi's Mi 11. This chipset is backed by 12GB RAM and 256 GB of storage. Vivo claims 3GB of the phone's storage can be used as RAM, giving you that extra dose of power when multiple apps are running in the background. Vivo claims its new memory management relies on algorithms to lets 3GB of idle storage to "assume the function" of RAM, resulting a boost in memory usage efficiency by 37%. You probably won't notice a difference at first, but in theory it should mean better performance when your phone is loaded with apps.
Vivo X60 Pro Plus vs. X60 Pro
||Vivo X60 Pro Plus||Vivo X60 Pro|
|Display size, resolution||6.56-inch AMOLED "flexible screen", FHD+ (1080 x 2400 pixels)||6.56-inch AMOLED "flexible screen", FHD+ (1080 x 2400 pixels)|
|Camera||50-megapixel (main), 48-megapixel (ultra-wide gimbal camera), 32-megapixel (portrait), 8-megapixel (periscope)||48-megapixel (main), 13-megapixel (ultra-wide), 13-megapixel (portrait)|
|Dimensions (Millimeters)||158.59x73.35x9.10mm||Midnight black: 158.58x73.24x7.59 mm and shimmer blue: 158.58x73.24x7.69 mm|
|Weight (Ounces, Grams)||191 grams||177 grams for midnight black, 179 grams for shimmer blue|
|Mobile software||Android 11||Android 11|
|Processor||Snapdragon 888||Snapdragon 870|
|Battery||4,200 mAh||4,200 mAh|
|Special features||55-watt fast charging (in box charger), 120Hz, 60x hybrid zoom, 5x optical zoom, dual SIM||33-watt fast charging (in box charger), dual SIM, 120 Hz screen|
|Price off-contract (USD)||N/A||N/A|