Over the years, computational photography and smartphone hardware have advanced quite a lot, to the point where it is hard for most people to tell the difference between a DSLR camera’s raw output and the AI-enhanced images produced by most flagship smartphones. By offering such high-quality imaging and video capabilities in a compact body, which also features some of the fastest computing hardware available in the market today, smartphone manufacturers are doing a lot more than just pushing the envelope when it comes to capturing the moment the way your eyes see it.
Camera manufacturers like Zeiss are helping this cause by partnering with some of the best smartphone manufacturers to launch special edition flagship devices with a distinctly camera-first approach. Vivo is one such renowned manufacturer, and they have nurtured a long partnership with Zeiss, hoping to bring more advanced imaging technologies to the smartphone segment. The latest fruit of their combined labours comes in the form of the Vivo X80 Pro. This is undoubtedly a pro-level device when it comes to camera-oriented smartphones, and we are here to tell you all about it.
Usually, we begin our reviews by talking about the build quality of the device, and in this regard, the smartphone certainly isn’t lacking in any manner. However, since this device is marketed as ‘Cinematography Redefined’, we decided to start with the camera setup instead. This company says the whole experience was co-engineered with Zeiss, and it certainly shows right from the build quality itself. The smartphone gets a huge camera array, which is protected by a unique glass cover that features Zeiss T-Coating to reduce ghosting and stray light. Even the sensors themselves are covered with high-transmittance glass lenses to offer better light capture and image clarity.
The array is highlighted by a unique 50MP Ultra-Sensing GNV Sensor that has Lazer AF on top of an active-centring OIS system. It is supported by a standard 48MP wide-angle camera and a 12MP telephoto camera, which features a unique gimbal system, and is equivalent to a 50mm Zeiss portrait camera. While the telephoto only has a 2x native zoom, you get a secondary 8MP periscope camera that brings the output up to 5x optical zoom and 60x HyperZoom.
All these cameras produce high-quality images and videos, which are then processed by a dedicated V1 ISP Chip, which runs various AI camera algorithms to offer different software enhancements. In addition, Zeiss itself has a whole suite of AI camera enhancements that are part of their Imaging & Natural Color Systems. For example, you get up to 5 styles of Bokeh (Zeiss Cinematic Style Bokeh, Zeiss Biotar Style Bokeh, Zeiss Distagon Style Bokeh, Zeiss Planar Style Bokeh, Zeiss Sonar Style Bokeh) alone, on top of a unique Pure Night View and XDR Photo support.
Other AI systems include AI Object Autofocus, AI Skin Retouching, AI Group Portraits, AI Exposure Correction, and even 360-degree horizon levelling stabilization. Of course, if you don’t want so much AI involvement, you can go to the other extreme and take manual control of all aspects through the Pro Shooting mode. All of these features are added to a long list of camera software tweaks that are already enabled on most Vivo devices. This makes this camera system unique and versatile compared to other models and brands.
Display & Audio
The great thing about the flagship smartphone segment is that even with all this extra focus on the camera system, other aspects of the device don’t suffer any neglect. To the point where just listing out the main features of each individual system feels like highlighting hidden USPs that even by themselves would make it worth the price. Take the display, for example; you get a 3D curved, 6.78-inch 2K 10bit AMOLED display with HDR 10+ support and a peak brightness of up to 1000 nits. This makes it fantastic for all sorts of multimedia consumption, indoors and outside.
For an equally exceptional gaming experience, the panel features a superfast 120Hz refresh rate that feels even more snappy, thanks to 300Hz touch sampling and 1000Hz instantaneous sampling support. Moreover, since it is an adaptive LTPO panel, the system easily scales between 1-120Hz to give you the best experience in the most efficient manner.
The panel wraps around the metal frame and blends smoothly with the frosted glass back. While there are noticeable bezels on the top and bottom, they are actually needed to house the dual stereo speaker setup that offers excellent sound output to match the fantastic viewing experience. Even the haptic feedback is exceptional, thanks to an X-Axis Linear Motor that helps you feel all sorts of small and big vibrations. Thus, making it a truly immersive experience.
Performance & Battery
The company continues the over-engineering in the performance department as well, with a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset handling all the heavy lifting. It is supported by the latest generation LPDDR5 RAM and UFS 3.1 Storage, which can go up to 12GB + 256GB depending on which variant you pick. These are powerful components that can deliver world-class performance in all sorts of applications and use cases.
Still, if you ever feel the need for more performance, you can always use a special ‘Super System Process Extended RAM 2.0’ setting, which uses some of the free storage as an extended RAM buffer, so you never run out of performance when you need it. Similarly, the storage itself is optimized by a dedicated ‘Storage Controller Chip’, which improves read and write speeds, as well as manages proper deep defragmentation.
To ensure that these components don’t get throttled by their own thermal output, the smartphone features an ultra-large Liquid Cooling Chamber that keeps the temperatures cool, whether you are gaming for long hours or simply charging at high speeds. This is important because the phone features support for superfast 80W FlashCharge and up to 50W Wireless Reverse Charging. This can charge your 4700mAh battery from 0-100% in just 39 minutes, which is quite decent for a battery this size.
The package is rounded off by the inclusion of a huge 3D Ultrasonic Fingerprint Sensor under the display, which covers an area that is up to 11.1 times larger than standard fingerprint sensors. This means you can easily reach and use this security feature in all sorts of handheld scenarios, even in extreme weather and lighting conditions. Due to the larger sensor area, you can even enable Dual Fingerprint Authentication for a truly secure experience.
This is a cherry on top of a cake that is already loaded with all sorts of toppings. As you can see, the company has left no stone unturned to ensure that this device is one of the most feature-rich camera-centric flagship smartphones available today and shall remain so for quite some time.