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Vivo X60 Pro+ Review: Flagship grade hardware with a world class camera!

Vivo X60 Pro AH HR Feature
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Vivo X60 Pro+ proves once again that they are a serious contender when it comes to building a flagship smartphone.

Vivo X60 Pro+
~$960
Rating
star star star star star_empty
Pros
  • Hardware looks and feels premium
  • Top end specs in terms of processor, memory, storage and display
  • Superb AMOLED display panel with 120Hz refresh rate
  • ZEISS optics and engineering in the camera module
  • Main and Ultra-wide camera produce great results
  • Video stabilization is excellent especially on the Ultra-wide camera
  • Camera app offers tons of options for taking excellent night photos and video
  • 55W fast wired charging
Cons
  • No official IP rating
  • Software definitely needs a little polish
  • No wireless charging
  • Connectivity is only 4G in USA
  • Selfie camera is so-so
  • Single firing bottom speaker

Vivo provided AndroidHeadlines with a review unit of the Vivo X60 Pro+. This review was written after using the device for more than 7 days. The phone is running Funtouch OS 11.1 on top of Android 11 with the January 2021 security patch. It has the Google Play System from January 2021 as well.

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The Vivo X60 Pro+ is a legitimate flagship smartphone. The X60 Pro+ has all the hardware features and build quality to go head to head with the best Android phones on the market.

Vivo’s X series always boasts premium hardware from a specs perspective. However, of late it’s not just the spec sheet prowess but Vivo’s ability to translate the specs into a smartphone you actually want to buy. So without further ado let’s get the unboxing done to see what improvement Vivo has made to the X50 Pro+ from 2020.

Unboxing the Vivo X60 Pro+

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First off, I like the square thin box compared to the tall rectangles that are typical for smartphones. Secondly, I know all the hype currently around the OnePlus 9 series and Hasselblad. However, the Vivo X60 Pro+ has some genuine bragging rights to offer as well. We get the “Co-engineered with Zeiss” right on the front of the box.

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Inside the box, we get the phone and a gentle reminder that there is improved ‘Gimbal stabilization’ with this version. Vivo also gives us a 55W charging brick, USB-C cable, SIM tool, a slim polycarbonate matte case, headphones, headphone tips, and a headphone jack dongle. The phone has a factory-installed film screen protector as well.

Vivo X60 Pro+ Hardware is absolutely world-class

Vivo X60 Pro AH HR HW1

The hardware design on the Vivo X60 Pro+ in one word is – elegant. Despite a hefty 6.56″ screen, the body width is slightly less than the OnePlus 9 series making it usable in one hand.

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What jumps out right away is that the build quality absolutely top tier. The front display glass curves into the aluminum rail seamlessly. The Vegan leather back also blends in unobtrusively into the middle rail. Vivo paid attention to the weight distribution of the phone as well. And the final result is a well-balanced phone that is built well and looks beautiful.

Vivo X60 Pro AH HR HW2

On the front, it looks similar to the Galaxy S series or OnePlus 9 series devices. And that definitely is not a bad thing. Vivo does have a nice textured power button on the right-hand side rail. On the top, we get a microphone and a ‘Professional Photography’ logo. The left-hand side rail is clean and on the bottom rail are the SIM tray, USB-C port, and speaker grille. I did notice the lack of a speaker grille on the top portion of the phone.

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The main feature on the back of the device is that absolutely gargantuan camera module. Vivo continued with the X50 Pro+ module but refreshed it for 2021. I like the new look a bit more than the one on the phone from last year. Of course, a massive camera module results in a crazy amount of wobble on a flat surface. Thankfully, the slim polycarbonate case in the box resolves that issue promptly without any additional bulk.

My review unit has the Emperor Blue vegan leather back and I like this color a lot more over the polarizing orange from last year’s version. Another good thing is that there is no branding other than what is on the camera module on the black for a nice clean look.

Vivo X60 Pro AH HR HW9

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If there wasn’t a Vivo or Zeiss logo on the back of the device, you would probably mistake this phone for a device from Samsung. I guess that is what happens when there are not too many ways to put together curved glass and an aluminum frame together.

Despite this phone being put together like a top-tier smartphone, we do not get any official IP rating which is a bummer. And the last item from a hardware perspective is haptics. While the haptic motor is good it is definitely not as good as Pixel or Samsung S series offerings.

In summary, I love the build quality, in-hand ergonomics of this device, and the unique blue color vegan leather back.

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Let’s talk about the High Refresh Rate AMOLED Display on this smartphone

Vivo X60 Pro AH HR Display

The Vivo X60 Pro+ sports an Ultra O Samsung AMOLED screen. The Samsung panel on this device is rated at 120Hz with a response or touch sampling rate of 240 Hz. However, within the settings, you can use 60Hz for better battery life or select ‘Smart switch’ which adapts the refresh rate based on usage patterns.

For my review period, I decided to toggle between 120Hz and ‘Smart switch’ refresh rate modes. I wasn’t able to discern any noticeable difference in terms of display responsiveness between the two modes. However, battery life was definitely a bit better with the ‘Smart switch’ mode. I am guessing that the touch sampling rate of 240Hz has a lot to do with the overall impression of not noticing a difference.

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From a specs perspective, this is a 1080 x 2376 pixel display at 398 ppi density. With the 3D curved glass and impressively small bezels all around this phone achieves an impressive 89.8% screen to body ratio. You can’t help but marvel at the full display especially in apps with a white background. The center hole punch for the selfie camera isn’t too obtrusive which helps while watching videos or gaming.

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The level of customization that you can create on this display in terms of ambient light effect or unlock and fingerprint animations is just crazy.  In fact, there is a complete section in settings letting you tweak the display to your liking. Speaking of tweaking you can also tweak color temperature, profile in the Display settings as well. To reduce eye strain you not only get the standard blue light filter but also low brightness anti-flicker which is quite beneficial once the sun goes down. I would say this is probably one of the best display panels out there in terms of settings/ color quality as far as FHD screens go.

Performance is absolutely top-notch thanks to Snapdragon 888 and 12GB RAM

Vivo X60 Pro AH HR Performance

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This is the first Vivo phone running the Snapdragon 888 5G processor. Couple that top-end processor with 12GB RAM and you have an extremely competent device from a performance viewpoint. The X60 Pro+ easily goes toe to toe with the Samsung S21 Series or the new OnePlus 9 series in terms of performance.

Vivo X60 Pro AH HR Gaming

Playing games for long stretches at a time or watching a lot of videos on YouTube does not result in the phone heating up at all. And for gaming, I cranked the refresh rate up to 120Hz and that did not seem to impact the device’s performance either.

One other minor tidbit performance-wise is the snappy in-screen fingerprint sensor. It is super fast and didn’t seem to get bogged down in bright or dark lighting conditions either. Definitely one of the smoothest performing devices for 2021. High praise indeed since I have a personal Samsung Galaxy S21 to compare this device to.

Software on X60 Pro+ is good but it could be better

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The software on the X60 Pro+ is Android 11 but it is a custom skin called FunTouch OS. Besides the latest version of Android, the phone is running the January 2021 security patch along with the latest Google Play Store version.

Over time Vivo (and Oppo/Realme) have all moved their interpretation of Android closer to the stock Android version. In this case, the home screen, app drawer, and left swipe for Google Discover feed all feel very similar to what you get on stock Android.

But there are some differences in the Settings menu and those mostly include tons of options which isn’t a bad thing. Another area where you notice a difference is that the dialer and messages aren’t stock Android.

One thing that is bothersome is the number of places where you need to agree to use the app or a related service. But that is because this phone is using a software version for India. Same is the ubiquitous notification to download the app from V-Appstore versus Google Play.

While we are on the topic of listing the negatives, let’s get to bloatware. Thankfully it is only about 6 apps and you can uninstall every single one of them. What you cannot do however is uninstall V-Appstore and the ‘Hot Apps’ and ‘Hot Games’ folders. Luckily you can tuck these two items away in the app drawer. In addition, I was glad to not see a bunch of ads thrown at me during my review period.

So while the overall software experience is good, I prefer the software on Realme and Oppo devices a bit more.

Vivo X60 Pro+ Cameras pack a serious punch

Vivo X60 Pro AH HR Camera

Vivo claims that Zeiss has provided a review of the optics including optical hardware testing and verifying the process quality standards. The resulting output should have better image sharpness and clarity with accurate and vivid colors. This is definitely true for still pictures in daylight from the main and ultra-wide cameras.

The two biggest things that the partnership yields are the use of the T* optical coating on the hardware of the two main cameras to reduce glare. The glare reduction comes in very handy during nighttime photo and video capture. Next, is the classic swirly bokeh simulation called Biotar when taking pictures in portrait mode.

The main camera is a Samsung GN1 sensor that is a 50MP, 1/1.3 inch sensor with a large/1.57 aperture.  Pictures from the main camera in daylight and in complex lighting conditions have good dynamic range, color science, and detail. In addition, low light point and shoot pictures come out great with the main camera sensor.

Compared to the previous version this time around Vivo has applied the gimbal stabilization to the 48MP Ultra-wide camera. The effects are visible in both daylight and especially more so in nighttime photography. I also had quite a bit of fun taking night pictures using Moonshot and Astro Photography mode. Head on over to our Flickr gallery to view all the sample pictures.

There is a 5X Optical zoom Periscope camera and it works well in daylight but nighttime performance is okay. Past 5X zoom things start getting blurry quickly though as evidenced from the Supermoon shots.
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One thing to note is that the camera app has tons of options to choose from depending on the time/scenario. So the longer you use the phone you will start finding good uses of the various options.
Let’s talk about selfies and the front-facing camera. In short, it is good for sharing selfies on social media. However, the dynamic range is definitely not up to par and definitely needs work. Video is capped in the front at 1080p but the microphone recording quality is excellent. So a little bit of a mixed bag when it comes to the front-facing camera output.

In summary, the rear cameras provide high detail and low noise even in complex and low light situations. The colors and white balance are quite accurate along with a wide dynamic range. For still photography, you will be very happy with the results. Video results are also quite good with excellent stabilization, fast autofocus, and good detail.

Battery Life is good and 55W Fast Charging helps

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The 4200 mAh battery on the Vivo X60 Pro+ will get you through a day’s worth of use for an average user. In my use case scenario, I saw about 4-5 hour Screen-on-Time before the battery would get down into the low teens. So this is definitely not a two-day device in terms of battery life.

Battery life is also going to suffer from 120Hz and 5G in use concurrently. One day outdoors with lots of pictures and video taking resulted in having to charge this phone before the end of the day.

If you are a heavy user and especially a lot into gaming then there is a distinct possibility of running out of battery power before the end of the day as well. Thankfully there is a hefty 55W power brick in the box. Using the factory charger will get you to full charge in about 45 minutes. While this is pretty fast, keep in mind OnePlus and Oppo (sister companies) offer faster-wired charging. And the lack of wireless charging makes it feel like you are buying a device that isn’t fully flagship category.

Audio on the X60 Pro+ is good with one major caveat

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The major caveat is the one and only bottom-firing audio speaker on this device. The lack of stereo speakers is the only glaring hardware issue on this otherwise stellar device. The reason I mention this is because the top earpiece slit is the tiniest I have ever seen on a smartphone. So Vivo has some serious engineering prowess without a doubt. I just wish that they somehow used that expertise to give us dual stereo speakers on this smartphone.

Despite having a single speaker, the audio is loud and clear. But side by side with my S20 FE or S21 comparison shows what a difference a good pair of stereo speakers can make.

For a flagship device in 2021, no headphone jack is expected. But Vivo does provide a dongle and earbuds in the box. Once the dongle is inserted, well the audio output from the USB-C port is actually very good. I did also use my USB-C earbuds (from an Oppo device) and the audio output was again excellent.

Another way of getting audio is via Bluetooth 5.1 connection. I paired a couple of different TWS earbuds with the Vivo X60 Pro+ and the audio output was good while watching Netflix or listening to music via Spotify/Amazon Music apps.

So my final comment on audio is that Vivo missed a golden opportunity to have dual stereo speakers in this otherwise amazing piece of hardware.

Connectivity is limited in the USA

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With a Snapdragon 888 onboard you would think that the Vivo X60 Pro+ get a 5G signal out of the box. However, in Southern California on T-Mobile I only get 4G. Download speeds are comparable to my other devices that get 4G LTE.

The reason I suspect is that this phone has software with support for India where 5G isn’t fully available yet. This is also the same reason for not seeing VoLTE or Wi-Fi calling support on the T-Mobile network here in the USA. I am fairly confident that this issue is going to be non-existent in the markets that Vivo is targeting with this device.

Other than this issue there were no major issues. Download speeds are comparable to what my Pixel 4a gets on the T-Mobile network.

Calls were fine in either handset or speakerphone mode. Out and about I could make calls, send texts and watch videos, or stream music as well. Pairing via Bluetooth 5.1 also is quite easy with earbuds or in-car audio.

Rounding out the connectivity is NFC for contactless payments which you expect in a flagship device. For sharing you get Nearby Share and Vivo Share as well. Smart Mirroring allows multiple ways to share content from the phone in terms of audio, video, photos, or screen content. So there is absolutely no dearth of options from a connectivity viewpoint.

Vivo X60 Pro+ Final Verdict

Vivo X60 Pro AH HR Verdict

Vivo X60 Pro Plus is chock full of features that make this a premium flagship smartphone. Hardware design, rear cameras, processing power, and fast charging are the highlights. Of course, the blue vegan leather on the back is a unique Vivo touch. And in my opinion, this definitely makes the Vivo stand out differently in a sea of rear glass slabs.

However, the competition offers official IP rating and wireless charging, two options sorely absent in this otherwise exceptional device that costs around $960. But if you want an extremely capable photo and video camera setup from the rear cameras I think Vivo is slightly ahead of what Samsung and OnePlus have to offer.  You need to decide if that is important to you versus the tradeoffs in water resistance and wireless charging.

For people in Asia where Vivo primarily sells this smartphone, I think this should be one of the devices they consider when choosing a top-tier smartphone in 2021.