X

Vivo X80 Pro Review: Best Camera Smartphone Of 2022

Vivo X80 Pro AH HR Feature
Advertisement

Vivo X80 Pro is the best cameraphone available today.

Vivo X80 Pro
$900 and up
Rating
star star star star star
Pros
  • Premium materials and superb build quality
  • Display is bright, colorful, and accurate
  • The best fingerprint scanner available in a smartphone
  • Excellent all-day battery life
  • Haptics are definitely flagship grade
  • Camera performance is excellent day and night
  • Fast wired and wireless charging on board
  • Official IP 68 rating
  • Audio quality is great with USB-C earbuds in the box
Cons
  • Camera array layout design is disjointed
  • Initial setup phase requires too many 'Agree" clicks
  • Glass cover on the back is prone to smudging
  • Camera app requires some time to get familiar with the dizzying array of options

Vivo sent AndroidHeadlines a review unit of the Vivo X80 Pro. The review device was used for more than 10 days before composing this review. The review unit is running Android 12 with the May 2022 security update on FunTouch OS 12. As usual, Vivo didn’t have a say in our opinion, nor did they see an advance copy of the review before you.

Spring is here and so is Vivo’s latest flagship smartphone, the Vivo X80 Pro. Our last review of a flagship Vivo smartphone was in October 2021. At that time, AndroidHeadlines gave the Vivo X70 Pro Plus our Editor’s Choice rating.

Well, almost 7 months have passed since that review. So let’s see how the new Vivo X80 Pro stacks up against its excellent predecessor and other flagship devices from Oppo and Xiaomi.

Unboxing the Vivo X80 Pro

The Vivo unboxing experience hasn’t changed much. You still get a dark blue square box with the phone at the top, followed by a case, charging brick, USB-C cable, and USB-C earbuds with extra tips.

Advertisement

Vivo X80 Pro AH HR HW3

While Samsung, Google, and Apple are busy removing stuff from their retail boxes, it is refreshing to see Vivo not only include a hefty fast-charging brick but excellent wired USB-C earbuds as well in the retail package. And yes, of all the smartphone makers that include a case in the retail box, I think no one offers a better OEM case than Vivo.

Premium build quality and sleek design

Vivo X80 Pro AH HR HW2

Advertisement

Every Vivo X series device boasts premium build quality and the Vivo X80 Pro is no exception. The overall design is pretty much what we have seen with the X60 Pro Plus and X70 Pro Plus. You get the same curved LTPO AMOLED screen up front with a top center hole punch for the selfie camera. Bezels are uniform for top and bottom and slightly slimmer ones for the two sides.

Our review Cosmic Black review version has the same matte black texture as before. This includes the Vivo logo placement as well. However, the biggest visual change is to the rear quad camera module.

Rear camera module gets a few tweaks

Vivo X80 Pro AH HR HWCamera

Advertisement

The rectangular glass island housing the camera module is the same size as the Vivo X70 Pro Plus. It is humongous. The cameras are now in a circular array with one oddball telephoto lens tucked away in the bottom left corner. If only Vivo could have placed all the 4 cameras in the circular array, that would look a lot better. I still think it is a unique and eye-catching design but Vivo could have made it look cleaner and more elegant with a bit more effort.

Vivo X80 Pro AH HR HW4
Vivo X80 Pro AH HR HW5
Vivo X80 Pro AH HR HW6
Vivo X80 Pro AH HR HW7
Vivo X80 Pro AH HR HW4
Vivo X80 Pro AH HR HW5
Vivo X80 Pro AH HR HW6
Vivo X80 Pro AH HR HW7

Buttons are placed well and offer good tactile feedback. Haptics are excellent and on par with what you get from Google and Samsung. There is an infrared blaster on the top rail along with a microphone. Bottom rail has a dual SIM tray slot, USB-C port, and a speaker grille.

Vivo X80 Pro AH HR HW1

Advertisement

I love the texture on the back cover which resists smudges and fingerprints. But keeping that camera module glass free of smudges is virtually impossible. I do like the vegan leather case in the box which complements the device very well. And, if somehow you manage to get the device wet, there should be no issues thanks to the IP68 rating.

To summarize, the Vivo X80 Pro can easily go toe to toe with the best from Samsung, Xiaomi, Oppo, and Google in terms of hardware design. One could argue that this is an iterative rather than radical design. And that Vivo played it a bit safe in terms of overall hardware design, but if it ain’t broke, why fix it?

The Gorgeous 6.78″ LTPO AMOLED curved display is great for surfing, streaming, or gaming

Vivo X80 Pro AH HR Display

Advertisement

The Vivo X80 Pro has a big 6.78″ LTPO AMOLED screen with good color accuracy. The curved screen also has plenty of brightness regardless of lighting conditions. It has a Quad-HD+ resolution (3,200×1,440 pixels) which results in a 517ppi pixel density.

This is a high refresh rate display (120Hz), but since it is made using LTPO technology, the display dynamically shifts between 1 to 120Hz depending on what app you are using. It is great to see more and more flagship devices use the LTPO technology to help alleviate battery anxiety from a daily use perspective.

Under display dual fingerprint scanner

Vivo X80 Pro AH HR HWFPS

Advertisement

The Vivo X80 Pro’s fingerprint scanner has a very large active area under the display. This allows unlocking without having to precisely place the thumb or other finger on the scanning area. The total amount of active fingerprint scanning area is so big that it supports dual fingerprint scanning for enhanced security.

Perhaps the best feature of the fingerprint scanner is that it can register your fingerprint with ONE tap, which is fantastic. I just wish that this feature is what other smartphone manufacturers introduce on their devices. My daily driver which is a Pixel 6 could use this fast fingerprint scanning technology for sure.

Customization options are seemingly endless

Vivo, perhaps, has the most amount of customization options in the ‘Dynamic effects’ settings. You can customize the Vivo X80 Pro in terms of ambient light effect or unlock and fingerprint animations. There are options to customize the home screen transition and enter home screen animations.

Advertisement

The number of available options is so large that you can technically have a new launch experience every few days or weeks. I think this allows the users to keep their home screen interaction experience fresh and interesting. And with such a large number of options available, I am sure everyone can find something that meets their needs,

While we are on the subject of customization, in the ‘display & brightness’ settings, you can choose adaptive brightness, eye protection, dark theme, and adjust screen colors, fonts, and refresh rates. In terms of options and display quality, the Vivo X80 Pro can definitely compete with the best from Samsung and Google.

Performance on the Vivo X80 Pro is flagship-grade

Vivo X80 Pro AH HR Performance

The Geekbench 5 scores for the Vivo X80 Pro are in-line with other flagship devices running the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor. My review unit has 12GB LPDDR5 RAM and 256GB of UFS 3.1 storage. In addition, Vivo has included a dedicated storage controller chip on this phone for blazing-fast read/write data speeds. And the end result during actual use is that the X80 Pro performs every task without any slowdown or hiccups whatsoever. From the animation changes to launching apps to browsing and gaming, all the tasks feel snappy and instantaneous.

Even though the Vivo X80 Pro is not a hardcore gaming device, it plays Genshin Impact at the highest settings without any throttling or overheating. There is a 27-layer cooling system that manages heat quite well during intense gaming sessions or a lot of videography. From a performance standpoint, there aren’t any drawbacks and the phone feels snappy throughout the entire user interface.

Software on the Vivo X80 Pro is FunTouch OS 12

Vivo X80 Pro AH HR Software

The review device from Vivo is running FunTouch OS12 with the latest May 2022 security update. Based on Android 12, this version of FunTouch OS shares a lot of features with ColorOS which we just reviewed on the Oppo Find X5 Pro.

Over the last 18 months or so, Vivo has gradually shifted the software closer to what you get on a Pixel device. There are a few apps – Albums, Clock, Calculator, Compass – that are not stock Android. And a few pre-installed apps – Netflix, Facebook, Spotify, LinkedIn, Agoda – most of which can be uninstalled.

Thankfully, though, the left swipe brings up Google Discover and there are all the rest of the Google apps installed directly from the factory. Phone, Messages, and Contacts are all Google Apps. Oh, and before I forget, the duplicate V-Appstore is gone along with the ‘Hot Games’ and ‘Hot Apps’ folders. I guess Vivo has been paying attention to the software gripes from the reviewers after all.

No guarantee for long-term software support

I am liking the cleaner version of FunTouch OS on the Vivo X80 Pro. The duplicate app store is gone and there are no annoying pop-up ads anymore. There is even some support for Material You in this latest version but no support for dynamic themes yet. But there is still a nagging feeling about long-term software support. Out of the box, you get the latest software but long-term support is sketchy. I really hope things get better on this front, especially with this flagship device.

Audio quality on the Vivo X80 Pro is good enough

Vivo X80 Pro AH HR Audio

The dual stereo speakers on the Vivo X80 Pro are quite good. The audio output is plenty loud for gaming or streaming indoors at around 60-70% of the volume slider. One thing I did notice is that the output sounds even across the volume range. Overall audio quality is good but still a bit short of what you get from Samsung.

The passive noise canceling wired earbuds that come with the phone in the box sound excellent via the USB-C port. And I found this to be the case for audio output via Bluetooth. You can’t go wrong in the audio department with the Vivo X80 Pro regardless of which option you choose.

Using the phone to make calls had zero issues in handset and speakerphone mode. The top speaker is clear and the total volume in speakerphone mode is also satisfactory. The microphones are good and the person on the other end of the line could hear me clearly indoors and outdoors. As a communication device, there are no complaints from me with the Vivo X80 Pro.

Blazing Fast Charging  Speeds – Wired or Wireless

Vivo X80 Pro AH HR Charging

The Vivo X80 Pro has a bigger battery 4,700 mAh versus 4,500mAh on the previous flagship. And it supports 80W fast charging versus 55W with the X70 Pro Plus. Couple the larger battery with a more power-efficient display and the newer Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and you get great battery life. Regular smartphone use resulted in alternate day charging for me.

A bit of gaming, lots of picture taking, and heavy GPS use meant charging the phone at night. Vivo claims that the power brick included in the box will charge the device from zero to 100% in 35 minutes. I wasn’t able to verify that since I don’t have an adapter for the brick. But I did find charging speeds to be quite decent with my 65W charging brick.

For my review period, I left the variable refresh rate on along with the display at the FHD+ resolution.

In addition to 80W fast wired charging, the Vivo X80 Pro supports 50W fast wireless charging. Since there was no fast wireless charger in the review package, I couldn’t verify the fast wireless charging speeds. The Belkin 15W wireless charging stand did charge the Vivo X80 Pro without any issues just not very fast.

Mobile photography is next-level on the Vivo X80 Pro

The Vivo X70 Pro Plus was really great in the camera department, especially for nighttime photography. And so I was very eager to try the new Vivo X80 Pro to see if there are any noticeable improvements with the new flagship.

The short summary is that the Vivo X80 Pro packs awesome cameras and, in terms of low light photography, it is the reigning champion. Now, as usual, Vivo has shifted the optical image stabilization between the four cameras. Why they can’t settle on gimbal OIS for their cameras with each flagship is a mystery to me.

Vivo X80 Pro Rear Cameras

Vivo X80 Pro AH HR Camera

The cameras on the Vivo X80 Pro are very similar to those on the Vivo X70 Pro Plus. So you still have four lenses covering the ultra-wide, wide (main), telephoto (2x zoom), and 5x zoom sensors. All four cameras are all covered by Zeiss’ T-Coating to reduce lens flare. The 50MP main camera (wide lens) gets a ‘custom built’ Samsung’s GNV sensor (it is a modified version of the GN1 sensor found on previous Vivo flagship devices).

The 48MP ultra-wide, 12MP 2x telephoto (for portrait shots), and 8MP 5x Periscope zoom lens are all a carryover from the X70 Pro Plus. However, the image processing chip gets an upgrade and is now called V1+. More on how it helps the camera output later. Last but not the least, the gimbal stabilization system is now on the 2X portrait zoom camera instead of the ultra-wide lens that was on the X70 Pro Plus. Vivo claims that this change is because there are some new options available on the 2X portrait lens.

IMG 20220525 193337
IMG 20220525 193305
IMG 20220525 193310
IMG 20220525 193315
IMG 20220525 193337
IMG 20220525 193305
IMG 20220525 193310
IMG 20220525 193315

With all four cameras, you get coverage from ultrawide (16mm focal length) to 5X optical zoom (125mm equivalent focal length). While this seems like a great range on paper, it is still slightly less than the Galaxy S22 Ultra because it packs a 10X optical zoom lens. The only complaint here is that the color science is not consistent across all 4 cameras, unlike the Oppo Find X5 Pro. Despite this shortcoming, the end result is quite pleasing across all 4 lenses.

The Vivo X80 Pro’s 50MP main camera takes extremely detailed 12.5 MP images (4:1 pixel binning). The massive 1/1.31-inch GNV sensor is able to capture a lot of light and preserves details in subjects while providing good separation from the background.

Colors are quite accurate, thanks to Zeiss Color and the end result is very close to what you see with your eyes. HDR shots do not blow out lights like some other Chinese smartphones which is a good thing. Daytime pictures have just the right amount of brightness and contrast and accurate colors. And the camera shutter is fast and responsive. You will not be disappointed with the pictures from the main camera as long as there is a good amount of light available.

Main camera: Low light photography

Low light photography is where Vivo X80 Pro pulls ahead of the competition. In any challenging low-light situation, the HDR shots from the Vivo X80 Pro yield excellent results. The main feature is that it never blows out the light sources – like street lights for example. Pictures have accurate colors and light sources are illuminated close to what the human eye sees.

IMG 20220527 222537
IMG 20220527 222017
IMG 20220527 222537
IMG 20220527 222017

And, in case you like staring at the night sky, the Astro mode on this smartphone is absolutely bonkers. You will need a tripod to extract the maximum mileage out of the camera and the computational photography of the X80 Pro. Astro mode with a tripod is typically 2 minutes and change per shot.

IMG 20220527 220435 1
PXL 20220528 050740555 NIGHT
IMG 20220527 220435 1
PXL 20220528 050740555 NIGHT

While this seems like a long time it is still shorter than the Pixel 6 and the results are actually slightly better than the Pixel in my opinion.

The Ultrawide camera produces excellent results day or night

The large ultrawide sensor on the Vivo X80 Pro produces great pictures day or night. There is no loss of detail at the extremes of the pictures. While many smartphones produce excellent daytime ultrawide pictures, they tend to fall apart in low light. That is absolutely not the case with the Vivo X80 Pro.

In fact, low light ultrawide pictures on the X80 Pro are some of the best and preserve good detail even when zoomed in. I think that Vivo’s custom chip and HDR processing are doing some heavy lifting here to yield better results than the competition. In my opinion, these are probably the best ultrawide pictures in contrast to other flagships on the market today.

Vivo X80 Pro Camera Samples - Flickr Gallery

Portrait (2X) and Optical Zoom camera results

There are two zoom cameras on the Vivo X80 Pro. First is the 2X zoom which is the portrait camera and the other is a 5X optical Periscope zoom camera. The 2X is an interesting choice because most smartphones with a zoom camera have a 3X magnification.

The 2X zoom camera does a good job of retaining details in daylight. But let’s be honest; in most cases, you can move up a few steps and get the same result with the main camera. The main reason for using this lens is for portrait shots. And portrait results are quite nice with good bokeh – some of it is real and some of it is the Zeiss/Vivo software. Vivo moved the gimbal stabilization to this lens to let you take better portrait shots in low light and to help stabilize video in cinematic mode.

The cinematic mode lets you shoot in ultrawide format and 1080p with bokeh around the subjects kinda like the iPhone cinema mode. You can also apply the new vintage film filter to make your videos like they were shot in the 1970s. The optical stabilization does help with video more than portraits. But  I still think the gimbal system on the ultrawide lens is the best option (which was the case with the Vivo X70 Pro Plus).

Next is the 5X optical Periscope zoom camera. While the results are good in daylight and fuzzy in low light (as expected) they are arguably the weakest in comparison to what you get with the other three cameras. And yes, Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra’s 10X optical zoom is better than what you get with the Vivo X80 Pro.

Overall, all four cameras on the Vivo X80 Pro produce superb results in daylight. In low-light situations, the main and ultrawide cameras outperform the competition. The collaboration between Zeiss and Vivo is beginning to pay off in terms of accurate colors, lots of effects, and filters. And the custom imaging V1 chip helps achieve near-perfect HDR shots.

The Selfie camera is a carryover

The Vivo X80 Pro uses the same 32MP selfie camera as the X60 Pro Plus and X70 Pro Plus. It produces decent pictures for the most part provided you turn off all the filters and beauty options. I am hoping that Vivo focuses on this camera a bit more for the next X series device, as it is definitely a bit behind the competition.

Videos

You can shoot video in 8K with the Vivo X80 Pro but it is probably prudent to shoot the videos in 4K or 1080p to conserve storage space. Daytime videos are a bit bright, but nighttime video from the main and ultrawide cameras is excellent with a low amount of noise. Again the lack of gimbal stabilization with the ultrawide camera is something you will notice more during videography.

Connectivity was good considering this is not a USA specific device

Vivo X80 Pro AH HR Connectivity

Even though the newest Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 is powering the Vivo X80 Pro, there was no 5G connectivity on T-Mobile in the USA. However, as soon as I popped in my T-Mobile SIM card, there was a 4G VoLTE signal on the device. Besides VoLTE, there is built-in support for Wi-Fi calling and carrier video calling. There was no fuss with inputting the correct APN settings, so there were no issues with calls, texts, or mobile data during my review period. As usual, data download speeds were very slow, but these were comparable to my daily driver Pixel 6.

Besides cellular connectivity, there are Wi-Fi6, Bluetooth 5.2, and NFC options. And from the quick settings, you can access Nearby Share, Smart Mirroring, and Vivoshare. You can also go to the main Settings menu, to use Smart Mirroring, OTG, and Android Beam options. And if you want to control your TV, there’s an IR blaster and the Smart Remote app on the Vivo X80 Pro. I doubt that you will have to look for some third-party app solution in terms of connectivity on the Vivo X80 Pro.

Should you buy the Vivo X80 Pro?

Vivo X80 Pro AH HR Verdict

The Vivo X80 Pro is a high-end Android smartphone that can easily compete with the best from Samsung, Google, and Xiaomi. It has excellent design language, a superb AMOLED LTPO display, stellar hardware performance, and great battery life. The Software experience is now markedly better than before, audio quality is quite good, and there’s support for blazing-fast charging on board as well.

Then there’s the camera experience on the Vivo X80 Pro.  All four rear cameras produce excellent photos in a variety of different conditions. Night mode on the main camera is probably one of the best I have seen in recent times.

Sure the camera array layout could be better and some more Android 12 features could be integrated well, but these are minor quibbles. There are no glaring downsides or omissions on the Vivo X80 Pro. We at AndroidHeadlines have no hesitation in giving the Vivo X80 Pro our top Editor’s Choice rating. It definitely is one of the best Android smartphones currently available for sale.