Vivo X80 review: The HOTTEST flagship killer in town! – HT Tech

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What comes to mind when you hear “PREMIUM?” For me it’s something that offers above and beyond some basic or intrinsic value. I was expecting the same from Vivo’s new X80. Successor to Vivo X70 series, the Vivo X80 gets on with premium looks and some beefy camera experience at par. But is that enough to call it a PREMIUM phone? Well! It does have the task of convincing people to spend Rs. 55000 on a Vivo phone rather than an Apple iPhone 13 or a Samsung Galaxy S22. Apple has been holding its ground because of its excellent software design and support that most Android phones lack, while Samsung is the innovator. Hence, Vivo needs a strong key differentiator to break the premium market.
If I overlook the branding issue and am willing to spend Rs. 55000 on an Android phone, then I would look for a feature packed smartphone that not only carries an excellent camera but also offers exceptional performance, long-lasting battery with fast charging support and an excellent user experience. With a 4500 mAh battery supported by 80W fast charging feature, MediaTek Dimensity 9000 processor, and excellent camera, Vivo X80 is trying to catch hold of a demanding user like me. But does it tick most of the premium features or just retain its identity of being a camera phone? I got to spend more than 10 days with Vivo X80 and here’s what I felt.
As soon as you get the phone out of the box, the first thing that will grab your eyeballs is its giant camera bump which covers almost one-third of the back panel. The Vivo X80 resembles last year’s Vivo X70 Pro+ and is almost identical to its expensive sibling – the Vivo X80 Pro. The handset is available in two color variants – Cosmic Black and Urban Blue, and I got the latter for review. The Vivo X80 left me impressed at the first glance with its looks and feel. The glass that has been used on the back panel is a fluorite AG glass with soft touch anti-glare matte finish which resists fingerprints and smudges. The phone exudes a premium feel. Despite its 206 g weight, it doesn’t feel heavy and can be manageable single handedly.
On the front, the phone has a tall 6.78-inch AMOLED display with Full HD+ resolution and 120 Hz fast refresh rate. The device features punch-hole selfie camera and in-display ultrasonic fingerprint scanner. The cherry on the top is that the display panel is bordered by extremely sleek bezels.
On the right side, the phone houses the power button and volume controls that work flawlessly while on bottom, it has a USB C charging port and the SIM tray. Though it lacks support for Dolby Atmos for 3D sound experience, you will get dual stereo speakers on the top as well as on the bottom.
Wait! There’s something more exciting. The handset is accompanied with a decent protective case matching the color of the rear panel along with Type-C-enabled earphones, a USB Type-C charging cable, extra silicone ear tips, and a SIM ejector tool. While premium brands like Apple and Samsung have been removing in-box accessories, isn’t it great to get these freebies?
The Vivo X80 comes with a tall 6.78-inch AMOLED display with 120Hz refresh rate. The Full HD+ resolution is quite overwhelming at this price point as some of its competitors like the Realme GT 2 Pro and Xiaomi 12 Pro come with a QHD+ resolution. However, it lacks the LTPO 2 panel that you can get on the Realme GT 2 Pro.
The display exhibits vibrant punchy colors and offers wide viewing angles, making your binge watching session pretty exciting. The HDR support and loud, crisp-sounding stereo speakers gives all the HD goodness on streaming apps like Netflix and Prime Video and facilitates great gaming as well. The device comes with a rated peak brightness of 1500 nits. Also, the sunlight legibility is not an issue with the Vivo X80. The device is pretty bright even under harsh sunlight.
The Vivo X80 is the first phone in India to be powered by the MediaTek Dimensity 9000 SoC paired with Vivo’s V1+ chipset. Further it has up to 12 GB LPDDR5 RAM and 256 GB UFS 3.1 storage. It handles multifunctionality at ease. However, Vivo’s software is probably its weakest point even after it has exceptionally improved its custom UI skin over the last few years. FunTouchOS 12 is still a long way to go for offering a flagship-grade experience. There are hardly any visual changes in FOS12 over FOS11 as it still has the same old barrage of bloatware pre-installed on the phone. Though you can delete it, what’s the point of pre-installing cheap apps like Moj and Takatak on a premium phone? The most disappointing thing is there are embedded advertisements thrown by Vivo’s own browser and the global search every now and then by swiping down on the home screen. This, by all means, feels cheap and kind of spoils the phone’s appeal. Seriously Vivo, just stop with this habit already!
That said, FuntouchOS does bring a lot of features and customization options along with all the latest privacy features and themeing benefits of Android 12. The Vivo X80 also guarantees to get updates up to Android 15, which is the standard by most other phones in the price range.
Needless to say, day-to-day activities from calling, texting, to watching shows/movies all work exceptionally well. The Dimensity 9000 is as powerful as the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 on paper and it shares one critical issue with the Snapdragon cousin — its heating issue. I know that Delhi NCR is like a sauna these days but the Vivo X80 heats up easily even while scrolling social media apps. Maybe this is an issue with the early units and Vivo could release an update to fix it. Raw Performance wise, this phone can handle everything and I believe more flagships could use this chipset going forward.
The Vivo-Zeiss partnership on the Vivo X series is pretty good. You get a fantastic camera array at this price point. The Zeiss T* coating on the camera lenses reduces glare and ghosting in images. The phone comes with a 50 MP Sony IMX866 primary lens with a sensor size of 1/1.49-inch. The primary lens also features OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) for sharp images. Additionally, you get a 12 MP telephoto shooter with 2x optical zoom and a 12 MP ultra-wide shooter. There’s a 32 MP snapper on the front for selfies and video calls.
Coming to picture quality, the phone delivers crisp and detailed HDR images with good dynamic range in daylight. The phone does a good job by not overexposing or underexposing any area too much. Though the photos’ color saturation looks a bit unrealistic, they do look social media-ready. And, if you are looking for more natural-looking colors, you can use Zeiss mode, however, human subjects look unnatural as the skin tone looks washed out in some cases. Close-up shots look fantastic.
There’s a 50 MP mode for more detailed pictures, especially when you zoom into photos. There’s also a Pro mode and portrait modes. Portrait images taken by the primary sensor are pretty good, with great details and sharpness.
In low lighting, you can click excellent pictures with Night Mode active. Even without Night Mode you can shoot pictures with extended shutter speed letting enough light in. The ultrawide lens too shoots fantastic images but auto-HDR the images look softer than what the primary lens delivers.
Now coming to selfie cameras, the pictures do look great at first glance but the auto-beauty mode tunes skin tones even when it is manually turned off. Over smoothing of skin textures and modifying of skin tones is a drawback. In short, there’s lots of beautification going on.
For more clarity on camera quality, check out the pictures shot on Vivo X80 here
For videography, X80 features comes with a bunch of modes like Movie LUTs, Cinematic Video mode, Horizontal Line Stabilization, Pro Mode, and more. You can shoot 4K videos at 30/60 fps and 1080p at 30/60 fps from the rear camera. There’s also a slow-motion mode. Videos look excellent during the day than we have seen on many Android phones.
The phone relies on a powerful 4500mAh battery which easily lasts for upto 14-18 hours on regular usage that includes surfing the internet, watching videos or films, attending calls or video calls. The Vivo X80 ships with 80W Fast charging support that gets the device charged from 10 to 100 percent in around 30-35 minutes. But, it could have been given the wireless charging support that is even available on cheaper phones like iPhone SE 2022, Samsung Galaxy S21 FE. Not a deal breaker but come on, Vivo.
 
The Vivo X80 offers fast, reliable performance with decent battery life and superfast charging. Of course, the excellent camera features and plethora of creative camera modes also make it a great phone for shutterbugs to carry around. If I may say, it looks sexy — not a compliment I can give other phones at this price. The only major disappointment is the software experience and the preloaded bloatware that breaks the premium experience to some extent.
That being said, I would still call it a flagship to buy if you’re looking for smooth performance and versatile cameras. If you want the best of performance and gaming, phones like the Realme GT2 Pro and Xiaomi 12 Pro can also be given a thought by paying a bit more. From the Samsung camp, the closest competitor is Galaxy S21 FE that offers additional features like Wireless charging, waterproof rating and slightly better cameras, but you would miss out on the in-box accessories, standout design and the 80W superfast charging. And lastly, the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 Mini are in this range as well but these phones don’t have the sizzling appeal the Vivo X80 has to offer.
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