A plus may have disappeared from the name, but don't let that fool you - the vivo X80 Pro is the spiritual successor to the X70 Pro+. In essence, it's the company's ultimate cameraphone and we're getting hardware and software advancements in the imaging department on top of what was already a hugely capable setup.
An all-round flagship, of course, the X80 Pro is also packing a high-end chipset and a top-quality display as well as some extra battery capacity this year, all in a striking looking body. And, very importantly, it's going further than the X70 Pro+ - all the way to Europe now.
vivo phones are seldom easy for us as there are often differences between versions sold in China and ones for outside markets - such is the case here as well. The proprietary software layer on top of Android is one of those (Origin in China, Funtouch elsewhere), but this year there are also two different chipsets - one's the Dimensity 9000, the other is the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. Materials and available colorways will vary from region to region, too. We're reviewing a global variant of the X80 Pro with a Snapdragon/Funtouch combo.
With that distinction hopefully cleared up, let's outline what's new. The main camera is using an exclusive Samsung sensor, albeit based on the familiar 1/1.3" one in previous generations. The shorter of the two telephoto cameras, meanwhile, has gained a gimbal - a signature vivo touch. On the flipside, the ultrawide has been denied that extra stability now - perhaps the tele has better use for it anyway. The an 8MP stabilized periscope camera remains unchanged, as does the 32MP selfie unit.
In true top-tier fashion, the OLED display of the X80 Pro features QHD resolution and supports variable refresh rate up to 120Hz (but also as low as 1Hz). It's gently curved too, for better or for worse. A new development underneath it is the huge ultrasonic fingerprint reader, same one we already saw (and loved) on the iQOO 9 Pro earlier this year. We also get a minor but still welcome increase in battery capacity to 4,700mAh (up from 4,500mAh) and a bump in charging power capability to 80W (66W on the old model).
And that appears to be it, at least as far as the specsheets are concerned.
The X80 Pro's presentation follows the tradition established by previous premium vivo phones. The phone arrives in a large squarish box made of thick textured cardboard. It's a different shade of hard-to-name gray-navy - last year's models leaned a bit more towards gray, this one is bluer. The shiny blue Zeiss badge is still the same shiny Zeiss blue hue. While not remotely resembling other flagships' small (and mostly devoid of contents) boxes, the X80 Pro's package has gotten nearly a centimeter thinner than last year's models, so that should help logistics.
Inside, the phone is lying face down in the left side of the tray, but you can now see all of it - the X70 Pro+ had another layer of cardboard on top with a window cutout just for the camera island. It's not like there's any chance you'd be missing the X80 Pro's camera island so perhaps further accenting it through packaging shenanigans was indeed unnecessary.
Two additional boxes underneath the tray hold the accessories, and there's a good deal of them. An 80W charger promises speedy top-ups, which we appreciate, but we do tend to frown upon USB-A-to-C connections in 2022 and that's the case here. It's hard to complain about the nice pair of in-ear buds that you get in the box, though.
The faux leather case with thick plastic bits for the top and bottom of the phone (corners too) is also welcome. It likely won't be offering much protection for the camera cluster, but keeping that safe and maintaining any semblance of good looks does seem impossible. And it's made to be looked at, the vivo X80 Pro.
They haven't exactly been inconspicuous, the high-end vivos of late, but the X80 Pro somehow manages to outdo even the X70 Pro+ in camera island 'presence'. All the while, the vivo still maintains a level of restraint in its styling that the iQOOs from across the street prefer to abandon.
Most of the personality in a modern phone is in its camera island and boy, does the X80 Pro have a lot of personality. Almost indiscriminately scattered, the four modules abandon the tidy arrangement found on the X70 Pro+ and three of them are now in a circular formation, together with the mandatory Zeiss badge and the laser AF window.
The periscope is underneath that circle, the LED flash is to the right - not a whole lot of order here, no. There better be some internal component considerations that led to this arrangement, as opposed to the engineers having to figure out an internal layout to accommodate a design of this sort.
Okay, that may have sounded a little harsh. Looking from a different perspective, one could appreciate the sparing use of text on the camera island, with a tiny font too. And the fact that the island now spans most of the width of the phone makes the handset very stable when placed on a table, not one of the X70 Pro+'s virtues.
Still, we maintain that the older phone is more to-the-point in its camera styling - the X80 Pro isn't quite as focused.
You can still use the camera assembly as a mirror, whether it's for rough framing of rear-camera selfies, or, you know, as a mirror. If anything, it's now even better suited to those task, being larger and all.
Another design element that's been kept is the shimmery finish on what might at first glance pass for a matte black rear panel. It may appear matte indoors or genreally in dimmer conditions, but when the sun catches it, the glitter shines through.
In more practical terms, the rear panel (unnamed type of glass) is about as slippery as they get, but the included case helps with that. It will hide that sparkly finish though, and that's not a trade-off we can just dismiss. You'd be happy to know that the panel isn't remotely prone to accumulating fingerprints, so the lack of grip remains its sole downside.
We've only been talking about this Cosmic Black colorway, because that's what's going to be the only option on the global X80 Pro. The Chinese model is also offered in orange vegan leather or cyan ceramic (don't quote us on that). The thing is, the black colorway does offer a pretty appealing aesthetic so we're not too bummed about the lack of choice.
Over on the front you get that large 6.78" OLED display with the classic physical markings of a true flagship - curved sides, minimal bezels, tiny selfie camera cutout. It's a properly high-end panel too, but more on that later.
While on the topic of physical properties, it has to be said that the large display naturally comes in a large handset overall. Measuring 164.6x75.3x9.1mm, the X80 Pro is a full-size unit with no aspirations for compactness. It's even a mil taller than a Galaxy S22 Ultra, though the non-Note is admittedly a full 2.6mm wider and that's a lot. But even against the S22+, the vivo is more than 7mm taller. The Xiaomi 12 Pro, meanwhile, comes in essentially the same footprint as the vivo.
The X80 Pro is also among the heaviest in the class, though its 215g will probably feel just the same in your pocket as the S22+'s 195g. The 1.5mm difference in thickness between the 9.1mm vivo and the svelte 7.6mm Galaxy is somewhat mitigated by the X80 Pro's curved sides, though it can't entirely fool you.
Those thin aluminum rails on the sides remind us of the times when Samsung was all about curved screens. Admittedly, vivo has adopted that design for a couple of years now and made it work for their own phones too.
A shallow chiseled groove on the right is home to the power button and volume rocker and both operate remarkably quietly, yet with satisfying click action.
The top is home to a cheap-looking glossy plastic insert which must have been mandated by the antenna placement, but we're not liking it one bit. The cheesy 'Professional photography' inscription doesn't help and neither does the fact that it's all scuffed up after a little over a week of gentle reviewing. The infrared emitter does steer our minds away from that negativity.
On the bottom of the phone is where the USB-C port is. The primary mic and primary loudspeaker are in this vicinity as well. Also here is the card slot which will accept two nano-SIMs back to back, but no microSD. Note the blue gasket - the X80 Pro is IP68-rated for dust and water protection.
The specsheet of the X80 Pro's display leaves nothing out. The 6.78-inch Samsung-made OLED panel has a 1,440x3,200px resolution for a pixel density of 517ppi. Refresh rate maxes out at 120Hz but can go down to 1Hz depending on content and activity, while touch sampling can be as fast as 300Hz. It's a 10bit panel too for over 1 billion colors, supports HDR10 and can reach a peak brightness of 1500nits.
That number is for small lit-up areas - that's why they call it 'local peak brightness', which is an honest approach we appreciate. In general use vivo promises 1000nits and that's essentially what we measured on the X80 Pro (plus some change), when the phone was placed under direct light and with adaptive brightness enabled in settings. The number you can get at the right end of the slider when the toggle is disabled is 488nits.
Those are virtually the same results we got on the iQOO 9 Pro and the vivo X70 Pro+, and it's as bright as phone displays go - excluding the current top-end Galaxies or iPhones, that is.
|Display test||100% brightness|
The X80 Pro goes about color handling in the same way as the X70 Pro+ and the iQOO 9 Pro. There are three color presets as well as a simple stepless temperature slider if you'd like to tweak things one way or the other. The Standard profile has a wide color gamut and is generally accurate for DCI-P3 content, though its white point and grayscale colors are visibly cold and shifted towards blue - more or less the norm. You can visibly improve things by moving the temperature slider about 1/3 or half the way in the warm direction.
The Professional preset is what you should look for if you're after accurate representation for sRGB content - it was spot-on for our test swatches.
Then there's the Bright mode, which expands the gamut beyond the P3 color space and is a bit punchier without any attempts at accuracy.
The X80 Pro supports HDR10+ and we got HDR streams in both YouTube and Netflix, but not so much in Amazon Prime. Both Netflix and Prime streamed at 1080p.
The X80 Pro has a three options in the refresh rate menu - Smart Switch, 60Hz, and 120Hz. As we've previously observed, there's little difference between the Smart Switch and 120Hz mode and both employ mostly similar logic for autoswitching the refresh rate based on the use case and whether you're touching the phone or not.
The 60Hz mode is also a ceiling of sorts - RR maxes out at 60Hz, but will still drop to save power when the phone doesn't detect any touch input for a few seconds. Having said that, in this mode we never saw readings below 10Hz, while both other modes would drop to 1Hz in isolated instances - or rather, instance - the settings menu, when you're not touching the display. Speaking of, that 1Hz is only attainable at or near maximum brightness - pull the slider a bit more to the left and it's 10Hz.
Browsers max out at 60Hz in Smart switch mode, but 120Hz in 120Hz mode. Again, if you're not touching the display, the phone will seize the opportunity to drop to 10Hz, though it will be smart enough to maintain 60Hz if there's moving content in the web page.
Video content will be getting the refresh rate it needs and nothing more. 24fps, 30fps, and 48fps clips had the Hz counter going all over the place, but the video played smoothly (also, who uses 48fps), while for 60fps videos the phone reported stable refresh rate numbers.
One area where we're seeing no positive development is the availability of high refresh rate in gaming. While we're seeing benchmarks go above the 60fps threshold and we get 120Hz readings in GFXBench, actual games don't do that on the vivo X80 Pro - as is unfortunately the norm with phones in the vivo/Oppo/Realme/OnePlus portfolio.
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