Vivo X80 Pro Review: Still Exceptional?

Last year’s X70 Pro+ was all about Vivo proving that it could go head-to-head with two of the biggest smartphone manufacturers, such as Samsung and Apple, in the premium segment. In my review of the X70 Pro+, I was completely convinced of its excellent camera performance and much-hyped gimbal stabilization system, making it a unique offering in the premium segment. Vivo also finally added stereo speakers, wireless charging, and an official IP68 rating to the X70 Pro+, which were missing in the previous generation and, thus, completed the premium package. But how do you build a successor to such a feature-packed smartphone that is still relevant even a year later?

Meet the Vivo X80 Pro. It’s missing the “+” in its name, but don’t be fooled, as it is the spiritual successor to the X70 Pro+ primarily because of its similar specs and price tag. While I initially felt it was only a small upgrade to the X70 Pro+ in terms of hardware, I’m now convinced that it’s still a solid one after having tested it over the past few weeks, and here’s why.

Vivo X80 Pro price in India

The Vivo X80 Pro, like the X70 Pro+, is available in a single configuration and is priced similarly. It has 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, priced at Rs. 79,999 in India. Considering its price, the phone will compete directly with the Samsung Galaxy S22+ (Review), which is available from Rs. 84,999 onwards.

Vivo X80 Pro design

The Vivo X80 Pro’s overall design is similar to the X70 Pro+. It’s only available in Cosmic Black in India, and this color has a slight sparkle in the finish when exposed to bright light but otherwise appears matte black. The Fluorite AG glass on the back and the Schott Xensation Up scratch protective glass over the display have curved sides which meet the aluminum-alloy frame, which also has a matte finish. While these matte surfaces are excellent for rejecting fingerprints and smudges, the Vivo X80 Pro is slippery. Thankfully, Vivo has added a premium faux-leather case in the box, which offers a good grip.

The Vivo X80 Pro looks very similar to the Vivo X70 Pro+.

The primary, that recycled design, the Vivo X80 Pro still looks unique and feels premium compared to any other smartphone in its class. The back of the phone is where one will notice most of the design changes. There’s a large ‘wThe primary, ultra-wide, and one telephoto camera sitonesnside a circular ring, while the periscopic telephoto camera is placed just below it. Window for the cameras, which look similar to the one on the iQoo 9 Pro (Review). It doesn’t rise too much from the back panel, and since it takes up the entire width, it prevents the phone from wobbling when placed on a flat surface. Like its predecessor, tThe curved cover glass covering the AMOLED display does attract dust and smudges easily. Still, these can be wiped off easily. Like its predecessor, there’s also an IP68 rating and wireless charging.

Vivo X80 Pro specifications and software

The Vivo X80 Pro gets upgraded to the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SoC, found in smartphones both above and below this price point. Vivo seems to have missed the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 SoC, which was recently announced and would have made for a good upgrade from the Snapdragon 888+ SoC in the X70 Pro+. The company has added a second generation of its V1 imaging chipset called the V1+, which it claims helps with low-light imaging, video recording, and gaming.

Communication standards include Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2, NFC, and support for the usual satellite navigation systems. The Vivo X80 Pro’s internal storage cannot be expanded. The phone now features a 4,700mAh battery, an upgrade over the 4,500mAh unit in the previous model, and can be charged quickly with the 80W adapter provided in the box. The phone has a 6.78-inch AMOLED display with WQHD+ resolution (3,200 x 1,440 pixels). It features a 120Hz refresh rate and a 300Hz touch sampling rate.

Funtouch OS 12 is based on Android 12, and Vivo promises three generations of Android OS updates and three years of security updates.

Vivo promises to support the phone with three generations of Android OS updates and three years of security updates, which is good news for buyers. The Vivo X80 Pro runs Funtouch OS 12, based on Android 12. Vivo’s X70 Pro+ was updated to Android 12 in January 2022, so I’m hoping Android 13 also makes its way to the X80 Pro promptly.

Funtouch OS 12 is what you’d expect from any recent Vivo smartphone. Android 12 adds a certain level of customization, but the OS still has a very strong Vivo flavor rather than stock Android 12. While the software works smoothly with no regular hiccups, I encountered some software bugs (mentioned below), which I hope are resolved with future updates.

There’s now a theme engine matching widget colors and the keyboard to the selected wallpaper. Vivo has added a UI color picker, much like what you get on Samsung’s One UI 4.1; it’s limited to changing the color of just the keyboard, not the accent color of the widgets on the home screen. The only way to force the devices to follow the theme color is by restarting the smartphone.

The dark mode was a bit buggy, too, as even though the background of the app drawer changed to black, the text didn’t switch to white, making it hard to read the labels of apps. Apart from the visual bugs I encountered, several preinstalled third-party apps such as MX TakaTak, Josh, BYJU’s, Moj, etc., which I could have done without a phone that cost nearly Rs. 80,000. However, you can uninstall all of them if needed.

Vivo X80 Pro performance and battery life

The Vivo X80 Pro’s E5 AMOLED display produces natural-looking colors and is bright enough to tackle direct sunlight outdoors. Text and images appear sharp, and I did not find the screen’s curved edges distracting when watching movies or playing games. This is the first smartphone display we’ve encountered that uses the latest LTPO 3.0 technology, promising even better power efficiency. The X80 Pro has a maximum refresh rate of 120Hz and a minimum refresh rate of 1Hz.

I noticed that the display only hit 1Hz when the Settings app was open, and that too only under bright sunlight. With regular use, the display’s refresh rate usually dropped to 10Hz and fluctuated rapidly depending on the on-screen content or app. Smart Switch lets the display automatically switch between refresh rates depending on the content, but you can force the show to run apps at 120Hz all the time if needed.

Vivo X80 Pro

The Vivo X80 Pro has a 6.78-inch E5 AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate and a large 3D Ultrasonic fingerprint reader.

The Vivo X80 Pro’s display also has an HDR10+ playback certification and supports the same in apps such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and YouTube. The stereo speakers get loud, and the clarity is maintained even at high volume, which along with the vivid display, makes the X80 Pro ideal for watching movies or TV shows without requiring a pair of earphones.

The larger-than-usual 3D Ultrasonic fingerprint reader (first available on the iQoo 9 Pro) was a delight. Apart from the lock screen, you can use your registered fingerprints to authenticate locked and hidden appsriting a fingerprint took one tap, and unlocking the device worked flawlessly during my review period. I also found Vivo’s Quick Actions feature quite handy, which lets you launch any native or third-party app the moment you unlock the device. Vivo also used a two-finger verification system for additional security, which worked as expected.

With Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SoC inside, I did not face any trouble with benchmarks, and the Vivo X80 Pro delivered very good performance, as expected. The phone scored 9,69,340 points in AnTuTu and 1,236 and 3,631 points in Geekbench’s single and multi-core tests, respectively. The Vivo, X80 Pro’s performance in the benchmarks was definitely on par with the competition but was only marginally higher than last year’s X70 Pro+ (with its Snapdragon 888+) managed.

The gaming performance was top-notch. The phone could run popular mobile games such as Call of Duty: Mobile and Asphalt 9: Legends at the highest settings, and it did so without breaking a sweat. What impressed me was the Game interpolation feature, which worked well. There’s only a handful of smartphones that are capable of running Call of Duty: Mobile above 60fps, and Vivo’s Game interpolation feature (basically MEMC for games), which can be enabled via the slide-out console within a game, managed to render it at 90Hz which made the game feel smoother to play.

Vivo also claims tThe feature will require you to adjust the in-game graphics settings (frame rate set to “Max or higher”), but it looks visually smoother when it works. Hat the phone consumes less power when using this mode than running the game at such a high frame rate. The downside is the slightly lowered touch sensitivity which I did not find a problem with within Call of Duty: Mobile. The feature will have four rear cameras, all of which are quite impressive.

I had no issues with the Vivo X80 Pro’s battery life. I got a day and a half of heavy use with the display’s refresh rate set to Smart Switch. Forcing it to 120Hz also did not seem to impact battery life negatively. The phone lasted 16 hours and 15 minutes in our HD video loop test, and I could charge it from empty to full in 36 minutes when using the bundled 80W charger, which is quite good. The phone also supports 50W wireless charging, but you will need Vivo’s proprietary wireless charging dock, which is sold separately.

Vivo X80 Pro cameras

The Vivo X80 Pro has four rear cameras, just like its predecessor, but with a slight change. A new 50-megapixel primary camera uses a customized Samsung GNV sensor with optical image stabilization (OIS), a 48-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera with autofocus, a 2X telephoto portrait camera with Vivo’s gimbal stabilization system, and finally, a 5X periscopic-style telephoto camera with OIS. Selfie duties are handled by a 32-megapixel front camera which uses a fixed-focus system.

The camera interface is all very familiar, and just like the X70 Pro+, the app has well-laid-out controls, some of which are customizable. There’s the usual Pro mode for both stills and video and a new Astro mode, resulting in some interesting photos.

Vivo X80 Pro daylight samples from the rear cameras (tap to see full size)

Vivo X80 Pro hybrid zoom camera samples (tap to see full size)

The primary camera captured excellent photos with good details and impressive dynamic range (thanks to the Zeiss T* coating) in all lighting conditions. In low light especially, it performed equally well with reduced noise in the photos. Lens flares and strong glare emanating from bright street lights, neon signs, and other light sources were controlled, which helped boost dynamic range and detail in the shadows.

Night mode on the main camera also delivered noise-free photos and colors very close to the scene. The Astro mode was quite impressive, typically meant to capture the stars in the night sky (in the right weather conditions). While it’s intended to work when the phone is mounted on a tripod, I captured a few handheld photos with this mode, and they looked equally good, with low noise and good detail.

Moving the ultra-wide-angle camera, I captured photos with good details and dynamic range. There was surprisingly very little barrel distortion, but the quality of the images was not exactly on par with the primary camera, especially when shooting in low light, even with Night mode. This could be down to the lack of an OIS system for this camera, which was present on the X70 Pro+. Regardless, these were still some of the best-looking ultra-wide-angle photos, in my opinion.

Vivo X80 Pro low-light samples from the rear cameras (tap to see full size)

Vivo X80 Pro camera samples: Astro mode (top) and macro photo (bottom) (Tap to see full size)

The results were quite good can also take one to go with this implementation instead of using a dedicated macro camera. The ultra-wide-angle camera can also take macro photos up to 4cm from your subject. The colors in macro photos were equally impressive, similar to the results from the primary camera.

Vivo’s choice of using the gimbal stabilization system on its Portrait camera is curious, but it delivers good output for the most part. The brand’s intention behind the same was to enable a user to shoot better low-light portraits with the help of its 5-axis gimbal stabilization. In daylight, the results from this camera were excellent, with impressive edge detection, sharpness, and detail. The colors were saturated in auto mode, but switching to Zeiss Styles or the Natural Style filters resulted in more true-to-life colors. The results were still quite good in low light, but the details were soft. Given the stabilization system in place, I expected them to appear equally sharp in low light, but that wasn’t the case.

As for the telephoto camera, the quality of the photos was similar to X70 Pro+. The OIS-stabilised periscope camera system captured good-quality images at 5X optical zoom in daylight. PicturLow-light pictures red were a bit murky, but switching to Night mode produced better-quality photos with enough detail and dynamic range.

I appreciated how close the color tones were between photos captured by all four rear cameras. Also, if you aren’t a fan of the slightly saturated colors this phone captures by default, you can enable Zeiss mode, which captures more true-to-life colors with all cameras.

The selfie camera captured sharp photos with good detail in daylight. Low-light performance was equally good as images looked sharp and colors were rendered well. The edge detection in Portrait mode and the dynamic range were spot on, with the subject and background exposed correctly.

Vivo X80 Pro selfie sample taken with Portrait mode (tap to see full size)

The Vivo X80 Pro can shoot up to 8K videos at 30fps which looks crisp, with excellent detail and dynamic range. But the footage lacked stabilization, so the motion was a bit jerky. Videos recorded in daylight at 1080p and 4K had good information, contrast, and impressive stabilization, especially at 30fps. The 4K footage looked the best, packed enough details, and was quite sharp.

HDR 10+ footage looked good but had oversaturated colors and was only available when shooting at 1080p and 4K 30fps. Details were low in low light, but the noise was controlled, provided the scene was sufficiently lit. I wouldn’t say I liked the output of the AI-enhanced video as it lacked stabilization and did not have a steady bitrate.

The key to good cinematic video is tracking your subject as they move; whi. At the same time, acts appeared fine; the edge detection fumbled a lot when tracking human faces and was nowhere close to Apple’s Cinematic video mode. The new ‘Cinematic video Style’ introduced by Vivo automatically blurred the backgrounds of subjects for a cinema feel. It only worked well under good lighting and could cap only ture footage at 1080p resolution verdict

The Vivo X80 Pro is not a huge upgrade over the X70 Pro+ (Review), which was already a great phone for imaging and performance. If you own an X70 Pro+, the X80 Pro won’t seem too impressive. However, the X80 Pro is worth getting over the X70 Pro+ for a new buyer, as Vivo hasn’t yet dropped the older model’s price. The X80 Pro is a good premium smartphone for 2022 with the latest SoC and displays tech, and it has a unique set of cameras that is like no other at this price point.

As for the competition, there’s plenty to choose from. The Samsung Galaxy S22+ (Review) is a solid contender packed to the brim with premium features, but it lacks the flexibility of the X80 Pro’s cameras and is also priced higher (from Rs. 84,999). Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Ultra (Review) may be a year old. Still, it can be found for around Rs. 76,000 online and offers crazy zoom capability and good battery life, along with all the features you would expect from a premium flagship.

If you are on a tighter budget, the OnePlus 10 Pro (Review) is a good choice as it offers an impressive set of cameras for its price minus an official IP rating. On the iOS side, Apple’s iPhone 13 (Review) is another good option. It may lack the flexibility of Vivo’s quad-camera setup. Still, it offers rock-solid consistency, a sensor-shift stabilized main camera, Cinematic video, and Dolby Vision video recording, all at a slightly lower market price than the X80 Pro.

Bella E. McMahon
I am a freelance writer who started blogging in college. I am fascinated by human nature, politics, culture, technology, and pop culture. In addition to my writing, I enjoy exploring new places, trying out new things, and engaging in conversations with new people. Some of my favorite hobbies are reading, playing music, making crafts, writing, traveling, and spending time with my family.