It’s quite evident by now (thanks to countless billboards painting towns and suburbs blue) that Vivo wants to focus primarily on camera phones. And surely, some of the nicest camera phones wear the Vivo name, the X50 Pro being the most recent example. However, the phone bit is where Vivo struggles to match the competition and that often keeps critics from branding them as a top choice.
It seems Vivo was busy listening all this time, and with its X60 series, it has intentions to give us very little to complain. The X60 series contains the best of Vivo technology and this time, it wants to take the game to OnePlus, Samsung, and the big guns. The X60 Pro is the middle child in the X60 series with enough bells and whistles to make you utter “premium” for itself. In India, you get the sole 12GB RAM variant at a price of Rs 49,999.
Has Vivo got it all right this time? To hunt for answers, I pocketed a Shimmer Blue Vivo X60 Pro for a while and I am left impressed.
|Features||Vivo X60 Pro|
|Chipset||Qualcomm Snapdragon 870|
|OS||Funtouch OS 11 based on Android 11|
|Display||6.5-inch AMOLED 2376 x 1080 pixel resolution|
No other brand has milked the gradient-based design on their phones as much as Vivo. Be it the affordable Y series phones or the more expensive V20 Pro, these phones love flaunting gradient hues. The Vivo X60 Pro is no different and, in its Shimmer Blue iteration, is one of the prettiest phones I have seen in a while. It’s pretty enough to draw a swarm of interested people swoon over my desk to check out the phone. The compliments this phone has got are second to no other premium phone I have used recently, not even the Galaxy S21 Plus and OnePlus 9 Pro.
It’s not the gradient colour scheme that draws attention; you have to feel the satin finish on the rear. The frosted glass finish helps the X60 Pro keep smudges at bay and paired with the lighter colour shades, this is an easy maintenance phone. Adding to the desirous bit are the curved edges and the slim metallic rails, the latter flaunting the same matte finish.
I also dig the ZEISS branding bits on the camera hump. If you love photography equipment, you are going to like the “ZEISS Vario-Tessar” inscription, accompanied by the sensor details. It makes the X60 Pro look like professional photography gear. Sadly, Vivo can’t stop being smug about this ZEISS partnership and slapped a “PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY” tag on the frame.
Not only does the X60 Pro look good, but it’s built in the best of ways a premium smartphone in 2021 can be. The frame is authentic metal, not plastic, and that satin rear has Gorilla Glass 6 as its build material. The fit and finish on every surface are top-notch. For the display, Vivo is using SCHOTT Xensation Up as the protection material. I can’t speak about its durability as the phone comes pre-installed with a plastic display protector, which took all the abuses from my jeans’ pockets as well as nails.
Despite all the fancy glass and metal drama, the X60 Pro is surprisingly lighter than its peers. At 179 grams (for the Shimmer Blue version), it is a comfortable fit for most people, even with smaller palms.
Given the X60 Pro’s flagship intentions, Vivo has given this phone a display that ticks the ‘2021 trends’ checklist. 120Hz refresh rate, Curved edge AMOLED technology, punch-hole cutout for the camera, and 240Hz touch sampling rate – they are all here. And, all of these come together to provide a nice viewing experience.
Watching YouTube videos or scrolling endlessly through Instagram is a joy on the X60 Pro. The AMOLED tech comes into its own, allowing high contrasts and slightly saturated colour tones. Viewing angles are wide and outdoor visibility in the daytime is good. The 120Hz refresh rate helps with the smoother scrolling experiences and with 240Hz of touch sampling rate, the interface appears more responsive than usual.
The centre-mounted punch-hole cutout, however, is irksome and takes away from the viewing experience. Some of the on-screen buttons in COD: Mobile got obstructed by the cutout at times. Personally, I miss those pop-up camera arrangements from 2019 that did away with any sort of distraction within the viewing area.
Last year’s Vivo X50 Pro relied on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G chip, which in all intents and purposes, is a mid-range chip. Hence, Vivo’s flagship phone didn’t have the same performance credentials as flagships from its similarly-priced rivals (For example, OnePlus 8T and Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro). With the X60 Pro, things are done the right way.
The X60 Pro (and the X60) feature Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 870 chip. This is new for India and is likely to find its way to more premium phones this year. The Snapdragon 870 is essentially a Snapdragon 865 with the exception of a new name and a boosted performance core. Theoretically, at its peak performance, this chip can achieve clock speeds of 3.18GHz.
In honesty, the Snapdragon 870 isn’t the most powerful chip you are going to find in a 2021 smartphone. However, the performance it delivers is right up with the top-level Android phones. Combined with Vivo’s FunTouch OS based on Android 11, it makes the X60 Pro feel no different than the more expensive Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus.
For everyday usage, the X60 Pro is plenty fast and has enough grunt to handle up to seven apps simultaneously. Running Twitter and Facebook in split window for long hours don’t put any noticeable stress on the phone. On my busy days, I have 5-6 Chrome tabs opened while replying to emails while streaming music from Apple Music in the background – the X60 Pro kept it all smooth. Sadly, the 12GB RAM on my unit was always more than enough for my usage. Hence, I did not get to see the Virtual RAM kicking in to save the day.
Of course, a high-end chip also translates into high-end gaming performance. I have logged multiple hours of Call of Duty: Mobile and Genshin Impact on this X60 Pro, and with all the graphics settings cranked up to the max, I never noticed any frame drops or slowdowns. In fact, I found the X60 Pro’s gaming performance faster than the more expensive Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus. The 240Hz touch sampling rate helps with more responsive in-game controls.
While the phone has enough power to run the games at their best, it’s the audio experience that’s a bit of a letdown. It is surprising to see Vivo skipping a stereo speaker setup on the X60 Pro, despite it costing Rs 50,000. The audio output via the single speaker isn’t on par with premium phones and the volume levels are restricted to lower levels. The OnePlus 9 at the same price offers a way better loudspeaker performance.
Another area where I was left wanting more was the user experience of the OS. Funtouch OS 11 feels like a relic of a software experience in 2021, especially with its weirdly spaced-out interface elements and flat icons. There are customization options baked in but most of the themes, wallpapers, icons, and even fonts have a price tag on them. And, it’s not that these paid themes or fonts are tasteful. Vivo’s UI design team seems to be torn between Funtouch OS’ own elements and Android’s stock elements. The result is a weird amalgamation of a user interface that feels imbalanced overall.
Vivo’s OriginOS has grabbed attention for its unique design theme in China and Funtouch OS in comparison feels lame. Next to OnePlus’ OxygenOS, Xiaomi’s MIUI 12, Oppo’s ColorOS 11, and Samsung’s One UI 3.1, Funtouch OS 11 feels obsolete. It doesn’t do justice to a premium device that is the X60 Pro.
What made up for the lacklustre software experience was the reliable connectivity performance. My unit of the X60 Pro kept itself latched onto Jio’s network in areas where my iPhone SE on the same connection dropped calls. I also experienced reliable data speeds on 4G LTE. Should you be interested in futureproofing the X60 Pro, you will be happy to learn that there’s support for 5G networks too.
ZEISS – that’s the word Vivo is banking on to sell the X60 Pro. The partnership between these two companies promises superior camera experiences, at least on paper. Apart from ZEISS lenses, Vivo has also employed Pixel Shift technology from DSLR cameras to improve colour reproduction. Plus, Vivo’s Gimbal stabilization system returns for another run with improvements in performance this time.
All of those techy jargons do seem to do their bits efficiently. The X60 Pro’s cameras are among the best phone cameras I have used in a while. The still photo output is right there with the Galaxy S21 Plus’ camera. I am impressed with the colour reproduction, especially in daylight conditions. Even with HDR turned off, photos recreate almost the same colours as seen by the naked eye. I am happy to see reds appear red, not pink, even under the noon sun.
Results from the 48-megapixel primary camera are rich in details in the regular mode, along with vibrant colours, high brightness levels and no noticeable grains in well-lit conditions. The gimbal-based stabilization system helps with sharpness, especially while shooting on the move. The image processing tends to brighten up the shadow areas but the end result mostly appears pleasing. Those looking for more control over lighting and exposure need to rely on the Pro mode.
The main camera comes into its own as soon as light levels start dropping. Next to the iPhone 12’s camera, low light photos on the X60 Pro appear brighter, packing more details and suppressing noise. It is under artificial/indoor lighting when I notice a difference in the colours. The artificial enhancements are visible, especially with the colour saturation, exposure, and contrasts. That said, the results always leave my friend satisfied, whose portrait photos in the dying hours of the daylight impart a “plush” look.
The Night Mode does an impressive job of bringing out things that are barely visible to the naked eye. There’s some loss in detail levels but hey, you don’t use Night mode to get natural-looking photos, right? You use it to get photos where a conventional camera struggles.
The portrait mode is also one of the best, if not the best, I have seen on a smartphone camera. Edge detection on the subject is on point while keeping a majority of details intact. The algorithms tend to saturate the colour tones in certain low light situations but the end result, as I have repeated many times here, is pleasing. The background blur effect is subtle; something akin to my taste.
Output from the 13-megapixel ultra-wide camera isn’t quite on par with the main camera’s output in terms of colour and detail reproduction. I notice a difference in the colour science but the end output is fine in daylight. In low light, I advise switching to the Night Mode to get more useable photos. The distortion on the edge of the frame is limited.
The third camera is the 13-megapixel telephoto camera that offers 2x optical zoom. This is a degradation from the X50 Pro’s 5x Periscopic zoom camera and it shows with the end results. At 2x magnification, photos lose out on sharpness but do a decent job with the colour reproduction. Digital zoom goes up to 20x but you can get useable photos until 10x magnification. I wish Vivo retained the periscopic setup from the X50 Pro.
Video performance is on par with the top-level Android phones you can buy in the market. The gimbal stabilization system is effective until 4K at 30 fps; engaging the 4K at 60 fps mode disengages the OIS and EIS completely. The footage in 4K at 30 fps is rich in details and maintains vibrancy with colours as well as contrasts. There are struggles with exposures at times but it isn’t too disturbing. The autofocus system is fine.
The gimbal-based stability is helpful while moving around with the camera. Get this, we shot a small in-house event with the X60 Pro and our edit team couldn’t figure out that it did not come from a DSLR camera. Don’t let this statement mislead you into believing that the video performance is the best; an iPhone 12 can outgun the X60 Pro’s video performance any day.
Selfies from the 32-megapixel front camera look good. I switched off all the beauty modes and it reduced the makeup effects on my bearded face. Some kind of enhancement is still visible if you go pixel peeping, but again, the end result is pleasing.
With a 4200mAh battery, the Vivo X60 Pro manages to last an entire day easily, provided you don’t start gaming or shooting videos. Under my regular usage patterns, which usually involves browsing social media for an average of six hours in a day, an hour of gaming (on an average), taking lots of calls, using the cameras, and streaming music, the Vivo X60 Pro usually ends the day at 30 per cent. More gaming and camera usage drain the battery faster.
Vivo bundles a 33W fast charger in the box and this takes over an hour to fill up from under 10 percent. I wish Vivo offered the 55W wired charging solution from the X60 Pro Plus on this Pro variant. The OnePlus 9 at the same price offers a faster 65W charging solution in comparison.
There’s a lot to like about the Vivo X60 Pro as a premium Android phone. It’s got all the performance one expects from a phone that costs Rs 50,000; the Snapdragon 870 is mighty fast for most tasks you can throw at it – be it gaming, video editing, or even rigorous scrolling sessions through social media. Paired with a nice display experience as well as decent battery life, the X60 Pro sets itself apart as a solid phone.
It is the camera that makes the X60 Pro worth considering. After our encounter with the OnePlus 9, Galaxy S20 FE, and OnePlus 8T, the X60 Pro is the camera phone that I can recommend to most people – people who like the camera to do all the work and not the other way around. The gimbal-based OIS system is bliss for shaky hands.
The Funtouch OS experience is the only letdown in this otherwise brilliantly-designed package. I wish Vivo considers bringing the OriginOS experience to the X60 Pro in the future to better justify its flagship positioning.
To sum it up, you should buy the Vivo X60 Pro if a fine camera performance is a priority for your next premium “flagship-grade” Android phone.
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