The Vivo X80 Pro has lots of top-end specs, but nothing to help it stand out from the competition.
The Vivo X80 Pro, while a great phone, is difficult to recommend. The Vivo X80 Pro has a great-looking screen and a powerful processor. However, there are better options from Apple and Samsung. While the Google and Motorola flagships offer more value, they have superior cameras. It's worth looking at if you find it on sale, however, the recommended retail price is not worth it.
Vivo X80 Pro joins the expanding list of premium, high-end Android phones that offer top-of-the-line camera technology and superior internals. This is Vivo's premier member of the premium tier and it has gone on sale worldwide, rather than just in China. It also competes with many phones made by other companies to take the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra's top spot on our list.
Vivo, however, has apparently forgotten something, just like ZTE, which launched the premium Axon 40 Ultra recently. It's not Samsung.
Samsung is the largest smartphone manufacturer in the world, so it can launch Ultra phones without any problems. The Galaxy brand is trusted by people and this company has been around for a long time.
Vivo, which is a large company in China but has very little presence in Europe, cannot be said the same.
According to all reports, the X80 Pro is a good phone. The X80 Pro has a premium look, featuring a curving-edge screen that fits comfortably in your hand and a huge camera bump that shouts "I'm just a camera phone" (a message that is reinforced by multiple Zeiss logos on the back).
This phone has all of the essentials: a fast charger, an attractive screen and high-resolution cameras at the back. It isn't as good as other top-end phones, but it does match them in many areas.
The camera department is a good example. While the combination of the Galaxy S22 Ultra's main, ultra-wide and telephoto lenses (for portrait shots), and the periscope lens (for zoom shots), the result pictures are not as great. A sensor with too low a resolution is used in conjunction with the periscope lens. The phone's AI image optimizing doesn't do enough.
Software is another example. Vivo's FunTouch is similar to stock Android for years. However, it lacks the latest features and design changes Android 12 introduced (not to mention the bloatware).
Although the Vivo X80 Pro may be a great phone in theory, there are many more appealing options available. We don't think many will choose the Vivo X80 Pro, unless they have an aversion for the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra or iPhone 14 Pro Max.
The Vivo X80 Pro costs £1,199 in the UK - that converts to $1,440 or AU$2,090 - and there's only one storage version going on sale, with 12GB RAM and 256GB storage.
Vivo does not sell phones in America so do not expect Vivo to launch in that country. However, Vivo could be coming soon to Australia.
At that price, the Vivo is a close rival to the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, which starts at $1,199.99 / £1,149 / AU$1,849 (though that's for 8GB RAM and 128GB storage, for the same 256GB configuration you're looking at $1,299,99 / £1,249 / AU$1,999)
If you are looking to buy hardware at a low price, then the Samsung will be more costly in one area. Vivo is cheaper than the Samsung. These phones fall within the same price range, but it's not a significant difference.
- Score: 2.5/5
Vivo X80 Pro is a large phone. It's not for those with small hands.
It's 164.6x75.3x9.1mm in size and 215g in weight. We're sorry for this wakeup call.
The curved edge display is small but it's quite comfortable. Until you reach for the buttons on the sides, that is. For people of medium size hands, the power button at the right edge will be easy to reach. However, the volume rocker up top will take some effort.
The fingerprint scanner can be found within the display so it's easily accessible. There is a USB-C connector, but not a 3.5mm headphone socket. This shouldn't surprise considering how few premium smartphones have this audio feature.
It dominates the back with a huge camera bump, which is not only huge in width but also thick. The logos are emblazoned on the camera bump, which houses all four lenses as well as the flash. It says "Zeiss" at least three times. It is unclear which camera manufacturer collaborated here with Vivo.
One of the most common problems with phones lying on their backs is a big camera bump. However, this issue is not an issue because it's so large.
It is constructed of lightly-textured glass that feels very comfortable in your hand. The phone is available in a variety of claddings including faux-leather or ceramic, however they are not being sold globally.
- Design Score: 4/5
It's not just large, the Vivo X80 Pro screen has many features.
This panel is 1440 x 3200 in resolution and supports HDR10+. This is what it all means. It means Vivo has upped the ante in all departments of its display.
It is one of the most vibrant and brightest screens available on smartphones.
The display's curved edges may put some off, however, they gently slope and there have never been any accidents-press concerns.
It is also quite small, which means that it will not occupy much of your viewing area.
- Display Score: 4.5/5
Vivo's photography department clearly is where Vivo is focusing on the X80 Pro – even if Vivo marketing did not convey that message, the Zeiss logos plastered all over the camera bump certainly did.
Four rear cameras are available: a 50MP f/1.6 snapper, a 12MP F/1.9 Telephoto, a 48MP MP f/2.2 ultrawide and an 8MP Periscope (with 5x zoom), all with a 2x optical zoom for portrait shots. There's also a 32MP front-facing camera with f/2.5, bringing it up to five.
Vivo seems to be trying to imitate Samsung's Galaxy S22 Ultra, but it doesn’t understand why this phone is great for photographing. This is most apparent in the zoom.
Although 5x optical zoom may not be a big deal, the 8MP sensor which comes with this long-distance range of photos is too small to produce great looking images. The snaps look a bit grainy and boring. Samsung's 10MP sensor could have been a good investment, but a more powerful sensor would have been better.
Samsung has another advantage of having a separate camera to take portrait photos, but in fairness it was used by other companies first. These photos are still good. The zoom lens creates a natural depth of field and the sensor with AI tweakery makes snaps appear quite bright.
The Vivo X80 Pro can take standard photos if you point it at something and then press the shutter key. Although the Vivo X80 Pro is capable of taking great pictures, it doesn't always achieve 'great'. This could be due to some AI features that are a bit more difficult.
Although the front-facing camera sometimes worked well, it also suffered from the same problem as the rear cameras in that AI optimization wasn't performing at its best. The selfies were less vibrant and darker than those taken on other phones.
You can also use the Supermoon and Astro modes for astrophotography, as well as Long Exposure. And Night, but not astrophotography. There are also the more common options like document scanning, slow-motion, and pro mode.
Vivo X80 Pro features the Snapdragon 8 Generation 1 chipset. This was the most powerful Android processor at launch - it's also in the OnePlus 10 Pro and Xiaomi 12 in certain regions.
The chip has a lot of power to power intensive tasks. We could easily turn on advanced graphics and framerate options, which makes gaming fun.
The Snapdragon model has a problem, which we discovered in the Vivo. It can heat up under pressure. A few online games or fast charging will cause it to warm up. We've also seen the phone get hotter with other smartphones.
The phone comes in three configurations: an 8GB RAM, 256GB, and a 12/256GB, and then a 12/512GB, and then a 12/512GB, but only one of these options is currently available for purchase in the UK. You'll need to accept this combination of space and power.
- Score: 4/5
Vivo X80 Pro runs Android 12 with Vivo's FunTouch user interface.
FunTouch has one of the cleanest Android forks that we have seen. It features small app icons and simple menu designs, as well as an app drawer where you can hide all your apps. It is very similar to Android (at least in the pre-Android-12 build) and has an app drawer that can be used for hiding most apps.
There are many pre-installed applications - or bloatware to be more precise - which causes us to keep getting notifications from various apps, such as the V-Appstore. This made an otherwise pleasant software experience a bit disappointing.
- Software Score: 4/5
The Vivo's 4,700mAh battery seems to be a bit smaller than the power of its competitors, who all have 5,000mAh power packs. This didn't make much difference in practice.
This doesn't mean that the Vivo X80 Pro is excellent battery, but it's not poor . The battery will only last for one day if you don't use it as much as possible.
The charging speed is 80W. Vivo claims that the phone can be charged from full to empty in just 38 minutes. We agree with this claim. The phone is capable of reliably charging within 40 minutes if it wasn't being used.
If you own a compatible charger it will also charge wirelessly at 50W. This is a lot faster than many other wireless-powering devices.
- Battery Score: 3.5/5
|Design||The X80 Pro has a premium-feeling design, though it will be too big for some.||4/5|
|Display||The Vivo X80 Pro has a great-looking display, something its size helps with.||4.5/5|
|Performance||This phone is certainly powerful, though under pressure it does get hot.||4/5|
|Camera||The Vivo has good cameras, as you'd hope for the price, but it loses points on the zoom front.||4/5|
|Battery||Super-snappy charging makes up for a decidedly 'fine' battery life.||3.5/5|
|Software||Bloatware distracts from an otherwise clean and easy-to-use software.||4/5|
|Value||The Vivo X80 Pro doesn't offer much value for money, and isn't competitive with other top-end phones.||2.5/5|
Related Reading: Motorola Moto G82 review
You like fast charging
People who work in rushes will appreciate the Vivo's fast charging speed of 80W.
You take portrait shots
The portrait camera is by far the best of all the rear cameras on the phone. If you enjoy taking photos of people, this might be an excellent choice.
Watch lots of content
The Vivo's large screen is great for streaming lots of TV or movies.
Are you on a tight budget
People on a tight budget or who want the best value for their money will be put off by Vivo's high price.
Vivo X80 Pro has a large body with noticeable thickness. If you aren't a fan of big phones, you won't love it.
You like zoom photography
The periscope camera on the X80 Pro was disappointing in long-distance photos, according to our review.
Related Reading: iPhone 14 Plus review: It's bigger and better
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
This Samsung phone is the best on the market, it does all the Vivo's tasks and much more. The camera experience on this phone is better than the Vivo, and comes with a stylus.
iPhone 14 Pro Max
The iPhone is another premium smartphone that's arguably too expensive. It has worse hardware than software. But you will still buy it if Android to iOS are your preference.
Sony Xperia 1 IV
The Sony, which is also similar in price, offers a lot of creative apps that can be used to capture photos, audio and video. It's great for those who enjoy entertainment with its 4K screen and excellent speakers.