There are two types of companies in smartphone market those who wait for others to do things before putting it into their phones & those who always try to be first, and in my opinion it’s fair to say that Vivo firmly falls into the latter category. They were the first with a full-screen phone the first to use an in-display fingerprint scanner and here they are to bring first motorized pop-up camera, and here they are again claiming to have the next big thing for smartphones.
This is the Vivo X50 Pro, a smartphone with a camera that’s different. We’ll put it that way it’s presented well, and it comes with a pair of earphones with some silicone tip. There’s a 33-watt fast-charging brick clear case and manuals and right at the bottom a USB-C charging cable.
You know, if someone asked me to draw out what I thought a typical 2020 flagship smartphone looks like from the front. I would probably end up with something like this it’s got a 6.56-inch 1080p AMOLED display, a fluid 90hz refresh rate curved display edges, and a little hole punch camera in the corner. This isn’t a complaint because, unlike most flagships, this phone sits closer to 600 $, and the display is good, it’s bright and actually has a smaller bezel than even the OnePlus 8. It’s just we’ve seen this before but what we haven’t seen is what’s going on in the back of the phone.
The camera setup looks almost alien-like it’s from another planet because as well as the five-times optical zoom camera at the bottom, the two-time zoom camera for taking portraits, and the eight-megapixel ultra-wide, which are all fairly normal-sized. The main camera is just enormous you could live in there. They call this the gimbal camera. When I say the word gimbal, you probably immediately think of a smartphone stabilizer like this, and that’s right, Vivo has tried to basically boil down that mechanism to fit inside the body of a phone.
So, how does it work well? One thing is for sure the whole objective of a stabilization system is to ensure that the camera itself moves as little as possible. There are two existing ways that companies do this. The first is Electronic Image Stabilization, which kind of cheats slightly when you use this. When you’re using EIS, your camera zooms in, and then it uses the extra room. It now has around the edges to match every frame of the video with the frame before it, so EIS creates the illusion.
The camera is staying still even if it’s actually moving, but many high-end phones actually take this a step further. They use something called OIS or OPTICAL IMAGE STABILIZATION, and essentially, instead of creating the illusion that the camera’s still. Even when it’s not with OIS, the camera actually is still OIS means that the camera looks at the movements you make with your phone. Let’s say I move left, and the camera itself will physically move in the opposite direction to counteract that movement. It’ll move right, so that brings me on to this.
I’ll say this better than I thought it would be the second you open the camera app and click on the video. It becomes very clear that something’s happening when you’re just holding the phone. It looks a bit like it’s frozen still in the air. All those micro-movements you naturally make with your hands, they’re gone. So, seeing as the Huawei p40 pro has probably been my favorite camera phone this year and because the Vivo looks suspiciously like it’s targeting that phone, this felt like a good place to start. Hence, the first thing I tried was twitching both phones around, and the Vivo moves less, which is good, but I guess you probably expect that. It’s got an entire mechanism built to counter this movement, and be honest when you start walking with it. I would say the Vivo only trades blow with the flagships. Sometimes I feel like it does a better job, but sometimes I actually feel like just the basic OIS in those phones is a little more natural. This could be because I’m using the phone on pre-release software, but we’ll have to wait and see. The first big advantage, though, comes if you try to pick up the pace. If you run, it’ll be very clear that the Vivo has something that the others don’t. I’m just not usually convinced that people do this very often just run around while recording. Still, there is another perk to this gimbal system because most phones use primarily electronic image stabilization in the video for that to work. The software has to basically look around and understand each frame to match it before that, but this requires light. So, you might have noticed this when you’re moving in a situation of fairly low light most phones will fall apart. They’ll struggle to piece together the frames needed for stabilization, but because Vivo’s got this gimbal to fall back on, it doesn’t need that EIS as much so in this particular case.
You know how? When you’re taking a night mode photo on the phone, and you try really hard to hold it as still as possible, well, because the phone practically holds itself still. It does a pretty good job of keeping the subject crisp. I first opened this who is this phone for because, on the one hand, this is the most stable camera on a smartphone most of the time but would you have instead preferred it if they put that money towards having the best chip out there as opposed to the upper mid-range Snapdragon 765g. That we do get maybe this doesn’t have an IP rating, it doesn’t have wireless charging. Would you want those instead? Maybe but what I can say is that the x50 Pro is far better than I thought.
It would be as a phone I saw the commercials; I saw how it’s being marketed as if it’s one selling point is stable video, but it’s surprisingly well-rounded in reality. For starters, the stabilization isn’t just for video. It helps in photos, too, but even just generally, I feel like for 600 $. The display is fantastic, and I think they’ve made a lot of good decisions. When it comes to how it was built, especially with this P40 Pro-like finish on the back, I’m almost kind of impressed that they’ve managed to fit not only a 4,315 mAh battery but also this entire gimbal system into a phone. That’s eight millimeters thick, and its camera bump is quite a bit smaller than what we’ve seen from top tier phones this year. But I guess what I’m really trying to get at is that I’m really glad this exists whether or not it turns into a huge hit success. I don’t know, but it feels like the start of a new trend that’s going to benefit all smartphones. Vivo was the first to make an in-display fingerprint scanner, and I would say this tech is far more well-baked than that was originally but look where in-display fingerprint scanners are now. They’re everywhere, so, to sum up, Vivo X50 Pro.
I’m happy about the technology going on here I’m very happy about. I should probably also mention that, like most phone companies now, they also do have a pair of true wireless earphones that work quite well alongside.
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