Vivo X90 Pro Review : Keep Both Eyes Open (2 Months Later)
We may talk in specced-out tech slang every now and then, but it still boils down to how these phones leave an impression and how useful it could be to you. Our content is meant to give you a whole lot of context and information, and not just us finding different ways to be geeky on camera; like being overly ecstatic over these dual 50MP cameras.
But in a weird way, by just looking at the essentials at a phone of this quality, it feels wrong not to like it instantly and get drawn to its build while having some technological parts thrown out the window.
The process usually goes like this, – You’d start imagining “how good this would look next to all of my other digital products?” , “Would this make my life any better?”, “how well would this phone take pictures of my food or pets ; my memories”. “Would it draw attention when I set it down on a table at a coffee shop?” And for some, it’s mostly “is it worth the price?”
Well if the Vivo X90 Pro has somehow got a spell on you, we won't blame you. With a 6.78” AMOLED display, a fast Mediatek Dimensity 9200 chipset, this very premium polyurethane-made back (which feels way nicer in the hands rather than it does on camera), dual ZEISS coated 50MP cameras and synthetic benchmark scores that would do just fine for gaming. All at the price of 4,999 Malaysian Ringgit.
So is this it? Are flagship android hitting the 5k mark a new norm? If so, should we just accept it? Or is this the case of “If Apple and Samsung can do it, so can we”. Let's take a look at whether “value over price” is a thing worth closing an eye for. Cause in this case, as much as we’d hate to admit it, it is.
Never mind a cover with this one! It has a really nice leather-like texture they’ve got going on at the back here. Kind of like how Huawei did theirs on the Mate50 Pro, but at least they didn’t go around mincing words like “Orange”, “vegan” and “leather” together in one sentence. Legendary Black just sounds way cooler in our opinion, but it is only available in the Pro model.
The cameras alone make a strong statement in what they can do. It’s large, it juts out extensively from the body, it seems like this another trend for most Androids lately? You may think setting this on a table face up would cause it to wobble, but they’ve managed to avoid it. There’s also something about having the entire module placed slightly to the left that sorta makes it oddly well-balanced, weighing about 214g and standing 6.46 inches tall.
Unlike the Huawei Mate 50 Pro, this feels a little more narrower in the hands and may cause some smears to those with clammy palms, while also leaving fingerprints all over the polished sides. Also this little bit at the back proudly displays Vivo’s tagline for the X90 series “Xtreme Imagination”, plus a well-known ZEISS badge to remind you again that these cameras are the real deal!
But okay, we hear you Vivo. Signature coated lenses are your thing with ZEISS. We get it. What about the thing that actually lets me look back at the picture that I just took? The display.
Well if an AMOLED screen as big as 6.78 inches isn’t enough for you, then maybe 1,300nits might change your mind. Alongside 120Hz refresh rates, 452 PPI density, and some very thoughtful eye protection materials embedded within the display. They call it Blue Diamond Pixel Arrangement and keeps harmful blue light away, by using pulse-width modulation and brightness control technology under Vivo’s very own Vision Health Lab.
As much as that sounds like a promising initiative to take better care of our eyes, with a screen this fluid and vibrant and immersive stereo speakers, then maybe using this in dimly lit rooms for long periods isn’t the best idea. In other words, put it away before you get glued to the screen. Cause it’s a real treat.
But if you do get sucked in, the 12GB of RAM and Mediatek Dimensity’s 9200 might be the ones to blame. Gaming on this, tied with the AMOLED display is a viewing experience with options to boost CPU and GPU performance to the max. Playing first person shooter games is a must when you have this harmonious mix of high refresh rates, vibrant colours and 300Hz touch sampling rates.
But if you think we're exaggerating, we might actually be…. just a tad bit. Yet benchmark scores suggest it’s right up there among the greats, scoring 1377 for Single-core and 4245 for Multi-core on Geekbench, while also maxing out on a 3D Mark Wild Life test. Putting this through a Stress Test on the other hand, shows a whole other story.
Temperatures got almost unbearable to the touch, reaching up to 55°C, taking huge gulps of power consumption, bringing a 70% battery life all the way down to 36% over 20 loop cycles and also started to show a 20% drop in frame rate at around Loop 16. In some parts, it even dropped all the down to 27fps when temperatures got above 50°C, which suggests cooling performance seems to be left at the back burner when you have this pushed to its limits.
In most real-world cases, this would rarely be an issue since extensive gaming didn’t really show any serious signs of overheating or drop in frame rates, but for something that would be running this hot at its fullest capacity, we can only hope it won’t be hazardous to those who might actually take it to the edge.
After all, having a not exactly "large" but relatively big 4870mAh battery might already suggest how it'll run out of power if it is taken through some stress. But on the bright side, normal usage throughout the day like gaming or daily tasks feels like it can go the mile without breaking a sweat accompanied by its 120W fast charger which would get you back up to 100% in under 20 minutes.
After all, raw performance may not exactly lie in its speed but how great it captures an image or video. With a 1-inch IMX989 50MP f/1.7 main camera, ZEISS T* coated lenses and even a laser detect autofocus sensor. Nowadays, seeing phone cameras come with a 1-inch sensor has given us a look at actual camera philosophy and how the hardware itself speaks volume for future builds. Sony and Xiaomi first experimented with this sometime last year in the Xperia Pro-i and the Xiaomi 12S Ultra, and not forgetting, Samsung's latest Galaxy S23 Ultra with its crazy 200MP main camera.
Reasons for the Galaxy's take with more megapixel counts can be questioned or contested here when comparing to the X90 side by side. Something about how the colours are coming out from the S23 Ultra feels as if colours are imbalanced in most crucial points such as skin tones, highlights, and overall it feels a little more saturated.
The X90 even holds up in dynamic range and manages vibrance way better. The depth of field is almost native to the look you get in professional grade cameras which simulates image stacking in balancing different tones, highlights, shadows, detail and even light flares cohesively thanks to ZEISS influenced colour science and coated lenses. This collaboration has definitely played well into Vivo's hands as the results here are astounding.
But if we deep dive into how this camera actually stands against the likes of the S23 Ultra, the iPhone 14 Pro as well as some other well known, recently released flagships, do head on over to our Tech360 camera channel where we go into more detail as to how good these cameras really are.
Low light performance is great too, showing little-to-no-noise but may soften some details as a consequence for a clearer overall image. And even though we're aware computations are a big factor to make all of this possible, you may not have to pretend to be a photographer. Because almost every shot we've taken brings out the artist in you, motivating you to frame things with a little more care and attention. Using the camera doesn't feel like a chore and might influence you to snap more photos.
For once, a tagline such as "Xtreme Imagination" doesn't feel too far off when you spend enough time playing with the camera. Even the 50MP telephoto manages to capture very fast moving subjects and doesn't suffer from any shutter lag. The 13MP ultra-wide thankfully doesn't drop in quality either, keeping all focal lengths in check and ticks all the boxes just as much as the main and telephoto cameras.
Video resolution also has quite a flex being able to record up to 8K24fps but loses out in image stabilisation which is only available up to 4K60, pretty decent to its own regard, but may be overshadowed a little by its photography performance. But if we must say, that 1-inch sensor and collaboration with ZEISS will still play a big part in how it manages depth, colours, and exposure levels better than the rest.
If all the beautiful imagery is something you'd want out of your phone, then the X90 Pro will be something to be excited about. It comes with Android 13, 12GB RAM and 256GB, retailing at RM4,999.
In more ways than one, predicting the most premium flagships to get a little pricey in 2023 was bound to happen. Especially in the age of 1-inch camera sensors, huge displays and overpowered chipsets, there's not much left to justify how expensive an Android could get outside of the olive gardens at Samsung.
But just like everything else, if it’s made a fair call to give the user the best smartphone experience while also keeping future proofing in mind, then we don’t have much left to say except for maybe “yeah… why not?”
The Vivo X90 Pro might deserve its spot as a premium-high-level-performing-flagship as it's built and priced as one, yet in the end, ask yourself, “would a RM5000 Vivo be something to be proud about?” Maybe, maybe not. One thing’s for sure, we’re not planning to close both eyes just yet... We’ll leave that up to you.
Written by Fitri Aiyub