With the gap between flagships narrowing, one of the ways to distinguish a high-profile phone is its camera capability. So it is no surprise that Vivo is putting so much emphasis on the cameras of its new X50 Pro. And there is one major distinction between the Vivo X50 Pro and any other high-end smartphone camera available at the moment: this is the world’s first phone with a camera propped on a tiny gimbal inside the body. Now that’s something new for sure.
There’s much more to this phone than just the micro gimbal camera, though. I have been testing Vivo’s X50 Pro for the past few hours and here are my first impressions of a phone that introduces the concept of “gimbal camera” to the mainstream.
Vivo X50 Pro first impressions: Camera
The X50 Pro’s claim to fame is a camera on a gimbal, which is placed inside the device’s body. A gimbal is a pivoting platform that allows a camera to rotate around one or more axes. Photographers and cinematographers use the gimbal to capture tracking shots and crane shots. A gimbal essentially stabilises your camera to help remove shake and blur, thus helping to make tilts, pans, and rolls appear smooth.
The X50 Pro miniaturises and brings this tech inside a smartphone body. This micro-gimbal not only offers more stabilisation, but also widens the rotation angle and anti-shake area for improved low-light photos in video recording. Vivo claims its micro-gimbal camera system has a stabilisation angle of 200 per cent which is higher than regular OIS (optical image stabilisation).
I couldn’t test out the new gimbal camera tech myself but I will soon take the X50 Pro and the iPhone 11 and shoot side-by-side videos in my locality. This will give us a fair idea of whether Vivo’s gimbal camera tech offers improved stabilisation or not.
And that brings us to the main cameras on the Vivo X50 Pro. To start with, the main camera is a 48MP Sony IMX598 sensor with a gimbal-styled stabilisation system, 8MP periscope zoom lens (5x optical zoom, 60x digital zoom supported), 8MP wide-angle lens and 13MP portrait telephoto lens. The front camera is 32MP.
I didn’t get much time to take many photos, but I did try out the portrait mode. I also took a couple of shots during the dusk. The pictures I took with the main lens looked great, but wait for our detailed camera review in a week or so. I have noticed that the phone’s camera fails to focus when taking close-up shots. Hopefully, this issue gets solved with future software updates.
The X50 Pro does the best job of showing the strengths of the phone’s video capturing capabilities. I particularly liked the smart zoom feature. You can see the embedded tweet below to find out how the smart zoom in videos works.
— Anuj Bhatia (@ImAnujBhatia) July 16, 2020
Vivo X50 Pro first impressions: Design and display
The Vivo X50 Pro is a premium phone and it shows in its design. The phone is made out of a combination of aluminum and glass but the finish on the back is not glossy. This is a phone with a large display but doesn’t feel heavy to hold. It’s also less thick and less slippery than many rival smartphones. The cutout for the front camera is smaller and is placed on the left-hand side of the display, which has a curve to it. The 6.5-inch 1080 x 2340p display is bright and colour rich. It’s almost edge to edge. The back of the phone has a visible, rectangular-shaped camera module with four lenses. This is a large camera rig but it sticks to the phone’s body and does not protrude.
Vivo X50 Pro first impressions: Performance and 5G
The X50 Pro uses Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 765G processor, which is a mid-level chipset. I don’t have too many complaints about why Vivo went with the SD 765G and not the SD 865. So far, the phone appears to be really fast and zippy. My review unit comes with 8G RAM and 256GB of storage. This is also a 5G phone, though unfortunately no Indian telecom operator offers 5G. The 4,315 mAh battery should be enough to power the X50 Pro throughout the day. I should also mention that the phone will come with a 30-watt charging capability, which refills the dead battery in minutes. On the software side, the phone runs Vivo’s FunTouch OS atop Android 10. I am glad that the user interface is a little cleaner and a lot faster too, though my review unit still comes with plenty of preloaded apps.
Vivo X50 Pro first impressions: Observations
I noticed that there is a 3.5mm headphone jack on the phone, thankfully Vivo does bundle a pair of USB-C-based earbuds in the box. The wireless charging seems to be missing from the phone; also, the phone doesn’t officially bear an IP rating.
Vivo X50 Pro first impressions: Early impressions
In my short testing, the X50 Pro appears to be a solid phone. So far, I like it, but I will withhold recommendation until my full review of the phone is out next week. Though I have to say, at Rs 49,990, it doesn’t come cheap.
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