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Vivo X60 Pro Plus Review

For its latest flagship, Vivo has partnered with Zeiss to assemble a smartphone camera like never before. But how good is the Vivo X60 Pro Plus?

Verdict

Until UK pricing is confirmed, I'll abstain from giving a final rating to the Vivo X60 Pro Plus – but make no mistake, I've been rendered highly impressed by this new flagship. For the camera set-up alone, the X60 Pro Plus is sure to find an audience with photography enthusiasts, but the addition of a bright 120Hz AMOLED display and the super-fast Snapdragon 888 chipset make this a smartphone to be reckoned with.

Pros

  • One of the best smartphone camera systems
  • Fast performance
  • Bright AMOLED display is great for watching content

Cons

  • One-day battery life
  • Ridiculous amounts of bloatware pre-installed

Key Specifications

  • Built-in gimbal for stabilised video recording
  • Quad-camera setup
  • 4200mAh battery
  • 191g
  • 6.56-inch Super AMOLED display
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G
  • 128GB/256GB storage options
  • 8GB/12GB RAM options
  • In-display fingerprint reader

Vivo has yet to become a household name in the West, but the company’s latest phone, the Vivo X60 Pro Plus, could be the product to fix that.

I’d wager a bet that for a fair number of people reading this review, it may well be the first time they’ve laid eyes on a Vivo smartphone. The Chinese manufacturer managed to make some headlines last year with the Vivo X50 Pro, noteworthy for its inclusion of a physical gimbal within the camera module.

Having gimbal-quality video in the palm of your hand was an incredible feat, something not achieved by other best camera phones, but the feature hasn’t really caught on in the time since. However, far from being dismayed, Vivo has doubled-down in the camera department by partnering with German-brand Zeiss to give the competition a run for their money. Will the X60 Pro Plus be the first phone to truly put Vivo on the map? Let’s take a look.

As of yet, the Vivo X60 Pro Plus isn’t on track for a release in the West, and as such no local pricing is currently available. However, we do know that the Pro Plus retails for Rs 69,990 in India and CNY 6,030 in China (roughly £689/$953/€811).

Vivo X60 Pro Plus

Since the price will play a significant part in how the X60 Pro Plus stands against its competitors, we won’t be offering a review score until localised pricing is made available.

  • 120Hz refresh rate ensures everyday scrolling feels smooth
  • The display is incredibly bright, with a peak of 1300 nits
  • Vegan leather backing is a great touch

Despite being only a few months into the year, the current best phones have already earned something of a reputation for polarising design. For instance, the OnePlus 9, while stylish enough, is an absolute magnet for fingerprints, and the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra has a camera module of tonally garish proportions. By comparison, the X60 Pro Plus is a breath of fresh air.

Not too dissimilar to the Oppo Find X2 Pro, the X60 Pro Plus’s vegan leather backing feels smooth in the hand, while also providing enough grip that you can get by just fine without a case (even though there’s a see-through one included in the box). This texture has a wonderfully lovely feel, and I’d like to see it carried forward to a greater number of device. However, where I feel the X60 Pro Plus really sets the bar is in its gargantuan camera module.

At nearly half the length of the phone itself, the X60’s rear camera module is hefty to say the least. I’ll admit that I actually had to change the way I held the device to avoid smudging the sensors; but there’s still a lot to love here.

The black slab used to house the phone’s four sensors looks like something you’d find on an actual camera, and the Zeiss logo sitting proudly near the top only further hammers home this aesthetic. Even though the words ‘Professional Photography’ are ludicrously etched into the top of the X60 Pro Plus, I have to hand it to Vivo for making a device that invokes all the high-spec tech one might find on a pricey camera.

Vivo X60 Pro Plus

Flip the phone over and you’ll be greeted with a rather lush 6.56-inch Super AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate and a peak brightness of 1300 nits – much like the Galaxy S21 Ultra, this phone is made for enjoying content on-the-go. There’s also a ‘Smart Switch’ option for keeping the refresh rate variable, depending on the task at hand.

The small front-facing hole-punch camera sits near the centre of the phone’s top bezel, and you’ll barely notice it’s there when streaming a cheeky bit of content. While the X60 Pro Plus is just a tad too big to be used comfortably in one hand, I can’t deny that the aforementioned specs add up to one of the best viewing experiences I’ve ever had on a smartphone.

  • The ultra-wide camera features a physical gimbal for video stabilisation
  • The main 50-megapixel sensor features a brilliantly natural bokeh effect
  • There’s an abundance of control offered up to the user

Following the recent partnership between OnePlus and Hasselblad, the concept of smartphone manufacturers relying on the expertise of well-known camera brands seems to be back in vogue. Until now, the gold standard among the best camera phones has been Huawei’s partnership with Leica, but after having the good sense to cooperate with Zeiss, Vivo may have ushered in a new camera king.

The X60 Pro Plus features no less than four cameras on the rear: a 50-megapixel f/1.6 wide sensor, an 8-megapixel f/3.4 periscope lens with 5X optical zoom, a 32-megapixel f/2.1 telephoto lens and, lastly, a 48-megapixel ultra-wide with – get this – a built-in gimbal. From a photographers point of view, these specs are an absolute dream – and there’s no pointless macro camera to mess things up.

Vivo X60 Pro Plus

Right from the get-go, it’s easy to see that this partnership is something that Vivo has taken seriously. The X60 Pro Plus includes a range of image-tweaking features to give users greater control, but without making things too complicated – consider it ‘manual lite’. For instance, after taking a portrait shot, I was immediately given the option of tweaking the bokeh effect – not only its prevalence, but also the point of focus within the picture itself.

Vivo X60 Pro Plus Photos

Portrait mode does a decent job indoors, but it can get overzealous in outdoor settings.

Of course, for those who like a challenge, there is a dedicated ‘pro’ mode that offers up a wider array of manual features. However, the automatic mode on the X60 Pro Plus does such a good job that you’ll probably rarely want to venture elsewhere. Shots can absorb a great deal of light while also adding plenty of natural-looking colour, which to my eyes looks more true to life than what you’d find on images taken with a Google Pixel or Samsung device.

Vivo X60 Pro Plus Photos

Colours are natural, without looking saturated.

Vivo X60 Pro Plus Photos

The natural bokeh on the main sensor is fantastic, and a great amount of detail can be picked up in the foreground.

Vivo X60 Pro Plus Photos

The ultra-wide sensor doesn’t suffer from a drop in quality.

In low-light scenes, the X60 Pro Plus continued to impress. It takes clear inspiration from Google’s Night Sight, but it benefits from the greater detail offered by its more robust sensors. In fact, the main sensor did such a fantastic job of automatically adjusting to suit a night-time setting that the dedicated Night mode wasn’t really required – although it did help in one instance to nab an incredible shot of a star-filled night sky.

Vivo X60 Pro Plus Photos

In a near pitch-black environment, the X60 Pro Plus was able to make out the stars.

Vivo X60 Pro Plus Photos

Night mode gets the job done nicely, without feeling too unrealistic.

While more of a computational issue, I did find that the camera’s Portrait mode was a little heavy-handed with the bokeh. After a while, I ended up simply using the standard photo mode for its more realistic use of the effect.

However, the one thing I simply can’t fault is the video recording. Even though Vivo has been using a gimbal system in its smartphones since last year, I still can’t believe that the company has managed to shrink-down this tech to something that fits in your pocket. Prior to testing, the smallest gimbal camera I’d ever used was on the DJI Pocket 2, which is a lot thicker than the slim chassis of the X60 Pro Plus.

Captured footage is as smooth as you’d expect it to be, and while the process of turning is more elegantly achieved with the use of a proper gimbal cameras, this is still one of the best phones for video. It’s also worth pointing out that upon my initial testing, I made the mistake of assuming that the gimbal was part of the main camera (it’s actually the ultra-wide sensor), but the quality was so good for the OIS that I couldn’t immediately determine the difference – it’s right up there with the iPhone 12.

  • The Snapdragon 888 5G chipset can handle whatever you throw at it
  • There’s a ridiculous amount of bloatware pre-installed on the device
  • Funtouch OS features a nice amount of customisation

Despite the stellar first impression made by the X60 Pro Plus’ premium build, it did come crashing down for a moment during the set-up process. There’s a considerable amount of bloatware pre-installed on the device – and, bizarrely, you’re given the option to add even more guff during the installation. Unless you want to be bombarded with clickbaity headlines in your notifications, I highly recommend getting rid of as many of the pre-installed apps as you can.

Bloatware aside, Vivo offers its own take on Android with the questionably titled Funtouch OS. If you can get past its name, Funtouch is actually one of the better Android overlays out there, taking what works from the best Android phones while implementing its own unique control panel.

For instance, just as with the Pixel 5, holding down the power button will give you quick access to an array of features including NFC and any connected smart home devices. The Google News feed is also available for catching some of the day’s headlines – although, as always, the experience pails in comparison to Apple News.

Vivo X60 Pro Plus

Once you head into the settings, however, there’s a good number of fun little features that you can tweak. Specifically, the various animations that appear when using the in-display fingerprint reader, charging and when notifications appear. This might seem like a minor addition, but when the line between most flagships continues to blur, it’s such small changes that become memorable.

This isn’t to say that Funtouch is without its quirks – throughout testing, the X60 Pro Plus has woken up countless times for seemingly no reason, and the fingerprint reader hasn’t been quite as reliable as I’d hoped.

Still, these are fairly minor issues as the phone is powered by the super-fast Snapdragon 888 5G chipset, which, in conjunction with the 120Hz display, makes the X60 Pro Plus feel incredibly responsive in almost all scenarios. Diving into a quick round of PUBG, the frame rate was smooth and the graphics vibrant – there’s very little (if anything) that this phone won’t be able to handle, and you’re covered into the future with 5G compatibility. Running the phone through Geekbench, the X60 Pro Plus emerged with an impressive 1125 single-core score and 3746 for multi-core, blazing past most other handsets.

  • To make the most of the phone’s specs, the battery life should be longer
  • You can make it safely to the end of the day, but that’s it

Given how much I enjoyed using the X60 Pro Plus’ camera system, I was really hoping that the phone would pack a robust battery to keep things ticking on. Sadly, this isn’t the case. The phone’s 4200mAh unit is just enough to see you to the end of the day, but don’t expect much more than that without seriously cutting back on your daily screen time.

Vivo X60 Pro Plus

Taking the X60 Pro Plus away from the power supply around 7am, I was able to make it to 11:30pm – after a day of streaming music, recording video and taking pictures, with NFC switched on – with 27% left in the tank.

This test accrued 1hr 46mins of screen-on time, and while that’s probably enough to avoid any panic towards the end of the day, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll ever be able to stretch the X60 Pro Plus into two days of use.

With the X60 Pro Plus, Vivo has truly outdone itself in creating a flagship device that not only takes its competitors to task, but also introduces new features that the competition should look to adopt going forward. Now that gimbal-steady video is available in a smartphone format, it’s hard to imagine going back to the OIS method, and I have no doubt that the X60 Pro Plus will become the smartphone of choice for many mobile filmmakers and photographers.

The two things holding back the Pro Plus are its lacklustre battery life and the considerable bloatware that plagues the device post set-up. At least with the latter, you can always remove a fair chunk of it or move it to the far corners of the app library. But even with these flaws, I sincerely hope that the Vivo X60 Pro Plus sees a Western release – there’s a lot to enjoy here and it would be a real shame for this part of the world to miss out.

  • You care about stable video
    Gimbal technology has been gradually shrinking over the years, but this feels like a huge leap in convenience. To have gimbal-steady video available at a moment’s notice is just brilliant, and I’m hard-pressed to think of a better alternative for shooting quality footage on-the-go.
  • You want a premium-level camera system
    Vivo’s partnership with Zeiss has absolutely paid off, and so many of the shots I took with the X60 Pro Plus forced me to do a double-take. The camera system really is up there with what you’d expect from the likes of Huawei.
  • You want a stylish flagship
    Too many of the latest flagship phones tend to sport Marmite designs, but the X60 Pro Plus skirts around this by having a sophisticated camera bump alongside a chic, vegan leather coating on the rear. It might be a tad understated compared to the Galaxy S21, for example, but it works far better than some of the fingerprint-catching designs of late.
  • You need a two-day battery life
    Despite its many flagship features, the X60 Pro Plus’ battery just isn’t powerful enough to take the phone into a second day of use on a single charge. If you need a smartphone with substantial longevity then there are far better options out there.

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