Vivo X60 Pro Review: Pro Camera, Pro Performance

Zeiss Optics, Gimbal 2.0, Snapdragon 870 and 120Hz display is a (flagship) killer combination.

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The Vivo X60 Pro is anything but a run-of-the-mill flagship with just beefed up hardware inside. It’s more thoughtfully built, and if you have used the Vivo X50 Pro from last year, it’ll feel just as premium. Only this time, Vivo doubled down on the bets it made on the camera, and collaborated with Carl Zeiss AG, the German lens maker, and dare I say, collaborated a lot more deeply than OnePlus has done with Hasselblad with the OnePlus 9 Series.

But even more importantly, it’s no longer a wannabe flagship. The Snapdragon 870 SoC and the 120Hz refresh rate display is a powerful combination that doesn’t hold back the performance. There’s the Vivo X60 Pro+ for those who want to go all in on this year’s best from Vivo. But the X60 Pro feels like the perfect sweet spot. Let me explain why –

Camera: Gimbal+Zeiss= Killer Combination

Let’s start by addressing the elephant in the room – The cameras. With the already-proven gimbal system (now with five-axis stabilisation) and Zeiss optics, the X60 Pro doesn’t take photography lightly. The primary camera is the custom-made 48MP Sony IMX598 sensor which while maintaining the old half-inch sensor size now has increased photosensitive efficiency which Vivo claims results in better low-light shots. Then there are two 13MP sensors for ultrawide and portrait shots, and on the front, you get a 32MP selfie shooter. I’m just glad there’s none of those 2MP cameras in this one, which is  yet another proof that this one is serious about camera performance. Allow me to break down the performance in bite-sized points –

  1. Gimbal 2.0 isn’t all that different from the previous generation, except now it has support for an additional axis of stabilisation which compensates for vertical and horizontal shakes as well. We’ve seen a lot of camera trickery over the years, both hardware and software, but I have to admit, Vivo’s gimbal system feels like the most holistic addition to mobile cameras in a long, long time. The use cases go beyond just taking those cinema-grade pan shots. It’s omnipresent in the primary camera, working to make both videos and photos better in all light situations.
  2. The optics are top notch. I got some of the creamiest bokehs that did not feel artificial at all from the X60 Pro’s f/1.5 primary camera. Made by Zeiss, the lens complex is divided into two groups with more precise alignment allowing for a larger aperture to exist within a mobile camera system. The auto-focus lock is near instant and razor sharp most of the times, unless you are too close to a subject or if its shaking vigorously like a flower in the wind.
  3. As for the images, I’ll let them speak for itself. Here are a few day time samples I shot using the X60 Pro. The shots are beautifully lit with adequate brightness and dynamic range. Subjects up close generate a creamy bokeh in the background thanks to the large aperture, with fantastic sharpness.
  4. But a major drawback is inconsistency in colour reproduction. The colours are by default saturated, and sometimes even a slight change in the angle results in an entirely different colour output.
  5. Having said that, the ultrawide lens produces some of the sharpest photos we have seen in this price range. That’s not something we have seen happening in the high-end segment save for the iPhones. Now if only Vivo makes the colour science more consistent across the modes, the Vivo X60 Pro would be unbeatable.
  6. The low-light performance is where the X60 Pro sees the biggest improvement. The gimbal system, large aperture and the high-quality Zeiss optics with some intelligent pixel-level optimisations, results in some of the brightest and sharpest low light photos I have seen on a sub-50k phone. I can guarantee you’ll have a great time taking photos at night with the X60 Pro. However, don’t swear by the details here. As you zoom in, the details become fuzzier till a point where it looks like a watercolour painting.
  7. The X60 Pro relies on the high-res 48MP camera for up to 20X digital zoom. But thanks to the gimbal stabilisation and pixel-shift technology, the digital zoom is far better than the typical implementation we have seen in smartphones relying on the same technique. The details get fuzzier as you zoom, but it’s wonderfully stable even at 20X.
  8. The X60 Pro also relies on the primary camera for macros, but there are a few niggling issues with focusing in this mode. But after a few attempts, I did manage to get a few good shots. Patience is the key here.
  9. For portraits, Vivo offers a lot of filters and bokeh styles. It also uses a dedicated 13MP camera with a 50mm lens for portrait shots, but dare I say, the results aren’t the best. The bokehs are certainly high quality, but there’s hardly any details. The shutter is also quite slow which further reduces the details under artificial light. The issue is most apparent when shooting portraits in indoor lighting.
  10. Video output is another ace up the X60 Pro’s sleeve. Here too, the gimbal makes a huge difference, and going by the results of my testing, 4K@60FPS is more stable than 1080p@60FPS because weirdly enough, Vivo only enables EIS when shooting in 4K. It’s the only phone where I’ll recommend shooting 4K by default.
  11. The front 32MP punch-hole selfie camera is fantastic. It gets the details spot on along with excellent subject separation and sharp focus. You can’t however shoot at 4K or even at 1080@60FPS from the front camera.

Summing it all up, the Vivo X60 Pro makes excellent use of the cutting-edge camera hardware. The Zeiss optics and the gimbal system is a formidable partnership, one which Vivo has confirmed is a long-term play, so expect more Vivo smartphones with this killer combination. I had a lot of fun playing around with the camera shooting more than 300 photos during my time of use. Obviously, I can’t show it all, but I handpicked the best of the lot for your viewing pleasure.

At the same time, I must also point out the drawbacks. And there are some grave ones. The gimbal system is best used when you are walking around. Shooting while running results in vigorous jerks. The colour science inconsistency holds it back from challenging the true flagships, and serious photographers might be put off for this very fact, despite the excellent hardware inside.

Performance, audio and battery life: Doesn’t let down

Performance is where the X60 Pro got the biggest upgrade. The Vivo X60 Pro runs on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 870 platform coupled with up to 12GB LPDDR4X RAM along with up to 256GB UFS 3.1 storage, which is almost flagship class. The Snapdragon 870 has nearly everything in common with last year’s Snapdragon 865+, save for a speed-binned prime core clocked at 3.2GHz, offering one of the best single-core performance among the current crop of Android flagships. Considering how there weren’t too many phones with the SD865+, I assume Qualcomm is simply repackaging the old chip as a means to get around the chip shortage plaguing almost every industry  worldwide. But I’m not complaining at all.

The benchmark scores peg the X60 Pro to be far more powerful than the OnePlus 8T that was powered by the Snapdragon 865. There’s also expectedly a big performance delta between the Snapdragon 888. On AnTutu, the X60 Pro’s scores were about 7% higher than the OnePlus 8T, while Geekbench 5 CPU scores were around 15% and 13% higher in single core and multi-core tests respectively.

On GPU benchmarks, the X60 Pro surprisingly edged ahead of the 8T despite sporting the same Adreno 650 GPU. I’m guessing the higher clocked CPU has to do something with it, but even on 3DMark Wildlife Stress Test, the X60 Pro proved a champion with 99.6% stability.

The X60 Pro is also surprisingly good at sustained performance. I did a 45-minute long session on the CPU Throttling Test, which actually keeps the chipset performing to its limits to measure if increasing temperature impacts the performance. And the result? The Snapdragon 870 throttled only to 82% of its max capacity, which is far better than some of the flagships we’ve tested this year.

As for the Vivo X60 Pro’s overall performance in the real world, let me break it down in a few points –

  1. General usage and app launches are completely stutter free. You’re taken to the homescreen in a flash after unlocking, and the 120Hz display makes everything feel butter smooth while operating the UI. Apps also launch within an instant and I experienced no slowdowns or unnatural lags during my time of usage.
  2. The X60 Pro introduces virtual RAM to the Vivo lineup. It’s essentially an app caching technique that makes use of unused storage (up to 3GB in case of the X60 Pro) to cache up to 20 apps in the background. The process in action is harder to notice, but that’s precisely the point of it. To its credit, the X60 Pro kept COD Mobile cached for more than a day in memory, and I was able to pick up right where I left off.
  3. The X60 Pro’s display also support 240Hz touch sampling rate which comes handy while playing fast paced games where you need to keep interacting with the touchscreen every second. The X60 Pro is super intuitive in picking up touch input and the resulting gameplay is smooth AF.
  4. Speaking of games, the X60 Pro is able to run Call of Duty: Mobile with everything maxed out, cranking up to 60 fps There is a dedicated game mode with a bunch of useful features to keep you from getting distracted during gaming.
  5. The Adreno 650 GPU does handle Genshin Impact at its best.  The highly graphics intensive game makes good use of the GPU resources to deliver the highest quality. But it does get quite warm in just a few minutes. .
  6. The only thing that works against the X60 Pro is the audio output. Owing to its slim profile, it lacks a 3.5mm audio jack, and for a smartphone priced Rs 50,000, it doesn’t have stereo speakers which is a bummer, especially when you have this awesome display to watch content on. The output sounds shrill and isn’t too loud either.
  7. The 4200mAh battery on the X60 Pro is just about enough to last till late evening if you have smart switch enabled for adaptive refresh rate. At 120Hz, with dual SIM enabled and generous use of WhatsApp, Slack, Instagram and the camera, the X60 Pro managed to last around 6 hours for me. The screen-on time increases by an hour with the adaptive refresh rate mode enabled.
  8. The camera actually eats up a lot of battery and that’s understandable considering the additional power the gimbal system will require to stabilise the frame every time you use the primary camera. A 30 minute COD Mobile session drained the battery by 6% which can be a tad too much if you are a heavy gamer.
  9. The 33W bundled charger tops up the 4200mAh battery in around 70 minutes. The charging speed is actually quite fast in the beginning. The battery hits 50% in just 25 minutes which helped compensate for the average screen-on time I got.

Software: A bit of a bummer

The Vivo X60 Pro runs on a revamped FunTouchOS based on Android 11. While I’m surprised at the exclusion of the much refined Origin OS that’s being offered in China, FunTouchOS isn’t all that bad anymore. It does feel slightly sluggish as compared to OneUI or OxygenOS, but the features are all there. Be it customising the fingerprint and face unlock animations, to syncing the edge light animation with music playing on the phone, FunTouchOS actually offers a lot of features to play around with.

But for a phone priced Rs 50k, it behaves like a budget offering riddled with bloatware and pesky notifications from Vivo’s app store which congests the notification shade hiding the important stuff. Vivo also makes use of lockscreen magazine which keeps refreshing the lock screen with new images and accompanying content. Frankly, I’m not a huge fan of it and there is an option to disable and go back to the good ol’ static lockscsreen.

Display: Curved goodness

The Vivo X60 Pro features a 6.59-inch curved AMOLED FHD+ display with 120Hz refresh rate. That’s a good improvement over the last generation, but I’d have liked an LTPO panel for smoother cycling between refresh rates.

Right now, the X60 Pro cycles between 60Hz and 120Hz when the ‘Smart Switch’ mode is enabled in the Display Settings, which helps save power but everytime the panel switches back to 60Hz, the difference is stark.

The display is also quite bright, even though it doesn’t hit Galaxy S21 Ultra’s level of brightness. It’s quite usable outdoors in the sun, and the content on streaming apps look sharp and bright. Netflix and YouTube have HDR support, but Prime Video is lacking. By default, the colours look a little boosted and saturated but that should be fine for most users.

The X60 Pro display also supports 240Hz touch response, which apart from improving the gaming experience also helped improve my typing accuracy and I could belt out quick replies to my friends accurately without many typos.

Design: Best in class

The Vivo X60 Pro is intricately engineered. I absolutely love the way the frosted satin glass finish feels in my hand. The curved display meets the rear panel along the razor thin edges making it perhaps the most ergonomic smartphone of 2021 so far. The Midnight Black finish we received feels right up my alley. It’s not too flashy and yet has that charm of a luxury product . And there’s also the Shimmer Blue variant which feels like the extrovert’s choice.

The front is all screen, quite literally. The X60 Pro proves just how far we have come from the thick chins and foreheads around the display. The X60 Pro curves and stretches all the way to the edges and save for the center-drilled punch hole camera, there’s nothing interrupting the visuals.

Impressively, the Vivo X60 Pro is just 7.6mm thick, which is mind blowing considering all that’s packed inside. That’s nearing Moto Razr territory of sleekness.

But this seemingly infallible piece of art has got a few weaknesses. With all the camera hardware inside, there was only space for a single bottom firing speaker. Because of the slim edge, the buttons jut out sharply and feel stiff on pressing. And the weight distribution is not uniform. The camera system makes it top heavy, and it feels like you are wielding something far heavier than the 175 grams mentioned in the spec sheet. There’s also no claim of water resistance which raises questions of durability, but you do get to use your old headphones thanks to a 3.5mm dongle included in the box.

Connectivity and network quality: Not a let down

The Vivo X60 Pro supports 5G connectivity, ensuring long-term use. But the spec-sheet reveals support for only two bands – N77 and N78, same as what the OnePlus Nord and the OnePlus 9 Series offers, which could be a bummer should India choose to operate 5G in a different band. The X60 Pro also does not have Dual 5G. You have to use a 4G+5G SIM combination. Call quality on the other hand was decent. I was on a Jio network in Noida and there were no drops, the audio from the non-existent earpiece (I’m yet to figure out where it’s located) was quite clear and before you ask, the X60 Pro does support carrier aggregation resulting in higher data speeds.

Should you buy the Vivo X60 Pro?

The Vivo X60 Pro feels like a smartphone anybody would end up loving. There’s something for everyone here. Camera enthusiasts get what is perhaps the most complex camera system on a smartphone, while performance enthusiasts and gamers would appreciate the Snapdragon 870’s performance and the 120Hz smoothness. Those looking to flaunt their smartphones would find the X60 Pro a stand out for its slim profile and the razor-thin bezels while the productivity maximisers will end up loving the butter-smooth UI and the ergonomic form factor. I’m actually all these users bundled into one, and considering the price to features ratio, I would happily recommend the X60 Pro for just about anyone looking for a high-end smartphone.

Vivo X60 Pro

49,990
7.5

Design and Build

7.0/10

Performance

7.4/10

Display Quality

8.0/10

Camera Quality

8.0/10

Software

6.0/10

Battery Performance

6.4/10

Audio Performance

6.3/10

Day-to-day Usage

9.0/10

Network Performance

9.8/10

Value-for-Money

7.5/10

What Is Good?

  • Great ergonomics
  • Remarkable low light images
  • Reliable Day to Day Performance

What Is Bad?

  • Bloatware and pesky notificatons
  • Battery life is average
  • Portraits are low on details

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