The smartphone market, especially in the United States, is extremely competitive, and it can be tough for smaller players to go up against bigger names such as Samsung, LG and Motorola. With that said, Chinese smartphone manufacturer Vivo may have a plan to do just that.
First launched in May 2015, the Vivo X5 Pro features an attractive design, display and specifications, while also being offered at a super affordable price point. Does it stack up against other popular smartphones in this space, or will the device blend into the crowd? We find that out, and more, in our full review of the Vivo X5 Pro!
The Vivo X5 Pro features a design that’s reminiscent of other popular smartphones on the market, such as Sony’s Xperia line. With a glass sandwich design and smoothly polished aluminum sides, this is one attractive device. The front and back panels meet the aluminum frame almost seamlessly, leaving the glass panels rising just a bit higher than the frame.
Moving around the device, we have 3.5mm headphone jack on the top, on the right we have an aluminum volume rocker and power button sitting above the dual SIM card slot, and the left side features no peripherals whatsoever. The dual SIM card slot provides a little more functionality than most other handsets offer, with the second SIM slot doubling as a microSD card slot. If you only need one SIM card in your device, you’ll be happy to hear that you can expand the phone’s memory up to a massive 128GB. It’s a neat hardware feature that a few manufacturers have adopted, giving more options and versatility to the consumer.
Continuing on, the front glass panel sports an 8 megapixel front facer and a green lighting notification light with 3 capacitive buttons at the bottom. The left-most button is an options key, the center is a home button, and the back button sits on the right side. On the back of the phone, the camera module is in the upper left with the a single LED flash. The Vivo branding sits square in the middle although oriented sideways.
The total result is a device that carries a premium design aesthetic, is fairly pocketable, and is relatively comfortable to hold despite being only 6.4mm thick.
The X5 Pro boasts a 5.2 inch 1080p Super AMOLED display at 424 pixels per inch. And it’s that Super AMOLED that really shines here. The screen produces rich colors that look great indoors and especially outdoors. The screen’s calibration leans slightly on the warmer side, and the brightness, while not the brightest on the market, is certainly bright enough for my use, normally kept at around 75%.
Viewing angles are good and colors should be vivid enough for most users. While this device doesn’t sport a Quad HD panel like many users would prefer, 1080p is still perfectly clear enough for most of us out there.
Performance and hardware
Most popular in the budget sector, the Qualcomm’s octa-core Snapdragon 615 makes an appearance in this device, bolstered with the Adreno 405 graphics processor and 2GB of RAM. While some of the other cheaper phones with lower resolution displays blaze through performance metrics with this CPU, here the X5 Pro stumbles every so often.
Most of the time it’s a fairly fluid experience, but there are many times where the device will lag, almost like the software is playing catch up. Scrolling through web pages can be a tad difficult at times, especially when the phone stutters all the way down to the bottom of the webpage. It doesn’t happen so often that it makes the phone a headache, but often enough that you will notice after use all day. Unfortunately it does only come standard with 16GB of storage, but again you can ramp that up to 128GB through expansion.
Despite having two speaker grills on the bottom, the X5 Pro only has one speaker that fires from the left. Regardless, it’s loud enough for media consumption without headphones, but lacks the richness in low end to make it a solid choice for sharing music.
The battery is the smaller side, especially given the larger footprint of this phone with a 5.2 inch display. It comes in at 2450mAh non-removable cell and is almost always a sure shot for a full day’s use. With moderate but consistent use, using mostly apps, web browsing, camera, and phone calling, I ended the day with about 40% left. But on a day when I focused on app and video use consistently I ran the battery down by the end of the night to about 13%.
Because the built in UI doesn’t allow for battery status checking or screen on time, I had to use a 3rd party app, which didn’t seem to register as accurately as I’d hope. The screen-on time of 3 hours shown, seemed to be less than what I actually got on the day of heavy use.
Vivo’s camera choice here is a 13 megapixel shooter. Overall, it’s certainly not anything to write home about, but it functions as most do in this price range. Photos in well-lit areas are pretty good, with colors tending to lack a bit of saturation, which makes pictures look a tad dull. Shooting photos indoors without the flash turned on result in a great deal of noise. And because there’s no OIS, folks with less steady hands can expect a bit of a blur, especially in darker photos. Features like HDR and Face Beauty help add some pizzaz to the photos to help compensate for the sometimes dull standard shots.
On the front sits a somewhat larger-than-average 8 megapixel camera that can take high resolution images, but even in good lighting conditions, the front facer finds focus difficult to achieve and almost never gets the image without a bit of blur.
On the front a somewhat larger than average 8 megapixel camera takes high resolution images, but even in good lighting conditions finds focus difficult to achieve and almost never gets the image without a bit of blur.
Vivo’s take on software is their Funtouch OS 2.1 layered over Android 5.0.2 Lollipop, which, in its basic appearance, greatly resembles iOS. Numerous icons are almost a blatant copy of something you’d find on an iPhone, which isn’t something we’re ecstatic about. And while the quick settings page, which can be accessed from a quick swipe up from the bottom of the screen, is arguably more functional in this location, looks a little too familiar, as well.
The left capacitive key brings up a different options menu depending on which app you’re currently using. While Google has tried moving OEMs away from using designated options keys in their devices, it can provide a bit of extra functionality to users in certain situations. For instance, if you’re on the home screen, it’ll behave partly like other Android phones when holding down anywhere on the home screen, bringing up the widgets and page swiping effects settings. Other apps like Chrome will bring up the list of options to select a new tab, bookmark, check history and more.
Since this capacitive key is normally used to bring up the list of opened apps, Vivo has implemented their own widget for this. It shows the number of apps currently running, the percent of RAM used and the efficiency of the phone. clicking on the wheel is the equivalent of clearing all unused apps. Tapping left allows you to go into the app, giving more detail and allowing to clear any specific tasks, a lot like windows task manager.
Themes also make a return here as well as a device manger app that grant and refuses permissions to certain apps.
So, there you have it, our full review of the Vivo X5Pro! While the device’s camera and performance might leave much to be desired, the beautiful design, interesting, yet familiar software experience, and beautiful screen almost make up for the handset’s shortcomings. With budget-friendly options consistently decreasing in price, it’s tough to recommend the X5Pro to users who are looking for a solid handset.
What are your thoughts on the device? If the X5Pro is available in your region, do you think you’ll pick one up? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below!