Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra camera set to be schooled by elite new Android rival

Vivo's X90 Pro looks like it's going to have Galaxy S23 Ultra licked in the camera stakes

Vivo X90 Pro Android phone in orange colorway
(Image credit: Vivo)

Chinese phone brand Vivo isn't very well known in the West, something we really thought the Vivo X70 Pro would change: the firm's camera technology in particular is very impressive, often outperforming rivals.

And, if we can believe the leaks that are coming out about the Vivo X90 Pro, it could deliver a serious spanking not just to the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra but to the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra too.

The Hindustan Times (opens in new tab) reports that inside the X90 Pro there's going to be the Snapdragon 8 Series Gen 2, making it one of the best Android phones in terms of processing power, and possibly 100W fast charging support too. The current X80 has a 4,780mAh battery but that may be boosted to 5,000mAh for the X90.

But the most interesting rumours are about the camera.

The Vivo X90 Pro could have a seriously good camera

The Vivo X90 Pro will reportedly get a new 1-inch sensor, similar to the one in the Xiaomi 12S Ultra, in addition to the Sony IMX989 sensor that's in the X80 Pro. And according to respected leaker Ice Universe on Twitter (opens in new tab) "the telephoto (new sensor + new algorithm) of vivo X90 Pro+ can beat S22 Ultra, and there is no difference between S23 Ultra telephoto and S22 Ultra specs, so we reasonably speculate that vivo will beat S23 Ultra by the way, wow!"

Wow indeed, then. But it's important to take these reports with a pinch of salt for two reasons. The first is availability, because Vivo isn't really a big deal outside China and India. And the second is software. As we've seen from Apple's iPhones, most recently the iPhone 14, the lens and sensor are only part of the chain when it comes to smartphone photography: the software is crucial too, and of course it's important for the rest of the phone experience as well. 

On the basis of existing models, the software may well disappoint: reviews of the X80 Pro describe the camera as brilliant but the phone as "laden with bloatware" (not all of which can be removed), using a "buggy" OS (Funtouch OS) and with a "bare minimum security update pledge". With some irony, it'd be a shame if focusing too much on the camera hardware means Vivo neglects the bigger picture.

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written thirteen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote another seven books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (havrmusic.com (opens in new tab)).