Vivo X80 Pro 5G review: Pricey, Zeissy, very nicey

Vivo's attention to detail in every area, especially its Zeiss-powered camera, helps justify the X80 Pro's high price tag

An image of the Vivo X80 Pro
(Image credit: Basil Kronfli)
T3 Verdict

The Vivo X80 Pro 5G may pack a through-the-roof price of £1,199 – a tough sell for any phone – but with its compelling mix of style, techy flourishes, and excellent camera capabilities, if you can find it for less cash then it's one of the best phones released in 2022.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Stellar-looking display

  • +

    Excellent camera system

  • +

    Premium, slimline case included

  • +

    Best-in-class fingerprint scanner

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Gets hot with heavy use

  • -

    High price tag

  • -

    No SD card slot

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The Vivo X80 Pro 5G, which launched in mid-2022 in China, took its sweet time to hit UK shores, but we're delighted that it has. After all, this phone promises loads of cool tech flourishes and some sophisticated styling. 

Running through a few specifics: The X80 Pro has a massive in-display fingerprint scanner – larger than any other phone on the market. It's also got a huge camera sensor paired with a Zeiss lens. And there's both fast wired and wireless charging. We've admired it from afar since it was announced, and with good reason.

Now the phone's here, Vivo's pulling no punches with its pricing, charging lofty iPhone 14 Pro Max prices when you buy it through official channels, so it's expensive. The phone also misses out on the cutting-edge Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 power of many new Android phones like the Asus ROG Phone 6, while its zoom misses out on Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra reach.

All things considered, though, is the Vivo X80 Pro 5G a compelling package? Here's our full in-depth review to reveal all...

A photo of the Vivo X80 Pro 5G

The Vivo X80 Pro ships with one of the best-looking cases we've ever seen bundled with a phone – it's slimline and features a faux leather finish.

(Image credit: Basil Kronfli)

Vivo X80 Pro 5G: Price and availability

If you try to buy the Vivo X80 Pro 5G through Vivo's official site, you'll be directed to Amazon, where the phone is available for £1,199. 

Look closely at the Amazon retail page, and you can check a box to get £180 off at the time of writing this review. With that 15 per cent price drop, the X80 Pro 5G is still over £1,000, though, so is hardly a value champ – especially in the face of lower-cost handsets like the Google Pixel 7 Pro.

Vivo X80 Pro 5G review: Design

A photo of the Vivo X80 Pro 5G

(Image credit: Basil Kronfli)

The Vivo X80 Pro 5G looks like a lot of other phones from the front. Its screen curves, falling off at each side to meet a metal frame, and there's a centred camera nested in the top of it. 

But where the X80 Pro really flexes its style is in its back. Turn the phone around, and a huge rectangle of reflective glass features dual-tone mirroring and commands your attention. This is where the cameras live, and surrounding the camera portion is curved glass with a frosted finish.

Cool and stark in the hand, Vivo has used premium materials here – Schott Xensation Up glass on the front, with AG Fluorite Glass around the back, and the frame is aluminium.

There's a sole USB-C port for charging and connections at the bottom of the handset, living alongside a SIM slot and a loudspeaker. As for the volume and power buttons, they thinly line the phone's tapered right side.

A photo of the Vivo X80 Pro 5G

The Vivo X80 Pro 5G's dual-tone mirror finish

(Image credit: Basil Kronfli)

Looking around the X80 Pro 5G, there are handsome accents that subtly shimmer and glisten. The top side showcases a glass strip that's light grey, inside which is an IR blaster, so you can control a TV or sound system with the phone. 

The reflective camera surround also enjoys Zeiss branding to whet photo takers' appetites, and generally tasteful, yet eye-grabbing levels of shiny-shiny factor.

If you are looking for a large phone that still feels elegant, then there are only a handful of options that strike the stylish notes the Vivo X80 Pro does, and the fact it's also IP68 dust and water-resistant is also welcome.

Vivo X80 Pro 5G review: Display

The Vivo X80 Pro 5G has one of the best screens of any smartphone out now. With LTPO3 technology, it's about as efficient as mobile displays get, while still delivering brilliant visuals, and at 6.78 inches it's expansive too.

Let's start with the core technology – it's an AMOLED screen, so is great with high contrast and rich blacks. You'd expect nothing less at the X80 Pro's price, but it's very sharp with its 1440 x 3200 resolution, fluid at up to 120Hz refresh rate, and it's bright, climbing up to 1500 nits.

It's also a 10-bit display, so gradients look smooth and don't band together, and HDR10+ content is supported (for high dynamic range playback). What's great about the X80 Pro 5G is that the Netflix and YouTube apps are certified to playback such content, so you can really enjoy the screen's full quality. That isn't the case for all apps in our test – Amazon Prime Video played back with standard dynamic range (SDR).

While the Vivo X80 Pro's screen does look really good, you can still get phones with excellent screens for less than its £1,199 asking price – the iPhone 14 Pro, OnePlus 10 Pro, Xiaomi 12T Pro are just a few across prices. Nevertheless, at least Vivo's delivering top-tier quality while charging top dollar for its flagship – and you really won't do much better than the X80 Pro's screen.

Vivo X80 Pro 5G review: Cameras

A photo of the Vivo X80 Pro 5G

(Image credit: Basil Kronfli)

Anyone who looks at the X80 Pro 5G will know the phone's camera system means business. If the Zeiss branding didn't give it away, the four very visible cameras around the back should.

There's a 50-megapixel 1/1.3-inch sensor leading the charge – and that's mighty big for a phone camera sensor.

While Apple goes toe-to-toe with Vivo on the main camera specs, though, Vivo edges ahead with its zoom, thanks to an 8MP camera with five times the reach of the main camera.

If you want a midrange zoom, you can use the 12MP 2x zoom camera, which has a 50mm focal length equivalent – making it perfect for portraits. This camera also features Vivo's gimbal stabilisation.

There's also a high-resolution 48MP ultra-wide camera.

You can see an example of the range across all four cameras in the gallery above. Generally, the colour consistency and quality across the X80 Pro 5G's different cameras is impressive, especially in brightly-lit scenes.

The main camera is the best when you look at fine detail – it picks up shadow detail better than the rest, handles backlit subjects well, and also takes richer-looking shots in challenging scenes. And we were still happy with the results from the whole system for the most part.

A point to note: if you fire up portrait mode or selfie mode, the phone will apply a heavy 'beauty' filter. In an early version of the phone, this included applying lipstick if the camera thought a subject presented as female, and as illustrated in the final image in the carousel below, the phone still captures faces with a significant amount of artistic license.

While this review isn't the place for a debate on the impact of beauty filters on self-image, we're certainly not fans of them being on by default, and wish they were opt in, not opt out. Thankfully, though, you can dial down the beauty mode, which is a saving grace.

Low-light photos shot on the phone look competitive, and video captured at up to 8K also looks good – steady, sharp, and richly coloured. Enthusiasts will appreciate the manual modes Vivo includes, and the Zeiss colour tuning is also a boon for imaging fans.

Vivo X80 Pro 5G review: Performance

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset powering the Vivo X80 Pro 5G isn't going to outperform gaming phones like the ROG Phone 6 and the latest iPhones, but it still packs a punch, besting Google's new Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro when it comes to sheer grunt.

The X80 Pro can play back 3D titles at high graphics settings, though the phone does get hot if you're really hammering it with intense tasks and 5G downloads.

We found the Vivo X80 Pro 5G's FunTouch OS interface to be responsive and comprehensive. Coupled with Google's Android 13 operating system, the basics are more than covered – excellent app support, and plenty of Vivo-specific flourishes like easy screenshots with a three-finger swipe down, advanced gestures, and more.

A photo of the Vivo X80 Pro 5G

(Image credit: Basil Kronfli)

While Vivo's interface isn't our favourite Android skin, it's stable – more so than a few others we've tested, even from premium brands like Sony. Many of the pre-installed apps can also be uninstalled, so while it isn't the breeziest, lightest take on Android, neither is it as heavy as Samsung's One UI, for example. 

More impressive than the performance, though, is the fact this phone also has a spectacular under-display fingerprint scanner. With a larger surface area, this scanner is much less finicky than what you're probably used to. You can blindly fumble your thumb over the bottom portion of the screen, and there's a good chance it will unlock – a far cry from the small under-display scanners of old.

Face unlocking using the front camera matched with that great fingerprint scanner means you can quickly get into your phone without any headaches. You can also create multiple profiles for children, partners or family members. 

With 256GB internal storage, this feature is perfect for separating work and personal accounts with just one device, giving you ample storage space across both profiles. 

Vivo X80 Pro 5G review: Battery and charging

A photo of the Vivo X80 Pro 5G

(Image credit: Basil Kronfli)

The 4,700mAh battery inside Vivo's X80 Pro 5G is around 300mAh smaller than the 5000mAh most premium Android phones pack at the moment – that isn't alarming, but is worth noting.

In the real world, the X80 Pro 5G easily makes it through a day of standard use. But, we found battery life to be inconsistent between overcast and sunny days with auto-brightness active on heavy-use days. This is to be expected for a phone with such a big screen, and is likely compounded by the X80 Pro's slightly slimmed-down capacity. In turn, while the phone's battery life is fine, it isn't best-in-class – especially in the summer.

On the plus side, you can power up the Pro wired and wireless, with fast 80W wired charging filling it up fully in around 40 minutes, and 50W wireless charging powering it up in around 50 minutes.

Vivo X80 Pro 5G review: Verdict

A photo of the Vivo X80 Pro 5G

(Image credit: Basil Kronfli)

For a certain kind of photography enthusiast, the Vivo X80 Pro 5G could be the best phone around. It combines a sleek design with an extremely good screen, a comprehensive mix of cameras, and plenty of storage and power.

Yes, the X80 Pro 5G is expensive. If you can find it at the right price, though, or simply love its mix of camera highlights and wins across the board, it's a seriously good phone to use, only held back by its good, not great battery life, and the fact it occasionally gets warmer than we'd ideally like.

Also consider

A couple of more affordable phones make the X80 Pro a tougher sell – the Google Pixel 7 Pro, and the Motorola Edge 30 Ultra. Both of these are premium options with similar power, stylish designs and mighty camera systems.

The Apple alternative is the 14 Pro Max, which competes with the Vivo X80 Pro 5G in most areas, and packs iOS inside for a more refined software experience.

Basil Kronfli
Mobile phones expert

Basil has been writing about tech for over 12 years, with bylines in TechRadar, Metro, Wired, and Digital Camera World – to name but a few titles. He expertly covers everything from mobile phones to smart devices, cameras, audio-visual hardware, and kitchen tech. In addition to his extensive journalism experience, Basil is also skilled in video production, content strategy, and vegan baking, and runs Tech[edit], a technology-focused YouTube channel.