We tested the Vivo X51 5G, the first step of the Chinese brand in the Spanish market

If we think of smartphone brands of Chinese origin, it is likely that the Western public will immediately think of Huawei and Xiaomi, since these two manufacturers are the most successful in these territories. However, the list of successful companies from that country goes beyond the two mentioned names.

One of the most prominent within this unknown group in the West is Vivo, which for several quarters has been part of the top 5 smartphone brands worldwide – according to data from the IDC consultancy. On the European continent we have heard about some of its most extravagant products – such as the Apex 2020, one of the first mobiles without ports or buttons – but it was not until this second half of 2020 that the brand decided to fully disembark in this market in which many of his compatriots have made an important niche for themselves in recent years.

The tip of the spear of its European landing is the Vivo X51 5G, an almost premium range product that stands out, especially, for one element: a camera with a built-in gimbal. This arrives in Spain with a label of 799 euros, 5G connectivity and eager to leave a good taste in your mouth.

A very good feeling

I live X51

The Vivo X51 5G, right out of the box, is quite surprising. The finishes of this phone are very good, it is comfortable to use and, in general, it conveys the feeling of being very well finished in every way. The feel of the rear is also quite pleasant. It is a matte glass reminiscent of the one used by Huawei in the P40 Pro and by Apple in the iPhone 11 Pro.

In this sense, the Vivo X51 5G conveys sensations typical of higher-end products – such as the aforementioned Huawei P40 Pro. Personally, I have to say that it reminds me a lot of the OnePlus 8 in terms of hand sensations. And that, given the good aftertaste that the OnePlus model left me, is a good sign.

The Vivo X51 5G also has a 6.55-inch OLED screen with a Full HD + resolution that is capable of raising its refresh rate to 90 Hz. The panel, in general terms, offers a very good experience. Of course: I recommend changing the default calibration mode. This, as is the case with other brand phones, oversaturates the colors a bit to make the images stand out more than ideally. The problem is that this mode can lead us to make incorrect color corrections in photographs or to lose certain nuances in creative processes. If you value accuracy, turn it off in settings.

This screen is also characterized by having a perforation through which the front camera emerges, a solution that more and more manufacturers have adopted instead of the notch. The panel is also slightly curved on the sides. This attribute, common in many high-end Android smartphones, can be aesthetically striking, but slightly degrades image quality at the edges.

Regarding the refresh rate, having 90 Hz makes any animation or scrolling of interface elements occur in a more organic way. Personally, I love that manufacturers are betting on this technology in more and more products.

How does the Vivo X51 5G perform?

I live X51

The Vivo X51 5G features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G SoC. This is not the most advanced of the moment, but its performance is more than enough for most of the tasks that users perform. The team is fast, the applications work with ease and, probably, most users do not miss the absence of the Snapdragon 865 –or another equivalent SoC–.

This chipset is also compatible with the 5G connectivity that all operators are deploying in the world. In this sense, I have to say the same as in the analyzes of other recent products: that manufacturers incorporate this connectivity in their phones is positive thinking about the future, but do not expect that having 5G in your phone will change the way in which you use your smartphone in the present. Networks still have a lot of room for improvement and the use cases to take advantage of their virtues are still limited.

The Vivo X51, by the way, is compatible with both SA and NSA networks. Of course: it can only connect to sub-6 GHz networks, not mmWave. The latter, however, are not being deployed at the moment in Spain, so their absence is not a problem.

I live X51

One of the things that has surprised me the most about the Vivo X51 is its software. The company has done with it something that not all brands from China tend to do when they land in Europe: adapt the product to the market. What does this mean? That the Vivo X51 has a simple Android version, with hardly any bloatware and very similar in aesthetics to that offered by OnePlus products or Google Pixels. The system is also quite well optimized, which is a step in the right direction.

The union of this software with the aforementioned SoC and the 90 Hz screen makes the overall experience with the Vivo X51 5G quite good. The brand has also been committed to updating this product for several years, so that consumers will be able to enjoy future versions of Android without any problem.

As far as autonomy is concerned, we could say that the Vivo X51 5G behaves as expected. It is not the phone that will lead the autonomy rankings, but, even with the 90 Hz refresh rate, you can finish a day of use without incident.

As far as fast charging is concerned, Vivo’s product supports a maximum of 33 watts of power using the charger included in the box. Of course: we do not have wireless or reverse charging, something that some of the products with which it competes – such as the iPhone 12 or the Galaxy S20 – do offer.

What are the cameras of the Vivo X51 5G like?

I live X51

One of the aspects in which this product tries to differentiate itself is in the camera. To do this, Vivo has incorporated a total of four sensors on the rear:

First of all, it has a 48-megapixel resolution main camera with an f / 1.6 aperture lens and “OIS gimbal” stabilization. Second, the X51 offers with a fivex optical zoom, an 8 megapixel sensor and an optically stabilized f / 3.4 aperture lens. It also incorporates a camera with a two-magnification optical zoom, a 13-megapixel sensor and an f / 2.5 aperture lens. And, as in other phones, we also find a camera with a wide angle, an 8-megapixel sensor and an f / 2.2 aperture lens.

The selected distribution (main, wide-angle, short-range telephoto and long-range telephoto) is honestly the most accurate, especially when it comes to telephoto lenses. Shooting with a 135mm is super fun not only because of the ability to get up close to distant objects, but also because of the way this lens compresses perspective. And I like that, unlike other products, we can have this option without having to give up a 50mm telephoto lens – whose focal length may be more accurate in certain situations.

When it comes to image quality, the sensations are different. The Vivo X51 is capable of capturing good images in well-lit conditions, but, in adverse situations, it is clear that it is not in the same league as Apple, Samsung or Huawei. And the gimbal, while technically interesting, doesn’t seem to translate into significantly better photos in low-light conditions.

I live X51Picture taken with the main camera.

I live X51Picture taken with a 5x telephoto lens.

I live X51Picture taken with the telephoto lens of 2X.

I live X51Photograph taken with the wide angle.

I live X51Picture taken with a 5x telephoto lens.

I live X51Picture taken with the main camera.

I live X51Photograph taken with the wide angle.

Is the Vivo X51 5G worth buying?

I live X51

Generally speaking, the Vivo X51 is an interesting starting point. The finishes of the product are quite good, the screen offers good image quality, the camera uses the most sensible lens distribution possible, and the equipment works fast enough to satisfy the needs of most consumers. Vivo has also made the right decisions in aspects such as software, which is an important point in its favor.

The problem is that this proposal, with a label of 799 euros, is out of play in the Spanish market. On the one hand, it has to compete with smartphones like the OnePlus Nord or Xiaomi’s Mi 10T Lite, which have several similar components (such as the 90 Hz screen or the Snapdragon 765G SoC) but are sold for much less money.

On the other hand, the X51 has to compete with the high-end smartphones presented during the first half of the year, which can be found at the moment for prices similar to and even lower than this Vivo X51. These include the Galaxy S20 Plus, available on Amazon for around 700 euros at the time I write these lines. The Samsung mobile has a higher quality screen, a more powerful SoC and, in addition, transmits more confidence to the consumer, since the Samsung brand has much more travel in the country – and that, when you are spending almost 800 euros on a product, weighs on the decision.

Other products such as the OnePlus 8T, the Xiaomi Mi 10T and even the iPhone 12, which sells for around 800 euros in its mini version and about 900 euros in its standard version, also complicate things for this Vivo X51 5G. Apple’s phone, which is in the same price window, has a significantly more powerful processor and one of the best cameras in the industry, among many other things.

The scenario that remains before this Vivo X51, therefore, is quite complicated. The product offers a good experience and suggests interesting ideas, but without a price reduction that makes you gain competitiveness, it will be very difficult to attract the attention of consumers.

The article We tested the Vivo X51 5G, the first step of the Chinese brand in the Spanish market was published in Hypertext.