Design-wise the Vivo X90 Pro reminds me a bit of the recently launched OnePlus 11 flagship. There’s the halo-shaped camera module at the rear, along with a textured vegan leather panel. The camera module is crafted with stainless steel and is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass and an anti-reflective coating on top. The ZEISS logo rests at the bottom of the flash.
At almost 215 grams, it’s not the lightest phone around but some of you might like the heft. The only physical buttons lay on the right bezel - volume rocker and the power button. The SIM port and speaker grille are positioned on either side of the charging port at the bottom.
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The smartphone has a sizeable 6.78-inch display, making it prime for entertainment. The screen curves a fair bit to wrap around the edges, lending a bit of smoothness to the scrolling experience. However, this backfires a bit as it distorts my view around the edges while recording video. T
he display offers a refresh rate of up to 120Hz, making endless scrolling and gaming look pretty snappy on the smartphone.
When you know ZEISS optics is involved, you can safely assume there’s some good photography coming your way. There are three lenses in the primary camera setup - a 50MP primary (Sony IMX989 1-inch sensor), another 50MP f/1.6 2x portrait lens and a 12MP wide-angle lens. The 1-inch IMX989 primary sensor, owing to its size, allows for greater light sensitivity. As a result, the camera delivers really good photographs even in low-light situations.
The 50-megapixel portrait camera is geared with optical image stabilisation and swing effortlessly between between highlighting either the subject or the background in portraits. True to its word, the vivo X90 Pro performed surprising well in low-light conditions, not just brightening up poorly-lit frames outdoors but doing so impressively with minimal noise. Unlike most other smartphones, the almost no shutter lag as I click away on night mode, the images are captured snappily while still managing to stay sharp.
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The digital zoom, however, gets a little underwhelming beyond 4x zoom with a ton of grains in the image.
The ZEISS Cine-Flare Portrait - a new photo feature - adds a nice-looking flare when I click some portraits with strong backlight. There are more options to play around with including Biotar, Planar, Distagon, & Sonnar flare options which are carryovers from the previous gen camera - but can now be used with the front camera selfies as well.
Astrophotography enthusiasts can try out the Handheld Astro mode as well as the Supermoon mode, which didn’t give me the kind of impressive results that the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra did when I shot a full moon. The Handheld Astro mode would definitely have resulted in better images if I were travelling to the mountains , or even a getaway with way less light pollution at night.
There’s also a Pro Sports and Night sports mode with zero shutter lag motion snapshot feature that combines the high-speed shutter and motion detection algorithm, which can instantly freeze the frame, making subjects look clear without any blur in motion scenarios.
The vivo X90 Pro is powered by top-of-the-line MediaTek Dimensity 9200 chipset, which scores around 11,69,009 points in synthetic benchmarking tests (AnTuTu), finding itself sandwiched between the higher scores of the Samsung Galaxy S23 and the S23+ and just above the likes of the OnePlus 11.
This coupled with the Pro Imaging V2 chip makes for a dual-chip flagship which successfully bypasses any lags or stutters in real-life usage. There are no heating issues either with extended streaming or video-gaming. Overall, there’s almost no room for complaints when it comes to performance.
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The device runs on FunTouch OS 13 - based on Android 13 - and I’m not a huge fan of the user interface since it comes with too much bloatware, most of which can’t be uninstalled. What helps a bit are some of the more useful features packed in - split-screen usage, gesture-based app launchers and extensive personalisation for the UI. There’s only one variant available with 12 GB RAM and 256 GB storage.
The vivo X90 Pro features support for an e-SIM should you want that, and carries an IP68 rating, which means it’s water resistant in fresh water to a maximum depth of 1.5 metres for up to 30 minutes, and is protected from dust.
Equipped with a 4,870 mAh, one of the most impressive aspects of the phone is how insanely quickly it charges fully. Thanks to the 120W charger, in the box, it takes just about half an hour to go from zero battery to 100%. I could really get used to this!
To tell you the truth, I was so taken in by everything that the Zeiss-powered camera could do, that I spent most of my time exploring its photography capabilities. And, this is not to say that the smartphone doesn’t have any other aspect that shines. It’s just that the camera shines so bright, everything else takes a bit of a backseat.
Should you buy this smartphone? If you’re willing to take a bet on this tech underdog, and ignore any annoyance that the UI might bring your way, by all means, yes! At the end of the day, it does deliver on a lot of the promises Vivo makes on this photography-forward smartphone.