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The best portrait photos around


It’s been a while since I’ve checked out anything from Vivo, in fact, I can’t remember the last time I used a Vivo device. It’s been at least 8 years? The point is, in that time Vivo has done some truly amazing work with its phones. Case in point, the X100 Pro is a smartphone that comes with a very impressive camera. And that’s probably to be expected since this phone isn’t really cheap. On the contrary, it’s actually quite expensive.

Now it is worth noting that this isn’t a phone you can officially buy a US version of. You can buy it on Amazon in the US, but only as the unlocked Chinese version of the phone. And the cheapest it’ll end up being is around $929. Price aside, as soon as I pulled the X100 Pro out of the box for the first time and held it in my hands, I knew this was going to be a pretty good phone.

I won’t lie, I thought the rear camera system was a little over the top at first. At least in terms of size. The camera bump is positively massive. But there’s a reason for that. Vivo partnered with Zeiss Optics on the camera and all of that space is because Vivo has packed some serious camera hardware in here. And that led to some amazing results. Bar none, the Vivo X100 Pro produces the best portrait mode photos I’ve ever seen from a smartphone. And that isn’t an exaggeration. They’re excellent.

They’re so good I really just didn’t want to use anything else when snapping shots for this review. But, we’ll dig into that a bit more in the camera section. Let’s dive in and see how this phone stacks up as a whole.

Vivo X100 Pro Review: Hardware & Design

Phone designs have gotten to a point where it feels like everyone just keeps putting out the same stuff. Year after year. I haven’t really used anything from Vivo in quite a long time so I can’t compare the design of the X100 Pro to previous devices. What I can do is say that the design of the X100 Pro is nice. There are a few things I am not overly fond of. Such as the very large camera bump on the back from the absolutely massive camera system.

And I said this in my OnePlus 12R review. I dislike curved displays on smartphones. Curved monitors are another story. I loved curved monitors. Curved phone screens though, not really my style. That said, Vivo has done a decent job at putting together a nice-looking phone. While I don’t personally care for some of the design aspects, those are just my personal tastes. The phone still looks and feels premium and I think that’s what’s most important when looking at the Vivo X100 Pro from a design standpoint.

I do like that the sides of the phone frame are somewhat contoured as this makes it a little more comfortable to hold in the hand. And when browsing for longer periods of time or playing games this is more important than you might think. You want the phone to feel comfortable to hold. And the ability for the phone to provide that to you is directly linked to the design. This is definitely a comfortable phone to hold.

Hardware build quality

Have you ever had a phone that looked really nice but it just felt really cheap or low-quality? If you have and know what I’m talking about, the Vivo X100 Pro is most certainly not like that. It feels very well-made and I absolutely adore that fact. There’s nothing that bums me out more when it comes to phones than having something that costs a lot and looks great but just feels poorly put together.

So I was extremely happy to see that Vivo put together a very premium-feeling device. Nothing creaks or rattles. The power and volume buttons have a nice tactile feel to them when pushing them in. And I was pleasantly surprised to find that the SIM tray was easy to eject. One of my main (also admittedly minor) gripes about the RedMagic 9 Pro was that the SIM tray was unreasonably difficult to eject for some reason. That wasn’t the case here at all. I didn’t have to use what felt like excessive force just to get the tray out so I could put a SIM card in.

This tells me that Vivo thought about even some of the most minor details when building this phone. All-in-all I think the design is mostly pretty solid and the build quality is good too. In terms of placement for everything, you’ll find the volume rocker and power buttons on the right side of the frame, with the SIM tray, USB-C charging port, and bottom speaker on the bottom part of the frame. The left side of the frame is completely empty and on the top, you have the mic and a tiny IR blaster. It also has a second speaker under the top part of the screen.

Vivo X100 Pro Review: Display

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I’ve never been a fan of curved displays and after using the Vivo X100 Pro, that hasn’t changed. I still prefer a display that’s flat when it comes to smartphones but curved edges or not, the display on the Vivo X100 Pro is still nice. The curved edges add that waterfall effect which can be visually pleasing for certain content. Although I do find it a bit weird for content in landscape mode, like when watching videos on YouTube or playing games like Honkai Star Rail.

Colors also appear just a little bit flat compared to some other phone screens I’ve used recently but not really by much. I’ve found that what has been more important is that the display has good brightness.

The display is 6.78 inches in size and it’s an LPTO AMOLED panel with a 120Hz refresh rate, and a peak brightness of 3,000 nits. ow 3,000 nits is pretty bright but you generally aren’t going to see the brightness go that high. In my testing, the display didn’t go far above 1,000 nits at its peak, though I still found this to be more than bright enough for anything I was doing. The size and the refresh rate make this a pretty good gaming device, especially for any games that support higher frame rates. Plus the higher refresh rate is nice for scrolling through content on social or browsing the web.

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Resolution on the display is default set to 2800 x 1260 right out of the box. However, there is an option to dump this down to 2400 x 1080 if you want more of a Full HD resolution. This could help with battery life but in my experience, the 2800 x 1260 resolution was perfectly fine. So this is what I stuck with during my time with the phone.

Now remember how I said the colors were a little flat? You don’t have to live with this. The Vivo X100 Pro does have a few different screen color options for you to choose from. Standard is what you’re working with out of the box. But you can change it to “Pro” or “Bright” as well. Bright helps make the colors pop a little more and it takes those mildly flat colors with the default “Standard” color setting and amps them up a bit. This made my games like Honkai Star Rail look a little nicer. Especially with all of the colors from special effects that fill the screen during certain parts of gameplay.

As for the Pro mode, this actually makes the colors look more flat than that of the Standard setting. So I never used this personally, but you might prefer it if you want stuff to look less saturated. Overall the display is nice-looking and if you don’t mind curved edges you’ll probably love it.

Vivo X100 Pro Review: Performance

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The Vivo X100 Pro is the first phone to have come with MediaTek’s Dimensity 9300 chipset and as a competing chipset to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, I was very curious to see how it would perform. Qualcomm’s flagship Snapdragon line is always held in high regard when it comes to performance under heavy GPU workloads. And that’s why you’ll see it being used in so many gaming phones. That being said, it does end up coming with a more premium price for manufacturers.

Which ends up shooting the cost of the phones up a little. Vivo’s choice to go with the MediaTek Dimensity 9300 over Qualcomm likely helped keep the cost of the phone lower. It’s still a premium flagship phone though, and it comes with a premium price. It’s just probably not as high as it would have been if Vivo went with Qualcomm.

With all of that said, I was quite pleasantly surprised with the overall performance of the device for most tasks. Casual gaming, using the camera, general browsing, all of these things were fine. Where the phone started to struggle just a tiny bit was with high-end gaming. Spending at least a few hours in a game like Genshin Impact or Honkai Star Rail proved to be pretty taxing on the GPU. And in the end, the phone. As it became quite warm in the later parts of a longer gaming session. This didn’t hamper game performance too much. But I did notice the frame rate suffered a little because of the heat.

You’re not really buying this phone for high-end gaming though. So I suspect this wouldn’t be much of a problem for most people who would buy it. When it comes to benchmarks, the Vivo X100 Pro actually didn’t do too badly.

Benchmarks

We’ve been running all of our phone reviews through a series of benchmarks for the past month or two so we can see how they perform on paper. The results from these tests aren’t necessarily what you should expect from your own experience. But they’re still important because they give you a baseline of what performance will probably be like for you. Of course, this does vary from person to person. Mainly because how you use the phone is probably different from how we would use it.

With that said, we run the phone through Geekbench 6, as well as 3D Mark’s Wildlife Extreme Stress Test. On top of these two tests, we also do our own test that we came up with which we like to call the CapCut test. For this, we simply load up a one-minute video and we add a simple animation to it, then we export it to the phone storage to see how fast it goes.’

Starting with the Geekbench 6 test, the Vivo X100 Pro does better than I honestly expected for its scores. It received a single-core score of 2159 and a multi-core score of 7189. And for the GPU score it received 14561. So overall, pretty scores across the board. And to its credit, the phone does feel snappy in most day-to-day tasks. The only time it ever really struggles is with more GPU-intensive tasks like high-end gaming as mentioned above. And even then, it’s not bad, it just isn’t on par with things like the ROG Phone 8 Pro Edition, the Galaxy S24 Ultra, or the OnePlus 12 in real-world use.

Vivo X100 Pro Review Geekbench 6 TestVivo X100 Pro Review Geekbench 6 Test

Next up is the 3D Mark Wildlife Extreme Stress Test. This is geared more towards high-quality 3D-rendered graphics and it runs a one-minute loop video 20 times. So you really get a sense of how intensive the task is going to be on the GPU. For this test, the Vivo X100 Pro scored 4920 on its best loop, and 2532 on its worst loop with a stability of 51.5%. Those scores aren’t great compared to some of the other flagship phones.

Lastly, there’s the CapCut test, and here the X100 Pro did ok, with a total export time of 16.45 seconds. It’s far from being the fastest time to export the video but by no means the slowest. And if you’re using this phone a lot for photos and videos, you might be doing a lot of editing and exporting for uploading to social apps like TikTok or YouTube. So it’s good to know where this phone stands in how quickly it can do those tasks for you.

Vivo X100 Pro Review CapCut TestVivo X100 Pro Review CapCut Test

Thermals

Now let’s discuss the thermals. This might be something you don’t really think about a whole lot, but it’s an important aspect of the phone. You want to know how warm it’s going to get after doing the tasks you might use the phone for on a regular basis. To check the thermals we do three different thermal tests with each device. We look at the temperatures after the 3D Mark Wildlife Extreme Stress Test, as well as after one hour of Genshin Impact gameplay, and after recording 4K video. For the video recording, we check the temperature at both the 5-minute and 10-minute intervals to see how it progresses.

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Starting with the 3D Mark Wilflife Extreme Stress Test, the Vivo X100 Pro ended up with a temperature of 114. Fairly manageable compared to a few other devices I’ve recently tested. While the phone did get warm, it wasn’t too hot to hold afterward like the RedMagic 9 Pro. For the Genshin Impact test, it ended up with a temperature of just 105.2 which is again not too bad. And finally with the camera testing the thermals ended up at 88.7 after 5 minutes and 95.9 after 10 minutes. For the most part, temperatures are decent and the phone shouldn’t have any issues with overheating.

However, if you do end up using this phone for gaming, just know that extended use beyond an hour is likely to cause you to run into some performance issues. Specifically, just some drops in things like the frame rate. But overall still usable, just not optimal.

Vivo X100 Pro Review: Battery Life and Charging

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One of the most important factors of a smartphone for me and many others is battery life. I use my phone a lot so I need to make sure it’ll last throughout the day. And anything beyond a day is icing on the cake. Not entirely necessary but definitely helpful. We test the battery life on phones by bringing up a 24-hour long 4K video and letting it play with the screen at max brightness to see how long it takes before the phone battery dies.

In the Vivo X100 Pro’s case, the battery died in 18 hours and 25 minutes. I think this is pretty good considering some phones we’ve tested with larger batteries didn’t last as long. Keep in mind that this isn’t how long the battery will last during normal use. You’ll be doing a combination of things on the device every day. In my testing I was able to easily get about 7-8 hours of screen-on time with a mix of YouTube, Reddit, gaming, chatting with friends in apps like Discord and Telegram, and general web browsing. This is also with the screen brightness all the way up.

Vivo X100 Pro Review Battery Life Rundown TestVivo X100 Pro Review Battery Life Rundown Test

With that in mind, you’re likely to see some better battery life if you turn the brightness down to about 50% or 75%. In terms of charging the Vivo X100 Pro took longer than I expected to get back from 1% to 100%. In my testing, it took about 59 minutes and 8 seconds. Not terrible but definitely slower than some of the more recent phones I’ve tested. That being said, the charger I used was only charging at 80W, so it wasn’t charging the phone at the full speed it supports.

Vivo X100 Pro Review Charging TestVivo X100 Pro Review Charging Test

The X100 Pro comes with a 100W charger but it uses a Chinese plug, and I had no way to use this plug to charge the phone. Keeping this in mind, it would most certainly charge faster if you’re using this charger. The nice thing is that at least you get a wall adapter in the box. Whereas the most recent Pixel devices give you just a cable.

Vivo X100 Pro Review: Software

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The Vivo X100 Pro runs Funtouch OS 14 which is Vivo’s UI on top of Android 14. Everything here feels pretty familiar and surprisingly, not too different from what I’m used to with stock Android on the Pixel 8 or the version of Android on the ROG Phone 8 Pro Edition. It doesn’t look the same, of course, but using it didn’t feel very different from either of those two phones.

By default apps show up on the home screen so you can swipe to the left to bring up the next page. This is a design I’ve never personally been too fond of but thankfully you can turn this off with a toggle in the settings. It’s also worth noting that Vivo is not the only manufacturer to do this and most Android phones offer the option. I just think it makes things look too busy and I prefer the standard app drawer that I’ve gotten so used to and grown to enjoy.

Outside of this very minor design choice, the software experience is very polished and there’s nothing I had any issues with. That is to say, nothing was broken or worked incorrectly in any shape or form. There are a lot of small touches with the software that I actually quite like. For instance, there’s a “Guest Mode” you can enable from the Quick Settings menu.

This wouldn’t be particularly useful to me since I’m the only one using my phone. However, I could the Guest Mode being extremely useful to anyone who shares a device from time to time. Let’s say you have a younger cousin or niece or nephew come over and they want to play games on your phone for example. You could easily enable the Guest Mode so they don’t have access to all of your stuff. There’s also an Ultra Game Mode feature you can enable from Quick Settings. This type of thing isn’t unique to the Vivo X100 Pro, but not all phones have something like it. So I always enjoy it when it’s included.

With Ultra Game Mode you can toggle a few different things to make sure your gaming sessions happen unencumbered. I used this a ton so I wouldn’t get notifications while gaming. It’s also a great way to avoid turning on the Do Not Disturb Mode. Which I have turned on before but then forgot it was on after I was done playing games. Ultra Game Mode helps avoid situations like that. You can also enable a toggle to bring up the game bar while playing.

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This little bar comes in from the left side of the screen and shows a few different stats like CPU and GPU usage, battery remaining and there are toggles to boost performance. As well as buttons for motion control and turning off background calls. Overall it’s a pretty useful tool for your game sessions.

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One thing that I have never really gotten to use before is reverse wireless charging. The Vivo X100 Pro supports this and there’s a nifty little Quick Settings toggle for it. You can’t use it when the battery gets below a certain point. But it was to have for those few times when I wanted to charge up a pair of true wireless earbuds. Overall I think the software experience on the Vivo X100 Pro is pretty good. And I’d be perfectly happy with this being my software experience every day.

Vivo X100 Pro Review: Camera

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The camera is really where this phone shines the most, and that’s by design. The Vivo X100 Pro was built to be a phone that focuses on the camera as its main selling point. That’s evident but he absolutely gargantuan camera bump on the back. This huge bump is needed of course since Vivo is using a bigger sensor in here than you’ll see in a lot of smartphones. It also paired with Zeiss Optics to fine-tune a lot of the camera features. And honestly, the results are very, very good. I would even venture to say this is quite possibly the best camera I’ve ever used on a smartphone.

Vivo has gone with a 50MP main sensor, a 50MP periscope telephoto lens with 4.3 times optical zoom, and a 50MP ultrawide lens. All of these play a big role in making this a stellar camera for a phone.

I’ve always been a big proponent of the Pixel as the go-to phone for taking photos. But this is mostly down to Google’s camera software which is just, really, really good. The X100 Pro just takes things up a notch. Not only is its camera software good, but the improved sensors result in some exquisite image quality. Even with the simplest of subjects. As an example, I took a picture of this little shelf I have with some Naruto figures on it. There are also a few other nerdy knick knacks, like my Tears of the Kingdom Link Amiibo and some Final Fantasy XIV stuff.

I took this photo with both the Vivo X100 Pro and the Google Pixel 8 to see how they would compare. It looks more detailed with noticeably more vivid colors in the image taken with the X100 Pro. Google’s camera software adds some neat smarts. Like with Magic Eraser, Magic Editor, and similar AI-powered tools. But the Vivo X100 Pro camera I think offers better overall quality for photos. Not just simple photos using the basic photo mode. But through some of the other features too.

There were some images I noticed looked a little washed out but I think this was more due to the weather outside at the time than the phone’s camera. What I found really cool was the collection of different bokeh effects you could add to photos before taking them. You’ll need to switch to Portrait Mode for these to be available. Once you do that, there’s a button across the top right that has the Zeiss label on it. Tap that and it brings up various different bokeh effects like Cine-flare that adds a lens flare to the image.

There’s a pretty cool Landscape and Architecture mode as well. I thought this was pretty interesting because this mode has two lines on the camera UI that you are supposed to fit the subject in the middle of, and then the edges get blurred a little similar to how they would with a bokeh effect. Why I found this cool is because you can change the angles of these lines. So the parts of the outer image that get blurred can change with them. It allows you to potentially get some pretty cool and interesting shots of stuff you may not have thought to take pictures of.

Overall, I found that the X100 Pro camera is good for many reasons. But I think one of the best reasons is because it just takes some excellent photos with the basic photo mode. So if you have somebody who is just getting into photography and doesn’t know much, they can still pump out some really good-looking pictures by doing nothing special at all. Then once they get a little more practice, there’s all this other stuff to play with. I know I already said this before, but I do think this is probably better than the Pixel 8.

Don’t get me wrong, the Pixel 8 camera is great too. But the Vivo X100 Pro was designed with the camera specifically in mind. And if top-quality photos are your main goal, I think this is hard to beat. At least from any of the phones I’ve personally tested recently.

Should you buy the Vivo X100 Pro?

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I honestly really do like this phone. Way more than I thought I would. And that’s due a lot to the camera quality and how good the images come out. I think depending on what you’re looking for, the X100 Pro could be an amazing phone choice. The only major issue for people in the US is that you really can’t get this phone officially. You can buy it on Amazon and it would be unlocked. But you’re likely to pay a little bit of a premium. On top of that, it isn’t going to work with all the US bands.

So you’d probably have trouble connecting it to your network towers at least some of the time. But those things aside, this phone works perfectly when mobile data is out of the equation. Connecting it to WiFi for anything that needs data, and then just using it for its camera features, this phone shines brightly. I don’t think that’s enough to warrant buying it if you want the best possible experience for using it with your wireless carrier. But for anyone outside the US where this phone is being sold, like in China and India, and soon to be some countries in Europe.

You should buy the Vivo X100 Pro if:

  • You want a top-notch smartphone camera
  • Gaming features aren’t your main focus
  • You want a super-fast charging battery

You shouldn’t buy the Vivo X100 Pro if:

  • Full carrier network compatibility is important to you inside the US
  • You want the best possible performance available



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John Smith

My John Smith is a seasoned technology writer with a passion for unraveling the complexities of the digital world. With a background in computer science and a keen interest in emerging trends, John has become a sought-after voice in translating intricate technological concepts into accessible and engaging articles.

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