vivo X70 Pro Review: One camera step forward, one speed step back

In less than a year, the upper mid-range smartphone vivo X60 Pro (see our review) gets a successor in the form of X70 Pro.

Unlike the Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 processor of its predecessor, the X70 Pro features MediaTek’s Dimensity 1200-vivo chipset. But the X70 Pro has the same 6.56-inch AMOLED display with a fast refresh rate of 120Hz and 240Hz touch sampling rate.

PRICE: S$1,199, available in Lazada and Shopee
PROCESSOR: MediaTek Dimensity 1200-vivo processor 5G platform
DISPLAY: 6.56-inch AMOLED FHD+, 2,376 x 1,080 pixels, 120Hz refresh rate
REAR CAMERAS: 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide-angle, 50MP f/1.8 wide-angle, 12MP f/2.0 telephoto (2x optical zoom), 8MP f/3.4 telephoto (5x optical zoom)
OPERATING SYSTEM: Funtouch OS 12/Android 11
BATTERY: Non-removable 4,450mAh
WEIGHT: 183g

On the camera front though, it has plenty of upgrades. The X70 Pro features a 32-megapixel (MP) hole-punch front-facing camera like its predecessor. But instead of a rear triple-camera system found in X60 Pro, the X70 Pro has rear quad-camera system consisting of a 12MP ultra-wide-angle camera, a 50MP wide-angle main camera, a 12MP telephoto camera with 2x optical zoom and a 8MP telephoto camera with 5x optical zoom.

The major upgrade about the X70 Pro is in its cameras. (Photo: vivo)

The 50MP main camera comes with gimbal stabilisation to significantly reduce camera shake. Furthermore, working together with German imaging company Zeiss, the X70 Pro uses Zeiss optics with Zeiss T* lens coating on all its cameras to help reduce glare.

Design wise, the X70 Pro looks no different from the X60 Pro apart from the different rear camera module. The camera module has the T* mark proudly displayed with the fourth camera clearly evident too.

The vivo X70 Pro is thin and looks really sleek. (Photo: Trevor Tan)

Yet, the camera module does not protrude profoundly like you see on Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra or the Apple iPhone 13 Pro. Available in two colours aurora dawn and cosmic black (version reviewed), the X70 Pro is really sleek and thin at only 7.99mm.

Having reviewed the “aurora” X60 Pro, I am excited to get the cosmic black version to see how it compares. While it does not have the “rainbow” colour of aurora dawn, the cosmic black rear actually sparkles when light hits on it at different angles. Not to mention, this sparkling rear has a nice matte finish that prevents it from being a fingerprint and smudge magnet.

The sparkling cosmic black rear of the review unit. (Photo: Trevor Tan)

The X70 Pro has a very clean design with only a volume rocker and a power button sited on X70 Pro’s right side. They are nicely positioned for my right thumb to easily reach them.

There is only a volume rocker and a power button sited on the right side. (Photo: Trevor Tan)

The X70 Pro uses an in-display fingerprint sensor, which unlocks the smartphone almost immediately when I press my finger on it. And I have no trouble reaching it while holding the phone with one hand. Overall, despite its large screen size, it makes for great one-hand use.

Out of the box, you get everything you need. You will find a USB-C cable, 44W fast-charging power adapter, a pair of 3.5mm wired headphones (with a 3.5mm-to-USB-C adapter) and a silicone phone case.

This is what you get out of the box. (Photo: Trevor Tan)

While this phone case is easier to install and remove unlike the plastic phone case of X60 Pro, the silicone surface takes away the sparkles of the cosmic black rear.

Also, like its predecessor, X70 Pro does not come with any weather protection rating. And it does not support wireless charging too. Another downer is it does not come with expandable storage.

Due to the Dimensity processor, the X70 Pro is actually slightly slower than its predecessor. In the GeekBench 5 benchmark test, the X70 Pro scored 866 (single-core) and 3,121 (multi-core). It is actually lower than the X60 Pro’s score of 1,015 (single-core) 3,387 (multi-core).

That said, the X70 Pro is comparable to Samsung’s flagship Galaxy Ultra S21 Ultra’s score of 939 (single-core) and 3092 (multi-core).

+ Thin and beautiful design
+ Gorgeous display with fast in-display fingerprint sensor
+ Convenient and versatile optical zoom range
+ Great image quality
+ Fast charging

– Slight performance drop
– No water resistance
– Does not support wireless charging
– No expandable storage

But thanks to the excellent refresh rate of the gorgeous display, scrolling through Facebook or Instagram feeds are a treat, while playing games like Mobile Legends: Bang Bang is a breeze. Essentially, any content on this smartphone’s display will look great.

In terms of camera performance, the still images shot by X70 Pro are overall great. This is especially so for day shots across all the focal lengths. The images look vivid with nice details and good dynamic range.

The still images also do not look over-sharpened that might lead to loss of details. The sharpest belongs to the wide-angle main camera, with visible softness in both 2x and 5x optical zoom cameras. But there are still good enough for your Instagram posts.

Even images shot in slightly low-lighting conditions get grainy. (Photo: Trevor Tan)

However, I am not too impressed with its night mode, or those shot under slightly low-lighting conditions. The duration of the shutter speed is usually too short to allow enough light to enter the image sensor. This is baffling, as the main camera has gimbal stabilisation.

For night shots, only the wide-angle camera is recommended. (Photo: Trevor Tan)

In fact, apart from the night shots by wide-angle camera being decent, there are plenty of noise artefacts in the other focal lengths leading to loss of details. It is certainly not as good as flagship smartphones like Apple iPhone 13 Pro.

In terms of battery life, the X70 Pro performs superbly. It lasted 14 hours 33 minutes in our usual video-loop battery test whereby we loop a 720p video with the display set at maximum brightness and 120Hz refresh rate. It even edged out iPhone 13 Pro Max’s battery life of 14 hours 22 minutes. By comparison, the X60 Pro only lasted 8 hours 46 minutes.

Mileage will of course differ based on usage. But on a normal day such as checking emails, reading news feed and scrolling through Facebook and Instagram, I found that the X70 Pro still has around 40 per cent battery life by the time I go to bed.

In any case, the 44W charger will be able to charge the smartphone from zero to 67 per cent in around 30 minutes. So you don’t have to worry if you forget to charge it overnight.

The vivo X70 Pro is probably a notch up in terms of its camera performance but its speed is a notch down compared to its predecessor. Still, the X70 Pro is a great upper mid-range smartphone with a versatile camera setup.

DESIGN: 9/10

Trevor Tan

Started out with dreams to become a street photographer, Trevor Tan somehow became a tech journalist with over 16 years of consumer tech experience. Maybe he plays too much video games and buys too many new gadgets.
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