Vivo Xshot Review – My top pick for 2014 so far!

Vivo Xshot Review – My top pick for 2014 so far!

vivo xshot review hero

The Vivo Xshot is the newest phone in the current Vivo lineup. The handset is interesting as it isn’t designed to be a flagship model, it’s a camera centric device, but with the features it has on offer it is easily capable of mixing it up with the best of the best.

Vivo is one of those phone makers who have always admired from a distance. Their phones are always cutting edge device with the latest hardware, but their prices (especially outside of China) put many people off. I too was put off my their higher costs, but now after owning two, the Vivo Xplay 3S and Vivo Xshot, I would highly recommend either device over rival phones from Oppo, OnePlus or Xiaomi.

vivo xshot review

The Xshot is Vivo’s camera centric device, but if features similar hardware to flagship phones other phone makers are putting out. Couple this with the smaller 5.2-inch screen size, micro SD expansion slot (for up to 128GB cards) and a great design and you have a phone which I currently use on a daily basis and know inside out.

Although an amazingly sorted device, it isn’t without its issues, odd spec choices and ROM bugs, but those are few and far between and will be covered in the review below.

Vivo Xshot Review – Specifications

Vivo launched 2 version of the Xshot. There is the Ultimate version (which I have here) and the Elite version). Specifications are largely the same for each with the only notable changes being the Ultimate version the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 8974AC chipset, 3GB RAM, 32GB memory and better support for LTE in China. The Elite model has 2GB RAM, 16GB memory and Snapdragon 801 8974AA chipset.

Looking over the official Vivo specifications support LTE on both phones is the same for international buyers as long as the country you are in supports the networks. Both phones have LTE-TDD 1900, 2300, 2600 and LTE FDD 1800,2600 but only Ultimate model offers FDD-LTE support in China. This is a common spec choice which is forced on manufactures by China Mobile.

vivo xshot lens


The rest of the hardware on both phones is the same. The 5.2-inch display is an IPS, FHD unit with resolution of 1920 x 1080, there is a single SIM and single micro SD card slot for 128GB cards. The front facing camera is a 8 mega-pixel shooter with LED flash and 84 degree wide-angle lens, and the rear 13 mega-pixel shooter has a F1.8 aperture and dual tone, dual LED flash and OIS.

vivo xshot audio

There is also Bluetooth 4.0, USB 2.0, advanced audio features with HiFi and support for FLAC audio files, GPS, and Vivo’s own Funtouch OS based on Android 4.3.

The battery is a 2600mAh built-in unit, which might sound small to some but actually lasts much longer than I expected it would, and oddly there is no NFC. As someone who has never used NFC other than for testing purposes this does not matter to me, but if you use NFC on a regular basis with your current phone you might find the exclusion a little frustrating.

Vivo Xshot Review – Design

To get to the design of the Vivo Xshot, Vivo simply took the design of the Vivo Xplay 3S and shrunk it down to 5.2-inch. The design remains similar and construction plus materials are all high-quality. This all makes up for one very solid feeling, well made and lightweight phone.

vivo xshot review

Measuring in at 146.45 x 73.3 x 7.99mm (at it’s thickest) the Xshot is at home in hands large and small, and feels a lot slimmer than the dimensions suggest thanks to the arc rear and thin edges. Materials used in the manufacture of the Xshot are steel, and a high quality polycarbonate which is similar, but of better quality, to the material on the Oppo N1.

The steel chassis is exposed on all sides and acts as the antenna for the various data and network connections. The steel also adds a substantial metal bumper around the sides of the phone to help protect if from knocks and drops.

vivo xshot hands on review 10

vivo xshot review

Around the sides we have physical controls for the volume, power and a shutter button on the right, 3.5mm headphone jack dead centre in the top, SIM tray on the left and micro USB in the base.

vivo xshot review

The rear of the phone is fixed in to position meaning that any covers will go over the phone and increase it’s size (there is actually a clear case included). Along the bottom is a large speaker which produced amazing quality audio, so good in fact this alone is the reason for many to but a Vivo, plugin the included headphones and your ears are in for a musical treat!

vivo xshot review

The rear is also where the 13 mega-pixel sensor with large glass lens is located and dual tone, dual LED flash are found. The camera extends from the rear of the Xshot by a couple of mm which is cause for concern for some, but to this date I have yet to damage it.

Compared to most flagship devices of this year the 5.2-inch display of the Vivo Xshot is smaller the majority of phones. Of the current Chinese flagships only the Xiaomi Mi4 is smaller than the Vivo Xshot, every other company have gone to 5.5-inch or 6-inch. This makes the Vivo Xshot very comfortable to hole, especially when taking photos one-handed, and a great choice for people not too keen on large screen phones.

vivo xshot review


Also on the front is the front facing 8 mega-pixel camera with LED flash which really makes the Xshot a party favourite when out with your friends. There are also the usual proximity sensor along the top and notification LED and the chin of the phone has navigation buttons that are not back illuminated.

vivo xshot review

I think you can tell from what you have already read above that the Vivo Xshot is a well made, quality phone, but there is one part which really lets the look down. The whole phone is so well put together it is a shame to see the SIM tray for the phone isn’t quite the same shame as the hole it should fit. On my phone this results in a tray that sticks out slightly with pointed corners.

Vivo Xshot Review – Performance

With 3GB RAM and a 2.5Ghz Snapdragon 801 processor the Vivo Xshot Ultimate is no slouch and has enough power under the hood to keep all the current flagship phones honest. Honestly, although this is a camera centric phone, it is also a bit of beast and handle gaming and image capture in its stride. Below are some benchmarks, suffice to say that an Antutu X score of 46,387 was achieved!

Benchmarks are very impressive which isn’t a shock when looking at the hardware, but considering the highly customised and customisable Vivo Funtouch ROM they are very very good.

Vivo Xshot Review – Camera

This is where the Xshot goes from Flagship killer to digital camera killer. The main camera on the phone is a Sony IMX214 sensor with F1.8 aperture and OIS. This together with the physical camera button and the features included in the camera app mean you can take some amazing photos and capture equally good video.

Take out the phone, open the camera, focus and snap, it’s all done quickly and efficiently. I was lucky enough to have the OnePlus One with me when testing the Xshot, and the Vivo blew the doors for the OPO when it came to speed of taking a photo, features and the quality of the final image. You can compare the OPO with the Xshot in our camera shoot out here.

Vivo Xshot Photo Samples

When I first received the Xshot I was under the impression that the ROM would be the same as Funtouch on the Xplay 3S. This is not the case, the Vivo Xshot has a lot more in the way of feature in the camera app.

vivo xshot hands on review

Options in the rear camera app include normal, face beauty, micro video, HRD, pose, panorama, night Msport (that’s how Vivo have spelt it), children,PPT, Broken and scene Auto. On top of these feature you have individual settings in each and then you have the option to set the camera in Pro mode and take control of everything!

Most of the features above are similar to those that you have likely already used in the past, but a few are going to be new to you. Broken for example adds extra depth to a photo by shooting two images together and merging them together. The result is usually very good, but sometimes the processing isn’t done quite well and you end up some with strange unfocused areas. Examples below.

PPT means you can take photos of documents, powerpoint slides or notes on a white board. The image is then edit to make it in to a correctly aligned document.

Vivo xshot child mode

Children mode allows you to play a number of sound bytes to catch the attention of your subject, Noises include a cat, dog, bell, trail, baby, bell, such or gun! The dog bark through the amazing rear speakers is very effective.

Switching to the front camera limits options to just normal, face beauty, micro video, HDR and pose.

Video on the Vivo Xshot can be recorded in 480p, 720p, 1080p or 4K UHD resolutions. There are also options for slow motion video and fast video too.

Vivo Xshot Review – Funtouch OS

Funtouch is the ROM which Oppo fans wish ColorOS would looks like, but it is also the ROM that us Vivo users wish had a few more feature and options that the Oppo system has as standard.

From a design and UI point of views Funtouch is really beautiful and great to look at. It also has a lot of different ways in which you can personalise the ROM with your own little touches from lock screen messages to home screen slogans.

Where it lacks is in actual function customisation. I would like to see a way to game my own custom lock screen gestures to activate different features, the current built-in options are a little limited. I would also like to see a way to replace the Vivo voice assistant with Google Voice and Google Now, but currently this is not possible unless you want to change to Nova Launcher, which I don’t as Funtouch looks too good.

I’ve also had a few app compatibility issues, Android Wear was one, but that was fixed with an update. And then Vivo decided to remove Google Services, but they also told us how to fix that in this how to.

Updates are quite regular, but usually consist of bug fixes and security updates rather than the addition of new features.

Out of the box the Vivo Xshot doesn’t come with Google Play or Google Services, but to add them is a 1 minute job and only requires you to download the relevant application from Vivo’s own application store.

Vivo Xshot Review – Battery

When you use as many phones as I do in a week you quickly realise that the phones with poor battery life are the ones you remember the most. The Vivo Xshot thankfully takes after the Vivo Xplay 3S and the OnePlus One and offers fantastic battery life.

vivo xshot hands on review 17

A single charge means a full day and a half of use, even more is manageable depending on how many Google accounts you have set up, the number of emails you receive and if you have push, GPS, WIFI and 3G/LTE on constantly or not.

For my personal use I have all of this on all the time with 4 email address set to push and a couple of hundred emails a day, and as the Xshot has such an amazing camera I take photos of everything with this phone. A day and half is possible for me with this type of heavy usage.

Vivo Xshot Review – Video Review

Vivo Xshot Review – Conclusion

I was excited when I ordered the Vivo Xshot from I was even more excited when it arrived in less than 24 hours, and now every time someone asks me about the phone I am excited to show them the features, the amazing camera and the beautiful body.

vivo xshot vs oneplus one camera shootout

When I have the Vivo Xshot with me I take photos all the time, the camera is that good. In comparison the OnePlus One I own has 1/4 of the photos on it, not that it is much worse (it is only in low light), but because the Xshot is just such a better camera phone.

The Vivo Xshot is not a cheap phone, and his is the major stumbling block for may customers, but it is easily the best phone on the market that I have used to date. It is not perfect, but with regular updates it will be. It’s a great size, amazing performance, stunning camera and perfect battery life! If you can only buy of the current flagships the Vivo Xshot should be at the top of your list.

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  • Thor Jane

    I see camera is little above the level of back cover. Is it prone to scratches because of that?

    • Andi Sykes

      Nope, as mentioned in the review I have not managed to scratch it yet

      • Thor Jane

        I probably skipped that part . In my experience this kind of design was prone to scratches but if You say it’s good I believe You. I really like they used sensor with big diameter. I found some old photos from my Sony Ericsson W800 that had 2 mp camera and photos were better than most phones today in lower segment (5 mp , small sensors).

  • Linus

    Thanks for the review, Andi!

    • Andi Sykes

      Pleasure, hope you enjoyed it 😀

      • Linus

        Xiaomi Mi4 has the same IMX214 sensor with 1.8 aperture (but lacking OIS). Do you think it will be on par with Xshot as far as picture quality?

  • yudhir

    That Sky Blue Vivo is looking so damn awesome!!

    • Andi Sykes

      Yep, totally agree with you

      • Galectus_Neo

        Hi @Andy

        I want to buy Vivo Xshot Elite 16 GB Sky BLUE from China. its saying network supports as
        2G GSM 850/900/1800 / 1900MHz
        3G WCDMA 850/900/1900 / 2100MHz (only international roaming support)
        3G TD-SCDMA 1880-1920 / 2010-2025MHz
        4G LTE TDD-1900/2300 / 2600MHz
        4G LTE FDD-1800 / 2600MHz (only international roaming support)

        What it means “only international roaming support” and Against VIVO Xshot Ultimate 32 GB, what might be missing? is it supports 2100Mhz/2300Mhz by default (direct without Roming) ??

  • ykimiko

    Hi Andi! For : How much did it cost (in USD) and do they only ship in Italy?

    • Andi Sykes

      They ship anywhere in Europe I paid the price listed.

      • betteq

        I live in Shenzhen, let me know if you need help getting the next one!

        • Galectus_Neo

          I want to buy Vivo Xshot Elite 16 GB Sky BLUE from China. Can you help me to get it to out of china with china price/china ver BLUE ?

          its saying network supports as
          2G GSM 850/900/1800 / 1900MHz
          3G WCDMA 850/900/1900 / 2100MHz (only international roaming support)
          3G TD-SCDMA 1880-1920 / 2010-2025MHz
          4G LTE TDD-1900/2300 / 2600MHz
          4G LTE FDD-1800 / 2600MHz (only international roaming support)

          What it means “only international roaming support” and Against VIVO Xshot Ultimate 32 GB. what might be missing? is it supports 2100Mhz/2300Mhz by default if not in Roaming?

          • betteq

            Hello, I don’t think there is a “sky blue” model, as far as I know there is white, and a dark blue/black textured model. Is the latter the one you are looking for? I believe the 1800/2600MHz will work, just not in China, due to carrier licensing. I had to change my sim card and carrier from 3G to a 4G one due to this problem locally – the carrier I was using before doesn’t support 3G on WCDMA, only on GSM. So if you are using anywhere but China, should be okay. Please email sales[at] if need help buying and shipping.

            • Galectus_Neo

              Thank you for the information.
              I have concerns about WCDMA 900/1900 / 2100MHz (3G). I am out of china 😉

              In VIVO own site, VIVO Xshot Elite Edition (Mobile 4G) is available in 3 colours
              Aurora White
              Sky Blue (Google Translation :-) )
              Rose Pink

              The Xshot Elite Edition is available at Yen 2498/- along with a GIFT Mobile Power P60

              I have dropped a mail to betteq

  • Victor Antiu

    Hi Andi. Great review! Do you know if an updated version of android (kitkat) will be available soon? Can we install the Play Store?

    • Barry

      …Out of the box the Vivo Xshot doesn’t come with Google Play or Google
      Services, but to add them is a 1 minute job and only requires you to
      download the relevant application from Vivo’s own application store….

      • Victor Antiu

        Not really an answer… And Android 4.4 ?

        • Andi Sykes

          Play Store is easy to install. No idea on Kitkat, would prefer to see Android L

  • Sere83

    Thanks for the review Andy, looks amazing, have always wanted a vivo device but just don’t think I could ever justify the prices they charge. Seems like it’s very similar in performance/spec and build to the One Plus and while the camera may be better, i’m just not sure that it’s £150 better…

    • Sere83

      Also don’t Vivo have some sort of affiliation with Oppo?

      • Andi Sykes

        Vivo, Oppo and OnePlus are all owned by the same parent company

    • Peter Pain

      I’ve got an Xshot (wish it was blue) and had a OPO (with a yellow screen and out of pocket close to 70 euro shipping and still maybe cant post for a refund due to EU post/battery laws!).
      Anyhow, regardless of this and I promise I’m being objective – I found the OPO in a completely different league. its not special at all, the Xshot is special.
      The OPO is clunky and boring and it’s just a lump of rather OK phone it’s a 3 series BMW, the Vivo is more R8.
      That’s without taking into account the audio or the amazing see in the dark better than my eyes without noise camera. Or the security apps, or built in memory cleaner apps etc. Andi, you missed out on the security bits which I really like, otherwise great review.

      • Sere83

        hmm interesting. My oneplus has a yellow band but i think it will go with time, no shipping cost for me though so all good. The blue vivo does look so so sweet, just wish the price came down a bit. Also is there any word of 4.4 for the vivo?

  • Brooklyn701

    Well as a suggestion for the Xshot 2 would be: Dual SIM, Backlit buttons, bump the Battery to 3500mAh and then you got me on board… :)

  • Shite design

    That protruding lens looks like junk.

  • Wonton Chaos

    Thank you for the great review! I have been considering the Nubia Z7 but I like the size of this phone much better. Are the ROMs from both Vivo and ZTE comparable, in terms of stability? I have read much about the performance of the ZTE camera and camera application. Is the Vivo performance comparable? Again, thanks for this great website!

  • Zami

    It’s a excellent device in every single term .

  • Jay

    Great review Andi.

    Many thanks.

    • Andi Sykes


  • Ash

    Thanks for the review… Really wait for a long time for this phone’s review to come out.. Always big fan of yours Andy.

    • Andi Sykes


  • Zeca

    500 euros on a smartphone. I’ll pretend that I didn’t see the matter and follow the life.

  • Deepak Murthy

    Wonderful review Andi of a wonderful device. I just received a Vivo Xplay 3S from Topresellerstore. I was AMAZED by the superb quality of construction, design, build quality, audio (fantastic), funtouch OS. So I immediately ordered also a Vivo XShot and sold the plasticky Samsung S5.
    What a huge difference in quality between Samsung/LG crappy phones and Vivo. The same as a Dacia and a Mercedes Benz!

  • Wontonchaos

    I examined the Xshot at a store today. The sim tray fit flush into the body of the phone. So maybe it’s possible to get a replacement for the one that doesn’t fit properly from Vivo or the reseller? The fit and finish of the phone were fantastic, as described in the review. And the camera was incredible!

    • betteq

      I think they are all like this – mine also doesn’t sit completely flush. But it’s only when you feel or look very closely and I don’t think most people will mind. For a flaw, it’s a lovely one!

  • yasin

    Vivo is the mercedes class phones of the Chinese.

    • Gabriele Bonomo

      ahahahah why? XD

  • kevlar

    Great review Andi. Thanks.
    Just hands on Vivo Xshot. The device is amazing in every term. The quality of the body, the sound (especially using earphone), awesome camera, great battery life and nice funtouch os. Really smooth and beautiful look. Right now I use it as a main smartphone. Just like you.
    Vivo Xshot is really excellent device for everyday use.

    • Stelios Alexandrou

      I ordered the blue one :) the screen is gorilla glass 3 isn’t it?

  • Stelios Alexandrou

    I have just ordered the Blue one elite version from aliexpress. i won’t say the seller name but it cost me 395 Euros with DHL express! now that is cheap!! :) also, does the elite version support FDD LTE? I don’t understand the ‘international roaming support only’ thing..Also, how does the display feel like Andi?solid gorilla glass 3? great review! can’t wait to receive it!

  • Titanicology

    Andi, is the camera lens gorilla glass like the MX4?

  • Komy Kwan

    Check out my pictures taken with the Vivo Xshot in flickr

  • Komy Kwan

    Check out my pictures taken by the Vivo Xshot in flickr:

  • BB

    Andi, if i am going for the best camera phone what’s my pick? Xshot, honor 6, Z3?? Thanks!

  • Kittipong Na Ranong

    Can you root vivo xshot?

    • Manu

      you can root every android mobile phone ;D

  • Sunil

    Hi Andi,
    I’m in India and I’m little confused which phone to buy: Vivo Xshot Ultimate or Meizu MX4 Pro. I know Meizu MX4 Pro is yet to be released but looking at the specs and launch date (19th Nov) it is a good option.
    Can you please recommend which one to buy? I want a phone with better camera and audio and it will be a big plus if there is no lag in the phone also.
    Also which OS is better: Funtouch or Flyme? I can’t understand Chinese so I need a phone which supports English language.

  • Samat Ryskulov

    Dear Andi,

    I am travelling to Thailand tomorrow. Hoping to buy Meizu MX4 or Vivo Xshot there. Could you suggest which one to choose? Just a general opinion of yours.

  • betteq

    I love this phone, I think it’s the start of something special from Vivo. Easy to pick up online – I can see it being sold on Amazon now and betteq, they talk about entering overseas markets but surely Xiaomi’s India issues have given them cold feet!

  • David

    Hello everyone, hello Andy. happy new year

    I owned a Z3 Compact for two weeks before I try to take a picture with this “waterproof” *cough cough* phone. Now the screen is dead and it will cost 50% of the price to replace it and as I live in the Philippines, warranty is a scam.

    Anyway, I have spent days checking reviews of Chinese phones. My criteria are the following:
    Not too big (ex: the LG G3 would be the limit, the One plus One is a bit too bricky).
    Good camera

    Good audio (headset)

    Good battery life

    I roam around the mall today and checked the MeIzu MX4, I was pleasantly surprised and would say its size is just the limit of what i would tolerate for size. Screen was good etc.

    I just took a quick picture and found the 20MP with HDR aweful. but 16MP without was alright.

    My question: Based on my criteria, what would you recommend as a phone? (Xshot, MX4, or any other phone you know of)


    I own Xshot my conclusion is affordable price + high spec so good to have this phone it will beat htc, apple and sammy devices. I even compare the front camera with Sony Z3, surprisingly it beat the sony Z3 20.7mp…compare to your friend Z3 trust me you will amaze

  • Ralph Nicolai Nasara

    Where can I get the Xshot the cheapest? Point me to some reliable websites please? Thanks!

    • Rob

      I ordered one last week for around $330 delivered, easily $150 less than anywhere else sells it. Can’t wait to get it!

  • Linus

    Finally, just made my full video review of the vivo Xshot: