Feature: Vivo Xplay 3S review


The Vivo Xplay 3S is the phone to really usher in the next generation of premium smartphones. With a 2K display, LTE and powerful processor the Xplay 3S is the phone other manufacturers hope to beat!

Vivo Xplay 3S review

We are still waiting to receive our Vivo Xplay 3S review sample, so to keep everyone in the loop we have decided to sit down for a few hours and translate a review from Chinese tech site QQ Tech.

The opinions and views expressed have been translated as best as we can and do not represent our view of the Xplay 3S.

Vivo Xplay 3S – Design

Vivo xplay 3S review

The Vivo Xplay 3S can never be described as tall, but it is the most compact 6-inch smartphone on the market today. With a few choice design tweaks, Vivo have managed to create a phablet which is easy on the eyes and just about manageable when using one-handed. Ultrathin bezels keep the width of the phone to a minimum, while built-in battery and lack of physical buttons on the face help to keep the thickness down to just 172g. If you have handled an Oppo N1 you will also be impressed with the weight of the Xplay 3S as it weights just 172g.

Vivo xplay 3S review

Vivo have taken time and consideration in to producing a great looking flagship phone. Looking down the right side we can see two metal bands which encircle the phone and sandwich the different controls and, SIM trays and plugs.

Vivo xplay 3S review

To the rear the shell if has a nice curved profile to it and it covered in an anti slip coating. The Vivo logo sits in the middle of the body above it a fingerprint scanner, used for security conscious users, LED flash and rear main camera.

Vivo xplay 3S review

What really stands out on the rear are the dual external speakers, one located across the top above the camera and the other along the bottom of the phone. Dual-speakers offer great audio playback quality which is something which Vivo pride themselves on all of their smartphones. Also of note are the markings on the rear which designate this version of the Vivo Xplay 3S as a TD-LTE model, compatible with China Mobile’s 4G LTE network.

Vivo Xplay 3S – Display

Vivo xplay 3S review

Undoubtedly, it is the 6-inch display on the Vivo Xplay 3S which most potential buyers will be most excited about. Vivo launched the Xplay 3S as the world’s first smartphone with 2K display, meaning an ultra-high resolution of 2560 x 1440. With this resolution and measuring 6-inch the Vivo Xplay 3S has a pixel density of 490ppi, one of the highest on the market until Oppo released the 5.5-inch 2K Oppo Find 7.

Vivo xplay 3S review

The display is stunning offering sharp text, amazing clear and detailed images and makes for a pleasing and comfortable viewing experience. With such a high-resolution the Xplay 3S is especially good at displaying text, which looks as though it is jumping of the screen! Obviously looking at these photos don’t do the display any justice so the next time you have a look at a retina display Macbook Pro (13 inch) imagine what it would be like if all those pixels were crammed in to a screen measuring just 6-inch!

Viewing video on the Vivo Xplay 3S the display doesn’t really offer much of an advantage over a 720 or 1080 phone. Obviously this is due to current video resolutions and not an issue with a display itself. For example viewing online video on the Xplay 3S looks just as good as a 1080 phone due to the max resolution being 1080. Only when video streaming services catch up will a difference be notable.

Vivo Xplay 3S – Hardware

Vivo xplay 3S review

An Antutu score of 35724 should elevate any fears you might have of the Vivo Xplay 3S performance. This would be an amazing score on a phone equipped with a smaller, lower resolution display, so to see these number on a 2K phone the size of the Vivo is impressive.

Vivo have opted for the quad-core 2.3Ghz Snapdragon 800 (MSM8974AB) processor in the Xplay 3S, and to ensure all that power can be used, 3GB RAM has also been implemented. Mobile phone gamers will also appreciate the built-in Adreno 330 GPU which ensures even the most advanced 3G games are played smoothly on the 2560 x 1440 resolution display.

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As for audio we have already covered the dual rear speakers, these are powered by an US made ESS ES9018 audio chip with a professional OPA2604 OP Amp ensuring high quality audio sound.

With all that power on tap and such a large, high-resolution display to power, the Vivo Xplay 3S does get a little warm in the middle of the body on the rear. It isn’t enough to be concerned about but the rise in temperature is notable after extending gaming.

Vivo Xplay 3S – Fingerprint scanner

vivo xplay 3s fingerprint scanner

Vivo weren’t the first smartphone maker to build in a fingerprint scanner, HTC, Apple and even Gionee beat them to it. The lens of the scanner is located below the LED flash on the rear of the phone just above the center. When holding one-handed it is possible to place your finger on the scanner to unlock the phone.

Vivo xplay 3S review

On the Xplay 3S you are needed to first wake the display up and choose the fingerprint unlock option (there is a passcode option implemented also incase of emergency). Once this has been done the phone quickly recognises your print and unlocks the phone. These additional steps do add a second or two to unlocking your device, but if privacy and security is your concern then it is well worth it.

Vivo Xplay 3S – Funtouch OS

Vivo xplay 3S review

Just as Oppo are running their own Color OS on their phone, Vivo too have revamped their Android ROM which is now called Funtouch OS. Funtouch is baed on Android 4.3 and looks similar to the flat look of Flyme 3.0 on Meizu phones and even iOS on the iPhone 5S. Neat features included the notification and multitasking bar being together so you can control everything from a single swipe. The photo gallery places images in ‘albums’ which are then shown in chronological order.

Vivo xplay 3S review

The Xplay 3S can also be controlled with a number of gesture controls similar to those found on ColorOS as well as a few off screen gestures inclined the all popular ‘wave’s wake up.

Vivo xplay 3S review

Anyone used to using a modern ROM like ColorOs or Flyme will have no issue when switching to Funtouch, and the gesture controls are simple to use, plus can be switched off if you like to interact with your phone the traditional way.

Vivo Xplay 3S – Camera

Vivo xplay 3S review

Another of the large selling points for the Vivo Xplay 3S is the rear 13 mega-pixel camera with f1.8 aperture and wide-angle 5 mega-pixel camera on the front. Many phone makers are not paying close attention to the camera hardware and the camera app running things, and Vivo have too added some nice manual features for budding photographers. As well as HDR, automatic adjustments an filters, the Xplay 3S also has manual controls for white balance, shutter speed, exposure etc.

Vivo xplay 3S review

Vivo xplay 3S review

For the selfie fans out there you might be interested in a feature on the front camera which allows you to add audio to your photos when taking them.

We don’t have the full size photo sample here, but from the original review the conclusion was that the main camera was very good in normal lighting conditions but displayed a little too much white balance and reddish tint at times. Low-light performance didn’t meed the expectations of the reviewer.

Vivo Xplay 3S photo samples

Vivo Xplay 3S – Battery life

A 2k, 6-inch display, Snapdragon 800 processor and high power built-in audio processors are a recipe for fast battery drainage. Vivo decided a 3200mAh battery should be enough for most users. In test the phone managed to consume 18% of battery life for 1 hour of gaming, 24% for an hour of video streaming, an hour of music takes 10%, and sitting on standby during the evening for 8 hours just 3%. Pretty good figures for such a powerful smartphone.

Vivo Xplay 3S Review

vivo xplay 3s review

Once we get our hands on the Vivo Xplay 3S for ourselves we will make a complete review with our own opinions about this highly advanced smartphone. In the meantime are you interested in purchasing the Vivo Xplay 3S or are you more concerned about the Oppo Find 7?

[ Original Chinese Review ]
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44 Comments

  1. Vijay
    January 25, 2014

    Real Super Phone…but perhaps will only be widely distributed in China. Not much hope for us Indians.

  2. Benny Tang
    January 26, 2014

    can i buy it online?

  3. January 26, 2014

    “…In the meantime are you interested in purchasing the Vivo Xplay 3S or are you more concerned about the Oppo Find 7?”

    What about the One Plus One? It’s just as much an unknown as the Find 7…

  4. Guest
    January 26, 2014

    Real Super Phone…but perhaps will only be widely distributed in China. Not much hope for us Indians.

  5. Fotolover
    January 26, 2014

    Up to now the camera with its impressive aperture disappoints me. 🙁
    I hope Vivo will overhall it until its release.

    PS: “thickness down to just 172g” 😉

  6. manohar basavaraju
    January 26, 2014

    Hi Andi, Can you please compare Xplay 3S & Gionee E7 in the near future & tell us whic one has a better camera & overall performance ?
    ALso looking forward to more news from Oppo 7 & One Plus One !!!

  7. Mark
    January 26, 2014

    Can’t wait to get mine!! I believe however that the OnePlus One will give Vivo a run for it’s money.

    • Heather
      March 2, 2014

      Hi mark, I’m in England can I ask where you ordered it from ? I’ve only seen 1 site that I can order from& I’m a bit apprehensive ( Liowa ) I think it was but it’s not a secure website :'(

      • Mark
        March 3, 2014

        I preordered mine from liaow. They are one of the better resellers out there. Since the Xplay 3S only will be released in China options are limited. I believe tmall will sell them as well at a cheaper price than liaow, but liaow will install google play for you and make sure it starts up in English. I would however wait until they recieve stock of the Vivo, to order. I believe they will recieve a limited amount for the preorders in the begining of this month.

        • Moodj
          March 7, 2014

          I also preordered it at liaow. Vivo officially said that they ship stock to the resellers on 10th of February. Liaow will get the stock on 12th of February and they’ll send the phones also that day. If I were you, I would preorder it at liaow. Preorders get a Free vivo official leather flipcover(with opening in it, to answer phonecalls without opening the flip cover), XE800 headphones instead of the XE600i, and the 800’s are much better. Also you get an external battery, also from vivo with a capacity of 6000mah so you can charge your phone almost twice with it. (that’s an amount of 1358 Yuan –> 131€ something like 95 pounds)With Liaow you get a good after sales also. And they ship with DHL express, so it takes only 3days to get in England(assuming that is the same time as delivering to Belgium 🙂 )

  8. sunsetnova
    January 26, 2014

    battery life doesnt seem that good, i hope oppo find 7 has a larger 4000mah battery!

    • Bro
      March 7, 2014

      Doesn’t matter bro because it is removeable battery 🙂

  9. Allanitomwesh
    January 26, 2014

    5″ feel.International availability. Nuff said

  10. Benny Tang
    January 26, 2014

    can i buy it online?

  11. Dave Weinstein
    January 26, 2014

    “…In the meantime are you interested in purchasing the Vivo Xplay 3S or are you more concerned about the Oppo Find 7?”

    What about the One Plus One? It’s just as much an unknown as the Find 7…

  12. Guest
    January 26, 2014

    Up to now the camera with its impressive aperture disappoints me. 🙁
    I hope Vivo will overhall it until its release.

    PS: “thickness down to just 172g” 😉

  13. sylvain beauchamp
    January 26, 2014

    When we can buy it?

  14. manohar basavaraju
    January 26, 2014

    Hi Andi, Can you please compare Xplay 3S & Gionee E7 in the near future & tell us whic one has a better camera & overall performance ?
    ALso looking forward to more news from Oppo 7 & One Plus One !!!

  15. Mark
    January 26, 2014

    Can’t wait to get mine!! I believe however that the OnePlus One will give Vivo a run for it’s money.

    • Guest
      March 3, 2014

      Hi mark, I’m in England can I ask where you ordered it from ? I’ve only seen 1 site that I can order from& I’m a bit apprehensive ( Liowa ) I think it was but it’s not a secure website :'(

    • Mark
      March 3, 2014

      I preordered mine from liaow. They are one of the better resellers out there. Since the Xplay 3S only will be released in China options are limited. I believe tmall will sell them as well at a cheaper price than liaow, but liaow will install google play for you and make sure it starts up in English. I would however wait until they recieve stock of the Vivo, to order. I believe they will recieve a limited amount for the preorders in the begining of this month.

    • Guest
      March 7, 2014

      I also preordered it at liaow. Vivo officially said that they ship stock to the resellers on 10th of February. Liaow will get the stock on 12th of February and they’ll send the phones also that day. If I were you, I would preorder it at liaow. Preorders get a Free vivo official leather flipcover(with opening in it, to answer phonecalls without opening the flip cover), XE800 headphones instead of the XE600i, and the 800’s are much better. Also you get an external battery, also from vivo with a capacity of 6000mah so you can charge your phone almost twice with it. (that’s an amount of 1358 Yuan –> 131€ something like 95 pounds)With Liaow you get a good after sales also. And they ship with DHL express, so it takes only 3days to get in England(assuming that is the same time as delivering to Belgium 🙂 )

  16. Guest
    January 26, 2014

    battery life doesnt seem that good, i hope oppo find 7 has a larger 4000mah battery!

    • Guest
      March 7, 2014

      Doesn’t matter bro because it is removeable battery 🙂

  17. Allanitomwesh
    January 26, 2014

    5″ feel.International availability. Nuff said

  18. Sopaj96
    January 26, 2014

    6 inch is to big :/

    5.5 – 5.7. Would be a buy for me but 6 inch is just way to big :/
    Very sad because its a superphone

  19. sylvain beauchamp
    January 26, 2014

    When we can buy it?

  20. Sere83
    January 26, 2014

    hmmm, suprsied by the terrible low light performance. Think the Oppo n7 will eat this for breakfast

  21. Sopaj96
    January 26, 2014

    6 inch is to big :/

    5.5 – 5.7. Would be a buy for me but 6 inch is just way to big :/
    Very sad because its a superphone

  22. zaikatanox
    January 26, 2014

    This phone is a beast! Andi, is this phone already available for sales? Can we safely say that Vivo Xpkay 3S is the first available (not just launched) 2K phone on the planet?

  23. Sere83
    January 26, 2014

    hmmm, suprsied by the terrible low light performance. Think the Oppo n7 will eat this for breakfast

  24. zaikatanox
    January 26, 2014

    This phone is a beast! Andi, is this phone already available for sales? Can we safely say that Vivo Xpkay 3S is the first available (not just launched) 2K phone on the planet?

  25. Jason
    February 4, 2014

    fingerprint so that NSA can have it

  26. Guest
    February 5, 2014

    fingerprint so that NSA can have it

  27. Chris
    February 8, 2014

    I preordered the gionee elife e7 at liaow, they also sell the vivo xplay 3s ($669).
    Same price as the gionee elife e7.

  28. Guest
    February 8, 2014

    I preordered the gionee elife e7 at liaow, they also sell the vivo xplay 3s ($669).
    Same price as the gionee elife e7.

  29. goombasam
    February 9, 2014

    does it have removeable battery?

  30. Guest
    February 10, 2014

    does it have removeable battery?

    • Andi Sykes
      February 10, 2014

      Nope

  31. Mark
    February 11, 2014

    Just read that the release of the VIVO Xplay 3S has been pushed back till the end of Feb. At this rate the Oppo Find 7 will be the first released phone with a 2K screen. I wonder whats going on here?

  32. Mark
    February 11, 2014

    Just read that the release of the VIVO Xplay 3S has been pushed back till the end of Feb. At this rate the Oppo Find 7 will be the first released phone with a 2K screen. I wonder whats going on here?

  33. Christopher Teague
    February 17, 2014

    Ordered it last week, cant wait

  34. Christopher Teague
    February 17, 2014

    Ordered it last week, cant wait