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.

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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.

Read Also:  New OPPO And VIVO Smartphones / VIVO Smartwatch Coming Soon

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.

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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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