Just before heading on vacation I received a brand new Vivo X5 Pro from Vivo Global, a phone I was very excited to receive, but ultimately been disappointed with from the start.
Early last year, due to the poor customer service and a dodgy Oppo Find 7 display, I found myself in need of a new phone. At that time I opted for the Vivo Xplay 3S, a phone I throughly enjoyed and the same device my wife used up until recently getting her hands on the Asus Zenfone 2 (she still prefers the Vivo). After the Xplay 3S I got a Vivo Xshot which was quite simply the best flagship phone of 2014 by far (of course my opinion but one I stick by).
With prior knowledge of Vivo phones I had high expectations for the Vivo X5 Pro and believed that the new glass and metal smartphone would easily live up to them. I soon discovered that this was not to be.
For design and build the Vivo X5 Pro is pretty nice. It boasts an alloy chassis inspired by the iPhone 6 and front and rear 2.5D glass panels. The body is thin too measuring just 6.39mm. All in all it is a good-looking and well made phone, but no where close to the level of design and build that Xiaomi managed with the Mi Note, and I wouldn’t say that the Vivo X5 Pro is much better than the LeTV Le 1 in build either.
So from a design and build point of view I would say that it isn’t bad but nothing to write home about either.
As I am discussing the build and size of the phone it might be interesting for some of you to know that the Vivo X5 Pro has a 5.2-inch display, yet it is physically the almost identically the same height and width as the LeTV Le 1 with larger 5.5-inch panel. The thin body also means just a 2450mAh battery can fit inside the phone. Vivo impressed me with the battery life of the Xshot and the battery life of the X5 Pro has been good too, but that might simply be due to lack of use (see below).
From my experience with Vivo phones I know them to be fast, stable and have a very well optimised FunTouch ROM based on Android. The Vivo X5 Pro is a huge disappointment compared to my previous experiences.
The fundamental issue with the phone is the 1st generation Snapdragon 615 chipset running at 1.5hz. This 64bit octacore processor should easily be able to handle gaming, social media and any other application you might choose to run. In reality though the processor is junk. The SD615 overheats and is slow to respond to the simplest of tasks. Even opening the camera from the lock screen takes a few seconds, a totally unacceptable length of time given the cost of the phone and the fact it should be a premium mid-range device.
The X5 Pro isn’t the only Snapdragon 615 phone we have had issues with. The Xiaomi Mi4i is also a terribly laggy and constantly overheating device, but I feel the Vivo suffers even more.
After discovering the phone is just simply too slow, I quickly moved on to the camera. Vivo usually do very well in the camera department. Both the Xshot and Xplay 3S had great camera’s for their time, surely the Vivo X5 Pro could redeem itself?
Unfortunately no. The 13 mega-pixel F2.0 camera on the Vivo X5 Pro has all the signs of a great camera but the performance is hit and miss. Take the phone out and snap a photo in perfect conditions and you might get a good image if the focus responds fast enough. Use the phone in low light or night conditions and you will quickly find the results are terrible and you won’t likely try again!
Vivo X5 Pro Day Light Photos Samples
Speaking of night-time performance, the Vivo X5 Pro lens reflect light much more than I have experienced on other phones. Taking a photo at night with street lamps around will result in light blotches from those light sources showing up in your images. The effect looks almost like UFO’s which would be cool if it wasn’t so annoying.
The scary thing is I believe the proximity of the lens to the camera sensor is to blame here and it isn’t likely to get fixed in OTA updates.
Vivo X5 Pro Night Photo Samples
As you can see there is a ton of noise in these photos. Also, those white dots are not stars, that is light reflecting from the lens.
I’ve carried my Xiaomi Mi Note and LeTV Le 1 along with me when using the Vivo X5 Pro, and both of these devices are simply light years ahead of the Vivo in speed, optimisation and camera performance. This leads to me opting to use the LeTV and Xiaomi phones more often. This might be why I am seeing better battery life from the Vivo too.
Are their any good point? Well yes there are. The Super AMOLED display is much clearer to see in sunny conditions than a standard display. Fun touch OS is feature packed, Audio is outstanding as usual, and GPS is super fast and accurate but that’s not enough!
So far the Vivo X5 Pro is not a phone I can happily recommend you buy. Sure it looks great, has nice features and build and the hardware looks great on paper, but in use it is laggy, unstable and performs badly in most situations.
The issue is really that Snapdragon 615, if it had a comparable Meidatek processor or even last years Snapdragon 801, and the camera issues fixed then the Vivo X5 Pro would have been killer.