VIVO X90 Pro review: as good as it gets!

Just a few weeks after its official unveiling, Vivo’s flagship model is in our hands for an extensive review. The Chinese phone maker announced the new X90 and Vivo X90 Pro just days after Samsung’s Galaxy S23 launch and there’s a reason for this. Vivo rely a lot on the device’s 120-watt charger and the 1-inch Sony IMX 989 main camera sensor.

Although Vivo isn’t as popular as its other competitors, like Samsung and Apple, I bet that with this beauty, it will surely become soon. The Vivo X90 Pro is a true gem in terms of camera specifications, battery life and performance. However it is plagued by bloatware which can be easily fixed by uninstalling them when you open it the first time.

Let’s see how the flagship model – equipped with 12GB RAM and 256GB of storage, fared during our 3-week review.

Main specs

  • Brand: Vivo
  • SoC: MediaTek Dimensity 9200
  • Display: 6.78-inch 120Hz 1260 x 2800 HDR10+ AMOLED
  • RAM: 8GB, 12GB
  • Storage: 2156GB, 512GB
  • Battery: 4,870mAh
  • Ports: USB Type-C 3.2
  • Operating System: FunTouch OS 13, Android 13
  • Front camera: 32MP 24mm (wide) f/2.5
  • Rear cameras: 50MP 23mm (wide) f/1.8 1.0″ with OIS, 50MP 50mm (telephoto) f/1.6, and 12MP 13mm (ultrawide) f/2.0
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC, Infrared Port, GPS (L1+L5), GLONASS, BDS, GALILEO, QZSS, NavIC
  • Others: Zeiss T* lens coating
  • Dimensions: 164.1 x 74.5 x 9.3mm
  • Colors: Legendary Black
  • Weight: 214.9g
  • Charging: Included 120-watt GaN charger
  • IP Rating: IP68

Main package

Validating its name, the main package of the Vivo X90 Pro is as premium as it should. Inside there’s the phone, a set of manuals, a SIM ejector tool, a silicon case, the mighty 120-Watt fast charger and a USB-C cable.

One would believe that the Vivo X90 Pro would be powered by the most powerful Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset, but instead it relies on the MediaTek Dimensity 9200 SoC, delivering relevant performance. It offers quite decent benchmark results, combined with 12GB RAM and 8GB more from its UFS 4.0 internal memory, allowing you to have a massive 20GB total for extreme multitasking.

Vivo X90 Pro Display

The brand new X90 Pro sports a blocky design, a decent mix of flat and curved edges. However it does exude a premium hand-feel experience, with nice non-slippery materials all around it.

Q9 luminescent material enables higher brightness while saving power. All-new Blue Diamond™* pixel arraignment with 452 PPI ultra-vision pixel density. Say goodbye to graininess and enjoy an exquisite ultra-high-def display. Up to 2,160 Hz pulse-width modulation (PWM) and brightness control technology of Dimensity 9200 protect you from harmful blue light and take better care of your eyes in dim environments. The vivo Vision Health Lab scientifically adjusts color temperature (at night) through anti-fatigue brightness adjustment strategies-a smart choice for eye protection.

The sleek Skyline in a ceramic sheen adorned with silk screen printing divides the back cover, following a golden ratio that testifies to mathematical beauty. By drawing inspiration from professional cameras, Vivo turned the lenses into an integrated “Big-Eye” camera module with Halo Ring made from austenitic stainless steel. It reduces the risk of abrasions and paint peeling that is commonly seen on protruding camera systems. The high-gloss C-angle enhances the sophisticated and premium feel. The luxurious waxy pebbled vegan leather is durable and delicate to the touch, provides a nonslip grip, and keeps fingerprints and dirt away.

Main Display features

  • 6.78-inch 120Hz AMOLED display
  • 2800 x 1260 resolution
  • 1300 nits peak brightness, HDR10+ certified
  • Dual stereo speakers

The first time I activated the Vivo X90 Pro for the review, a beautiful 6.78-inch (2800 x 1260 pixels) AMOLED display appeared. It offers support for a peak brightness of 1,300nits and complete HDR10+ compatibility. It looks great under direct sunlight and offers great viewing angles when watching FHD videos on YouTube. The colors of the subject and scene on the display come off as rich and vibrant, visually pleasing.

It’s extremely bright, which is great on sunny days, and the 120Hz refresh rate makes swiping around the operating system look buttery smooth. The speakers are impressive, too. They’re not the loudest speakers around, but there’s some good stereo separation and a good amount of low-end response. They’ll definitely get the job done when you’re watching Netflix around the house.

Performance – speed – gaming

  • Arm Cortex-X3 up to 3.05GHz
  • Arm Cortex-A715 up to 2.85GHz
  • First Arm Immortalis-G715 GPU
  • MediaTek APU 690 AI processor: 35% faster than previous generation
  • First LPDDR5X 8533Mbps: Fastest ever smartphone memory
  • First UFS 4.0 + MCQ
  • 2nd Generation TSMC 4nm+ chip production + thermally optimized IC design & package by MediaTek

On Geekbench 5, the X90 Pro scored 1377 points on the single-core CPU test and 4264 points on the multi-core CPU test. As per these numbers, the Vivo X90 Pro is currently one of the most powerful smartphones out there, and we can expect to see similar performance on upcoming phones like the OnePlus 11 and the Samsung Galaxy S23.

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Οur review unit is the top-end model packing 12GB of LPDDR5X RAM with an additional 8GB available as virtual swap memory from the 256GB UFS 4.0 storage. It did an excellent job in all day-to-day chores such as opening apps instantly, switching between multiple apps, operating the camera to record 4K videos and other tasks. It even worked smoothly while playing games and didn’t exhibit overheating issues when playing in the shade outdoors or indoors.

The Vivo X90 Pro is equipped with a 40 square cm vapor chamber, plus 24 heat dissipation layers, allowing it to remain stable and avoid thermal throttling. What’s more impressive is that its lowest loop score is still higher than the best score the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1+ achieved during its first run. Compared to Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 flagships, it benchmarks marginally lower, but not by any significant degree. In practice, I am sure it will be really hard tell the difference.

Camera performance

  • 32MP f/2.45 selfie camera
  • 50MP f/1.75 primary (Sony IMX989 1-inch sensor)
  • 50MP f/1.6 2x portrait
  • 12MP f/2.0 wide-angle

Although it’s not aimed exclusively at digital photographers, the X90 Pro can easily please us with its imaging features – with the help of ZEISS. It packs a triple camera with a main 50 MP sensor (f/1.9, 23mm, 1/1.57-inch, 1.0µm pixel size, PDAF: Phase Detection Auto Focus, OIS: Optical Image Stabilization) backed by 50MP portrait lens (f/1.6, PDAF, 2x optical zoom) and a 12MP wide -angle sensor (f/2.2) with LED flash on the back.

Whether you’re shooting under the harsh midday sun, in a dark parking lot, or inside a car with challenging lighting, you get clear, defined photos. The phone also emulates grainy film well in dark images, giving it a natural look. It offers a lot of preset modes for shooting, including Sports, Night, Portrait, Panorama, Long Exposure, Supermoon, Astrophotography, Landscape and Architecture, Food, and Double Exposure. You also get HDR, Zeiss Natural Color, and Macro mode on the main Photo mode.

If you’re looking however for the maximum of the phone’s camera abilities, then you’d have to activate its ZEISS Pro Mode. It lets you control everything—from the basics, like ISO, shutter speed, and white balance, to focusing, metering, and exposure values.

You can also record videos at up to 8K resolution at 24 FPS. And although the Vivo X90 Pro’s video recording capabilities aren’t as excellent as the iPhone 14 Pro Max, it offers several features, like Cinematic Mode and Ultra Stabilization, to help it catch up a bit.

Selfies like a Pro – Astro Photography

If you’re into the fun of selfies, then the X90 Pro can surely accommodate you there. It offers three filter options. The first filter, Style, enables you to apply five iconic Zeiss bokeh styles—Biotar, Sonnar, Planar, Distagon, and Cinematic—and more.

The second filter set is more for beautification, makeup, and posture, while the last filter is artificial bokeh. The beauty filter is quite advanced, allowing you to change several settings, including skin tone, whitening, facial features, etc. You also get a posture guide in the second filter set so that you can make different poses for your selfies. Note however that the selfie camera lacks autofocus, but the fixed focus did the work.

One of the features I loved about the Vivo X90 Pro was its Astro Photography mode. With an easy interface, it allowed me to take pictures of the stars without the need for a tripod. There’s another mode called Supermoon, which retains the detail in the moon during long-exposure night shots, and this also works well.

Software and… some bloatware

In our review, the X90 Pro runs on FunTouchOS 13 – based on the latest Android 13 OS. It’s Vivo’s main software – we all know it. This is both good and bad. While the software feels highly optimized with no lags, I didn’t like the fact that it comes with many third-party bloatware apps. Some of them can be easily uninstalled, while apps like Browser, V-Store, iManager, and EasyShare can neither be removed nor disabled.

Another thing that affected my review experience with the device was the constant appearance of notifications from these apps, asking me to either update them or buy some stuff from Vivo’s original store. I easily muted them – but still, not what I’d expect from a flagship level smartphone. Let’s hope that with timely upgrades the Vivo X90 Pro has a secure and enjoyable tenure as far as the software goes.

Vivo thankfully confirmed after the review, that the Vivo X90 and X90 Pro would receive three major Android upgrades along with 3 years of security updates. That means you can expect the phone to get up to Android 16 (!), and all the necessary security updates until 2026.

Battery life during our review

To be honest, only a few will be interested to see the maximum battery life of this little beast when it is charged by a 120W charger. Inside the X90 Pro there’s a large 4870 mAh battery. The 120W fast charger can top up 50 per cent of the battery in just 8 minutes. It can also go up to 100% in just 26 minutes! In terms of battery life, I got approximately 5,5 hours of screen-on time with the resolution capped at 2K along with 120Hz refresh rate. I used the phone for social media, some email, certain Google Sheets editing and 45 minutes of Call of Duty: Mobile – because why not?

Our review opinion

The Vivo X90 Pro has all the right stuff for you. It packs an efficient MediaTek SoC to deliver smooth performance and long battery life. A crystal-clear display, and excellent quality build. All the above make it a top-tier device worthy of the flagship smartphone title. What holds it back is the UI, filled with bloatware. Most of this can be removed or hidden in the app drawer. But it would be nice to not have to go through the hassle. It’s not a cheap flagship also. The price in Malaysia is over 4,999 MYR (about €1077) so it is certainly not cheap.

If you can overlook it, then you may have found a smartphone suited for your needs.

Disclaimer: We may be compensated by some of the companies whose products we talk about, but our articles and reviews are always our honest opinions. For more details, you can check out our editorial guidelines and learn about how we use affiliate links.

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