(Pocket-lint) - There's a new face in town: Vivo is bringing its flagship phone line-up, the X50 series, to international markets for the first time. That's a big deal.

Ok, so Vivo is hardly a new name. We've been following the brand for some time - from its first-of-a-kind pop-up camera NEX S, to Dual Display phone, port-free 2019 concept phone, and bezel-free NEX 3 flagship - and, as part of the BBK Electronics umbrella, it's in good fellow company, with OnePlus, Oppo and more all being stablemates.

As you can see from those above titles, this is a company that's looking to innovate. The big sell in the X50 is found in the Pro model: there's a gimbal stabilisation system built-into its camera setup, which is, once again, a first of its kind. Exciting times.

So just how do the three phones - X50, X50 Pro, and X50 Pro+ - differ in their specifications? Hold onto your hats, as the top-tier device is like a whole other product. Here's the details.

Design

  • X50: 159.5 x 75.4 x 7.6mm / 175g
  • X50 Pro: 158.5 x 72.8 x 8mm / 182g
  • X50 Pro+: 158.5 x 73 x 8.8mm / 192g
  • Colour finishes available:
    • X50: Frost Blue, Glaze Black
    • X50 Pro: Alpha Grey (only)
    • X50 Pro+: Camel (9.5mm)
  • All devices: In-display fingerprint scanner

As an aside: we've been using the Vivo X50 Pro for some time prior to writing this feature; we don't have the other two X50 devices physically in hand, but can use our experience with the middle positioned handset to make assertions about what you can expect.

Starting at the bottom of the pack: the X50 is marginally larger than the other two handsets, because it has a flat rather than curved edge screen. This means an extra couple of millimetres. It is, however, the thinnest and lightest of the trio by a whisker.

The X50 Pro and Pro+ look identical from the front. We did allude to the Plus being like a whole other phone - but that's down to the camera setup, which we'll come to later.

The Plus is also the only device to offer a special 'Camel' edition, with a leather coat. This makes it the most distinctive looking - and also the thickest of the three products.

Display

  • X50: Flat 6.56-inch Super AMOLED, 1080 x 2376 resolution, 90Hz refresh rate
  • X50 Pro: Curved edge 6.56-inch Super AMOLED, 1080 x 2376 resolution, 90Hz refresh rate
  • X50 Pro+: Curved edge 6.56-inch Super AMOLED, 1080 x 2376 resolution, 120Hz refresh rate

The thing that links all X50 devices is their screens: each has a 6.56-inch Samsung-sourced AMOLED panel. The key difference, as we said above, is that the X50's is flat, the X50 Pro and Pro+ adopt curved edges - the latter pair, therefore, shows less side bezel for a more screen doninant look.

All three handsets have a single punch-hole front-facing camera, which Vivo calls an 'Ultra O' panel (sounds like something else to us). Resolution, we believe, is also the same for all three panels.

The X50 and X50 Pro offer a 90Hz refresh rate as standard, the X50 Pro+ pushes that to 120Hz. All good standards - and, based on experience with various fast refresh-rate devices, we doubt you'll be able to see any difference between them.

Cameras

  • X50:
    • Main: 48-megapixel, f/1.6 aperture, optical stabilisation (OIS)
    • Wide: 8MP, 120-degrees field-of-view
    • Portrait: 13MP, f/2.48, 50mm equiv.
    • Macro: 5MP, f/2.48
    • Front: 32MP
  • X50 Pro:
    • Main: 48-megapixel, f/1.6 aperture, gimbal camera system
    • Wide: 8MP, 120-degrees field-of-view
    • Portrait: 13MP, f/2.48
    • Zoom: 8MP, 5x optical
    • Front: 32MP
  • X50 Pro+:
    • Main: 50-megapixel, GN1 Samsung sensor, OIS
    • Wide: 13MP, 120-degrees field-of-view
    • Portrait: 32MP, f/2.48
    • Zoom: 13MP, 5x optical
    • Front: 32MP

On to the biggest difference between these three phones. You might think that the top-tier Pro+ would be the handset to come with all the best kit? Apparently not. The Plus lacks that headline gimbal stabilisation system, instead opting for the Samsung GN1 sensor - the same you'll find in the S20 Ultra - which is physically massive.

Indeed, it's only the X50 Pro that comes with that gimbal stabilisation system. This is a massive benefit when it comes to stabilisation, as it means the main sensor is sort-of 'floating' and therefore able to compensate for three-dimensional movement in all directions - the result being super steady previews, extra smooth videos, and sharper stills.

Vivo claims the Plus model couldn't utilise the large sensor and the gimbal together, because it would make it far too thick. While that does make sense to some degree, we can't grasp why the headline feature for this series is only found in the Pro model. Although it's not yet confirmed, we suspect the Plus won't be ranged in as many markets - which might help save on the confusion.

Elsewhere the Pro and Pro+ both offer optical 5x zoom lenses (the former 8MP, the latter 13MP), so there's some real zoom here - not just digital like the entry X50 offers.

All three phones also offer ultra-wide and separate portrait lenses too (with different resolution sensors).

Hardware spec

  • X50 & X50 Pro: Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G, 8GB RAM
  • X50 Pro+: Qualcomm Snapdragon 865, up to 12GB RAM
  • X50: 4200mAh battery, 33W fast-charging
  • X50 Pro: 4315mAh battery, 33W fast-charging
  • X50 Pro+: 4350mAh battery, 44W fast-charging
  • All devices: 5G connectivity

Interestingly the X50 and X50 Pro don't take on the top-end Qualcomm Snapdragon platform, instead offering the SD765 chipset instead. This isn't actually a huge surprise - in part because it's a cost-saving exercise - and many other makers, such as LG with its Velvet, are following this trail of thought. Plus it's still 5G capable, so that's that box ticked.

The Pro+, however, does push a level above by employing the Snapdragon 865. This is the top-end platform (ignoring the Plus variant) and means more oomph to drive everything. Although, based on our experience with both 765 and 865, you're unlikely to notice for most tasks, ignoring games and higher-demand apps. The difference in RAM is the more notable point, the Plus bringing up to 12GB to the table.

Battery capacities differ between each handset, but with the lowest being 4200mAh there's easily more than enough juice available for a day of varied use.

Release date and price

  • All handsets: Launch date and price TBC
  • Regional variation/availablility TBC

The big question: when can you get a Vivo X50 series phone? Well, the company isn't saying just yet. Or how much it will cost.

All we've had confirmed is that the following regions will see handsets: EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa), APAC (Asia-Pacific), and India. Current plans do not include the USA. Given the huge range there, we strongly suspect not all three handsets will make it to all regions.

But, when the time does come, we're excited to see what sort of impact Vivo can have. If the price is right then the X50 Pro, which comes with Google Play Store fully loaded, has a lot of potential.

Writing by Mike Lowe.