This one has taken me by surprise. It’s a phone from – in the UK at least – a relatively unknown manufacturer and it’s £749. That’s a lot to spend on a brand you may not be familiar with, and you’ll need to be looking at places like LaptopsDirect or Box in order to buy one.
For the time-poor, here’s a tour around the phone..
The brand itself is part of the BBK Electronics group and they have some good stablemates – Oppo, Realme and OnePlus.
Let’s look at the specs first, and although there’s no microSD card you do get a healthy 256GB of storage. Add to that the 8GB RAM and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G running up to 2.4GHz and you do get very nippy performance out of it.
The screen is a curved 90Hz 6.56″ unit with a 1080×2376 pixel (398 ppi density) AMOLED panel. It’s bright, clear and – although many pixel-fans will tell you that there’s higher resolution (and refresh) screens out there – it looked and performed really well for me.
I liked the tweaks on this – the font is really nice, stylish and thin. It added some class to the proceedings.
It runs Android 10 with a skin called “Funtouch 10.0” which adds a uniform look and enhancements such as styles and effects. There’s also a fully-featured “Album” application which lets you do far more than just look at pictures. You can heavily edit images and alter your video footage with templates and stack of editing tools.
In addition, Funtouch brings a phone tune-up app called “iManager”. It’ll keep an eye on the performance, security, space, apps, battery and privacy. Add to that a “Ultra Game Mode” and a Picture-in-Picture Esports Setting and you’re going to be keeping the gamers happy too.
My initial thoughts, though, were with the design of the thing. It’s got a brushed steel appearance – almost like it’s been chiselled from a metal block.
An industrial, but slim and sexy design which really did win me over. It’s not steel of course – aluminium and glass has been used but, at just 8mm thick, it’s a joy to hold and use – feeling really light and natural.
Around back, and via a slightly protruding platform, you’ll find four very decent cameras. They are, and I can’t overstate this, simply fantastic. The main 48 megapixel unit has a gimbal for optical image stabilisation and there’s laser auto-focus. Your videos are buttery smooth and your photos are so, so clear and crisp.
In addition, there’s a 13 megapixel portrait lens (with 2x optical zoom), an 8 megapixel wide-angle lens and an 8 megapixel telephoto lens with 5x optical zoom. They work together perfectly and the 5x optical zoom isn’t your limit – even when you switch to digital zoom you’ll find that the images remain very clear until you start getting to the insane 15x zoom limit.
Even then, though, you’ll be able to see what you’ve snapped. Sure, it might be a bit grainy, but no-where near as grainy as other phones zooming in at this level.
The camera also comes with a range of filters. You can either choose to add filters as you’re taking a shot, or use the “Albums” app to add them on afterwards. There’s also a selection of Portrait light effects you can add too.
The camera also has the ability to calibrate the gimbal, add motion autofocus (motion tracking), a timer, AI scene recognition and the ability to save as “RAW” too.
In addition to the Video, Photo, Portrait and Night modes, there’s also a panorama, live photo (to capture some movement after the shutter has been pressed), a slo-mo setting, supermoon, time-laptop, Pro, astro mode (for those night-time star scenes) and AR stickers to make you look like this..
I’ve taken a range of photos with the camera arrangement. It’s an absolutely fantastic setup and the images produced are top class..
The night shot mode and the “auto” shot was pretty much the same, which is good. No need to faff too much switching across – just take that low-light photo and it’ll come out looking really rather lovely.
Other specs include dual-band WiFi, Bluetooth 5.1, GPS, NFC (for those contactless payments), USB-C charging and a fingerprint sensor in the screen.
The battery accepts 33W fast-charging which pushes the 4315 mAh unit to 57% in 30 minutes.
Inside there’s no real bloatware and, as you’ll see from the overview video below, it’s all very clear and simple…
As mentioned earlier, the GUI and the apps are all clearly and neatly presented, with lots of options to change the way that the phone operates. This goes down to quite a granular level, including the animation used for the fingerprint unlock, the charge plug and so on..
There’s live homescreen backgrounds and you can pop apps into folders, as is normal for most Android handsets..
A very classy and well designed handset which really shows what Vivo can do. The interface and the build quality are fantastic. I loved the brushed metal finish and the little additions such as the custom font, enhanced gallery and additional settings screens.
This phone has 8GB RAM, it gets 256GB storage and it runs the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G octa-core chip. The camera arrangement is perhaps the best I’ve seen on a phone for a long, long time. For all of that, you need to shell out £749.
OK, so what you have to do now is compare that with the OnePlus Nord. Even if you go for the top-end 12GB RAM / 256GB storage version, you’ll only be paying £469. That’ll get you the same CPU as the Vivo X51 5G (Snapdragon 765G) with the same 5G tech. A 90Hz panel, just like this one, a similar screen size 6.44, the same selfie camera and similar speedy charging.
Sure, the camera on this one is better. For zooming in, it is far better. The rear camera arrangement of the X51 is superior too, but for regular day-to-day shots you may be happy enough with the OnePlus Nord.
For a refreshing, skinny and metallic design, the Vivo X51 5G really is a stunner. The camera tech on the back is amazing, with low-light and zoomed photos looking punchy and clear. The price-tag though? £749 is a lot when there are so many other competitive handsets around.