Vivo X60 Pro 5G review: A thin and powerful premium phone
Quick verdict: The Vivo X60 Pro 5G has its weak points for a flagship premium phone, but many will gladly overlook these issues for its combination of processing power and camera capabilities.
- Great performance
- Good cameras
- 3 years of Android updates
- Good price point
- No storage expansion
- No wireless charging
- No water resistance
- Annoying camera watermark
Power, storage and battery
|Launch price (RRP)||$1,099|
What's in this review?
It's been a while since we've had some real challengers at the bottom of the premium price pile, with most vendors pitching phones in the $1,500+ price range. Vivo – yet another offshoot brand of Chinese giant BBK Electronics alongside Oppo, OnePlus and realme – doesn't pull any punches at all with the Vivo X60 Pro 5G, a phone that seriously challenges the value propositions of those high-end flagships.
It's not without a few more compromises than you might want, but given Vivo's general position in the Australian marketplace providing more mid-range fare, this is a big and very welcome step up in terms of value for money.
Design: 6.56-inch 120Hz AMOLED
The design of the Vivo X60 Pro 5G isn't one that immediately jumps out at you as being particularly premium. The model sold in Australia comes in a single "Midnight Black" colour, although Vivo does offer a "Shimmer Blue" variant elsewhere on the planet, and it can't really avoid that rather generic look that most black phones have. There's a lightly textured power button on the right-hand side, sitting beneath a standard volume rocker, but there's no Google Assistant button if that's important to you.
The Vivo X60 Pro 5G features a 6.56-inch 2376x1080 pixel AMOLED display with support for refresh rates up to 120Hz, which is absolutely on-trend for flagships right now.
One nice touch here is that the refresh rate can be switched between either 60Hz for better battery life, 120Hz for smoother visuals or Vivo's own dynamic "Smart switch" which picks refresh rates based on what you're actually doing. It doesn't always seem to get it right, but the fact that you've got the choice to force your mode means you can easily fix it if it annoys you.
The Vivo X60 Pro 5G uses an in-display fingerprint sensor for unlocking, and that's always an interesting test of a phone's ability. Thankfully, Vivo's sensor works well – or at least it did during my review period – with few negative reads of my enrolled digits.
Like the other BBK Electronics' stablemates, you get a supplied simple case in the box with the Vivo X60 Pro 5G, but it's not a particularly robust unit. Where even the cheaper BBK phones tend towards soft plastic cases that may have some shock protection, Vivo's instead opted for a thin but hard plastic case that doesn't even cover the sides of the Vivo X60 Pro 5G properly. It may be tricky to source a Vivo X60 Pro 5G case that does the job properly, but as always, it's an advisable move.
Premium flagship phones typically trade on having a few key features on board that you don't find in the mid-range, including IP-rated water resistance. One of the ways that Vivo's kept the price of the Vivo X60 Pro 5G low is by not including any rated water-resistance features. Like any phone, a single drop of rain isn't likely to be a big problem, but any kind of immersion could kill it outright.
Camera: Gimbal stabilised camera works well in low light
Vivo's main game isn't specifically cameras – that's more within stablemate Oppo's playbook – but it has certainly equipped the Vivo X60 Pro 5G with a good set of camera lenses.
The primary rear shooter is a 48MP f/1.5 wide sensor with an inbuilt gimbal stabilisation system. That's a feature we saw in last year's Vivo X50 Pro 5G, where it was best used for video stabilisation rather than still shots. This year's model handles both quite well, with generally crisp shots as a result. Like any gimbal, you can only challenge it so far before the cracks show, but it manages most situations where hand shudder would be an issue without too much complaint.
Alongside that 48MP primary sensor are a pair of 13MP sensors. There's a 13 MP f/2.2, 120˚ ultra-wide sensor for landscape shots as well as a 13MP f/2.5 2x optical zoom lens. A 2x optical zoom isn't superb in this space where you can score some phones with full periscope-style lenses, but the Vivo X50 Pro 5G generally does quite well even when you do stretch out to digital zoom.
At the front, the Vivo X60 Pro 5G features a single 32MP f/2.5 sensor. Like many of its Chinese-made counterparts, there's a slew of "beauty" features onboard, including a somewhat worrying "whitening" feature (really, Vivo?) that can take your photos into the plastic-fantastic territory rather rapidly if you're not careful.
One "feature" that you will almost certainly want to disable immediately – but might not realise is present – is Vivo's watermark. Many phone camera apps allow you to set a watermark, and some do include the phone maker as an option, but they're usually off by default. Vivo takes the alternative approach that you'll always want to pimp its brand in every shot you take.
The Vivo X50 Pro 5G shoots well for a phone in its price bracket. If you want the absolute best of the best in smartphone photography, you're still going to have to look at the higher price points, but for most uses, it's a very capable and easy-to-use device. Just remember to turn off that stupid watermark before you take any photos at all.
Performance: Snapdragon 870 plus 12GB RAM equals performance
The Vivo X60 Pro 5G is a flagship phone, but it's not quite packing 2021's flagship processor of choice. That would be the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888, but again to moderate its price, Vivo's opted for the slightly lower-spec Snapdragon 870 instead. That still gives it 5G capabilities, and the inclusion of 12GB of RAM gives it a lot of performance headroom.
On the storage front, the Vivo X60 Pro 5G ships with 256GB of onboard memory, but there's no capability to expand that via microSD card. This is becoming more common in flagship phones, but it's not a welcome trend.
So how does the Vivo X60 Pro 5G compare against its similarly priced (at the time of review) competitors?
Quite well for an Android phone, although still a little below Apple's offerings. Here's how it stacks up using Geekbench 5's CPU test:
Here's how the Vivo X60 Pro 5G compares for 3D performance. Like many of this year's Android flagships, it maxed out 3DMark's older Slingshot Extreme test, so the better comparison is the new cross-platform Wild Life benchmark:
Here, the Adreno 650 GPU in the Vivo X60 Pro 5G can't quite keep up with the best in class, although you're not likely to see too many problems with even the most demanding Android games given those scores. That certainly hasn't been my more anecdotal experience while testing out the Vivo X60 Pro 5G.
The Vivo X60 Pro 5G is, as the name suggests, also 5G capable, although it's only a sub-6Ghz-ready handset. Your 5G experiences may vary wildly depending on network choice, coverage and conditions, but the Vivo X60 Pro 5G sat pretty neatly in the middle of my expected range of benchmarks, typically hitting between 300-400Mb/s down using Finder's Speedtest in Sydney's north.
Every brand under the BBK Electronics umbrella has its own take on Android, and Vivo is no different. Its launcher is called "Funtouch", and it provides a few changes to the core Android 11 experience. I'm not a big fan of this approach – I'd rather set up Android my way – but there's not too much here to get too annoyed or excited about for most consumers.
One nice touch here is that Vivo's X series phones should see 3 years of OS and security upgrades, meaning that they're matching Google's own Pixel phones and HMD Global/Nokia in this regard.
Battery life: 4200mAh battery offers average battery life
- Very fast 33W wired charging
- No wireless charging
The Vivo X60 Pro 5G is a remarkably thin and light handset, which makes it pleasant to carry around. However, like most thin phones, the compromise here is that there's not as much space for battery placement within its metal body. It's equipped with a 4,200mAh battery, a touch below what we're typically seeing in flagships right now.
Battery usage is naturally quite variable, but to provide a comparative metric, we test each phone by looping a Full HD YouTube video for an hour from a fully charged phone at full brightness and moderate volume. The benchmark here is 90% or better battery life because phones that drop below that mark will often struggle to last a full working day.
Here's how the Vivo X60 Pro 5G compared using that test, with the phone set to "Smart Switch" so that it could select its own optimal refresh rates:
That 92% figure is decent when you realise that the Vivo X60 Pro 5G is competing against several phones with larger batteries, but it's not the whole story. If you're pushing 120Hz consistently, or you're on 5G on a regular basis, you will see the battery life drop rapidly. More than once, I was able to exhaust it before the end of a working day.
Here, BBK Electronics' fast wired charging can come to the rescue, with an included 33W USB-C charger that can pump the battery back up to above 60% in around 30 minutes. That's a great feature to have when you're topping up the battery, but it's disappointing in what's meant to be a "flagship" device not to see Qi wireless charging in the mix.
Should you buy the Vivo X60 Pro 5G?
- Buy it if you want a good all-round flagship phone at a competitive price.
- Don't buy it if you need water resistance, wireless charging or full premium performance.
There's a real pitched battle going on at the moment at the entry-level point for premium phones, which we typically define at around the $1,000 price point. When manufacturers fight for your dollar, the results are usually positive for the consumer, and that's certainly the case for the Vivo X60 Pro 5G in most situations. It compares well against its Android brethren from makers such as Oppo, Samsung and Asus, although predictably a little less powerful than Apple's entry-level models around the same price.
There are some concessions to that price point. It would be great to see proper water resistance and wireless charging because you can get either of those features in phones that are in fact cheaper than the Vivo X60 Pro 5G right now.
It would also be great for Vivo to drop the default-on watermark on photos because it's a real pain if you're left having to crop photos to get rid of it after the fact.
Pricing and availability
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Power, storage and battery
Images: Alex Kidman
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