Vivo X90 Pro Review: Meeting Expectations?
The Vivo X90 Pro is the latest Android flagship smartphone to launch in India. The company has also launched the Vivo X90 along with it. In India, the X90 Pro is positioned as the successor to the Vivo X80 Pro (Review), since it is priced upwards of Rs. 80,000. Technically, the Vivo X90 Pro+ would be the true successor to last year’s X80 Pro, but Vivo hasn’t announced that for other markets other than China. With the X90 Pro, Vivo is now the second smartphone brand in India to launch a phone with a 1-inch camera sensor. The Vivo X90 Pro (and the X90) are the only two smartphones in India currently to feature the flagship MediaTek Dimensity 9200 SoC.
With all that is on offer, should you consider buying the Vivo X90 Pro? Here is our full review to help you decide.
Vivo X90 Pro price in India
Vivo has launched the X90 Pro in India in a single storage option. The phone packs 12GB of LPDDR5X RAM and 256GB of UFS 4.0 storage, and is priced at Rs. 84,999. It competes against the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S23 (Review), iPhone 14 (Review), and the Xiaomi 13 Pro (Review). The X90 Pro is about Rs. 5,000 more expensive that last year’s X80 Pro. However, with the pre-booking offers, you could get it for as low as Vivo’s advertised price of Rs. 76,999.
Vivo X90 Pro design and display
The Vivo X90 Pro has received some design tweaks over last year’s model. The phone uses vegan leather for the rear panel, and the textured surface does help offer a better grip and in-hand feel. The choice of materials also ensures that the X90 Pro does not attract any fingerprints or smudges. The phone also gets an IP68 rating for water and dust resistance.
There is a massive camera module on the back of the X90 Pro for the triple-camera setup. The LED flash along with some text and the Zeiss logo are placed at the top-right corner of the rear panel. What reduces the premium appeal a bit for me is the shiny chrome strip below the camera module which has the “Xtreme Imagination” text on it, in a not-so flattering font.
The metal frame is curved on the sides, whereas the top and bottom edges are flat. Despite weighing about 214g, the weight distribution is done well as the Vivo X90 Pro can stand upright without requiring any support when kept on a flat surface. However, you will feel the heft when you hold it.
The Vivo X90 Pro has a curved-edge AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate. Sadly, it is not an LTPO panel like the X80 Pro and instead, you only get three variable options for the refresh rate — 60Hz, 90Hz and Smart Switch. The display, which is 6.78 inches, produces vibrant colours and has good viewing angles. However, the resolution is now lower at 2800×1260-pixels from WQHD+ (3200×1440) on the X80 Pro.
Since most of the content that I consume on the phone is in full-HD, I never found this to be an issue but it would have been nice to have that higher resolution especially since some of the competition such as the Xiaomi 13 Pro offers it. The X90 Pro’s display still gets a pixel density of about 453ppi, which is plenty.
The display is claimed to offer up to 1,300 nits of peak brightness, which I found to be more than sufficient for indoors and outdoor use. There is support for HDR10+ playback and Widevine L1 DRM, which is useful in popular apps such as Netflix and YouTube.
The Vivo X90 Pro features an optical in-display fingerprint sensor which is quick to authenticate and unlock the device. That being said, the Vivo X80 Pro came with an ultrasonic sensor which provides a wider recognition area and is quicker. The loud and crisp dual-speaker setup on the X90 Pro helps provide a great multimedia experience.
Vivo X90 Pro specifications and software
The Vivo X90 Pro features a MediaTek Dimensity 9200 SoC which is based on a 4nm fabrication process. The phone packs a slightly bigger 4,870mAh battery compared to the X80 Pro, and supports 120W fast wired charging and 50W wireless charging. There is support for Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.3, and NFC.
In terms of software, the Vivo X90 Pro runs the latest Android 13-based Funtouch OS 13 out of the box. The new version of Funtouch OS is said to focus more on refinement while continuing to offer a bunch of customisation and personalisation options. We have detailed all the new features in our Vivo V27 Pro review.
Regarding the software experience on the Vivo X90 Pro, it was smooth and seamless. There were no stutters while scrolling through the user interface. The phone did get the April 2023 Android security patch, which also fixed a few issues. There are a few third-party apps preinstalled, but you can choose to uninstall these if you want.
Vivo has maintained a good track-record of late when it comes to rolling out timely software updates. For the X90 Pro, the company has promised to provide three years of Android and security updates, which is good but some of the competition offers slightly better support.
Vivo X90 Pro performance and battery life
The Vivo X90 Pro is capable of handling almost any task you throw at it. Be it using the phone for basic things such as scrolling through social media or performing more intensive tasks like playing games, I found the experience to be good. I played Call of Duty: Mobile and Asphalt 9 Legends, and both games ran smoothly with high graphics settings. Call of Duty: Mobile ran well even on the ‘Max’ framerate and ‘Very High’ graphics settings. The phone did get warm quickly, just below the camera module area, after about 20 minutes of gameplay. That being said, I did not notice any negative impact on the performance.
I also ran some benchmarks on the Vivo X90 Pro. In AnTuTu, the device scored 12,14,804 points, whereas in Geekbench 6’s single-core and multi-core tests, the phone scored 1,694 and 4,315 points, respectively. In comparison, the Xiaomi 13 Pro scored 12,46,431 points, while the Samsung Galaxy S23 with its customised Snapdragon SoC scored 11,86,610 points in AnTuTu. The new Dimensity SoC gives stiff competition to Qualcomm’s flagship offering and that shows in real-world performance too.
In terms of battery life, the Vivo X90 Pro delivered up to seven hours of screen-on time (SoT) on a single charge with my usage. If you use the camera more often or play games a lot, you should expect the average SoT to drop to about six hours. In our HD video battery loop test, the phone lasted for 18 hours and 12 minutes, which is good. You can charge the phone fully in 29 minutes using the bundled charger.
Vivo X90 Pro camera
The Vivo X90 Pro features a 50-megapixel 1-inch Sony IMX989 main camera on the back. The latter is also found in the Xiaomi 13 Pro. The X90 Pro also features a 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera and a 50-megapixel portrait camera. The phone also gets Vivo’s V2 imaging chip, which was also seen in the iQoo 11 5G. While the main and portrait camera sensors have received some promising upgrades, the ultra-wide camera has reduced resolution compared to the X80 Pro. There’s also no periscope telephoto camera on the X90 Pro, which has been reserved for the X90 Pro+.
The main camera has an eight element lens, of which, seven elements now have the Zeiss T* coating compared to just two on the previous model. However, this sensor misses out on the gimbal stabilisation system. Vivo has instead provided its custom-developed optical image stabilisation (OIS), which it claims meets the CIPA (Camera & Imaging Products Association) Level 4 standards. Thankfully, the main camera, despite having a large sensor, does not have any shutter lag.
Images shot using the main camera offer great details and dynamic range. Colours are a bit more saturated to offer a pleasing look, something that we have seen in many Vivo phones in the past. The larger sensor, coupled with a wide aperture of f/1.75 ensures that enough light hits the sensor even in dim lighting. Images shot with the main camera have no noticeable noise in general, and there’s also good control over exposure in the highlights and shadows.
Images shot using the 2X portrait camera offer a good bokeh effect and edge detection. The six software filters that Vivo and Zeiss have offered, including a new Cine-Flare Style, add a fun element to the shooting experience. That being said, I noticed that the software tends to smoothen the texture of hair on a person’s head at times.
The ultra-wide camera is a bit weak in terms of performance compared to the previous model. While daylight performance is good, there is a noticeable loss of details in low-light shots, especially around the edges of the frame.
For selfies, there is a 32-megapixel front camera. The camera app, by default, beautifies selfies by applying a bunch of filters to make you look slim and fair. Portrait mode images are a hit or miss in my experience when it comes to edge detection. There are instances where the software missed blurring out the background and in some cases, it also blurred out parts of my face.
In terms of video, the Vivo X90 Pro’s main camera can record 8K 24fps or 4K 60fps videos. Camera performance during both day and night time is quite impressive. The V2 imaging chip, along with the camera hardware, ensures that the videos captured during the night are well-lit and offer good details. The dynamic range performance of the rear camera in videos is also quite impressive. That being said, there were a couple of instances where I noticed stutters when recording videos.
The camera app offers Standard and Ultra stabilisation options, but the latter crops the frame a bit. You can use Ultra stabilisation when shooting up to 1080p or 4K at 30fps. On the other hand, the camera switches to Standard stabilisation when you shoot at 1080p or 4K 60fps. There’s not a major difference between the two modes if your subject is in the centre of the frame, however, when you have a wider frame in focus, that is when you’ll see the benefit of the Ultra stabilisation mode. There is no stabilisation option when shooting in 8K.
The front camera can only shoot 1080p 60fps video and the overall video quality is decent. The subject is well-exposed and you also get a good amount of details. That being said, the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S23 and the iPhone 14 series offer 4K 60fps video recording using the front camera.
Vivo’s X series has a reputation of offering a unique photography experience and the new X90 Pro is no different. The rear primary and portrait camera sensors deliver excellent performance. Photos taken by the main camera at times felt like they were captured using a dedicated camera. System performance, display quality and battery life with quick charging are very good as well. The phone has a premium design and comes with an IP68 rating.
However, there are a few misses along the way in the Vivo X90 Pro which do stack up, especially when you factor in the price. The ultra-wide camera is not very impressive and we feel that the X80 Pro did a much better job. We weren’t too happy with the processed images from the selfie camera either when using Portrait mode. Other misses would be the lack of a periscope camera, a lower-resolution and non-LTPO display, and an optical fingerprint sensor instead of ultrasonic — all of which are present on the Vivo X80 Pro, which is still available and is a bit cheaper.
The competition has also caught up. The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra (Review) has set a benchmark when it comes to providing a versatile camera experience, but it’s also quite a bit more expensive. The Xiaomi 13 Pro (Review) is probably the closest competitor to the X90 Pro right now and apart from not having an official IP rating in India, it easily matches (and exceeds in some areas) the performance of the X90 Pro while costing a bit less. There is also the Google Pixel 7 Pro (Review) which offers an excellent camera system and a unique software experience.