The Chinese brand Vivo is launching in France, what is its first smartphone worth?
By amk, 29/01/2022

The Chinese brand Vivo is launching in France, what is its first smartphone worth?

Vivo has been long overdue. Months after announcing its intention to attack the European market, the Chinese manufacturer finally arrives on the old continent. It must be said that between the cancellation of the MWC, the delay of Euro 2020 (of which he is a partner) and the global crisis linked to the coronavirus, all the stars in the sky have aligned to make his arrival impossible. Rather than rushing in, the Chinese manufacturer made the decision to postpone its launch for several months to do things right.

So here it is, landing in the middle of October, when all the smartphone manufacturers are renewing their ranges for the end of the year celebrations. Vivo is not naive, however, two months will not be enough for him to make himself known in France. This first launch is shy, Vivo wants above all to lay the foundations before a real start in 2021.

Who is Viva?

If you diligently follow the news of new technologies, the name of Vivo is probably no stranger to you. Otherwise, let us briefly introduce you to this very famous Chinese company which, with its 8% market share in the world of smartphones, is the 6th seller in the world today.

Founded in 2009 from the Communications branch of BBK Electronics, Vivo is technically a cousin brand of Oppo, OnePlus and Realme, which also depend on this huge conglomerate. However, the company swears to be fully independent. Unlike OnePlus, which is a subsidiary of Oppo, Vivo promises that its teams do not relate to other members of the group. Difficult to confirm or deny this assertion, the hierarchy of BBK Electronics has always been very mysterious. In any case, Vivo is supported by a very large group and therefore has colossal resources. This is what allows it to innovate.

Counterpoint Research - In 2021, Vivo could take advantage of Huawei's fall to enter the top 5 according to some analysts.

Specialized in the world of smartphones, Vivo does not seek, unlike Oppo, Xiaomi or Huawei, to diversify into connected objects. The Chinese brand has distinguished itself in recent years by its wacky concepts generally aimed at pushing the limits of mobile telephony. Every year, it unveils the “APEX”, a product which is to the smartphone what the concept car is to the automobile. The latest generation, for example, has abandoned ports and buttons for pure wireless, has an extremely immersive screen, an under-screen camera and variable optical zoom. Few of these technologies are ready for commercialization, but Vivo wants to show what it is capable of. Other Vivo products, such as the Nex (pop-up camera, fingerprint sensor under the screen, etc.) and the Nex Dual Display (a smartphone with a screen on the back), were also the first to attempt new experiences.

Paradoxically, Vivo is a pragmatic brand. If the APEX is intended to be conceptual, the other products of the brand are intended to be accomplished and less adventurous. Vivo says it has "the manufacturer's philosophy in no hurry". He prefers to arrive after the others and be irreproachable. Before arriving in Europe, Vivo explains, for example, that it questioned 9,000 Europeans (including 1,500 French people) about their expectations, so as not to launch a product out of step with the market. For example, he came to the conclusion that his FuntouchOS overlay, which is a fairly vulgar copy of iOS, was not suited to our habits. That's why the Vivo smartphones that will be launched in Europe will use an almost stock version of Android, with 4 years of guaranteed security updates. A choice that we can only welcome.

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Finally, Vivo is a brand that intends to rely on “sponsorship” to extend its notoriety. Like Oppo when it arrived, Vivo thinks its success will depend on its ability to be known to as many people as possible. For this, the brand has recruited many European executives from Samsung and Huawei and will gradually intensify its communication. Official partner of Euro 2020 and the 2022 World Cup, Vivo, which will use the name "Vivo Smartphone" in Europe, intends to quickly make itself known. It remains to answer one question: is there a place for yet another Chinese challenger on the market?

The Vivo X51 5G, operation seduction

At its official launch on October 30, Vivo will market four smartphones in France. Three of them will be quite classic and marketed at affordable prices, the fourth will rely on innovation to attract the attention of social networks and the media. This is the Vivo X51 5G, the first smartphone with an integrated gimbal. To put it simply, the camera of this mobile is able to move within its camera module. This allows it to take advantage of unparalleled optical stabilization on the market, without the need to acquire a stabilizer like the DJI Osmo Mobile.

Vivo - The Vivo X51 5G's gimbal is a marvel of miniaturization.

Vivo's feat of technology is quite phenomenal. Mobile's three-axis stabilizer fits in just 363mm

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and is only 5 millimeters thick. When you film with the smartphone, a small pictogram in the middle of the screen allows you to see the authorized movement margin. If you move 3 degrees or less (compared to 0.7 with regular OIS), the video won't shake at all. A digital stabilization algorithm allows in total to simulate five-axis stabilization.

At the time of writing these lines, we were content to play with this ultra-stabilization in our laboratory without really testing its limits. Our comprehensive device test will of course try to find out more.

Lionel Morillon / 01net.com – The camera module of the Vivo X51 5G is very ambitious.

Since it's not just video in life, the Vivo X51 5G also puts the package on the photo. In addition to a 48 Mpix main sensor (module opening at f / 1.6, which is really a lot), the smartphone has an ultra wide-angle attached to an 8 Mpix sensor and two telephoto lenses. One is fairly standard (x2 zoom) and the other depends on a periscope module (x5 zoom). Vivo pushes versatility to the extreme to make you want to succumb to it.

Lightweight (181.5 grams), the Vivo X51 5G has a technical sheet between the mid-range and the high-end. It's the Snapdragon 765G processor that powers this device (with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage) but the X51 5G has a 6.56-inch curved OLED screen with a 90Hz refresh rate and claims certification IP53 water resistance. The mobile can be recharged in battery for 1 hour according to the measurements of our laboratory (33W charger). Finally, its 4315 mAh battery allowed it to obtain average results in our autonomy tests (2:30 p.m. in our versatility test).

LM / 01net.com – The screen of the Vivo X51 5G does not have much to envy the competition.

During our first minutes with the device, we were rather seduced by the efforts made by Vivo to "Frenchify" its smartphones. The Vivo X51 5G is very pleasant to use and we can't wait to test it. Still, at 799 euros, the mobile is quite expensive. It is difficult to find a real direct competitor, few mid-range cameras being so versatile in photography. The Pixel 5 (629 euros) and OnePlus Nord (399 euros), equipped with the same processor, however, give a good indication of what the competition is offering. At such a price and without a high-end processor, the device had better be flawless in photos.

Meanwhile, Vivo will also launch the X70s, Y20s and Y11s on October 30. Over time, Vivo says he is convinced that history will prove him right. The market can still accommodate a new manufacturer. Maybe, but not all will survive.

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