You don't need to pay big bucks for a 5G smartphone. Case in point: The Vivo X50e 5G, a mid-range phone (S$599) that uses Qualcomm's 5G-compatible Snapdragon 765G chip. In fact, the X50e has several staple flagship features, such as quad cameras, Amoled screen and fast wired charging. In addition, the X50e also has consumer-friendly features that are more or less extinct among premium phones, such as a microSD card slot (shared with SIM slot) and a headphone jack.
- 5G-compatible Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G chip
- 6.44-inch Amoled screen (2,400 x 1,080 pixels)
- 48MP quad-camera system
- Has microSD card and headphone jack
Of course, the specs do not paint a complete picture. Yes, the X50e may have a vibrant Amoled screen, but this display, while legible outdoors under the sun, is far from the eye-searing brightness of Apple's or Samsung's top models. And unlike the screens in flagship phones, the X50e's screen does not support high dynamic range (HDR) nor a high refresh rate. But its flat screen is less prone to accidental taps. It also has an Always-On-Display feature, though it only shows phone, SMS and Whatsapp notifications.
The X50e has a quad-camera system with a 48-megapixel (MP) main camera, a 13MP telephoto camera (2x optical zoom), a 8MP ultra-wide camera and a 2MP macro camera. The main camera uses pixel-binning to produce sharp images with little noise, especially in well-lit environments. The dynamic range, though, could be be better. Low-light shots also had a good amount of noise. The telephoto is pretty decent at lower zoom levels. But once you push it to the maximum 20x digital zoom, it's more for reading text or spotting features at a distance — don't expect decent photos.
I have no complaints about the X50e's performance. It feels snappy while navigating Vivo's Funtouch OS interface. But a flagship phone will be a tad faster than the X50e at opening apps. Funtouch OS (running on the older Android 10) is also bloated with Vivo's proprietary system apps. I don't need a Vivo browser, for one. In addition, when I swipe right from the Home screen, it opens Vivo's smart launcher, which shows information like the weather, app shortcuts, news and even a calculator, in a card-like format. While some may find this feature useful, I prefer Google's Discover feed. There's no option to switch though, you can only disable Vivo's feature.
While the 765G chip may not set any speed records, it does offer very good battery life. In a video playback test, the X50e clocked an impressive 15.5 hours. Overall, the X50e meets my expectations of an upper mid-range phone. Basically, its features are not quite top-tier, but less demanding users will find it more than acceptable. It is available from e-commerce platforms Lazada and Shopee at S$599.
Note: Review unit provided by Vivo.
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