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vivo X100 hands-on review – GSMArena.com news

by California Digital News

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The vivo X100 Pro launched in China last year, but only began its international rollout this year. We reviewed the vivo X100 Pro and found it to be yet another impressive cameraphone from vivo. Alongside that, vivo also launched the vivo X100, which comes with some nice upgrades over the X90. We used the vivo X100 for over a month, and here’s what we found about it.

Design

The vivo X100 packs a 6.78″ FullHD+ curved AMOLED display having a 120Hz screen refresh rate and 3,000 nits peak brightness. It also has a centered punch-hole for the 32MP selfie camera and a fingerprint reader underneath for password-less phone unlocking.

vivo X100 hands-on review

We found the fingerprint scanner fast and accurate in our usage and faced no issues. However, we’d have liked it to be placed slightly higher for a more convenient unlocking experience. The fingerprint scanner on the X90 series was also closer to the bezel, so it’s about time vivo considered moving it higher on its upcoming X-series smartphones.

vivo X100 hands-on review

The rear panel of the vivo X100 is covered with Flourite AG Glass and looks similar to the vivo X100 Pro. It sports a circular camera module bigger than the X90’s, which is centrally aligned and prevents the phone from wobbling when used on flat surfaces.

vivo X100 hands-on review

vivo calls the X100 camera module’s design Moon Halo (X100 Pro’s is called Sun Halo and looks slightly different). It’s inspired by the Moon and the stars and “symbolizes brilliant talent and noble character.”

vivo X100 (left) with vivo X100 Pro (right)
vivo X100 (left) with vivo X100 Pro (right)

The cameras come with ZEISS’ T* coating, while the camera island is covered with a 2.5D rounded Gorilla Glass lens and surrounded by a decoration ring made of austenitic stainless steel. It is resistant to daily wear, high temperatures, and corrosion and is used to avoid the risk of scratches and paint chipping. The outer ring also has a sunburst pattern seen on expensive watches from brands like Rolex. It overall looks nice, but the ring does pick up fingerprint smudges.

vivo X100 hands-on review

The vivo X100 comes in blue, black, white, and orange colors, and the availability varies by market. We’ve got the blue model called Stargaze Blue in India and Startrail Blue in some other countries. Its back panel with curved edges has a glittery pattern and reflects light at different angles. It looks absolutely cool. And while the cover’s finish makes it slippery, the upside is that it prevents fingerprint smudges.

vivo X100 hands-on review

Moreover, while the vivo X100 feels light enough for prolonged use with one hand, its size could make it challenging to use for people with small hands. Not to mention the increased size of the camera bump, making it difficult to hold the phone at times.

vivo X100 hands-on review

The vivo X100 skips the flat frames, which may or may not be a good thing, depending on your preference. Speaking of, the frames are made of metal and have antenna lines on all four sides. They are also shiny and reflective this time, making the X100 look more premium than the X90.

The vivo X100’s right-side frame has a power button and volume rocker, which have good feedback. At the bottom is the USB-C port, flanked by the SIM card slot, primary microphone, and speaker grille. Up top are the IR blaster and secondary mic. Like the X100 Pro, the X100 also has the “Professional Photography” text at the top.


Ports and controls
Ports and controls
Ports and controls

Ports and controls

We like the overall build and design of the Vivo X100, especially the Stargaze Blue version, which looks absolutely beautiful. This time, we also get IP68 dust and water resistance — an upgrade over the X90’s IP64 rating, which is certainly nice to have and appreciated.

Display

The vivo X100 is built around a 6.78″ 120Hz curved AMOLED display of 2,800×1,260-pixel resolution and 452 ppi pixel density. It supports 1.07 billion colors and comes with HDR10+, HDR10, HLG, and Widevine L1 certifications. The last one allows you to stream 1080p videos on supported apps.

The diagonal, refresh rate, resolution, and pixel density of the vivo X100’s screen remain the same as the X90’s display. What’s different is the panel type and peak brightness. The vivo X90 packed a non-LTPO panel with a 1,300 nits peak brightness, while the vivo X100 uses an 8T LTPO panel with a 3,000 nits peak brightness like the X100 Pro.

The vivo X100’s haptic feedback is also better than the X90’s, which made typing fun. Besides, the X100’s screen was plenty bright, making it easy to read textual content and watch photos/videos under direct sunlight at max brightness. We also didn’t face any screen mistouch issues with the X100 due to its curved screen.

vivo X100 hands-on review

The vivo X90 and X90 Pro had the vivo V2 chip at the helm, but for the X100 series, vivo decided to use different Intelligent Display Chips (IDC) to enhance the phones’ photography and display capabilities. The vivo X100 Pro comes with the V3 chip, while the X100 uses the older-gen V2 chip, probably as a cost-cutting measure.

The V2 chip brings Game Frame Interpolation to the vivo X100, which its Pro counterpart also gets with the V3. It allows the users to “experience a smoother picture with a frame rate which is higher than the native maximum game frame rate” or “keep the current frame rate while reducing power consumption and heat generation during gameplay.” Game Frame Interpolation supports only a limited number of games, though.

Speaking of, the vivo X100 has Smart Switch, Standard (60Hz), and High (120Hz) refresh rate options, with the display supporting seven refresh rates in total – 1Hz, 30Hz, 45Hz, 60Hz, 72Hz, 90Hz, and 120Hz.

With the Smart Switch mode, the refresh rate is bumped up from 1Hz to 120Hz for the system menus and apps (including Play Store) when interacting with the screen, but for most apps, it only goes up to 90Hz. This includes Facebook, Instagram, X, Quora, GSMArena, Google Chrome, Google Photos, and YouTube. The refresh rate switched to 30/60Hz when playing videos in social media apps, Google Photos, and YouTube, while Google Photos switched to 10Hz when viewing images.

The 60Hz mode was basically the Smart Switch mode, with the refresh rate capped at 60Hz. In the 120Hz mode, the refresh rate went up to 120Hz when interacting with the screen. The apps limited to 90Hz in the Smart Switch mode also ran at 120Hz.

vivo X100 hands-on review

We tried Call of Duty Mobile, Dead Trigger 2, Real Racing 3, and Sky Force Reloaded on the vivo X100. In 60Hz mode, all games expectedly ran at 60FPS, with COD switching to 30FPS outside the gameplay. With Smart Switch mode, COD is the only game that reached 90FPS, but only when Game Frame Interpolation was enabled and a match was ongoing.

Things looked better for gaming with the 120Hz mode since all games except COD ran at 120FPS without enabling Game Frame Interpolation. COD ran at 60FPS during the gameplay and remained capped at 30FPS the rest of the time. A 90FPS gameplay was only possible when Game Frame Interpolation was turned on. It’s also worth mentioning that Game Frame Interpolation only works when the refresh rate is higher than 60Hz.

To conclude, the 120Hz mode is your best option if you want a smooth experience. And the good thing is you no longer have to go through the hassle of individually enabling it for apps/games like you had to for the vivo X90 from the “Apps running at a high refresh rate” setting because it doesn’t exist on the X100.

Software and Performance

The vivo X100 has the Dimensity 9300 SoC under the hood – the same chip that powers the more expensive vivo X100 Pro. It comes with up to 16GB of LPDDR5X RAM and 512GB of UFS 4.0 storage. Ours is the top-end model with 16GB RAM and 512GB storage, but regardless of which version you get, the smartphone runs Android 14-based Funtouch OS 14 out of the box.

vivo has promised three Android version upgrades and four years of security updates. Our Indian unit is currently on March 2024 security patch level, so here’s hoping vivo will continue to provide timely monthly security updates for the X100.

vivo X100 hands-on review

The vivo X100 comes with pre-installed third-party apps like the X100 Pro, but fortunately, most can be uninstalled. It’s also worth mentioning that Hot Apps and Hot Games – pre-loaded on the X90 as uninstallable apps – aren’t installed on the vivo X100, which is much appreciated.

We also didn’t face any software bugs on the X100 as we did with its predecessor, but it’s worth mentioning that Funtouch OS 14’s App Retainer feature still doesn’t work with popular apps like Facebook. The vivo X100’s overall software experience is identical to the X100 Pro’s, so we suggest you read our vivo X100 Pro review if you want to learn more about Funtouch OS 14.

Performance-wise, the Dimensity 9300 SoC at the helm of the vivo X100 throttled more than the vivo X100 Pro in stress tests, and the smartphone even got expectedly hot, but that’s about it. In everyday use, the vivo X100 turned out smooth and snappy, and there were hardly any stutters, even during long gaming sessions. The vivo X100 did get warm, but not as much as the vivo X90 did. vivo and iQOO’s Indian models have historically faced overheating issues, and we are glad to see that vivo has worked in that direction with proper optimizations since the X100 remained reasonably cool even during heavy usage.

Camera

The vivo X100 sports four cameras – one on the front and three on the rear, joined by a laser autofocus sensor. The front-facing camera uses a 32MP sensor, which is the same as the Pro model. However, the triple camera setup on the rear is different. It’s a combination of 50MP primary, 50MP ultrawide (119° FOV), and 64MP periscope telephoto units.

The 32MP selfie shooter has an f/2.0 aperture and can record videos in 1080p resolution at 30/60FPS. It also supports five ZEISS Styles for the Portrait Mode photos: Biotar, Sonnar, Planar, Distagon, and Cinematic. The B-speed and Cine-flare ZEISS Portrait Styles are unavailable for the front camera, though. It’s also worth mentioning that B-speed is the newest member of ZEISS Styles introduced by vivo with the X100 series.

vivo X100 hands-on review

The 50MP primary camera uses the Sony IMX920 1/1.49” sensor with VCS Bionic Spectrum and ZEISS calibration. It has OIS, an f/1.57 aperture, and a 23mm focal length. The camera can record videos in 1080p and 4K resolutions at 30FPS and 60FPS. It also has a Cinematic Portrait feature that allows video recording with a bokeh effect. But it can’t shoot HDR10+ videos like the X90 did, which could be a bummer for some.

The 50MP ultrawide camera uses the Samsung ISOCELL JN1 1/2.76” sensor. It has an f/2.0 aperture, a 15mm focal length, and can record 4K@60FPS videos. The 64MP camera uses the OmniVision OV64B 1/2″ sensor with f/2.57 aperture. It sits behind a 70mm periscope telephoto lens and has a 15mm focal length for telephoto macro shots you can capture with the Super Macro mode.

The telephoto unit also has OIS and offers 3x optical and 100x digital zoom, while macro shots can be clicked from a minimum focusing distance of 18cm.

Additionally, like the X100 Pro, the X100 comes with ZEISS’ Multi-Focal Portrait system, which allows you to capture portraits in five different focal lengths: 24mm (1x), 35mm (1.5x), 50mm (2.2x), 85mm (3.7x), and 100m (4.3x).

Besides, the vivo X100 also comes with the ZEISS “Portrait lens package” for the telephoto camera, which includes six options for the five focal lengths mentioned above. These are basically presets for different scenarios and are suitable for those who don’t want to experiment with different focal lengths and ZEISS filters.

The 24mm Landscape Portrait package works with the Distagon bokeh, 35mm Street Portrait with B-speed bokeh, 50mm Classic Portrait with Biotar bokeh, 85mm Figure Portrait with Sonnar bokeh, and 100mm Close-up Portrait with Plannar bokeh. There’s also a 50mm Natural Portrait, but it’s not paired with any ZEISS portrait style.

vivo X100 hands-on review

All three rear cameras of the vivo X100 were quick to capture images in the Photo mode, and there was rarely any shutter lag. The 50MP primary camera clicked some nice pictures during the day and night in Photo mode, but in “High resolution” mode, it sometimes overexposed light sources, and the shadows lacked details, making them look soft, especially in low-light conditions. This was also the case with the 50MP ultrawide camera in low light.

That said, the 64MP periscope telephoto camera can click photos at up to 100x zoom, but we didn’t prefer capturing images with it beyond 10x zoom, especially without a tripod.

The periscope telephoto unit also captures macro shots in Super Macro mode, which impressed us the most. The pictures clicked in Super Macro mode at 3x and 6x magnification were outstanding with lovely bokeh – something you don’t get in Photo mode at the same zoom levels despite the Photo mode also using the periscope telephoto for that focal length.

What’s also available in Super Macro mode but not in Photo mode is the manual focus slider, which helps you get better results. Thus, we often found ourselves using the Super Macro mode over the Photo mode, even for scenarios where Super Macro mode wasn’t the default recommendation. Some product shots of smartphones in our recent hands-on/first impressions articles were also captured in Super Macro mode.

vivo X100 hands-on review

Regarding the Portrait Mode, the pictures had nice subject separation, and the overall results were good. Of course, they weren’t as good as the vivo X100 Pro, but the X100 isn’t as expensive as its Pro counterpart either.

With the vivo X100, we see some improvements to the Supermoon Mode since the pictures no longer look artificial like they did with the vivo X90, at least not at 10x zoom.

That said, the vivo X100’s rear cameras produced lens flare in low-light conditions despite the use of ZEISS T* coating, which also happened with the more expensive X100 Pro and was the case with the X90 series. So, vivo might want to address this with future X-series smartphones.

You can check some pictures we took from the vivo X100 below.

Daylight Photos

Let’s look at the daylight photos first, captured with the 50MP primary camera having an output of 12.6MP in Photo mode at 1x, 2x, and 3x magnification, and 15.9MP beyond that. The 50MP ultrawide camera has an output of 12.5MP in the Photo mode.

12.6MP, 1x magnification (23mm).


1x magnification (23mm)
1x magnification (23mm)
1x magnification (23mm)
1x magnification (23mm)
1x magnification (23mm)
1x magnification (23mm)
1x magnification (23mm)
1x magnification (23mm)

12.6MP, 1x magnification (23mm)

12.6MP, 2x magnification (46mm).


2x magnification (46mm)
2x magnification (46mm)
2x magnification (46mm)
2x magnification (46mm)
2x magnification (46mm)
2x magnification (46mm)

12.6MP, 2x magnification (46mm)

12.6MP, 3x magnification (70mm).


3x magnification (70mm)
3x magnification (70mm)
3x magnification (70mm)
3x magnification (70mm)
3x magnification (70mm)
3x magnification (70mm)

12.6MP, 3x magnification (70mm)

15.9MP, 10x magnification (233mm).


10x magnification (233mm)
10x magnification (233mm)
10x magnification (233mm)
10x magnification (233mm)
10x magnification (233mm)
10x magnification (233mm)

15.9MP, 10x magnification (233mm)

Ultrawide camera, 12.5MP, 0.6x magnification (15mm).


Ultrawide camera, 12.5MP, 0.6x magnification (15mm)
Ultrawide camera, 12.5MP, 0.6x magnification (15mm)
Ultrawide camera, 12.5MP, 0.6x magnification (15mm)
Ultrawide camera, 12.5MP, 0.6x magnification (15mm)
Ultrawide camera, 12.5MP, 0.6x magnification (15mm)
Ultrawide camera, 12.5MP, 0.6x magnification (15mm)

Ultrawide camera, 12.5MP, 0.6x magnification (15mm)

Primary camera, 50MP (High resolution), 1x magnification (23mm).


Primary camera, 50MP, 1x magnification (23mm)
Primary camera, 50MP, 1x magnification (23mm)
Primary camera, 50MP, 1x magnification (23mm)
Primary camera, 50MP, 1x magnification (23mm)
Primary camera, 50MP, 1x magnification (23mm)
Primary camera, 50MP, 1x magnification (23mm)
Primary camera, 50MP, 1x magnification (23mm)

Primary camera, 50MP, 1x magnification (23mm)

Some pictures clicked with the periscope telephoto camera in Super Macro mode.


Super Macro with periscope telephoto camera
Super Macro with periscope telephoto camera
Super Macro with periscope telephoto camera

Super Macro with periscope telephoto camera

Nighttime Photos

Now, let’s take a look at some nighttime photos.

12.6MP, 1x magnification (23mm).


12.6MP, 1x magnification (23mm)
12.6MP, 1x magnification (23mm)
12.6MP, 1x magnification (23mm)
12.6MP, 1x magnification (23mm)
12.6MP, 1x magnification (23mm)
12.6MP, 1x magnification (23mm)
12.6MP, 1x magnification (23mm)
12.6MP, 1x magnification (23mm)

12.6MP, 1x magnification (23mm)

12.6MP, 2x magnification (46mm).


12.6MP, 2x magnification (46mm)
12.6MP, 2x magnification (46mm)
12.6MP, 2x magnification (46mm)

12.6MP, 2x magnification (46mm)

12.6MP, 3x magnification (70mm).


12.6MP, 3x magnification (70mm)
12.6MP, 3x magnification (70mm)
12.6MP, 3x magnification (70mm)

12.6MP, 3x magnification (70mm)

15.9MP, 10x magnification (233mm).


15.9MP, 10x magnification (233mm)
15.9MP, 10x magnification (233mm)
15.9MP, 10x magnification (233mm)

15.9MP, 10x magnification (233mm)

Ultrawide camera, 12.5MP, 0.6x magnification (15mm).


Ultrawide camera, 12.5MP, 0.6x magnification (15mm)
Ultrawide camera, 12.5MP, 0.6x magnification (15mm)
Ultrawide camera, 12.5MP, 0.6x magnification (15mm)

Ultrawide camera, 12.5MP, 0.6x magnification (15mm)

Primary camera, 50MP (High resolution), 1x magnification (23mm).


Primary camera, 50MP, 1x magnification (23mm)
Primary camera, 50MP, 1x magnification (23mm)
Primary camera, 50MP, 1x magnification (23mm)
Primary camera, 50MP, 1x magnification (23mm)
Primary camera, 50MP, 1x magnification (23mm)
Primary camera, 50MP, 1x magnification (23mm)

Primary camera, 50MP, 1x magnification (23mm)

Here are a couple pictures of Moon taken in different modes.


10x zoom in default Photo Mode
10x zoom in Supermoon Mode

10x zoom in default Photo Mode • 10x zoom in Supermoon Mode

Next up, we have a couple of 1080p videos recorded at 30FPS. (video download link)

1080p video 1 here

1080p video 2 here

And here a couple of 4K videos recorded at 30FPS.

4K video 1 here

4K video 2 here

Battery

The vivo X100 packs a 5,000 mAh battery, which is 400 mAh smaller than the vivo X100 Pro’s battery but 190 mAh bigger than the X90’s cell. We couldn’t run our standard battery tests on the vivo X100 since the phone wasn’t tested at our HQ. But anecdotally speaking, the vivo X100 got us through the day on a single charge with an average of about 5 hours of screen-on time on moderate to heavy usage with 120Hz screen refresh rate and 5G mobile data and Wi-Fi hotspot enabled the whole time. The usage consisted of web browsing, streaming YouTube videos, using social media apps, and at least an hour of playing resource-intensive games.

vivo X100 hands-on review

Despite packing a tad larger battery and an LTPO-type display, we didn’t notice any improvement in the battery life with the vivo X100 compared to the X90. Some battery optimizations with a future software update would be nice, vivo.

That said, once the vivo X100’s battery is drained, you can juice it up with the bundled 120W power adapter, advertised to fill the cell from 1% to 50% in 11 minutes. In our testing, the vivo X100 did charge from 1% to 50% in 11 minutes. It went from 1% to 22% in 5 minutes, 45% in 10 minutes, 50% in 11 minutes, 64% in 15 minutes, 81% in 20 minutes, and 100% in 29 minutes. That’s three minutes faster than the X90 despite packing a slightly bigger battery.

vivo X100 hands-on review

We ran these charging tests in India with the Always-On Display turned on, and your mileage will likely vary depending on your usage and ambient temperature.

Conclusion

The vivo X90 was a really nice smartphone, even though it wasn’t a premium flagship like the X90 Pro. And things aren’t that different with the X100 series either. In fact, they are actually better. The X100 Pro is a top-class camera smartphone from vivo, but the X100 is no slouch. It feels like a proper flagship and flaunts a design similar to its Pro counterpart while coming with much-welcome upgrades.

We like the overall design of the vivo X100, and its blue color model looks absolutely beautiful. The smartphone also has an IP68 rating, which is an upgrade over the X90’s IP64 certification. Moreover, the vivo X100’s performance is very snappy, even in gaming.

While the X90 came with an AMOLED panel of 1,300 nits peak brightness, the X100 packs an 8T LTPO panel having a peak brightness of 3,000 nits. The screen is plenty bright, and we don’t have many complaints about it.

vivo X100 hands-on review

The vivo X100 has a slightly larger battery under the hood, but we didn’t notice any improvements in the battery life over the X90. On the upside, despite packing a bigger battery with the same 120W charging support, the X100’s cell juices up faster than the X90’s.

The most significant upgrade is in the camera department, though, with the 64MP periscope telephoto unit being the highlight. The periscope camera took nice photos up to 10x zoom, but the close-up pictures captured with the Super Macro mode impressed us more. The vivo X100’s camera system isn’t as good as the X100 Pro’s, which is expected considering the price difference of INR26,000 ($310/€290) in India, but you are still getting a good camera system.

In India, the vivo X100’s base model with 12GB RAM and 256GB storage costs INR63,999 ($770/€710) – which is the same as the launch price of X90’s 12GB/256GB version – while the 16GB/512GB variant is priced at INR69,999 ($840/€780). The vivo X100 Pro comes in a single 16GB/512GB configuration for INR89,999 ($1,080/€1,000).

To conclude, if you don’t have the budget for the vivo X100 Pro or don’t want to pay the premium for a 50MP 1″ type primary camera, 8K video recording, 4K Cinematic Mode, 50MP 100mm periscope telephoto unit with 4.3x optical zoom, and a slightly larger battery with 50W wireless charging, then the vivo X100 makes for a great buy.

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