Vivo took a long time to come. Months after announcing its intention to attack the European market, the Chinese manufacturer is finally landing 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 into it, the Chinese automaker has made the decision to postpone its launch for several months to get it right.
So here it is landing in the middle of October, when all 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 her to make herself known to France. This first launch is timid, Vivo wants above all to lay the foundations before a real start in 2021.
Who is Vivo?
If you follow new technology news diligently, the name Vivo is probably no stranger to you. If not, let us briefly introduce you to this very famous Chinese company which, with its 8% market share in the smartphone universe, is the 6th largest seller in the world today.
Founded in 2009 out of the Communications arm 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 are not in touch with 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 him to innovate.
“Vivo is an independent company and is not owned by any parent company. We invest in our own R&D and product development resources, and we do not share software and hardware development with any brand. We have over 10,000 people working in our nine R&D centers in Asia and the United States, and we are very proud of it. “ a company spokesperson told us.
Specializing in the world of smartphones, Vivo does not seek, unlike Oppo, Xiaomi or Huawei, to diversify into connected objects. The Chinese brand has stood out in recent years with its wacky concepts generally aimed at pushing the limits of mobile telephony. Every year, it unveils “APEX”, a product that is to the smartphone what the concept car is to the automobile. The last generation For example, ditched ports and buttons for pure wireless, features an extremely immersive display, an underscreen camera and variable optical zoom. Few of these technologies are ready to market, 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 try new experiences.
Paradoxically, Vivo is a pragmatic brand. While APEX is intended to be conceptual, the brand’s other products are intended to be successful and less adventurous. Vivo says he has “The philosophy of the manufacturer in no hurry”. He prefers to come after the others and be irreproachable. Before arriving in Europe, Vivo explains, for example, that she asked 9,000 Europeans (including 1,500 French) about their expectations, so as not to launch a product that was out of step with the market. For example, he came to the conclusion that its FuntouchOS overlay, which is a rather vulgar copy of iOS, was not suited to our habits. This is why the Vivo smartphones that will be launched in Europe will use an almost stock Android, with 4 years of guaranteed security updates. A choice that we can only welcome.
Finally, Vivo is a brand that intends to rely on “sponsorship” to expand its notoriety. Like Oppo when he arrived, Vivo believes that his success will depend on his ability to be known to the greatest number. 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 make itself known quickly. One question remains to be answered: is there a place for yet another Chinese challenger on the market?
The Vivo X51 5G, seduction operation
At its official launch on October 30, Vivo will market four smartphones in France. Three of them will be fairly classic and marketed at affordable prices, the fourth will focus on innovation to gain attention from social networks and media. This is the Vivo X51 5G, the first smartphone with a built-in “gimbal”. To put it simply, the camera of this mobile is able to move within its camera module. This allows it to enjoy optical stabilization unmatched on the market, without needing to purchase a stabilizer like the DJI Osmo Mobile.
Vivo’s technological achievement is quite phenomenal. The mobile’s three-axis stabilizer fits in just 363mm2 and is only 5 millimeters thick. When you shoot with the smartphone, a small pictogram in the middle of the screen allows you to see the amount of movement allowed. If you move 3 degrees or less (compared to 0.7 with conventional OIS), the video won’t shake at all. A digital stabilization algorithm allows a total of five-axis stabilization to be simulated.
At the time of writing, we have been content to play with this ultra-stabilization in our lab without really testing its limits. Our full test of the device will of course try to find out more.
Since it’s more than video in life, the Vivo X51 5G also puts the packet on photos. 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 takes versatility to the extreme to make you want to succumb to it.
Lightweight (181.5 grams), the Vivo X51 5G has a midrange to high end spec sheet. 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 display with a 90Hz refresh rate and claims certification. of water resistance IP53. The mobile can be recharged in the battery for 1 hour according to the measurements of our laboratory (33W charger). Finally, its 4315 mAh battery enabled it to obtain average results in our autonomy tests (2:30 p.m. in our versatility test).
During our first few minutes with the device, we were rather seduced by the efforts undertaken by Vivo to “Frenchize” its smartphones. The Vivo X51 5G is great fun to use and we can’t wait to test it out. Still, at 799 euros, the mobile is quite expensive. It’s hard to find a real direct competitor, as few mid-range cameras are so versatile in photography. The Pixel 5 (629 euros) and OnePlus North (399 euros), equipped with the same processor, however give a good indication of what the competition offers. At such a price and without a high-end processor, the device had better be irreproachable in photography.
In parallel, Vivo will also launch the X70, Y20s and Y11s on October 30. Over time, Vivo says she is convinced that history will prove her right. The market can still accommodate a new manufacturer. Maybe, but not all will survive.