Vivo X51 5G Mobile Phone Review

In a market dominated by a handful of mobile phone manufacturers, I’ve always been interested in seeing what relative outsiders can bring to the table. Before my current iPhone 11, I was always a Huawei fan because of their solid camera offerings compared to the competition. In 2021, the market is very different though, with plenty of mid-tier manufacturers offering great value phones with features that provide a premium feel.

Vivo, while not a giant in the mobile market, has slowly built a reputation in recent years for offering solid performing phones at a fraction of the price of the competition. The X51 is a bit of a venture outside of their typical production, proving a more premium feature set compared to the other models. With a Qualcomm SM7250 Snapdragon 765G, an Adreno 620 GPU and a 8GB of RAM, the X51 isn’t at the bleeding edge, but is more than prepared for anything you throw at it.

Running Android 10, Funtouch 10.0, the Vivo X51 runs incredibly smooth. From gaming to camera use and even everyday browsing, the phone never skips a beat delivering excellent performance consistently. It’s the smoothest I’ve personally seen Android running on a phone for some time and even comes close to the seamless feel of iOS.

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Backing up that performance is a 4315 mAh battery that performs pretty solidly with moderate use. Typical use without any gaming usually lasted me anywhere between one to two days, while a game heavy session might bring that performance down to a day. Fortunately a fast-charging USB-C port – although the phone does not come with a fast charger – should have your battery back to full in no time.

The Vivo X51 really shines in two different ways. Firstly, it has a versatile set of camera features that gives some of the biggest phones in the market a run for their money. Featuring four cameras on its back panel, the X51 features a quad 48MP camera with an inbuilt gimbal for smooth video filming. The four cameras provide a dizzying array of photo options including a brilliant night mode, autofocus motion tracking, and a 60x zoom mode amongst other things.

I really have to talk about the night mode and how well the camera picks up light. I’ve always been a fan of astrophotography and having got a tripod early last year, I will occasionally go out and snap some images of the sky above if it was clear. I ventured out with the X51 at 1 AM on Christmas morning and snapped some of the clearest and most detailed night sky images I have taken to date. It far exceeds the capabilities of my iPhone 11 and my Huawei P20 Pro, and Vivo should be commended for that.

The gimbal feature is also a fantastic addition, creating smooth footage in a number of different scenarios. As someone who used to film wrestling shows from a mobile phone, I can’t tell you how useful having a gimbal was in that situation. Rather than using a large physical gimbal, the X51 fits it within the camera system itself, giving users the ability to shoot high-production visuals without the extraneous budget that comes with it. It’s a shame the gimbal feature is limited to 1080p footage, as it’s pretty standard for phones to film in 4k these days.

The other area the X51 shines is in its gaming mode. Similar to the way many PC CPUs can overclock for extra performance in gaming, the X51 comes with a performance mode designed to get just a little more out of games. Titled ‘Ultra Game Mode’, the phone turns off all notifications, offers numerous optimisation modes and brings options like surround sound to the table. While I’m not sure there’s much extra raw performance it adds to games, playing titles like Genshin Impact and PUBG felt incredibly smooth to me with no obvious performance issues or frame drops. Every little boost helps, of course.

I’m also a big fan of the X51’s design. It’s big, but not overly large, with a curved screen that looks smart and stylish as it wraps to the side sides of the phone, and the silver back providing the look and feel of a premium product. I never really understood the allure of curved screens until using the X51, but the 90hz display looks fantastic when watching YouTube or browsing Instagram, providing an endless feel to the corners of the screen.

On the audio front, the X51 is a little disappointing, lacking a dedicated headphone slot and packing a mono speaker. For a phone geared at mobile gaming, it’s likely that people might want to have their phone plugged while gaming, so a dedicated audio jack would mean users don’t have to choose between the two – Bluetooth headphones often have a little latency. A mono speaker also feels like another shortcoming in a phone that’s designed for multimedia use, especially should users decide to play games through them.

Price-wise the X51 is one of the most expensive in the company’s range, setting customers back around £750, although the phone has already come down in price since its release. You can currently grab one for below £700 at a number of websites. Even at that lower price, the cost is considerably expensive for the specs on offer, with the primary draw at that cost being both the camera and its gaming performance. Sitting in that pricing bracket pits the X51 against the likes of the Huawei P30 Pro, the Samsung Galaxy S20 and even the Apple iPhone 11 which are all premium handhelds and have better specs.

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Summary
The X51 is a solid mobile phone which boasts one of the most impressive cameras on the mobile market, albeit at a pretty expensive price for the chipset it’s packing. Even with that in mind, I’ve really enjoyed using the X51 these past few months. It’s a solid phone that packs a punch for those who enjoy mobile photography and gaming in a handset filled with great features.
Good
  • Fantastic camera features
  • Great gaming performance
  • Sleek 90hz Screen
Bad
  • No audio jack and a mono speaker
  • Pricey vs. the competition
8

4 Comments

  1. Erm, what? Is TSA turning into a general technology website?

    Tbh, this stinks of paid promotion, which, by UK law, needs to be disclosed to the reader.

    • Hey! TSA has had a pretty broad scope for a while now, though always related to video games. In the past we’ve had reviews of comic books, anime, movies, and more, as well as a lot of gaming oriented tech. The Vivo X51 is geared toward gaming in certain ways, and so we decided to review it. Of course, we also looked at the rest of what the phone can do as well.

      This is not a paid promotional post, and we do not host sponsored content on our site. As is common practice, it’s a loaner handset which will be returned to the company or PR agency.

      • Hey Stefan, I did do a search after posting the comment and noticed a couple of other mobile reviews from a few years ago that I maybe missed. I also took into account the mention of the gaming features present in the article, though, with the greatest respect, I did find the article to read more like a bloated tech specs, but perhaps that’s just the nature of a review of this type of product.

        Admittedly, I’m not versed in these laws but, as far as I am aware, products on loan still count as to be disclosed. The following blurb is taken from the gov.uk website on an article title ‘Social media endorsements: being transparent with your followers’ (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/social-media-endorsements-guide-for-influencers/social-media-endorsements-being-transparent-with-your-followers).

        “Say when you’ve been paid, given or loaned things

        Any form of reward, including money, gifts of services or products, or the loan of a product, is ‘payment’ – whether you originally asked for it or got sent it out of the blue (e.g. ‘freebies’). Influencers receive freebies because of their high public profile and because brands or businesses hope they might post about them in return. If you have not purchased a product or service yourself, but received it free, make this clear.”

        When I first read the article it did give me the impression this was now Thomas’ new phone, until I re-read the first paragraph and noticed his ‘current phone’. I think a simple disclaimer in the first couple of paragraphs that this is a loan would make the article more genuine because, let’s be real, had this review given the phone a bad review it either wouldn’t have been posted or the sites likelihood to review another phone on loan from Vivo would be severely impacted.

      • I appreciate the concern, and we will reconsider for the future, both in individual cases and across the board. The guidance that you reference is geared more toward individuals as opposed to specialist gaming and tech websites, and we are in line with sites like Eurogamer, Engadget, What Hi-Fi et al.

        If we ever host paid promotions (which we have no intention of doing), that will be made abundantly clear.

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