Vivo X70 Pro+ full review
For one of the biggest phone manufacturers in the world, Vivo remains remarkably unknown in the West. That’s never felt more true than with the X70 Pro+ - a phenomenal flagship, with a credible claim to being the best camera phone in the world right now, but almost impossible to buy outside of Asia.
While Vivo launched the X60 series in Europe, none of the X70 phones were given the same global treatment – though they are on sale across much of Asia and the Middle East at least. Let's hope the X80 is a bit easier to buy.
Those lucky enough to be able to buy the X70 Pro+ will find a fantastic phone that fixes most of the problems that have plagued Vivo’s flagships so far. I’ve got my hesitations over aspects of the design, and Vivo’s Android skin can get in the bin, but in terms of pure performance this phone is nearly flawless.
Design & build
- Relatively slim and light
- Unusual, slick finish
- Strange reflective rear panel
- Only available in black
Vivo has been steadily evolving the design language of its X-series flagship phones. In many ways the X70 Pro+ feels like a natural next step for the line, while in others it makes some unexpected – and mostly unwelcome – sideways moves.
Let’s start with the positive. Like the X70 Pro, this is a slim and light phone – at least by ultra flagship standards. At 8.9mm thick and around 210g this isn’t a small phone per se, but considering the spacious 6.78in display its other dimensions are positively petite, and with curved edges it feels comfortable in the hand.
The X70 Pro+ is also waterproof, a first for Vivo’s flagship series. The phone has an IP68 rating – the highest around – meaning it has good protection against both dust and water.
While China has orange and blue models, in most countries the phone is only available in black - but it’s an unusual black to be fair. The phone is coated in a material Vivo calls ‘Fluorite AG’ which has a speckled, almost glittery finish. It’s also almost unbelievably slick and smooth – in a sense it makes the phone incredibly comfortable to hold, but it also always feels like it’s just on the verge of slipping out of my hand.
That won’t really matter if you decide to put a case on the phone of course, and Vivo does include a slightly flimsy leather-effect number in the box. You might want to buy your own though, because this case draws attention to the X70 Pro+’s other weird design choice.
The phone has a chunky, rectangular camera module to hold its four rear lenses, with a slightly accented right border – a nod to the stepped camera modules of earlier X phones. Next to that, though, is a large, mirrored plate of glass interrupted by ‘Pro+’ branding and the logos of both Vivo and camera partner Zeiss.
I don’t know why this plate, officially called the Ceramic Cloud Window, is there. Reflections are too distorted for it to serve usefully as a viewfinder mirror for selfie, not to mention the ugly logos right in the centre. It’s mostly just an ugly, shiny, square-ish block that both distracts from and accentuates the camera module. To be blunt: it’s weird, and I don’t like it.
Display & audio
- 120Hz, WQHD+, E5 AMOLED display
- In-display fingerprint scanner
- Stereo speakers
If elements of the design sometimes feel like a step back from the X60 Pro+, the same can’t be said for the display.
The larger, 6.78in panel is impressive by almost every metric: 120Hz variable refresh rate, WQHD+ resolution, and HDR10+ support with over 1 billion colours.
The panel uses E5 LTPO AMOLED tech, which is a jargon-heavy way of saying that you’ll get the colour range and deep contrast of OLED, plus big power savings that make the screen more efficient.
In practice, the panel looks beautiful. Really, this is an area where it’s almost impossible to pull most flagships apart these days, and while Vivo isn’t driving the tech forward particularly with this phone, it’s certainly keeping up with the competition.
The display is interrupted by a small, central punch-hole selfie camera that you can also use for face unlock. You’ll also find a fingerprint scanner built into the screen, which has proved one of the faster and more reliable that I’ve tried.
As for audio, the phone packs in stereo speakers and support for Hi-Res Audio, though unsurprisingly you won’t find a headphone jack. The speakers are probably one of the phone’s weak spots – the bass is thin, and max volume unimpressive – but this isn’t a big factor for most users anyway.
Specs & performance
- Top-tier Snapdragon 888+ chipset
- Up to 12GB RAM
- Can’t expand the storage
The X70 Pro+ is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888+ - the most powerful chipset around up until the recent launch of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. It’s joined by up to 12GB of RAM, and up to 512GB of storage – though with no microSD slot, you can’t expand this any further.
I don’t want to dwell on the phone’s performance too long, because it’s essentially typical for a phone with this tier of chipset in; by which I mean, it’s great. The Pro+ keeps up with all the important competition in artificial benchmarks, and in real-life it can game smoothly and multi-task with ease.
One quick note – it might look like the X70 Pro+ is being trounced on graphical performance by the X70 Pro and even the older X60 Pro+. It isn’t - these two phones have lower resolution displays, so have an easier time with rendering. All the other phones in that graph have similar WQHD+ resolutions to the X70 Pro+, and thus get similar results.
As for networking, there’s 5G support, of course. Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2 complete the networking specs, with NFC support for mobile payments and the like.
- Four rear lenses
- Exceptional low-light photography
- Superb stabilised video
If there’s one reason to buy the X70 Pro+, it’s undoubtedly the camera.
Vivo has flown under the radar for a few years when it comes to smartphone camera rankings, but the company is ready to make good on its promise – and plenty of R&D.
This phone features four rear cameras: a 50Mp main camera, 48Mp ultrawide, 12Mp 2x zoom lens, and 8Mp 5x zoom lens. Remarkably, all four feature optical image stabilisation (OIS) with the ultrawide also packing Vivo’s own miniaturised gimbal tech for extra stability.
Performance across all four lenses is phenomenal, in almost any setting. I’ve never used a phone with better dynamic range, especially when it comes to handling bright light sources without blowing them out, and what’s most impressive is that this holds even for the 5x periscopic zoom lens.
Those zoomed shots are almost always crisp thanks to the stabilisation, which also means that even the periscope is a functional lowlight option. The best results here still come from the larger sensors on the main and ultrawide cameras though, which put out night mode photos only rivalled this year by the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro.
Where Vivo excels further is in video though. Few Android brands come close to Apple for videography, but Vivo is one of them. In this case, it’s thanks in large part to the OIS and gimbal tech, which make this the perfect phone for vlogging or filming on the go, steadying everything you shoot. The standard stabilisation works at up to [email protected], though if you want to kick on the intense Ultra stabilisation you’ll be limited to shooting in 1080p.
Finally, on the front you’ll find a 32Mp selfie camera. This is...fine. It’s perfectly decent, and will get the job done, but doesn’t keep up with the exceptional level set by the rear lenses. Look to Vivo’s V21 if you want a better selfie shooter, where they managed to squeeze OIS into the front-facing camera.
Battery & charging
- Decent day-long battery life
- Fast 55W wired charging
- First Vivo phone with wireless charging
For all of the X70 Pro+’s power, it’s no real surprise that battery life isn’t its biggest strength.
To be clear, the battery life isn’t bad. The phone will last a day of typical use – web browsing, social media, Spotify, and a bit of camera use – but it won’t do it with oodles of juice left over. After a year or two of prolonged use I worry this won’t really be an all-day phone any more, but it’s hard to say for sure – and to be fair, the same could be said for most rival flagships.
At least charging is more impressive. 55W wired charging returns from the previous gen, topping the phone up to 44% in just 15 minutes, and 83% in half an hour.
More excitingly, Vivo has finally caught up with the competition and introduced wireless charging. The company certainly waited to get it right – in addition to support standard Qi chargers, the Pro+ can handle 50W wireless charging with a compatible Vivo charger – almost as fast as it is wired.
10W reverse wireless charging completes the set, allowing you to use the phone to top up the battery on a smartwatch or headphones when in a pinch.
- Ships with Android 11
- Three years of updates
- Vivo’s Funtouch OS skin needs serious improvement
- Unwelcome bloatware installed by default
Software has long been the weak spot for Vivo phones, and sadly nothing has changed yet.
While in Europe the company tends to release phones with software that’s close(ish) to stock, the Asian markets where the X70 Pro+ is found still get the company’s Funtouch OS Android skin.
There are a few problems here. Funtouch is, by modern standards, ugly and cluttered, with confusing menus and an awkward interface. It’s not unusable, but it’s not a patch on the efforts by the likes of Samsung and OnePlus to improve on the base Android experience.
Vivo also insists on shipping the phone not only with a full suite of Vivo’s own apps that clutter the phone up, but proper bloatware too. You’ll find third-party apps and games you don’t want installed by default, and even built-in ads in the form of apps called ‘Hot Apps’ and ‘Hot Games’, designed to look like app folders but in fact simply extensions of Vivo’s digital storefront for a few bits of sponsored software.
The only bright spot on the software side is Vivo’s commitment to three years of Android updates. The X70 Pro+ ships with Android 11, so in theory should see updates through to Android 14 before it becomes obsolete – a promise that’s comparable to other major brands and still ahead of some of the competition.
Price & availability
The X70 Pro+ is out now in China, India, and much of south Asia and parts of the Middle East. It’s not officially out anywhere in Europe, nor North America.
In India, the phone starts from ₹79,990 – which converts to around £800/$1,100 – putting it firmly in the premium flagship price band.
While it’s not officially available worldwide, you can still buy the X70 Pro+ from AliExpress and other grey market retailers, though you run the risk of long shipping times and customs fees.
If you’re in the UK or Europe, you may be better off looking at the X60 Pro – which is available here – or some of the other best Vivo phones we’ve reviewed. Otherwise, check out our pick of the best flagship phones and best Android phones for more of the competition.
The X70 Pro+ is a fantastic piece of hardware. You’ll get top performance, fast charging, and a beautiful display – not to mention one of the absolute best cameras in any phone right now, and I really do mean that.
There are downsides. This is the first Vivo flagship phone in a few years that I haven’t loved the look of, with some misguided design choices that I hope the company will walk back in the next generation. Its software struggles continue too, with an awkward UI and bloatware that get in the way of a premium experience elsewhere.
Vivo is this close to making the best flagship phones out there, and its operating system is the last piece of the puzzle. As it stands, that subpar software may be a dealbreaker some – and I wouldn’t blame you if it were – but the hardware here couldn’t be much better.
Vivo X70 Pro+: Specs
- Android 11 with Funtouch OS 12
- 6.78in WQHD+ AMOLED, 120Hz, HDR10+
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 888+
- 8/12GB RAM
- 256/512GB internal storage
- 50Mp, f/1.6 main lens with OIS
- 48Mp, f/2.2 ultrawide lens with OIS & gimbal stabilisation
- 12Mp, f/1.6, 2x zoom telephoto lens with OIS
- 8Mp, f/3.4, 5x zoom periscope lens with OIS
- 32Mp, f/2.5 selfie lens
- Fingerprint scanner (in-screen)
- Bluetooth 5.2
- IP68 rating
- 4500mAh non-removable battery
- 55W wired charging
- 50W wireless charging 164.5×75.2×8.9mm