2022 Winners and losers: vivo
vivo was among the top smartphone players, although once again western markets only saw a fraction of their lineup. The company launched some impressive products in 2022, but it wasn’t without missteps either.
Winner: vivo X80 Pro
The X80 series didn’t have a Pro+ variant, meaning the X80 Pro was the flagship this time around. It was launched in April, and at the time it was everything you could want from a flagship – the best chipset from Qualcomm (or Mediatek at home), four impressive cameras, Zeiss optics with T* lens coating, OIS, fast charging.
Eight months later, it’s still a phone worth considering if you’re one for non-traditional brands. The camera island design is questionable to say the least, but thankfully all the shooters do a fantastic job.
The phone took more than two months to hit international markets – and the official price in Europe was just south of €1,200, which is on par with the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra.
The phone comes with vivo V1+ ISP, which works wonders for videos in low light – we can see details in the footage that cannot be seen with the human eye, and of course in 4K. Vivo X80 Pro performance in the dark is borderline night vision.
Losers: vivo V25 and vivo V25 Pro
There are three phones in the V25 family, and we weren’t impressed with the vanilla and the Pro during our reviews. The reason we are grouping them together is that they have similar flaws.
The V25 and V25 Pro were supposed to be a step above the V23 and V23 Pro that were introduced earlier in 2022, and both were priced slightly higher than direct competitors.
Left: vivo V25 • Right: vivo V25 Pro
Still, for some reason vivo decided to leave out key features that make the mid-ranger harder to recommend. The Vivo V25 pair has no NFC, no 3.5mm audio jack, no intrusion protection, no secondary selfie camera.
vivo launched the V25 in some markets as the X80 Lite, continuing its practice of rebranding phones multiple times – a habit we’re not particularly fans of.
Winner: vivo X Fold/Fold+
vivo launched two foldable phones this year, although they were quite similar. The Plus was launched five months after the first X Fold, and it came with the updated Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 and its more powerful CPU. The battery also grew along with the charging speed from 66W to 80W.
The biggest problem in the world of foldables is the folder, which is a dealbreaker for many users. The hinge that vivo used in these two phones is said to be “undetectable”, although we felt and saw it in real-life scenarios. That said, the folder is hardly an issue when viewing content, and it’s not really noticeable during use.
The company also brought a new color with the X Fold+ – an appealing red leather back, which is also seen on the vivo X90 Pro+. Vivo is clearly banking on this being the hero color and we can’t wait to see the design reach more devices, hopefully even beyond the flagship X series.
Winner: iQOO Neo6
The iQOO sub-brand does its own thing, like the Neo series that can be placed in the flagship-killer premium category, and we loved the Neo6 that was launched on the international stage.
Yes, the phone runs on a dated Snapdragon 870 instead of a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, but it’s still a very capable chip.
What we especially loved about the iQOO Neo 6 is its design and lightweight body. Today’s smartphones are getting heavier and larger all the time. Meanwhile, this vivo phone has all the necessary features without going overboard – an excellent screen, 80W fast charging and great video and photo quality from the main camera.
The phone is primarily targeted in India, where it can be purchased for as low as INR 30,000 or just around $360. This is definitely among the best offers of the year.
Winners and losers: The partnership with the FIFA World Cup
2022 was quite an unusual year for football fans. Instead of getting their fix of WC games in June and July, we got a tournament in November and December.
The 2022 World Cup was supposed to be the culmination of a six-year partnership between vivo and FIFA, in which the technology company also supported other tournaments – the Confederations Cup in 2017, the World Cup in Russia in 2018 and the Arab Cup. in 2021.
However, the unusual timing meant that the company had to promote its X90 series, which is currently only available in China, and China did not qualify for the tournament. While all advertising is good for promoting brand recognition, it always works best when there is an actual product people can buy involved. And the X90 series was not at the time of the tournament.