The X series from Vivo is a showcase of its innovation and its most ambitious jab in the market where it has been capturing both market share and mindshare in the last couple of years.
The company goes all out with its flagship X series, and therefore, I was quite interested to try the vivo X100, a successor to the X90 from last year with upgrades all over, including the innards, eclectic yet subtle design, and upping the ante on camera.
But does it have enough to justify a position on the flagship table amidst fierce competition in the Indian smartphone market? Let’s find out.
The Vivo X100 is not much of a departure from the design language of the company’s flagship X series. However, unlike the vegan leather finish of the X90 series, the X100 sports glass back with a silky textured finish with symmetrical shiny arc lines (and hence, no fingerprint smudges!).
There’s the large circular camera module that is quite in-your-face, but a benefit of the same is that the phone doesn’t wobble when it is placed on a flat surface. The stainless-steel ring around the camera module is, well, odd. It’s thinner on one side and gradually thickens. Vivo calls it the ‘Moon Halo’ design but the off symmetry really triggers me. The ring will prevent scratches to the camera module, so I do appreciate it.
On the front side, the 6.78-inch AMOLED screen is impressively bright with sharp and vivid colors – there’s the ability to adjust the color balance and switch between different screen resolutions. It offers a smooth 120Hz refresh rate that adjusts itself depending on what's on the screen.
At 204 g, the X100 is not quite light, but that’s not unexpected for a smartphone with a similar chassis and a loaded camera setup. However, one-handed usage isn’t much of a problem, especially due to the slight curved edges.
Overall, the X100 looks pretty good, and the aesthetics are pleasing and fitting for a premium smartphone. A better build quality would’ve upped the ante though. Additionally, the gorgeous, bright display - with high resolution and a high dynamic refresh rate - makes for an immersive content consumption experience.
The Vivo X100 is powered by the new MediaTek Dimensity 9300 chipset coupled with up to 16GB LPDDR5X RAM and 512GB of UFS 4.0 internal storage. All that technical gobbledygook means that the X100 offers an impressive performance with smooth multitasking as well as gaming experience. There’s no stuttering or lagging, even during intense gaming sessions.
The smartphone runs on a 5,000mAh battery – and it nails battery life, validating the company’s efforts in battery optimizations. A single full charge lasts an entire day, even with above average smartphone usage. And when in a pinch, the 120W fast charging support allows you to quickly charge the device. The Vivo X100 charges from zero to 100% in less than 25 minutes; and about 50% in just over ten minutes. Vivo calls it ‘FlashCharge’ which won’t offend fans of that comic book character who possesses ‘superspeed’. Unlike the Vivo X100 Pro though, this one skips on wireless charging.
The X Series from Vivo is known for its incredible camera capabilities and since the last few iterations, it has been competing with the best in the industry. Of course, the X100 Pro is the real deal, but the Vivo X100 is no slouch either. And I was surprised to discover that.
The Vivo X100 comes with a triple camera setup with a 50MP primary camera with Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), a 50MP ultra-wide-angle camera, and a 64MP telephoto camera with up to 100x digital zoom.
The photos taken outdoors or in well-lit conditions are sharp, crisp, and pack in a lot of details. The colors are slightly punchier, which most people prefer these days. That said, photos clicked indoors in brightly lit rooms appeared a bit washed out. Vivo talks a lot about night photography, and the claims aren’t misplaced. On most occasions, the photos come with good color reproduction and minimal noise.
Additionally, portraits on the Vivo X100 are delightful with pretty good edge detection… there’s a bunch of filters that one can indulge in, including a useful guide on how to pose. You can also adjust the background blur, giving you greater control over your portraits. The telephoto lens on the X100 is remarkable. The super macro mode allows for some delightful close-up shots that are crisp and clear.
The wide-angle camera too takes great pictures. The photos are sharp and crisp up to 3X zoom levels thanks to the OIS. The colors start to go off slightly on switching to 10X zoom, even though you can capture a lot of details. Of course, there’s the ability to zoom 100X, but pictures captured at 100X lacked details and color accuracy. It can be used to record something of note at a distance (if you’re able to stabilize the camera, that is) but not for capturing memories or something important.
On the front, the Vivo X100 features a 32MP camera which offers a middling experience. The selfies in daylight conditions are good enough even if they are not so vibrant, but the ones in low light are often not so impressive and leave one underwhelmed.
Overall, the camera on the Vivo X100 is quite spicy and allows average users to capture some excellent shots. That’s the true mark of a good camera system in my opinion.
While Vivo continues to impress across departments, Funtouch OS – the company’s proprietary Android skin – has often been its Achilles’ heel for quite a while. That said, the company has made positive strides in this area over the last couple of years.
The Vivo X100 runs Funtouch OS 14 powered by Android 14 out of the box. The user interface is cleaner and offers a lot of customizability in terms of styles, animations, and effects. The software is optimized to take advantage of the powerful hardware the X100 packs. It offers a smooth Android experience although there are a few bugs here and there that cause occasional glitches but nothing that is a deal breaker.
There’s still a bunch of bloatware, even though a lot of pre-installed apps can be uninstalled (It’s quite odd that a smartphone comes pre-loaded with three payment apps – GPay, PhonePe, and Paytm!). The bloatware, the push for first-party apps and app store, and the almost-forced lockscreen experience leads to a lot of unnecessary notifications and an annoying out-of-the-box experience for a smartphone.
In its early days, Funtouch OS was a poor imitation of Apple’s iOS but thankfully, it has matured over time. As the company makes rapid advances in innovation and grabs market share, Vivo must take a long look at the state of Funtouch OS and chart its way forward.
The Vivo X100 will get three years of Android updates and four years of security updates which was par for course in 2023, but with extended updates guaranteed from the likes of Google and Samsung now, it is just a good enough promise.
The Vivo X100 is priced at ₹63,999 for the 12GB + 256GB variant and ₹69,999 for the 16GB + 512GB variant. I tried the very gorgeous ‘Stargaze Blue’ color variant that, with its unique design at the back, really appealed to me. The more subtle folks can opt for an equally pleasing ‘Asteroid Black’ version.
The Vivo X100 packs notable improvements from the previous generation, which includes a better camera setup and the impressive MediaTek Dimensity 9300 processor along with a sleek design and stellar battery life. It is a well-rounded, feature-packed smartphone that ticks off all the boxes and should appeal to a wide variety of users.
Of course, there are compelling alternatives in the market from the likes of iQOO and OnePlus along with Google (the Pixel 7 Pro is discounted now) that one can consider.
Abhishek Baxi is a technology journalist and digital consultant.