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A new major smartphone maker has just landed in Europe

Vivo's first phone in Europe is a tweaked version of the gimbal-toting X50 Pro.

Published onOctober 20, 2020

vivo X51 holding it in the hand showing the rear housing
Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority
  • vivo has come to Europe and the UK.
  • The vivo X51 5G is the first phone to hit the markets.
  • It’s essentially a renamed vivo X50 Pro.

vivo is generally ranked as one of the top six or seven smartphone manufacturers in the world, and it’s been gradually growing its global footprint in recent times. The brand launched in several markets in the Middle East and Africa last year, and it’s now launching in Europe and the UK.

The first phone as part of the Chinese brand’s entry into Europe is the vivo X51 5G, which is essentially a vivo X50 Pro with minor tweaks to software. Much like the X50 Pro, the X51 5G packs an upper mid-range Snapdragon 765G chipset, a 90Hz FHD+ OLED panel, and a 4,315mAh battery with 33W wired charging. The latter sees your phone going from zero to 100% capacity in a respectable 68 minutes.

The biggest reason to get the X51 5G might be the cameras though, packing a 48MP f/1.6 main camera (IMX598) with “gimbal” OIS for superior stabilization. Our own Dhruv Bhutani thought the X50 Pro’s identical camera setup yielded “incredible” low light images and “exemplary” 4K/60fps video performance. So we’re definitely expecting the same results from the X51 5G.

Other rear cameras include an 8MP ultra-wide camera and a pair of zoom-related shooters. An 8MP periscope lens handles 5x optical zoom shots, while a 13MP sensor handles 2x snaps and portrait shots. A punch-hole cutout up front plays host to a 32MP shooter.

vivo X51 holding in the hand showing the home screen
Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority

So what are those aforementioned tweaks to software, then? Well, vivo notes that it worked with Google to make FunTouchOS more in line with stock Android and “close to European user habits.” These changes seem to be restricted to the European version of FunTouchOS.

“Following interviews with 9,000 people across Europe, we got clear feedback that stock Android is a preference of European users,” the company told Android Authority after the publication of this article.

“The European version of FuntouchOS is, therefore, quite different from the one used in the Chinese and Asia-Pacific markets, including changes in user interface, pre-installed applications and so on,” it explained. vivo also added that it made changes to camera calibration (e.g. color saturation and no beautification by default) while also bringing its pre-installed vivo apps (calculator, compass etc) more in line with the tweaked Android skin.

Either way, we’re glad to see a more stock-like look and feel as prior versions of vivo’s skin looked like a poor iOS imitation. vivo also addressed software update commitments, although it may have left us with more questions than answers.

“Based on our long-term cooperation with Google, vivo products will comply with Google’s Android security update rules. We provide software support during a period of four years, and Google security updates up to three years for X51,” the company told us in a briefing. We’re not really sure what “software support” entails but we’re guessing this doesn’t mean Android version updates, as security update pledges tend to outlast version update commitments.

In any event, other notable vivo X51 5G features include Android 10 (with Android 11 coming “soon”), Bluetooth 5.1, dual-SIM connectivity, an in-display fingerprint sensor, and NFC. The phone starts at £749 for the sole 8GB/256GB variant in the UK. There’s no word on Euro pricing, but vivo says the phone will be available in Germany, France, Spain, Italy and Poland.

vivo also noted that it’s in talks with retailers and carriers about stocking phones. Looking for flagship vivo phones like the Nex series or vivo products other than phones in Europe? Well, the brand says you should “watch this space.”

Next: Who is BBK, the world’s second largest phone manufacturer?

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