Monsters from Asia: the camera-centric Vivo Xshot


The phone we'll highlight for you today is the second entry by Chinese Vivo -- the company that produced the world's first smartphone with a QHD (1440x2560) display in the Xplay 3S. But today the spotlights are on another Vivo phone -- the camera-centric Xshot.

Announced just two days ago, the 5.2-inch (1080x1920) Vivo Xshot deserves a spot in our fortnightly column on amazing tech from Asia (and more specifically, China). And how could it not? Not only does it pack some drool-worthy camera specs both at the front and back, but the rest of the internals are also very much worthy of a true 2014 flagship. Let's dissect it.

This being a camera-centric device, it makes sense to start with a visit to the imaging department. The Xshot packs a 13-megapixel (wait for it) second-gen stacked sensor from Sony with super-fast, super-wide 6-element, f/1.8 lens. "Meh", you say? Perhaps the fact that the unit is optically stabilized will help, not to mention that two-tone dual LED flash, much alike the iPhone 5s. The phone also comes with a dedicated two-step physical shutter key on the side (a rarity these days), and is capable of 4K video recording, along with 120 frames per second slow-mos. It also boasts special modes, like the ability to apply a bokeh effect (super-trendy right now), a burst mode, and a dedicated Smart Night Mode. As has become typical for Chinese smartphones, the selfie cam at the front is quite amazing, too. In fact, this is, hands down, the most impressive-sounding front unit we've heard of. It's got an 8-megapixel sensor with wide-angled (84-degree), f/2.4 lens, and, get this, a front-facing, full-spectrum flash. If that doesn't spell "ultimate selfie phone" we don't know what does.

As promised, the Xshot is more than just a very capable camera phone (on paper, at least) -- it's also a powerhouse in terms of raw power. It comes in two versions -- one with a Snapdragon 800 chip, 2GB of RAM, and 16GB of internal storage (microSD-expandable), and another with the latest Snapdragon 801 SoC, 3GB of RAM, and 32GB of on-board memory. But that's not all. Another perk audiophiles will have a kick out with the Xshot are its Hi-Fi capabilities. It's got chips from Cirrus Logic, Maxim Integrated, and even Texas Instruments.

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Given Vivo's premium stature in its home market, and all the impressive specs bundled into the Xshot, you'd probably expect it to cost quite a bit. It does. The less-potent, Snapdragon 800/2GB RAM version costs the equivalent of $480, while the more powerful, Snapdragon 801/3GB of RAM model goes up to $560.

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