The Vivo X50 Pro 5G series sports unique gymbal camera stabilization and Samsung's new 50MP sensor

The Vivo X50 Pro 5G series sports unique gymbal camera stabilization and Samsung's new 50MP sensor
Vivo has been teasing us for a while with the unique gymbal-style camera stabilization on its new X50 series of phones, and today made the trio official, just as promised. The Vivo X50, the X50 Pro and the X50 Pro+ are actually three very distinctive models, and not just upgraded versions of each other despite the similar outwardly design.

The two more expensive siblings, however, bring two firsts to the smartphone industry - the first handset with a gimbal mechanism to stabilize the main camera, and the first with Samsung's brand new 50MP sensor that sports both pixel-binning and phase-detection autofocus. If you are wondering what all of those mean, check out the new X50 series specs and features details below.

  • Vivo X50 Pro+ specs: 6.56" 120Hz 1080p OLED display, Snapdragon 865, 50MP Samsung GN1 main camera, 5x periscope zoom camera, 4315mAh battery
  • Vivo X50 Pro specs: 6.56" 90Hz 1080p OLED display, Snapdragon 765 5G, 48MP main camera with gymbal stabilization, 5x periscope zoom camera, 4315mAh battery
  • Vivo X50 specs: 6.56" 90Hz 1080p OLED display, Snapdragon 765 5G, 48MP main camera, 4200mAh battery

Vivo X50 Pro and X50 Plus camera specs

Mobile photography, redefined

The subheading here is the slogan of the new X50 series, and while it sounds like just another marketing cliche, it's in fact relevant this time around. The Vivo and Oppo brands have been at the forefront of phone innovation in the last few years, introducing dual-screen phones, pop-up and "shark fin" cameras, half-screen fingerprint readers, and plenty of other forward thinking experiments.

For Vivo, said experiments are usually test-driven first with its Apex series of concept phones, and the Apex 2020 that was previewed back in February showed what may be in store for Vivo's flagships this year. Besides the impossibly curvy screen sides and the under-display front camera wishful thinking, the Apex 2020 concept featured a "48MP gimbal camera," and that new image stabilization idea is now likely to make it in a commercial device.

Vivo was quick to move from concept to reality, and the Vivo X50 Pro is the pioneering gymbal-bearer among phones. It, however, will get something else entirely, not the 48MP sensor of the Apex 2020. The "50" in the title doesn't denote 5G connectivity, albeit sereies has it, but clicks with the new 50MP Samsung sensor that is on the X50 Pro+.

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Samsung's brand new ISOCELL GN1 that is the company's first sensor that allows Tetracell (four physical 1.2 micron pixels make one virtual 2.4 micron unit) pixel-binning AND Dual Pixel phase-detection autofocus. The 108MP sensor of the Galaxy S20 Ultra has Nonacell (9-in-1) binning, but it is struggling to focus from very close distances, and Samsung may remedy that with the new GN1 sensor technology.

That "gimbal camera" will be the showstopper when the phone gets announced in the next two weeks or so, as it will allow the lens to basically float around a single axis for unprecedented stabilization while shooting video, or focusing during stills. Here's how it will work, according to the teaser that leaked on Weibo.

While detailing the Apex 2020 concept, Vivo advised that the gimbal approach can improve lens fluidity with up to 200% compared to the more orthodox optical image stabilization solutions that are in phones now. It took Vivo months of time and a lot of R&D team efforts to develop and miniaturize the module as the kit takes five times the area of your average phone camera, and more than three times the space that a periscope zoom camera, like the ones on the Galaxy S20 Ultra or P40 Pro take.

To wit, the gimbal system consists of "a limit mechanism, dual ball suspension, lens, voice coil motor, dual S-type FPC lines, T-FPC, magnetic frame, and protective cover," whatever all those mean, but the gist of it is that it is able to compensate for hand movements up to 300% better than the current optical image stabilization solutions.

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Given the better main sensor stabilization, overall the light sensitivity has increased 39%-220%, depending on how steady you have to hold the phone, i.e. the increase is larger in night shots when your camera has to be extremely steady for a decent picture. Here's an OIS vs the X50 Pro gimbal system comparison.

The gimbal suspension will be useful in freezing moving objects for perfect shots without edge blurring, too, so, overall, color us excited to take this baby for a spin when it is launched globally.

In addition to the gimbal thingy, the Apex 2020 concept smartphone presented something called Continuous Optical Zoom, in a world's first. The idea is to continuously zoom between 5x and 7.5x thanks to a “4-group lens combination” with two fixed lenses and two movable ones. It still has the periscope zoom design seen on recent 5x-10x optical zoom cameras, and maintains a thickness of only 6.2mm, ensuring it easily fits inside the smartphone.

While the Continuous Optical Zoom didn't make it into the X50 Pro and Pro+ models, they both do sport 5x periscope zoom lens which coupled with the large main sensors allows Vivo to boast with up to 60x Hyper Zoom levels.

The print on the phone's camera island says it covers 16mm-135mm equivalents, and that's after throwing in the ultrawide angle and macro lenses of the quad camera on the back in the X50 Pro series equation.

Vivo X50 Pro and X50 Plus price and release date

The X50 Pro lands with Qualcomm's upper midrange Snapdragon 765 with integrated 5G mode, and will cost the equivalent of $560 while the top-shelf Pro+ model comes with Snapdragon 865, and a starting price for the 8GB RAM version of about $700. The base X50 model is just $490 in the homeland, but those prices are bound to increase upon global launch.

The phones will be released this month (except the Pro+ that is coming July) and, besides the world's first gymbal phone camera system and the first 50MP Samsung sensor used in them, Vivo also boasts that the 7.49mm thick X50 is the slimmest 5G phone out there. Any takers?

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