As the image quality and resolution of smartphone cameras continue to increase, extra baggage in the shape of a compact camera becomes less and less appealing. China's Vivo is about to release a flagship LTE-capable Android phone that makes a standalone snapper even more of an unnecessary burden. The Xshot features a 13 MP camera at the back with a deliciously fast F1.8 lens and optical image stabilization, and an 8 MP selfie cam to the front, along with 4K video and high-end audio as added pot-sweeteners.
The new addition to Vivo's X series family, which includes the Xplay and X3 smartphones, has a minimalist design with a metal frame and metal buttons and a smooth curved back designed for comfortable one-handed operation. The Xshot benefits from a two-stage physical camera button on the side, with a half press to focus, full to fire the shutter. A double click will shoot a burst of five photos, which is a useful feature.
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A 6-piece, large aperture F1.8 lens at the back allows the light through to a 13 megapixel second-generation stack sensor module from Sony. When hand shake is detected, the two motor optical image stabilization system moves the lens in the opposite direction to compensate for any jitter. This combination, along with ArcSoft image processing algorithms, holds the promise of good low light performance and clear picture quality.
Vivo has included various creativity filters and borders, a beautifying make-over effect (including virtual make-up), and a digital bokeh effect for a subject in sharp focus and a blurred background. There's an AE lock function to lock metering for more natural-looking shadows, and a feature to make photographing children a little easier. The smartphone will emit sounds so that the child subject looks towards the camera, with face detection auto snapping the shot.
Like the iPhone 5s and HTC One (M8), the Xshot has a dual-color LED flash for improved color balance, and will also keep toe-to-toe with the OnePlus One and Oppo's Find 7 in the video recording department, being claimed capable of 4K (3840 x 2160) video recording.
The Xshot has a rather nice 8 MP camera to the front with its own LED flash, for sharp-looking selfies and webchats, and group shots should be a bit less cramped thanks to an 84-degree wide-angle lens.
Vivo prides itself on the audio prowess of its smartphones, and the Xshot looks to be no exception. The company has teamed up with Cirrus Logic to develop a customized version of the CS4398 DAC, there's a Maxim MAX97220 headphone amp and a TLV320 ADC from Texas instruments. The device supports playback of OGG and FLAC files, as well as AAC, WAV and MP3.
The smartphone runs Android 4.3 with a proprietary Funtouch UI, has dimensions of 146.45 x 73.3 x 7.99 mm (5.8 x 2.9 x 0.3 in), though the snazzy camera does bulk that out a touch, and tips the scales at 148 g (5.2 oz). There's a 5.2 inch 1080p IPS display out front, a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor beating away inside, Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi and a 2600 mAh battery.
The Xshot will be available in two versions. The Elite edition uses 2.3 GHz 8974AA processor, has 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage (with microSD expansion), and support for LTE mobile networks, and will be released in China by the end of May for CNY2,998 (US$480).
The Ultimate edition sports a 2.5 GHz Snapdragon 801 (8974AC) processor, 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage (also with microSD expansion), and offers both FDD and TDD 4G network support. This model will follow a little later for CNY3,498.
Availability outside of China has yet to be announced.
Product page: Xshot (in Chinese)View gallery - 5 images