The Vivo X100 Ultra might be 2024’s new smartphone camera champion

Vivo X100 Ultra color options
Vivo X100 Ultra color options Vivo

The Vivo X100 Ultra is the latest and greatest in the X100 and X100 Pro line, which was first announced in November 2023 in China. As the rumors hinted at, the X100 Ultra is designed to be a photography beast and the new flagship in the lineup.

The main sensor is a 50-megapixel 1-inch Sony LYT-900, the same as the Vivo X100 Pro, but the Ultra comes with a 200-megapixel telephoto camera with 3.7x optical image stabilization and 85mm focal length. It can zoom up to 20x without loss of image detail, which puts even the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra’s 5x optical zoom on the telephoto lens to shame. The other rear camera is a 50MP ultrawide with a 116-degree field of view and 14mm focal length, and you get a 50MP sensor on the front for selfies and video chats.

In many ways, the real competitor to the Vivo X100 Ultra isn’t Samsung, but the Xiaomi 14 Ultra and Oppo Find X7 Ultra, which come with two telephoto lenses to allow the phones to shoot images and videos at similar focal lengths. Vivo also supports the ability to shoot images and video at similar focal lengths, and does it without having two telephoto lenses. This is a neat trick that Vivo pulls off by having a “floating” design on its camera array that lets you click macro shots at different focal lengths. You get five focal length selections: 24mm, 28mm, 35mm, 50mm, and 85mm, and the aperture is adjustable from f/0.95 to f/16.

Vivo X100 Ultra rear camera array
the Vivo X100 Ultra rear camera array Vivo

That’s not all the X100 Ultra camera offers, though. In terms of video capabilities, it has everything you’d expect, including 4K cinematic portrait video (the same as the Pro), 4K/120 frames-per-second (fps) slow-motion video, 4K/60 fps Dolby Vision video, 3D photo and video capture, and a new monochrome color profile.

Perhaps the most interesting camera feature is underwater photography; Vivo claims the phone is better able to handle underwater shots by addressing green hues and murkiness and silt, meaning you can take underwater shots in not just the crystal clear waters that the Caribbean or Maldives are famous for, but also murky ponds and swamps. The phone is IP69 rated and capable of shooting at depths of 40 meters (131 feet), but it will require a third-party diving case. And speaking of third party cases, there’s also a camera photography kit that turns the phone into what’s basically a DSLR camera.

X100 Ultra camera kit
X100 Ultra camera kit Vivo

Finally, the X100 Ultra is no slouch in the hardware department. It comes with a Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset that’s powering a 6.8-inch OLED QHD+ screen with a 120Hz refresh rate. You also get a 5,500mAh battery, which sounds like it should be enough for all-day use on paper, though heavy camera usage is notoriously battery-hungry. There’s also 80-watt wired fast charging and 30W wireless fast charging. Finally, there’s an ultrasonic fingerprint sensor and support for two-way satellite communication, and the phone comes running Android 14 (OriginOS 4).

As for price and availability, it shouldn’t surprise you to hear that the phone is currently only available in China. It’ll run you 6,499 Chinese yuan (around $898) for the base 12GB RAM/256GB storage model, 7,299 yuan ($1,009) for the 16GB RAM/512GB storage model, and 7,999 yuan for the 16GB RAM/1TB storage model. It’ll be available in Titanium, White, and Space Gray colors.