Another 1080p quad-core Android phone, you say? Well, there’s a bit more to it. Launched by BBK spin-off Vivo in Beijing just now, this 5.7-inch Xplay goes one step further than its smaller X1 and X1S cousins by packing one extra audio chip, the OPA2604 op amp from Texas Instruments, in order to add extra oomph to Cirrus Logic’s CS4398 DAC and CS8422 stereo asynchronous sample-rate converter — both of which are featured on the X1 series. If you’re a DIY audio enthusiast, you might have already tinkered with an OPA2604 while making your own headphone amplifier; so in other words, Vivo is trying to save you the hassle.
Before we dive into the audio performance, let’s quickly look at the rest of the phone first. Underneath the 500 nits LTPS display lies a Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 quad-core SoC (1.7GHz, 2GB RAM and Adreno 320 graphics engine), 16GB or 32GB of built-in storage, 3,400mAh battery and NFC. On the back you’ll find the increasingly common Sony 13-megapixel imager next to a pair of speakers (FLAC playback is supported natively, by the way), but flip the phone over and you’ll be looking at a surprisingly generous 5-megapixel front-facing camera — much like the one on Oppo’s mid-range Ulike 2. Vivo’s somehow managed to pack all of this into a 7.99mm-thick body, while boasting a screen bezel of just 2.3mm thick (sorry,Pantech!) and a large viewable-to-total area ratio of 75.11 percent. Alas, for 3G there’s only WCDMA 2100, meaning the phone may have to rely more on GSM 850/900/1800/1900 or WiFi in many parts of the world. More after the break.
On the software side, we’re happy to see that Vivo has finally ditched the old settings menu that it shamelessly copied from iOS (and the same goes for the X1S, the 720p plus quad core refresh of the X1), but fans of vanilla Android 4.2 may still struggle to love Vivo’s ROM. That said, the company’s thrown a handful of surprises that may change one’s mind. For one, to solve the ergonomic issue, the Xplay comes with a single-hand mode dubbed “Free Touch”: shake the phone sideways twice and you’ll get a small window mirroring the current screen in your preferred lower corner (as pictured above) in real time, thus letting you tap your desired spot or scroll the web page with your holding thumb. What’s more, you can also set your preferred window size to suit your thumb.
Other nifty features include several touch-less gestures: wave across front of phone to flip page, hover hand over icon to launch app with a cursor, hover over phone to unlock, and place hand on front side of phone to mute an incoming call (makes sense since we kinda already do that in certain situations). There’s also native support for transfer of files larger than 4GB, meaning you’re more likely to use WiFi Display or DLNA to stream your large video files, if not the videos supplied by Vivo’s online store (in collaboration with LeTV and Baidu’s iQiyi video platform). Last but not least, yes, you can watch video in a pop-up window over other apps.
The 16GB Xplay — available in either black or white — is now ready for pre-order in China for ¥2,998 or about $490, and the package includes some NFC tags, an OTG cable, a screen protector and apparently a nice pair of earphones. No word on a date or price for the 32GB version, but hopefully it’ll arrive soon after the 16GB’s launch in the second half of May. Stay tuned for our upcoming hands-on — we’ll try to do a brief assessment on the audio quality.