Vivo X5Max review: Asian shadow

14 July 2015
It’s not every day we have a true record holder in our hands, and that’s exactly what we were getting ready for waiting for the vivo X5Max to arrive. The slimmest smartphone in the world for more than six months now, the 4.75-mm X5Max snatched...

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  • Dheshika

I want to pay this phone vivo

  • Krish

Thanks again

Krish, 17 Jul 2016Dear Rishi, I have been an audio freak since my younger d... moreThanks for the appreciation. :)

I happen to be a regular Joe posting my views. Regarding audio quality over headphones in smartphones Vivo X5Max is on top of my list. Lenovo Vibe X3 just misses the top spot by a whisker. Ofcourse we may have other phones which are as good as these two in sound quality aspect, but I speak on Indian context availability.

To me Vivo X5Max has set a benchmark in terms of audio quality and headphone volume levels which others are still to surpass.

  • Krish

Dear Rishi,
I have been an audio freak since my younger days when I used to tear down the ( only) radio in the house to improve the sound. I used to devour mags like Practical Electronics and enjoy articles of Sinclair, Penfold etc. Audio electronics has become a life-long passion. With digital electronics ushering in an unprecedented portability, the focus is now on mobiles. And quite frankly every mobile to me is an audio device regardless of whatever else it may do. The hunt for that sublime sound from the mobile is on. It is in this context that I came upon your deeply technical and exquisitely presented reviews of the audio capabilities of the Vivos and Vibes of today's mobile audio world.
Audio is an art, science (and now a technology unto itself) quite unlike other fields.
Your informed reviews will be a guiding light in my continuing quest for the holy grail of sound. Cheers and thanks a million.
Krish, Chennai

Android27, 15 Jul 2015This is the first time gsm has pointed out the lack of FM a... moreYes you are right, as I seldom use the FM. I find my next generation never listen to FM.

AnonD-251095, 15 Jul 2015It appears this thing has Sabre ES9018K2M DAC, Yamaha YSS-2... moreIt is no doubt the X5Max is the ultimate music oriented smartphone, the best I have ever heard over earphones. To me it also triumphs my Lenovo Vibe X3 by a very small margin in sound-staging and tonality, but this is subjective and open to all. But there is no doubt the X5Max is the best audio centric device Vivo have provided on a global level.

The other advantage of X5Max is it can play high-res audio FLAC files with the default "i-Music" app which later and cheaper models like X5Pro, V1Max and V3Max cannot play. This is a BIG bummer for audio lovers. Vivo have said in their official forums they have some kind of issue in FLAC playback with Android Lolipop devices such as the above three smartphones. X5Max however have no such issues.

On the hardware side X5Max comes with their Hi-Fi 2.0 architecture, which means a separate power supply feeding the power hungry ESS Sabre ES9018-K2M DAC, ESS Sabre ES9601 I/V converter and Texas Instruments OPA1612 headphone amplifier for un-adulterated audio quality. However for the international version we do not get the Yamaha YSS-205X signal processor and its corresponding app in X5Max. The YSS-205X provides some additional facility like you can sing and hear at the same time through headphones but have no part in improving sound quality. I fell it is a good move as we have one chip less who's functionality we will seldom use and removing it will definitely improve battery life.

  • Anonymous

SUPPERB CELL PHONE I HAVE A Vivo V1 very nice cell phone Nice Feature yr Thanks vivo company



  • plodmanau

Great review!

I have read elsewhere that the ESS DAC and headphone opamp on this phone are only enabled when the media player is set with "Hi-Fi 2.0" switched on. With "Hi-Fi 2.0" off the audio is from the normal Qualcomm chipset and therefore nothing special. This has been done because running the ESS DAC and headphone op amp reduce battery life by 10 - 20%. Your normal testing procedures say that you test with all equalizers and audio enhancement settings switched off. Can you let us know whether your audio testing of this phone was done with "HI-FI 2.0" switched on or off?

  • Anonymous

Gjb mobile i like

  • AnonD-420994

Can i use it here in philippines?

  • AnonD-142922

Yes it is great phone ..
I have now Vivo X5Pro and it is superb phone.. I like it .. using Eye ID unlocking apps :)


I have been using this pone for the past 4 months and find it outstanding in terms of performance, camera, battery. It is treat to hold in the hand and easy for one handed operations. Also it lets me use the icons as on the I PHONE and also I can squeeze in the widgets as on the ANDROID phone. A nice combo indeed.
The only lacuna is that it runs on KITKAT still.
But the FUN OS is amazing and hand gestures like use of M E C etc that lets you straight to the music net calls respectively is an added feature.
For the money you pay for the beautifully blended mix of aluminium body and the display, this fantastic phone is a steal.

a definite buy..... I had been on IPHONE AND SAMSUNG GALAXY S5 AND NOTE4 before,,,,,

  • AnonD-251095

Anonymous, 15 Jul 2015Year 2015 we still dealing with shit dragon 4xx and 6xx cra... moreFor many people even snapdragon 200 is enough.

  • AnonD-418202

AnonD-142922, 16 Jul 2015Check out aliexpress.comThankyou!

  • AnonD-142922

AnonD-418202, 16 Jul 2015I'd be interested to know where I can pick one of these in... moreCheck out

  • AnonD-418202

I'd be interested to know where I can pick one of these international versions up. Hong Kong perhaps? I can't find a reliable supplier in the USA.

  • AnonD-142922

Garena you should review rather Vivo X5Pro this is outdated.. you came late with this phone review..

  • Anonymous

No wonder the performance squeezed from the SD615 is below what others have managed: there's no ARMv8 support in KitKat, that chip is running in ARMv7 compatibility mode.

  • Anonymous

Anonymous, 15 Jul 2015useless review. Despite that the vivo is an audiobcentric p... moreThey don't want it compared to the i6+.
Does this have a removable battery?