Vivo's New X50 Might Have the Best Smartphone Camera Ever, Thanks to a Tiny Built-In Gimbal

By Sam Rutherford on at

Vivo teased some pretty ambitious tech with its Apex 2020 concept phone, but now it’s putting one of those far-out innovations into something you might actually be able to buy.

The new Vivo X50 Pro looks a lot like other high-end phones from the back, with a large rear camera module. But things get interesting when you dive into the camera: Vivo has created something it calls a micro-cloud, which is essentially a built-in miniature gimbal.

By using a tiny double-ball suspension, Vivo’s micro-cloud can pivot its camera sensor back and forth by up to three degrees, allowing the phone to better correct for changes in the camera sensor’s pitch or yaw. All the extra circuitry, coils, and cables result in a camera module that’s significantly larger than what you’d find on a typical smartphone, but Vivo was able to cram everything into a package that measures just 4.5mm thick, so that it would still fit on something you can put in your pocket.

The X50 should offer much more powerful optical image stabilisation than what you find in today’s phones, which typically are limited to stabilisation in just the x or y axis. Vivo hasn’t made any specific claims about the X50's micro-cloud camera, but the company claimed that the Apex 2020's similar system is 200 per cent better than a typical smartphone OIS system.

Vivo said the X50 will include a 48-MP main sensor, along with some kind of periscope-style zoom lens, and two other cameras probably reserved for ultra-wide or possibly low-light or portrait mode duties.

The X50 isn’t scheduled to make its official debut until 1 June in China, so this is about all the details we know for sure. But in a time in which phone makers seem to be struggling to dramatically improve upon smartphone cameras, Vivo’s micro-cloud gimbal has the potential to be an even more profound upgrade than handsets with 100x zooms or sneaky colour filter cameras.