Time to buy a new smartphone? Choosing one is always a mess if you are looking at mid-range smartphones. Each of them compromises on one thing or the other and excels mostly on one specific aspect. Most of the smartphone makers tend to launch their mid-range smartphones with the utmost care, but Vivo seems to think otherwise. Whatever said, Vivo always has a statement behind every smartphone they launch, and they recently came up with the Vivo S1, as the first smartphone to have Helio P65 SoC in India. But what does the device offer for the price they have set compared to their own Vivo Z1 Pro? Well, here’s our Vivo S1 Review after using it for ample amount of time.

Design and Display

Smartphone designs these days can be termed as innovative, and we’ve seen pretty good workarounds here and there with the design languages. Vivo S1 in my hand feels pretty great in terms of feel of touch and grip. Especially, with the curvy edges, the device fits in perfectly in your hand without any hassle.

The Vivo S1 has a gradient back design with a diamond-like hue which looks great but it surely is a fingerprint magnet. On this back, we have the triple-lens rear camera setup which is vertically placed in the top left corner along with the LED Flash. And below it, towards the bottom is the Vivo branding. To be honest, the camera bump is quite noticeable, I mean when placed on a flat surface the device shakes a bit.

On the front, we have the 6.38-inch FHD+ display with the waterdrop notch, which houses the selfie camera. On the right panel, we get the usual power button along with the volume rockers and on the left panel is the smart assistant button. The buttons have tactile feedback and are really fun to click. The earpiece is placed in the thin bezel above the selfie camera and on the below panel, we have the Micro-USB port along with the mic, speaker grill, and the 3.5mm headphone. In a decade which is ending with most of the competitors and makers migrating to USB Type-C, Vivo is still stuck with Micro-USB even in mid-range smartphones.

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The 6.38-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED panel is good in terms of looks, colors, and viewing angles. Considering what’s been said, streaming videos is really fun on this display, thanks to the thin bezels. The colors look vibrant and the picture quality is crisp. The brightness levels are also quite satisfying, with the usage under direct sunlight being comfortable. Inside the display positioned towards the center is the fingerprint sensor which is fast enough but not as good as a physical fingerprint scanner.

Performance and Software: Vivo S1 Review

The Vivo S1 is powered by the new MediaTek Helio P65 processor and it is the first device in India to have it. It is a 2GHz octa-core processor and combined with 6GB of RAM to provide ultimate performance. Compared to the competition device which is powered by the new Snapdragon 710 or the 712, the Helio P65 is beaten in terms of benchmarks ranks below the recently launched Vivo Z1 Pro.

In our daily usage tests, the device did handle all the operations pretty fast and there were no signs of struggle or lag during multi-tasking. We played PUBG Mobile in the minimum graphics settings, and I can say that the gameplay is great without any frame drops as such. But with other applications opened, the device does struggle a bit in frames while gaming intensely.

The Vivo S1 comes with FunTouchOS v9 on top of Android 9.0 out of the box. Although the custom UI offers plenty of customization options, its downsides come along with it. There is quite some bloatware pre-installed apps which can be uninstalled upon our wish. For avid smartphone users, the device navigation and getting through with the settings will be a piece of cake, but for beginners, it would be a mess and stock Android will be much perfect for them. Again, it is also the case of software updates, where Vivo lacks a tad bit.

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Cameras: Vivo S1 Review

The Vivo S1 comes with a triple-lens rear camera setup along with a selfie camera up on the front in the notch. Well, all the smartphone makers have figured out a way to implement dual-lens or triple-lens rear camera setups in their mid-range devices. But is the Vivo S1 camera good; it surely is. It comes with a primary 16MP sensor with f/1.78 aperture along with an 8MP wide-angle lens with f/2.2 aperture and a 2MP depth sensor with f/2.4 aperture.

Coming to the camera performance, the 16MP primary sensor really shoots some great snaps. Especially in daylight and in good lighting conditions, the camera gives out crisp photos with a good amount of details and colors. But the sensor struggles with setting the exposure right while shooting sky shots and in macro shots, it struggles with red colors.

Also, the camera performance in low-lit areas is not that great giving out the noise and annoying grains. Sadly, where other competitors are providing night mode where the images are optimized, the Vivo S1 doesn’t get a night mode. Again, comparing it with the competition in mid-range, the camera is certainly not where the Vivo S1 excels.

The 32MP selfie camera, on the other hand, does not disappoint just like any Vivo device. The selfies came out with rich details, colors, and it did not struggle even in low light. The front camera has beauty mode which I feel overdoes the smoothening in the photo. Apart from that, the portrait mode does work well if the background is differentiated good enough, or else, the edge detection doesn’t work so good in either of the cameras. You can check out the camera samples below.

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Battery and Miscellaneous

The Vivo S1 packs a huge 4500 mAh battery which is absolutely a win for this device. In our extreme battery tests, with browsing till intense gaming and video streaming, the device did last a whole day for me. Battery life is something you can buy this device for because the device can also be used to reverse charge other devices using the OTG cable. Coming to charging, the Vivo S1 takes up to 90 minutes to 2 hours to fully charge with the 18W fast charger provided in the box.

The Vivo S1 ships with a silicone case in the box so as to not get your fingerprints or smudges on it. The call connectivity is great and we faced no network stability issues either. The speakers are loud enough, but if you are a music freak, music at max volume lacks bass but the 3.5mm headphone jack comes to the rescue here. You can always plug in your earphones and enjoy nice music.

Verdict: Vivo S1 Review

The Vivo S1 pricing starts at Rs.17990 for the basic 4GB + 128GB storage variant and is available in Skyline Blue and Diamond Black colors. Considering what the device offers; long-lasting battery life, neat display, eye-catching design, along with okay-ish cameras and performance for the price, I can’t definitely tell someone to go with this device. Compared to this price, other offerings in the same price range as the Realme X, Vivo Z1 Pro have more to offer in terms of performance and camera quality. Vivo always has a reason behind every device they launch and if there is something, I think the Vivo S1 is focused more into offline stores.

The Good:

  • Neat Super AMOLED display with thin bezels
  • Long-lasting battery
  • eye-catchy design
  • Impressive Camera

The Bad:

  • Low-down performance than the competition
  • Still stuck with Micro-USB