Vivo has recently launched Vivo Z1 Pro (Review) in India and its price is quite good. When we reviewed it, this smartphone was able to perform quite well. Now, the Chinese manufacturer has launched another smartphone which is priced only slightly higher, called Vivo S1. It is a part of the new S series that stands for style. The Vivo S1 is stylish to be sure, but has the performance to back it up? We test it to find out.
Vivo S1 Design
Vivo smartphones are usually sleek and well designed, and this is no exception. Vivo S1 Price 16,980., 6.38-inch display with small dew-style notch on top. Vivo has opted for AMOLED panel and Vivo S1 sports in-display fingerprint scanner. There are thin bezels on the edges of the display but the bottom chin is comparatively thick.
The Vivo S1 is available in two colors, Diamond Black and Horizon Blue and we had the Diamond Black unit for this review. It features a laminated back with a striking diamond pattern design and a gradient color finish. Depending on how the light hits the back panel, diamond patterns emerge, which look attractive.
However, we are not very big fans of the material that is made from the back panel of the Vivo S1, as it picks up scratches easily. We would have preferred Corning Gorilla Glass, as seen on the Redmi Note 7 Pro 80 12,980 (review). The Vivo S1 has a triple camera module that is slightly stretched but has a metal rim around it to avoid scratching it.
Vivo has opted for a plastic frame that is round which makes the smartphone comfortable to hold in hand. The back frame does not match the original, and you can feel the rough edges when holding the phone. Vivo has posted the power button to the right along with the volume button, and they are all easy to reach. The Vivo S1 also has a dedicated Google Assistant button like the Vivo Z1 Pro.
We were disappointed with the use of a micro-USB port on the Vivo S1, noting that most other smartphones have moved to USB Type-C at this price point. The micro-USB port is located at the bottom with a loudspeaker and 3.5mm headphone jack, while to the left is the SIM tray.
Vivo S1 specification and software
The Vivo S1 is the first smartphone in India to be powered by the new MediaTek Helio P65 SoC. The Helio P65 is a mid-range processor based on 12nm process. It has ARM Cortex-A75 cores clocked at 2GHz, and six Cortex-A55 cores clocked at 1.7GHz. For graphics, it has a Mali-G52 integrated GPU.
Vivo has launched three variants of the Vivo S1 in India: an entry-level one with 4GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage; Another storage 64GB with 6GB of RAM; And top-end with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. The price of these variants is Rs. 17,990, Rs. 18,990 and Rs. 19,990 respectively. We had the top version to review and had about 100GB of storage available. Vivo S1 is priced directly against powerful phones like Realme X 99 17,699 (review) and Oppo K390 23,990 (review).
The Vivo S1 is a dual SIM device and has two nano-SIM slots as well as a dedicated microSD card slot. Connectivity options on the Vivo S1 include Bluetooth 5, dual-band Wi-Fi, GPS, FM radio, dual 4G VoLTE, and common sensors. The Vivo S1 is packed in a 4500mAh battery and you get an 18W fast charger in the box.
The Vivo S1 runs Funtouch OS on top of Android 9 Pie, which is largely optimized. If you have used a Vivo smartphone in the past, it will not take you long to find your way around the device. You can read about the Funtouch OS in detail in our Vivo Y17 review. For starters, there is no application drawer and all application icons are lined up on the home screen. Funtouch has an iOS-like command center that needs a swipe up from the bottom of the screen to access it. This is the exact opposite action compared to other Android smartphones and may annoy some people.
Vivo installs a fair amount of bloatware on the device, and we saw Dailyhunt, Halo, Facebook, Gaana, Amazon Shopping, PhonePe, Paytm, and a few other apps preinstalled. Thankfully, this phone did not have a notification spam issue like the Oppo A9 8 15,398 (review) we reviewed recently. Vivo also has its own app store called V-Appstore.
Vivo S1 performance, battery life and cameras
Powering the MediaTek Helio P65 SoC to the Vivo S1 does a great job and you won’t see lag or stutter in day-to-day tasks. It is fast to launch smartphone apps and can play most apps and games on the Google Play Store. We never had to wait much to open an app. It also manages the useless battery drain well, and in our experience, the Vivo S1 did not suffer much damage to its charge when sitting idle. Multitasking was quite easy given the 6GB RAM variant of the device. The phone never had to shut down apps running in the background.
The AMOLED panel of the Vivo S1 had good viewing angles and was quite accessible, which was externally digestible. However, the downward firing speaker is not that loud, making the Vivo S1 lacking a good device to consume content. We also tested the in-display fingerprint scanner and face recognition feature in this device. The in-display scanner is quick to scan a finger and unlock the smartphone, and rarely requires a second attempt. Face Unlock is not the safest way to unlock a smartphone, but it is very quick and convenient.
The Vivo S1 managed to see 146,142 in the AnTuTu benchmark, no more than 145,999 made by the Oppo A9. The Vivo S1 managed 1,853 and 6,034 in Geekbench 4’s single-core and multi-core tests, respectively. In the graphics benchmark, the smartphone scored 36fps in the GFXBench T-Rex and 12fps in the GFXBench Manhattan 3.1.
PUBG Mobile ran on the Medium preset on Vivo S1, with graphics set in Balanced and frame rate set on Medium. We played the game for 20 minutes which caused the phone to heat up. We saw a 5 percent battery drop after gaming for that long.
The Vivo S1 saves good battery life and we can go on for about a day and a half on a single charge. During this cycle, we ran all our benchmarks, took some samples of the camera, and created an active WhatsApp account on the device. In our HD video loop test, the smartphone lasted 16 hours and 38 minutes. We put the supplied charger to the test and it succeeded in charging the battery up to 34 percent in 30 minutes and 65 percent in one hour.
Vivo has opted for the triple camera setup behind the Vivo S1. It has a 16-megapixel primary camera with f / 1.78 aperture, an 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera with f / 2.2 aperture and a 2-megapixel depth sensor with f / 2.4 aperture. In the front, this phone has a 32 megapixel selfie shooter with f / 2.0 aperture.
The camera app is the same as we have seen on the Vivo Z1 Pro and has several modes to choose from. It has HDR, live photos, filters, aperture mode and a toggle to switch between regular and wide-angle lenses. Apart from the photo and video modes, it offers pano, AR stickers, fun video, document and pro modes. Fun Video adds background audio while recording video.
Photos taken with the Vivo S1 for smartphones at this price point were below average. In broad daylight, the phone quickly focused but we noticed that the photos were undone. The descriptions were acceptable, and the text at a distance was legible. The same scene was better exposed when using ultra-wide-angle sensors. However, in this case, photos were lost on details.
Close-ups were good, and the Vivo S1 can quickly lock focus and correct exposure. However, the colors were not always accurate. Portrait mode provides different lighting effects that you can select before hitting the shutter button. There was a good growth in output.
Vivo also offers a separate aperture mode that can be used to take bokeh shots. While shooting pictures in this mode, we noticed that the blur effect was not applied consistently. Edge detection was not good in this mode either.
The camera also has an AI Portrait Framing feature that helps you frame a scene properly. Once properly prepared, the Vivo S1 also automatically takes shots.
The low-light camera performance was average, as the phone could not capture details very well. We did not find night mode in the camera app and this helped Vivo to improve its low-light camera performance. The selfie had good details but the Vivo S1 overexposes the scene. You can also take portraits in selfie mode and the phone detected a good edge in our experience. However, these shots were also slightly overspeed.
Video recording maxes out at 1080p for both primary as well as selfie cameras. We found that the Vivo S1 lacked video stabilization, which is a bit surprising given its price. Most smartphones at this price are capable of recording 4K video and can stabilize 1080p footage.
Vivo S1 is yet another smartphone from Vivo priced below Rs. 20,000. It has an eye-catching design and a quick in-display fingerprint scanner. Vivo brings the new MediaTek Helio P65 SoC to the table, but is marginally better than the MediaTek Helio P70 SoC in just a few benchmarks. In terms of processor power, the Vivo S1 is on par with smartphones powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, priced at Rs. 10,000.
While the Vivo S1 offers good battery life, its camera performance failed to impress us. For the asking price of Rs. At 19,990 you can get better-equipped smartphones like Realme X (Review) or Oppo K3 (Review), or you can spend some more for the Redmi K20 90 18,490 (Review).
Vivo S1 Full Specifications
|Release date||July 2019|
|Launched in India||Yes|
|Dimensions (mm)||159.53 x 75.23 x 8.13|
|Battery capacity (mAh)||4500|
|Colours||Diamond Black, Fusion Black, Skyline Blue|
|Screen size (inches)||6.38|
|Processor make||MediaTek Helio P65 (MT6768)|
|Dedicated microSD slot||No|
|Rear camera||16-megapixel (f/1.78) + 8-megapixel (f/2.2) + 5-megapixel (f/2.4)|
|Front camera||32-megapixel (f/2.0)|
|Operating system||Android Pie|
|Skin||Funtouch OS 9|
|Bluetooth||Yes, v 5.00|
|Number of SIMs||2|
|Ambient light sensor||Yes|