Vivo recently launched the Vivo Z1 Pro (review) in India and rated it quite cheaply. This smartphone really liked it in the test. Now the Chinese manufacturer has launched a smartphone called Vivo S1, which is only a little more expensive. This is part of the new S series that stands for style. The Vivo S1 is stylish, but does it have the performance that matches its look? We test it to find out.
Vivo S1 design
Vivo smartphones are usually elegant and well designed, and this is no exception. The Vivo S1 has a 6.38-inch display with a tiny dewdrop notch on the top. Vivo opted for an AMOLED panel and the Vivo S1 has a built-in fingerprint scanner. The display has thin bezels on the sides, but the lower chin is comparatively thicker.
The Vivo S1 is available in two colors, Diamond Black and Skyline Blue, and we had the Diamond Black device for this test. It has a laminate back with a striking diamond pattern and a color gradient. Depending on how the light hits the back wall, diamond patterns are created that appear catchy.
However, we are not a big fan of the material the back of the Vivo S1 is made of, as it easily absorbs scratches. We would have preferred Corning Gorilla Glass as seen on the Redmi Note 7 Pro (review). The Vivo S1 has a triple camera module that protrudes slightly but has a metal rim that is designed to prevent it from being scratched.
Vivo has opted for a rounded plastic frame with which the smartphone can be comfortably held in the hand. The back doesn't fit the frame seamlessly, and you can feel rough edges when holding the phone. Vivo has positioned the on / off switch along with the volume buttons to the right and they are all easy to reach. The Vivo S1 also has its own Google Assistant button, which corresponds to that of the Vivo Z1 Pro.
We were disappointed with the use of a micro USB port on the Vivo S1, as most other smartphones were converted to USB Type C at this price. The micro USB connector is located along with the speaker and 3.5mm headphone jack at the bottom, while the SIM tray is on the left.
Vivo S1 specifications and software
The Vivo S1 is the first smartphone in India to be equipped with the new MediaTek Helio P65 SoC. The Helio P65 is a midrange processor based on a 12nm process. It has a pair of ARM Cortex-A75 cores that are clocked at 2 GHz and six Cortex-A55 cores that are clocked at 1.7 GHz. A Mali-G52 GPU is integrated for the graphics.
Vivo has launched three versions of the Vivo S1 in India: the entry-level version with 4 GB RAM and 128 GB storage; another with 6 GB of RAM but 64 GB of storage; and the top end with 6 GB RAM and 128 GB storage. These variants are set at Rs. 17,990, Rs. 18,990 and Rs. 19,990 each. We had the top version in the test and almost 100 GB of storage space was immediately available. The price of the Vivo S1 can be measured directly with powerful mobile phones such as the Realme X (review) and the Oppo K3 (review).
The Vivo S1 is a dual SIM device and has two nano SIM slots and a dedicated microSD card slot. The connectivity options of the Vivo S1 include Bluetooth 5, dual-band WiFi, GPS, FM radio, Dual 4G VoLTE and the usual sensors. The Vivo S1 is packaged in a 4500 mAh battery and you get an 18 W quick charger in the box.
On the Vivo S1, the Funtouch operating system runs on the heavily customized Android 9 Pie. If you've used a Vivo smartphone in the past, it won't take long for you to find your way around the device. You can find detailed information about Funtouch OS in our Vivo Y17 test. For starters, there is no app drawer and all app icons are lined up on the home screens. Funtouch has an iOS-like Command Center, which you need to swipe up from the bottom of the screen. This is exactly the opposite of other Android smartphones and could be annoying for some people.
Vivo installs a lot of bloatware on the device, and we pre-installed DailyHunt, Helo, Facebook, Gaana, Amazon Shopping, PhonePe, Paytm and some other apps. Fortunately, there was no problem with notification spam on this phone like the recently tested Oppo A9 (review). Vivo also has its own app store called V-Appstore.
Vivo S1 performance, battery life and cameras
The MediaTek Helio P65 SoC that powers the Vivo S1 does a great job, and you won't notice any delays or stuttering in everyday tasks. With this smartphone, apps can be started quickly and most apps and games can be run in the Google Play Store. We never had to wait too long for an app to open. The battery discharges well when idle, and in our experience the Vivo S1 hasn't lost too much charge while idling. Multitasking was fairly easy considering that we had the 6 GB RAM variant of the device. The phone never really had to close apps running in the background.
The Vivo S1's AMOLED panel had good viewing angles and was bright enough to be legible outdoors. However, the bottom-firing speaker isn't that loud, so the Vivo S1 isn't a good device to consume content on. We also tested the built-in fingerprint scanner and face recognition function on this device. The in-display scanner quickly scans a finger and unlocks the smartphone. A second attempt is rarely required. Face unlock is not the safest way to unlock your smartphone, but it is very quick and convenient.
Vivo S1 managed to measure 146,142 in the AnTuTu benchmark, which was not significantly higher than the 145,999 that the Oppo A9 achieved. The Vivo S1 mastered 1,853 and 6,034 in Geekbench 4's single-core and multi-core tests. The smartphone achieved 36 fps in GFXBench T-Rex and 12 fps in GFXBench Manhattan 3.1.
PUBG Mobile was run on the Vivo S1 with the preset medium, with the graphics set to balanced and the frame rate set to medium. We played the game for 20 minutes, which made the phone feel warm. We also noticed that the battery dropped 5 percent after playing for so long.
The Vivo S1 has good battery life and we could go on for about a day and a half on a single charge. During this cycle we ran all of our benchmarks, took some camera samples and had an active WhatsApp account on the device. The smartphone lasted 16 hours and 38 minutes in our HD video loop test. We put the included charger to the test and we managed to charge the battery to 34 percent in 30 minutes and 65 percent in one hour.
Vivo has opted for a triple camera configuration on the back of the Vivo S1. This consists of a 16-megapixel primary camera with an aperture of 1: 1.78, an 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera with an aperture of 1: 2.2 and a 2-megapixel depth sensor with an aperture of 1: 2.4 , On the front of the phone is a 32-megapixel selfie shooter with an aperture of 1: 2.0.
The camera app is similar to that of the Vivo Z1 Pro and offers several modes to choose from. It has fast switching options for HDR, live photo, filter, aperture mode and a switching area for switching between the normal and the wide-angle lens. Apart from the photo and video modes, it offers Pano, AR Stickers, Fun Video, Document and a Pro mode. Fun Video adds background audio while you are recording a video.
Photos taken with the Vivo S1 were below average for a smartphone at this price. In daylight, the phone quickly focused, but we found that the photos were underexposed. Details were acceptable and text at some distance was legible. The same scene was better exposed with the ultra wide angle sensor. In this case, however, the details of the photos will be lost.
Tap to view Vivo S1 camera samples in their original size
Close-ups were good, and the Vivo S1 was able to lock focus quickly and set the exposure correctly. However, the colors were not always accurate. Portrait mode offers various lighting effects that you can choose from before you press the shutter button. The output had good edge detection.
Vivo also offers a separate aperture mode that can be used to take bokeh shots. When taking portraits in this mode, we noticed that the blur effect was not applied consistently. Edge detection was not as good in this mode either.
The camera also has an AI portrait framing feature that allows you to frame a scene properly. Once properly framed, the Vivo S1 takes the picture automatically.
The performance of the camera in poor lighting conditions was average as the phone was unable to capture very good details. We didn't find a night mode in the camera app, and this could have helped Vivo improve the camera's performance in low-light conditions. Selfies had good details, but the Vivo S1 tends to overexpose scenes. You can also take portraits in selfie mode, and in our experience, the phone has achieved good edge detection. However, these pictures were also slightly overexposed.
The maximum video recording is 1080p, for both the primary and selfie cameras. We noticed that the Vivo S1 lacks video stabilization, which is a bit surprising given its price. Most smartphones at this price can record 4K video and stabilize 1080p footage.
The Vivo S1 is another smartphone from Vivo that rs. 20,000. It has a striking design and a quick fingerprint scanner on the display. Vivo brings the new MediaTek Helio P65 SoC to the table, but is only marginally better than the MediaTek Helio P70 SoC in some benchmarks. In terms of processor performance, the Vivo S1 is on par with smartphones that are equipped with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 and can only cost Rs. 10,000.
Although the Vivo S1 offers good battery life, we weren't impressed with its camera performance. For the price of Rs. 19,990, you can buy better-equipped smartphones like the Realme X (Review) or the Oppo K3 (Review) or spend a little more on the Redmi K20 (Review).
Is Vivo S1 a better buy than Redmi K20 and Realme X? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast that you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS, download the episode, or just click the play button below. To make the transition easier, you have to