Vivo S1: Style statement with good specs

Jinoy Jose P | Updated on September 05, 2019 Published on September 05, 2019

The new series starter tries to blend looks with performance while keeping it affordable

This is the fifth year since Vivo entered India, a crowded market that has already been abuzz with an eclectic mix of players, homegrown and foreign. Still, Vivo’s phones made a mark for their affordable pricing and cool specs, especially for innovation on looks, features (such as the in-display fingerprint scanner) and camera.

Most recent releases from Vivo have in fact tried to extend this legacy by adding new soft features and enhancing the hardware mettle. The Vivo S1, on the cue, goes a step further by introducing a new theme to the Vivo phones — style. Vivo says phones have not become a ‘style’ accessory in India and hence wants to target that market (of those who want to flash phones as a style statement) with the new S series.

Sleek looks

The Vivo S1 is a great-looking phone, which comes in two colour variants — Diamond Black and Skyline Blue — and runs on Vivo’s Funtouch OS 9 (Based on Android 9.0). The phone comes with a protective film and case. I have taken a personal dislike to the notification area of the Vivo phones and I feel Funtouch is still a work in progress. The Vivo S1 is not a light phone, weighing nearly 180 grams. It has form dimensions of 159.53×75.23×8.13 mm, which are in sync with the peers. The 6.38-inch display has a resolution of 1080×2340 (FHD+) and the icing on the cake is the TypeSuper AMOLED faculty.

The display is warm and true. Photos are displayed naturally and without distortion, which has become the bane of most budget or mid-range phones today. Movies are rendered honestly and there are no bleeds, blurs or distortions thanks to efficient hardware backed by cool software. However, adaptive brightness struggles under bright daylight conditions. Technically speaking AMOLED displays consume less power, but in the Vivo S1’s case that’s not reflecting well on the total energy consumption levels. The 4,500 mAh battery lasts just enough for a day and if you are playing games or watching movies for long hours, you should look for support power. The 18 W Dual-Engine fast charging faculty is a marvel though.

We reviewed the Diamond Black variant with 6 GB RAM and 128 GB ROM. The S1 is powered by the Helio P65 processor from Mediatek. For starters, the Helio P65 is a feature-loaded chip: It supports faster, sharper gaming, enhances AI faculties significantly better than many other traditional chips and backs bigger, stronger cameras. The Vivo S1’s performance would vouch for the capabilities of the Helio P65. If you are a gaming buff, this phone is up your alley. It runs most popular games quite smoothly and without any lags. The S1 also has Vivo’s trademark Fingerprint SensorFlash in-display fingerprint scanner, and it works like a charm. The flash is a delight to watch at night.

The cameras

The Vivo S1 has a 32 MP front camera and the rear shooter sports the trio of 16 MP+8 MP+2 MP. The selfie camera is an impressive one, even though it also suffers from what I would like to call the ‘Fairness Bias’. The camera has an aperture of f/2. The selfie camera’s portrait mode is really impressive. The front has HDR, panorama, live photo, gender detection, beautification options as well. The much-touted AR stickers do not look very innovative or impressive. But the video face beauty and AI selfie lighting facilities are interesting and add a lot more value to the content. The rear camera has an aperture of f/1.78+f/2.2+f/2.4. This makes suitably wide angles possible, which help in landscape shots. The rear camera shoots well-toned, well-saturated images even under low-light. Most Vivo cameras perform nicely under dimly-lit environs and this once is no exception.

This camera doesn’t shoot in 4K; if it could, that could have made a lot of difference at this price range. But the videos shot in Full HD are crisp, detailed and natural. The camera still can be used to shoot short films and news documentaries. Image stabilisation is, however, a work in progress.

The Vivo S1’s audio is a tad flat but clear. It seems to be customised for voice than for music. But when you play games, there is no jarring or compromises on audio. The output is fairly detailed though not loud enough.

The Vivo S1 is a power-packed, good looking phone that can be a great multi-tasker considering its computing power and software support. Yes, it has got the looks and it has the muscle, but will it really become the style statement Vivo wants consumers to identify it with? Only time will tell.

Price: ₹17,990 onwards

Pros: Good looks, impressive hardware, good pricing, impressive multi-tasking, fast charging

Cons: Audio needs improvements, battery drains out fast

Published on September 05, 2019
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