Just a while after launching the Vivo Z1 Pro, the Chinese giant has now unveiled yet another mid-range smartphone in India dubbed as Vivo S1. Being the first smartphone in the company’s new S-series, the S1 offers a refreshing gradient finish at the back alongside interesting display and hardware features.

That being said, is the Vivo S1 competitive enough to challenge other smartphones in its segment? Well, let’s check out the same in our full Vivo S1 review.

Vivo S1 Specifications

Before starting with the Vivo S1 review, let’s have a glance at the phone’s specifications, pricing and things we get with the device.

  • Display: 6.38-inch Super AMOLED display, Full-HD+ (1080 x 2340 pixels resolution), 19.5:9 ratio, 404 PPI density
  • CPU: 12nm-based octa-core Mediatek MT6768 Helio P65 processor (2×2.0 GHz Cortex-A75 & 6×1.7 GHz Cortex-A55)
  • GPU: Mali-G52 MC2
  • RAM: 4GB/6GB
  • Storage: 64GB/128GB
  • Software: Android 9 Pie (FunTouch OS 9)
  • Main Camera: 16MP primary sensor (f/1.8, AF) + 8MP ultra-wide (f/2.2, 16mm) + 2MP depth sensor (f/2.4)
  • Selfie Camera: 32MP (f/2.0)
  • Connectivity: micro USB 2.0, dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth v5.0, GPS/ A-GPS, 3.5mm headphone jack, FM Radio
  • Cellular: Dual SIM
  • Fingerprint Scanner: Yes, in-display fingerprint scanner
  • Battery: 4,500 mAh, Li-ion Polymer, non-removable
  • Charging: 18W Dual-Engine fast charging

Price: Rs. 17,990 for 4/128GB | Rs. 18,990 for 6/64GB | Rs. 19,990 for 6/128GB

Box Contents

A complete list of items you get inside the box:

  • Vivo S1
  • 18W Fast Charger
  • Earphones
  • micro-USB cable
  • Transparent Silicone Case
  • Sim Ejector Tool
  • Documentation

Vivo S1 Review

Design

At first glance, you’ll notice that the Vivo S1 looks quite different when compared to other mid-range smartphones. Notably, the phone bears a polycarbonate back with an attractive gradient finish. And the gold accents around the camera module further add to the overall beauty of the phone.

The Diamond Black variant we have here offers an eye-catchy diamond-cut pattern that exhibits a subtle blue hue on reflection of light. Anyways, you can also opt for the Skyline Blue option that touts a light blue gradient with purple hue at the bottom.

While the new design is quite refreshing to have, the back gets smudged easily hence you either have to use the provided case or keep cleaning it every few minutes. Overall, the Vivo S1 easily turns out to be one of the best looking phones in its segment.

Coming to the placements, the power button and volume rockers are given to the right while there’s a dedicated Google Assistant button on the left. Interestingly, it gets two different slots for sim cards and microSD, followed by a 3.5mm audio jack, speaker grille and charging port at the bottom. Unfortunately, Vivo has opted for the age-old micro-USB port which is highly disappointing provided that even cheaper phones like Redmi Note 7, Nokia 5.1 Plus and Redmi Note 7 Pro have taken over with a Type-C port.

Display

In terms of display, the Vivo S1 flaunts a 6.38-inch Super AMOLED display with a Full-HD+ resolution of 1080 x 2340 pixels and a waterdrop notch given on the top. Note that Vivo S1 doesn’t come with Gorilla Glass and uses Schott Xensation 3D protection instead which is said to be as strong as Gorilla Glass.

As you’d expect, the screen is sharp, has excellent viewing angles, and offers vibrant colours. Also, we didn’t face any issues while using the device under direct sunlight. Thanks to the infinite contrast ratio, Vivo S1 is an absolute joy to enjoy movies and videos.

Interestingly, the phone also packs the Always-on Display feature that makes it possible to view notifications and clock on the display without turning on the entire screen. Besides, there’s an in-display fingerprint scanner underneath which is quite reliable and unlocks the phone pretty quick. Thankfully, the phone does get Widevine L1 certification, letting you stream HD content on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

Performance

The Vivo S1 is indeed the first phone in India to launch with the MediaTek Helio P65 chipset which is a successor to the Helio P60 SoC. Notably, the phone comes in three different variants, including 4/128GB, 6/64GB and 6/128GB RAM and storage options.

While the chipset is not as powerful as Snapdragon 712 on the Vivo Z1 Pro, it still is surprisingly fast and manages through day-to-day tasks fluently. The phone also handles heavy games pretty well and manages to multi-task fluently.

For instance, we were able to play PUBG Mobile without any issues on medium graphics settings and high frame rate. We didn’t notice any heating issues either, and the phone was quite stable in terms of performance.

Software

As a matter of fact, Vivo is using its own custom FunTouch OS 9, based on Android 9 Pie with this phone which might be a decisive factor for many. The FunTouch resembles iOS in many areas and comes with a lot of preloaded bloatware including Vivo’s own app store, Vivo Browser, EasyShare file sharing tool, followed by third-party apps like UC Browser, Amazon, NewsPoint, PhonePe, WPS Office and more.

Note that the quick setting toggles need to be pulled upwards from the bottom of the screen, and are not given in the notification panel. And the notification panel itself is quite messed up. Furthermore, Vivo is using an ancient style of Android navigation buttons, which you can get rid of by using full-screen gestures.

That being said, there are some useful customisation features including a built-in theming engine, screen recorder, system-wide dark mode, and a feature-rich Jovi assistant. There’s also a gaming assistant called Game Cube, which blocks calls, alongside letting you enable 4D vibration for improved experience while gaming.

Being a stock Android lover, I’ve had a tough time getting used to the UI of Vivo S1. Therefore, make sure to check out the FunTouch OS at least for once in-person if software experience is one of the priorities for you.

Cameras

For photography, the phone gets a triple camera setup at the rear, comprising a 16-megapixel primary camera with an f/1.78 aperture, an 8-megapixel wide-angle camera with an f/2.2 aperture, and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. For selfies, there’s a 32-megapixel front camera housed in the water-drop notch.

In daylight, the Vivo S1 clicks pretty good pictures with a decent amount of details and accurate colour reproduction. However, the dynamic range takes a hit, and photos tend to show blown highlights. Using the HDR option did rectify it by a considerable margin, though.

The phone also manages to produce decent photos with the right colours in the low-light situation, but then again, the images do exhibit a lot of noise. As expected, the wide-angle shots are not as good as the results from the primary camera for obvious reasons. Anyways, the portrait mode works very well and offers good enough edge detection, especially in ideal lighting conditions.

Coming to the selfies, pictures captured by the 32MP selfie camera turn out absolutely worthy with an abundant amount of details and colours. The phone takes ready-to-post pictures, even indoors. Although, the images tend to show some sort of skin smoothening even with the beauty mode turned off, which we don’t appreciate much.

Battery & Charging

The built-in 4,500mAh cell on the Vivo S1 easily manages to last for more than one day on medium usage, which comprises of mild gaming, listening to music via Bluetooth, using GPS navigation, and social media apps.

Additionally, the phone charges very fast with the supplied 18W fast charger. The given dual-engine fast charging manages to pull the phone from zero to 100 in less than 2 hours, which is quite good considering the large battery size.

Pros

  • Beautiful, Super AMOLED display
  • Unique gradient design
  • Excellent battery life with fast charging
  • A fast in-display fingerprint scanner

Cons

  • FunTouch OS is not everyone’s cup of tea
  • Not the best performer in its class
  • Dated micro-USB port
  • Audio via speaker needs improvements

Vivo S1 Review Verdict: Should you buy it?

As you’d acknowledge, the Vivo S1 doesn’t offer either of the best performance or best cameras in its segment. However, it certainly makes up for a worthy mid-range smartphone by offering a Super AMOLED display, amazing battery life, fast charging, and an in-display fingerprint scanner.

Furthermore, it boasts of a really unique design, making it equally good in terms of styling. Hence, if you’re looking for a good looking and well balanced mid-range performer, then Vivo S1 is surely a compelling option to go with. However, if you want the best in class performance, we’d suggest having a look at the Vivo Z1 Pro (review).

Buy Vivo S1 from Flipkart

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Build & Design
Display
Performance
Software
Camera
Battery
Price