A few years back, we never imagined if Vivo will ever compete with the likes of aggressive players such as Xiaomi. Yet, things have changed over time and so has the company’s approach towards the Indian market. The company kept on launching some amazing phones like the Vivo NEX, Vivo V11 Pro and the Vivo V15 Pro. And now, it’s here with the all-new Vivo Z1 Pro which has been priced way cheaper than our expectations, at just Rs. 14,990.
Undoubtedly, the Vivo Z1 Pro turns out to be one of the most value for money prepositions in the sub-15K segment, at least on paper. The presence of Snapdragon 712 SoC, triple rear cameras, and the beautiful punch-hole display is undoubtedly going to grab a lot of eyeballs. That being said, should you buy it over the Redmi Note 7 Pro and Realme 3 Pro? Well, here’s our full Vivo Z1 Pro review for you to decide if its really worth buying.
Vivo Z1 Pro Specifications
Before starting with the Vivo Z1 Pro review, let’s have a glance at the phone’s specifications, pricing and things we get with the device.
- Display: 6.53-inch IPS LCD display, Quad-HD+ (1080 x 2340 pixels resolution), 19.5:9 ratio, 395 PPI density
- CPU: 10nm-based octa-core Qualcomm SDM712 Snapdragon 712 processor (2×2.3 GHz Kryo 360 Gold & 6×1.7 GHz Kryo 360 Silver)
- GPU: Adreno 616
- 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, capacitive
- Battery: 5,000 mAh, Li-ion Polymer, non-removable
Price: Rs. 14,990 for 4/64GB | Rs. 17,990 for 6/128GB
A complete list of items you get inside the box:
- Vivo Z1 Pro
- 18W Fast Charger
- micro-USB cable
- Transparent Silicon Case
- Sim Ejector Tool
Vivo Z1 Pro Review
The Vivo Z1 Pro has an outstanding design, which looks even better than some of the higher-priced phones. There’s a massive all-screen panel upfront with a punch-hole at the top left corner. Following the launch of Samsung Galaxy M40, the Z1 Pro turns out to be the cheapest phone in India to offer a punch-hole display. And it indeed is going to be the next big trend for mid-range phones in the coming time.
The Sonic Blue variant we have here comes with a glossy polycarbonate back with a beautiful multi-coloured gradient finish, that shifts from a flashy sea-green tint to a more subtle cobalt-blue colour giving the phone a jewel-like appearance. Anyways, if you prefer having a rather simple design, we’d suggest looking at the Sonic Black and Mirror Black options.
As you’d expect, the back while offering enough grip, catches a lot of fingerprints and scratches; hence using a case is a must. Also, while the weight distribution is on-point, the phone feels a little bulky at 201 grams. Anyway, that’s still justifiable since it packs a massive 5,000mAh battery, but then again we’ve seen phones like Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 (Review), offering the same polycarbonate build and battery size at under 175grams.
Coming to the placements, we have the power button and volume rockers 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 (Review) and Redmi Note 7 Pro have taken over with a Type-C port.
In terms of display, the Vivo Z1 Pro flaunts a 6.53-inch IPS panel with a Full-HD+ resolution of 1080 x 2340 pixels. The screen is sharp, has excellent viewing angles, and we’ve no complaints with regards to the sunlight legibility. Nonetheless, it tends to show kind of natural colours, without adding extra saturation or any other enhancements. While many would like it, we found the screen to appear a bit washed out at times.
As evident, the punch-hole is given to the top left corner of the screen, which isn’t intrusive by any means. Since I’ve used the Honor View 20 in the past, it took me just a few hours to adjust with the panel. For those worried about compatibility, Vivo has given an option in the settings to manually scale the apps as per your liking.
It’s worth noting that the display does not have a Widevine L1 certification. Due to the same, you can stream videos on Netflix and Amazon Prime at a maximum quality of 540p- not HD or full HD.
Notably, the Vivo Z1 Pro is the first smartphone in India to debut with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 712 SoC. Being a successor to the Snapdragon 710 seen on Realme 3 Pro, the former offers a 10 per cent boost in the core performance, while offering the same Adreno 616 GPU. There are a total of three models to choose from, including 4GB RAM with 64GB storage, 6GB RAM with 64GB storage and 6GB RAM with 128GB storage.
Indeed, Vivo has done a great job in blending the software with the hardware. As a result, the phone runs buttery smooth as far as day to day tasks are concerned. Multi-tasking too is not an issue, and the phone holds almost a dozen of apps in memory. We were surprised to see the RAM management as even apps like Truecaller and Hangouts were working properly in the background.
In fact, the Z1 Pro is a class leader when it comes to gaming. The Adreno 616 GPU is capable enough to run heavy games like PUBG Mobile, Asphalt 9 and Modern Combat 5 without any problems. In our usage, PUBG ran fairly well at HD settings, and there were no heating issues either, even on extended hours of gameplay.
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 a very old 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.
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 punch-hole.
The camera performance is quite impressive, to be honest. The phone takes good detailed and sharp pictures in bright light with accurate colours. Even in low-light, it manages to produce decent photos with precise details and colours. Dynamic range is quite good as well, thanks to the auto-HDR mode which kicks in when required.
Wide-angle shots, on the other hand, are not as good as results from the primary camera for obvious reasons. The processing is more pronounced, and oversharpening is acutely visible. The portrait mode, fortunately, manages to take amazing shots with well-defined edges at times. It also features certain AI-features including studio lighting, stage lighting and more.
In comparison to the Redmi Note 7 Pro and Realme 3 Pro, the Z1 Pro clicks pictures with better colours for the most part. Whereas, the Note 7 Pro takes the lead in low-light, thanks to the pixel binning.
As far as videography is concerned, the Z1 Pro can record 4K videos at 30fps which exhibit signs of oversharpening and are shaky due to lack of OIS. However, EIS still manages to give decent results in 1080p. Unfortunately, you can’t switch between primary and wide-angle lenses amidst recording which might be a bummer for some.
Coming to the selfies, pictures captured by the 32MP front shooter are on-point. There’s enough detail, supported by sound color reproduction. On the contrary, even with the beauty mode turned down to zero, the images still show some sort of skin smoothening which we don’t appreciate much. Apart from that, the phone supports multiple shooting modes and filters to enhance selfies; there’s no portrait mode, though.
Battery & More
The battery is yet another ruling point for the Vivo Z1 Pro. The built-in 5,000mAh cell efficiently manages to last for one and a half days on medium usage, which comprises of listening to music via Bluetooth, using GPS navigation, mild gaming and social media. Charging the phone ain’t an issue either. The supplied 18W fast charger juices up the battery from zero to 100 in about 2 hours, which is quite good considering the large battery size.
Besides, the fingerprint scanner works consistently well, and the output from the headphone jack has nothing to complain about. However, the single firing speaker at the bottom does tend to distort at very high volumes, so keep that in mind. Overall, we didn’t face any issues as such with the phone, counting in the network reception and call quality.
- Large display with a punch-hole notch
- Eye-catchy back panel
- Promising cameras
- Class-leading performance
- Excellent battery life with fast charging
- FunTouch OS is not everyone’s cup of tea
- Dated micro-USB port
- Audio via speaker needs improvements
Vivo Z1 Pro Review Verdict: Should you buy it?
For all the loaded specifications and features, we thought the Vivo Z1 Pro to be priced at around 20K. However, Vivo literally surprised us by keeping it right below the Redmi Note 7 Pro at Rs. 14,990. Overall, Vivo has done a commendable and highly unpredictable job with the Z1 Pro. It packs in class-leading performance, an extraordinary battery life, fast charging and some amazing cameras. Furthermore, the inclusion of the punch-hole camera makes it an even more compelling option.
But then again, the UI is quite clumsy and will take a lot of time getting used to, not something stock Android lovers will settle with. Conclusively, if you’re someone who’s not into rooting or third-party development and can compromise on software for looks, performance and battery life, Vivo Z1 Pro is the way to go. Else, you can have a look at the Redmi Note 7 Pro (Review) and Realme 3 Pro (Review) and decide accordingly.