The S1 marks the debut of a new series of smartphones from Vivo. In case you already didn’t guess, the S suffix is for style. The Rs 15,000 to 20,000 segment is clearly a hot niche that brands have identified but it’s one that’s filling fast. Vivo takes the style route in a segment where most of its rivals have focused on specific features or hardware. It’s a clever move, one that might just help Vivo shake things up.
It’s the design language of the Vivo S1 that is probably its strongest suit. The Skyline Blue variant has been one of my daily drivers for about a week now; it’s certainly a device that will win your attention. It might not be a glass back, but it looks premium and it’s elegantly designed. The pleasing blue extends to the spine of the device with a metallic blue frame that complements the colour scheme. The Diamond Black variant is eye-catching too with a subtle diamond pattern on the rear and gold accents around the rear cam. The device feels really good in your hands; it’s not too bulky despite a large display and a heavy-duty battery. The other thing that impressed us is the 6.39-inch Super AMOLED display (19.5:9 aspect ratio / 1080 x 2340 pixels). It’s one of the best displays in this segment with vibrant colours and a dew-drop notch that keeps this display (with a 90% screen: body ratio) quite immersive.
Vivo was one of the first brands that embraced an in-display fingerprint sensor. The S1 features a flash in-display sensor that’s super responsive – 0.48 seconds according to Vivo. You can customise the flash pattern that unlocks the device each time you place your finger on the screen; that’s one of the cool touches in this device.
On the camera front, the S1 is packed with a 32MP selfie camera that should please most of its style-conscious target audience. The triple rear camera follows the same template adopted by most of the S1’s rivals in this segment. There’s a 16MP primary cam (f/1.78 aperture) that combines with an 8MP ultra-wide lens (with a 120-degree field of view) and a 2MP depth sensor. The S1 offers a portrait mode that allows you to snap studio-style images. It takes a cue from the iPhone XS’ portrait mode. Camera performance is quite good for its price tag.
The Vivo S1 is powered by a MediaTek Helio 65; it’s the same processor that we first experienced in the Vivo Y7 that was unveiled in July. While our review unit featured 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal memory, Vivo has two other variants – 4GB/128GB and 6GB/GB. All these versions offer support for Micro SD cards up to 256GB. While this might not be enough firepower for intense gamers, it will probably work for most average users. The S1 registered a score of 146354 in our AnTuTu benchmark test that was significantly lower than the similarly priced Vivo Z1 Pro that notched up a score 183538. The Z1 Pro with the Snapdragon 712 processor is clearly the better option if you need the extra firepower.
While the S1 is billed as a stylish device, it doesn’t disappoint on the battery front. The 4500 mAh battery is robust and Vivo sweetens the deal with 18W fast charging. One of our only gripes with the device is Vivo’s FunTouch OS that is too layered for our liking. There are a couple of welcome additions like the Dark Mode. But it’s still too clunky and doesn’t quite compliment the S1’s slinky design. The Vivo S1 scores with its vibrant display and design language. It’s one of the best-looking devices in this segment and might just have enough oomph to woo buyers who are driven by style.
The Vivo S1 comes in Diamond Black and Skyline Blue in three hardware variants – 4GB/128GB (Rs 17,990), 6GB/64GB (Rs 18,990) and 6GB/128GB (Rs 19,990)