Vivo S1: This is one mid-range smartphone we recommend!
January 13, 2020

Back home in India, smartphone manufacturer Vivo is doing rather fabulously. India’s vastly segregated market has meant a larger opening field, and Vivo in Q2 2019 shipped an amazing 5.8 million smartphones to capture 18% of the smartphone segment. After over a month with the Vivo S1, I understand why the brand’s mix of near-flagship specs with design aesthetics will appeal to many. For a device with an AED 1,099 price point, the Vivo S1 packs in quite a punch. Think a 32MP Front camera, in-display fingerprint scanning and even Jovi, a dedicated personal assistant. So let’s start off with the design elements. The first impression of the Vivo S1 is definitely a positive one, thanks to the 6.38-inch AMOLED display with a tiny dewdrop-style notch at the top. Vivo has opted for an AMOLED panel, and the Vivo S1 sports an in-display fingerprint scanner. The display has thin bezels on the sides but the bottom chin is comparatively thicker.

The Vivo S1 is available in two variants, Diamond Black and Skyline Blue, and in the case of the Diamond Black, diamond patterns emerge as you twist the device, a small but interesting bit of detail. The triple camera module protrudes slightly, but is protected by a metal rim, while a plastic frame makes it quite comfy to hold and carry around. Powered by the mid-range MediaTek Helio P65 SoC, the Vivo S1 is a dual-SIM device and has two Nano-SIM slots as well as a dedicated microSD card slot. Connectivity options on the Vivo S1 include Bluetooth 5, dual-band Wi-Fi, GPS, FM radio, dual4G VoLTE, and the usual sensors. The Vivo S1 packs in a 4500mAh battery and you get an 18W fast charger in the box. Admittedly, as I went about my daily life, Instagramming, answering WhatsApp messages and jotting the odd reminder, I didn’t notice lag or stutter doing day-to-day tasks. Apps launched super quick, while games, given the mid-level processor on board, were reasonably fast. And I appreciated the good viewing angles that the display enables. As for In-display Fingerprint Scanning, it proved to be very fast and lag-free indeed. On average, I got through almost a day and a half plus on full battery, which is understandable given the massive 4500mAh battery and a host of battery optimisation options on board. Which brings us to the all important camera.

Vivo opted for a triple camera setup on the back of the Vivo S1. This consists of a 16-megapixel primary camera with an f/1.78 aperture, an 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera with an f/2.2 aperture, and a 2-megapixel depth sensor with an f/2.4 aperture. At the front, this phone has a 32-megapixel selfie shooter with an f/2.0 aperture. Now thats very impressive for a budget device, and to add to the goodies, it has quick toggles for HDR, Live Photo, Filters, aperture mode, and a toggle to switch between the regular and the wide-angle lens, and of course a separate aperture mode for bokeh shots. In a nice touch, there is even an AI Portrait Framing feature that helps you frame a scene properly. Daylight photography turned out to be a breeze, with quite vivid colors being reproduced, if at times a bit underexposed. Night images were sadly on the down side, with a fair element of noise involved. Come to the all-important selfies targeting a certain demographic, and the 32MP front camera comes with the Ultra HD Resolution feature, along with a host of selfie modes, such as AI Face Beauty, Selfie Frontlight, AR Stickers and AI Filter. All in all? At AED 1,099, the Vivo S1 does a damn fine job balancing productivity with its fair share of fun apps, at a very decent price point.

by Anil George
Avid follower of all things tech. In between his quest for the ultimate gizmo, Anil fiddles with light meters, collects rare books and feeds his fetish for Jap horror movies. As Managing Editor of T3 Middle East for the GCC, Anil oversees content direction across print and digital. He was a CES 2020 Innovation Awards Judge, reprising his role as an Innovation Awards Judge at CES 2018, CES 2017, 2016 and 2015. Anil is also the Middle East's first Brand Ambassador for Ashdown Engineering. Reach him at:
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