REVIEW: Vivo S1 Pro


The Vivo S1 Pro is priced at Dh1,099.
The Vivo S1 Pro is priced at Dh1,099.

Dubai - Smartphone brings gaming, lots of lenses to budget territory

By Alvin R. Cabral

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Published: Mon 30 Mar 2020, 5:47 PM

Last updated: Mon 30 Mar 2020, 7:59 PM

Saying you're spoilt for choice when it comes to smartphones nowadays is an understatement; they're are just oozing out and they're not just choices - they're pretty good ones.
Which is why Vivo wants to make another splash into the low-priced, somewhat high-specced segment with the Vivo S1 Pro. Vivo, once again, is under the BBK Electronics umbrella, which also makes Oppo, Realme and OnePlus devices.
This is a back-to-the-basics device in terms of design. It's got a 6.38-inch display with a teardrop selfie camera plus thin-enough edges on top and on the sides. It screams plastic all over, with its edges pitch-black and its rear adorned with laminated plastic.
Virtual keys are above the chin below, so you know the drill when it comes to navigation. Now if you want to get rid of that, you can switch on navigation gestures; it will replace those keys with tiny bars below, each with their own functions (and more) - the left one opens the shortcut centre, the one in the middle takes you to the home screen and the last one puts you back one screen; swiping from either side takes you to the level it was last in.
There are actually a number of useful settings in the S1 Pro (as with other Vivos), including Ultra Game Mode, which among other things, blocks notifications, reject incoming calls and prevents accidental touches while playing; and, of course, Motorbike Mode, which tries to ensure your safety while scooting on your two-wheeler.
Right behind is a quad-camera system, housed in a rather unique diamond frame that I actually like, probably a nod to the 'Vs' in the Vivo name. It comprises 48MP wide, 8MP ultra-wide, 2MP macro and 2MP depth lenses.
Results were okay but seem to be underexposed, especially if the sun or lights aren't that bright; it does have HDR, but it does make minimal difference. Closer shots are better and brighter, with its bokeh effect doing a pretty decent job. It's a good camera for, say, a room with all the lights on, or when the sun is out in all its glory; afternoon shots tend to be less-bright.
Its night mode, meanwhile, makes shots a teeny-weeny brighter compared to shooting with regular mode - and that doesn't save it from producing some mushy details, which are especially noticeable when you zoom in. Night mode doesn't have a flash, so pick your spots carefully; alternatively, you can use regular mode with flash, but you know what happens when you rely on that bright light.
The selfie camera, on the other hand, is a pleasant surprise, as it captures shots nicely with just the right amount of light.
And it holds up pretty well with regards to battery. In our standard one-hour YouTube-at-full-brightness test, the S1 Pro lost a respectable 9 per cent of power. It's enough to last you a full day doing everything in between, but make sure your charger is ready especially if you test its mettle with gaming.
When it comes to juicing it up, Vivo has what it calls its own Dual Engine Fast Charging system. But. from zero per cent, well, since it didn't have any percentage level while charging - let's just say it crossed two hours and it wasn't fully-charged yet. (Alright, it did hit max level at two hours and 13 minutes). That's a bit long.
And so...
The Vivo S1 Pro is able to bring some high-end specs down to an affordable level, which will be enticing to those on a budget. Its quad-camera may be inconsistent but it does shine with those close-up shots, as well as those selfies. It has good enough battery life but you'll have to be patient when you charge it up. And while there are other options with similar specs at this price range - including some from BBK's own stead - Vivo's is still worth a good look.

 Chipset Qualcomm Snapdragon 665, octa-core; Adreno 610
 Platform Android 9.0 Pie, Funtouch OS 9.2
 Display 6.38" Super Amoled, 2340 x 1080, 404ppi, 19.5:9, 83.4% ratio
 Storage 128GB, expandable 
 Main camera  Quad: 48MP wide (f/1.8) + 8MP wide (f/2.2) + 2MP macro (f/2.4) + 2MP depth (f/2.4)
 Selfie camera   32MP (f/2.0)
 Battery 4500mAh, Dual Engine Fast Charging 
 Biometrics In-screen fingerprint, face unlock 
 I/O USB-C, 3.5mm audio
 Connectivity Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0
 IP rating Unlisted
 Price Dh1,099
GOODIES: Reasonably priced, good display, just the right RAM/storage combo
GOOFIES: Iffy camera, long charging time, interface isn't buttery-smooth

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