REVIEW: Vivo S1
Welcome to China's Vivo, along with its latest smartphone, even if it took a while, the Vivo S1.
If you haven't heard of this brand, well. let's just say Vivo has been able to tie up with the likes of two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry, FIFA for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups - and even Captain America and Iron Man (I didn't make that up). Oh, and the brand's also the title sponsor of the Indian Premier League.
Anyway, the S1 has a 6.38-inch screen - with a teardrop front camera - that I can say is crisp. To the right are the volume rocker and power button, below are the 3.5mm audio port and micro-USB-B slot (not USB-C?), and on the left are the card trays (two SIMs plus microSD) and what's called a Smart Button, which you can use to summon Google Assistant. A glass finish adorns the rear, along with that diamond-design pattern that gives an animated impression when you move the phone.
Swiping down will show notifications panel, swiping up will bring forth the shortcut centre. There is no app tray, you just have to swipe left from the home screen.
It runs on what Vivo calls Funtouch OS; as always, this is another of those variations of Android, this time based on 9 Pie. Funtouch touts itself as a system that's cleaner-looking, plus a horde of Vivo's take-on app icons. And if other systems have car mode, Funtouch OS has motorbike mode. And while the S1 is quick to react to your actions, it has this tendency to lag by a split-second or so. There's no particular app that does this; I'm guessing it could be a background issue.
The S1 also has you covered when it comes to biometrics, there's face recognition and in-screen fingerprint - and both are snappy to use. And battery life was quite impressive. In our standard one-hour YouTube-at-full-brightness test, the S1 lost only 8 per cent.
Vivo also has a neat trick up its sleeve - split view, allowing you to have two apps active simultaneously. To activate it - and this is on the premise that the app you're in supports it - swipe three fingers downward (upward takes a screenshot). That little bar at the centre of the line splitting the two apps can be used to select another app, swap the apps' places or exit the mode. The funny, and weird thing about this is that while Google Photos supports split-screen, Vivo's own Albums app doesn't. Eh?
For the snappers, the S1 has a triple-lens camera - 16MP wide plus 8MP ultra-wide plus 2MP depth - which is decent in good light. I've noticed, however, that its focus gets a bit tingly. The 32MP selfie camera, meanwhile, does a pretty good job, though the beauty effect takes natural looks off a bit.
And so .
Well, that's one way to make a good first impression. The Vivo S1 is a nice mid-ranger that combines good design with a well-rounded spec sheet at a reasonable price. The inconsistent camera weighs it down - which puzzles me - but the rest of what's on offer makes up for it.
Processor: MediaTek Helio P65, octa-core
Platform: Funtouch OS 9 (based on Android 9 Pie)
Display: 6.38" Super Amoled, 2340 x 1080, 404ppi
Storage: 128GB, expandable up to 256GB
Camera: Main - 16MP wide (f/1.78) + 8MP ultra-wide (f/2.2) + 2MP depth (f/2.4); front - 32 MP (f/2.0)
I/O: MicroUSB-B, 3.5mm audio; dual nano SIM, microSD
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS
Pros: Great battery, bright screen, reasonable price
Cons: Iffy camera, system tends to lag, not USB-C
Author's Rating: 3.5/5
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