Vivo S1 Pro review: More for less
The smartphone brings gaming and lots of lenses to budget territory
Saying you're spoilt for choice when it comes to smartphones nowadays is an understatement. And adding to your options is Vivo, coming into the low-priced, somewhat-high-specced segment with the Vivo S1 Pro.
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. 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 takes 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, rejects incoming calls, and prevents accidental touches while playing; and, of course, Motorbike Mode, which tries to ensure your safety while you're 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 makes 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.
The phone holds up pretty well in the battery department. In our standard test, the S1 Pro lost a respectable 9 per cent of power. It's enough to last you a full day, but make sure your charger is ready, especially if you test its mettle with gaming.
Vivo has what it calls its own Dual Engine Fast Charging system. But it took two hours and 13 minutes to hit full charge. That's long.
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 close-up shots and selfies. It has decent battery life, but you'll have to be patient when you charge it up. While there are other options with similar specs at this price range, Vivo still merits a look.
Processor: 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
Main camera: Quad: 48MP wide (f/1.8) + 8MP wide (f/2.2) + 2MP macro (f/2.4) + 2MP depth (f/2.4)
Front 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
PROS: Reasonably priced, good display, just the right RAM/storage combo
CONS: Iffy camera, long charging time, interface isn't buttery-smooth
AUTHOR RATING: 3.5/5