Vivo S1 Pro is the first phone to launch in India in 2020. Vivo’s S-series portfolio consists of offline-first phones that primarily focus on ‘style’. In fact, the Vivo S1 launched last year did really well for the brand. (Vivo S1 Pro review हिंदी में पढ़िए).

This year, however, there’s a change in strategy. Vivo won’t be segregating its portfolio as offline or online and won’t be doing disruptive online exclusives like the Z-series and U-series. Instead, the company will launch unified products across all retail channels. 

What does that mean for the S1 Pro? Well, it’s still an offline-first phone that focuses on style but it won’t at least face online competition from Vivo’s own offerings. 

We have been testing the S1 Pro and trying to make out if this is a phone we’d recommend. We have summed up our findings in our detailed Vivo S1 Pro review that follows. 

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Vivo S1 Pro price and specifications

Model Vivo S1 Pro 
The display 6.39-inch, Full HD+, Super AMOLED
Chipset 1.7GHz octa-core 11nm Snapdragon 665
Storage 128GB 
RAM 8GB LPDDR4x
Software Android 9 based Funtouch OS
Rear camera 48MP (Samsung GM1) primary camera, f/1.8

8MP wide-angle camera, f/2.2 

2MP macro camera, f/2.4

2MP Bokeh camera, f/2.4

Front camera 32MP, f/2.0 aperture
The battery 4500mAh, 18W Fast Charger
Dimensions and weight 159.25 ×75.19 ×8.6mm; 186.7 grams
Others In-display fingerprint sensor, USB Type C, Dual 4G VoLTE, Bluetooth 5.0, Dual-Band Wi-Fi
Price Rs. 19,990

Vivo S1 Pro Unboxing: What’s in the box?

Inside the box, you’d find the following: 

  • Handset
  • Protective transparent case
  • Basic earphones 
  • 18W charging adaptor
  • A USB cable for charging and data transfer
  • documentation

Vivo S1 Pro Review: Design and Build

The first time we held the S1 Pro, we could make out and appreciate subtle design refinements. Maybe its the square or rather diamond-shaped rear camera module, the relatively light and ergonomic profile, or perhaps the red accent on the power button – but the Vivo S1 Pro looks and feels better than most other affordable phones that currently retail for under Rs. 20,000. 

In India, the S1 Pro will retail in Mystic Black, Jazzy Blue, and Dreamy White color options. 

 

The display has a regular U-shaped notch, and the glass back has handy curves towards the side edges. The camera module juts out, but only a bit. Vivo isn’t using real glass or real metal, but the finish is still quite premium and the S1 Pro is extremely comfortable to hold, even with the underlying 4500mAh battery. 

The handset has a USB Type-C port at the bottom and an audio jack up top. You may add a microSD card to augment storage, but only if you are content using a single SIM card – that is, the slot is hybrid. 

The S1 Pro has an in-display fingerprint sensor that’s fast and reliable. Both the face unlock and fingerprint unlock get their separate customizable unlock animations. 

Also Read: Realme XT vs Realme X2 vs Redmi Note 8 Pro Comparison

Vivo S1 Pro Review: Display

Vivo S1 Pro has an AMOLED display, and we noticed that display quality is better than Realme X2 that falls in the same price bracket (and which also happens to be the last phone we reviewed). 

The default calibration seems pleasant to us and the required color customization options are present under display settings. Vivo also adds options for a system-wide dark mode and a customizable always-on mode. 

The display is protected by Schott Xensation 3D glass and by a pre-installed screen protector. Outdoor visibility is pretty decent. 

The S1 Pro has a DRM L1 certificate and supports HD content streaming on Netflix and Amazon Prime.  

Vivo S1 Pro Review: Performance and Software

The Vivo S1 Pro employs Qualcomm’s 11nm Snapdragon 665 octa-core chipset, a choice that falls remarkably short of what Realme and Xiaomi phones currently offer for the same budget. 

The chipset is aided by ample RAM (8GB) and Storage (128GB) and day-to-day usage wasn’t a problem. High-end games are playable, but the experience is strictly mediocre. For what it’s worth, Vivo ads an interesting Ultra Game Mode with features like Turbo boost and voice changer.  

If you prioritize gaming, you’d be better off with Snapdragon 700-series options. If you are not into gaming, the performance should be adequate. 

The Funtouch OS on the S1 Pro is another point of contention. For one, it’s still based on Android 9. The interface is still quite intuitive and feature-rich, and there are options that let us prune the undesirable and unwanted elements. 

We didn’t face any issues with connectivity or call quality on Vivo S1 Pro in our area. 

Vivo S1 Pro Review: Camera

For the primary camera, Vivo S1 Pro has the 48MP Samsung GM1 sensor in the lead, which is considered second-rate to other popular quad-pixel sensors like Samsung GM2, Samsung GW1(64MP) and even Sony IMX586. The primary snapper is accompanied by an 8MP wide-angle camera, a 2MP macro sensor, and a 2MP depth sensor.

The camera app is well laid out and easy to maneuver.

In outdoor situations with sufficient lighting, the 48MP primary sensor manages to capture rich details and dynamic range.

Indoors and in low light, the camera performance deteriorates steeply. Vivo is working on a Super Night mode but it should be available via OTA update.

The wide-angle camera can shoot 108-degree wide images (after correcting for edge distortion) and the quality is fairly decent when shooting in a well-lit outdoor environment.

Macro camera is a fun option and it works reasonably well.

The 32MP selfie camera is again a decent performer.

So, overall the camera performance is about average. It’s not outright impressive but in light of available alternatives, it shouldn’t be deal-breaker either.

Vivo S1 Pro Review: Battery and Audio

The 4500mAh battery supports 18W dual-engine fast charging. The phone can comfortably last for more than a day even with heavy usage. 

The audio output via loudspeaker is decent enough. The phone doesn’t support modern wireless codecs like AptX, and wireless audio quality is about average. 

Vivo S1 Pro Review: Verdict

The Vivo S1 Pro is one of those phones that turned out to be more than the simple sum of its specs and yet felt lacking. The aggressively priced online exclusives make it appear a bit overpriced.

The disruptive pricing of online brands like Realme and Xiaomi has put offline players in a pickle. Last year, we saw offline brands venture into online space in order to compete, but Vivo has back stepped. In the interest of fair opportunities for its offline distribution partners, vivo will not launch online exclusives in 2020 but will provide the same products with unified pricing across all retail channels. 

The S1 Pro has a beautiful design, a well-calibrated AMOLED display, and a long-lasting battery. On the downside, the chipset is a bit lackluster and the camera performance doesn’t lend it a competitive edge. 

We can still perceive the S1 Pro as a good deal for consumers who’d only buy from offline stores. 

Pros 

  • Looks awesome, comfortable to hold 
  • Ample RAM and storage
  • Good quality AMOLED display
  • Fast and reliable biometric unlock 

Cons 

  • Mediocre chipset 
  • Hybrid card slot

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