Vivo S1 Full Review: Mid-Range Phone with Good Design but Low Performance

Sabin Tamang 8 Nov, 2019

In the mid-range segment, Vivo now has multiple devices that cater to all sorts of users, from performance seekers to those looking for a gigantic battery. The Vivo S1 is an attempt towards the fashion-conscious audience with its focus on design. Vivo S1 does look impressive but is it any better than the much cheaper Vivo's Z1 pro and if it is any better is it worth paying the extra premium for the Vivo s1 let's find out.

Design, Screen & Build Quality

The display does not have a punch-hole display like the Vivo Z1 Pro but the notch here is so tiny it is barely obtrusive and bezels to are very less. Overall the display looks clean. Vivo S1 comes with a 6.3 inches Full HD+ Super AMOLED screen. The colors on it look vibrant and the blacks look dark making for very good display experience.

Comparing this panel with the IPS panel, the AMOLED panel looks quite better. This AMOLED screen features an in-display fingerprint scanner that unlocks fast but doesn't expect anything like OnePlus 7 Pro kind of sensor. I would say it is fairly accurate but I have had instances where it has not read my fingerprint altogether but that has only happened a few times so no worries. You also get a dark mode that helps save your battery and protect your eyes. So that's a handy feature to have. s1 review/vivo s1 review image 04.jpg

You have different modes from where you can choose the screen color and make it bright or slightly warmer and such it's totally up to your preference. The display in indoors is bright obviously but even outdoors it's moderately bright. There's an always-on display feature too which makes sense on this AMOLED panel. Apart from your usual date time and battery percentage you can get a messenger notification if you get messages and such. So overall I like this experience on this one. When you move to the back of the phone, things don't look that good. It has a plastic back and the sides are plastic too. So durability could be a concern in the long run but the design is nothing to complain. Its overall design looks good and while holding it on the hand, the phone feels premium and will not disappoint you. 

Talking more about the design, you have these diamond-shaped patterns at the back which look very unique and I think it will appeal to most people. The vertical camera array at the back has this golden lining surrounding it which kind of makes the camera stand out. You get the power and volume buttons on the right and an AI button on the left and it can be used to trigger Google assistant or Google search whatever you so prefer. Pressing it twice however you can trigger either Google search Google assistant or image recognizer while I don't use it all that much it can come handy sometimes.

Although I wish the buttons could be more tactile, it's plastic and you will know it right away. Down below you get the same MicroUSB 2.0, single firing bottom speaker and a headphone jack. The mono speaker is pretty average just like what you get on other mid-range phones. So overall the build is plastic but I think the design is good enough looks good so I'm okay with it.


In terms of performance, the Vivo S1 has the new Mediatek Helio P65 chipset. It does offer improvements in the CPU performance compared to last-gen HelioP60 and P70 but strangely the GPU performance has been downgraded. This one uses the Mali G52 GPU while the P60 and P70 use a much powerful Mali G72 strangely the chipset does not support you if storage but has Bluetooth 5.0 support. And as a matter of fact, we know we get phones with snapdragon 712 and snapdragon 675 in this price range whose performance is well better than the Helio P65. In real-life performance, the phone has been good I must say. Regular day-to-day tasks run smooth and I have never faced a single problem in my everyday usage. It has taken up the most intensive of the tasks very well so I will not complain.

PUBGM runs on HD in high settings with some stutters here and there but I preferred medium settings as it gave me smoother performance. While we're talking about PUBG, Vivo seems to be really focused on giving their users the best experience.


Now it's time for the cameras, the Vivo S1 comes with a triple camera setup at the back. The primary is a 16-megapixel f/1.8 lens, the secondary is an 8 megapixel F 2.2 ultra-wide-angle lens and the third is the 2MP f/2 for depth sensor. And let me tell you one thing although the camera setup of the Vivo S1 looks similar to that of the Vivo Z1 Pro. s1 review/vivo s1 review image 04.jpg

The photos from S1 capture better photos. The S1 has a bit more saturation but the image looks great with great detail and good dynamic range in good daylight. Wide-angle images are equally impressive the colors look good same as the primary lens although if you compare the details you will find the primary lens doing a better job. For portraits, you can change the blur and focus after taking pictures while in the portrait mode. Talking about the portrait images, they look slightly saturated the color tones in the skin looks somewhat unnatural and the edge detection is not very proper either but the good thing is you can choose from various different types of background blur which is fun sometimes. The selfies also look good and Vivo S1 captures good selfies.

Checkout Some Camera Samples: s1 review/vivo s1 review image 04.jpg s1 review/vivo s1 review image 04.jpg s1 review/vivo s1 review image 04.jpg

For videos, I was disappointed to not see a 4k option. There's only 1080p, 720p and 480p options and its video recording capabilities are not so good. I have to say videos in 1080p look wobbly and they are not stabilized. 720p videos are better stabilized than the 1080p option but overall this is not your ideal video camera as I have found on my test.


The Vivo S1 comes with a sizable 4500 mAh battery whose endurance has impressed me a lot. You can get over a day on normal usage plus you can use various battery saver modes to increase endurance further. I am a pretty heavy user so if the battery lasted me for some time within a day then a normal and moderate user can expect the battery to last even longer. Talking about charging you get a fast charger inside the box with the Vivo S1. It's an 18-watt charger that can take your battery from 0 to 100% in around 2 hours.

Final Thoughts

As expected, Vivo S1 is a better phone compared to Vivo Z1 as S1 comes with better features like an AMOLED display, better cameras, better design, and an in-display fingerprint scanner. So in many ways, the Vivo S1 is a slightly upgraded version of the Vivo Z1 Pro except for the performance. That was better on the Z1 Pro. So should you buy the Vivo S1? You have the option to get the Realme X or Realme XT which I personally think is a very better option on a similar price range.


  • Attractive appearance
  • Decent performance
  • Good battery life


  • Disappointing camera
  • Poor build quality
  • Excessive preloaded applications

Specifications of Vivo S1

  • Display: 6.53″ (1080 x 2340 pixels) Super AMOLED
  • Rear Camera: Triple, 16 MP (f/1.78) primary + 8 MP (f/2.2) ultrawide + 5 MP depth sensor (f/2.4)
  • Front Camera: 32 MP (f/2.0)
  • Processor: MediaTek Helio P65
  • CPU: Octa-core (2×2.0 GHz Cortex-A75 & 6×1.7 GHz Cortex-A55)
  • RAM: 4/6GB
  • Storage: 128 GB onboard, expandable up to 256 GB
  • OS: Android 9.0 Pie, FunTouch OS 9
  • Battery: 4500 mAh, 18W Fast Charging
  • Sensors: UD Fingerprint, accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
  • Price in Nepal (6/128GB): Rs. 34,690
  • Price in Nepal (4/128GB): Rs. 31,490 Rs. 28,990

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