Vivo S1 review: a blend of beauty and performance

Why don’t manufacturers make phones that can perform in every department? Of course, they do, but such all-rounders are always expensive; and very rare we get a chance to come across a mid-range device that does well in all the major areas. 

Vivo S1 is the new offering from the Chinese maker who seems to have understood well the power of aesthetics. Their entire campaign revolved around the “style” and that’s what S in the name stand for but does this beauty also do the heavy lifting?

We tested this phone as our primary device for over three weeks, and here is what we have for you to figure out the strengths and weaknesses of Vivo S1.

Design and Display

Vivo S1 back

Vivo S1’s looks are no less than a flagship phone, and for a moment one doesn’t believe it to be a device that falls in the middle of lower end and higher-end smartphone. Its full view displays are now its hallmark and no matter it’s a popup camera onboard or enclosed inside a notch, Vivo has made it a habit of giving screen to body ratio above 82% that translates into lesser bezels. 

This phone also comes with a 6.38 inches screen which is a Super AMOLED display of 1080 x 2340 px and trust us it gave a very decent contrast and sharpness indoors and outdoor viewing experience under the sunlight didn’t fall by more than 25%. Extreme viewing angles didn’t spoil the experience much during our testing period.

Vivo S1 Display

Since there is an in-display fingerprint scanner onboard that functions quicker than we recently experienced in this price category, we wish Vivo had further minimized the chin for even a bigger display, particularly when there is only a small waterdrop notch ideally placed in the middle.

The notch which Vivo also calls the ‘concave area’ can be diluted by putting it inside a black stripe, usually activated from the setting area for each app. There is no universal option to get rid of it once for all. Maybe a software update could do the trick later, but until then notch-haters need to do some manual work. Personally speaking, I don’t mind it there for good; it becomes even unnoticeable after a while.

While you face the screen, the backside lures everyone with a new skyline blue multi shade color that mimics a glass under the disguise of a polycarbonate body that is tapered at edges and merges brilliantly with a plastic RIM.

Vivo S1 right side
The volume rocker and power button
Vivo S1 left side
SIM slot and JOVI button

The rear side of the phone is dominated by triple camera setup, vertically placed on the top-left area of the back panel. The right side is busy with well protrude power key and volume rocker whereas the left side houses a dedicated multipurpose button for smart assistance feature and a SIM tray slot right over it.

Vivo S1 bottom

There is no USB-C support unfortunately, and a micro USB slot is placed at the bottom flanked by an audio jack and a speaker grille.


Vivo S1 isn’t a typical mid-range phone, Pakistani audience may call it an upper mid-ranger and that is true because it carries the latest Helio P65 octa-core processor that promises seamless performance that its predecessors. This iteration is better in AI performance and the camera alike; more on camera in the following section.

Gamers should be happy with Mali G52 GPU integration and a 6GB RAM support that should be enough for snappy performance. Its resources never exhausted in our day to day use and whenever we bombarded it with multiple apps, I mean it, 5-6 heavy games, browsing not less than a dozen pages, downloading in the background and different social media apps, all in the recent tasks, S1 never froze apart from some minor lags while switching between apps. The overall performance is nothing to complain about. 

Playing Game on Vivo S1

There is no problem with the calling and texting; the voice is clear through either of the speakers, the volume level is decent, and the noise cancellation works perfectly in rowdy conditions. I am not a big fan of Vivo’s default SMS app, but a couple of features such as spam filtering is a lifesaver. It doesn’t allow unknown message senders to pollute the entire space, instead tie them together.

Vivo S1 runs Funtouch 9.0, and ever since I am using Vivo phones, the OS layer has improved significantly. For a novice, it could be a complex piece of software that comes with lots of options to customize each and everything. 

Other than theme customization that is still childish yet, I personally like the security features of Vivo S1. File Safe, Privacy, and App Encryption and the Kids mode are some of the tools for making life less worrisome. 

Although, fingerprint scanner works smoothly face unlock saves a lot of time, especially when you have a habit of picking up your device from desk dozens time in a few minutes.

Shortcut center, Smart Launcher, and Easy Touch are loaded with shortcuts to apps and tools, its a matter of right selection of desired icons to populate your environment for easy access to most frequent things that matter the most to you.

One aspect where Vivo S1 outshines is its battery consumption. The 4500 mAh battery consumption is rightly optimized to last longer than you expect. No matter how rough you use it during the day, still it saves more than 30% of the juice at the day end. For normal to light users, the battery can easily last for two days. 


Vivo S1 Back Camera

Front cameras are more in demand today than ever. Applications like Tiktok, Instagram, and many more, all need a cool front cam. Vivo has put a 32MP lens that with the help of AI features has the capability to make you ‘unrealistically’ cool. If you are not a fan of altering your parts of the body or smoothen your skin complexion, the standard mode can capture some interesting details of the subject in non-HDR mode. When turned on, HDR overexposes the photos. But it’s a matter of personal choice whichever you like, S1 has it all. AI beauty mode has a plethora of options, and apart from standard video mode, ‘Fun Video’ and ‘AR Stickers’ add real value. 

16MP wide-angle, 8MP ultra-wide and 2MP depth sensors are placed on the rear of the phone. The app interface is similar to what we saw in other Vivo phones that give you easy access to frequently used features. Bokeh, HDR, wide-angle and lots of filters are present on the default screen to improve your photos. Vivo S1 tend to keep the exposure on the higher side with HDR turned on, I assume a software update can fix it. Overall, the pictures look very fetching on the AMOLED screen; the internal algorithm keeps the colors punchy and refreshing. Those who love natural colors can use pro mode with a bit of practice.

Mountains Picture with Auto mode on Vivo S1
Auto Mode

Mountains Picture with Ultra Wide Angle lens on Vivo S1
Ultra Wide Angle Lens

Image with Auto Mode on Vivo S1
Auto Mode

Lahore Museum Picture with auto mode on Vivo S1
Auto Mode

Lahore Museum Picture with HDR mode on Vivo S1
HDR Mode

Lahore Museum Picture with Ultra Wide angle Lens on Vivo S1
Ultra Wide Angle Lens

Lahore Fort Picture with auto mode on Vivo S1
Auto Mode

Lahore Fort Picture with 5x Zoom on Vivo S1
5x Zoom

Lahore Fort Picture with 10x Zoom on Vivo S1
10x Zoom

Sunset Picture with Auto Mode on Vivo S1
Auto Mode

Sunset Picture with ultra Wide Angle lens on Vivo S1
Ultra Wide Angle Lens

Bahira Mosque Picture with Auto Mode on Vivo S1
Auto Mode

Bahira Mosque Picture with Ultra Wide Angle Lens on Vivo S1
Ultra Wide Angle Lens

Eiffel Tower Picture at night with Vivo S1
Auto Mode (Left), 5x Zoom (Right)

Picture in Dark with Vivo S1
Auto Mode (Left), With Flash (Right)

Selfie at day with auto mode on Vivo S1
Auto Mode

Selfie at Night with Vivo S1
Auto Mode (Left), Selfie Without Flash (Center), Selfie With Flash (Right)

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