Vivo S1: Great design with some unfamiliar software

Designed to stand out


The Vivo S1 retails for Dh1,049, coming with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. Its Diamond Black colour scheme gives off quite the look especially with the gold accents found across the smartphone. Also included in the box is the 18W charging brick, a USB Type-A to micro-USB 2.0 cable which is a bit outdated, a standard SIM removal tool and a pair of 3.5mm headphones.

Display technology

On the phone, you find a 6.38-inch Super AMOLED 19.5:9 2340 x 1080 display. It features always-on functionality and has a tear-drop style. It can be used to consumer multimedia however if you end up covering the mono-speaker at the bottom, a lot of the experience is taken away. Furthermore, there is no HDR on the display so content does not look as rich as it should.

The in-screen fingerprint is pretty quick to respond

Within the display, the smartphone also houses its fingerprint scanner for security. It is positioned well and is quite responsive but does not work too well when your fingers are damp. This is because it is an optical-type scanner and not an ultrasonic one but nonetheless, it does offer a good amount of security.

Smart button

While the Vivo S1 features the regular volume and power buttons, it also has another dedicated button found on the left edge of the device. By tapping on this button, you can easily trigger Google’s Assistant which is helpful.

Are you a fan of dedicated buttons for Google Assistant?

Unfortunately, not much about the phone is Google friendly apart from this. While the phone runs Android 9.0 Pie, it is heavily skinned by Vivo’s FunTouch OS 9. The software offers a generous amount of bloatware and seems to take away from the Android experience. Despite having MediaTek’s octa-core Helio P65 clocked at 2.0GHz, the lack of proper software optimisation makes the smartphone stutter every now and again. And while the software suite offers a lot of add-ons, I do not see myself using them often.

Battery and camera

One redeeming factor for the phone is its large 4,500mAh battery. With such a large capacity, the phone should offer good stand-by and usage times.

The front 32MP selfie snapper is found on the tear drop

While that is up for debate, so is our verdict on the phone’s triple 16MP, 8MP and 2MP camera setup. The 8MP sensor is a dedicated ultra-wide lens while the 2MP one is a depth sensor. On the front, you find a 32MP camera for your selfies.

What is next?

While this is only our first look at the device, there is still more testing that needs to be done. This is mainly on battery performance as well as how the camera weighs in amongst other smartphones in this category. We also need to test how much we grow on the phone’s software and the dedicated Google Assistant button so stay tuned.


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