07/08/2019 11:41 AM IST | Updated 08/08/2019 10:51 AM IST

Vivo Z1 Pro Review—Making A Splash In The Mid-Range

The Vivo Z1 Pro is a good looking phone with an aggressive price and a competitive spec sheet. Does it give Xiaomi, Samsung and Realme a run for their money?

Vivo’s dominance in Indian brick-and-mortar shops has been well documented over the past few years, but off late, the brand has been eyeing the en vogue flash sales and online-first offerings…and the result is the Vivo Z1 Pro. With a competitive spec sheet, an attractive design and some cool features all topped off with an aggressive price point, the Z1 Pro checks the boxes for making a splash in the mid-range budget segment. The question is, does it give Xiaomi, Samsung and Realme a run for their money?

The Vivo Z1Pro is available in three variants—4GB+64GB, 6GB+64GB and 6GB+128GB—and in three colors, Sonic Black, Sonic Blue and Mirror Black. The device retails at Rs. 14,990, INR 16,990 and INR 17,990 on Flipkart and the vivo India E-store.

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Vivo Z1 Pro – Pros

Performance: The Vivo Z1 Pro claims an India first with its use of the recently announced Snapdragon 712 chipset, an iterative but performance boosted upgrade to the extremely capable Snapdragon 710 chip. Mated with either 4 or 6 GB of memory, the Z1 Pro is a snappy performer and it multitasks between heavy apps with elan.

Games like PUBG Mobile or Asphalt 9 ran smoothly at HD settings without any lags or frame drops, and the phone remains largely cool all the way through. Worth mentioning is the fact that the hardware-software integration seems to be on point, with the somewhat-bloatware-riddled FunTouch OS running buttery smooth on the hardware and one never really facing any sort of slowdown or lag in day-to-day usage. Gamers will appreciate the Game Cube mode, which blocks calls and amps up the haptic feedback for certain titles.

Battery: Take a power-sipping mid-range processor and pair it with a capacious 5,000mAh battery, and you have a phone that will not let you down even on the most demanding of days. The unit on the Z1 Pro lasts a day and then some, on my usually heavy testing load of Whatsapp notifications, email accounts, social media, Bluetooth streaming to the car stereo and the odd gaming session. The 18W fast charging lets you juice the Z1 Pro up from empty in a little over 2 hours 10 minutes, which is pretty respectable.

Software: The phone runs FunTouch OS 9.0 atop Android 9 Pie, and you’ll either love it or hate it, depending on your leanings towards the iOS-style app layout (no app drawer) and pull-up-from-bottom notification toggles.

Tushar Kanwar
The Vivo Z1 Pro comes with an insane number of preloaded apps — some of which can't be uninstalled.

It runs smoothly, but the sheer amount of bloatware by way of partner apps from Amazon, Dailyhunt and PhonePe, among others is bothersome, and the fact that some of these cannot be uninstalled is even more so. If you can look past that, the skin is peppered with some useful features like a driving mode for two-wheeler riders, a system wide dark mode and a one-handed mode.

Cameras: With the Z1 Pro, you get a 16MP f/1.78 main shooter, an 8MP f/2.2 ultra-wide-angle and a 2MP f/2.4 depth sensor on the rear triple-camera setup and a 32MP selfie camera, plus a feature packed camera app that’s borderline daunting for first time users. Images shot from the device are excellent on color reproduction and serve up a lot of detail. The ultra-wide-angle reins in the fish-eye effect quite well, which gives you a lot of flexibility for cityscapes and group shots, and the selfie shooter is among the best around, although you might want to dial the beauty mode all the way down.

Video footage goes up all the way to 4K but its fairly mediocre and with the Z1 Pro lacking optical image stabilization, you have to work harder to keep the videos stable. Where the Z1 Pro falls behind in stills is low-light situations, with the pixel-binning techniques on the 48MP sensors giving the competition a significant edge.

Tushar Kanwar
Photo sample from the Vivo Z1 Pro in daylight outdoors.

Vivo Z1 Pro – Cons

Design: Vivo’s one-upped Samsung by lowering the price-point on a punch-hole display, a change that serves to differentiate the phone amongst the crowd of notches. The Sonic Blue variant we had has this lovely gradient that goes from sea green at the top to cobalt blue at the bottom, giving the Z1 Pro a jewel-tone finish that, while not subtle, is definitely eye-catching and unique.

That said, the bulging sides and bezels giving the phone a bulky look and feel in the hand, and it’s not one of the more comfortable phones to carry around. The inclusion of a headphone jack and a dedicated Google Assistant button is a good sign, but we’d have much preferred the more modern USB-C port instead of the ageing micro-USB port. With phones up and down the spectrum having made the move, the port choice just feels antiquated.

Tushar Kanwar
The Vivo Z1 Pro is eye catching but bulky.

Display: On its own, the full-HD+ 6.53-inch IPS LCD on the Z1 Pro leaves little for complaint in terms of sharpness and brightness for everyday use. The competition in this segment has stepped up its game in the past year and compared to the gorgeous AMOLED panel on the M30 or the balanced LCD panel on the Redmi Note 7 Pro, the Z1 Pro’s display just isn’t as vivid, and feels a tad washed out at a level. Of course, some may prefer the Z1 Pro for opting for a punch-hole display instead of a notch, and kudos to Vivo for offering it at an altogether new price point.