Vivo Z1 Pro review: The best looking mid-range phone in India?

Vivo has long exerted its dominance in the India’s vast
offline retail networks. Now, it seems that the company wants to
take on Xiaomi,

Realme
, and other online-first brands on their own turf. The
Vivo Z1 Pro is an effort towards creating an online-first
product.

With a spec sheet that stands neck-and-neck with the competition
and innovative design additions like a punch-hole display, the Z1
Pro has all that it needs to make a mark for itself, at least on
paper. Will that be enough to stand out amidst the myriad
well-equipped mid-range handsets? We try and find out in Android
Authority’s Vivo Z1 Pro review.

About this review: I wrote the Vivo Z1 Pro
review after spending over a week with it as my primary phone. The
review unit was supplied by Vivo India and was running Android Pie
with Funtouch OS onboard. The software version at the time of
testing was PD1911F_EX_A_1.5.3

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The big picture

The Vivo Z1 Pro comes in at a price point that has no dearth of
alternatives. While features like an innovative design should help
it stand out, the online-first strategy caters to a more informed
buyer. As such, the heavy-handed approach towards software on the
Vivo Z1 Pro could end up being a speed bump on the road to
success.

What’s in the box

  • Vivo Z1 Pro
  • 18-watt fast charger
  • USB cable
  • SIM ejector tool
  • TPU Case
  • Earphones
  • Quick start manual
  • Warranty Card

The Vivo Z1 Pro delivers a well-rounded retail package. Inside,
you will find everything you need to get started off with the
phone. The TPU case is a nice addition to keep the phone free of
grubby fingerprints. While the quick start manual and warranty
papers are standard fare, it is nice to see a pair of earphones
thrown in the box.

Vivo Z1 Pro phone in hand

Design

  • Punch-hole display
  • Polycarbonate build
  • 162.4 x 77.3 x 8.9mm
  • 201g

The Vivo Z1 Pro breaks the mould and introduces a design that
introduces elements from phones priced much higher. Let’s start
with the front of the phone. Following the launch of the
Samsung Galaxy M40
, the Vivo Z1 Pro is now the most affordable
device to pack a punch-hole design. The punch-hole front of the
Vivo Z1 Pro definitely helps make it look fresh amongst a sea of
notch-toting smartphones.

The Vivo Z1 Pro’s sides are bulging out. It adds to the bezels
around the display and makes the phone feel bulkier as well. The
phone grips fairly well in the hand, and it’s easy to reach out
to all the buttons, but the quality of the buttons leaves a lot to
be desired. The volume rocker, power button, and dedicated
Google Assistant
button exhibit significant wobble, which is
never a good sign.

Vivo Z1 Pro microUSB port and headphone jack

Along the bottom edge you will observe a micro-USB charging
port. This is, simply put, a pretty bad look for Vivo. A device
that is setting sights at taking on the best should not be packing
such an antiquated port. If a
headphone jack
is a key criteria in your buying decision, you
will be delighted to know that the Vivo Z1 Pro continues to sport
one.

Vivo Z1 Pro back of phone in hand

The back of the phone is where things get a bit more
interesting. Gradient-based designs are a dime a dozen these days,
but Vivo’s choice of colors helps the phone leave a mark for
itself. Dubbed “sonic blue,” the color shifts from a sea-green
to a rich cobalt-blue giving the phone a jewel-like appearance. Of
course, the ultra-glossy back is a fingerprint magnet so you will
want to use the bundled case.

Talking about fingerprints, the rear-mounted capacitive
fingerprint reader is plenty good. I found it to be fast and
reliable in my week of use.

All said and done, the Vivo Z1 Pro isn’t quite the most
comfortable phone to carry around. A bit too large and just a bit
too heavy, the Vivo Z1 Pro just isn’t as ergonomic as competing
phones like the
Redmi Note 7 Pro
or the
Samsung Galaxy M30
.

Display

  • 6.53-inch IPS LCD
  • Full HD+ (~395 ppi)
  • Punch-hole
  • 19.5:9 aspect ratio

The display on the Vivo Z1 Pro is a bit of a mixed bag. There is
little to complain about as far as sharpness and legibility are
concerned. However, the display comes across as somewhat washed
out. The unsaturated look is even more off-putting keeping in mind
the gorgeous
AMOLED
panel on the Galaxy M30 and the equally good IPS LCD
panel on the Redmi Note 7 Pro.

Vivo Z1 Pro showing display

I noticed a modicum of color-shift at extreme angles, but not
enough to significantly detract from the experience. Outdoor
visibility is good enough and it was never a hassle to view the
phone even in bright sunlight. Color accuracy leaves a lot to be
desired, and, with peak brightness measuring around 400 nits, it is
far from the best display in its class.

The big talking point here is the punch hole over at the
top-left corner. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of this style of
display cutout, but it does come across as a bit more unobtrusive
when placed next to a tear-drop notch. If you don’t care for a
pop-up camera, this is your next best bet and the Vivo Z1 Pro
brings it to a whole new price point.

Performance

  • Snapdragon 712
  • 2 x 2.3GHz Kryo 360 Gold
  • 6 x 1.7GHz Kryo 360 Silver
  • Adreno 616
  • 4/6GB RAM
  • 64/128GB ROM
  • microSD expansion

The Vivo Z1 Pro is the first phone in India to sport the

Snapdragon 712
chipset. A small upgrade over the Snapdragon
710, it claims a slight boost in performance through a higher peak
clock speed. Packing the same GPU as the Snapdragon 710, you
shouldn’t expect much of an upgrade in performance here. Of
course, this is still a reasonably power-packed chipset that can
run almost anything you throw at it.

The hardware is well mated to the software, resulting in a
buttery smooth experience.

To their credit, Vivo has done a rather good job at mating the
software to the hardware. The entire usage experience comes across
as buttery smooth. General day-to-day usability is plenty good, and
for most users spending time in the browser or using social media
applications, there won’t be anything to complain about.

Vivo Z1 Pro with PUBG running on it

We spent some time playing popular games like PUBG
on the Vivo Z1 Pro and the results were right in line with our
expectations. With the graphics setting at HD, the game is
reasonably smooth. It isn’t entirely without frame drops or
texture pop-ins, but gameplay is about as good as it gets in this
category of devices. Moreover, I didn’t notice the phone getting
appreciably warm.

Vivo Z1 Pro 3D Mark

Battery

  • 5,000mAh
  • 18W Fast charging

Packing a gigantic 5,000mAh battery and a fairly frugal
mid-range processor, battery life is plenty good. I was a bit
surprised to observe that activities like web browsing took a
bigger toll than I’d have thought. In our battery testing, the
phone didn’t fare much better than the Redmi Note 7S, a phone
with a significantly smaller battery.

Regardless, the phone will handily last a full day of use and
then some. With mixed use, I observed between six to seven hours of
screen-on-time. When it is time to charge up the phone, the Vivo Z1
Pro supports fast charging. Charging the battery from scratch took
just about 138 minutes, a fairly respectable time. 

Software

  • Android Pie
  • Funtouch OS
  • Significant bloatware

Software on the Vivo Z1 Pro is where things start getting
complicated. Yes, the phone runs Android
9 Pie
, but has the extremely heavy-handed Funtouch OS skin on
top. Simply put, the entire user experience is completely different
from how stock Android approaches it. If you are coming from a
different smartphone launcher, you might face a significant
learning curve here.



Source: FS – Android
Vivo Z1 Pro review: The best looking mid-range phone in India?