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Last Updated : Jul 10, 2019 07:42 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Vivo Z1Pro Review: The new, capable mid-range all-rounder?

Vivo’s latest offering packs a punch in the specs department, but does it have everything it needs to rival or defeat its mighty rivals? Read our review to find out

Pranav Hegde @PranavHegdeHere

The sub-Rs 20,000 mobile phone market is one of the most competitive space, and it has a new entrant: Chinese smartphone maker Vivo has launched the Z1Pro, an online-only model that takes on the likes of Redmi Note 7 Pro, Realme 3 Pro and Samsung Galaxy M40.

The Z1Pro has been made keeping the younger generation (or Gen Z, as the name also hints) in mind. This makes it important for it to have a high value-for-money quotient.

Vivo’s latest offering packs a punch in the specs department, but does it have everything it needs to rival or defeat its mighty rivals? Let’s find out.

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Design and Display

Display and design are often the most important factors in the minds of smartphone buyers, especially the young. The Z1Pro does not disappoint. It comes with a tall screen, minimal bezels and a punch-hole display, which would please users who don’t like the notch.

z1Pro display

The back panel gets a polycarbonate body with a gradient dual-tone finish, and looks stylish – the phone will hold up well in a mirror selfie. Users with a sombre style sense, however, would prefer the two black options over the blue finish.

Z1Pro Rear Panel

At the rear, there is a triple camera setup and a fingerprint scanner. The power button and volume rockers are placed on the right side of the smartphone, whereas the speaker grill and micro USB port find their place at the bottom.

The Z1 Pro comes with a dedicated Google Assistant button that can be found on the left side of the smartphone. Press the button twice and it doubles up as an image recogniser.

When it comes to display, the Z1Pro comes with a tall 6.53-inch display, the biggest in the competition, with an aspect ratio of 19.5:9 and a 1090 x 2340 resolution.

The punch-hole on the top-left of the display has resulted in a neat screen-to-body ratio of 90.77 percent.

The Z1Pro is a good option for someone who consumes a lot of video content on their smartphone. The display offered crisp and vibrant colours with enough contrast levels.

We did not face any issues while using the smartphone in direct sunlight either. What we did find odd was that saturation was a bit on the cooler side, resulting in a bluish hue on the screen.

Performance

The Z1Pro goes one up against its competition, coming with an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 712 SoC and Adreno 616 GPU. It is the first smartphone to run on the new Qualcomm processor in India.

Vivo claims that the new chipset offers 10 percent better overall performance than Snapdragon 710 SoC and 25 percent better than the Snapdragon 660 SoC. Memory options include 4GB/ 6GB RAM and 64GB/128GB internal memory, expandable via microSD.

Without getting into a discussion on benchmark numbers, we can tell you that our gaming experience on the Z1Pro was smooth. We loved playing PUBG on the smartphone without facing any lag or frame rate issues.

By default, the game loaded in HD graphics with the frame rate set to ‘High’. The Z1Pro comes with Multi Turbo with includes features like Game Turbo, Cooling Turbo, AI Turbo, etc. to assist in improving the phone's performance during intensive use.

The Z1Pro comes with a gaming assistant called Game Cube, which offers functions like blocking notifications, rejecting calls, etc. to avoid any hindrance while playing games. The Z1Pro is not a dedicated gaming phone, but comes close to one when it comes to gameplay. Heat management was pretty good. The phone did not feel overly warm during a prolonged weekend gameplay session.

To make the experience better for power users, Vivo has packed the Z1Pro with a beefy 5,000 mAh battery and an 18W fast-charger. Even if you use the Z1Pro only to play games, the smartphone could easily offer you 4-5 hours of juice. It also supports reverse charging via OTG cable as well.

The company’s decision to opt for the older micro-USB port over the USB-C is a bit of a let-down though.

 

Z1Pro bottom grill

For secure unlocking, the Z1Pro comes with a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner and face unlock. The fingerprint scanner is very responsive and unlocks the device instantly. However, it may not be suitable for people with small hands as it is placed at the top-centre of the rear panel. Face-unlock is a better alternative in that case, which too is responsive but may not be as secure as the fingerprint scanner.

Camera

At the back, the Z1Pro features a triple camera setup with a primary 16MP f/1.78 sensor. The other two are an 8MP ultra-wide and a 2MP depth sensor. The camera app comes with a bunch of filters that can be best used while clicking portraits. 

Z1Pro rear panel

Photos shot using the primary camera offered very good results. The colours were real, keeping the saturation and contrast levels in control. The camera performs well in outdoor conditions with natural lights. However, the shots we clicked under artificial lights had some loss of detail when zoomed in.

Z1Pro camera sample

Z1Pro camera sample 1

The camera performs well in low-light too. There is a hint of grain in images shot during the night. For better low-light outputs, the Z1Pro comes with a Night mode. We were pretty impressed with the camera’s low-light performance for a phone in the range.

Z1Pro without Night Mode

Z1Pro with Night Mode (Image downsized for website)

For selfies, the Z1Pro comes with two modes - Photo and AI Beauty, with the difference being ‘beauty’ mode found on the latter. The Beauty mode essentially gives users various tools like adjusting skin tone, whitening, face reshaping, etc. Edge detection was mostly accurate, except for a few portraits, which resulted in blurry ears. The software improved the tone and softened the skin a bit too much though.

Software

The Z1Pro boots on Android 9.0 based Funtouch OS 9. The OS feels inspired by Apple’s iOS -- the shortcut centre and notification centre are similar. It takes cues from Android Pie’s features and adds a few extras like Motorbike mode and One-handed mode, etc. 

RAM management on our Z1Pro with 6GB RAM was excellent. We kept multiple apps open in the background, and most of them opened from where we left them.

The Google Assistant Button doubles up for activating the Image Recogniser when pressed twice

The Z1Pro also gets Vivo’s AI assistant Jovi that comes with features like smart camera, smart scene, and image recogniser. Vivo needs to work on the image recogniser feature as it struggled to produce correct results.

Another thing Vivo needs to work on is bloatware. There are a bunch of apps that come pre-installed, and not everyone would use them. However, Funtouch OS 9 comes with lesser bloatware compared to most of its Chinese competitors.

Verdict

The Z1Pro wades into a highly-competitive space. But it ticks many of the right boxes. It has a bigger screen with a punch-hole display -- which is missing on the Redmi Note 7 Pro and the Realme 3 Pro. However, the Z1Pro is not the only smartphone in the segment to offer a punch-hole screen and is third to the Samsung Galaxy M40 and the Motorola One Vision.

The Z1Pro also has a faster processor, which felt very snappy in real-life usage. Battery life is also excellent, and even when we ran out of juice, the fast charger recharged the device within 25 minutes over an hour.

Even the cameras on the Z1Pro are good for the price though a more detailed analysis will be required to see if matches up to Redmi Note 7 Pro, which sets the benchmark in this segment.

The only bummer, according to us, was how heavy the smartphone (weight: 201-grams) felt after long hours of use.

But the weight is contributed by the tall form factor and the massive battery, which would be a worthy trade-off for some.

Overall, at a starting price of Rs 14,990, the Z1Pro is recommended for someone who streams a lot of content on their smartphone or plays games. The camera unit can get the shutterbug in you to go out and click photos.

On the whole, the smartphone feels like an all-rounder for all kinds of users and can surely be considered by not just Generation Z, but everyone.

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First Published on Jul 4, 2019 08:05 am
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