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Vivo Z1Pro review: Choose this for top-notch performance, not interface

Consider this phone for its camera, performance and exceptional on-battery time. However, if ease of use is important and you stream videos on OTT platforms, this might not be your best bet

Khalid Anzar  |  New Delhi 

Vivo Z1Pro

Chinese electronics manufacturer BKK Electronics’ smartphone brand has made a comeback to India’s affordable midrange smartphone segment with the launch of the Z1Pro. The smartphone boasts a segment-first punch-hole screen, a big-capacity battery of 5,000 mAh, a triple-camera module on the back, and reflective glass-like design. With regard to specifications and features, the phone seems to be a feature-rich option in its segment. But is it worth your money? Let’s find out:

Design

Like most budget and midrange smartphones, the Z1Pro has a curved glass-like reflective cover on the back and a polycarbonate chassis. Though the phone looks premium, it is not sturdy and gets easily scratched. The phone’s front profile, on the other hand, is a different story altogether. It boasts a punch-hole screen, which no other in the same segment has. Therefore, the phone’s front profile looks much more modern than other in the same segment, such as the Realme 3 Pro (review) and Redmi Note 7 Pro (review).

Vivo Z1Pro

Display

The phone sports a 6.53-inch display of a fullHD+ resolution (2340 x 1080 pixels), stretched in a tall 19.5:9 aspect ratio. The screen is stretched from edge to edge, leaving limited bezels on the sides. However, like other with notch-screen or punch-hole screens, it also has a thick bezel on the bottom that somewhat spoils its front profile.

Vivo Z1Pro

While the display is bright, vivid and sharp, it is not tuned for multimedia consumption; it does not have a Widevine L1 certification. As a result, you can stream videos available on the over-the-top platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Videos at a maximum resolution of only 480p — not HD or fullHD. The screen’s touch response is also weak. In regular day-to-day usage it works fine, but a lag is noticed during aggressive gaming sessions.

Vivo Z1Pro

Camera

The Vivo Z1Pro sports a triple-camera module on the back, featuring a 16-megapixel primary sensor of an f/1.78 aperture, an 8MP ultra wide-angle lens and a 2MP depth sensor. Though not the most versatile triple-camera set-up — it lacks telephoto lens — it is a decent one. The camera user interface (UI) is loaded with multiple modes, including an artificial intelligence (AI) beauty mode and night mode. The camera is fun to use as a point-and-shoot module, but the additional modes leave much to be desired for people who like exploring and experimenting.

Vivo Z1Pro camera UI

Vivo Z1Pro camera UI

On the front, the phone has a 32MP sensor that is also a good one for selfies. Unfortunately, the UI is not optimised for the front camera and shows all available modes, causing some confusion, as the camera keeps shifting to the rear-module; most modes work only for the rear module.

Vivo Z1Pro camera sample: 16MP daylight

Vivo Z1Pro camera sample: 16MP daylight

Vivo Z1Pro camera sample: 8MP ultra-wide (daylight)

Vivo Z1Pro camera sample: 8MP ultra-wide (daylight)

Performance

Powering the phone is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 712 system-on-chip (SoC), mated with 6GB RAM and 64GB storage – expandable though a dedicated microSD card. The phone boots the Android Pie operating system-based Funtouch 9 user interface, which is a heavily customised skin layered above the default operating system. The phone is loaded with lots of bloatware, and the user interface is different in a bad way.

Vivo Z1Pro UI and settings menu

Vivo Z1Pro UI and settings menu

There is no app drawer, therefore, all the apps (and bloatware) take space on multiple home screens. A swipe-down gesture from top opens the notification area, which lacks quick settings menu. The quick settings menu pops up on swipe-up from the bottom. This is similar to Apple’s iOS operating system, but the Vivo iteration is all style and little substance. It is rather confusing and difficult to operate. Even the settings menu is jumbled and it sometimes becomes difficult to find a particular setting option.

Fortunately, the phone’s performance is top-notch and it handles day-to-day operation and heavy-duty tasks without any hiccups. It feels smooth all across, and playing a graphic-intensive game on the Vivo Z1Pro is a good experience.

Vivo Z1Pro notification drawer and shortcut centre

Vivo Z1Pro notification drawer and shortcut centre

Powering the phone is a 5,000 mAh battery, which keeps the show going for more than a day. Charging is also fairly fast — the phone battery charges from zero to 100 per cent in around two hours. This is due to the 18W fast charger that comes bundled in the box. Unfortunately, the phone has a micro-USB port for charging and data transfer. Some people might miss the USB type-C here.

Verdict

Priced at Rs 16,990 (for 6GB RAM and 64GB storage), the Vivo Z1Pro is a mixed bag of hits and misses. It has a segment-first punch-hole screen, capable triple rear cameras, top-notch performance and a power-packed 5,000 mAh battery. Consider this phone for its camera, performance and exceptional on-battery time. However, if ease of use is important and you stream videos on OTT platforms, this might not be your best bet.

First Published: Thu, July 11 2019. 14:36 IST
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