Vivo launched the Z1x, the company’s latest smartphone in the Z series last week, soon after the launch of Z1 Pro in India in July. The phone was introduced as Z5 in China back in July, and there is no change in specifications in the Indian version like the Z5x and the Z1 Pro, which had changes in the SoC and front camera. Specifications look great on paper, is the phone good for the price? How does it stand with the competition? Let us find out.
We recently unboxed the smartphone on ourTamil channel. Check out the videos below.
- Vivo Z1x 6GB RAM with 128GB storage version in Phantom Purple color
- 2-pin vivo flash charge fast charger (5V-2A / 9V-2A /10V-2.25A)
- USB Type-C Cable
- Earphones with microphone
- SIM Ejector tool
- Clear protective case
- User manual and warranty information
The phone packs a large 6.38-inch 19.5:9 Super AMOLED 2.5D curved glass screen with gentle rounded corners. It is a Full HD+ screen with a pixel resolution of 2340 × 1080 pixels and a pixel density of about 403PPI. The display is bright and the colors are vibrant, and sunlight legibility is good as well, thanks to 60000:1 contrast ratio and 103% NTSC Color Gamut. Overall the display is gorgeous to look with slim bezels and smaller notch. The company says that it uses SCHOTT Xensation Glass protection, which the company says is 8.15% better than the competition, which should be Corning Gorilla Glass.
You can adjust the display color temperature from the display settings, and there is also eye protection option that cuts out the blue light emitted from the smartphone that causes strain to eyes and also affect the sleeping cycle. You also get DC Dimming in the form of ‘Low brightness anti-flicker’ which reduces screen flicker when the screen brightness is low, but it says that this might increase the screen noise. There is also a dark mode option that changes the phone UI and UI of the built-in apps and some third-party apps to dark, but this looks weird in apps like WhatsApp and Instagram.
Since this has an AMOLED display, there is always on display option that shows a widget with lock, date and battery percent on the lock screen. You can choose different styles, and some styles also have live animations, but this might drain more battery. Using the default clock style drained around 4% of battery overnight during my usage, which is acceptable.
Above the display there is an earpiece on the top edge. There is a 32-megapixel camera with f/2.0 aperture inside the notch. The proximity sensor is present on the top bezel and the ambient light sensor is hidden under the screen. It also has a gyroscope and a magnetic sensor, otherwise known as a magnetometer. The phone doesn’t have a notification LED, so you have to manage with always on display.
There is a small bezel below the display. You can also see the area where the in-display fingerprint scanner is present, when the screen is off.
Coming to the button placements and slots, the power button and the volume rockers are present on the right side. On the left there is a microSD slot. There is also a smart button on the left to launch the Google Assistant easily. On the bottom there is a 3.5mm audio jack, microphone, USB Type-C port and the loudspeaker grill, and the secondary microphone is on the left.
Unlike the Z1 Pro which had dedicated dual SIM and microSD slots, this doesn’t have a microSD slot, which might not be a big deal since it comes with 64GB and 128GB (UFS 2.1) storage options.
The back cover has a glossy finish with gradient look, but it is not glass. It looks premium and feels solid in hand, but it can attract fingerprints easily. The location of the camera strip has a small bump, but it is minimal and is not noticeable when you use the case. The clear protective case which comes bundled with the phone offers good protection, and also extends outside, so it protects the screen. We have the Phantom Purple color version, and the phone also comes in Fusion Blue version.
The phone measures 159.53×75.23×8.13mm dimensions, which is good for a phone with a 6.38-inch screen. Vivo says that it has 90% screen-to-body ratio, but it is around 83% in reality. It is a bit heavy at 187 grams, mainly due to the huge 4500mAh battery under the hood.
The Z1x packs a 48-megapixel primary rear camera with Sony IMX582 sensor, f/1.79 aperture, 8-megapixel 120° wide-angle camera with f/2.2 aperture and 2-megapixel camera with f/2.4 aperture to capture depth information in portrait shots. It has a 32-megapixel front camera with f/2.0 aperture, which is housed inside notch.
The camera UI is simple with toggles for flash, HDR, Portrait lighting and live photos on the top, along with settings button that lets you switch aspect ratio, add watermark, Geo location, framing lines, AI portrait framing and AI scene identification. On the bottom there is an option for image recognizer, timer, effects, portrait mode and switch to wide-angle camera. Below that there is an image preview button, shutter key and front and rear camera toggle. Below that there is an option to switch camera modes that include DOC (Documents), Pro (To manually adjust Exposure, ISO (up to 3200), Shutter speed (1/12000 to 32 seconds), Panorama, Night, AI Beauty, Photo, Video, FUN Video and AR Stickers). The phone also supports Camera2 API by default so Google Camera ports for advanced editing, but it doesn’t support RAW capture.
Coming to the image quality, day light shots are good, and it is recommended to enable HDR option which automatically switches on HDR according to the shot, so that the dynamic range is good. The camera can focus quickly. Macro shots are good with good amount of blur even in closeup shots, and the wide-angle camera is useful, but the image quality is not the best since it uses a smaller 8-megapixel sensor. It offers 108° image capture after accounting for distortion, even though the phone 120° lens. Images are automatically optimized according, which is good. It uses the 2MP camera to blur the background for portrait shots, which is good in terms of edge detection, but it could have been better. Low-light images are decent, but it has noise, and the night mode is pretty good compared to the Z1Pro, thanks to the 48-megapixel sensor.
The 32-megapixel front camera is pretty good and sharp. Front camera portrait uses software to blur the background, which is decent. It also has HDR support and AI beautification with a lot of customizable options. Overall, the camera is good for the price.
Check out the some camera samples below (Click the image to view the full resolution sample).
Check out the complete set of camera samples here. It can record videos at 4k resolution at up to 30 fps. Video quality is good. It also has 720p slow-mo and time-lapse options in the video settings. Check out the samples below.
Software, UI and Apps
Coming to the software, the phone runs on Android 9.0 (Pie) with Android security patch for July 2019 and Funtouch OS 9 on top. Vivo keeps pushing updates frequently improving things, which is good. The company did not say when the phone will get Android 10 update. Compared to Funtouch OS 4.5 in older phones the Funtouch 9.0 comes with a new UI design and color combination. It also finally brings Search function in the Settings. It still has iPhone-like gestures and Jovi Smart Scene assistant when you swipe to the left showing several cards. You still need to drag from the bottom to access the panel for toggle. You can disable the navigation buttons and use gestures.
It has Motorbike mode that can auto reject calls and mute notifications, has smart wake, smart turn on / off screen, on-handed mode, app clone and a lot of features. The updated Game cube supports more functions, such as Prevent accidental touches and Game picture-in-picture and more. The AI or Smart button lets you wake up Google Assistant, you can customize it to launch the Google Search instead and double press can be configured to launch Image Recognizer, Google Assistant Visual Snapshot or Google Search. You can also disable the button completely, but you can’t configure it to launch other functions or apps.
Out of 6GB of RAM about 5.6GB is usable, out of which 4.4GB is free when the default apps are running in the background. Out of 128GB of UFS storage, 108GB is free out of the box. We got about 500Mbps sequential read speed on Android Bench.
Apart from the usual set of utility and Google apps, it comes pre-loaded with a lot of apps such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Gaana, UC Browser, Amazon, Dailyhunt, PhonePe and Paytm. These apps can be uninstalled, but they come back after reset.
Fingerprint Sensor and Face unlock
The phone has an in-display fingerprint sensor which immediately unlocks phone just by keeping your finger on the sensor. The company says that it can unlock in 0.48 seconds, which is an improvement compared to older generation in-display fingerprint scanners. There are seven different animation styles that is display when you unlock, but you can’t disable the animation. The phone also has face unlock that can unlock the phone in seconds by scanning 1024 facial points, but it is not as secure as fingerprint since it can be unlocked with a photo. It also doesn’t work if you use sunglasses or hats.
Music Player and Multimedia
The default Music Player also has equalizer and DeepField sound effects. It doesn’t have FM Radio support. Audio through the speaker is good and it is loud. Since the speaker is present on the bottom, audio doesn’t get muffled when the phone is on a flat surface. Audio through bundled earphones is good as well. This has Widevine L1 so that you can play HD content on Amazon Prime Video, Netflix and other streaming apps.
It has the usual set of connectivity features such as 4G, Wi-Fi 802.11 ac (2.4 + 5GHz), Bluetooth 5, GPS + GLONASS, but doesn’t have NFC support. It also has USB OTG support. It also has Voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) support for Reliance Jio, Airtel and others and supports Dual 4G VoLTE that lets you use 4G on both the SIMs.
The dialer and messaging UI are similar to other Vivo smartphones. With the latest Funtouch OS update, Messages supports identifying malicious websites, risky links and other information. Since this is a dual SIM phone, you get the option to select either SIMs when calling or sending a text message. We did not face any call drops and the earpiece volume is good, even though it is present on the top edge.
Performance and Benchmarks
Coming to the performance, the phone is powered by an Octa-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 712 64-bit 10nm Mobile Platform that has two Cortex A75-based Kryo 360 CPUs clocked at 2.3GHz per core and other six Cortex A55 Kryo 360 CPUs are clocked at 1.7GHz per core, comes with Adreno 616 GPU and 6GB LPDDR4x RAM. Check out the synthetic benchmark scores below.
We did face occasional frame drops in graphic-intensive games, but most games were fine. Similar to most phones, it gets a bit warm on intensive gaming and 4G data use, but it doesn’t too hot. Vivo says that the phone comes with Multi Turbo which features Center Turbo that promises 78% improvement in anti frame rate drop while playing games, AI Turbo that promises 20% better experience in commonly used apps, Cooling Turbo that promises 1 to 1.5°C improvement in heating or temperature and Game Turbo for smooth gaming experience. The Ultra Game Mode offers several features such as Voice Changer, 4D Vibrations with real-time recognition of the game scene and vibrates the phone accordingly, DND Mode, Game Countdown and more.
Coming to the battery life the 4500mAh battery lasts for a whole day even with heavy use and with average use it lasts for more than that. In addition to the default normal mode, there is a low power mode that lowers the CPU and GPU freqency, screen brightness and more to improve the battery life, and there is also a Super Power-saving mode that only enables contacts, phone, messages and clock. Even in normal mode, the phone kills some background apps that consumes more power, so you have to change the option to allow the app to continue running in the background.
It achieved One Charge Rating of 19 hours and 42 minutes in our battery test, which is as impressive as the Z1Pro, but this is good enough for a phone with a 4500mAh battery. Since the phone has support for 22.5W Vivo Flash Charge fast charging, it takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes to charge it from 0 to 100%, and 0 to 50% takes 35 minutes. It also supports reverse charging that lets you charge other devices with an USB OTG cable. Unlike the Z1Pro’s micro USB port, this comes with USB Type-C Port, which is a good.
At the starting price of Rs. 16,990, the Vivo Z1x is defintely a good smartphone with a Super AMOLED display with minimal bezels, Snapdragon 712 SoC that offers good performance as well as gaming experience, good cameras and 4500mAh battery that offers brilliant battery life with support for fast charging and bundled fast charger in the box. However, you have to manage the phone’s UI, which needs refinment and lack of microSD slot.
Each and every phone have their own advantages and disadvantages. The realme X is a good alternative with a no-notch screen.. The upcoming realme XT, which is expected to be priced in the similar range is another competitor to the Z1x offering better 64MP quad camera setup and a splash-resistant premium glass body. There is also the Samsung Galaxy M30s coming next week packing a huge 6000mAh battery, and is expected to be priced in the similar range.
The Vivo Z1x will be available from Flipkart and vivo online store starting from September 13th 12 noon with launch offers. The company has not announced if the phone will be available offline in the future, since it has Vivo S1 and the Vivo V series for the offline segment. To summarize, here are the pros and cons of the phone.
- AMOLED display is good
- Brilliant battery life and 22.5W fast charging support
- Good performance
- Capable cameras
- UI might not be preferred by everyone
- Lack of microSD slot might be a deal breaker for 64GB users
- Might be huge and heavy for some
Photography by Vigneshwar