Lenovo Vibe S1 review: Here’s a slippery champ!

I invite you to come with me through my Lenovo Vibe S1 review. You may have already seen the first impressions post, as well as the specifications. It is time for you to find out how this beauty behaves from day to day.

Lenovo Vibe S1 review - on table

We have already published our unboxing and first impressions, detailing all these things. You can also have a look with the detailed Lenovo Vibe S1 specifications.

Lenovo Vibe S1 Review In Brief

Here is a summary of the high points and low points of the Vibe S1:

Pros
– Slim and lightweight body
– Very finely crafted body with glass front and back
– Very good rear camera
– Very good front dual camera with bokeh effect
– Very Good battery life
– Fast and fluid performance
– Great data network reception capability

Cons
Glass body is slippery and prone to falls

Lenovo Vibe S1 in hand volume power buttons-min

I can tell you upfront that the Lenovo Vibe S1 is one of the best smartphones that I have reviewed. If you can afford it and handle its slippery nature, go buy one. It costs N84,000 at the last time I checked. If you want greater details about this lovely smartphone, join me below for the full review.

Lenovo Vibe S1 review: Design

Lenovo Vibe S1 top-min

This is a very gorgeous smartphone. Pictures do it no justice. You actually have to see and hold one in your hands to appreciate how beautiful it is. It gives off a very premium – and smooth, glossy – feel. Not only does it look good, it is also slim and lightweight. I have had people examine it and then say to me, “You have good taste!”

Because it is covered in glass on both front and back sides, the Lenovo Vibe S1 is so smooth that it’s greatest weakness is how it is prone to slipping and sliding off surfaces and out of your hand (or mouth, if you hold it there). The Vibe S1 is very prone to damage.

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The manufacturer included a transparent protective case in the sales box. If you don’t mind using cases, that should help you keep cracks and breaks away from your Vibe S1.

Lenovo Vibe S1 mirror mirror-min

The 3.5mm audio port is at the top, microUSB port at the bottom, volume and power buttons on the right side. On the left side is the hybrid dual SIM slot. It can take two SIMS – one micro and the other nano – at the same time, or one micro SIM and a microSD card.

The VIBE trademark is tastefully imprinted at the back some distance below the camera lens and LED flash. The back is not removable.

Lenovo Vibe S1 review: Software

Lenovo Vibe S1 in hand homescreen top-min

The Lenovo Vibe S1 came out of the box running Android 5 Lollipop. But right after setting it up, I got a software update notification and after two runs, it had Android 6.0 Marshmallow running smoothly on it.

The user interface that Lenovo uses is quite nice and smooth – one of the better ones out there. The customisation to stock Android is minimal. Lenovo has a suite of homegrown apps pre-installed – SHAREit, a file sharing app that works like Xender; while SYNCit lets you backup or restore your contacts, SMS and call logs to Lenovo cloud storage. Very nifty tools if you switch phones often – or whenever you do. There is also a Theme Center – for switching themes, and Lenovo Companion. Lenovo Companon gives you access to support, including Forums, as well as system information and a Lenovo user account to “explore more services”.So far, I have refused to create a user account.

As for the standard Google suite and getting started with using the Vibe S1, just set up your Gmail account to get your Google email, calendar, and contacts synchronising and get going. Everything works just fine.

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Lenovo Vibe S1 review: Music & Audio

The pre-installed music app is Google’s default Android music player, which I do not like much. What I did was download and install Boom Player for use. It now allows discovery of music videos too. Which is cool. Boom Player has all the standard features you would expect from a music app, plus it lets you find music and videos by African artistes conveniently. It also notifies you of new music when they are available.

Audio output of the built-in mono loudspeaker located at the back of the phone is not only sufficiently loud but also very good. Listening to music on the Vibe S1 is a pleasant experience.

Network & Phone Calls

Network reception is one of the areas in which the Lenovo Vibe S1 shines. It locks on to network signal even in fringe areas where other phones struggle to pick a signal. The phone is dual SIM. My observation is that whatever SIM slot you pick for data holds on to network signal better. Whether it is 2G, 3G or 4G, the Vibe S1 is a champ.

Also, in-call audio is loud, clear and crisp. Making telephone calls on this beauty is a rich experience.

Lenovo Vibe S1 review: Photography

Lenovo Vibe S1 review camera indoor
The Lenovo Vibe S1 sports a rear 13 megapixel camera that isn’t anywhere among the best cameras on a smartphone but is quite good all the same. Pictures have good details and sharpness. Colour rendering is good too. However, the camera isn’t very fast at focusing.

Bokeh On Selfies

Lenovo Vibe S1 review selfie camera bokeh
The front-facing selfie camera is actually two cameras – one 8 megapixels and the other 2 megapixels. The dual camera functionality means that you can generate depth in captured images. The built-in software uses this depth to create a bokeh effect in your selfie. Bokeh makes photographs visually appealing, forcing visual attention on a particular area of the image by blurring away out-of-focus areas.

Performance

Lenovo Vibe S1 in hand sim side-min

We have an octa-core 1.5 GHz Mediatek processor, 3G of RAM, as well the same Mali-T760MP2 graphics processor on the Vibe S1. Performance for all but the most extreme tasks is smooth. The Vibe S1 is above the cut of average in terms of performance.

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Our usual benchmark tests came out with the following results:

  • AnTuTu 6: 52,402
  • GeekBench 3: 690 Single-Core: 3,601 Multi-Core
  • New! GeekBench 4 CPU: 738 Single-Core: 3,240 Multi-Core; RenderScript: 1,908
  • Quadrant: 23,410

***Geekbench 4 recently replaced Geekbench 3.

Lenovo Vibe S1 in hand-min

Lenovo Vibe S1 review: Battery

Considering my fear of how the 2,420 mAh battery would hold up, especially with 4G LTE active, the Lenovo Vibe S1’s battery life turned out not to be horrible. I regularly got a full work day of use when connected to a WiFi network and slightly lower endurance if using a 3G network. Using 4G, however, I had to plug it in at least once during the course of the day. With heavy use, twice.

You know how I prefer to use my smartphones naked. I stubbornly refused to use the transparent case that the manufacturer included in the box. And I paid for it. One fateful day, this slippery eel slipped out of my nad nad dropped to the hard floor. See the result for yourself:

Lenovo Vibe S1 cracked back-min

Fortunately, only the back side got cracked. Everything still works fine though, so it isn’t much of a biggie. I still love it to bits! With smooth performance, 4G LTE, powerful signal reception, beautiful body and display, up-to-date software, and two cameras that get the job done, the Lenovo Vibe S1 is a champ, albeit a very slippery one. If you can charm this snake, the N84,000 that you spend on obtaining one is money well spent.

  • slippery

Mister Mobility

I started blogging about mobile in 2004 as a fun way to share my passion for gadgets and mobile services. My other interests include digital media, speaking and teaching, photography, travelling, and dancing.

6 thoughts on “Lenovo Vibe S1 review: Here’s a slippery champ!

  • September 3, 2016 at 4:52 pm
    Permalink

    It’s beautiful! As I am a very good snake charmer I’m likely to have a good time with the phone.

  • September 5, 2016 at 12:29 pm
    Permalink

    So finally a phone falls from Mr. Mo’s hands? Lenovo Una try

  • May 28, 2017 at 10:49 am
    Permalink

    Been using this phone for 6 months now and i love it especially when someone has a something nice to say after handling the phone. However I have been trying to get a phone case, any ideas Mr Mo

    • May 28, 2017 at 2:34 pm
      Permalink

      Hi Mik,

      The Vibe S1 comes with a transparent case in the sales pack. You don’t fancy that? You will have to do some serious hunting at Computer Village.

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