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Samsung Galaxy A30s vs Huawei Y9s vs Vivo S1 - Candidates under PHP 14K

OPPO
Huawei
Today, we are looking at 3 mid-range smartphones that might catch your interest, the Samsung Galaxy A30s, Huawei Y9s, and Vivo S1.
Samsung Galaxy A30s vs Huawei Y9s vs Vivo S1 - Candidates under PHP 14K
Samsung Galaxy A30s vs Huawei Y9s vs Vivo S1

The Samsung Galaxy A30s (PHP 12,990) and Vivo S1 (PHP 12,999) sports an AMOLED panel with a notch. On the other hand, the Huawei Y9s (PHP 13,990), the newest of the bunch, sports a rare all-screen front with a hidden pop-up selfie camera.

The three also have attractive specs and their strengths. It's a pretty close match on paper, so we hope that in this comparison, we will be able to help you decide on which phone to buy.

Let's begin!

Build Quality/Design

Shiny designs
Shiny designs

All are well-machined and beautifully made. In fact, each has its own appeal.

The Samsung Galaxy A30s and the Vivo S1 both highlight a glasstic material at the back. Meanwhile, the Y9s is the only one with a more premium 3D curved glass back, not glass-like plastic.

The three uses a sturdy-looking polycarbonate frame and 2.5D curved glass front. Only the Vivo S1 has a layer of glass protection, it uses 
Schott Xensation UP glass. To compensate for that, Huawei added an extra protective film in front. Sadly, for the A30s, you'll need to buy an aftermarket screen protector.

As expected, since all are mid-rangers, all aren't equipped with IP ratings water resistance.

Looking at their designs, the phones are unique in their own right. Galaxy A30s uses a 3D curved back with prism patterns in Black, White, or Green. The Y9s also has a 3D curved back with a Huawei-first breathing crystal gradient design. It is also available in the Midnight Black colorway for those who want a more classic look. The Vivo S1 is the only one with an older type of 2.5D curved back. It has an interesting back design in either Diamond Black or Skyline Blue though.
Neat screens with slim bezels
Neat screens with slim bezels

In front, both the A30s and S1 have a more traditional notch design. The Y9s has a more exciting all-screen design with a motorized pop-up camera system. To those who aren't that confident with pop-ups yet, it has been tested for 100,000 times and it has a fall detection feature to ensure durability.

AMOLED notch screens or all-screen TFT LCD (LTPS) display?

All have slim bezels. But, the Huawei Y9s with an all-screen design has the slimmer looking chin. Basically, its design made the Y9s have more screen real estate than the two other phones with 91 percent of screen-to-body ratio.

It also has a bigger 6.59-inch display versus the 6.4-inch and 6.38-inch of Samsung and Vivo, respectively.
Top
Top
Bottom
Bottom
Left, right
Left, right

For the buttons, all have familiar placements. The Vivo S1 has an extra Google Assistant key at left. However, it is the only one with an older micro USB port. Both the A30s and Y9s are using the more modern USB-C charging/data port.

The Y9s has a physical fingerprint scanner/power key in one at left. Both the A30s and S1 have an In-Display fingerprint reader.

Multimedia Experience

The notch prevented these phones from having a true all-screen experience
The notch prevented these phones from having a true all-screen experience

As mentioned earlier, the A30s and Vivo S1 are using AMOLED panels that generally delivers more vibrant images with deeper blacks. They differ a little in size at 6.4-inch and 6.38-inch, respectively. The A30s has the smallest resolution among the three. It only comes with an HD+ panel.

But the quality of the display goes to the Vivo S1 as it has more balanced colors and nicer contrast. Samsung's panel is simply too saturated and warm for my taste. S1's screen is also brighter than both A30s and Y9s.
Notchless design for Huawei Y9
Notchless design for Huawei Y9

In the middle of the pack is the Huawei Y9s with a TFT LCD (LTPS) panel. Call me weird, but I prefer the TFT LCD (LTPS) screen of Huawei this time than the AMOLED of Samsung. If you don't trust me, check it in person and see if for yourself.

Moreover, it has more screen real estate than the two for a more immersive viewing experience.

Y9s has TÜV Rheinland-certified eye comfort mode.

For audio, the A30s is equipped with the loudest speaker of the bunch. The Y9s has the nicest quality to our ears with great details and balance and the S1 is just okay. All have a 3.5mm headphone slot for your wired headphones at the bottom. They are all similar-sounding for me. The S1 has a strong driving power and good balance.

All are good for calls and the mic quality of the 3 is very similar.

Camera

Triple-cam phones
Triple-cam phones

At the back, the 3 devices all have a triple-camera setup. On paper, the one with the highest resolution is from Huawei. Thanks to its 48MP + 8MP + 2MP setup. The A30 loads with a 25MP + 8MP + 2MP setup and the S1 boasts a 16MP + 8MP + 2MP setup.

All have an ultra-wide, depth (bokeh), and AI scene detection features. Huawei and Vivo have a robust Pro mode where you can adjust shutter speed and more. Samsung also has a Pro mode, but it is very limited.

Only Huawei has the handheld AI-assisted Night mode and Light painting modes though.

Rear Camera Samples

Scene - 1 daylight
A30s daylight 1
A30s daylight 1
Y9s daylight 1
Y9s daylight 1
S1 daylight 1
S1 daylight 1

In daylight, the 3 phones have similarly fast shutter and focus speeds. Huawei is a hair faster than Vivo and Vivo is a grain faster than Samsung.
A30s daylight 2
A30s daylight 2
Y9s daylight 2
Y9s daylight 2
S1 daylight 2
S1 daylight 2

All 3 phones showed that they are very capable of daylight shooters. Samsung got the brightest image with slightly enhanced colors. The details on the Y9s is superior to my eyes, but it falls short on color accuracy. The image from the S1 is the dimmest of the bunch, but it has the most accurate colors.

The best balance goes to A30s, but having a more detailed image is still more important than anything else. Y9s wins.

Scene 2 - Ultra-wide
A30s ultra-wide 1
A30s ultra-wide 1
Y9s ultra-wide 1
Y9s ultra-wide 1
S1 ultra-wide 1
S1 ultra-wide 1

Using the 3 ultra-wide cams, I enjoyed what the 3 phones can do. The widest shot is from Samsung, but I find its contrast to be too much. Y9s has the narrowest view, but it isn't as distorted as the A30s and S1. It overexposed the clouds though. The nicest image this time is from the Vivo S1 as it is well detailed and not oversaturated or overexposed.
A30s ultra-wide 2
A30s ultra-wide 2
Y9s ultra-wide 2
Y9s ultra-wide 2
S1 ultra-wide 2
S1 ultra-wide 2

Scene 3 - Max zoom
A30s 4x zoom, Y9s 8x zoom, S1 10x zoom
A30s 4x zoom, Y9s 8x zoom, S1 10x zoom

Samsung only has up to 4x zoom. Huawei has up to 8x zoom. Vivo has up to 10x zoom. The battle here is between Huawei and Vivo. Both performed well. For Samsung, they need to improve their max zoom range.

Scene 4 - Indoor well-lit

A30s indoor well-lit
A30s indoor well-lit
Y9s indoor well-lit
Y9s indoor well-lit
S1 indoor well-lit
S1 indoor well-lit

For well-lit indoor shots, the difference is minimal. There is just a slight greenish tint on the Y9s. I prefer the A30s this time.

Scene 5 - Indoor dim
A30s dim close-up
A30s dim close-up
Y9s dim close-up
Y9s dim close-up
S1 dim close-up
S1 dim close-up

For indoor shots in a dim place with artificial lighting, the three phones performed surprisingly well. The A30s shot is more saturated, the Y9s shot is slightly more detailed, and the S1 shot has slightly more accurate colors.

Scene 6 - Portrait dim
A30s, Y9s, S1
A30s, Y9s, S1

All did reasonably well for edge detection. Huawei and Vivo got an image with better sharpness The Vivo S1 is just a bit too saturated. The Samsung Galaxy A30s is a bit soft. I'm leaning towards Huawei Y9s this time.

Scene 7 - Low light

A30s low light 1
A30s low light 1
Y9s low light 1
S1 low light 1
S1 low light 1

In low light, the one who got the brightest image is the Y9s. Next is from A30s then S1.

But brighter doesn't automatically mean that it is better, personally, my pick here is the S1 shot. While it is dimmer than the A30s and Y9s photos with slightly lesser dynamic range, it handled exposure than the two of them better.

Scene 8 - Night mode
Y9s Night mode 1
Y9s Night mode 1

But, Huawei is aware of the situation above and they have a solution, the AI-assisted handheld Night mode. It'll let users take up to 6 seconds handheld long exposure shots that will improve the details, lessen noise, and correct the exposure.
A30s low light 2
A30s low light 2
Y9s Night mode 2
Y9s Night mode 2
S1 low light
S1 low light

Disappointingly, only the Huawei Y9s has that feature. It made the said device superior for taking images in the dark.
Y9s pop-up selfie cam
Y9s pop-up selfie cam

For selfies, only the S1 has a 32MP snapper. Both the A30s and Y9s are equipped with a 16MP sensor.


Selfie Camera Samples

Scene 1 - Selfie daylight
A30s daylight selfie
A30s daylight selfie
Y9s daylight selfie
Y9s daylight selfie
S1 daylight selfie
S1 daylight selfie

The three performed nicely in daylight with plenty of details. A30s shot is a bit overexposed. Y9s got the widest shot, but it made my face a bit whiter than usual. S1 got the colors correctly. The details on the S1 is also slightly better.

Scene 2 - Portrait dim

A30s, Y9s, S1
A30s, Y9s, S1

I personally prefer the shot taken by the A30s here. The bokeh effect failed in the Y9s. Details are slightly crispier on the S1, but it is a bit overexposed.

Scene 3 - Selfie low light
A30s selfie low light
A30s selfie low light
Y9s selfie low light
Y9s selfie low light
S1 selfie low light
S1 selfie low light

Interestingly, the selfie performance of the 3 is similar in the dark. All are quite detailed. The Y9s has the brightest background. I slightly prefer the Y9s shot here as it is wider without losing too many details.
Y9s selfie vs Y9s selfie Night mode
Y9s selfie vs Y9s selfie Night mode

The Y9s has a killer feature for selfies that the two other phones don't have though. It has a Night mode for selfies.

For videos, the A30s and S1 only shoot up to 1080p 30fps at the back and front. Both have slow-mo, but just a minimal type of slow-mo. Meanwhile, Huawei Y9s has up to 1080p 60fps at the back. It has an option to use a 480fps slow-mo at 720p as well. For selfies, you get up to 1080p.

Video Samples


Performance

AnTuTu scores: A30s, Y9s, S1
AnTuTu scores: A30s, Y9s, S1

Based on benchmarks, the Y9s with the Kirin 710F is the fastest among the three. It outscored the Helio P65 of the S1. The weakest chipset among the 3 is from Samsung, it only scored 128K at AnTuTu versus the 199 and 190K of Y9s and S1, respectively.
Geekbench scores: A30s, Y9s, S1
Geekbench scores: A30s, Y9s, S1

Even for Geekbench, the scores are similar. The device with a slightly better GPU for gaming is the S1. Y9s is in the middle, but it has GPU Turbo 3.0 tech that enhances the gaming experience.

The Y9s and Vivo S1 are quite fast!

GPU Turbo is Huawei's solution to improve gaming by up to 60 percent while increasing battery efficiency (instead of decreasing) by up to 30 percent.

In our experience, the difference in gaming performance on popular games is not that noticeable on the Y9s and S1.

Wondering about A30s? It is just fine for casual games. But, it is not on the league of the Y9s and the S1.

For multitasking and storage, it is about equal between the Y9s and the S1. Both are packed with 6GB RAM for smooth multitasking and 128GB of ample storage. Y9s has the bigger up to 512GB expansion slot with microSD, but the S1 has a dedicated microSD slot.

For A30s, I'm a bit disappointed that it only has 4G RAM and 64GB storage.
Battery scores: A30s, Y9s, S1
Battery scores: A30s, Y9s, S1

For battery, A30s and Y9s both boast 4,000mAh juice and they have similar battery benchmark scores. In real life, I can hardly tell the difference between the two as well. Both can last for a whole day of heavy use.

The Vivo S1 can also last for a whole day of use. However, it is slightly lesser than what both A30s and Y9s can achieve. Considering that it has a bigger 4,500mAh battery, it should have outperformed the contenders from Samsung and Huawei. But, it didn't.

For charging, it has the dated micro USB port, but it supports 18W of fast charging. The A30s and Y9s have 15W and 10W, respectively. Y9s takes around 90 minutes to charge, A30s is around 80 mins, and the S1 is about 75 mins.

Connectivity-wise, all have WiFi, 4G LTE, Bluetooth, and GPS. Y9s doesn't have a dual-band WiFi and Bluetooth 5.

On the software side, all run with Android Pie OS with their own skin. Samsung uses One UI, Huawei goes with EMUI 9.1, and Vivo loads with Funtouch OS 9. Personally, I like the UI design of Samsung and Huawei better than Vivo. The Vivo S1 still has that iOS look and it is a bit harder to navigate.

All have minimal bloats, but most are removable. I'm glad to say that all are feature-rich as well. You just need to get familiar with each skin first.

Samsung and Huawei have good gesture navigation modes aside from the usual Android on-screen keys.

For features, both the A30s and S1 have an In-Display fingerprint scanner. It is a newer-gen tech and it works, but it isn't as accurate and fast as the side-mounted fingerprint reader of the Y9s.

Yes, the physical fingerprint readers as still faster and more reliable.

Samsung Galaxy A30s vs Huawei Y9s vs Vivo S1 Specs Comparison

DeviceSamsung Galaxy A30sHuawei Y9sVivo S1
Display 6.4-inch 2.5D Super AMOLED screen w/ HD+ 1560 x 720 resolution at 268 ppi 6.59-inch 2.5D curved TFT LCD (LTPS) screen w/ FHD+ 2340 x 1080 resolution at 391 ppi6.38-inch 2.5D curved AMOLED screen w/ FHD+ 2340 x 1080 resolution at 404 ppi
CPU
1.8GHz 64-bit Exynos 7904 octa-core processor
2.2GHz 64-bit Kirin 710F octa-core processor2.0GHz 64-bit Helio P65 octa-core processor
GPU Mali-G71 MP2 Mali-G51 MP4 w/ GPU Turbo 3.0Mali-G52
RAM 4GB 6GB6GB
ROM 64GB expandable via microSD card slot up to 512GB 128GB expandable via microSD card slot up to 512GB128GB expandable via microSD card slot up to 256GB (dedicated)
Back Camera 25MP f/1.7 + 8MP ultra wide-angle lens + 2MP depth w/ AF and LED flash 48MP f/1.8 w/ PDAF + 8MP f/2.4 120-degree ultra wide-angle lens + 2MP f/2.4 w/ LED flash16MP f/1.78 Sony IMX499 + 8MP f/2.2 120-degree ultra-wide + 2MP f/2.4 depth w/ LED flash
Selfie Camera 16MP f/2.0
16MP f/2.2
32MP f/2.0 Samsung ISOCELL GD1 sensor w/ AI and screen flash 
Battery 4,000mAh w/ 15W fast charging 4,000mAh w/ 10W fast charging4,500mAh w/ 18W Dual Engine fast charging 
OS Android 9.0 Pie w/ One UIAndroid 9.0 Pie w/ EMUI 9.1Android 9.0 Pie w/ Funtouch OS 9 
Connectivity WiFi 802.11ac (2.4GHz/5GHz), 4G LTE, Bluetooth 5, FM Radio, GPS, GLONASS, dual SIMWiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, 700MHz 4G LTE, Bluetooth 4.2, BLE, HWA, aptX, and aptX HD, FM Radio, OTG, GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, dual SIMWiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz/5GHz), 4G LTE, Bluetooth 5, OTG, FM Radio, GPS, A-GPS, dual SIM (nano) 
Sensors Accelerometer, orientation, proximity, gyroscope, sound, magnetic Accelerometer, light, orientation, proximity, gyroscope, sound, magneticAccelerometer, light, orientation, proximity, gyroscope, sound, magnetic 
Others
In-Display fingerprint sensor, face unlock, USB-C, Dolby Atmos, Colors: prism crush black, prism crush white, prism crush green
Fingerprint sensor, USB-C, Colors: midnight black, breathing crystalIn-Display fingerprint sensor, dual mic, Colors: diamond black, skyline blue 
Dimensions 158.5 x 74.7 x 7.7 mm 163.1 x 77.2 x 8.8 mm
159.53 x 75.23 x 8.13 mm
Weight 165 g 206 g179 g 
Price PHP 12,990
PHP 13,990 (PHP 12,990 new SRP)
PHP 14,999 (PHP 12,999 new SRP)

Samsung Galaxy A30s advantages - Strong real-life battery life
Huawei Y9s advantages - More premium build, true all-screen design, fast performance,  large expandable storage, cameras with Night mode
Vivo S1 advantages - Great screen quality, faster charging, 32MP selfie cam

Verdict

For me, all are reasonably priced devices with capable specs and features.

If you will ask me, the A30s is respectable if you need a handset with good battery life and decent cameras. However, it lags in specs versus the Y9s and S1. Its older-gen Exynos chip and 4GB RAM are simply below on what the Y9s and S1 can achieve.

If you need a more balanced device, the Y9s is a great choice. It is also the more premium-looking handset packed with real 3D curved glass back design and an all-screen display with a pop-up camera. That's rare for a phone priced this low.

This is also the device that got the highest benchmarks of the bunch, the one with the highest main camera resolution at 48MP, and the most robust camera mode.

The Vivo S1 has nicer screen quality, faster-charging speed, and detailed selfie cam. The difference in speed versus the Y9s is hardly noticeable as well.

It is a good fight between the Y9s and S1 overall.
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