In this article, I’m reviewing the highly anticipated Benco S1 Pro, which has created quite a buzz in the Nepali smartphone market. This phone is priced at around NPR 20,000 for the variant with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage. The S1 Pro is part of Benco’s new S series and follows the successful launch of the Benco S1, which had a starting price of NPR. 15,000. In the price range of NPR 10,000 to 15,000, Benco usually launches phones in the “V” and “Y” series. However, with the S1 Pro, Benco has aimed to penetrate the competitive 20,000 Nepali Rupees range.
I have been using the Benco S1 Pro for about a month now, alongside Xiaomi Redmi Note 12 4G for comparison. It is because both smartphones fall under similar price categories with which you can make a better buying decision. So, let’s delve into the detailed review of the Benco S1 Pro with its specs, features, and usage while comparing it with Redmi Note 12 4G.
Benco S1 Pro Specifications:
- Body: 166.91 x 74.91 x 8.47 mm, 203.4gm, Glass front/back, Plastic frames
- Display: 6.8” FHD+ LCD, 60Hz refresh rate
- Resolution: 2460 x 1080 pixels, 395 PPI, 20:5:9 aspect ratio
- Chipset: Unisoc T616 (12nm mobile platform)
- CPU: Octa-core: Octa-core (2×2.0 GHz Cortex-A75 & 6×1.8 GHz Cortex-A55)
- GPU: Mali-G57 MP1
- Memory: 6/8GB RAM, 128/256GB storage (expandable)
- Software & UI: Android 13
- Rear Camera: 64 MP, f/1.89 (wide)
– 2MP (macro)
– Unspecified camera (depth)
– Video: 1080p@30fps
- Front Camera: 16MP, f/2.0 (hole-punch cutout)
- Audio: single speaker
- Security: Side-mounter fingerprint sensor, accelerometer, proximity
- Connectivity: 4G, WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, 3.5mm headphone jack, USB Type-C port
- Battery: 5000mAh battery with 33W fast charging
- Color Options: Pearl White, Iceberg Blue, Gemstone Black
- What’s Inside The Box: Benco S1 Pro, USB-A to USB-C cable, 33W power adapter, SIM ejector tool, Screen protector, Transparent case, Earphones, User manual, and other documents
- Price in Nepal: NPR 19,999 (8/128GB)
Benco S1 Pro Review:
Attractive design and build
- 166.91 x 74.91 x 8.47 mm
- Glass Back, Plastic frames
I must say that it has left a positive first impression. One surprising aspect of the S1 Pro is its glass back, which is quite impressive for a phone at NPR 20,000 price range. The frosted finish on the back gives it a cool and premium look. This design choice also eliminates fingerprint smudges, which is a great convenience.
Additionally, despite using it for a month, I haven’t noticed any scratches on the back. For users who prefer added protection, Benco includes a screen protector and a transparent case in the box, which is a thoughtful inclusion.
The Benco S1 Pro has a slim and attractive profile. It feels premium in hand and gives a similar feel to high-end phones. Although the frame is made of plastic, it blends well with the overall design. For fingerprint unlocking, the S1 Pro features a side-mounted fingerprint scanner. It is neatly placed and proves to be reliable. Unlocking the phone is quick, and there is no noticeable delay. Therefore, in terms of design, the Benco S1 Pro does not disappoint.
Average IPS display
- 6.8” FHD+ LCD
- 60Hz refresh rate
In terms of display, Benco has made a few compromises. To begin with, the refresh rate is limited to 60Hz, which means you won’t experience that ultra-smooth feel while using the phone. Additionally, Benco has not opted for an AMOLED panel, which I have some concerns about. Because in this price range, we normally get a 90Hz IPS display or a 60Hz AMOLED display in the market.
Indeed, Benco has placed more emphasis on the display size of the S1 Pro. You can enjoy a large 6.8-inch screen, which provides a spacious viewing experience. The display offers good color and decent viewing angles, considering the price range. Although it may not have the vibrant visuals typically seen on AMOLED panels, the display quality is still satisfactory for its price.
When it comes to watching YouTube videos, the experience wasn’t that bad. But, because of its large screen size, despite having 1080p resolution, I noticed a slight lack of sharpness.
I noticed that the brightness of the Benco S1 Pro is sufficient when used in bright outdoor conditions. In this aspect, the Redmi Note 12 has an advantage over the S1 Pro. However, when it comes to watching movies indoors, any significant issues were not noticed. For this, the S1 Pro also features a down-firing speaker, which provides average sound output. For a more immersive experience, I would suggest using earphones or headphones. It’s worth noting that Benco includes a wired earphone in the box, which is a rare inclusion these days and can be convenient for users.
Performance and Gaming
- Unisoc T616 (12nm mobile platform)
- Octa-core (2×2.0 GHz Cortex-A75 & 6×1.8 GHz Cortex-A55)
- Mali-G57 MP1 GPU
The Benco S1 Pro is powered by the Unisoc Tiger T616 chipset, which is considered an entry-level processor. While Unisoc processors may not be as popular as MediaTek or Snapdragon processors, they are commonly used in budget-friendly smartphones. In terms of raw performance, I conducted a Geekbench 6 test. Compared to the Snapdragon 685 found in the Redmi Note 12, the Benco S1 Pro shows slightly better performance in multi-core tasks but falls behind in single-core performance. The Benco S1 Pro also exhibits relatively better GPU performance.
The Benco S1 Pro is not highly optimized for gaming. When I played PUBG on this phone, I noticed some lag and stuttering, even when using the Smooth Graphics and Ultra frame rate settings. It provided gameplay at around 25 frames per second, which is not ideal for a smooth gaming experience. In terms of heat, I also noticed heating issues during my testing. Also, the Benco S1 Pro does not have a gyro sensor either.
On the other hand, when I played Call of Duty, I noticed a slightly better performance with around 40 frames per second. Although PUBG is not well-optimized on the Benco S1 Pro, it can still handle less demanding games relatively well.
If gaming is not a priority, the Benco S1 Pro serves you well. During normal usage, the phone’s performance is generally satisfactory, and I didn’t notice any significant bugs or issues. It’s worth mentioning that budget phones often come with numerous ads and bloatware, but I did not observe such excessive ads or unwanted pre-installed apps on the Benco S1 Pro.
Latest software and clean UI
- Android 13
- INONE UI
In terms of software, the Benco S1 Pro runs on the latest Android 13 which is kinda impressive. It offers a user-friendly interface with a clean UI design. However, when it comes to RAM management, the phone may not excel. Despite having 8GB of RAM, the RAM management on the Benco S1 Pro may not be as efficient as desired.
- Triple (64MP + 2MP + AI Lens)
- 16MP selfie
The Benco S1 Pro features a triple camera setup with a 64 MP primary camera and two useless 2 MP macro lenses, and an AI camera. The primary camera of the Benco S1 Pro performs well in terms of image quality, but it does not deliver consistent results. In the photos of the Boudha stupa provided below, you can observe that the exposure is not well maintained in the left photo, despite being taken with the same normal camera.
64 MP Camera
I also captured a photo of a stupa using the 64 MP camera, and as you can see, there is an increase in saturation in the image that makes the picture look wonderful.
Now, if we compare the main camera of the Benco S1 Pro with the Redmi Note 12 4G, based on the provided sample photos, the Redmi Note 12 seems to perform slightly better. The Redmi Note 12 exhibits a warm tone, but the contrast appears to be better compared to the Benco S1 Pro. On the other hand, the photos taken with the Benco S1 Pro appear slightly more muted, and it lacks sharpness.
Again, from the pictures taken below, we can observe that Benco performs slightly better, which proves my above point of it producing inconsistent picture quality. The Benco S1 Pro produces images with vibrant colors and a pop of color, while the images from the Redmi Note 12 appear relatively plain in comparison.
I took the picture of Grande Hospital’s building and as you can see, there is no noticeable difference between the pictures. Both devices exhibit similar qualities.
See the pictures of these flowers taken from both smartphones, and it can be observed that the Benco provides a slightly better saturation. Redmi’s picture looks a bit washed up.
When looking at portrait photos, it’s evident that the Redmi Note 12 4G offers slightly higher contrast compared to the Benco S1 Pro, as you can see.
Similarly, even in low-light conditions, the Redmi Note 12 performs better. To see this, refer to the photo taken at the temple, where the Redmi Note 12 has managed to maintain exposure more effectively compared to the Benco S1 Pro.
Now, I’m comparing the same night mode picture of the Benco S1 Pro with its picture taken in Normal mode in low light. We can observe that the normal mode gives better results than the night mode. The night mode picture is a bit noisy.
Now, let’s take a look at the night mode photos captured by both phones. In my experience, I took photos from the same location in my house, and in this case, the Benco S1 Pro performed better. The Redmi Note 12 seems to forcefully increase the brightness in its night mode, resulting in more noticeable noise in the images. On the other hand, the Benco S1 Pro maintained better exposure in its night mode photos.
I took selfies with both phones, and I noticed that neither of them produced a particularly natural-looking result. The Benco S1 Pro did capture a slightly pinkish tone, which still looked good. On the other hand, the selfies taken with the Redmi Note 12 appeared slightly pale. If you’re a selfie lover, the Benco S1 Pro does not disappoint, as its 16 MP front camera captures vibrant pictures.
In 1080p and 30fps with the normal camera, I observed that videos captured with the Benco S1 Pro are comparatively shaky, while the Redmi Note 12 offers more stability. However, it appears that Redmi utilizes Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS) to stabilize the footage, which can result in some noticeable cut-offs in the recorded video. Overall, I must say what Benco is offering in terms of video recording capabilities is quite disappointing.
Impressive battery with fast charging
- Non-removable Li-Po 5000mAh battery
- Fast charging 33W
In terms of battery and connectivity, the Benco S1 Pro is equipped with a 5000 mAh battery that can last for approximately 6 hours under normal usage. The Redmi Note 12 also features a 5000 mAh battery, but the Benco S1 Pro seems to offer slightly better battery life. It’s probably because the Redmi Note 12 4G offers a higher refresh rate of 120Hz impacting its battery performance.
Additionally, the Benco S1 Pro supports 33W fast charging, allowing it to charge from 0 to 50% in around 25 minutes and reach a full charge in about 60 minutes. So comparatively, the battery performance is quite similar between the two.
Benco S1 Pro Review: Conclusion
And now, the moment of truth! As I’ve discussed throughout this review, it’s clear that the Benco S1 Pro is truly impressive with its stunning design and excellent battery life. However, its camera and display performance are just average.
If budget allows, an alternative option could be the Redmi Note 12 4G, which offers a better display, camera, and overall optimization. That being said, if the budget is tight, the Benco S1 Pro is still a decent choice.
Benco S1 Pro Review: Pros and Cons
- Slim and attractive design
- Good battery life
- Latest Android 13
- Not the greatest Performance
- LCD screen with 60 Hz
- No stereo speakers
- Cameras could have been better