Vivo has recently updated its Y series with the launch of the Y55s smartphone in India. The device comes with a price tag of Rs 12,490. With this, the company is all set to enter an already heavily competitive market which is over-populated by many. So will it be able to make its presence felt in this segment or will go unnoticed? Let’s take a closer look.
Design plays a major part when it comes to buying a smartphone and unfortunately, it seems that it is a most neglected thing from the manufacturers end as almost all the devices come with an identical design language. Although, Vivo Y55s does not resemble the other manufacturer smartphone, but it is a tad similar to its predecessor, the Vivo Y55L. The identicalness of both the phones has reached to that level, where it become a difficult task to differentiate between them if placed side by side.
Moving on, the device is surely sleek looking, all thanks to 7.5mm thickness and is certainly lightweight with 142 grammes. We got the gold variant for review, which had a combination of gold at the rear and white at the front. The smartphone has a unibody and build quality doesn’t seem to be cheap. The front is dominated by a 5.2-inch display coupled with physical navigation keys including a back, recent menu and home button engraved at the base that gives a haptic feedback but is not backlit in nature, while at the top you will front-facing camera coupled with an earpiece and usual array of sensors.
At the right, there are volume controls and just beneath it is the power on/off button, which gives some good feedback. On the left, you find a dual SIM slot, while at the top there is a separate microSD card slot along with a 3.5mm audio jack, which is a welcome move as most of the players are offering hybrid SIM slot. At the base, there is a microUSB port flanked between speaker grille and microphone. At the back, you will see a primary camera along with a single LED flash. Overall, the device is compact enough to use and hold, but still, we have seen better-built smartphones including Xiaomi Redmi Note 4, Honor 6X and even Coolpad Cool 1, which carries a solid and bold design language.
At a time, when almost all the competitors are offering a full HD display on their smartphones, Vivo is somewhat stuck with an HD display. The device carries a 5.2-inch HD display with a screen resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels. This is surely a bummer, but still, the display manages to give a decent output. It has some good viewing angles, but we feel the colour temperature is slightly on the cooler side.
We watched different movies like Kung Fu Panda 2, John Wick during our testing period and found out that the colours were not punchy enough to leave a good impression about the display. That said, the company has added an eye protection mode, which ensures a comfortable screen at the night, by reducing the harmful blue light that is the main cause behind those eye strains.
Coming to the performance, the smartphone is powered by a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 processor along with 3GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage, which can be further expanded up to 256GB via microSD card. On the connectivity front, the device supports Dual SIM, 4G VoLTE, Bluetooth 4.1, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi hotspot, GPS/A-GPS and a microUSB port. Vivo has done something very unusual. On one hand, the company has bumped the RAM and rear camera megapixel count from its predecessor (Y55L comes loaded with 2GB of RAM and 8-megapixel rear camera), but on the other, it has downgraded the processor. The Y55L was powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 processor, while Y55s runs on Snapdragon 425 processor. We think that the company could have bumped up the processor. Nevertheless, the device can handle most of the daily tasks like browsing, streaming, social media, WhatsApp(ing) and listen to music quite effectively, all thanks to the 3GB RAM. It can also do multi-tasking without breaking a sweat.
On the gaming front, the phone gives a mixed bag performance. On one hand, one can play casual games like Subway Surfer 2, Crossy Road, and so on quite easily, but when it comes to high graphics games like Asphalt 8: Airborne or Warhammer 40,000: Freeblade, the device gives up as one can noticeable frame drops and hiccups while playing the games.
Moving to the camera department, the Y55s features a 13-megapixel rear camera with LED flash, and a 5-megapixel front-facing camera for selfies and video chats. The camera features include f/2.0 Aperture, Auto Focus, Continuous Focus, Digital Zoom, Geo-tagging, Panorama, HDR, Touch Focus, Face Detection, White Balance, ISO Setting, Exposure Compensation, Self-Timer, Scene Mode, and Screen Flash. That said, the smartphone report in the camera department is just above average. The device took some good photos in the broad daylight and colours were close to the source, but detailing was typically missing. Under the low light condition, the device performance is average, as a lot of noises and graininess are clearly visible in the photos.
Another problem we faced was the HDR mode. While using this mode, the photos were getting overexposed and you don’t get the feel of an HDR photo (normal photos taken from the camera was far better). The front camera did an average job as well, as colours were bit washed out and there were many noises in the photos we clicked.
Software and Battery
On the software front, the device runs on the Android 6.0 Marshmallow with company’s own UI Funtouch OS running on top of it. At a time, when other manufacturers are trying to give a more stock(ish) Android flavour, Vivo is working hard to make its own flavour of UI more user-friendly. One thing we typically liked about the software is the amount of customization one can do like different dynamic slide effect. One can also set different home and lock screen wallpapers and there are numerous themes available on the store which can be easily downloaded.
Then there is a smart multi-screen mode, which basically allows you use two apps simultaneously. So for instance, you are watching a movie in full-screen view and a notification from Facebook appears then it will be shown as a floating icon. Once you click it, you will enter into split screen mode, where you can check the notification and continue to watch the video as well. This is really a neat feature.
Sliding from the bottom of the screen will reveal you the quick setting panel, which is heavily inspired by Apple notification centre. The device comes with a lot of built-in apps, which can be an eyesore for some, as it still has a 16GB of internal storage. Although, there is no app drawer, but the overall experience of the user interface is smooth.
On the battery front, the device is juiced up by a 2730mAh battery, which gives a good output. The smartphone lasted a day of normal usage, which includes watching videos, calling, messaging, Wi-Fi, 4G browsing and more. This is primarily because of two reasons: you resolution of the screen and less power-hungry processor.