Vivo Y55 Review - Beautiful And Capable Machine, Made Affordable!

No doubt, Vivo's Y55 ranks among the most exciting smartphone offering in our country right now. It has that easy to love close to premium design / craftsmanship and capable overall specs on paper.
Here's our take with the new Vivo Y55, is it the right one for you?
Here's our take with the new Vivo Y55, is it the right one for you?

In particular, it is the most affordable handset in the land right now with its use of the capable 64 bit Snapdragon 430 octa core processor paired w/ Adreno 505 GPU that's decent enough even for heavy gaming. Also, the Y55 is tagged to be a great "selfie" phone w/ screen flash and the first Vivo phone in PH to run with Android 6.0 Marshmallow OS paired with their own FunTouch OS 3.0 skin.

One month after we immediately unboxed the unit, here's the rest of our discoveries about this phone. Now, its time to check this out if this PHP 7,990 only smartphone is the right one for you.

For the review part 1: Vivo Y55 Unboxing And First Impressions - The Affordable Beast In Style?

Display Quality

Flaunting a 5.2 inch IPS panel with an HD 1280 x 720 resolution, the Y55 has a fairly sharp looking display at 282 pixels per inch. It looks good in quality, pixels are hardly visible, doesn't have annoying old school gaps, and the black border bezel are pretty slim.

The display has good color reproduction overall!
In terms of quality, it doesn't have the punchiest colors around, but it doesn't look dull or over saturated as well. There's minor violetish tinge by default, but we're fine with it. Viewing angles are decent as well. Then there's basic 5 points of multitouch to provide good typing, gaming, and swiping experience.
There's that standard 5 points of multitouch
There's that standard 5 points of multitouch

In terms of display adjustments, we find its auto brightness mode accurate and its Global eye protection useful as lessens the harmful effects of blue light to our eyes when activated in the dark.

Audio Quality

Speaker grille below

Vivo takes pride on being one of those few brands who really cares about audio quality. However, the rest of their Y series (including Y55) aren't advertised as HiFi phones. Gladly, the Y55 is still on the above-average scale of things in terms of overall audio reproduction for this price range.

For the single speaker below, we weren't expecting this to be loud, but it is loud and good sounding. It has a thick audio reproduction and nice clarity (for a small speaker on a phone) that's pleasing enough for music or movie watching on quiet places. On max volume, there's minimal distortion (especially in the lows region), but its far from annoying considering that this isn't advertised as a music phone.

Checking its headphone audio output, as long as you have a good pair of HiFi sounding IEM or headphones, you won't have a problem at all. For the quality, it isn't super crisp, but it still sounded fine overall. Lows is there (though could be a tad too bassy for some), Mids is clear, clean, and crisp enough. Separation of details are also noticeable. There's nothing special in the highs and soundstage department, but at least its decent for most.

Then it has audio effects from BBE Sound Inc. if you need more bass or you want to create artificial soundstage. It may just sound unnatural, but it works for some.

Lastly, its microphone for calls and recording is clean sounding on quiet places. If we're correct, it just doesn't have noise cancellation to help you record or do calls with better quality.

Battery Life

Over 10 hours of battery test for a 2,650 mAh phone? Yes, that's possible!

Considering the fact that the Y55 only has 2,650 mAh of battery, many aren't expecting this phone to last for an entire day. However, with the use of the battery efficient Snapdragon 430 chip and the other battery optimizations by Vivo, the Y55 can last for an entire work day of use.
Battery life and optimizations are great, charging time is average!
On our PC Mark battery test, it clocked a scored 10 hours ad 38 mins which is more than some over 3,000 mAh battery phones with the same HD resolution that we tested in the past. In real life scenario as a main phone for an entire day, we were able to use it from 8 am to 6 pm. For straight NBA 2K17 gaming, it'll obviously drain faster at around 6 hours. Still, that's not bad at all!

To make things sweeter, Vivo rivals Huawei's battery optimization software in features. It has several power saving modes that you can choose and play around with.

Sadly, it doesn't have Quick Charge tech even if its chip supports up to QC 3.0. It's charging time is around 2 hours and 45 mins from 0 to 100%.

Camera

The 8 MP f/2.0 main camera of Vivo behind

Checking the main camera specs of Y55, there's really nothing special with its numbers with its 8 MP f/2.0 sensor w/ LED flash behind. However, while we know that it isn't always about the number of pixels and camera isn't really the main selling point of this unit, it's a little disappointing that Vivo failed to use 13 MP PDAF camera just like what their competitors are doing.
The pro camera mode
The pro camera mode

Fortunately, the company made up for it by incorporating one of the most feature packed and easy to use camera software found on a phone priced this low.

It has numerous useful filters, HDR, night mode, panorama, FHD (32 MP interpolation), slow motion, time-lapse, PPT (capture power point presentations), and professional mode.

It's pro-mode is limited, but still enjoyable and has numerous guides!
Speaking of its pro mode, it has several guides (grids, levels, and Fibonacci), up to ISO 1600, 1/10 of a sec to a 1 sec shutter speed, manual focus (even good for macros), and white balance adjustments. On top of that, its focus is speedy enough, can focus on subjects up to 4 inches near (slower focus though), and has zero shutter delay.

In terms of quality, the overall results we got is decent. It can take respectable photos as long as you have adequate lighting (especially in broad daylight) overall. Colors are good (even if not so vibrant), dynamic range is acceptable, and has low noise levels. It isn't just as sharp as we would want it to be and lowlight performance isn't that great.  HDR also tends to overexpose and blow out background details.

Rear Camera Samples

Normal vs HDR
Normal vs HDR
Dynamic range is decent, was able to capture details nicely
Dynamic range is decent, was able to capture details nicely
Great and detailed food shot
Great and detailed food shot
Super close-up sample
Super close-up sample
Struggles in auto mode in lowlight
Struggles in auto mode in lowlight
Normal vs manual mode (ISO 800, 1 sec shutter speed)
Normal vs manual mode (ISO 800, 1 sec shutter speed)
Bright white flash mode
Bright white flash mode

For selfies, Vivo marketed the Y55 as a "selfie phone" due to its 5 MP camera w/ f/2.2 aperture, auto focus, screen flash, and face beauty mode.
Selfie camera UI
Selfie camera UI

It's also pretty wide in angle (to fit more people on a single frame) and has a rare tap to focus mode on a selfie phone. However, it doesn't have grids and guides found in its main camera.

Speaking of its quality, its good for well lit daylight shots, but its grainy and soft for some indoor shots (with florescent lighting). For lowlight shots, its selfie screen flash proved to be useful to make you visible and look decent in the dark. It's just a little washed, but okay in general.

Selfie Camera Samples

Daylight selfie test
Daylight selfie test
Indoor in dim light w/ beautify
Indoor in dim light w/ beautify
Screen flash in super lowlight
Screen flash in super lowlight

For videos, both shooters can record up to 720p only. The main camera does a better job taking videos of the two. It'll be just shaky if you don't have steady hands. Using a tripod would make your videos look better.

Performance

Good benchmark scores
Good benchmark scores

Running the show inside the Y55 is the Qualcomm's 64 Bit Snapdragon 430 octa core processor clocked at 1.4 GHz paired with Adreno 505 GPU. There's also 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of expandable internal storage via dedicated micro SD card slot.

Some feared that its use of just 2 GB of RAM could hinder its performance, but it didn't. The Y55 ranks among the speediest and most efficient phones we tested under PHP 10K. As long as you don't have so much apps running in the background, everything else feels smooth.


It can launch app fast, switch from one app to another easily, and can play even most heavy games. For example, we were able to play the graphics demanding NBA 2K17 on all high settings with very minimal lag that some won't even notice.
Budget gamers will surely like this phone!
The iOS inspired skin of Y55
The iOS inspired skin of Y55

As for the software, its loaded with iOS inspired and much improved Android 6.0 Marshmallow OS w/ FunTouch OS 2.6 skin on top.

It's heavily skinned (some may not like) that's jam packed with useful features such as: theme changer (fonts and wallpaper), smart wake options, apps shortcuts, multi screen view, one handed operation, easy screen shot, screen recording (very helpful for making tutorials), and shortcuts using volume down key. There's also an i Manager app to keep your phone fast, clean, and optimized.

Connectivity-wise, we didn't have a problem at all with its GSM signals and 4G. WiFi is also great as I can still detect our WiFi even a meter outside of our house. It's Bluetooth 4.1 tech has speedier data transfers and doesn't consume much power. It also has gyroscope for VR (lower res quality due to its 720p screen) AR lovers and has OTG for easy file transfers / connection of other USB devices.

Pros - Close to premium looks / craftsmanship, Snapdragon 430 made this a powerful phone for the price, tons of features, primary camera is a capable daylight shooter, pro camera mode works, Color OS is an underrated and speedy skin
Cons - Doesn't have quick charge support, limited internal storage, selfie camera could be better, no fingerprint scanner, no backlighting for the capacitive keys

Verdict

If you are in need of a great looking phone with powerful performance and only have PHP 7,990 to spend, Vivo's Y55 is a must consider. Why? There are very few phones that can match its craftsmanship, features, and gaming capability at this price point.

While its a given fact that it doesn't have the largest RAM, storage capacity, and and sharpest cameras under PHP 10K, Vivo made sure that they're acceptable in those aspects even in today's smartphone standards. In the end, it won't still change the fact that the Vivo Y55 is a great all rounder for everyone in need of a new affordable phone this Christmas season. 


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