Vivo Y15 Review; Beautiful but far from great

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Vivo Y15

For budget-conscious users, Vivo has a dedicated lineup of smartphones whose aim is to offer optimum performance without breaking the user’s bank. The Vivo Y series has flooded the Pakistani market with Vivo Y91 (Review), Vivo Y93, Vivo Y17, and Vivo Y15 smartphones this year which offer beautiful design language to entice the users who are looking for affordable quality phones.

The recently launched Vivo Y15 is lately gaining traction due to its flashy design, the mighty Helio P22 chipset and massive 5000mAh battery and has piqued our interest in the smartphone.

It is available in Pakistan for Rs. 29,999 (price at the time of phone’s launch) and comes with the following specs:

  • 6.35 inches of IPS LCD display
  • 720 x 1544 pixels of screen resolution
  • MediaTek MT6762 Helio P22 (12nm) chipset
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64GB internal storage (dedicated MicroSD card slot for expanding phone’s storage)
  • Triple rear cameras including 13 MP, f/2.2, PDAF main camera, 8 MP, f/2.2, 16mm ultrawide lens and 2 MP, f/2.4, depth sensor
  • 16 MP, f/2.0 selfie camera
  • 5000mAh battery

We can see from the specs sheet that Vivo has tried to compile an ideal budget phone but can it stand out amongst the highly saturated smartphone market? Let’s find out in our detailed review.

Design

Vivo Y series has homogenous design language which can be seen in all of its recent smartphones including the new Vivo Y15. It is an all-plastic phone which comes with a glossy finish at the back.

The smartphone’s design language has always been an intrinsic focus of Vivo which can be seen in the company’s new offering. Though the glossy plastic body raises concerns about the phone’s durability, the consumers today prefer looks over fretting over “what if” scenarios.

Vivo Y15 is a perfectly sized device, neither too big or small, but the thickness of the phone (8.9mm) makes it difficult to use it with one hand.

You can find the power button and volume rockers on the right side of the phone while the SIM slot rests on the left side. The bottom of the device houses a MicroUSB charging port, headphone jack, and a speaker grill.

We were quite disappointed to see the absence of headphones in the box, an accessory which has started to appear in entry-level phones like Honor 8S (Review).

At the back, you can find a triple camera array and a traditional fingerprint sensor which can easily be reached by the index finger even if you prefer using your left hand instead of right. The front of the screen is also quite beautiful and we will get into its details later on.

Vivo Y15 is a fingerprint magnet and is prone to get scratches easily thus, we recommend using the company-provided back cover which is quite sturdy and can protect the phone in case of accidental fall.

Display

Vivo Y15 comes with 6.35 inches of IPS LCD display and 720 x 1544 pixels of screen resolution. Almost all the Vivo Y series smartphones including Y17 worth Rs. 37,000 (price at the time of launch) come with 720p screen resolution which is quite disappointing especially when many budget phones like Xiaomi Redmi Note 7, Vivo V9, Tecno Camon CX, Xiaomi Mi A1 are offering 1080 x 1920 pixels of screen resolution to their users.

If you can look past the disheartening 720p resolution, you will notice that the phone’s screen is large enough to enjoy consuming multimedia on the device.

Vivo Y15 display

If you look at the display, you’ll see that Vivo has provided very minimum bezels at the sides and a small noticeable chin at the bottom.

The dewdrop notch at the top is not too big to ruin the user’s viewing experience and the users who are not a fan of notched displays can choose to hide the notch via phone’s settings.

Under direct sunlight, you will face issues while looking at the phone’s contents even with maximum brightness while the auto-adjust brightness option fails to adapt to the user’s needs indoors.

To further customize Vivo Y15 to your liking, you can always tweak the phone’s display settings including the white balance, color temperature, etc.

Software

With the rising popularity of its smartphones, Vivo has finally revamped its Android-skin to provide its own unique flavor to the users.

FunTouch 9 is nothing like the previous iOS-inspired softwares by Vivo including the previously launched FunTouch 4.5 which like the latest version was also based on Android Pie.

Vivo Y15 FunTouch 9

Vivo Y15 comes with many fun, practical and user-friendly features. For people with small children, the phone offers a Kids Mode app which provides a dedicated space on the phone accessible through the parent’s fingerprint or device’s password.

Vivo Y15 Kids Mode

Once inside the app, the parent can choose to put time limits or restrict the use of the data network before handing the phone to their children and can also fill up the display with apps suited for kids.

Just like Huawei, Vivo has also introduced its very own app Gallery in FunTouch 9 which comes with many popular and trending mobile applications for users.

The company has also revamped i Music and Vivo’s browser to bring a new look and more features. It also provides a Vivo.com app which can display all the available smartphones by the company along with their prices.

Vivo Support Funtouch 9
Vivo Support App

Moreover, the app also gives information regarding the spare parts of the smartphone and how much it will cost the user to replace it.

Vivo Y15 also features Jovi, the company’s AI assistant which provides smart scene recognition to share information like today’s weather report, sports events, daily steps, and reminders to take a rest, etc. and helps to take better selfies.

Funtouch 9 Jovi
Jovi

The full capabilities of Jovi AI assistant (including the recognition of verbal commands) are still limited to 2018’s Vivo Nex in China. Even after a year, we still haven’t seen much development in rolling out Jovi for other Vivo smartphones which begs the question about the company’s seriousness in introducing the next Bixby (Samsung’s AI assistant) for consumers.

Similar to iOS, the control center or the shortcut center on Vivo Y15 can be summoned by swiping up from the bottom, The company has also given it a makeover to provide better and bigger visuals to the user.

For gamers, there is Game Cube option that can help curb distractions while gaming by blocking calls, notifications, etc.

Funtouch 9 Game Cube
Game Cube

One of the best features of FunTouch 9 is the shortcuts dock which comes with many quick setting toggles that can even help record your gaming session or access other applications without quitting the app. The uses of the shortcuts dock are not limited to gaming apps.

Vivo Y15 funtouch 9 shortcuts
Quick Shortcuts

Performance & Battery

The MediaTek Helio P22 which powers Vivo Y15 is undoubtedly not a new chipset (launched in 2018) but as it is made for affordable mid-range phones, it can provide support for features traditionally found in higher-end models like artificial intelligence and camera enhancements, etc.

The union of 4GB RAM and Helio P22 chipset should theoretically provide a smooth smartphone experience. We have seen the same combination in much affordable Tecno Camon i4 (Review) which passed our performance tests with flying colors. Let’s see whether Vivo Y15 will show similar performance or not.

Starting with the benchmark scores, Vivo Y15 has received a higher score (836) than Camon i4 (814) in Geekbench’s single-core test but has fallen behind in multi-core test and Antutu’s benchmark tests.

Vivo Y15 benchmark scores

During light to moderate usage, the phone showed no sign of lag or delay and performed all day-to-day tasks without a hitch. We could also easily switch between calling, texting, watching movies, using social media and web surfing without facing any stuttering.

Unlike Tecno Camon i4, which also excelled in heavy usage, Vivo Y15 showed noticeable lag when we tried to use and switch between resource-intensive apps.

When we tried to push the smartphone to its limit by simultaneously opening different heavy mobile apps, it took Vivo Y15 around 3-4 seconds to complete any given task like switching between apps, searching anything on the web, etc.

While playing heavy games like Asphalt 9, PUBG, Real Racing 3, Dead Trigger, etc. we could also see the clear drop in frames and sometimes even prolonged lag usually due to the game’s heavy graphics. On the plus side, the phone did not heat up during our testing stage.

Furthermore, the RAM management is a bit aggressive on the device and thus, it pays off to lock your favorite apps to easily access them later on.

Recently, Vivo has started to offer 5000mAh battery in its Y series smartphones including Vivo Y17, Vivo Y15, and Vivo Y12 (not available in Pakistan) as it is trying to bank on the phone’s lasting battery life to attract users.

In our 3 hours of battery test, the device only consumed 44% of battery which is slightly less than the battery consumption of Vivo Y91 (48%) and Vivo Y95 (49%).

Vivo Y15 battery test graph

During an hour of light usage, the phone’s battery dropped by 10% while an hour of heavy usage depleted the phone’s battery by 17%.

Interestingly, Camon i4 with much smaller 3400mAh battery consumed 11% of charge in light usage and 16% of battery in heavy usage. This shows that the phone’s software optimization also plays a huge role in providing lasting battery life.

Vivo Y15 takes 3 hours and 2 minutes to charge from 0 to 100% likely due to massive 5000mAh battery capacity. In our drain test, which discharges the phone’s battery from 100% to 0 through continuous playback without WiFi or active SIM cards, Vivo Y15 lasted for 12 hours and 27 minutes.

Camera

Vivo Y15 comes with triple camera setup at the back featuring the combination of 13 MP, f/2.2, PDAF main camera, 8 MP, f/2.2, 16mm ultrawide lens and 2 MP, f/2.4, depth sensor.

Vivo Y15 rear cameras

Starting with the camera app’s interface, Vivo has improved the overall experience for the user with its easy and user-friendly overlay which shows all the camera options out in the open.

Vivo Y15 camera interface
Interface of the camera app

Unlike Huawei smartphones, you do not have to dig deep into the “more” option to access features like HDR, Slow-mo, Panorama, etc. The simplicity of the camera interface is definitely a plus point for Vivo’s Android-skin. Furthermore, the sliding options in the Pro Mode also add to the convenience of the users.

Moving forward to the camera result, the smartphone takes great auto shots in the daylight with good color rendition. We get almost natural colors in the image and can notice the details of the subject quite clearly.

shot taken in auto mode of vivo Y15
Auto Mode

shot taken in auto mode of vivo Y15
Auto Mode

shot taken in auto mode of vivo Y15
Auto Mode

There is not much difference between the pictures taken from auto mode and HDR mode but the latter can help control light indoors.

Vivo Y15 HDR Neon lights
Auto Mode (left), HDR (right)

The ultra-wide camera adds a bit of yellowish tint to the image and loses most of the details of the subject and the background as compared the auto mode.

Undoubtedly, you will get more context in an ultra-wide shot but the warmer tones and absence of details will not make it a desirable photo.

shot in auto mode by Vivo Y15
Auto Mode

ultra-wide shot by Vivo Y15
Ultra-wide shot

You can also notice more sharpness in the image taken with Y15’s ultra-wide camera.

Badshahi mosque auto mode Vivo Y15
Auto Mode

Badshahi mosque ultra-wide by Vivo Y15
Ultra-wide shot


The wide aperture mode fails to aptly detect the edges of the subject in macro shots and even tends to blur the subject itself in some cases. Below you can see that the edges of the petals are blurred along with the background.

wide aperture shot with Vivo Y15
wide aperture shot

Here, the wide-aperture mode has blurred the leaf in the middle.

Wide aperture mode Vivo Y15
wide aperture shot

Vivo Y15 also struggles to detect the edges of the subject while taking portrait shots but the pictures turn out to be pretty acceptable during daylight. However, in low-light, we completely lose the details of the subject in question.

Vivo Y15 daylight portrait

Vivo Y15 low-light portrait

In poor lighting conditions, the Vivo Y15 fails to take decent pictures. You can observe a lot of noise in the image and the camera fails to preserve almost all the details of the subject.

Badshahi mosque night shot Vivo Y15
Auto mode in low-light

Lahore Museum night shot Vivo Y15
Auto mode in low-light

At night, the ultra-wide-angle camera does not add in the yellow color in the photo but rather blows out the artificial light and blurs out the details on the sides of the image.

auto mode night by Vivo y15
Auto Mode

Ultra-wide shot by Vivo Y15 night
Ultra-wide shot

Coming to the selfies, Vivo Y15 features a 16MP front camera that can take decent shots and is meant for people who want a social-media ready selfie.

Vivo Y15 selfie camera

The beauty mode gives an extra lighting boost to the selfie even during the daylight and smoothens the skin tone of the subject. In the following image, you can see that the colors of the selfies are different in auto and beauty mode.

Vivo Y15 day selfies.
Auto Mode (left), Beauty Mode (right)

The bouquet mode also does not mess up the outlines of the subject too much and can thus take good artistic photos.

Vivo Y15 daylight selfie
Beauty Mode (left), bouquet mode (right)

At night, it is near impossible to take a good selfie if you are not in a well-lit space as you’ll get a lot of noise and unseeable subject.

Vivo Y15 evening selfies
Beauty Mode (left), Bouquet Mode (right)

The above picture was taken after sunset in low-light condition and you can see that the front camera failed to capture the details of the subject’s face.

Verdict

Vivo Y15 is a beautiful smartphone which is born to stand out because of its design. Even with a 720p display, you can continue to enjoy consuming multimedia on the large screen.

What makes us fall for this handset is the lasting battery life which will last more than a day for the moderate user and the Functouch 9 user interface which has been revamped to provide the company’s unique flavor different from the software’s previous versions which were heavily inspired by iOS.

The phone’s performance was quite average and paled in contrast to the cheaper Tecno Camon i4 but outperformed the later device in camera performance.


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