The competition in the local smartphone market has been more intense in the last couple of months. You might not have noticed it, but some brands are slowly fading out in the business. However, there were also a lot of newcomers as well.
This is the reason why big names like Vivo should make their presence really felt by everyone to keep them relevant. And based on their recent releases, they are doing a pretty decent job.
Their current flagship, the Vivo V9, actually proves to be a very capable smartphone in the upper midrange segment. But the thing is, the majority of the purchasing power here in the Philippines are shopping in the low-end market.
Vivo Y71 Specs
- Android 8.1 Oreo, Funtouch OS 4.0
- Dual SIM, Dual Standby
- 6-inch HD+ In-Cell display, 1440 x 720 resolution, ~268ppi
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 quad-core processor
- 2GB/3GB RAM
- 16GB internal storage, expandable via microSD up to 256GB
- 5-megapixel front camera, f/2.2
- 8-megapixel rear camera, f/2.0, LED flash
- 4G LTE
- WiFi, WiFi hotspot
- GPS, A-GPS
- Dimensions: 155.8 x 75.7 x 7.8mm
- Weight: 150g
- Colors: Matte Black, Gold
- 3360mAh battery
Now, the company has launched the new Vivo Y71, a more affordable entry-level handset which costs Php8,990. It’s not the cheapest smartphone that they offer, but it is still for those who are willing to squeeze out more from their piggy bank to get a decent smartphone.
But is it a good smartphone? Is the price their asking justifiable, or should you just settle for something else? Let’s all answer that question in our full review of the Vivo Y71.
Design and Build Quality
Smartphone designs have been really boring in the last few years. The newest feat we have seen is in the display department with the screen notch. However, we cannot experience it on the Vivo Y71 as it is only exclusive to Vivo’s high-end family — the Vivo V9.
The Vivo Y71 inherits the cliche look that its older brothers used to have. It looks like it came from the same mold as the Vivo V7 thanks to its pseudo-metal back, flat colors, iPhone-like antenna bands on top and bottom, and the all-screen design.
This device looks just like anybody else. And when people see you holding it — they already know that it is from Vivo (or OPPO) — but they can never decipher which model is it.
But if you think about it, it is actually kind of a good thing. Since they can never tell, they might suspect that it is the high-end handset, when in fact it is only a sub-Php8k smartphone. Besides, if you can move past boring, this phone actually looks fine and elegant.
The Vivo Y71 also feels really sleek and comfortable in the hands. It is not the lightest of all but it is still ergonomic to use.
For quick run-through, we have the 6-inch HD screen on the front with an 18:9 aspect ratio, which means it has thin bezels all around as seen in the pictures in this review. This allows them to cram in a gigantic screen without necessarily increasing the overall footprint of the device.
On the left side, we have the Dual micro SIM card slot and a place for a microSD card that can hold up to 256GB. On the right, there is the volume controls right above the lock/power switch. The buttons are satisfying to press. They provide good tactility and feel well-built. It is also easy to reach, even if you have smaller hands.
The top is clean while the bottom houses the 3.5mm headphone jack, a microUSB port, and the loudspeakers. The speaker drivers delivered average performance. It has decent volume and clarity, just enough for private listening.
Overall, despite the unimaginative look, I’m satisfied with the Vivo Y71’s overall design and build quality.
The Vivo Y71 comes with a large 6-inch HD+ IPS display with a resolution of 1440 x 720 pixels, a pixel density of 268, and a tall 18:9 aspect ratio. For this price tag, this is going to be one of the best screen setups that you’d ever find — aside from Xiaomi offerings, that is.
Personally, I’m thankful that the 18:9-display trend became a thing. Heck, they are even coming up with 19:9 aspect ratios right now. But until they do something about the notch, I’m not completely sold.
Going back, I really like the screen on this thing. Its large size provides plenty of room for on-screen controls while playing games and it’s more immersive when watching videos.
But HD+ resolution for a panel this huge is really not ideal. The details, especially in small texts, are not as sharp as one might want to. But unless you really are that picky — you’d focus your appreciation in its large screen size.
The screen quality of the Vivo Y71 is fine — at least for the price. The colors and contrast are decent, although definitely not the best. The screen is bright enough, but it might struggle in battling the shiny sunlight outdoors. Also, viewing angles is a little terrible.
In addition, since the screen is at 18:9, and most videos are shot in 16:9, the videos will be cropped at the top and the bottom frame in case you want to take full advantage of the device’s native aspect ratio.
But if don’t want to sacrifice even the tiniest details, then stay with 16:9 but with black bars on the left and right sides. You can switch between 18:9 and 16:9 easily by doing the “pinch to zoom” gesture in certain apps like YouTube and other media players.
To sum it up, the screen quality might not be the Vivo Y71’s best feature. But its large size and asking price makes it hard for us to complain.
Performance and Hardware
The Vivo Y71 is rigged with a 1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 quad-core processor, Adreno 308 GPU, 16GB of onboard storage, and is available in either 2GB or 3GB of RAM. The one we have here is the slightly more expensive 3GB RAM variant.
Clearly, it is not the most appealing configuration ever. For the price, it should already come with at least a Snapdragon 450 chipset. Also, paying Php1,000 more to have an extra gig of RAM is not lucrative since it’s not really that affordable, to begin with.
Nonetheless, the processing performance of the Vivo Y71 is actually decent. It is definitely not the fastest, but we have seen something worse. You can browse the interface, basic apps like Facebook or Chrome, and do other basic tasks without a problem. It will have some minor and random stuttering, but nothing too serious or annoying to worry about.
The Vivo Y71 can also handle games well. I tried playing PUBG, which is one of the most popular and performance-hungry games today, and it was playable at decent frame rates. But then again, it is not the smoothest, but still very playable.
As stated earlier, the unit we have here is the 3GB variant. The memory was really showing off during my testing. Apps load at decent speed, although you can definitely see it struggling probably because of the lack of processing power and its software. In short, it doesn’t provide a seamless experience and you can most certainly expect to get a worse experience in the 2GB model.
Software and User Interface
As Android fans and enthusiasts, we’ve always criticized OEMs like Vivo for always insisting on applying their own clunky and bloated user-interface (UI) on the Android OS. But as the years go by, it looks like there’s no way we can stop them so we just learned to accept and let go.
Thankfully, a manufacturer-made interface like Vivo’s FunTouchOS got better in time which helped us to make adapt to it easily. We are now in the FunTouch OS 4.0 version with the Vivo Y71, the same version found on the V9.
This new iteration looks cleaner, refined, and optimized. The interface feels smooth and is ready to offer all the things you need to get done when you need it.
The lock screen looks minimalistic as well as the home screen. Since it doesn’t have an app drawer, all your apps are laid out on the desktop. The control center can be summoned by swiping from the bottom up, which makes it easier to access by your thumb, especially for a screen with this size.
The notification tab is left on the top together with the quick search tab. By the way, the quick search tab can be accessed by doing a swipe down from the screen. All these interface features and gestures were obviously borrowed from Apple’s iOS which is not really surprising considering they’ve been doing it for years.
Digging in on the settings menu, you can see tons of additional gesture controls that are turned off upon boot. There are the smart wake gestures, air operations, smart call, shake to turn on the flashlight and more.
You can also enable the split screen mode by swiping down using three fingers. There’s the one-handed mode that shrinks down the interface so you can use it with one hand. Then there is the usual stuff like screen recording, and app clone for better multi-account management (although it only works in a limited selection of apps).
The new FunTouch OS on the Vivo Y71 also has a new feature called Motorbike Mode which works just like most Driving Mode features. What makes this different is that it knows when you’ve stopped your motorbike, that’s the only time that it will allow you to accept the calls.
My only gripe about the interface of the Vivo Y71 is the lack of the search tab on the settings menu. So if you want to adjust or turn off something, you still have to dig in on the long list of items inside the menu.
But other than that, I’m satisfied by how far the FunTouch OS has become. It looks neat, works great, and compliments the overall features of the device itself.
The Vivo Y71 is equipped with a 5-megapixel selfie camera and a 13-megapixel rear camera. It is not the most impressive camera setup, especially for a Vivo device. But for the price tag, compromises have to be made.
Vivo smartphones, especially those in the V-series, are known for their impressive selfie-taking prowess. The Vivo Y71 might not be part of that family, but you can still see here how the company got their selfie game locked down.
The front camera can take good selfies, despite only having a 5-megapixel sensor. And as what we have experienced in the past, the software side of things also makes a huge contribution to the camera’s performance.
With that, the selfies I was able to take on the Vivo Y71 has decent exposure, despite being taken in low-light scenarios. The details might be on the soft side, but still acceptable. The Face Beauty mode also does a great job of doing its thing, but it does soften the details more as a return.
The Portrait mode also works acceptably well. Clearly, this feature has developed well all throughout the years. Gone are the times where you can easily see the partition between the background and the foreground with its cutout look.
On the other hand, the 13-megapixel primary camera was also showing off during my testing. But then again, it is not the best out there. For what you’re paying, it can still deliver Instagram-worthy results.
It has decent colors, sharpness is fine for a 13-megapixel sensor, and the dynamic range is surprisingly okay. If you adjust the exposure properly, the camera can also take decent shots indoors or in low-light scenarios.
To sum it up, the Vivo Y71 obviously has a capable set of cameras. It can take better pictures than some of the devices in its category — which shouldn’t be that surprising for a Vivo device.
Just like most smartphones in its category, the Vivo Y71 is complete with all the necessary antennas for your daily communication needs. It does lack NFC and an IR Blaster, but I bet most of you doesn’t use them anyway.
The device comes with WiFI 802.11 a/b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.2. It was able to connect to our wireless network at home and office without any issues. It also didn’t show any problems maintaining connection wherever I was inside the house. Meanwhile, the Bluetooth managed to work well with my peripherals such as wireless headphones and speakers without a hitch.
The Vivo Y71 also packs 4G LTE connectivity. And depending on your geographical location, it can support high-speed internet connectivity through your network carrier.
Moreover, the call quality is also good on the Vivo Y71. The earpiece sounded decently loud and clear. The built-in microphone, despite the absence of a noise-canceling, was able to pick up my voice without any complaints from the other party on the line.
Vivo used a 3,360mAh battery for the Y71 which is quite large for the type of screen and processor that it needs to power. Also, considering our experience with previous experiences, Vivo smartphones tend to provide really excellent battery life.
The Vivo Y71 got a score of 9 hours and 29 minutes of screen-on time in PCMark’s battery test. It is not the most impressive of all, but it is surely is enough to last for a long time.
To back up that score, the Vivo Y71 lasted for an entire day with still around 10% to 15% juice left. That’s a whole day of listening to music over Spotify, streaming through a Bluetooth speaker, sending and receiving texts, and casually browsing the web and different social media apps.
Vivo has always a hard time finding the right balance between coming with the right price for the features of the product that they are offering. And the Vivo Y71 is no exception to that.
While it sure has more good qualities than bad, I really don’t think those are enough to justify its price tag, especially now that they are facing tons of new competitors.
To name a few, Vivo will surely be facing Xiaomi more and more as they are now strengthening their presence here in the Philippines. In particular, the Vivo Y71 will be going against the Xiaomi Redmi 5A and Redmi 5. And with our recent full review of the Redmi 5A, we can comfortably say that it offers better processing performance at even a cheaper price.
But the thing is, the Redmi 5A is just only has a 5-inches screen, which feels really awkward when playing games in landscape mode. Well, I guess you can’t just have it all.
That’s where the Vivo Y71 shines. This handset uses a large 6-inch screen — a display size found on another more expensive smartphone. The device also has a sturdy and slightly elegant design, so it’s safe to say that Vivo was clearly prioritizing the looks.
And you know what Vivo focused on the Y71? The cameras. They may not be the most appealing setup on paper, but they sure delivered well in our tests. In addition, the device’s good battery life assures you that you can take pictures all day.
The Vivo Y71 was not meant for power-users. But the same can be said to other Vivo smartphones. Most of their offerings are made for the casual users, those who want a working smartphone that can take good photos for social media, and also look great physically.
If that’s all you want on a smartphone, then the Vivo Y71 might be the one you’re looking for. But then again, if you value the specs over the looks, and you don’t mind going through the distance just to get the right smartphone, then your search doesn’t end here.
Pricing and availability of Vivo Y71
The Vivo Y71 is available in pretty much any malls or shopping centers around the Philippines wherever there are Vivo stores or authorized resellers. The 2GB variant retails for Php7,990 while the 3GB model costs Php8,990.
Another alternative is the Huawei Y6 2018 which costs way cheaper at Php5,990. However, it doesn’t have a 3GB variant.
- Sturdy build
- Capable cameras
- Good battery life
- Performance could have been better