VIVO, a sub-brand of OPPO has slowly increased the number of devices they are bringing and launching in the market and is still a relatively new entrant to the Australian marketplace.

Previous phones from VIVO have had issues with their software, FuntouchOS, and I wanted to see if the criticisms I had with the previous version of the software had been taken on board. So when the company recently announced the launch of one of the cheapest 5G devices, the VIVO Y52 5G, we here at the Ausdroid office wanted to see how this new 5G device compares to what other 5G devices have recently launched into the Australian marketplace.

What’s in the box

Opening the box, even before you switch it on, the Y52 makes a statement. The phone’s clean lines and eye-catching case are very visually appealing. The Y52 5G comes with a clear soft plastic cover, a 1.5m USB-C cord, a 10W base charger and wired earbuds.

The design

The VIVO Y52 5G comes with a teardrop 2.75mm bezel-less 6.58-inch full HD plus display with 3D curves which gives you a more immersive viewing experience.

The teardrop, which is located in the middle of the display, houses the 8MP selfie camera.

The Y52 5G is wrapped in glossy polymer plastic. This gives the phone a premium feel, however, the plastic finish does reveal fingerprints and smudges more readily and can be harder to clean.

The Y52 5G contains a triple rear camera setup located on the right side, which contains a 48MP main wide camera lens, a 2MP macro lens and a 2MP depth sensor and a single LED flashlight. The volume and the standby/power button are all located on the right side. The power button also doubles as the fingerprint sensor, though I found it to be a little sensitive. The top of the phone contains the SIM/MicroSD card tray, which can either house 2 SIM’s or a single SIM and a MicroSD card.

The bottom of the Y52 5G contains the 3.5mm audio jack, the USB-C charging port and the onboard speaker. The speakers do not produce a great sound for listening to music or even watching a movie/video. The sound produced is tinny, lacks depth and it would seem VIVO hasn’t spent any resources on this as they probably assume customers are going to either use wireless or wired headphones.

Holding the device in the palm of my hand is quite comfortable, and the 5000mAH battery gives it a satisfying weight. The curved sides of the device are smooth to the touch but not slippery and contribute significantly to the comfortable grip.

The Internals

Powering the Y52 5G is an Octa-core MediaTek MT6833 Dimensity 700 5G processor chipset that handles everyday social media usage and watching videos and some basic gaming really well. It also comes with 128GB onboard storage which can be expanded via MicroSD card to 128GB.

The Y52 5G comes with Bluetooth version 5.1, along with Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, and hotspot. I was pleased to find that NFC capabilities are also included, as I have become accustomed to using in this day and age with payment and loyalty cards out grocery shopping.

In terms of gaming, the VIVO Y52 5G comes with an inbuilt gaming assistant mode which provides a boost to the graphics and the processing power, as well as stopping apps from interrupting you. I did notice whilst playing certain games like PUGB and Asphalt 9 there was some stuttering and jumping in the display where it seemed the device was struggling.

The Y52 5G comes with a 5000mAH battery which is enough to power the device all day. When I would take the device off charge at 8 am, on a moderate usage day at 5 – 6 pm, I found that I would have about 50-60% battery remaining. On a high usage day at 5 – 6 pm, I could end up with about 30% battery life.

The Y52 5G comes with a standard charger that can support up to 18W fast charging meaning you can get 30% charge in half an hour, 50% in an hour and 100% in about 2 hours or so.

The Y52 5G is billed as one of the cheapest 5G enabled phones in the market currently. Unfortunately, my telco provider does not have 5G coverage within my suburb, so I was unable to try this network connectivity, and this review was done purely on the 4G/4G+ networks from my provider.

Lights, Camera, Action

The VIVO Y52 5G comes with a rear triple camera setup that contains a 48MP main wide camera lens, a 2MP macro lens and a 2MP depth sensor.

Camera settings within the software include photo, portrait, night, video, 48MP, panorama, live photo, slo-mo, time-lapse, pro, AR stickers and documents. There are filters available alongside certain portrait filters, flash (auto, on/off and fill light) with HDR settings which you can simply turn on or off.

I will say the autofocus can be a little tricky to use, with photos being brighter or sometimes too dull and dark. Not sure if this is something that can be adjusted within the software settings or improved with a software update but I am guessing not.

The photos I was able to take whilst at one of my local parklands were true to what I experienced with my eyes. The colours did seem bright and pics very clear and vibrant, however, I did notice they were a little smooth and slightly blurry at the edges.

I have to say the night shot for me was a bit of a surprise. In the two photos I took out the front of my house, the camera lenses were able to detect the street light and was still able to take quite a decent shot. Trying this out in my backyard, it was still able to pick up the light in the sky and the dim lights from the service station located behind my house.
There is some grain and noise but otherwise, it still can take some ok to pretty good night shots – as long as there’s at least some lighting for the camera lenses and sensors to utilise.

The front-facing camera is housed in a teardrop on the front display and is 8MP. It was able to take a few selfie shots quite well. However in low light or darker settings, it was not as good and that’s to be expected, with pictures turning out from quite grainy to very much non-existent.

Software

The VIVO Y52 5G comes with Android 11 right out of the box, and like all OPPO/BBK electronics devices, runs its own Funtouch OS version 11.1 over the top of Android.

The updated FuntouchOS has had a makeover from the ground up. It doesn’t have the same feel as the X50 Lite, it seems VIVO have made the required changes needed to make it feel more like an Android device from Samsung with its OneUI.

This time, Funtouch OS comes with an App drawer, where previously it didn’t. Instead, it had multiple home screens where you could be overwhelmed by the multiple screens you ended up with in some cases. There is also greater personalisation, you are able to create folders on the home screen along with the always on display.

Whilst the inclusion of an app drawer and further improvement made to Funtouch OS of the previous version is a small step in the right direction here’s hoping further tweaks may be made to improve and enhance the user experience in future updates or devices.

Should you consider buying one?

My conclusion after using the VIVO Y52 5G is that whilst they have made some necessary changes to the Funtouch OS and have a device with a great display and aesthetics, there are some drawbacks that I feel are holding the device back.

I feel that the VIVO is trying to be a high end device on a budget but sadly it just feels low end. The cameras whilst ok, do have some drawbacks relating to the quality of the pictures which can make trying to get that insta-famous shot quite hard. The bottom speaker lacks any depth or clarity, the fingerprint sensor is inconsistent in its performance, and I found the whole experience a little disappointing.

Would I recommend the VIVO Y52 if you’re after a 5G enabled device without the hefty price tag, to a degree potentially. However, if your looking for extra refinement with the cameras, speakers and of course are willing to shell out a bit more, then I would suggest looking to other alternatives.

The VIVO Y52 5G can be purchased both online and through physical retail stores (where possible) for $379 from Harvey Norman, JB Hi-Fi, Big W, The Good Guys, Officeworks, Amazon, Kogan, eBay MyDeal and Mobileciti.

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