vivo Y36 review and price and specs via Revu Philippines

vivo Y36 review: Stylish phone minus the high price

In Phones by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

Global smartphone brand vivo recently updated its Y series in the Philippines, following the local release of the vivo Y36 4G. If you’re not familiar, this is the direct successor to the vivo Y35 on the local market, but it’s more of a visual upgrade than anything else. And what a glow up, we must say!

(Update, August 31: We take a more in-depth look at the vivo Y36’s camera system!)

(Update, August 22: Our vivo Y36 gaming review is up!)

The vivo Y36 flaunts a new punch-hole display, along with a slightly more toned-down rear design that will likely appeal to users who were not big fans of the Y35’s flashy refractive backing. The signature color this time around is called Glitter Aqua, which uses a Golden Ripple Process that reflects onto a crystal-glass design, according to the company’s website.

vivo says the Glitter Aqua color option is inspired “by the golden ripples of a shimmering lake,” and, truth be told, we can see where that description would come from. The phone’s rear surface is smooth but doesn’t attract fingerprints as much as other handsets in its category. That’s always nice to see. Plus, the large rectangular camera module features the brand’s Fantasy Frame design, which adds a rainbow ring that reflects a variety of colors when light touches it.

vivo Y36 review and price and specs via Revu Philippines

The ergonomic 2.5D design allows the rear panel to merge smoothly into the plastic frame

The vivo Y36 is also available in a Meteor Black colorway with a metal-brushed flourite AG glass back, in case you prefer a more subdued and classy look. Another nice touch is the device’s ergonomic 2.5D design that allows the rear panel to merge smoothly into the plastic frame, taking away the rough edges that can cause minor annoyances when using it for extended periods. It’s a simple yet appreciated reminder that the attention to detail here is superb for the price.

It’s also worth noting that the LTE version of the vivo Y36 carries an IP rating — IP5X for dust resistance and IPX4 for water resistance — so you don’t have to worry about your smartphone surviving certain outdoor conditions like rain. An IPX4 rating means it is protected from accidental splashes but can’t be submerged in water.

vivo Y36 review and price and specs via Revu Philippines

One-handed usage is one of the compromises here

One-handed usage is important to us, and unfortunately, this is one of the compromises here. The rather thick frame coupled with the screen size and flat display makes it a stretch to get around the panel and operate the phone, especially after slapping the included silicone case on your unit.

The vivo Y36 4G comes with a standard headphone jack and a single downward-firing loudspeaker at the bottom of the frame. The built-in speaker isn’t loud enough to fill a room and lacks clarity, especially at high volume levels, but it should be fine for casual gaming, podcasts, and streaming your Spotify playlist. You can press and hold the volume up key to increase the volume level all the way up to 200%, thanks to vivo’s Audio Booster feature at the expense of some notable distortion.

Elsewhere, the right-hand side is home to a spongy volume rocker and a power button that doubles as a fingerprint reader. The placement of the scanner is great, and makes unlocking this model quick and convenient.

vivo Y36 review and price and specs via Revu Philippines

Our unit’s panel looks vibrant even in the default color mode, but you can switch to the Pro setting if you prefer warmer colors on your display

The vivo Y36 has a slightly larger 6.64-inch IPS LCD display than its predecessor (6.58 inches), although both screens offer FHD+ resolution and a decent 90Hz refresh rate. Our unit’s panel looks vibrant — even in the default color mode — but you can switch to the Pro setting if you prefer warmer colors on your display. You can adjust the color temperature of the screen to your preference, as well as enable Eye Protection in the Settings to make it easier on your eyes.

There is no HDR support here, although the phone arrives with Google’s Widevine L1 certification onboard, allowing you to stream HD content on apps like Netflix. According to vivo, the Y36 delivers 650 nits of peak brightness, which is good enough for indoor viewing. The screen lacks brightness for use outdoors in bright sunlight, so it’s best to look for a shade before texting or reading a long message.

Sample shots

The local variant of the vivo Y36 packs two cameras at the back, not three. The main camera has a 50-megapixel image sensor, while the secondary depth sensor is 2 megapixels. The front-facing camera that sits in a punch hole is equipped with a 16-megapixel sensor.

The resulting photos from the primary camera look pretty good, offering a lot of detail and decent color accuracy for the price. Using the 2x setting in Photo mode — which we normally use to take pictures with our smartphones — provides satisfactory results as well, even though they’re not up to par with other phones in the segment.

The front camera, on the other hand, is quite a revelation. It’s capable of capturing clean selfies even in dim environments and delivers a smooth bokeh as well as accurate background separation when shooting in Portrait mode. Similar to the previous generation, the vivo Y36 4G restricts video recording to 1080p resolution at 30 frames per second on all cameras. Sixty fps is limited to the lower 720p resolution on the rear camera.

Like the Y35 before it, the vivo Y36 has been kitted with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 680 chipset, which is among the most reliable and highly efficient chips in the category. No surprises there. The Snapdragon 680 uses a 6nm process technology and features four Cortex-A73 performance cores alongside four Cortex-A53 cores for web browsing and other light tasks. It packs Adreno 610 graphics as well, so casual games should run just fine on the handset.

Thanks to its chipset, the vivo Y36 leans toward the efficient side, prioritizing battery endurance over raw performance. Still, our unit managed respectable numbers in popular benchmarking apps and games. It helps that the phone comes with 8GB of RAM.

vivo Y36 benchmark scores in review by Revu Philippines

Some benchmarks

Our review sample runs heavy games like Genshin Impact on low settings at around 30 fps, while Mobile Legends and Call of Duty: Mobile can run smoothly even when the graphics is set to High or Ultra quality. At the same time, thermal performance is solid, so it never feels like you’re holding a hot burrito during extended play sessions.

By default, the vivo Y36 4G expands its RAM by an additional 8GB from the internal storage, beefing up the total dynamic RAM to 16GB. That’s fine, because this device is not stingy in terms of storage anyway; the local variant arrives with 256GB of storage, which can be expanded via a microSD card.

The 5,000mAh battery lasts an entire day of light to moderate usage with almost seven hours of screen-on time from a full charge. An impressive run on PCMark’s battery-endurance test proved that wasn’t a fluke; our unit managed 19 hours and 18 minutes at half brightness — an excellent result regardless of specs or price. Charging from zero to full usually takes a little over an hour using the 44-watt FlashCharge charger included in the box.

Final thoughts

After weeks of use, we think the vivo Y36 is an iterative upgrade that still retains the aesthetic and most of the specs of the previous generation, now with a more attractive back and a durable hardware that can survive the elements. A large screen, solid 6nm chipset, and long battery life are its strongest features, and you could do a lot worse at this end of the market.

In the Philippines, the vivo Y36 4G carries a suggested retail price of P12,999, or roughly $231 converted.

Where you can buy the vivo Y36

vivo Y36 specs

  • 6.64-inch LCD display, FHD+ resolution, 90Hz refresh rate
  • 6nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 680 4G processor
  • Adreno 610 GPU
  • 8GB RAM
  • 256GB storage
  • Triple 50-megapixel main, 2-megapixel portrait, 2-megapixel macro rear cameras
  • 16-megapixel front camera
  • Side fingerprint reader
  • 5,000mAh battery with 44-watt fast wired charging
  • Funtouch OS 13 based on Android 13
  • Colors: Glitter Aqua and Meteor Black

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Ramon Lopez

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Reviews editor: Ramon "Monch" Lopez has 16 years of professional experience creating and editing content for print and digital publications such as Yahoo. He headed the gadgets-merchandising division of one of the Philippines’ largest retail operators somewhere in between.