vivo continues to expand its popular Y series lineup in 2022 with the vivo Y21T. Priced at PhP10,999, this mid-range contender is aimed at gaming and is the first smartphone in the Philippines with Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 600 series chipsets – the Snapdragon 680. It also has 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. For optics, there is a 50MP main camera, along with a pair of 2MP units for macro photography and depth sensing. The device houses a 5,000mAh battery and supports 18W fast-charging.
|Display||6.51″, 1600 x 720 (HD+), LCD|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 680|
|Rear Camera||50MP Main|
|OS||Android 11 + Funtouch OS 12|
Design and Build Quality
vivo’s has made good progress in terms of design that even a low mid-range phone like the Y21T looks more expensive than it actually is. The back of the phone variant uses a sleek finish to achieve a formal and premium look, in exchange for being prone to smudges. Perhaps, the thinking was, “You’re going to use a case anyway,” which makes sense.
Contrary to the flat sides on some other devices, this has a slightly protruding band that wraps the phone. It doesn’t seem to be made of metal, but the fresh take on aesthetics is more than welcome.
With the phone facing the user, the right side houses the volume rocker and power button which also works as a fingerprint sensor. I’m not sure if it’s on purpose, but there’s a lot of wobble on this button.
The phone uses a USB-C port, which can be found at the bottom along with a speaker grille, microphones, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. There is a microSD/SIM card slot at the top, should you wish to add more storage.
The 6.51-inch LCD has a resolution of 1600×720 or HD+ and a 60Hz refresh rate. While that is fine for my use case, it doesn’t look as good when you consider that there are phones that offer Full HD displays with higher refresh rates at the same price point, some even for less. Also, the processor that it uses supports up to a 90Hz display on a FHD+ screen, so there’s no way that it wasn’t possible from a technical standpoint.
I would try to reason out that this could be to save battery, but with the 5,000mAh power pack that it houses, I’m not so sure. In any case, the screen is more than usable under direct sunlight with brightness maxed out. In terms of quality, text still looks sharp enough from normal distance. By default, colors look punchy enough, and you’ll be able to set a cooler or warmer tone via the phone’s settings.
The vivo Y21T runs on the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 680, a 6nm 4G chipset that uses the Adreno 610 GPU. It has 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage which, while enough for some multitasking and for a decent chunk of files, could’ve been better.
Again, there are phones that offer twice of both, and for the same price. There is also an Extended RAM feature that lets the phone use up 1GB of storage as additional RAM. This can be manually disabled or enabled.
|Genshin Impact (Low Preset)||28.4|
|Call of Duty Mobile (Low Graphics + Very High FPS)||39.7|
|Mobile Legends (Ultra + HFR + HD)||59.8|
|2Asphalt 9 (Default)||29.7|
Based on these graphs, the vivo Y21T manages lighter titles like CoDM and MLBB very well, maintaining a consistent range on FPS. Resource-intensive titles, on the other hand, could prove the be very challenging for the device. With Genshin Impact, the graph shows as much as a 6 to 7fps drop when there’s a lot going on. For Asphalt 9, however, the dips weren’t noticeable.
vivo Y21T has a 50MP main camera and two auxiliary units, one for depth sensing, and another for macro shots. The lack of an ultra-wide unit is a big miss for me, as I rarely use the Macro camera, but I could see it being useful for a lot of people. A little bit more versatility would have made this a better deal.
Overall, photos sample shots offer good amounts of detail, crispness, and sharpness. Edge detection is mostly accurate, except for a few instances. Focusing speed and shutter speed are fast enough as well.
To deliver a better gaming experience, vivo has also equipped the Y21T with software enhancements – Ultra Game Mode and Multi-Turbo 5. The former mutes and blocks incoming notifications or calls to keep you from being distracted during intense moments in-game, and the latter basically improves overall performance from various aspects like network and thermals.
There is also an overlay that is available in-game that lets you adjust the performance profile and other settings, so you don’t have to go into the settings.
At the time of writing, the vivo Y21T runs Funtouch OS 12 on top of Android 11. As far as performance is concerned, the UI is snappy and animations are stutter-free. You do get a number of pre-installed apps that can be uninstalled, along with vivo’s own apps that cannot be uninstalled. Oh, and it does throw those annoying notifications that you don’t need as well.
The device offers the complete suite of authentication methods, including Face Unlock and Fingerprint Scanning. Both work fast, and work well.
Using PCMark’s Work 3.0 benchmark to simulate tasks like video and photo editing, web browsing, and data manipulation, the vivo Y21T managed to score an impressive 25 hours, one of the best results I have seen. Of course, your mileage may vary due to your usage habits and the apps your use, among others.
On the flip side, charging its 5,000mAh battery from zero to full using the supplied charger took around 2 hours, which I think is a fair trade-off for the endurance that you get. The device also supports reverse charging.
So here’s the thing – I think that vivo has done a good job on the Y21T on a number of aspects. The phone looks premium and the build quality is pretty solid. Its cameras, while not as versatile, can take good quality photos, and the battery life is insanely good.
However, I can’t help but think that some of the decisions made for this phone are questionable. The display for instance, has HD+ resolution. For a 2022 device that costs PhP10,999. I mean, maybe they were trying to extract as much performance from the processor as possible, but still. Then there’s the amount of RAM. 4GB (okay, 5GB), for something that’s pegged for gaming. Really? I guess one advantage is that Qualcomm SoCs tend to get optimized for games faster, so there’s that.
So how is the vivo Y21T as gaming phone? well, I would say it does offer a decent experience, probably with the exception of resource-intensive titles like Genshin Impact. So long as you shy away from those, you should be fine. As an overall package, if you can live with an underwhelming display and without an ultra-wide camera, it’s a decent choice. But I would not say that it offers the best value.
Those who will purchase the vivo Y21T via the official website or Lazada can enjoy a PHP 300 off voucher and TWS Lavanda Earbuds.
Additionally, you can get it for as low as PHP 1,833.17/month for up to 6 months with a Credit Card purchase and as low as PHP 1,322.90/month for up to 6 months via Home Credit.
Emman has been writing technical and feature articles since 2010. Prior to this, he became one of the instructors at Asia Pacific College in 2008, and eventually landed a job as Business Analyst and Technical Writer at Integrated Open Source Solutions for almost 3 years.