Vivo Y30 review: Don’t touch my Funtouch

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7.0 Shiney

The Y30 works great. It’s main points being the design and the gigantic battery keeping everything running. We would love to see the Funtouch OS skin die a slow and painful death, but until then we can make it work for a R5,000 smartphone.

  • Battery Life 10
  • OS 5
  • Design 7
  • Power 6
  • Value 7
  • User Ratings (6 Votes) 4.4

Sometimes you don’t need all the bells and whistles on a phone to enjoy it. We’ve been long-running supporters of budget devices as they bring smarts to people who can’t afford the new R37k Galaxy Note 20. For R5,000 you can invest in a perfectly capable smartphone from a reputable company. 

Vivo launched into South Africa in 2019 with a small selection of budget devices, but it is one of the leading smartphone manufacturers in eastern countries. We recently got our hands on the newly launched Vivo Y30 device, and although it’s clear this is an entry-level smartphone, it does exactly what it has to: work well under pressure. The Vivo Y30 is powered by a Mediatek Helio P35 CPU, which is a decent midranger which runs slightly better than the Qualcomm‘s Snapdragon 625.

Pretty fly for a green guy

It’s also fitted with 4GB of RAM and ample storage at 128GB. It’s also got space for a memory card if you’d like to increase that storage. Up front, you’re greeted with the 6.47in HD+ display, with 720×1560 resolution. It’s got (the expected for a 2020 device) a punch hole up top for the selfie cam and some sensors, as well as a significant chin below. 

Our review unit came in a colour called Emerald Black, which looks black at first sight, but pop it into the sun for a second, and an array of emerald streaks hit the plastic-covered back. It’s one of the prettiest budget devices we’ve seen, with just the back-mounted fingerprint sensor and the triple-camera array obstructing the shiny back. 

As a nice touch we’ve seen many Asian smartphone manufacturers do, is the inclusion of a plastic cover in the box. It’s convenient not to have to pop out to buy a cover for your newly purchased phone, but you also lose that pretty back panel in the meantime. The plastic cover features a tethered ‘plug’ for the charging port, which is an odd feature, but it’ll keep the crumbs out at least. 

Running into walls

Under the hood, you get the aforementioned MediaTek Helio P35 12nm SoC clocked at 2.3GHz, along with 4GB of RAM and 128GB internal storage, but you can expand it up to 512GB using an SD card.

It runs Android 10 OS, but Vivo’s Funtouch skin is layered over it to give it a completely different look. What this means is, unlike Huawei, you can access Google apps and services, but Funtouch takes away from the whole OS experience. We’re not big fans of highly modified OS skins, and this one falls into that category. We would have loved to see more vanilla Android features, but this is what you get. 

Along with Funtouch, you get a lot of bloatware, and interestingly the South African version of the Y30 comes with DStv Now, My Muze, Showmax and SuperSport apps preloaded. The Vivo bloatware includes vivoCloud, vivo Browser, something called vivo.com and EasyShare, which cannot be uninstalled and this just clutters up the phone. 

But for the price, Vivo really brings decent processing and day-to-day usability. The 5,000mAh battery on the Y30 works remarkably, with us getting a proper two days of vigorous use. With moderate use, the Y30 can easily last more than that, which makes this a real workhorse. 

Shoot and miss

As expected, more and more camera sensors are popping up on the backs of even the cheapest of phones. The same happened here. The Vivo Y30 features a 13MP main sensor with f/2.2 aperture, joined by an 8MP wide sensor, a 2MP macro lens and 2MP depth sensor, along with a single LED flash. 

The selfie camera is a single 8MP camera that is kept in the punch-hole notch. As expected from an 8MP camera, the selfie cam isn’t great. It works fine, has decent sharpness and colour reproduction isn’t oversaturated. Same goes for the back camera array. 

Which functions… fine. It’s by no means the most groundbreaking camera on a smartphone, and it does its job of capturing whatever’s in front of you. It’s got a Super-Macro mode that functions better than we expected. And its zoom capabilities are average for a phone in this price range. 

Vivo Y30 Verdict

It’s nice to see another mid-range and budget phone maker enter the South African market. Many smartphone users in SA opt for value over fancy features, and for a long time, we didn’t have much competition in the space. With the introduction of Vivo here, we’ll also start seeing more flagships from the company, which will pack far more features at affordable prices. 

The Y30 works great. It’s main points being the design and the gigantic battery keeping everything running. We would love to see the Funtouch OS skin die a slow and painful death, but until then we can make it work for a R5,000 smartphone.

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Digital Editor at Stuff. Nevermind the fancy title, I like writing about things that are cool. Like games, gadgets and sometimes even software. Depending on how cool it is.

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