Vivo is a brand that, despite making some impressive high-end and concept devices, hasn’t really stood out to me mostly because of a few reasons:
Despite having launched in South Africa earlier that its BBK stablemate, OPPO, Vivo hasn’t really done anything to standout or grab the public’s attention in any meaningful way;
The brand has been somewhat inconsistent with bringing various ranges to the country – we saw the X50 and X50 Pro come to SA but no X60 or X70 series;
The devices it has brought to the country are often too similar to its predecessors and there hasn’t been a sufficient time gap between launching those similarly specced handsets.
Now, I know this seems like this is nothing but me ragging on Vivo, it’s not, instead I’d hope taht the company takes some well intentioned criticism as I believe it has serious potential to become a solid player in the local smartphone market and the Y76 5G is proof of that.
In the box
My review unit arrived in the Cosmic Aurora colourway, a delightful, shimmering blue handset that is able to reflect every shade of a perfect Cape Town sunset you can imagine (depending on how the light hits it). You’re definitely going to want to show off this beautiful colourway and thankfully there’s a clear cover included in the box.
Vivo also includes a charging cable and a 44W fast charging brick, a pre-applied screen protector, USB-C wired earphones, a SIM ejection tool and all the usual paperwork.
While other reviewers have said that the Y76 5G has a premium feel, I disagree. This is clearly a mid-range handset that lacks the glass and metal used in flagship handsets, but that doesn’t detract from the overall build quality abd design of the handset. The plastic back makes the 175g handset feel lighter than it is which therefore makes it more comfortable to hold for longer periods of time.
The front of the device is adorned by a rather mammoth 6.58-inch, 2408×1080, flat LCD display. While colour reproduction is decent, I’d have preferred an OLED panel for deeper blacks and punchier colours, but you’ll have no issue when watching the latest episode of Stranger Things on the Y76 5G. There’s also a 16MP selfie camera housed in a waterdrop notch.
The bottom of the handset sports a USB-C charging port, a 3.5mm headphone jack, a speaker grille and a mic, while a SIM card tray and mic adorn the top edge.
On the right-hand side you’ll find the volume rocker and a combination fingerprint scanner/power button.
Flip the phone over and you’ll find a triple-camera array comprising of a 50MP main lens + 2MP macro lens and a 2MP depth sensor housed in a two-tiered camera bump.
Overall, the images captured are sharp and more true to life in terms of colour reproduction than those of some of the brand’s competitors and is able to hold its own against devices like Samsung’s Galaxy A53 5G and the Xiaomi Redmi Note 11. When it comes to night mode, the camera performed adequately but lacked detail.
On the video front, the Y76 5G is able to film in both 720 and 1080 but not 4K or 8K.
Vivo’s battery on the Y76 5G surprised me in the best possible way. Not only is the 44W fast charging (Vivo calls it FlashCharge) incredibly handy with the last-minute rolling blackout notices we get from Eskom, the battery itself managed an entire day of TikTok, camera tests, video playback and general usage with enough battery power that I didn’t feel the need to charge it overnight.
The Y76 5G is a competent device that impresses more than I expected it to.
Powered by the Mediatek Dimensity 700 and packing 8GB RAM + 128GB storage, the phone is powerful enough to get you through everyday usage and some light gaming.
Combined with a beautiful design, good cameras and minimal bloatware (with only Booking.com and Vodacom’s apps pre-installed) this phone is definitely worth considering if you’re upgrading anytime soon. However, if you’re looking for a device that has Android 12, then this is not the handset for you as it currently runs on Android 11 with no confirmation when it will receive the Android 12 OTA update.
Pricing it directly in line with a device like the Galaxy A53 5G, unfortunately, opens it to direct comparisons to a device that offers a more robust ecosystem and feature set (including an under-display fingerprint scanner and an AMOLED display).
For Vivo to truly compete against a behemoth like Samsung it needs to step up its software game. Devices need faster updates to Android 12 (which Samsung’s Galaxy A53 5G has) and they need to bolster their partnerships and bring features like a digital payment platform (Google Pay anyone?) to the country.