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Vivo Y30 review

The Vivo Y30 is a good-looking, but ordinary, budget phone

Vivo Y30
(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

The Vivo Y30 is a well-built, stylish looking phone with little to fault it in terms of basic specifications. Unfortunately, it's also quite forgettable with no single outstanding feature to motivate its purchase. In a segment of the market that is both very competitive and very price sensitive there's no clear selling point for this phone, from CPU and RAM to cameras and screen, so most would do better to stick with brands they know which offer the same feature set, or maybe even something better.

For

  • Cool colours
  • Quality finishes
  • Decent screen

Against

  • Wholly unremarkable
  • Unpredictable cameras

Two-minute review

Whether you choose the bold Emerald Black finish or the more ethereal Moon White the style of Y30 certainly makes a statement. Set against the metallic-look plastic frame it certainly looks, and feels, like a quality product. Unfortunately, that's where its distinctive features start and end. 

Under the skin the hardware specifications for the Vivo Y30 phone reads like a blueprint for a generic R5,000  phone. From the 6.4 inch screen to the middling Mediatek processor and the stock standard 4GB of RAM there is almost nothing to distinguish this phone from its many competitors at this same price point.

Even Vivo's FunOS skin is unremarkable, adding very little to the basic Android experience.

Its triple rear camera setup is equally plain, turning in bland but acceptable photos most of the time. The Y30 does nothing to enhance the reputation of the Vivo brand which is still trying to break into the crowded South African market. Vivo will have to offer the South African consumer something more substantial than cool bodywork to drag their attention away from the models of the tried and tested phone brands at this same price point.

Vivo Y30

(Image credit: Future)

Release date and price

  • Available since July 2020
  • Price of R5,000
  •  Limited colours

The Vivo Y30 has been available in South Africa since end-July at a price of R5,000. It is currently only available in the aforementioned black or white finish; the Dazzle Blue variant is not available in South Africa. 

Vivo Y30

(Image credit: Future)

Design

  • Side ridges grant some grip
  • USB-C and headphone jack
  • Slightly heavy

The contoured faux-metallic plastic frame of the Y30 does not sit perfectly flush with the screen. The screen in turn ships with a protective film already installed. It all adds up to some minor ridges on the sides which at least gives your fingers something to grip. 

The rear panel is sturdy plastic with no flex. Otherwise it's all stock standard with volume rocker and power button on the right-hand side, USB-C charging port and headphone jack at the bottom and no buttons on the left-hand side. 

At 197g its a little on the heavy side too. Similar models weigh in around the 160g mark.

Display 

Vivo Y30

(Image credit: Future)
  • A large 6.4-inch compares well with OLED 
  • Pixel density equals 2019 top screens

The 6.47-inch screen is fairly rich in colour and certainly gets bright enough. Despite being merely HD (720 x 1560 pixels, 266ppi) and not full HD, it still holds its own against competing phone screens in this price bracket. 

Vivo Y30

(Image credit: Future)

Cameras

  • Cameras are unimpressive
  • 13MP main shooter, 8MP ultrawide angle, 2MP macro
  • Inconsistent photo results

The camera array, while not terrible, is certainly underwhelming. We got a mixed bag of results across the four sensors, including wildly varying results from consecutive photos of the same scene taken only seconds apart. Unfortunately, it made the whole photographic process seem unpredictable, which is exactly what you don't want from phone cameras used by novices. We put this down to a sub-standatd depth sensor and possibly weak artificial intelligence used in scene recognition, neither of which is a great outcome.  

The standard 13MP camera is adequate, but the 8MP ultrawide sensor more often than not drains colour from the shot. The photos from 2MP macro camera are also  not as sharp as some similar phones we have used. 

In the final analysis only about half of our photos felt like acceptable results which feels low, even for a budget phone.  

Camera samples 

Image 1 of 8

Vivo Y30

(Image credit: Future)

Vivo Y30 13MP main camera

Image 2 of 8

Vivo Y30

(Image credit: Future)

Vivo Y30 8MP ultrawide angle camera

Image 3 of 8

Vivo Y30

(Image credit: Future)

Vivo Y30 13MP main camera

Image 4 of 8

Vivo Y30

(Image credit: Future)

Vivo Y30 13MP main camera, zoomed

Image 5 of 8

Vivo Y30

(Image credit: Future)

Vivo Y30 2MP macro camera

Image 6 of 8

Vivo Y30

(Image credit: Future)

Vivo Y30 13MP main camera, first shot

Image 7 of 8

Vivo Y30

(Image credit: Future)

Vivo Y30 13MP main camera, inconsistent second shot

Image 8 of 8

Vivo Y30

(Image credit: Future)

Vivo Y30 13MP main camera, 2x digital zoom

Vivo Y30

(Image credit: Future)

Specs and performance 

  • Average CPU and RAM
  • Below average gaming graphics
  • Game-specific brightness setting

As previously noted, the Y30 is almost like a shopping list of specifications for a generic R5,000 Android phone. The Mediatek MT6765 processor is the same as found in the similarly priced Huawei Y6s and LG Q61. It's adequate to get all the basics done without a hitch: running business apps, rendering HD video and playing basic games. Combined with 4GB of RAM we noticed no slowdowns running any of our standard apps.

However, the PowerVR GE8320 graphics chip doesn't make for a high-level gaming experience. But that doesn't stop Vivo talking up the Y30's gaming capabilities. For example, one neat Y30 feature for gamers allows you to set screen brightness which lasts only for the duration of your play, but automatically returns to normal when you exit the game.

Vivo Y30

(Image credit: Future)

Battery life 

  • Runs nearly two full days with normal use

The 5000 mAh battery of the Y30 lasted almost two days with general mixed usage, including updating social feeds, playing multimedia for a couple of hours, shooting a couple of photos and uploading to the cloud. This is slightly above average, and we put that down to the slower-than-average CPU and GPU.  

Vivo Y30

(Image credit: Future)

Should you buy it?

Buy it if...

You are ready for a new brand  

We might not have painted a very flattering picture of Vivo in our review above, but that doesn't mean Vivo has not sold  many millions of handsets in other markets similar to South Africa, like India, for example. Certainly, there is nothing wrong with the phone; it merely doesn't offer anything more than Huawei, Nokia, LG and Hisense phones at the same price.

You are fashion forward 

The Vivo colourways are extremely attractive, and certainly do look strikingly different to everything else in this budget phone group. Only Nokia really compares with Vivo's cool finishes. Even wrapped in the clear case that ships in the box, you can stand out on the street.

Don’t buy it if... 

You feel secure with your existing brand 

The Vivo Y30 does not offer anything especially interesting or new, or any special value so there is no justifiable reason to risk your peace of mind taking a chance on  a new brand.

First reviewed: 08 September 2020