Released on July 2017, the Vivo Y55S is almost a “sidegraded” version of the Y55. Gone is the octa-core Snapdragon 430 of the Y55 replaced by a quad-core Snapdragon 425. RAM, however, has been upped from 2GB to 3GB in the Y55S. The Y55S’ camera has also been upgraded to a 13MP f/2.2 sensor at the rear while the selfie camera is a 5MP f/2.2 sensor. Is the Y55S a better smartphone compared to its predecessor? Well, let’s find out.

Vivo Y55S

Chipset Snapdragon 425
Screen 5.2-inch HD IPS
RAM 3GB
OS Android 6.0 with Funtouch OS 3.0
Rear Camera 13MP f/2.2, LED Flash, AF
Front Camera 5MP f/2.2, screen flash
Storage 16GB Internal, 256GB via microSD
Network Dual SIM (Micro SIM and Nano SIM)
Connectivity microUSB, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2, A-GPS, GLONASS
Battery 2730mAh
Weight 142g
Price PhP 8,990

Unboxing the Y55S

The Vivo Y55S comes in a fairly inconspicuous box that isn’t really eye-catching compared to other Vivo devices. Still, Vivo made sure that the packaging of the Y55S stuck with the brand’s standard box.

Inside is pretty standard fare as well. You get earphones, a charger, a microUSB cable, a SIM/microSD tray removal tool, and a transparent silicone case. There’s also a screen protector already attached on the Y55S itself.

Design and Features

The Y55S doesn’t stray away from the design of the Y55. At the front is a 5.2-inch IPS 720p screen with 2.5 curved glass that provides decent color reproduction and viewing angles. It’s 1280 x 720p resolution, however, does take away from the experience especially if you have a habit of watching movies with the phone close to your face. At a few inches away, however, the display is pretty decent.

Brightness, though, is a bit of a problem. We can barely see the screen on full brightness even on an overcast day. Much like the Doogee Mix, you might want to seek some shade first before using the Y55S.

At the left-hand part of the Y55S is the dual-SIM tray that supports microSIM and nanoSIM.

There’s no hybrid tray to be found here since Vivo has included a separate microSD slot (that supports up to 256GB) located at the top of the Y55S. You can also see here the standard 3.5mm audio jack of the smartphone.

Located at the top of the screen are the phone speakers, the 5MP f/2.2 front-facing camera, and the light sensor for the display’s automatic brightness. The screen also acts as a flash whenever you’re taking selfies in low-light conditions.

Below the screen are the capacitive navigation buttons. Do take note that these buttons are not backlit. So if you’re switching from a phone that has the back button on the left-hand side instead of the right, you might need some time getting used to the layout.

Located at the right-hand side of the Y55S are the volume rockers and the power button. They feel tactile enough that they give a decent experience whenever we’re pushing them to activate the Y55S. Unfortunately, the Y55S doesn’t have a fingerprint scanner like the similarly priced Huawei GR3 2017.

At the back is the 13MP f/2.2 camera with an LED flash. The flash also acts as a notification light, whenever you’re getting messages or emails. It’s not as noticeable compared to a front-facing notification light since you’re probably going to rest your phone on a table with the display facing upward.

The overall build of the Vivo Y55S is pretty good. It doesn’t feel like a PhP 9,000 smartphone. The back almost looks like aluminum but is actually plastic upon closer inspection. The minimal camera bump of the rear camera also adds to the premium feel of the Y55S.

User Interface

The Vivo Y55S comes with Android 6.0 Marshmallow with Vivo’s FunTouch OS 3.0. There’s no denying it, Vivo’s FunTouch OS 3.0 looks like Apple’s iOS. It feels like it, too. There’s notification pull-down up top but all the shortcuts are accessed by swiping up from the navigation keys. Even the settings menu looks like it’s lifted off from an iPhone. There’s also no traditional app drawer like other Android smartphones. Instead, all installed apps can be accessed from the Home menu.

Aside from the usual Google Apps, the Y55S comes with Vivo’s own V-Appstore. But almost every app that you can download from the V-Appstore can also be found through Google’s Play Store. The brand has also included the vivoCloud app that acts as a backup tool for all your messages, contacts, memos and other data. It’s a nice inclusion but it’s nothing that Google’s own services can do.

Entertainment

As long as you view videos at a distance, the 720p screen won’t affect you as much. The colors when watching videos or viewing photos is a well-defined experience with the Y55S due to its good color reproduction and well-saturated IPS display. Viewing angles are also not a problem with the display. It’s not as good as the Vivo V3 Max, but it does a decent job for a sub-PhP 10,000 smartphone.

The bottom-firing speakers do an okay job projecting sound whenever we’re pumping out tunes or playing videos. Treble projection is decent, but the bass is lacking much like with the Y55 and the Doogee Mix.

Camera

The Vivo Y55S is armed with a 13MP f/2.2 rear camera. It produces satisfactory images, especially in well-lit environments. The handset does have some trouble with macro. It has a habit of hunting the subject even if it’s right there in the middle of the shot. Night mode does fair better in low-light conditions compared to fully automatic, but you would need a steady hand since night mode lowers the shutter speed of the camera to get shots in low-light conditions. If you want to work for your shots, there’s also a professional mode in the Y55S’ camera app that opens up a multitude of options for users who prefer a fully manual experience.

As for the 5MP selfie camera, you may want to tone down on the beautification slider whenever you’re taking selfies. Selfies tend to be unnatural whenever you increase the beautification slider.

Performance

The Y55S uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 425, which is a quad-core SoC clocked at 1.4GHz with an Adreno 308 GPU. This is a downgrade compared to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 that the previous Y55 uses, which is an octa-core SoC with an Adreno 505 GPU. Despite the SoC downgrade, Vivo has upped the RAM from 2GB to 3GB for better multi-tasking capabilities.

Despite having half the cores of its predecessor, we found that the performance of the Vivo Y55S is pretty decent under most conditions. We didn’t experience any major lag in daily use but we did experience lag under heavy gaming. You might want to tone down some graphical settings when you’re playing with the Y55S. On our benchmarks, the Y55S got a score of 3283 in PCMark’s Work 2.0 benchmark while it was able to get a score of 35519 in AnTuTu.

Connectivity

The Y55S comes with standard connectivity options such as dual SIM (microSIM + nanoSIM), Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2, 3G, 4G LTE, GLONASS, and A-GPS; fairly standard stuff for a PhP 9,000 smartphone. Based on our experience, we did not experience any issues when connecting to calls, browsing the Internet, and using Google Maps.

Battery Life

The Y55S’ juice is provided by a 2730mAh battery. In PCMark battery test, the Y55S was able to last for 9 hours and 23 minutes. In real use, however, the Y55S was just able to last under a day with medium use. You can probably get by with a full work day with just one charge with the Y55S.

Conclusion

Priced at PhP 8,990, the Vivo Y55S is a decent sub-PhP 10,000 smartphone. It’s only real deal breaker is the lack of a fingerprint scanner and the low resolution screen. Cameras are decent especially in well-lit conditions. Under low-light conditions, however, you would need a steadier hand as the night mode slows down the shutter speed of the cameras immensely to get better exposure of your subject.

The Vivo Y55S is a commendable effort from the brand, but it would need to have a better SoC, a 1080p screen, and a fingerprint sensor to take over the entry-level market. If you’re trying to switch from an older iPhone to an entry-level Android smartphone, the Vivo Y55S can make for a decent handset due to its iOS-like FunTouch OS 3.0. If you can live with its faults, the Vivo Y55S is a decent performer in all categories.

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