Overview
Introduction
Design
Display
Hardware
Software and apps
Camera
Audio and video
Performance
Battery life
Conclusion
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Vivo Y27L Review

A good-looking smartphone with an iOS-inspired android platform
By Chakri Kudikala on 2016-03-16
Key Features
  • 4.7-inch IPS display
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 chipset
  • 16GB internal storage
  • 4G LTE support
What we like
  • Gorgeous display
  • Stylish design
  • Great battery life
  • Solid multimedia performance
What we don't like
  • Sub-par performance
  • FunTouch OS requires polishing
  • Underwhelming camera performance
  • Expensive
6.7
Our Score
Introduction

Vivo, the Chinese brand that was launched six years ago, is trying to make its presence felt in India. It already has several devices to its credit, with notable ones such as the Vivo XPlay 3S, claimed to be the world’s first smartphone to boast of a Quad-HD display and the Vivo X5Max, claimed to be the world’s slimmest smartphone. Despite these attempts, it is Vivo’s pricing strategy which doesn’t seem to be working largely in its favour. 

Vivo_Y27L_Introduction

The company’s latest offering is the Vivo Y27L which stacks up against the likes of Motorola Moto G3, Xiaomi Mi4i and Lenovo K3 Note. The Vivo Y27L is an upgraded version of the Vivo Y22, and runs on Android 4.4 KitKat. Despite featuring mediocre specifications, this device is priced at Rs.12,890. Is the Vivo Y27L really worth its asking price? We find out in our review.

Design
7.5

Since the launch of the Vivo XPlay 3S two years ago, Vivo smartphones have followed a particular design language and the Vivo Y27L is no exception. Vivo brings the same rectangular design to this phone that has become absolute with Vivo devices. The device comes in a smooth metallic frame with chamfered edges on the sides and a 6.99mm thin body. One can easily use the device with one hand, thanks to its 4.7-inch screen. 

Vivo_Y27L_Design1

The front of the device has a 5-megapixel camera on the left side of the earpiece and a proximity sensor on the right. Above the display on the left side is the silver Vivo logo. There are three capacitive navigation buttons below the screen which are printed in faint grey with no backlighting that makes them very difficult to use in low-light conditions. 

Vivo_Y27L_Design2

The power and volume buttons are on the right side, and the 3.5mm audio port is on the top left. There is  an ejectable microSD slot to the right of the audio port. The Micro-USB port is located at the bottom of the device with a tiny microphone beside it. There is an ejectable Micro-SIM card tray on the right side of the device. The 8-megapixel camera and an LED flash are located on the left corner of the rear. The speaker grille is located at the bottom. The Vivo logo on the back panel is present between the rear camera and speaker grille. 

Vivo_Y27L_Design3

Overall, the device is easy to hold and feels solid in hand thanks to its stylish design. Moreover, it weighs only 137g, including the non-removable battery.

Display
7

The Y27L has a 4.7-inch IPS display that has a resolution of 720x1280p which translates to a pixel density of 312 PPI. The IPS display offers vibrant colours and the text is legible under sunlight.

Vivo_Y27L_Display

The screen is very responsive at all times. A plus point of this phone’s display is that the colours appear closer to natural colours. The IPS panel ensures great viewing angles. Using the device at night on maximum brightness level does strain one’s eyes, though. Regardless, the Y27L offers one of the best displays in its price segment. 

Hardware
6

This model of Vivo packs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 chipset with all of its four cores clocked at 1.2GHz. and an integrated Adreno 306 GPU which handles the graphics.

Vivo_Y27L_Hardware1

The smartphone offers 16GB of internal storage, out of which only 11.84GB is available to the user. One can easily expand the storage space up to 128GB with the help of a microSD card. By default, the Y27L comes with two SIM card slots. Each slot supports a 4G LTE network-enabled SIM card and also has support for Band 40, which is  used by some LTE networks in India. Nowadays, all manufacturers have started offering an option of a hybrid slot on their phones, which offers the user a choice of using either a secondary SIM card or a microSD card in the same slot. Since this feature can be quite troublesome, the fact that Vivo has not offered this option is a welcome feature.

Vivo_Y27L_Hardware2

In terms of connectivity, the device supports Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, which doesn’t support dual-band networks. The phone has Bluetooth 4.0 that helps in transfer of files from one device to the other. There are also A-GPS, GLONASS and BDS which lock the phone’s position quickly in GPS-aided applications. Sensors on this phone include a proximity sensor, ambient light sensor, accelerometer, and gyroscope. USB-OTG is also supported. 

Vivo_Y27L_hardware3

Because of the price segment that this device falls in, these specifications don’t disappoint except for the fact that it offers only 1GB of RAM. Others manufacturers such as Coolpad, Motorola, Micromax’s YU and Lenovo offer 2GB of RAM on their devices. Featuring mediocre specifications, this device needs to perform better in order to get ahead in the race with other devices in its price range.

Software and apps
6

On the software side, the Vivo Y27L comes preloaded with Vivo’s FunTouch OS, which is based on Android 4.4 KitKat. The interface of the OS  is similar to that of iOS - both have similar flat style icons and also have no dedicated app drawer. Additionally, the fonts, icons as well as menus in all the applications resemble the ones used in iOS. 

Many of the styles and functions that are intrinsic to Android OS have been modified on this phone, and one can notice many additional features. The pull-up shortcut menu known as mission control is particularly useful. The notification centre has an option to display the recent events as well as upcoming events.

Vivo_Y27L_Softwareandapps

Vivo has also modified the settings menu. It is very difficult to find options such as Bluetooth, storage and application menu. One needs to get used to the user interface to make the best use of it. The device has a theme engine called iTheme that allows you to customise the device. There are also several other features like Air operation which allow you to wake the device by waving your palm above the device. What we really liked about this phone is its super screenshot which has four options - Screen recording, Long screenshot, Funny screenshot, Rectangular screenshot.

The phone comes preloaded with several applications such as Facebook, WeChat, WhatsApp, Skype and WPS Office. The user can get rid of the ones they don’t need these by uninstalling them. We noticed that the OS lagged at several instances and that it would also stutter while launching an application. Control center also known as mission control is buggy most of the time. A software update might fix all of these issues, and an Android 5.0 upgrade is expected this year.

Camera
6

Vivo_Y27L_Camera1

The device features an 8-megapixel primary shooter with an F2.0 aperture. An LED light is present on the right side of the primary camera, which helps in taking pictures in low-light. Vivo has integrated its native camera application that is seen on all Vivo devices. The camera app too, unsurprisingly, looks the same as on the iOS interface. 

Vivo_Y27L_Camerasample1

You can choose to shoot either in Auto, as it does by default or a pro mode that allows you to play around with settings such as Exposure, ISO, Shutter Speed, Manual Focus, and White Balance. Some of the other modes are HDR, Night, Panorama, Face beauty, Bokeh, and Watermark. 

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The primary camera does a fair job in capturing images with attention to detail, but we noticed that the images were over-saturated at the edges. Colour reproduction is not as accurate and the images were on the warmer side and also showed a good amount of noise when zoomed in. Images taken in low-light are on the colder side, but nevertheless, are satisfactory. The primary camera records videos in 1080p resolution and there is no feature for slow-motion video recording. Videos captured by the camera were of good quality. The camera also has decent audio support despite having only one microphone at the bottom. 

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The device has a 5-megapixel front-facing camera, and, the images captured by it are decent. The front camera records videos at a resolution of 720p, that are just about okay. Overall, the camera is a bit of a disappointment, considering its price.

Audio and video
8

Vivo packs a native music application for all of its devices and has named it iMusic. The icon and the interface of this app resemble that of Apple Music in iOS. The application handles all types of music files such as  .mp3, .flac files, and .wav with ease. However, this music player does not have any settings with which you can customise the sound output. 

We tested the device’s audio performance with the bundled headset and the Sony MDR-EX750AP. The resulting sound was quite brilliant because of the embedded Hi-Fi chip AK4375 which only enhances the sound.  The sound output from the speaker also surprised us. The sound produced was loud and crisp. There was no distortion either when we played the music tracks.

Vivo_Y27L_Audio

Vivo has also added a default video player. This video player has a basic interface that supports various types of video files such as .wmv, .mkv, .mp4, and .avi. We tested its video performance by playing a bunch of 720p videos. There were no stutters or lags while playing these videos. While the native video player doesn’t support 4K videos, we tried the MX player to run 4K videos. Apart from the fact there were some issues while moving forward into the video (which is acceptable considering the device has a 720p screen), the videos ran smoothly. 

The audio and video playback on this device is satisfactory when compared to other devices in the same price segment. 

Performance
5

With 1 GB of RAM, the device performs well in our daily usage. In our benchmark tests, the device scored 20,814 in the AnTuTu benchmark, which is slightly above YU Yunique. In terms of the 3DMark benchmark, the Y27L scored 4,370 in the Ice Storm Unlimited test at HD resolution, 2,634 in the Ice Storm Extreme, and 5,260 in IceStorm. Moving on to web browsing, the device performed without any lags. In terms of the Vellamo benchmark, the device scored 1,590 which is fairly decent. The device does tend to heat a bit when playing games and surfing the web for some time.

When it comes to gaming, the device handles Temple Run 2 and Subway Surfers well. But when we played high-intensive games like Asphalt 8 and Mortal Kombat X, the device started to lag a lot. Asphalt 8 runs well in low graphics mode.

Vivo_Y27L_Performance

Considering the fact that the device features Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 410 chipset, which is a 64-bit CPU, we were expecting better performance.

The call quality was fairly good. Wi-Fi reception was poor and the phone was unable to connect to a network if there were too obstructions. We tested this with the Gionee Marathon M5, which at least picked up a Wi-Fi network. Location-based services work well in the device, as it locks the positioning of the device quickly. 

More work needs to be done on the software for  it to be competitive with smartphones by other manufacturers like Motorola which offers stock Android. On the whole, in comparison which devices such as Moto G3, Lenovo K3 note, this device's performance is underwhelming.

Battery life
8

Vivo Y27L packs a 2,260mAh Li-Polymer battery, which is fairly decent for devices in the under- Rs.10,000 price range. Interestingly, the battery performance on this device surprised us. In our review period, the device ran for six hours and 35 minutes in the video loop test with 720p video formats and some 4K video files. On moderate usage, involving voice calls for an hour, browsing the web through a Wi-Fi network intermittently, and listening to music for over an hour, the phone managed to run for almost two days. To test the battery’s capacity, we used a single SIM on the device, however, when a second SIM was inserted, the device’s battery life decreased by almost a day. Using the bundled charger, the phone took just above two hours to charge from zero percent to full. Overall, the device offers a better battery life than that of its rivals - Moto G3, Lenovo K3 Note and YU Yureka Plus.

Conclusion

Vivo Y27L was launched at a price tag of Rs.12,980, but is now available for less than Rs.10,000 on Snapdeal and Flipkart. The Vivo Y27L is a good-looking smartphone which runs an iOS-esque OS built on top of Android. In terms of pricing, it competes against the likes of Moto G3 and Xiaomi Mi4i. Despite featuring mediocre hardware, the device impressed us in terms of design, audio and video, and battery life. FunTouch OS would occasionally lag and stutter, and we feel that it requires a lot of refining. Unless you are looking for a smartphone with a great display, stylish design, and a strong multimedia performance, we wouldn’t recommend this device over a large number of devices currently present in the under-Rs.10,000 segment.

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