Verdict: While the Y20i may appear to be an incremental upgrade to last year’s Y11, its use of a newer Snapdragon processor made vivo’s latest budget phone a compelling option for those who want a stylish phone that’s easy on the wallet. It may not have moved on from using a MicroUSB port and terrible low-light performance, but that’s slightly offset by the Y20i’s crazy battery life.
The Y20i retails for Php 7,499, and it faces tough competition against the Redmi Note 9 and Realme 6i—both offering better specs across the board for Php 500 more.
- Incredible battery life
- Snapdragon 460 a big improvement over Snapdragon 450/439
- Solid back panel that you’ll easily mistake for glass
- Stuck with MicroUSB and 10w charging
- Terrible camera performance in low-light
vivo is tagged as the top-selling smartphone brand in the Philippines for Q2 2020, and it’s for a good reason: the brand’s sales mostly comprise of its entry-level offerings from the Y series. The latest model from the Y-series is the Y20i. Changes from last year’s Y11 include a Y20i gets a bigger display, cleaner back panel design with a relocated fingerprint scanner, and a better set of internals led by a Snapdragon 460 processor.
vivo changed its packaging for the entry-level Y-series, this time settling for a simpler white and blue box with both the vivo and Y20i branding boldly written in front. Despite looking simple, the box has a subtle holographic glow.
Inside the box, you have the phone itself—our review unit being in Dawn White, 10w charger, MicroUSB cable, silicone case, SIM ejector tool, and documentation.
Design and Build Quality
Like the Y11, the Y20i comes with an all-plastic build, with the frame having a non-slippery finish and the back panel having the same familiar glossy finish. Compared to the Y11, the Y20i has a more solid back panel that we mistook it for glass until we confirmed it was actually polycarbonate, according to vivo’s spec sheet.
At first glance, the Y20i looks like the V19 Neo until you notice that the rectangle-shaped camera module houses just two cameras and an LED flash. The two cameras are the same as the Y11: a 13-megapixel f/2.2 main camera and a 2-megapixel f/2.4 depth sensor.
With the Y20i having a cleaner-looking back panel, vivo moved the fingerprint scanner to the side, which doubles as a power button. The fingerprint scanner/power button is joined by the volume controls, while the SIM card tray is found on the other side.
At the bottom, you have the headphone jack, MicroUSB port, loudspeaker, and microphone. By now, you would be probably complaining about the MicroUSB port, but given the intended audience of the Y20i, the use of MicroUSB should not be that of a big deal.
While it has the same dewdrop notch (and the same 8-megapixel selfie snapper) found on the Y11, the Y20i gets a bigger display at 6.51 inches. You still get the same HD+ resolution, so text and other graphics are not as sharp as compared to a Full HD+ panel.
The HD+ resolution is something you’d expect on a budget phone, though vivo makes up for it by using a better IPS panel. Colors are more vibrant compared to the competition, and its maximum brightness is good enough for using the Y20i in direct sunlight.
Despite having a fancier rear camera module that looks similar to the V19 Neo, the Y20i’s snappers are similar to the Y11: 13-megapixel f/2.2 main camera and 2-megapixel f/2.4 depth sensor. While the camera hardware remains unchanged, the Y20i’s Adreno 610 GPU gives it more imaging muscle compared to the Adreno 505 used on the Y11.
The improved post-processing performance is evident when shooting with a decent amount of available light. Dynamic range is much better, and colors pop out better—though the Y20i has a tendency of boosting the saturation too much when AI is activated.
As much as the Adreno 610 provides for better post-processing performance, the F/2.2 aperture of the main camera makes the Y20i struggle with low light shooting. Without a proper night mode feature, photos shot in low light suffer from loss of detail and dull colors. We hope vivo rolls out an update to include a dedicated night mode for the Y20i to maximize its hardware.
Aside from having more RAM and internal storage at 4GB and 64GB respectively, the Y20i rocks a Snapdragon 460 processor. The logical successor of 2017’s Snapdragon 450 is manufactured on a newer 11nm process and better Kryo 240 cores.
Compared to the Y11’s Snapdragon 439 processor, the Y20i’s Snapdragon 460 performed almost twice as better in 3D Mark. Despite the Snapdragon 439 having higher clocked cores, the Snapdragon 460’s Kryo 240 cores prove to deliver more muscle even at lower clock speeds.
When it comes to games, the Snapdragon 460 performed fairly well on most graphics-intensive games save for Asphalt 9. Based on data obtained from GameBench, the Y20i can do more than 20FPS for games like NBA2K20, PUBG Mobile, and Call of Duty Mobile at the highest possible graphics settings, which is the bare minimum for suitable gameplay.
Fans of Asphalt 9 should not consider the Y20i, as the Adreno 610 GPU—the same GPU found on the Snapdragon 665—struggles to deliver decent frame rates for the popular racing game. Fans of MOBA games like Marvel Super War need not worry, as the Y20i managed to deliver over 50FPS with generally good framerate stability.
Just like with the recently-launched X50 and X50 Pro, the Y20i comes with FunTouch OS 10.5, which is a toned-down version of previous iterations. There are a couple of annoying notifications out of the box (the majority of them coming from the vivo web browser and app store), though you can easily disable them through the settings menu.
Like the Y11, the Y20i excels very well when it comes to battery life. The combination of a large 5000mAh battery, HD+ display, and a power-efficient processor helped the Y20i last for 20 1/2 hours on our battery loop test, which is very impressive for a 2020 budget smartphone. A trade-off for the stellar battery life is the slow charging speeds—aside from using an ancient MicroUSB port, you are limited to 10w charging. Topping up the battery from flat to 100 will take you a little over four hours.
Wrap-up and conclusions
vivo’s entry-level line is the brand’s biggest market share for its overall sales, and the Y20i gives justice in filling the shoes of last year’s Y11. Despite looking like a modernized version of its predecessor, the Snapdragon 460 processor gives the Y20i a much-needed performance boost while maintaining stellar battery life.
Even with the Y20i’s good points, vivo’s latest entry-level phone will have to face fierce competition from the likes of Xiaomi and Realme.