Review Verdict: While it is more of an incremental update to last year’s Y36, vivo made improvements on the Y36 with its rear camera and display. Aside from a more premium build and a lower price tag, the Y36 offers better value than its predecessor.
-Solid battery life
-More premium build
-Refined main camera performance
-Snapdragon 680 is NOT made for heavy games
-No ultra-wide camera and stereo speakers
After a few months of being silent, vivo is back with a new phone in the Philippines with the Y36. While it is more of an incremental update to last year’s Y35, are all the upgrades vivo made on the Y36–along with a lower price tag–make it a compelling offering?
vivo Y36 Review Philippines: Design
Despite it looks similar to the Y35, the Y36 has one less camera in the back to have a more straightforward dual rear camera setup. The overall build is also more solid than its predecessor because it uses AG Glass for the back panel–which is also the same type of material used on the more expensive V27 5G. vivo did use a better version of its AG Glass tech on the Y36, as its glossy finish is more resilient to fingerprints, making you more confident to use the phone without a case.
You’d most likely flaunt the Y36’s back panel, especially with our review unit’s Glitter Aqua colorway–which is a light green color that has a striking crystallized finish. vivo added a subtle holographic accent surrounding the camera ring to give the Y36 extra flair.
We wished, however, that vivo also applied the same smudge-resistant coating to the camera module–during our time with the phone, we would often wipe the camera module area because it tends to attract fingerprints a lot.
Like the Y35, you have a side-mounted fingerprint scanner on the Y36, along with a headphone jack, a USB-C port, and a single bottom-firing speaker.
vivo Y36 Review Philippines: Display
The biggest visual difference between the Y36 from the Y35 is with the display: this time around, you get a much more modern punch-hole design for the 16-megapixel selfie shooter. While the display is still a Full HD+ IPS panel with a 90hz refresh rate, the Y36 is the first Y-series model to offer a 240hz touch sampling rate–which makes it more responsive when it comes to games, though there are limitations to what games the Y36 can handle–more on that later.
While it does not deliver the same vibrant colors of an AMOLED panel, vivo did use a good quality IPS panel: the colors are vibrant, and the display itself is bright. It has a decent 90hz refresh rate and has the option for auto-switching to balance between a fluid experience and great battery life.
If there’s one thing that’s lacking on the Y36, it has to be the speakers: like its predecessor, you only get a single bottom-firing speaker–and not even a stereo setup. Considering that most mid-range phones–and even a few budget offerings–are switching to a stereo setup, we wished vivo made the same upgrade to the Y36 as well. As a consolation, the Y36 does have a headphone jack, which should make fans of wired earphones happy.
vivo Y36 Review Philippines: Cameras
While it’s nice that vivo simplified the camera setup by removing one of the 2-megapixel filler cameras, we wished that they went ahead by replacing the 2-megapixel depth sensor with something more useful like an ultra-wide camera. To be fair with vivo, the Y36 uses an ISOCELL JN1 sensor for its 50-megapixel main camera–which they claim offers better camera performance.
We took the Y36 with us to ToyCon20, and the 50-megapixel main camera did quite a decent job–we could say it performed better than the Y35, especially with low light and digital zoom.
In general, the Y36 was able to do well in taking photos inside ToyCon20’s venue grounds despite the varying lighting conditions. The only instances that we saw the Y36 struggle were in balancing highlights and shadows in high-contrast scenarios. Autofocus performance on the Y36 is decent for a budget mid-range phone–and that’s all the more impressive considering the Y36 uses the same processor as its predecessor.
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When it comes to videos, the Y36 is still capped at Full HD 30FPS, but its EIS feature is more refined compared to its predecessor. Despite the processor limitations, the Y36 is a viable budget mid-range phone for vlogging.
vivo Y36 Review Philippines: Internals and Battery Life
Like its predecessor, you are also getting a Snapdragon 680 processor on the Y36, along with 8GB RAM and 256GB internal storage. We’re familiar with how the Snapdragon 680 performs, and to sum it up: it’s a processor that’s made with battery efficiency in mind and not for gaming, which limits what titles that are viable to play on the Y36.
While it can handle Genshin Impact at low graphics to make the most out of its 240hz refresh rate, the Y36 struggles in running Hoyoverse’s newer title Honkai: Star Rail. We tried to bump the graphics to low (it’s set to lowest by default), and the Y36 could not render the graphics of the turn-based RPG properly. Should you want to play games on the Y36, you have to be mindful of the Snapdragon 680’s limitations.
While the Snapdragon 680 is a poor performer for gaming, it excels when it comes to battery life. With PCMark’s battery benchmark test, we managed to clock 21 hours and 58 minutes on the Y36’s 5000mAh battery, making it the longest-lasting phone we have tested in 2023 as of writing this review. Like its predecessor, you still get 44w charging that tops up the battery in around an hour.
vivo Y36 Review Philippines: Wrap-up and Conclusions
Being more of an incremental update to last year’s Y35, the Y36 improves on its display, back panel build, and main rear camera–but is hampered by the limitations of the Snapdragon 680 especially when it comes to gaming.
vivo Y36 Review Philippines: Price
The Y36 is priced at Php 12,999 in the Philippines.