Home Phones vivo Y35 review: a phone that doesn’t try hard to be fun

vivo Y35 review: a phone that doesn’t try hard to be fun

When is vivo going to stop using that dated looking front face?

by Warren

Every time vivo announces a new Y series smartphone, and by all means, we are expecting a new release almost every four months, I totally cringed whenever they mention the ‘That’s Y’ tagline. Granted, brands want their mid-range phones to look cool for everyone, but to be honest, vivo really doesn’t need to do all that cringey marketing with the Y35, because after using for about close to a month, it is probably one of the more practical mid-range phones that vivo has made, and they just need to do it better, but it sadly isn’t one fun phone that its marketing has suggested.

Compared to the vivo Y33t, the vivo Y35 certainly brings a few necessary things to the table apart from a refreshing new holographic back design, it now has a 5000mAh battery with support for 44W fast charging, a 90Hz 6.58-inch IPS display, and 256GB of internal storage, which is quite a significant upgrade from what you get on its supposedly predecessor and what the Y33t could have been, the Y35 is still powered by the same Snapdragon 680 processor and has the same triple camera system that comprise a 50MP wide, 2MP depth and 2MP macro lens, it is the regular ‘if it ain’t broken don’t fix it’ job we are seeing on smartphones these days.

Despite that, I am very happy that vivo has managed to get this phone Widevine L1 certified and fitted a really nice IPS panel for my Netflix binge watch sessions, which is very unlikely to be present on many other similar classed phones I have reviewed in the past, even if they come with nicer AMOLED panels or faster refresh rate, but I also hated the display because it still has the extremely dated V-shaped notch and thick bottom bezels that has eventually become a signature on the Y series, That’s Y, no pun intended, it is a pretty boring looking phone.

If I were to commend one more thing about the vivo Y35, that would be its much better mono loudspeaker that vivo has added an Audio Boost software enhancement to make it sound a lot louder than most other phones with mono loudspeakers, but on a side note, many mid-range phones today have started to embrace stereo speakers, which definitely sounds way better than a mono loudspeaker with a boosted volume and I believe vivo can definitely afford to include that to make it a ‘fun’ phone.

As a consolation, the vivo Y35’s mono loudspeaker does sound better than the one on the Honor 70.

Oh yeah, the vivo Y35 is also the very first Y series phone to be IP56 certified water and dust resistant, so that’s definitely one big win over most mid-range phones, the fun level has just one upped at this point of the review.

Like any other present vivo phones, the vivo Y35 comes preloaded with the Funtouch OS 12 skin based on Android 12, which offers an overall decent software experience and doesn’t bog down the phone’s performance apart from having a few preinstalled bloatware and annoying ad notifications, the phone performs just like what a mid-range phone should be and you will definitely not be disappointed with its performance in browsing webpages and swiping your social feeds.

The fun of the vivo Y35 pauses at the camera, which I mentioned earlier is exactly the same camera setup as the Y33t, despite having a totally different camera bump design that doesn’t look fun either, but I’m not going to discount it immediately as a bad camera system, because the primary 50MP f/1.8 lens takes decent outdoor photos without looking too oversaturated or washed out, and to give it a bit of credit, some low light shots with adequate lighting looks reasonably good as well, but that’s really all about it, you can’t take any ultrawide shots as the two other 2MP lens are just very much for show.

As for selfies, the vivo Y35 is once again less fun with a 16MP camera, which makes me wonder why would the product manager wouldn’t just go for a higher resolution shooter at least on paper, although it is a resolution that’s more than adequate for prints, I was underwhelmed with the image quality with washed out colors when shot under bright outdoors, but on the bright side, at least the camera takes 1080p videos so you won’t feel ashamed of uploading that dance video up to Tiktok.

Battery life is impressive on the vivo Y35, which should come as no surprise considering it is equipped with a 5000mAh battery and assisted by the power efficient Snapdragon 680 processor, doing a 6 hour screen-on-time on a single charge in a day is effortless, while 44W fast charging gets you back in no time should you forget to charge your phone.

‘Unleash Double Fun’, the quirky marketing tagline for the vivo Y35, seem to have overpromised of what it should be, the subtle upgrades over the 4-month old Y33t are commendable, but on a serious note, every Y series that vivo releases are just pure boring iterative updates rather than actually being fun, hiring an ambassador also doesn’t solve the identity crisis of the Y series over the more attractive T series, vivo needs to be more focused on what it intends to do with the Y series, at least give it a few gimmicks that I can consider other phones boring, even if they turn out to be bad ones, at least vivo could have tried.

No, this isn’t the V25, it is the Y35

Despite that, the vivo Y35’s retail price of RM1,099 is nonetheless attractive considering the large 256GB internal storage and battery size you are getting, which you can grab it at Lazada, Shopee and vivo Malaysia E-Store.

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