The vivo Y19 was announced early this year in Kenya and joins other devices in the Y series including the vivo Y12, Y15 and Y17. These devices are already retailing in the Kenyan market. I’ve gotten to play around with the phone’s features and this is our definitive hands-on review of the vivo Y19.
vivo’s Y series of phones are targetted for the youth and the Chinese device maker rings advanced and premium features to the energetic and dynamic consumers. I’ve used the vivo V17 Pro and coming to the vivo Y19, my hopes were pretty high but before I delve in, here’s what you get in the box:
- The phone itself
- A screen protector
- An 18W power brick
- A micro-USB charging cable
- A clear silicone back cover
- A sim ejector tool
- A user manual
- Customer service card
The vivo Y19 comes in a plastic magnetic black back with a glossy finish that’ll attract fingerprint smudges when not inside the provided silicone case.
The back hosts the vivo logo at the bottom, a rounded square fingerprint sensor next to the triple AI-powered cameras and LED flash.
On the front is the 6.53 inch 1080p Halo Fullview display that features a waterdrop notch that houses the selfie camera.
The top bezel above has the earpiece grill that also functions as a speaker.
The right side sports the volume buttons and power button while the left has the card slot for dual nano sim cards and MicroSD slot.
At the bottom is the micro-USB port, a mono speaker grill, primary microphone and headphone jack.
Software and Performance
The vivo Y19 comes with Android 9 Pie and Funtouch OS 9.2 baked in. Android 10 would have been a nice addition. However, Funtouch OS has nice perks such as system-wide dark mode toggle so that should be exciting.
Anyway, under the hood is a Mediatek MT6768 processor coupled with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of onboard storage.
Performance has been snappy so far from usual light tasks such as browsing the web, social media, replying to emails, taking photos to playing games with moderate and heavy graphics. We’re still in the honeymoon period so stay tuned to see if this performance holds up in the long run in our full review coming out soon.
There’s minimal bloatware and it is non-aggressive unlike other UI’s from competing smartphone brands. However, the UI feels iOS-ish with a learning curve to new users such as swiping up to get to the quick settings bar – this is helpful for big phones especially for people with smaller hands.
There’s a pretty fast face unlock too if you find the rear fingerprint sensor a bit too high for your hand.
vivo Y19 features a triple AI-powered rear camera setup that consists of a 16MP main camera, an 8MP ultrawide camera and a 2MP macro camera. A 16MP front-facing camera takes care of selfies.
Modes to play around with include: beauty, bokeh, AR shot, Portrait mode, Professional mode, panorama, video(shoots at 1080p at 30fps)macro and HDR. Sadly, there’s no dedicated night mode.
Daylight photos turn out pretty well but in some shots, you’ll notice washed out colours which is disappointing. However, you can edit the photos to increase the colour saturation. Click to expand the photos.
Selfies come out looking great with accurate skin tones. Weirdly, for portraits, the vivo Y19 applies face smoothening.
The vivo Y19 packs a 5000mAh battery making the phone an absolute powerhouse. You get all-day battery life and for light use, it could push to 2 days.
There’s an 18W fast charger in the box and while it’s a micro-USB port, the phone supports vivo’s Dual Engine Fast charge technology to quickly charge the phone. In an hour, you can get to 60% from 0% – its not quick charging level but it will let youcharge the phone while you prepare yourself for the day once you wake up in the morning.
The vivo Y19 supports all networks in Kenya including Faiba 4G.
Pricing and Availability
The vivo Y19 currently retails at Ksh 26,999 and is available in vivo’s official stores country wide. Some of them include:
- Aghakhan walk, Harambee Avenue, Taveta lane -Kibe Com,
- Wabera Street – Simba Prudential
- Moi Avenue-Mobile Hub, Smartphone Store KE, Smarthub, Ropem Tumaini House
- Tom Mboya: Central Electronics, Trends,
- Kimathi Street: Bright Technologies
- Kenyatta Avenue: Zetort Cameo
- Luthuli: Al Aziz Shop, Bravo Exhibition
- Kitengela: Ropem Eastmatt
- Jaicom Gateway Mall
Eldoret Town: Dhaval Emporium
The vivo Y19 brings premium specs but when you start looking into the details, you’ll realize its competitors offer more. Things like the micro-USB port instead of a USB-C port. Software will be a major drawback especially the UI and the likelyhood to get updates such as Android 10. The Huawei Y9 Prime 2019 comes with these features – it recently got updated to EMUI 10 and Android 10 and also has USB-C port and is an excellent phone from 2019 and retails at Ksh 24,499 – it should be cheaper if you look around for deals online and in retail stores.
If you can get past its cons, the vivo Y19 is worth considering and we’ll have our full thoughts on the phone in our full review coming out soon.