vivo Y19 Review: Battery Champ That Needs a Little Polishing

battery champion that needs a little polishing on its other features

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vivo Y19 review article

We’ve had the vivo Y19 for a while now and the phone is top of the line among vivo’s Y series of phones that include the vivo Y12, Y15 and Y17. I have been using it as my daily driver and here’s my full review and what to expect from a Ksh 26,999 phone. Does that price point give you more bang for your bucks – we find out.

Hardware and Design

The vivo Y19 comes with a magnetic black gradient back and a glossy finish and you’ll use the silicon case to avoid the fingerprint smudges. There’s the triple AI camera setup and an LED flash next to the rear fingerprint scanner and the vivo logo at the left bottom.

vivo Y19 packs a 6.53″ 1080p Halo Fullview display with 19.5:9 aspect ratio that gives the phone an almost all-screen display interrupted by the waterdrop notch that houses the 16MP front-facing camera.


For ports, you get a micro-USB port for charging and a headphone jack next to the speaker grill. The earpiece grill at the top bezel functions as a secondary speaker too. There’s the usual volume rocker and power button on the left and slot for dual nano-sim cards and external MicroSD card.

Nothing exciting hardware-wise but the overall quality is good.

The display is above average but a 1080p(1080 x 2340 pixels) Full-HD+ screen is what you should be getting at this price point especially for Android phones. It is bright enough and with decent viewing angles even under direct sunlight.

I was spending a ton of time catching up on new YouTube videos I’ve missed, scrolling through social media looking for memes and binge-reading articles from my favourite blogs.

Software and Performance

Android 9 Pie and Funtouch OS 9.2 come inside the vivo Y19. The UI isn’t as polished and the iOS-ish feel will have alot of users climbing the learning curve. You have to pull up from the bottom to get to quick settings that are supposed to be found in the notification shade when you slide from the top when you slide from up.

Weirdly, I’ve come to love the ease of access – from either quickly opening up my most used apps and or fiddling between the settings. People with smaller hands will find this feature convenient.

You get the traditional pile of preinstalled apps from vivo including vivoCloud, vivo.com and V-Appstore. In my opnion, there are less intrusive and offer a more comparable user experience in terms of simplicity.

It would have been great to offer the phone with Android 10 already baked in but since the vivo Y19 is a rebranded vivo U3, that ship has already sailed.

However, for lovers of all things dark mode, Funtouch OS offers a system-wide dark mode toggle that you’ll love.vivo Y19 dark mode

The vivo Y19 rocks a Mediatek MT6768 processor coupled with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of onboard storage. I loved the performance and tasks ran smoothly and consistently from light tasks such as taking photos, replying to emails, lazily browsing the web and social media feeds and playing games with light, moderate and heavy graphics such as Ninja Arashi, Asphalt 9 and PUBG.

You can open upto 10 apps which you can get back to after a while without them refreshing so if you’re a heavy multitasker, the vivo Y19 will handle everything you throw at it.

Another thing worth noting is that there’s face unlock and its pretty fast and consistent too. In the dark, the screen gets brighter for accurate face detection and it can be annoying sometimes. It’s safe as your eyes have to be open for the phone to be unlocked. You can also set up several digit PIN or long passwords for your lock screen instead.

It would’ve been welcome to bring 6 gigs of RAM and an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 675 SoC but we can’t complain about the decent performance the phone already offers.

Cameras

vivo y19 has a 16MP selfie camera and a triple AI-powered rear camera setup that consists of a 16MP main camera, an 8MP ultrawide camera and a 2MP macro camera.vivo Y19 camera interface

It features different modes to use including AR stickers, portrait mode, panorama, beauty, Pro mode and HDR. Video is shot at 1080p resolution at 30fps.

Selfies

Selfies turn out well with accurate skin tones and gets a thumbs up from me. Click on the photos to expand and scroll left.

However, you’ll notice the lack of saturation which is going to bug a lot of people – shots come out with washed-out colours and that’s a trend that gets replicated in some of the shots taken by the rear camera.

Portrait mode comes with beauty mode already enabled by default and you’ll have to tone down the face smoothening but some consumers will prefer that.

Also, the AI-powered bokeh is unpredictable so stick to the regular selfies.

vivo Y19 portrait mode 2
vivo Y19 portrait mode

Anyway, here’s a side by side comparison of regular selfies and portrait selfies. Click on the photos to expand and scroll left.

Regular Shots

For day shots, the camera takes decent photos but it’s a mixed bag. One major issue is that you don’t know how the shots will turn out especially colour saturation – the photos come out with washed-out colours which is a buzz kill.

Here are some samples: Click to expand the photos

There’s no night mode so if you like going out in the evening, this phone isn’t for you. Here’s a samplevivo y19 low light

You can download the Adobe Lightroom app an use it instead of the phone’s camera to edit the pictures taken to your preference and bring back colour and the highlights that are missing on shots taken on the native app.

Here’s how they compare side by side: Click on the photos to expand.

In conclusion, if you’re looking for a camera phone, then the vivo Y19 isn’t it – the phone isn’t as versatile and for the price, camera performance shouldn’t be this uncertain.

Battery Life

Battery life was amazing and as the 5000mAh battery is the phone’s key selling feature, it never disappointed. Before I continue, the battery settings of the phone don’t show screen-on-time. The phone was pushing almost close to 2 full days of light use and a day and a half(around five the next day) on mixed-use. This is with location and Bluetooth on for tracking my steps and streaming music, videos and podcasts over my headphones respectively.

Conclusively, the vivo Y19 is a battery champion. You’ll leave behind charger anxiety with this phone. I was actually leaving mu charger behind when I left the office heading home since I didn’t have to worry about the battery percentage. Heres’s proof – arriving at home with 63%, enough for me to quickly check emails and social media, play Asphalt 9 or Ninja Arashi, binge-watch a couple of episodes of Billions before calling it a night.Vivo Y19 Battery Life

This phone will still have enough battery to spare when I wake up to scroll through social media feeds and stream music to power my morning commute.

For those that want to quickly juice up the phone in the morning, there’s an 18W fast charger included in the box. The disappointing part is that the vivo Y19 comes with a micro-USB port. However, the phone supports vivo’s Dual Engine Fast charge technology that can charge your phone from empty to 70% in an hour and to full in a little over 90 minutes. It technically not the fastest but for a 5000mAh battery, it’s commendable.

Pricing and Availability

The vivo Y19 currently retails at Ksh 26,999 and is available in vivo’s official stores countrywide. Some of them include:

Nairobi:

  • 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

Bottomline

The under 30K smartphone market in Kenya is hard to crack. You can get decent smartphones in this category and each comes with a compromise. vivo Y19 has its cons and pros. You get a decent display, performance and great battery life and misses out on the camera performance. The latter is a huge compromise at this price point – photography is something most consumers are expecting to be more than average in the midrange phones.


If you’re not big on photography then you’ll find its three best features mentioned above useful. But then again, you can find better phones at the same price point or lower – although they come with their setbacks too, some which you can live with. Smartphones in this price range you can consider including some decent Huawei, OPPO, Samsung and Nokia phones.

As you can see the competition is already tough and vivo will need to work twice as hard to capture this market with their midrange phones and bring more and better value by polishing some of the features to ensure consumers buy their phones.


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