Samsung, Sony, Apple, Nokia, the list goes on forever; companies developing portable computers that keep us in touch with the world, wherever, whenever. Driving through Hamilton with my little sister and nephew in tow, I felt an unknown force pull me into PB Tech, and there I found‚ the Vivo Y17.

Before we go any further, I want to list the specs, because frankly it’s a little strange given the price tag of only $299.


Specy Specs:
  • Camera: 20MP front, 13MP + 8MP + 2MP rear
  • Battery: 5000mAh (Also has a mode for charging other devices using this excessively large battery)
  • Resolution: 1544 x 720
  • Ram: 4GB
  • Storage: 128GB
  • Processor: Octacore (Couldn’t find much more info than this)
  • Dual simcards and expandable memory via microsd
  • Fingerprint and Facial Recognition

I mean, that’s frankly insane given the price, which led me to fork out the dosh to try it out, but enough of a backstory, let’s get into it.

General use

The phone looks good, far better than its price tag suggests and although given the specs I shouldn’t be surprised, it works well. The strange “Funtouch 9” which is based off of Android 9.0 seems fine, with a few cool nifty Vivo addons, but all apps like Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram (Gotta test the main ones kids) just don’t feel fluid. The only way I can describe the strange lag that seems consistent but random is it kind of buffers? I dunno, it’s not bad to the point of annoyance, but it definitely leaves much to be desired. If you’re on a budget, and are looking for just general use, texting, calls, light app, and browser usage, the Vivo Y17 could be the device for you. 

 

Camera(s)

Hahahahhahahhaha. The phone had to let us down at some point team, and boy oh boy do the cameras let you down. The AI seems to be non existent, and combined with the strange buffer/lag issue present in all apps, leaves you taking grainy, blurry, and just not great photos with the rear cameras. The front camera is a little better, and good for selfies to your friends, just maybe not that special someone, as the camera “tries” to fix photos and ends up making you look different. Definitely not a phone to buy when looking for photo taking, but at this price range, I’m really not that fussed.

What Impressed:

Facial recognition, fingerprint sensor, and the huge battery – with the ability to charge other devices are all incredible. Facial recognition and fingerprint easily as fast as flagship devices from bigger names like Samsung, or Apple, and the battery just simply goes and goes and goes. I would have much preferred more effort placed into the custom OS, and memory/processor management, but still, credit given where credit due. 

 

A Word From Our Techspert:

Sure, a cheap phone is always going to appeal to a large audience. But there is also a large number of devices on offer at this price point. Much like in the flagship space, the differentiating features are how you stand out. With that in mind, the Vivo Y17 definitely does stand out. I don’t know of any other devices boasting a battery this large let alone the ability to charge other devices.

With that said, what it hits on with differentiating features, it loses out on when it comes to the basics. Responsiveness and optimised software is what can really make or break a phone for me. I’ll give the Y17 a pass when it comes to screen refresh rate, I’m not expecting a buttery smooth experience for $300. But I am expecting a device that puts so much marketing into their “AI Assisted” camera to have something more complete in this regard. Just saying. The cute pics Michael sends me with his C922 webcam look so much better. I can at least make out the colour of his beautiful eyes with that.

 

Overall:

This was a really tough review, because, in reality for the price you’re getting a great phone – it’s just not as good as it sells itself to be which is annoying. I think a lot of it comes down to the custom OS, or a lacking processor. Who knows, only Vivo I guess? I’m going to keep using it, and I might even play some games on it and add to this review, but for now I’m reviewing it for the market it’s being sold to. People on a budget, looking for a device to get their business done; and for them, the Vivo Y17 might just be a winner – even against Samsung’s or Sony’s phones at the same price range.

6

Pros

  • Cheap as chips
  • Great specs
  • Very good looking phone
  • Great fingerprint and facial recognition services

Cons

  • Not what it sells itself as
  • Camera is bleh
  • Random buffering lag weirdness