vivo Y36 Review | Geek Lifestyle

The vivo Y36 has a lot going for it, but is it the next phone for you?

In our vivo Y36 review, we test vivo’s new mid-ranger to see if it’s a worthy buy for users who want to upgrade without spending too much.

Recently, vivo launched the Y36, and it’s the brand’s latest smartphone in its budget-friendly Y series. Though instead of being an entry-level device, the Y36 is a more affordable midranger, meaning it should have more bells and whistles than your typical budget smartphone, all while having a price tag that won’t break the bank.

Specifically, the phone has several premium features, including a 50MP main camera, a 90Hz refresh rate display, 44W fast charging, and more. Thanks to this combination of features, the phone is definitely a promising partner for most users — on paper at least.

So, does the newest Y series entry deliver on the promise that it has on paper when put to real-world use? Here’s our full vivo Y36 review.


To start, let’s take a look at the phone’s design. This new vivo Y series device has an eye-catching look when viewed from the back, especially in its Glitter Aqua colorway. If you look closely, you can see some glittery specks that shimmer when light hits the back. Speaking of the back, there you can see the phone’s large camera module that houses its two shooters. While it’s a bit iPhone-inspired, you won’t mistake it for an iPhone given that the two cameras are laid out vertically.

Interestingly, despite looking glossy, this phone is not a fingerprint magnet. Though it’s not a matte finish (the finish is a bit hard to describe, really), the phone’s polycarbonate back maintains its shimmery look even if you go caseless. It also helps that the phone has flat edges that give it a comfortable grip, even in a sweaty gaming session with your FPS or MOBA of choice.

If you need a case though (which we recommend if you’re prone to accidentally dropping your phone), then you’ll be happy to know that, despite how affordable it is, vivo did not skimp out as the Y36 packs a clear case inside the box.

Moving to the front, we have the Y36’s 6.64-inch FHD+ display, complete with a 90Hz refresh rate. Thanks to this, the phone feels fast and snappy when scrolling through the menu and in apps.

As for how the display is looks-wise, it has a holepunch notch at the top which is small enough to not be distracting, even if you use the entire screen for video playback. While we would’ve liked to see it moved to the upper left to make it even less visible, the notch is still small enough to not be a bother for most users. Plus, the holepunch notch makes it look more like a premium device when compared to entry-level models with bigger notches.

Binge-Watching Factor

Now, let’s talk about how the phone’s display does for binge-watching. After all, many people today use their phones as the primary way to watch content, be it movies, TV shows, livestreams, and more.

In this regard, the vivo Y36 shouldn’t disappoint as the screen has good quality output that’s sharp and has good colors for an LCD. Sure, it’s not an OLED screen, but the display’s output should still satisfy most users who want a device to watch content on.

Though do take note that, for the best experience, external speakers or headphones are recommended. While you can watch all sorts of videos and rely on the single bottom-firing speaker at the bottom for sound, its quality isn’t the best as it can sound a bit tinny at higher volumes. You can boost the speaker’s audio to 200%, though we only recommend doing it if you want to show a quick video to some people in a loud room as an external audio device would be way better for binge-watching.

Thankfully, the vivo Y36 packs a 3.5mm headphone jack — always a welcome addition if you ask us. After all, while Bluetooth speakers/headphones are convenient, there will be times when you forget to charge them.

Gaming Prowess

Powering the vivo Y36 is a Snapdragon 680 processor. This mobile platform is something that we’re quite familiar with as it has powered plenty of midrange phones throughout the years. Given this, we expected the vivo Y36 to perform well for today’s popular games, and its performance was within our expectations.

For starters, MOBAs like Mobile Legends and League of Legends: Wild Rift can run on the Medium to High graphics settings on the aforementioned games. On Wild Rift specifically, you can run the game at the Medium settings at 60FPS, or you can push the graphics to high but need to put the framerate to 30 or 40.

Even if you’re only playing MOBAs, we recommend activating Multi-Turbo as you can make sure to get the best performance possible out of your phone, not to mention that you can also turn off notifications while playing. Though take note that Multi-Turbo doesn’t seem to be supported on all games as we couldn’t get the sidebar to show up on Wild Rift. But it did work without any issues on Mobile Legends and Call of Duty Mobile.

Speaking of Call of Duty Mobile, the popular shooter also runs fairly well at the High graphics settings and at the Medium frame rate. As with Wild Rift though, you can run it at a higher frame rate, but you’ll have to drop the graphics to medium.

Of course, you might not be able to run the most demanding titles well like Genshin Impact, but for your esports titles and casual gaming needs, the vivo Y36 should be a good partner.

Geek Photoshoot Capabilities

Next, we have the Y36’s cameras. At the back, this new mid-range phone has a 50MP main camera that’s complemented by a 2MP shooter. At the front meanwhile is a 16MP selfie camera.

Interestingly, vivo hasn’t noted what exactly the 2MP shooter is, but we believe that it’s a depth sensor. This is because the phone’s camera app does not have a macro shooting mode. What’s also missing is an ultrawide camera, though at least the phone’s 50MP main shooter doesn’t disappoint.

Firstly, above are shots taken by the 50MP main camera in overcast and indoor conditions. As you can see, the photos have a good amount of detail and fairly realistic colors that aren’t too artificially vibrant. So, you can rely on the Y36 to be a capable smartphone for snapping landscape and indoor shots (provided you have a good amount of light indoors).

At night, the phone can capture pretty good photos with good quality and detail, at least when using the Night Mode. In fact, we recommend using the Night Mode when shooting in low light to get the best results. Though in this mode, expect to see shots that have their vibrancy turned up a notch compared to the more realistic colors when shooting in the day with the auto mode.

For selfies, the vivo Y36 should be fine for most users as images taken with this camera should be good enough for you social media share. Though as always, a good amount of light and the right angle (so that you are within the camera’s focus sweet spot) will give you the best results.

Everyday Reliability

In our experience, phones that are powered by a Snapdragon 680 are also fairly reliable for everyday use. The Y36 is no exception as we found it to be a capable phone that can handle day-to-day use without breaking a sweat. So, if you need a device that can handle emails, social media, office apps, and online meetings, the vivo Y36 is a nice option that won’t disappoint.

As with all other vivo phones, the Y36 runs on Funtouch OS, and this version is based on Android 13. In terms of usability, this version of Funtouch OS isn’t difficult to use, and anyone who has used an Android phone will feel right at home here. Though do take note that out-of-the-box, the phone has a lot of pre-isntalled apps and games, not to mention a bunch of notifications. For a cleaner experience, you’ll want to uninstall the apps and turn off notifications you won’t need.  Thankfully, these apps and the notifications don’t really slow the phone down, so deleting/turning them off should be straightforward.

Another important thing when it comes to usability is battery life, and this regard, the vivo Y36 is excellent. Even if you use it heavily with hours of gaming, the Y36 should last for a day of use with ease. And if your usage is a bit lighter, the phone an even last to the next day. Though as always, usage varies widely among users.

If you do need to charge the phone has a 44W fast charger — much faster than some phones in its price range. Thanks to this, you can get to 30% charge in just 15 minutes. This is great to have for those who tend to forget to charge their phones the night before, or during the times when a quick top-up is needed.

vivo Y36 Review – Final Geek Lifestyle Verdict

The vivo Y36 is a compelling mid-range device thanks to its combination of good performance, great looks, and excellent battery life. It also helps that the main camera is capable taking good photos in daytime and at low light with the Night Mode.

While we would’ve liked an ultrawide camera along with less pre-installed apps for a smoother experience out-of-the-box, the Y36 still has enough features that make it well worth considering for users who want mid-range upgrade without breaking the bank.

vivo Y36 Specs:

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 680 Processor
  • Adreno 610 GPU
  • 8GB RAM
  • 6.64-inch FHD+ IPS LCD display, 90Hz refresh rate
  • 256GB storage (expandable via microSD)
  • 50MP f/1.8 main + 2MP rear camera setup
  • 16MP f/2.5 front camera
  • 3G, LTE, Dual SIM
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, fingerprint scanner (side-mounted), USB Type-C
  • 5000mAh battery with 44W fast charge (30% in 15 minutes)
  • Meteor Black, Glitter Aqua colors
  • Android 13 with Funtouch 13
  • Price: PHP 12,999