We love our high-end premium smartphones, but we also have a soft spot for handsets that offer lots of value for a lower price. The Vivo Y53 — a smaller follow-up to last year’s Y55 — is one such gadget, and it’s priced just right.

Here’s how the front looks

Bezels are quite thick, but navigation buttons make use of the lower chin

This is the back

It’s made of solid plastic that isn’t slippery or bendable

And here are the micro-USB port and speaker underneath

Not the newer and increasingly popular USB Type-C, though

The 5-inch body with its smooth edges fits well in our hands

A nice change from all the oversized phones coming out

We just wish the screen were sharper and brighter

A 960 x 540-pixel resolution doesn’t cut it anymore

But what it has is a triple-card slot

You can fit two 4G LTE nano-SIMs and a microSD card simultaneously — good luck finding that in pricier phones!

Does it actually perform well?

This being an entry-level device, we weren’t blown away by the performance. Still, its Snapdragon 425 processor handles web browsing and light gaming well enough. You just have to lower graphics settings to their minimum to make games like NBA 2K17 and Asphalt 8 playable.

Our only gripes are the measly 2GB of memory and 16GB of built-in storage. The former limits the number of active apps you can have at once, making you restart previously used ones even after just a few minutes; the latter greatly hinders how many apps you can install. In our case, just installing NBA 2K17 and retaining all the preinstalled apps left us with only 6GB of space to spare.

Can it take great pictures?

Vivo takes phone photography seriously, even when it comes to its lower-end phones. Here a few samples we took to challenge the Y53:

As you can tell, low-light situations aren’t a strong suit, but that’s to be expected of an 8-megapixel camera with no assistance other than a simple LED flash. Daylight photos are far more pleasant, and don’t require steady hands to prevent blur. Selfies are hit or miss with the 5-megapixel front camera; we noticed lots of oversharpening on our faces whenever lighting became an issue.

Does it last longer than a day?

The great thing about having a low-powered processor and low-resolution display resolution is improved battery life. With the 2500mAh battery, we were generally happy with the Y53’s endurance, although it was barely enough to get past more than a day of typical usage, consisting of light gaming, a decent amount of messaging, and lots of web browsing.

If Vivo somehow manages to bring Android 7.0 Nougat to this phone (it’s currently stuck with 6.0 Marshmallow), we can expect greater battery life. Chances are slim, however, since even the newer, pricier Vivo models are launching with Marshmallow baked in.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

The Y53 is designed for the truly budget-conscious in mind. It basically gives you the essentials, such as dual-SIM LTE connectivity and a decent pair of cameras, in a price that should satisfy most consumers. Techies like us also appreciate the use of a Snapdragon processor instead of a chipset from less reliable manufacturers.

But while the Y53 may be one of the most affordable choices in Vivo’s catalog at PhP 6,990 ($140), it’s not necessarily the best bang for your buck. Spending a little more can net you the much more capable V5 Lite (PhP 9,990), which has a larger and sharper display, bigger battery, more integrated memory and storage, plus higher-quality cameras on both ends.

ASUS also recently launched the ZenFone Live with a similar price of PhP 6,995. Compared to the Y53, this phone has a more pixel-packed screen and more megapixels in its main camera, at the expense of a slightly slower processor and no triple-card slot.

If you’re willing to look into the gray market, the Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime is another excellent choice at PhP 8,700. It comes with a fast fingerprint scanner, generous battery capacity, and Full HD resolution for its front panel.

SEE ALSO: Vivo V5 Plus camera hands-on: Another perfect selfie?

SEE ALSO
Vivo V5 Plus camera hands-on: Another perfect selfie?

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