Vivo Y21T Review: A Budget Gaming Phone Challenger

Vivo Y21T Philippines

Last week, Vivo Philippines sent me one of their newest smartphone offerings called the Vivo Y21T! It is an entry level smartphone aimed at mobile gamers. This was released in the Philippines just last February of this year. The phone's highlights are its Snapdragon 680 processor paired with 4GB+1GB extended RAM, built-in Ultra Game Mode, its 50MP triple rear camera and of course its high-capacity 5000mAh battery. 

WHAT'S IN THE BOX?

The Vivo Y21T comes is a white box with the phone's brand and official model name. The boxing is pretty straightforward with no photo of the phone itself to be seen anywhere on the cover. At the back are the usual key specs and features of the device for buyers to have a quick look at when planning to purchase one. 

Lifting the outer box reveals us the content inside. First to be seen is the in-box compartment greeting us which holds the silicon case, SIM tool ejector, and user guide and warranty card. Taking this mini box out, the Vivo Y21T device shows itself. There are two color variants available for users to choose from, Midnight Black and Pearl White. As you can see, I got the Pearl While model. While this color option looks really nice and premium, I would prefer more the Midnight Blue variant if I were to buy one. Because that's just me, I like darker colors on my gadgets with little to no glossy and sparkling effects. 

Vivo Y21T Philippines

Right underneath the device in the box are the rest of the accessories. When I say the rest, I mean the wall charger and the USB Type-C charging cable. As usual there are no earphones included, which is fine. 

DESIGN

Vivo Y21T Review

One of things I noticed about this device upon taking it out of the box is its weight. It's extremely lightweight. The Y21T is a huge device where its screen measures 6.5-inch right off the bat. It may look heavy but it actually isn't, thanks to its polycarbonate material. At times it feels plasticky in the hand but not too much, it still feels and and looks more premium that it actually is. 

The finish on the back it a treat to the eye. The Pearl White colorway is nice to look at, most especially how its color slightly changes depending on the angle and amount of light hitting its surface. Being a glossy surface, it sure does easily attracts fingerprints and smudges. On the front, the bezels are a bit thicker to my liking, but they become less noticeable to barely even there when I switch the device to Dark Mode. 

Vivo Y21T Review

As for its ports and slots, the Vivo Y21T still got it all. There is still the 3.5mm audiojack port at the bottom of the device together with the USB Type-C port, microphone and speakers. At the top is where the triple SIM+microSD card slot is located. It's a good thing to know that this phone still has those slots for the SIM cards and a dedicated one for the microSD card (up to 256GB). Being a mobile gamer, data connectivity is a must all the time. So having two SIM card slots available means players can switch network provider when the need arises to keep the game connected. There is no 5G support though which is very much expected for this type of Vivo phone, but both slots can accommodate 4G LTE connectivity, and that is more than enough. 

Vivo Y21T Review

On the right side of the Y21T are the volume rocker and the power/lock key that also doubles as a fingerprint sensor. Just like any other fingerprint reader-equipped devices, you can set up multiple prints on this phone. It is not one of the fastest fingerprint readers I have tried but it's reliable and works all the time. Also, the phone supports Face Recognition in addition or in place of the fingerprint reader to unlock the it. Nothing is situated at the left side of the device, where we can normally find the volume rocker. Perhaps that's intended so that when users play games in landscape more, nothing is there to distract them. 

 DISPLAY AND SOUND QUALITY

Vivo Y21T Review

As mentioned already, the Vivo Y21T sports a huge 6.51-inch display with a water drop-like cutout holding the front camera. It is important to note that this device only offers HD+ IPS LCD Display, for some that's good enough and for others, it's not. It's good because the display will require less power resources from the processor and GPU. This makes those components to re-allocate their resources to something else which will help the device improve its overall performance even better. It is bad, (having an HD+ resolution) because for gamers, the better the screen quality is, the better the gaming experience will be. Personally, for its asking price, that's a bit of a downer. 

Don't get we wrong though, the 720p resolution on this device is not really that bad. Simple browsing of social media sites or consuming digital contents like watching videos, the experience is quite good. Pixels on images are barely noticeable and color reproductions are quite good. But when I play games like Genshin Impact or League of Legends, I can actually see some pixels on the edges of objects and characters. It's only very minimal and can easily be forgotten as I play into the game, but you can see it when you look at it. If this device had a 1080p resolution, it would have been a lot more attractive than it is now. 

Additionally, I kind of find it hard to use the device when outside during the day. The screen brightness is a bit weak even when in full brightness. It's all good when being used indoor. Screen and interface are very responsive and color reproduction are quite nice and vibrant. 

Whether its gaming or watching our favorite series or movies on a mobile phone, audio quality is definitely one of the things that adds up to the overall experience. And I am happy to report that the Y21T has a good audio system. It may not be the best in its price range, but definitely one of the good ones out there.  The Vivo Y21T is able to produce a very good sound quality. As I play games using the phone, dialogs and sound effects are clearly heard without any noticeable distortion even when it's nearly at full volume. Of course the listening and gaming experience on this device is so much better when using a pair of earphones or earbuds. 

PERFORMANCE AND SOFTWARE

Vivo Y21T Review

Right out of the box, the Vivo Y21T runs on Android 11 with Funtouch OS 12 on top. There is nothing much to say about its software apart from it is responsive and efficient. Since having this device and started using it, the overall experience with its software has been noting but smooth. It may not be fast enough to my liking but it's all working fine and I have never experienced any lag or crash. It is also worth noting that the device or the interface does not slow down even when I had multiple apps running in the background including social media apps and some gaming apps. 

Vivo did a good job in optimizing this smartphone, and also thanks to that 4GB+1GB extended RAM feature, this makes the navigation experience on the device even better. So whether just browsing or streaming a video off the internet or playing mobile games, lag and non-responsive issues is the last thing you will worry about this phone. And oh, thermal management is also very good on this one. Never experienced any heating issue even when playing heavy games or doing heavy stuff with the phone. 

One of the things I look for a smartphone these days is the Dark Mode feature and I am glad to learn that this Y21T comes pre-installed with this feature. It makes the interface a lot more pleasing and the display more friendly to my eyes. Speaking of eyes, this device also has Eye Protection feature that can be enabled in the Settings. Adaptive Brightness is also present on this device. There is no 90Hz refresh rate on this phone, so if you are switching from a device that has one, you will definitely see the difference especially when using the Y21T for the first time. 

Not only that the Vivo Y21T is a beautiful and premium-looking smartphone, performance-wise, the Y21T definitely delivers. 

CAMERA

Vivo Y21T Review

While the Vivo Y21T is marketed as a gaming phone, it still packs a triple rear camera system where the main snapper is pegged at 50MP. The secondary and tertiary shooters are with 2MP depth and macro sensors. Sadly, there is no ultrawide lens on this device. 

In the camera users can find features like Night, Portrait, Live Photo, Pano, Slo-Mo, and Timelapse modes. It also has a Pro mode where they can adjust Autofocus, White Balance, ISO, EV and others. In addition to those mentioned, there is also a dedicated 50MP mode allowing users to maximize the phone's main camera lens to its potential. 

As for recording videos, users can select between 720p and 1080p video quality. Surprisingly, there is a 60fps mode option available in addition to the regular 60fps. If you are looking for a 4K recording, unfortunately, there is none. The 8MP front camera can record in 720p and 1080p video resolution and up to 60fps frame rates. Beauty Mode and Filters are also available to add flares to selfies before sharing to respective social media accounts. 

Using the phone's camera, I took a few shots while I was out. Check them out below. 

vivo y21t photo samples

vivo y21t photo samples

vivo y21t photo samples

vivo y21t photo samples


vivo y21t photo samples

vivo y21t photo samples

vivo y21t photo samples

vivo y21t photo samples

The photo quality on the Vivo Y21T is actually good, not spectacular but good enough for social media sharing. The lenses are able to capture true colors of the subjects most of the time especially when there is good lighting around. One can't expect too much from an 8MP selfie camera, but Y21T's front camera is still able to capture good photos when there's enough lighting. 

The camera performance on the Vivo Y21T is not disappointing most especially with the rear shooters, it's a gaming phone after all.  

BATTERY PERFORMANCE

The Y21T packs a huge battery with 5000mAh capacity. Even for heavy gamers, that's for sure more than a full day of battery life. And depending on your usage, this can easily last until the second day before you will need to charge it again. Based on my personal experience, the battery really lasts longer than anticipated. I don't play game a lot, I mostly use a smartphone for browsing social media sites including Tiktok and YouTube and some series and movie watching on Netflix and on a single charge, the Y21T lasted me close to two days before the battery is depleted. 

How about recharging the phone? This device comes with an 18W Fast Charger, and from zero to 100% it took me close to two hours to fully charge. Not really bad for its huge battery pack. 

GAMEPLAY EXPERIENCE

Vivo Y21T Review

Now let's head to the main selling point of the Vivo Y21T. Being marketed as a gaming smartphone, it makes no sense without testing the device for some mobile gaming. Just a little bit of disclosure, though. I don't play games on smartphones a lot, I would say I am just a casual gamer. In fact I am more of a camera phone than a gaming phone guy. So my observation here will be from someone who plays mobile games from time to time. 

When it comes to mobile games, Temple Run is one of my favorites, it is always present on every phone that I review and own. Of course I did not test the Y21T with that endless running game, haha. Just wanted to mention that. So what games I tried playing on this device? Well, I downloaded Genshin Impact, League of Legends: Wild Rift, and Asphalt 9. All heavy and demanding games both in terms of graphics and resources. Among the three, Genshin Impact is what I played the most in terms of time spent, I just like the game that much, second to Temple Run, lol. 

So what makes the Vivo Y21T a gaming smartphone? In addition to the powerful Snapdragon 680 octa-core processor and a great thermal management on the device, the Y21T is also equipped with Vivo's very own Ultra Game Mode. This mode enables players to focus more and get more immersed in their game while blocking or minimizing distraction such as pop-up notifications on the screen o incoming calls. 

Vivo Y21T Review

To access the Ultra Game Mode menu, you can just swipe from the left side of the screen once you have launched the game that you are to play. You can also access this feature in the Settings to customize functions. The Ultra Game Mode menu gives you access to activate Background Calls, Mute Notifications, Reject Calls, Lock Brightness, and other options enabling you to turn them on and off on the fly. Also, in here you can switch between Battery Saver Mode, Balanced Mode, and Performance Mode. When selected each mode gives you how much CPU and GPU power are used during gameplay. 

With those being said, I am happy to report that the Vivo Y21T is able to deliver its promise in terms of gaming experience. All throughout the gaming sessions I had with the device, I don't recall experiencing any lags in the gameplay and responses. All gameplays just continued to unfold without any delay or issues. And having all pop-up and call notifications being blocked, I just played my games uninterrupted and undistracted, which is something I really want whenever I have my moment playing my favorite game to relax or to just kill time. 

Vivo Y21T Review

Vivo Y21T Specs:

  • 6.5-inch HD+ IPS LCD display
  • 1600 x 720 resolution
  • 2.4GHz Octa-core Snapdragon 680 processor
  • Adreno 610 GPU
  • 4GB RAM (+1 extended RAM)
  • 128GB internal storage
  • MicroSD card support up to 256GB (dedicated)
  • 50MP + 2MP + 2MP triple rear camera with depth, and macro lenses
  • 8MP front camera
  • Android 11 with Funtouch OS 12
  • WiFi, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS
  • Dual SIM
  • 4G LTE
  • Side-mounted Fingerprint sensor
  • USB Type-C
  • 3.5mm audiojack
  • FM Radio
  • Pearl White, Midnight Blue
  • 18W Fast Charge
  • 5000mAh battery
  • Php10,999
Vivo Y21T Review

FINAL VERDICT

Overall, the Vivo Y21T is a pretty capable and premium-looking smartphone that's out in the market today. Its gaming performance, design, and thermal management are its main strengths, there is no doubt about that. If someone were to ask me what's the best gaming smartphone to get these days, my recommendation list would definitely include this Y21T. The only hesitation I would have is I think its Php10,999 asking price is a bit stiff most especially because the device only comes with a 720P display and a waterdrop notch design. If it had a 1080P resolution and perhaps a punch-hole camera cutout with a slightly better photo qualities, this would have been a lot more attractive even for that SRP. 

The Vivo Y21T is now available in the Philippines for an SRP of Php10,999. 

COMMENTS

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DUGOMPINOY: Vivo Y21T Review: A Budget Gaming Phone Challenger
Vivo Y21T Review: A Budget Gaming Phone Challenger
Here is my review of the new Vivo Y21T gaming smartphone.
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