vivo Y16: Decent budget smartphone with aesthetics on point for students

With face-to-face classes resuming, isn’t it about time to give the young ones some means to communicate with parents and guardians in case of emergencies? If you’re looking for a device that can live long enough without kids saying “na-lowbatt ako” then the vivo Y16 may be one of your best bets. With 5,000mAh battery that can survive up to a whole day, big 128GB/64GB ROM and 4GB + 1GB extended RAM, and attractive design at only around Php 8,000, this smartphone can help users stay connected to other people without breaking the bank.

I personally believe it’s a good starter for kids and teens, but it’s also something to consider for anyone who just wants a decent smartphone at an affordable price. Not sure if it’s something for you? Here’s a closer look at the unit after a month of usage for you to check if it fits your lifestyle:


The vivo Y16 unit comes in a plain white vivo box with a holographic vivo logo on top and the smartphone’s main features printed at the back. Inside, you’ll find the unit which comes with a pre-installed protective film, documentations — a warranty card and user manual, a USB Type-C, a USB power adapter, and SIM eject tool.

For its price, I already expected to see less accessories inside but I sure wish vivo tossed in a jelly case to help preserve the gorgeous back design of the vivo Y16. I got the Drizzling Gold color which gives off a premium vibe despite being a budget device.


I got the Drizzling Gold color which gives off a trendy glittery effect, fully masking the plastic build of the vivo Y16. When light touches the back cover of the device, users will be in for a little lights show reminiscent of Northern Lights (but in yellow and orange shades only). A small vivo logo sits almost unnoticeable at the lower left corner of the device, too. At first glance, this smartphone doesn’t even look like something below the Php 10,000 mark!

Even with the absence of a jelly case, using the vivo Y16 was a breeze because the back cover isn’t a fingerprint magnet. It also doesn’t feel sticky even after long hours of use, considering that I also hold my phone while walking instead of putting it in my pocket or bag.

The vivo Y16 is made out of a 2.5D composite Material — PMMA and PC, and has a glass-like texture. These enables full protection of the vivo Y16 against daily wear and color fading. It’s only 8.19mm thick and weighs only 183g, providing a comfortable grip even for people with small hands like me. The two circular camera module design, however, looks very similar with other smartphones in the Y series, but we’ll get into the details of how it performs later on.

On the right side of the vivo Y16, you’ll find the volume rocker and fingerprint scanner which doubles as a power button. On the other hand, there’s nothing on the left side because the SIM tray is located on top of the device. At the bottom part, you’ll find the usual things — headphone jack, microphone, USB-C port, and speaker grilles.

In front, you’ll get to enjoy a 6.51-inch HD+IPS panel with a small dewdrop notch and reasonably sized bezels (lower part still thicker than the rest as usual). This panel is good enough to deliver bright visuals despite the 60hz refresh rate and it’s decent for watching videos, viewing files, and even light gaming. Just not under direct sunlight!


The vivo Y16 has dual rear cameras — a 13MP main camera and a 2MP depth sensor. I’ve been using this to capture photos for the past month and it was able to take quality photos of still subjects. It needs a bit of improvement when it comes to moving subjects (e.g. animals, vehicles), but overall details are decent even under low light. The key to clear photos when using this smartphone is really steady hands and strong light sources.

There isn’t any Night Mode feature in the vivo Y16 and I’ve noticed that the output becomes grainy as the surroundings become darker, but it takes really great sunset photos:

Other camera modes available on the vivo Y16 are Pro Mode, Documents, Time-lapse, Live Photo, Panoramic, Portrait, Beauty, and Posture. Posture suggests poses for different themes — travel, sports, stylish, downtown, friends, couple, casual, and selfie. An outline shows up on screen so the person taking the photo would know where to position the subject. It’s a handy feature for people who need guidance in mobile photography.

Of course, the 5MP selfie shooter has its own tricks up its sleeves: There’s Portrait, Normal Mode, Bokeh, and Beauty Modes that users can play with to make their photo look “better” according to their own standards. Aura Screen Light automatically lights up as well once the vivo Y16 detects that you’re in a poorly lit location.

Videos, on the other hand, can be taken in 720p or 1080p. No auto-stabilize features available but output is okay as long as there’s ample lighting. Samples are included in our YouTube video above.


With a “Memory is Priceless” tag line, it’s a given that the vivo Y16 has a huge storage space. Given its price point, 4GB + 32GB/ 128GB of memory that is expandable up to 1TB is already big! That’s enough to keep your day-to-day files for school or work, create a memory bank with photos and videos, save audio recordings of things that matter most, and save up a lot of apps that you may need to face the day. As a content creator, I find this feature very useful because I often take up to almost a hundred photos of something just to find one best shot that makes it to my blog or social media page. I don’t delete what I don’t like though, especially if it contains bloopers from the actual photo shoot. It’s fun to remember events that way!

It’s also worth noting that this smartphone is powered by a Helio P35 processor which is quite outdated already, but works just as fine if you’re not an impatient person. It also has FunTouchOS 12 based on Android 12 to help balance out the sluggishness.

While the vivo Y16 isn’t a gaming smartphone, it’s capable of running apps like Pokemon Unite, Tower of Fantasy, and Mobile Legends. Just expect some lags and frame drops. I would suggest that you stick to light and hyper-casual games when using this device, though. Think Unblock, Color Switch, 2048, or Wordscapes.


Aside from the memory, the battery is also big for a budget smartphone. 5,000mAh is enough for a full-day use (around 15-16 hours) of social media apps, productivity apps, camera, a couple of calls, and sending SMS. Think 22 hours of music playback, 18 hours of non-stop online HD video streaming or 7 hours of intensive gameplay. I keep my mobile data on but it’s not an issue as I can always activate Battery Saver if I need to conserve its juice. Another thing that makes the vivo Y16 special is its 5W reverse charging capability so you can share the juice with your other devices.

The vivo Y16 has a USB Type-C port for charging, but note that charging speed is limited to 10W. Not a problem especially when you’re like me who leaves their phone plugged in overnight in preparation for the next work day.


Colors: Drizzling Gold and Stellar Black

Overall, I’m happy that I was able to survive one whole month without scratching the vivo Y16’s surface. It’s a testament to how it’s more than just a pretty addition to one’s aesthetics. It’s durable and serves it purpose well! Good for students on a budget, people who just need smartphones for typical day-to-day tasks, and those who prefer taking photos over gaming as this isn’t really meant to be a gaming smartphone. It may not be the best in class but the vivo Y16 is definitely one of the performers in the bunch and can probably be dubbed as the class muse with its dazzling appearance.


Both the Drizzling Gold and Stellar Black colors of the vivo Y16 are available at official vivo online stores and kiosks nationwide for Php 8,499 (4+128GB variant) and Php 7,999 (4+32GB variant).

I bet you can also get it at a lower price during double-digit sale days and pay day sales on e-commerce platforms, so take note of vouchers on each site!

For updates on our latest discoveries within (and outside) the Metro, don’t forget to follow Manila Millennial on FacebookYouTube, or Instagram. Keep safe, everyone!

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