The vivo Y52 5G is everything you could want in a smartphone at the ultra-low price of $379 – support for all Australian 4/5G bands, 48MP tri-camera, 4/128GB, 5000mAh fast charge, 6.58″ screen, NFC, Wi-Fi AC, 3.5mm jack and microSD.
And that is all you need to pay to get one of the better 5G Android 11 handsets under $400. Let’s back up a little. Today’s overwhelming trend is an outright purchase of an affordable handset (remember, you can buy three of these for the cheapest iPhone 13). Then cherry-pick from the cheapest 4G Sim plans. Although there are no cheap 5G Plans at present, we expect more MVNOs (mobile resellers) to offer 5G, but there will not be any $10-20 plans.
Telstra: $65/80GB, $85/120GB, $115/180GB
Optus $45/20GB, 55/80GB, 65/200GB, $85/240GB and $115/500GB
Vodafone – plans are tied to a handset purchase, but due to a minimal 5G coverage, you are better looking at the other providers
Spintel (Optus network and same pricing) $50/80GB, $65/200GB
Aussie Broadband (Optus network and same pricing) $45/20GB, $55/80GB, $65/200GB, $85/240GB
Spoiler alert: While there are cheaper 5G handsets, you would be hard-pressed to find better value and features.
JB Hi-Fi, Good Guys, Harvey Norman, Officeworks and Big W
2-years ACL from approved retailers
Country of Origin
vivo is part of what is arguably the world’s largest smartphone company – BBK. Along with its siblings (with quite a lot of rivalry), including OPPO, realme, OnePlus, iQOO – they make more phones than Samsung and Apple.
We issue a strong warning that you must buy a genuine model with Australian firmware.
It is easy to identify the Australian version – under About Phone, Legal Information, Regulatory compliance, you will see the Australian RCM C-tick mark – nothing else.
They use unique Australian 5G sub-6Ghz and 5G low-band frequencies and require local activation first. That means a grey market phone likely won’t be able to use 5G here. Also, you will not get local warranty, over the air OS and security updates, nor make a 000-emergency call without a sim.
We have named and shamed the prominent grey marketers here. If you are going to spend this much money, get a genuine ‘Made for Australia’ model.
First impression – more than you expect
The rear panel and the 2.5D glass fit to the frame shows craftsmanship. Other than that, it has a fairly bland fingerprint magnet, graphite black back with a fingerprint sensor on the power button, a 3.5mm port and USB-C 18W charging.
Camera-wise, there is a 48+2+2MP setup typical of vivo, OPPO, and realme (all owned by BBK) with just enough AI to produce far better than social media quality photos.
Screen – colourful
6.58”, 2408×1080, 401ppi, 60Hz, 20:9, 16.7m, IPS with a top teardrop selfie
It is a vivid screen with standard, professional, bright and colour temperature adjustment. We don’t test gamut and contrast for lower-cost devices but suffice to say, it is excellent for the price.
Vivo claim 96% NTSC, which is well over 100% sRGB and close to the DCI-P3 colour gamut – if correct, that accounts for the vivid colours. It will play Netflix FHD SDR content.
Mali-G57 MC2 955Mhz Test: Compute Open CL: 1293 and Vulkan 1452
Not really, although vivo has games enhancement modes
128GB UFS 2.1 (101GB free) Mbps sequential read/write 766/227MBps Hybrid slot microSD card 41.3/13.6 (write speeds vary from 5-20MBps) Its USB-C 2.0, so expect external speeds or <30MBps
Geek Bench 5
Single/Multi-core 566/1758 Overall it performs slightly above a Qualcomm SD720 or 732G
Throttle 15-min test
Max: 167,734 GIPS, Average: 155,657 – 13% loss over 15 minutes CPU temp reached 50°
The MediaTek Dimensity 700 is a 7nm chip, so it runs quite cool and is energy efficient. It is a very popular chip used in Motorola g50, realme 8/V3, vivo V21/Y72, Samsung A22, OPPO A53s/55 and dozens of other phones. Raw power is 7% faster than a Qualcomm SD732G, but its AI power is about 20% lower.
Throttling is a given in any lower-cost device, and this is within a typical range. Overall, a suitable chip for the price.
USB-C 2.0 480Mbps/65MBps half-duplex achieving a maximum of about 30MBps
Combo accelerometer/gyro, e-Compass, Proximity, ambient light. This is about the minimum sensor array and will not detect step (pedometer) or have games sensitivity.
It is similar to all phones in this bracket.
LTE and 5G – Its a city phone
Hybrid Dual sim either 5G or 4G or both (if using 5G, it is always active) or use one as microSD to 1TB
VoLTE – carrier dependent – generally yes Wi-Fi calling – same
38.4/22.1Mbps 31ms (above average)
B1/2/3/4/5/7/8/18/19/20/26/28/38/39/40/41 Supports all Australian 4G bands and many international ones
n1/n3/n7/n8/n28/n40/n41/n78 Supports all 5G sub-6GHz and low-band
-Using a Boost Mobile (Telstra retail network) sim at 1km line-of-sight from Telstra tower. Expressed as -dBm (lower is better) and Femtowatts (fW) or picowatts (pW) where higher is better. Tower (nearest to furthest) 1: -85dBm/ varies from 2.5-5pW – quite strong 2: No 3: No 4: No
I am beginning to see a pattern with MediaTek Dimenmsity 700 5G chips – that is, they don’t have the signal strength for anything outside the city or suburbs. If you need a phone for regional or rural use, it will cost more.
And we repeat that 5G Plans cost substantially more than 4G which is all you need.
Battery – Two to three days
5V/2A and 9V/2A 0-100% – 1 hour, 45 minutes Using a USB-C PD charger makes no difference in charge speed.
100% load Battery drain screen on – 6 hours 16 minutes Video Loop 50% brightness local storage: 22 hours Netflix 50% brightness, Wi-FI: 16 hours PC Mark 3 Battery Test: 25hr and 56 minutes GFX Bench Manhattan 3.1: 675.3 minutes, 11.26 hours, 1195 frames GFX Bench T-Rex: 638.6 min 10.64 hours 2812 frames
This is by far one of the best 5000mAh battery results. Screen-on time at 100% load of over 6 hours relates to 2-3 days of typical use, as does the PC Mark 3 battery test of 25.5 hours. Recharge times are fair for the battery size.
Sound – mono
Mono earpiece and down-firing speaker. It is not fair to measure the sound signature of a mono speaker system. The primary use is for clear voice. It is not for music or movies with no bass or mid before 1000Hz and no treble after 10kHz. There is no sound stage.
Codecs SBC and AAC (missing aptX, aptX HD, aptX Adaptive, aptX TWS+, LDAC Sony Hi-Res)
Two – top, bottom for effective noise cancellation
Tests dB Anything over 80dB is excellent
Media – 75 Ring – 71 Alarm – 76 Handsfree – 72
The BT 5.1 drove our reference Sony WH-1000xM4 in SBC and AAC modes and provides clear sound and adequate volume.
This is a typical mono setup you find in this price bracket. It is flat from 1kHz to 8kHz for clear voice.
Vivo claims it is a superlinear speaker – that’s marketing hype – mono is mono, and these micro speakers can’t produce bass. But there is an audio booster button that can max out the volume, albeit with noticeable distortion.
There is no EQ, but you can customise sounds for your specific age group.
Build – well-made
163.95×75.30×8.50mm x 193g
Glass: toughened Frame: Plastic Back: Acrylic Silver ion plating technique brings more depth to the classic black. The grain texture glistens under the light presenting a lustrous finish, like the night sky
In the box
Bumper cover 18W W charger USB-A to USB-C cable Earbuds/mic
Apart from being a fingerprint magnet, it is very well made. It is quite thin at 8.5mm and easy to hold.
Android 11 – PASS+
Google Android 11 Security patch date 1/9/2021 (review 22/10)
Funtouch 11.1 Funtouch supplies vivo alternatives to Google apps. It’s a relatively light touch over Android 11.
All standard apps, Google Lens and Assistant.
Mostly productivity and utilities. But it has bloatware like Netflix, Booking.com and Facebook that you can uninstall.
Assume one OS update and three years of regular security patches
Fingerprint sensor on the power button – reliable vivo complies with Australian privacy provisions and only collects telemetry needed for the phone function. It cannot be responsible for third-party apps.
At $379, you can’t expect OS upgrades but three years of regular security patches is reassuring.
Absolutely nothing for the price. There is no point wishing for Qi charging, stereo speakers, AMOLED etc., as that is about double the price.
Camera – very good photos for the price
Given worldwide image sensor shortages, the device can use a range of similar specified sensors from different brands. For example, it supports the Samsung 48MP SKGM1 sensor or the Omnivision OV48B – we know what both can do, and there is not much between them. Similarly, the selfie can be a Hynix HI846 or an OmniVision OV885. It’s a fact of life with COVID–induced component shortages.
But given the lower AI computational power of the processor, you need to be a little more careful with low light.
Primary 48mp bins to 12MP
PDAF and eye-tracking
Pixel size um
.8um binned to 1.6um
FOV° and (cropped)
HDR, Photo, Portrait (basic), Night, Video, 48 MP, Pano, Live Photo, Slow-Mo, Time-Lapse, Pro, AR Stickers, DOC
HDR, Super night selfie, filters
Indoors Office Light (400 lumens)
Low light (room with less than 40 lumens)
The 8MP selfie is average and has all the usual vivo filters. You can also select mirrored selfies.
It shoots at 1080p@60 or 30fps and uses EIS for steady shooting. It is pretty good although we noticed the sound recording was a little variable.
I like it – good job, vivo. I joked earlier that you could get three of these for an iPhone 13 mini, and it is time that readers realised that phones have a 3-year life (more because of software update limitations), and after that, even the iPhone 13 mini won’t be worth much.
While I use a flagship phone, plenty at even half the price meet my needs – a good camera, battery life, and strong signal reception.
So for $379, this exceeds all expectations. Add a 2-year warranty and good local support, and it’s a winner.