YU Televentures, the newly launched Indian electronics brand, which is partly owned by Micromax Mobile and Cyanogen Inc., released their brand new two smartphones – YU Yuphoria and YU Yureka in April-May 2015, at press events located in New Delhi and Mumbai. It was launched under the tagline – ‘Yu Play God’. Due to its widespread and unique features, and also being a budget phone, it got a good response and amounted for a huge amount of sales, after the registration of purchasing these phones opened soon after.
The Yu Yureka is a budget Android smartphone. It is essentially a Coolpad F2 4G with the YU branding and running Cyanogen OS 11. It is one of the cheapest dual-SIM 4G Android smartphones available in India right now, but at the same time has some pretty impressive specifications.
With a low price tag, good specifications and Cyanogen taking care of the software, the whole thing seems too good to be true. The Yureka comes in a simple cardboard box that is made out of recycled paper. Inside is the phone, battery, charger, USB cable, headset, and some paperwork.
The Yureka is a big phone thanks to the 5.5-inch display on the front. This means that it is not as easy to use with one hand as it should be and only recommended for those who are comfortable using a big phone. Along the sides, there is the power button on the right, the microUSB and microphone on the bottom, the volume buttons on the left and the headphone jack on top.
On the front of the phone is the display, with three capacitive touch keys below. The home button appears as a white circle but the back and menu buttons are hidden until the backlighting turns on. Just like on the OnePlus One, you can disable the physical buttons entirely and switch to on-screen navigation controls. When you do that, you get lose the rather outdated menu button and instead gain the much more useful multitasking key. On the back is the 13 megapixel camera lens near the top left with a single LED flash and the secondary microphone nearby. Near the bottom is the loudspeaker.
The design of the Yureka is quite ordinary, with nothing in particular that stands out. The build quality, however, is really unimpressive. The back cover creaks a lot around the sides and as a result the phone just feels cheaply made. In comparison, the Canvas A1 by Micromax or the Moto E are significantly better built devices. Also, remove the back cover and inside you will find the 2500mAh replaceable battery, two SIM card slots, and the microSD card slot.
The Yureka has a 5.5-inch, 1280×720 pixel resolution IPS LCD. The display quality is pretty good for a phone in this price range. It is sharp enough despite the relatively low pixel density and the colours are vibrant, with good viewing angles and outdoor visibility. The calibration is a bit off, resulting in overly cold colour temperature and slightly oversaturated colors but at this price, it is hard to complain about those things.
It is one of the few phones to run on the new 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 SoC. It is also Qualcomm’s first 8-core processor, with eight Cortex-A53 cores, four of which are clocked at 1.7GHz and the remaining four at 1.0GHz. The GPU is an Adreno 405. The Yureka also has 2GB of RAM, rare for phones in its price range, and 16GB internal memory with microSD card expansion.
In terms of performance, the Yureka does very well. Not that it matters, but the benchmark scores are good and roughly between those of Snapdragon 400 and 800 as you would expect. But it is the real world performance, that is important and the phone does well here as well. Launching apps, switching between them and scrolling performance is quite good. Gaming performance is excellent too, and all the major played games runs well on the phone.
A major chunk of the credit for the performance goes to the software. Yureka is running Cyanogen OS 11, which is based on Android 4.4.4 KitKat. On surface it looks practically identical to stock Android, provided you are using the Holo theme. But look closer and you will find a lot of additional features. Some of them are useful, others feel quite unnecessary. But if you like to adjust everything to your liking then you would not be left wanting for options here. The theme support would probably be a major draw for some people, although at the time of writing this there were not a lot of themes on the Cyanogen store for this phone.
Overall, the user experience on the Yureka is quite satisfactory and it is good to finally see such good performance in the low-end of the price spectrum. The Yureka is a dual SIM phone with 4G LTE support on one SIM and 2G on the other. It has support for the TD-LTE bands available in India. Along with that, you also get Wi-Fi 802.11n, Bluetooth 4.0, and GPS.
In daily use, the phone easily lasts for a day on a single charge, even with two SIM cards. This is with nominal use, with a few calls and mostly data usage for IM and other applications, on 3G as well as Wi-Fi. Screen on time of around four to five hours is standard, unless you are doing something really intensive on the phone, such as extended gaming sessions.
The Yureka is priced at Rs. 8999 on Amazon India. For the price, the phone is excellent value for money. You get a good quality display, great overall performance, decent overall camera quality, and good battery life. The hardware specifications are good and should last you for a couple of years atleast and the software, courtesy of Cyanogen, is also feature-rich and user friendly.
You are also getting good support for the device. On the hardware side, Micromax has promised on-site warranty in case anything goes wrong with the phone and on the software side, Cyanogen will be providing updates for the next two years. There are some issues with the device, such as the less than stellar build quality, poor loudspeaker performance, poor lowlight camera performance, and mediocre call quality. But at this price considering everything else, it is quite easy to overlook the shortcomings.
The Yu Yuphoria is an entry level smartphone, priced even lower than the Yu Yureka that came before it. Despite the entry level pricing, the Yuphoria does pack in a lot of features, including a metal body, 720p display, Snapdragon 410 processor, 2 GB RAM, and eight megapixel camera, not to mention Cyanogen OS 12 that comes out of the box. But all of that is on paper. Let us see how it is like in the real world.
The Yuphoria comes in a simple brown box that contains the phone, a charger rated at 5V/1.5A, a USB cable, the battery, screen protector, cleaning cloth, and a headset that looks remarkably similar to the Apple EarPods. The phone supports QuickCharge 1.0, although the charger does not exactly specify whether it supports the feature.
One of the major features of the Yuphoria is the metal body. The phone has a stainless steel frame around the sides but with a plastic back cover. The design of the phone looks remarkably similar to the Nokia Lumia 925 and to some extent, the Nokia Lumia 830. On the front of the phone, is the display under Corning Gorilla Glass 3. Above it is the front facing camera and earpiece. The Yuphoria does not have a notification LED. Also, unlike the Yureka, there are no physical navigation controls.
On the right side are the volume control buttons with the power button in the center. The buttons are located within reach, but it takes getting used to to the position of the power button and you have to run your thumb around a bit before location it without looking at it. On the top is the headphone jack and on the bottom is the microUSB port. On the back of the phone is the eight megapixel camera lens with an LED flash and near the bottom is the single loudspeaker. The back cover is removable and underneath is the 2230 mAh removable battery, two micro SIM card slots and one microSD card slot.
The build quality of the phone is shoddy at best. The metal feels smooth with a good texture, but that is pretty much the only good part. The back cover feels cheap and does not fit the phone properly, leaving gaps around the corners. It also does not lie flat on the back and is slightly raised, so you feel the edges around the sides. The plastic bits around the ports and the camera lens look exceptionally cheap and tacky. Even the glossy volume buttons look bad. The printed logo on the back also makes it look like a cheap knockoff rather than the original.
The Yuphoria has a 5.0-inch and 1280×720 resolution IPS panel. The image quality of the display is decent. It is reasonably sharp with good colors and viewing angles. There is, however, a slight red tint to the display. It runs on Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 MSM8916, with quad-core Cortex-A53 CPU clocked at 1.2GHz and Adreno 306 GPU. There is also 2GB of RAM and 16GB internal storage with microSD support. The phone does not support USB On-The-Go devices. On the connectivity side there is LTE, Wi-Fi 802.11n, Bluetooth 4.0, and GPS.
On the software side, the phone is running Cyanogen OS 12, which is based on Android 5.0 Lollipop. The OS looks very close to stock Android but has a ton of useful features, such as built-in optional Truecaller integration, double tap to wake and sleep, a screen recording app, and the ability to customize practically every aspect of the UI, among others. There is also a very effective theme engine pre-installed and with the Yuphoria, not only can you adjust the look of the entire OS, but also have individual look setup for each of the apps. I personally think the default theme that looks like stock Android Lollipop looks the best but your mileage may vary, which is pretty much why the theme support exists.
The UI performance on the Yuphoria is quite good. The OS has been optimized well for the hardware and despite the modest specifications of the Snapdragon 410, you are never really felt lacking for power, with smooth scrolling and quick launching and multitasking of apps. Even games run fine with minimal lag. The 2GB RAM definitely helps, and is a major advantage over similarly priced phones such as the Moto E 2nd Gen and the Xiaomi Redmi 2, both of which have 1GB RAM. More RAM allows running more apps in the background and more tabs in Chrome without slowing the phone down.
The multimedia performance was a mixed bag. The display is fine for watching videos and the loudspeaker is sufficiently loud. The phone also plays multiple formats and audio codecs like AC3 out of the box. The problem is with the headphone output, which is really bad. The audio sounds completely flat and almost turns monophonic as you increase the volume. And this is with proper high quality headphones and not the supplied earphones.
The Yuphoria has a 2230 mAh battery. It manages to last atleast 10-12 hours hours on a single charge, with about three to four hours of on screen time, but the other other phones in its price range definitely do better. As for the charging speed, the phone managed to go to about 25% from 1% in about 15 minutes, with the 50% mark coming in around 40 minutes mark and full charge taking just an hour or so.
The YU Yuphoria is priced at Rs. 6999. That is an impressive price point, especially considering the specs of the device. Unfortunately, the Yuphoria fails to impress when it comes to actual real-world usage. The phone has decent design and display, and the features and performance of the Cyanogen OS 12 is also quite good. But the phone suffers from poor build quality and attention to detail, touchscreen issues, a fairly mediocre camera and a poor headphone audio quality. Sure, some of these things can be fixed with a software update, but as it stands now, there are too many issues to recommend the phone to someone, especially with better options on the market.