Who would have thought that you can sell bucket loads of Smartphones exclusively on e-commerce portal even if the brand is new or unknown to the market? Well, Xiaomi did that successfully and now everyone wants to suit. Micromax inspite of being the second biggest Smartphone vendor in India does have an image deficiency and lacks acceptance at certain segments. To tackle it, the company has carved a new brand sans any mention or influence of Micromax and Yu is born. The master move of course is to tie up with Cyanogen (forget the ugly legal tangle with OnePlus in India) to be the only official Indian OEM to support out-of-the-box Cyanogen OS which is quiet popular amongst the developer community and geeks. It completes the halo on the new brand, giving it enough talking bytes in social media. Then, the new company screamed ‘Yureka’ and the irresistible pricing of Rs 8,999 made sure Yu Yureka had more than 3 lakhs registrations on Amazon for the first flash sale.
The Yureka comes sleekly packaged in recycled paper box reminding of the Xiaomi boxes which again reminded me of the Samsung’s boxes. The box contents is pretty basic stuffs on expected lines – the device, battery, power adapter, USB data cable, earphones and set of documents which are user manual and warranty card.
D&B – The Design and Build quality
When you first hold the Yureka, it is a pleasant feeling. I was using the Redmi Note 4G and when Yureka came, it was a drastic difference on hand, suddenly the 44 grams difference between the Note and Yureka looked more prominent. For a 5.5-inch device at this category, Yureka at 155 gram and 8.8mm thickness is a light weight banter. I am not biased against made-in-plastic bodies if they don’t look cheapo, Yureka with its matte moon dust grey back panel with nice non-glossy texture got the looks for the money one puts into this device and more importantly it also soaks well on the palms. Yu wants to match the OnePlus sandstone back cover, though it does not match the finesse of the OnePlus, hey Yureka is selling at less than half the price of the OnePlus so why compare?!. The build quality is decent enough to put it mildly. If you are a sucker for fine finish, you will also notice that the removable cover tend to protrude along all the sides, if you are used to phones that merge smoothly.
Talking of the buttons and ports, the power button is on the right and the volume rocker occupies the left side. In case, you get a flip case for this phone, accessing the volume rocker will be clumsy affair. The audio jack is positioned on top right and the microUSB port fits into the bottom with a microphone giving it a company. There is also another mic on the rear adjacent to the 13-megapixel camera which also has a LED flash a little below it. A speaker grille adorns the rear bottom and cool blue Yu logo completes the back picture. On the front, you have the 5-megapixel front camera, LED notifications, sensors and a grille.
Yu Yureka sports 5.5-inch HD (720x1280p) IPS display with 80-degree viewing angle. The display also gets Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection to ensure it being scratch-resistant. The display quality is pretty good for a phone in this price range. In spite of packing low pixel density, the display is sharp enough, the colors are vibrant and the screen offers good viewing angles and outdoor visibility.
The Internals – Yu tell me what Yu got within
This is here Yureka really shines. It packs internal stuffs, you don’t normally find in a phone at this price range. First on the boasting list is the the 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 SoC. Then you have Qualcomm’s 8-core processor, with eight Cortex-A54 cores with four clocked at 1.7Ghz and the other set of four clocked at 1GHz. The GPU is Adreno 405 and you also get 2GB of DDR3 RAM, 16GB of internal storage of which 12.8GB is user available. If that is not enough, you also get microSD card expansion. The tech specs is a dream buy for phones in its price range and something that instantly makes Yureka irresistible.
Yureka is a dual SIM phone and it supports Cat4 4G LTE with TDD 2300MHz and FDD 1800MHz bands supported for India. Pop out the rear panel you find a 2500mAh battery, dual micro-SIM slots one that supports 4G LTE and also microSD slot to hike up the storage.
The Software – The Yu differentiator
The USP of the Yu Yureka is the CyanogenMod 11 ROM on the Android 4.4 platform for which it got into ugly legal spat with OnePlus. The exclusive license with Cyanogen makes it the only Smartphone vendor in India to ship CyanogenMod out of the box.
Did you ask what is special about Cyanogen? The simple answer. It offers features hitherto you never experienced in stock Android, though it is forked out of the Android. The OS offers tons of customization options and if you love fiddling with your settings, you will be amazed at the bouquet of options and ease of use. Right from assigning new actions to the capacitive buttons to even housing an on-screen nav bar or tinkering with the grid layout of the homescreen, there are lots you can do. I am not going to list out everything you can do but you can watch our Yu Yureka Tips and Tricks video and you know what I mean when the software is the real deal here.
Yu also has thrown in few of their own stuffs like AudioFx, which lets you customise the audio output and does a good job with it, ScreenCast lets you video record your screen, a customized version of Opera browser that goes by name YUniverse.
Yureka has a dedicated app called Themes, which lets you select themes based on your preferences. In stead of forcing you to stick to design aspects of one theme, you can choose design apsects of different themes like pick lockscreen look of one theme, homescreen of another and so on and custom-make your own look and feel of the phone. Yu is also working on India-specific themes and already has outed a Republic day theme.
With a mighty tech power under the hood, it is expected from Yu to deliver a good performance and it does very well. It easily outclasses its immediate competitors in its price segment notably Redmi Note and even can outwit devices that commands premium. The benchmark scores augur well too. An AnTuTu score in the range of 32K is hard to find at this segment and it is a very good indicator. All this translates positively in real life usages too.
There is no lag whatsoever while using the phone and is evident when playing heavy, resource hungry games. The phone is smooth to operate. Launching apps, switching between them and scrolling performance was quite good.
Call quality is just about OK. The microphone performance was poor. A friend who by now is used to dabbling with various review devices commented that call quality is a little below when I called him up. The loud speaker is another dampener. In a noisy environment, you will struggle to listen if you are playing a game outdoor, you might even miss out the ringing sound.
The bundles in-ear earphones are manageable for casual music listeners. Though, I found the buds a bit clumsy when fitting into my ears.
Apart from the few downsides which are not that much to complain about, Yu Yureka is a stellar performer at all fronts.
Camera – Shoot Yu
The Yureka has a 13 megapixel camera on the back and a 5 megapixel camera on the front. The camera mode is good and easy to use. On the right side is stacked vertically video, camera and panorama capture soft buttons. Placed horizontally on the bottom is toggle for front and rear camera, flash control, and controls to exposure, lighting, beauty mode, timer and geo-location and settings control. The settings give option to fiddle with camera, video and general settings which include exposure, ISO and focus modes. Video setting also has Slo-Mo at 720p and time lapse options. General settings has options to assign actions to volume, power button etc. Swiping up brings various filters as well as HDR mode.
The daylight shots are good with good detailing. It’s easy to shift between various live filters which are just swipe away on the screen. HDR mode is not the strong point. It just seem to increase the saturation level. Shooting in low light is nothing much to talk about. The image lacks detail and is noisy. Yureka supports full HD video capture and the quality of the video shot is good enough.
Battery – Yu enough?
The Yu Yureka comes with a 2500mAh battery which sounds underwhelming for a 5.5-inch display device. It does too. The phone comes with a 1A charger. Since there is no rapid charging, it takes almost 3 hours for full charge and around one hour for 30-35% charge.
Yureka lasts 10-12 hours of regular use under mixed usage of calls and data consumption, though the battery level alarmingly falls when playing intensive games like Asphalt 8 for extended hours.
The final note – Is Yu for You?
An attractive price of INR 8,999 has guaranteed Yureka a flying start and also created a massive social buzz. On a tech scale, Yureka bulldozes all the rivals out there with its hardware specifications that should last for couple of years safely.
Yu delivers good quality display, great overall performance, decent overall camera quality, and good battery life. Even if one has to crib about the just about OK build quality or speaker quality, Yureka smashes all questions raised for the sheer value it offers for the money spent on it.
To cap it, Yu has promised on-site warranty in case anything goes wrong with the phone and also regular updates from Cyanogen for the next two years.
Now, the big question is how many units Yu will be able to bring in to Amazon. Unless it is able to ramp up the volumes, it will not be able to gain traction. With Redmi Note clocking around 50,000 units every week and Lenovo looking good with A6000, it all boils down to the numbers.
Yu Yureka at this price level is pièce de résistance.