- 5-inch 720p display
- Cyanogen OS 12
- 2GB of RAM
- 4G LTE support
- Customizable look and settings
- 4G LTE support
- Rapid charging supported
- Online-only purchase
- Buggy Brightness settings
- Heating issues
Last year, the branded Chinese phone manufacturers set themselves up in competition against the local Indian players. Micromax was quick to retaliate, and their response was to launch an online-only mode of selling handsets under the brand Yu Televentures. Their first smartphone, Yu Yureka did phenomenally well and following its success, Yu has been constantly throwing jabs at Xiaomi, and that too, especially just before the launch of its latest smartphone - Yu Yuphoria. With Yuphoria, Yu has come up with a phone which attempts to address the demands of users - right from crowd-sourcing the name, to incorporating the most popular features in the device. Moreover, the device which is pre-loaded with Cyanogen OS 12 and priced at Rs. 6,999, is ideal for those on a tight budget. We got our hands on a Yuphoria pre-retail unit and here’s what we think of this device.
In terms of design, Yuphoria comes with two options : Buffed steel with black rear panel or Champagne gold with white rear panel. We reviewed the latter one. The use of metal in a budget device had been heavily bragged about at the phone’s launch. Indeed, Yuphoria does place two equal pieces of carefully crafted metallic frames together. However, these metal frames are linked together with a piece of plastic shell at the top and the bottom centre of the phone. We weren’t impressed with this look, and in our opinion, YU should have either kept a full metal frame or used a better quality of plastic atop the audio port at the top and the microUSB port at the bottom. However, the lightly anodized metal frames offer a firm grip than the glossy plastic ones.Thankfully there are no capacitive buttons at the chin of the device.
From behind, the phone has an uncanny resemblance to the Microsoft Lumia 830, but without the metallic ‘Saturn Ring’ around the camera lens, that breaks just for the LED flash. The rear panel however, creaks and leaves gaps which are misaligned with the metal frame. There is no crevice on the panel, into which you can dig your fingernails to pull out the battery, so you have to be careful while you’re at it. The earpiece rests on the top with a proximity sensor to the extreme right and a front facing camera to the left. On the right are the Volume rocker keys and the Power/Sleep button is placed in the centre. The speaker mesh rests just under the YU logo at the rear. The removable 2,230 mAh battery, a micro SD card slot and two SIM slots rest under the plastic panel. A microphone is situated towards the right edge of the chin, while a secondary one rests on top of the Saturn Ring. In terms of physical dimensions, the Yuphoria is 9.35 mm thick and weighs 143 grams, which is mostly due to the heavy metal frames. Overall, the Yuphoria’s design is quite comfortable for a budget device.
Yu’s Yuphoria features a 5-inch IPS LCD display with a 720x1280 pixel resolution and gives 294 PPI pixel density. The screen comes with a laminated glass coating and is protected by Corning’s Gorilla Glass 3 technology, which prevents the display from scratches. The sharpness and brightness in this device, is quite amazing for a smartphone in this budget price segment. However, the auto brightness and the adaptive brightness settings tend to give some trouble. For instance, when the brightness is reduced to the minimum and the adaptive brightness is switched off, the screen goes to sleep and doesn’t wake up even after several attempts. Moreover, you need to set the brightness levels at maximum to make the UI and the text legible in sunlight.
Under the hood, the Yuphoria is powered by a 64-bit quad-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 MSM8919 mobile chipset anchored with Adreno 306 GPU for graphics along with 2GB of RAM. This specification of hardware components gives an overall smooth experience while using the device. With 2GB of RAM, Yuphoria moves slightly ahead of its closest rivals - the Motorola Moto E (Second Gen) and Xiaomi Redmi 2 (8GB storage model). Roughly 11GB on-board storage out of 16GB, is available to the user to store apps and other data. Being a dual-SIM handset, the Yuphoria supports a 4G LTE SIM card in one slot and a 3G/2G SIM card in the other. Yuphoria supports FDD-LTE 1800MHz (Band 3) and TDD-LTE 2300MHz (Band 30) in India. The standard Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n support enables a faster mobile web experience whereas Bluetooth 4.0 enables a faster file transfer. The GPS chip with A-GPS support aids in more accurate location mapping. At its price point, Yuphoria offers an extremely competitive hardware, sure to challenge other phones.
Right after publicly mocking Xiaomi, Yuphoria introduced the Cyanogen OS 12, which is based on the Android 5.0.2 Lollipop code, and brought the richness of the Material Design language alongside pleasing animations. In this device, the Google Now Launcher has been repackaged as Launcher3. The App Themer, is a system-wide customisation app that lets you personalise the look and feel of the user interface till the individual apps level.
The YUniverse is a customized version of the Opera Mobile 27 mobile web browser and comes in handy when you want to save mobile data charges. There is hardly any bloatware app on the phone, thereby allowing you to have the maximum possible storage for other apps and multimedia. With the Settings app, you can personalize several aspects of the phone such as notifications, notifications drawer, lock screen, software buttons, user and system profiles and so on. The Audio FX app works as the sound equalizer to customize settings for a desired output with the Google Music app since there is no native Music player.
Video playback capability is included in the Gallery app, and is powered by NuPlayer. Screencast is a nifty app for recording a video of the Android screen along with audio. The double tap to wake up and sleep is a nifty feature which allows you to view notifications easily rather than pressing the Sleep key multiple times. Overall, the phone offers great theming capabilities, minimal number of core apps, and nifty customisation features that are enough to spoil the average Indian.
Frankly speaking, we didn’t have high expectations from the 8 megapixel rear camera, which comprises of the OmniVision OV8865 image sensor supporting the f/2.2 aperture. The camera also has a 4P Lens (four plastic lens) to aid in capturing decent quality images along with autofocus and one LED flash. However, for a budget-level device, the camera app is quite advanced, since it offers a variety of real-time filters. These same set of filters are available with the front facing 5-megapixel camera as well. Images clicked outdoors during the day are decent and give closer to natural colours, which are not always in HDR mode.
You can gain more control over the exposure by using the Google Camera app. However, the LED flash doesn’t work too well indoors and during low-light. Quite some noise creeps into the indoor shots with artificial lights and you would be better off avoiding pictures altogether in low-light. The camera works well in ample daylight outdoors for still images. The Settings app provides a lot of control and features - right from the adjusting the ISO sensitivity to assigning shortcut keys for zoom. Video recording has a full 1080p HD video recording support in both rear and front cameras.
There is a Slow Motion at High Frame Rate (60 frames per second) mode to let you experiment with cool videos but this is possible only in 720p HD resolution. Moreover, you also get to choose the video codec format before shooting the video. Autofocus struggles a bit with videos. Overall, the camera app is more or less the same as the one used in Yureka, but the actual output falls short of expectations.
Yu packs no native music player in the Yuphoria, so you’re stuck with the Google Music player which is meant to be used along with the AudioFX sound equalization app. Take out time to play around with the AudioFX app to adjust the settings. For video playback, the NuPlayer in the gallery does a fine job of playing up to 720p HD video files. The loudspeaker allows you to watch videos with good sound quality. Even a YouTube app could play videos up to 720p HD resolution. The IPS Panel and the good viewing angles on this device, make the videos fun to watch when you hold the phone at a decent distance.
Performance-wise, Yu’s Yuphoria raises a lot of expectations since it comes loaded with heavily customizable software on a stellar hardware.The Snapdragon 410 processor along with 2GB of RAM allows you to launch apps and multi-task with ease, giving the phone an edge over its rivals. However, this ‘miracle in metal’ device tends to heat up quickly, especially the top part of the metal frame. The rear panel’s upper side got really hot when using the Wi-Fi network to download apps, while gaming and while running benchmarks. Moreover, the phone tended to heat up even when the Wi-Fi was switched on and the phone wasn’t connected to any network.
Besides this, the phone also stutters and works sluggishly when you use basic functions. For instance, the default keyboard supports swipe gestures for inputs but misses out on letters quite often when a word is added. So, I was forced to use the Google Keyboard app but despite this, the phone continued to work sluggishly. Also, if you haven’t integrated Truecaller in the dialer app, then your phone is likely to slow down a tad bit when making a call or hanging up on one.
While testing the 4G LTE performance, we observed that the speed tests were fine but the read-write speed of the apps being downloaded was not up to the mark. The voice call quality is quite average through the earpiece, which also got heated up if the call lasted for more than a couple of minutes. The phone has a Cirrus Logic Wolfs Audio chip, which delivers a clear, crisp sound output as opposed to the blaring loudness in the regular budget phones. The audio output through the back speaker is splendid as long as the audio level is set to 80 percent, however, beyond that, the distortion becomes obvious.
The audio sounds flat on the headphones, and increasing the volume only makes it louder, keeping the details still muffled. The AudioFX settings too, couldn’t help better the sound. The true potential of the Wolfson chip, however, remains untapped and the performance is under-expectation. Gaming is fun, from the most casual to recent titles (without demanding graphics) and least amount of frame drops. We would recommend early buyers to stick to casual gaming on this device to be able to sustain the battery life with minimum heating issues.
Packing a 2,230 mAh removable battery, this phone’s ‘claim to fame’ feature is its support for QuickCharge 1.0 charging. In several other devices, the Snapdragon 410 delivers power conservation and a fair battery life, thus our expectations for Yuphoria’s battery life, were slightly higher. The phone takes roughly about 40-45 minutes to charge up to 50 percent, and about one and a half hour for a full charge. With a very moderate usage involving making a couple of calls, using social media apps, checking emails, listening to a couple of songs, and playing a casual game, the battery lasts just until night. In case of heavy usage, you will have to keep a spare battery or a power bank handy to juice up the drained battery. However, you can always select the relevant Battery usage mode - Power Save, Balanced or Performance, to let the system use the battery charge relevantly. Since the brightness settings with this device are buggy, we observed about 3.5 hours of Screen On time. Just like with its predecessor, Yu’s Yureka, the battery life woes in Yuphoria continue to exist.
On paper, Yu’s Yuphoria - a 5-inch HD display, quad-core mobile chipset with 4G LTE support and 2GB RAM, priced at Rs 6,999 - does look like an interesting deal. In its price range, the Yuphoria competes with the Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen), Xiaomi Redmi 2 and Lenovo A6000 Plus. The major challenge here, however, would be to pick a handset that provides an overall pleasing experience in terms of real-world usage, and not just validates the same on paper. Yuphoria is one such phone right now in the market. However, with necessary software updates, improvements in camera as well as battery life, and alterations in heating issues, the Yuphoria could easily benefit. The heavily bragged build quality and audio chip will underwhelm those who pay attention to detail. A greater battery capacity could have pumped in a few extra hours in the run time. We sincerely hope that a software update for this device is released very soon which might make us want to revisit this smartphone again. However, having said that, the Yuphoria remains a good device for those who would want to experience their first Android phone, youngsters who love themes, and basically anyone with a very limited usage.