Micromax’s image as a brand is certainly seeing a downfall (for obvious reasons), and trying to create a new one with a different name, they came up with the Yu brand. Yureka, the first smartphone from this new brand comes with two major USPs: 4G LTE connectivity, and the price. It got all the criticism it could, thanks to the dealing between Micromax and Cyanogen (the team behind CyanogenMod, OS running in Yureka). Finally, with the smartphone launched, there are problems with the availability as well. They say good things are hard to get, but is the Yureka really that good for you to get?
The Yu Yureka with a 720p display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor, 2GB RAM and a camera combination of 13MP and 5MP shooters is already a killer deal for the price. Providing a highly customizable ROM is an added advantage, and Micromax seems to have hit the bulls eye with the exclusive deal with Cyanogen team, which even led OnePlus to start working on its own ROM and ditch CyanogenMod for the OnePlus One smartphone in India. It clearly led to an outrage, but in the end, the pricing at which Yureka is being sold for, these things are all negotiable and understandable.
If you didn’t know that already, you are at blame for calling Micromax an Indian smartphone manufacturer, as the company has been always rebranding Chinese phones to sell them in India. Yureka seems no exception, as it is already available in China as Coolpad F2. That doesn’t matter if you are getting what you expected from the device, and it is better to focus on stuff that is important – after-sales support and the long-term usability of the Yureka.
With regards to the build quality, that is one of the areas of concern for me, as I had criticized Yureka for the way it feels in hand. “Cheap plastic Chinese phone” is what I felt when holding the device for the first time, and the fact remains the same even after the usage for about a couple of weeks.
Oddly placed buttons, the back cover pushing itself out on the sides and the speaker placement – all add up to make this device stand far from the best designed budget devices. The volume rocker button is oddly placed, with that being unintentionally pressed whenever I stabilize the device to press the power button. The buttons should have been lowered, or kept on the right side, below the power button.
This could be a personal preference, but I’d rather choose a little heavier phone than this for a 5.5-inch screen, but that is about it. The Yureka does not feel great in hand, but it has got some basic things right – a matte back which doesn’t let the device slip from your hand, and the chrome buttons that are well responsive and good. While the matte finish on the back doesn’t take fingerprints or scratches, smudges are evident and clearly seen when you use it with wet hands or some oily surface is touched upon. And it is then hard to remove those.
The 5.5-inch display on the Yureka, comes with the 720p HD resolution. One of the best displays you get for the price, with the HD resolution. But at the same time, green and blue dominates over the other colors and that makes the picture a bit unnatural.
Sunlight readability is good, as the phone doesn’t come with a reflective screen. There’s adaptive brightness feature, which makes reading a little more easier under the sunlight. The sharpness is good, and the only issue with the color saturation. Viewing angles are decent as well, but not the best out there.
Check this comparison for the screen color output:
The major factor for us to recommend the Yu Yureka would be only the CyanogenMod in it. The OS looks extremely good, responsive and there’s a lot of customization and personalization options included in the CyanogenMod, which is based on Android 4.4.4 KitKat. It isn’t really different from what you see on the OnePlus One as well, but only a few features exclusive for OnePlus are missing here. Not a big deal though, as CyanogenMod is always intuitive and open with options.
More positively, for this price bracket, the user is getting more than what is expected. Themes, full customization of fonts, icons and home screens is possible and if you change the theme to the one on OnePlus One, there is hardly any different you see on the overall layout. As we compare the Yureka with Redmi Note 4G, this CyanogenMod OS was one of the major advantages for us to recommend the former, though latter is the overall winner. The only issue I saw was – swiping on the AOSP keyboard is a bit of struggle. It doesn’t guess the word properly, lots of mistakes.
The camera is not excellent, but is decent enough on daylight. You can check out the Yu Yureka camera review, and read below for our final words about the 13MP shooter of this device. Clearly, it is not only the megapixel count that accounts into quality of the end capture.
So overall, the Yu Yureka’s 13-megapixel rear camera does not a great but still a fine job in capturing pictures in broad daylight, and lightens the subject quite a bit in low light – adding a lot of grains. In both photo and video recording, the zooming in at 6x zoom (the maximum) is with zero details and there is no use of such zooming capability when the end quality is worst.
Performance wise, the Yureka seems to take up load to quite an extent. May that be multitasking or some heavy games, I’ll keep my thoughts limited to performance and not hardware heat-up issue: The device performs perfectly in all ways. There are no lags noticed even after taking photos, editing them a little and sharing them on social networks, and switching back to some other apps. In short, the combination of Snapdragon 615 and CyanogenMod 11 is able to take up the load neatly.
You might have noticed that except for the build quality, we have appreciated Yureka’s other qualities till now. But, the major issues I found during the usage are with the hardware heating up, and with the battery life.
While it got heated up even while browsing the web on data network, that was okay and not something to be worried about. But at the same time, when playing GTA Vice City, the temperature rose up to 46-degree in just about 15 minutes. That is no where near acceptable, taking away all the experience. If the heating on the back wasn’t enough, the screen area on the top as well gets heated a lot. That is what is going to touch the skin while you are talking on the phone, and you would hate that feel.
Second one, the battery. While the 2500 mAh battery cannot called the worst, it deserves the tag for the 11-12 hours of usage possible on full battery when using data network. Though, on the other hand, we see about 20-22 hours usage possible on Wi-Fi and occasional calling and not much of gaming or graphic playing. Don’t rely on this device while you are traveling and keeping the screen on for a long time for social networking. Whenever the device starts getting heated up, battery drain gets faster. A very toned down and optimized performance made the battery last longer, but then, smartphones with a very basic use are a waste of investment.
Battery calibration was pretty bad initially. While inserting the SIM card to set the device up, the battery went down from 90% to 73% suddenly, and then slowly rose to 76%. And while that percentage went up, neither the screen was kept off, nor the device was connected to the charger.
The speaker has a very smooth and non-distorted output, but at the same time, volume output to too low. Lesser than one would have expected, with the placement on the back making it worse. I’m putting a focus on media playing and not calls, because with the latter, it was as good as on most of the devices.
The Wi-Fi reception is superb, and even better than a lot of them in the budget range. We haven’t been able to test data network on 4G (that’s how the coverage in India is, right now), thus limiting it to 3G where the speeds have been great and it is only on 3G when the battery drain is quick.
While the CyanogenMod can be one simple reason why someone would want to purchase this smartphone, it fails with the battery and display. Camera cannot be called poor, as it does the job decently, but when you are selecting a 4G smartphone, you should put your eyes on the battery capacity and actual output as well. When the phone couldn’t last for more than half a day on data network, there are lesser chances for us to recommend the Yureka over the competitors, although Yureka might argue well for some other factors such as the OS, and for the price.
It is obvious that every device has some worthy competitors, and if we are taking connectivity into consideration, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4G is a plain winner (check comparison), and if not, then the Asus ZenFone 5 and Motorola Moto G 2nd Gen as well make themselves count in the similar price range.