Yu Yureka Review | You May Play God
Yu by definition is supposed to mean “you”, which when Micromax decided to launch a new company was intended to make devices more personal for the users. Hence the company chose to go with Cyanogen, even though they decided to procure and rebrand devices like they used to in the past.
But what is Yu intended for? Is it really a way for Micromax to change their company’s brand value and appeal to a younger and much more aware online generation, or is it just a way of seeking vendetta against Micromax’s newest enemies: New Chinese entrants like Xiaomi, OnePlus and even Gionee.
We’re aware of the fact that Micromax is selling the Yu Yureka at a massive loss of Rs. 2000-2500 per handset sold in India. Micromax is buying the hardware for around Rs. 8300 and they are paying Cyanogen royalties, apart from the massive one time exclusivity deal they did with the company before launch, which led to the temporary ban of the OnePlus One in India. Not to mention import duties, shipping, Amazon’s fee etc.
Micromax also got the YU into the limelight by playing politics and getting “free media controversy” over the ban of the OnePlus One sale in India.
After all that, the Yu Yureka will sell for Rs. 8999 on 13th of January 2015, and our review will tell you whether or not you should be getting in line to get this device.
In terms of hardware the Yureka is pretty great, in fact the closest devices in terms of hardware cost double and don’t feature the same performance standards as the Yureka. Cameras are a high 13 MP and 5 MP combination, which does work well.
Over at the front, garnering a great amount of resolution, is the 1280 x 720p display in all its 5.5-inch glory. The display is bright and easily visible outdoors. On the inside is the intriguing Snapdragon 615 CPU + Adreno 405 GPU combination which fails to satisfy us, although, for the price you couldn’t ask for much more.
The Phone supports USB OTG, with the use of a micro USB to USB adapter (which is not included). Interesting to note, is that the USB storage shows up, but you need third party filing software to access it. Apps cannot be moved to the SD card, not in the handset’s current software layout. So you are stuck with about 11-12 GB of space for Apps, which is a serious let down.
|Display||5.5 inch IPS LCD
Gorilla Glass 3
|Storage||16 GB – (12 GB free)|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 615|
|Front Camera||5 MP|
|Rear Camera||13 MP|
|Price (Click for Updated Pricing)||Rs. 8,999|
|Special Features||Cyanogen OS 11|
Build Quality and Design
The thing about buying devices from vendors is that you have no control over build quality. While Micromax has seen some great built phones like the Canvas HD and most of the relative series, we have also seen especially poor phones like the Canvas 4 Plus which was a blatant copy of the iPhone and well, it bent too.
However the Yu Yureka, is not a Micromax product, or atleast that is what they want us to believe, as they elaborately set up new dominions and a new company in an exercise to get rid of their past. Well fret not Micromax, because the Yureka is different in many ways however it’s also the same in many.
The device already exists in other markets with a different name, and Yu plays no real role in the design of the hardware, except probably plastering some logos, and naming the standard black variant the never-heard “MoonStone” finish. (Wow ! Really? ). All new nomenclature aside, the built is pretty good, the finish on the back is no where near the “Sandstone” that you will find on the OnePlus One, however it is clean and well defined and feels great in the hand.
The bezel does not stick up a lot from the edge and this may be a problem for a lot of folks, who drop their phones on the frequent. The front does feature Gorilla Glass 3 so you will get some persistent protection.
Design-wise the phone will not win any awards, but it’s not a poor looker, in fact it can become quite the eye candy. The edges are nice and rounded well and the feel and finish of the product in hand is premium to say the least. Remember this is a Rs. 9,000 product we are talking about, and using words like “premium” is far from our usual banter.
Performance and Gaming
The Yureka is a workhorse in your pocket, and each time something like that appears from a company like Micromax (Sorry “YU”), we recall the toasty Micromax Canvas Knight, which was easily the best product to buy if you were short of a egg frying pan.
The Yureka is not that product. Heck the Yureka is easy to hold in the hands and disperses heat well. The extensive use of plastic also probably aids in the isolation of heat from the hands of the user.
As far as performance is concerned we were elated to see benchmark scores from the Yu Yureka easily match expensive devices for one quarter of the price. However no where near that of Xiaomi Mi3, OnePlus One and the Note 4 as it stands at present.
Games run happy, however the Adreno 405 doesn’t do much justice to high end gaming. The CPU is designed to leverage the 64 bit architecture which will enable better performance in the future and once the whole eco-system runs on it. For now gaming is still good, and blows away most of its present competition.
Network and Battery Life
The Network connectivity is fabulous, signals are strong and voice quality is impressive from the handset. The tower to tower jump is a bit sketchy so you will face call drops on the go.
The brilliant thing is the fact that the handset does LTE based on networks that will eventually launch in India. So for a price of under 10k this is a strong contender if you are looking for a future safe investment. However as many have pointed out, LTE may not be a prerequisite of those aiming for a new device in this price bracket. We say that it’s a fantastic add-on to have, and will aid in better connectivity in the future so why not get the extra benefits. And hey, once you do want LTE, you won’t need to switch phones.
Battery life is average or slightly better than. We saw the handset run a full day, however if you have had a busy day and have been receiving calls on both sim cards you might need to charge, atleast once in the late-evening. That being said we got 5-6 hours of screen on time from the Yu Yureka, which is excellent.
Talk Time : 7-8 Hours.
Music : 10 Hours
Internet Usage : 5.5- 6 Hours
Multimedia and Gaming : 4 Hours.
The Camera like many-a Micromax devices in the past is mostly talk and no real action. The rear camera will impress in outdoor and well lit conditions, images captured and saved are not compressed well, which may be a doing of the build of Cyanogen on the Yureka, thus resulting in unwanted noise on the dark spectrum of the range.
Results are unwieldy in poor or low light situations where sometimes the images are decent while sometimes they are unusable. The shutter is no where as fast as that on the OnePlus One, but the camera app includes almost all the features sans the 4K video capture.
You do get 1080p on the rear camera while the front camera is limited to 720p. The rear camera will also capture double the frame rate i.e. 60fps but only at 720p. Video is decent but tends to be shaky since there are no stabilization features in the handset, electronic or otherwise.
Advantage: Cyanogen’s camera app has the extensive availability of customizations, including filters, face detection features, continuous focus, time lapse all built in.
The display is excellent indoors and outdoors, the resolution of 720p is considered good for the price bracket and the IPS panel significantly improves on the viewing angles. Touch response is commendable and the color reproduction is good as well.
The speakers are tiny and quiet, sort of muffled, as if there might be a piece of tape on the inside, left by mistake (we checked and there isn’t any.) The speaker is just not loud enough and that is something most buyers will have to look past. The included earphones are usable but will not enhance the audio in any way. The audio output from the headphone jack is loud and rightly mixed, when tied with good quality headphones. The headphones we tried the Yureka with cost several times more than the handset itself. However, feel free to use your own favorite pair, and they should work just as well.
We saw it simply laid out when we were extensively testing the OnePlus One, the reason why that device rocked all the mobile lovers’ world was the right mix of hardware and software at that price. Yu Yureka is attempting to do that at half the price and in our opinion it is winning. The handset and UI is buttery smooth; you glide and slide through windows and apps, withough much ado. The mix of a very well developed build of Android “Cyanogen” the hardware, including all 2 GB of Random Access Memory, is working in sync with the software.
Cyanogen is one of, if not the only, largest developer supported builds of Android, and it’s only growing by the day. The Cyanogen team has shown promise with their builds in the past and they showed excellence with the OnePlus One.
The Yu Yureka does not fall short of the experience, and offers all the same customizations, albeit lacking a few of the features that for the time remain restricted to the OnePlus handsets, like gesture actions and quick launching shortcuts which can be easily enabled.
The image compression is not that great, however the front camera images are saved in a less noisy format when compared to similar images from the OnePlus One, which may be a definite win. (Selfie Time!)
YU forums will also help the company deal with everyday problems by letting people discuss their issues amongst each other, help in bug detection and elimination. And build a cult around the device which will enable future loyalty towards the brand.
Despite numerous efforts from our Northerly neighbors and companies like Xiaomi and OnePlus, with their “flash sale” systems and invite-only buying options, the Indian powerhouse Micromax has shown us that they are still the king in their own domain. However, and a big doubt here, the phone is being sold for a loss, and that too a major one, only to piss off the competition. Only to win back the market share that they have been losing. All this without hurting their current partners and networks.
If Micromax was to sell ‘online only’ devices which would be available exclusively through select Online E-commerce websites, the company would seriously jeopardize its retail network, ensuring a boycott of the brand and a loss of a strong foothold in non-online markets, which is still a large chunk (over 80 % believe it or not). Micromax tried it with the Nitro and faced huge backlash.
So how does Micromax deal with the threat of new “cheaper”- “Online Exclusive” brands without hurting its strong retail market presence. Simple : Lets form a new company! Hence, YU is born. It solves the problem for Micromax on many levels; it makes the parent company more viable for investors. It can build better trust for its customers from the get go (unlike Micromax and its service fiasco) and it can keep the competition at bay, all this without hurting the Micromax Retail network : Win Win! Right?
Let’s talk about the handset, like many other handsets in the past, the Yu Yureka is excellent for the time it has been launched in, and for the price it has been launched at. The Yureka looks impressive, is built well, performs efficiently while delivering good network capabilities and better than acceptable battery life. All this while being future proof for India – with the LTE capabilities and all that it promises under the hood and inside of the glamorous package.
But there are a lot of future promises that will help us determine the real fate of this handset. A lot of Questions still need answering – Will it really get software updates? Will the company remove its loss margin and add a profit margin after selling a lakh or two handsets? Will Indian people buy into the forum culture the same way the Chinese, American and European have?
Yu Yureka comes with door delivery service and support. Will it be possible for Micromax/Yu to cater to the large numbers, if there are problems with the handset?
We do not know the answer to so many questions, what we do know is that the Yu may be one of the best devices to get under the Rs. 10,000 price bracket. And that too, without causing much worry to the buyer. If you are not looking into developer options and don’t care much for the extra frills, then at this price the Yu Yureka becomes the undefeated champion without entering the ring officially.
The handset has the potential to set a record, a benchmark of sorts for India, something that will show on a Global scale that our country and its manufacturers can match up to global standards. We said it before, if anyone could do it it was Micromax! But can they?
The ball is in your court : YU! the world awaits. While India waits in line to buy your handset.
Yu Yureka : The Full Review Video
- Great Build
- Excellent Battery
- Looks Good
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- Bad Battery
- Customer Support