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YU Yuphoria full review including (Camera, Performance and Gaming Review)

YU Yuphoria review

- Affordable
- Highly customizable
- Decent performance
Riding on the success of Yureka, YU Televentures, a division of Indian handset maker Micromax, is back with a new value-for-money, budget smartphone. Following the same naming convention, this one's called Yuphoria (the name was crowd sourced) and sports hardware specifications that are inferior compared to its predecessor. At Rs 6,999, the pricing is also lower, and is similar to the likes of the Xiaomi Redmi 2 and Lenovo A6000 Plus. We spent almost two weeks with the Yu Yuphoria to find out if it's the best phone available under Rs 10,000.

Build and design
Unlike the Yureka, the Yuphoria smartphone is not a phablet and features a 5-inch display optimised for one hand use. It's interesting how phone makers are going back to the compact form factor and the phablet revolution appears to be passing fad.

The highlight of the phone is its metal frame which is curved all over and has rounded corners. It sports a smooth matte finish, however, we're not sure if the paint would last long. Our unit was champagne gold with white back but the phone is also available in buffed steel with black back plate.

There are two small bands on both the top and bottom edge of the phone that feature the 3.5mm headset jack and the micro-USB port, and also act as the antenna. The right edge features the three metal buttons - a longish power key sandwiched between the volume rocker keys. The arrangement of the buttons is awkward but they're placed within easy reach, offer good tactile feedback and are pretty responsive.

The back of the phone features a removable plastic panel that fits with the frame with the help of the plastic clamps but we noticed some gap. We've seen this design before in some Nokia Lumia phones including the Lumia 925 and 830. However, the quality of materials is not comparable to that of the Lumias.

The back panel plate hides a removable battery, two micro sim-card slots and a microSD card slot. At the back, you'll also see a ring surrounding the camera lens. It also embeds an LED flash.

There's some YU branding at the back and the front of the Yuphoria phone.

Overall, we feel the YU Yuphoria is a well built phone for its price but the overall fit and finish could have been better.

The front of the phone is dominated by a 5-inch HD IPS display (720x1280p). Yuphoria is one of the few phones in this range to feature Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection.

The display is sharp thanks to the high pixel density though we noticed colour shift when you change the viewing angles horizontally. We also observed that the screen's colour temperature is skewed towards the warmer side and whites have pink tint.

We also found the display to be reflective and this affected the sunlight legibility as the brightness levels are also a little low. Touch response was decent but we noticed an issue with the multi-touch that makes typing a little slow and inaccurate.

YU Yuphoria runs Cyanogen OS 12, a custom aftermarket version of Android 5.0 Lollipop developed by Cyanogen. Cyanogen is known for its customisability, enhanced performance and additional features. The look and feel is very close to stock Android barring a few UI elements, although customization is possible via themes.

Cyanogen OS 12 features an App Themer, Boxer powered Cyanogen Email and Truecaller dialer integration.

App Themer lets you theme select system apps with the help of a floating theme brush. The e-mail app offers advanced swipe actions allowing you to add mails to your to do list or to Evernote in addition to usual mail operations such as archive, move, mark as read, among others. Truedialler integration helps if you use Truecaller to search and identify phone numbers. However, if you can also turn it off if you don't use the service.

The software also lets you sync app and game data through the Baton app (in Beta) but we were not able to use the service since the beta program is not accepting applications.

The other native apps include a File Manager, a Gallery app, Sound recorder and a Screencast app. The Gallery app automatically organizes local and cloud-stored photos arranging them by time (Moments), occasion (Albums) and type (Media). The phone also includes all Google apps.

The phone's software features AudioFX app that offers equaliser presets for the phone's speaker, headset, Bluetooth output and Wireless output. It also offers a custom equalizer setting and additional settings for Bass boost, Surround sound and reverb.

Cyanogen's software also offers advanced privacy and security features including Privacy Guard through which you can prevent apps from accessing your personal data. There's also support for secure messaging through WhisperPush encrypted SMS.However, these messages are supported between devices running Cyanogen and devices that are TextSecure compatible. The Phone app also allows you to block and blacklist phone numbers.

The software offers a high level of customization and lets you tweak the lock screen, status bar and notifications panel as per your liking. You can choose to enable direct access to the quick settings panel by pulling the right edge.

You can also choose program navigation buttons to perform different actions. For instance, you can make the volume rocker keys wake up the device.

This is just the tip of the iceberg and the phone offers customization at every level thanks to the OS. It's also one of the cheapest phones to offer double tap to unlock screen gesture and double tap navigation bar to lock the screen.

In our use we found the UI to be smooth. However, one major bug that we encountered was that the phone becomes unresponsive after you finish a call. You'll need to lock and unlock the phone to fix it.

YU Yuphoria features a 8MP rear camera (f2.2 aperture, capable of 1080p video capture) with LED flash and a 5MP front camera (f2.0) with 86 degree wide angle lens.

It comes with the CyanogenMod Camera app that offers granular settings for controls including size, quality, shutter speed, focus duration, focus mode, and ISO, among others. Vertical swipes change the scene mode while horizontal swipes lets you browse pictures and videos shot with the phone. The app offers Panorama, Burst and HDR modes.

The quality of images captured outdoors, in daylight was above average with decent level of detail, accurate colour reproduction and little noise but at times the images were over exposed.

Low-light shots were not as good and had considerable amount of noise, especially under 100% zoom.

The front camera captures good quality selfies and the Beauty mode really enhances them. It's also good for voice chats.

YU Yuphoria is powered by a 64 bit 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 quad-core chip, Adreno 306 GPU and 2GB DDR3 RAM. The phone has 16GB internal storage expandable up to 128GB via microSD card.

Thanks to Cyanogen OS and 2GB RAM, we did not notice any stutter or lag while launching and switching between apps, editing photos, browsing the web with multiple tabs open, clicking pictures, watching high definition videos or playing casual games. We did notice some frame drops while playing graphics-heavy games like Asphalt 8.

In synthetic benchmarks, the Yuphoria scored 14,762 in Quadrant Standard, 23,588 in AnTuTu, 1439 in Geekbench 3 (Multi-core) and 53.8 in NenaMark 2. The benchmark scores are comparable to that of Lenovo A6000 Plus and Xiaomi Redmi 2. We don't endorse benchmark tests and do not recommend a phone based solely on benchmarks as real world performance is different at times.

We were able to play videos of popular file formats without any hiccups. The sound output through the phone's speaker outlet was decent, however, the sound quality was not great. Also, sound gets muffled when the phone is placed on a soft surface.

In terms of connectivity, the dual-sim phone supports 3G, 4G (CAT 4, including TDD-LTE, Indian 4G bands, both sim card slots), Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 and GPS.

We faced problems while trying to connect to Wi-Fi networks in areas with slightly weaker signal. We were also not able to get a stable GPS signal while navigating via Google Maps in our car and got GPS signal lost warnings. To be honest we've never encountered this issue in the recent past.

Call quality and network reception were acceptable. We were not able to test 4G as our city doesn't have any LTE networks yet.

The comes with a 2230mAh high-density quick charge battery which the company claims delivers 160 hours of standby time and can get a 60% charge in 45 minutes. The supplied charger takes longer to charge the phone and perhaps doesn't support the standard.

With moderate to high usage, including about one to two hours of making calls, playing games, clicking some pictures, listening to music and browsing the web, the phone will last you a full working day (10 to 11 hours with 2-2.5 hours screen on time) even if you put the screen brightness at the maximum level and keep 3G turned on.

At Rs 6,999, is the YU Yuphoria the best budget smartphone you can buy right now? On paper it surely has the best hardware to price ratio but in real world use the situation is slightly different. While the phone offers a highly customisable, smooth software experience, it's plagued by connectivity issues. The display doesn't offer wide viewing angles and the camera is just above average. Perhaps YU will fix some issues with a software upgrade but overall the device doesn't inspire confidence.

Spending almost the same amount, you can buy the Lenovo A6000 Plus which is not fancy looking but is a solid offering. The Xiaomi Redmi 2 is also a good alternative that has a better camera though the software experience is not as smooth.

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