We have been snowed under with queries about the YU Yuphoria, the second phone in the YU series – after the much-hyped Yureka – which goes on sale today. Well, we could have done a normal routine review, but we felt the sheer quantity of queries merited a different approach. So we have made this review an interview of sorts, based on your queries about the device.

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Let’s get this out of the way straight away – how does the Yuphoria compare with the Yureka?

They are very different devices, really. The Yureka was a larger device with a 5.5 inch display, while the Yuphoria is a more compact one with a 5.0-inch one. In terms of specs too, we would say that the Yuphoria is the junior of the Yureka – it comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 410- processor as compared to the Snapdragon 615 on the Yureka, and has a 8.0-megapixel rear camera as against a 13.0-megapixel one on the Yureka. Of course, it costs about a fifth lesser too – Rs 6,999 as against the Rs 8,999 of the Yureka.

Why is it being called a “Miracle in Metal’?

Well, that comes from the steel frame on which the phone rests. Evidently, making a phone with a major metallic component at this price was considered very difficult, hence the ‘Miracle in Metal’ tagline. To be very fair, it is rare to see a phone with a metal build at this price point – it is mostly plastic territory here. Mind you, the Yuphoria is not all-metal – the back is plastic, but the metallic frame all along its sides gives it a very striking appearance.

So does it look good?

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We had talked about its appearance in our first impressions piece, and we will stick by what we said – it looks very striking, and definitely not like an affordable smartphone. The 5.0-inch display looks jet black when switched off on the front, and unlike the Yureka, which had navigation touch buttons below the display, here the buttons are on the lower part of the display itself, reducing the ‘chin’ of the phone. The all metal sides look great (we had the gold and white model), even though the small black panels inserted in it at the top and the base for the micro USB and the 3.5 mm audio jack can appear odd to some, and probably cheap to others. The metal buttons on the right side look good, but are a trifle oddly arranged, with the display/power button being in between the volume up and down keys (that does take some getting used to).

The starring role on the back is played by the camera which is placed inside a spherical area, which is evidently inspired by the rings of Saturn, and will be a staple feature of all devices in the YU range henceforth. Having a smaller display, it is much more compact than the hand-filling Yureka – it is 142.4 mm long as compared to the 154.8 of the Yureka, and at 143 grammes, feels pleasantly solid.

Yes, it reminds us of the Lumia 830. A lot. But then the Lumia 830 was a very good looking phone, remember? In terms of appearance, the Yuphoria is definitely a cut above the Yureka and we would go as far as to say that it is comfortably the best looking device at this price point.

Beauty is skin deep. What of the hardware inside? Comparable with the Yureka again?

We had said at the very outset that in terms of hardware, the Yuphoria is the junior of the Yureka, as the latter has a better processor (Snapdragon 615 as against the Snapdragon 410 on the Yuphoria) and a better 13.0-megapixel camera as compared to the 8.0-megapixel one on the Yuphoria. That said, the Yuphoria punches well above its weight in the hardware department. Its 5.0-inch display is a 720p one as in the Yureka, but as it is smaller, it actually has a higher pixel density (294 ppi as against 267 ppi on the Yureka). As we have remarked, it is powered by a 64-bit quad core Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor clocked at 1.2 GHz. But where it pulls ahead of a lot of the competition at this price point is by coming with 2 GB RAM and 16 GB onboard storage, which is double of what is generally seen in competing devices (the Lenovo A6000, the Xiaomi Redmi 2, the new Moto E, for instance). The camera at the back is a 8.0-megapixel one and is accompanied by a flash, and there is also a 5.0-megapixel front facing camera. In connectivity terms, this is a dual SIM 4G device, and you have Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS and the usual array of sensors, including a compass, which was missing in the Yureka. The phone has Pure Wolfson Sound for a better audio experience. The battery is a 2230 mAh Lithium Ion one.

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The RAM and the storage for us are massive pluses at this price point, as they pull the device ahead in hardware terms of the likes of the Redmi 2 and the Moto E 4G.

This runs on Cyanogen too, right?

All the phones in the YU line will run on Cyanogen – the YU brand was created for devices that would represent Micromax and Cyanogen’s tie up. The Yuphoria comes with Cyanogen 12, which is based on Android 5.0.2 (Lollipop). This is the first device to come with Cyanogen 12 running on it out of the box.

All right, but how well does it actually work?

The million dollar question (definitely not a Rs 6,999 one, we insist, given the interest in the phone – half a million registrations when we last checked). And the answer is: yes, for the major part, the Yuphoria turns in a very decent performance. Whether it is browsing the Web, checking social networks or playing casual games and messing around with e-mail, the device turns in a very solid performance indeed. But, it is definitely not in the league of the Yureka – we did encounter lags from time to time, especially in the camera and gallery interfaces. And there were times when the device just seemed to heat up a little – not uncomfortably so, but it definitely felt warmer than it should. All said and done, the Yuphoria delivers very solidly on most smartphone performance fronts. It is not a barnstormer by any means, though, with benchmark scores well behind the Yureka. Just do not go crazy multi-tasking, please.

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What about stuff like gaming?

We would call this the one limp in the Yuphoria. Yes, it can handle casual titles like Angry Birds and Cut the Rope very comfortably, but when it comes to the likes of Asphalt and FIFA, the lags creep in. We even saw things slow down a bit when we were editing images on the device. If you are one for high-definition gaming, this is not really your rig, to be brutally honest. It will handle most games, but not all of them will play well.

Does the Pure Wolfson sound make a difference?

Not discernibly on the loudspeaker to be honest, but yes, move to the headphones and the clarity is impressive. We would say that in terms of sound quality, the Yuphoria is a notch above the Yureka. Even call quality seemed a notch better. Yes, we would have liked a louder output on the speakers, but for its price, this is a very good performer.

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And the cameras? How are they?

Well, all said and done, the rear camera is a fair weather friend – it can do a decent job as long as the lights are good, but as they fade, so does its performance. We did not get the sort of detail we got from the Yureka, but in good light conditions and with careful handling, you can get some very decent shots. The front camera is more consistent and we would even say better than the one on the Yureka – selfie fans will love the beautification modes.

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You had mentioned in your first impressions that the battery had seemed a bit on the smaller side. Did this prove to be the case? How is battery life then?

Yes, we had thought that the 2230 mAh battery was a bit on the small side. But our fears have been largely unfounded. Careful use will see you get through a day of normal usage on the Yuphoria. Get into too much gaming and photography, however, and the battery life will slip away much faster. We also did encounter some inconsistencies in battery performance – sometimes battery just seemed to run out a bit faster, but all said and done, you should be able to get through a day. Just don’t leave that portable power bank behind.

The big question: should I buy the Yuphoria?

If you want a good smartphone that costs less than Rs 7,000, we definitely think you should. In terms of sheer performance, it holds its own against others at the same price point, although we do think that the Redmi 2 had a much better camera, the Lenovo A6000 much better sound (those dual speakers!) and hardcore Android fans will swear by pure Android on the Moto E. But all things put together and topped off with the most eye-catching design we have seen at this price point since Asus released the ZenFones last year, we think the Yuphoria is a great option for anyone looking for a good and good-looking smartphone on a tight budget.

Yes, it costs lesser but we need to ask: is this as irresistible a proposition as the Yureka was?

Truth be told, we did not get as pleasant a surprise while using the Yuphoria as we got with the Yureka. And that is because the latter was simply vastly ahead of the competition in terms of the hardware it offered at its price – it still is (you cannot get a Snapdragon 615 processor device at Rs 8,999 even now). The Yuphoria on the other hand comes in the wake of devices like the Redmi 2 which featured a similar processor, so the element of sheer surprise that hit us with the Yureka is not quite there with the Yuphoria. So to answer your question: unlike the Yureka, the Yuphoria does have competition at this price point.

Right, so which of the two is the better option: the Xiaomi Redmi 2 or the Yuphoria? They cost the same…

Ah, that’s another story. Relax, we are writing it. Stay tuned. As of now, we can say that the very fact that the Yuphoria can be named in the same breath as the other two tells you that it gets a lot of things right.

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Associate Editor

Nimish Dubey has been writing for more than a decade now (well, Windows 3.1 was around and Apple was on the verge of being finished when he started). He has been published in a number of publications including The Times of India, Mint, The Economic Times, Mid-Day and Femina on subjects that vary from tech write -ups to book reviews to music album round ups. He managed to interview Michael Schumacher once and write two books for young adults along the way.