The Yureka, the first phone launched under the YU brandname (which represents the Micromax-Cyanogen tie-up in India), was a runaway hit, selling almost half a million units in India. And while it had many virtues (good hardware, killer price, Cyanogen, et al), one department where it seemed to be on the ordinary side was appearance and design. No, the Yureka was not an eyesore by any means, but it was not a phone designed to attract attention or possess flaunt value.
Its successor is a very different kettle of fish in that regard. Yes, it too has a respectable spec sheet (a 5.0-inch 720p display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor, 2 GB RAM, 16 GB storage, 4G LTE support, 8.0-megapixel and 5.0-megapixel cameras), but unlike its predecessor, the Yuphoria does score in the looks department. No, we would not call its appearance unique – it reminds us very strongly of the Lumia 830 and Lumia 925 at different points- but at its price point (Rs 6,999/$110), it certainly is one of the most striking devices we have seen.
The first thing that you will notice about the Yuphoria is how compact it is. No, it is not as insanely compact as the Xiaomi Mi 4i (which pretty much sets the benchmark in 5.0-inch display devices in that regard), but at 142 mm in length and 73 mm in width, it is still very hand-friendly and at 8.2 mm at its thinnest point is impressively lean. It certainly is much more compact than the Yureka, which was over half a foot long.
One of the reasons for this compact-ness is the fact that Yuphoria comes with a smaller display than the Yureka. YU founder Rahul Sharma had said that the company had opted for a smaller display as it was more comfortable to hold, and the result is that the 5.0-inch display that dominates the front. There is a YU logo right above the display, which is a change from the Yureka, where the YU brand was featured on the back. The blue colour of the earlier YU logo has also been swapped for a more conventional white one. And it certainly looks a whole lot better than its predecessor.
The phone rests on a metal frame, which winds around its sides. A lot was made about this metal in the presentation and the Yuphoria was even branded “a miracle in metal,” and well it does give the device a very distinctive look, one that we had seen in the Lumia 925, curving outwards gently. The whole design ethic is minimalistic, with the left side totally bare, and the right side housing the volume and display/power control buttons – in a rather interesting touch, the power/display key is bang between the volume up and volume down keys (shades of the BlackBerry devices where the audio command button used to be between volume up and down). The top houses the 3.5 mm audio jack which is right in the middle of the frame and in exact line with it on the base is the micro-USB port, and both are encased in black strips, which look good in contrast with the metal around them. The display is a 720p one and unlike in the Yureka, where the touch buttons for navigation had been below the display, here they are on its lower part. The button arrangement too has changed – whereas the Yureka had back, home and menu buttons, here one has a back, home and a recent apps/muti-tasking button hitting which shows running apps.
Flip over the phone on to its back and you would be forgiven for thinking that you are seeing a Lumia 830. The Yuphoria has a similar polycarbonate back panel and most strikingly has a 8.0-megapixel camera that is encased in a black sphere, which is being called the “Saturn rings” pattern and will be seen in other devices in the YU range as well. There is YU branding on the back as well with a speaker grille on the lower part. The back is removable (the cover unfortunately comes with a number of ‘teeth-like’ connectors, which need to be snapped back into place – something that is not always a smooth process, and again something we experienced in the Lumia 830), and under it are two SIM card slots, a micro SD card slot and a 2230 mAh battery, about whose longevity some doubts are beginning to be aired already – the Yureka packed in a 2500 mAh battery, and the Mi 4i comes with a 3120 mAh battery. We will find out just how well it stands up to the rigors of a smartphone life when we review it but on paper we have to concede that it does seem to be a bit on the lower side for a 5.0-inch display phone. It does come with Qualcomm Quick Charge 1.0, which can charge the phone from 0 to 65% in 45 minutes.
The device is available in two color options – white with champagne gold, and black with buffed steel. We got both the colors, and well, the while & gold certainly looks very good, and at 143 grammes, feels reassuringly solid too. The black and buffed steel variant though, has a black plastic piece on top and bottom (where the audio jack and micro USB port reside) which makes it look a bit awkward. Running beneath all this is Cyanogen 12 on top of Android Lolipop, making the Yuphoria the first device to come with Cyanogen 12 out of the box.
It might seem a trifle under-specced in comparison to the Yureka (which had a better processor and a better camera, on paper, as well as a bigger battery), but unlike that device, the Yuphoria is designed to, and will, turn heads. And it shares the most pleasant trait of its predecessor: it does not cost a bomb – Rs 6,999 is the official price. Stay tuned for our review to discover just how much it delivers in terms of performance. As far as looks go, it certainly scores. We know there are those who will say that it reminds them of the Lumias we have mentioned, but considering that neither of those two worthies was an eyesore, that is not a bad thing at all.