Micromax YU - The Yureka moment

Micromax recently announced the first smartphone branded YU (for Yureka) under the newly formed entity - YU. The company has a vision to launch more devices under the YU umbrella. The phone was launched through the exclusive tie-up between Micromax and web shopping giant Amazon India.

Amazon-in_MYU

Amazon India without breaking the latest trends, went ahead with online registration and sales to create demand based supply for the device. As per this model, the e-commerce websites ask the user for the registration of the devices and then make the product available on a particular day at the particular time slot. During this slot, only the registered members can purchase the device and once added to the cart, users only get 15 minutes to make the payment. This has proved successful and helped hike the sales and curiosity for the latest handsets like YU.

The phones of choice during the last year have been the flagships like the Nexus 5 and OnePlus One (reviewed here). The device which fits the comparison battle is OnePlus One, due to the fact that both these run similar custom Android version from CyanogenMod, called CM11. Both YU and OnePlus One are available at different price points, but pack impressive specs.

Hardware & Specifications

YU was announced with groundbreaking hardware specifications. This is the first few devices which holds an Octa-core processor with 64 bit support under the hood. Hopefully this new processor will not be battery hungry, since the battery is only 2500mAh (removable). At this capacity YU’s battery is only a fraction larger than Nexus 5's 2300mAh and way smaller than the OnePlus One's 3100mAh (which is a beast).

The other specs on YU include, a 1.5GHz octa-core processor, 2GB of DDR3 RAM, 5.5" screen, 13 megapixel rear camera capable of shooting HD videos, 5 megapixel distortion free front camera (perfect for the selfie addict people), 8GB internal storage, micro SD support for upto 32GB and is compatible for most 4G LTE bands.

The YU phone packs the impressive specs.

First Hand Experience

The first time you hold the phone after inserting the removable battery, its really light in weight; seems as if YU is on diet. It's a boon to have a dual SIM phone and that too with 3G and 4G compatibility. While 4G in India is still at the nascent stage, the 3G reception on YU was phenomenal, compared to OnePlus One and Nexus 5. I tested the phone's reception in a dark network spot in the city. The YU managed to hold 50% signal, while the Nexus 5 and OnePlus lost the network connection at the same spot.

The sound on YU is mid-level as expected from a device in this segment. YU comes with standard earphones, which has nothing that could make Micromax proud. The quality of the earphones is decent and the output is just about alright.

Camera of YU has similar megapixels as OnePlus One for both the rear @ 13MP and front facing @ 5MP camera. The stock application for camera is the same on both, except for just one tiny little option missing on YU - the Beauty Mode. On OnePlus One, the beauty mode activates with front camera usage (for better selfie shots). The camera does have a problem with focus and grains in pictures (for mostly indoor shots), which needs to be addressed. It supports the time-lapse and slow-motion video modes, which are fantastic. The video mode however, is maxed at 1080P. Packing such great features, even though it lacks the 4K video recording mode, YU is still a great phone at the INR 8,999 price point at carries.

Packaging

The phone arrived in a nice looking brown box, with just the YU branding on top and specification and certifications on the back.

The package also included - removable battery, USB cable, power brick, decent quality earphones and manuals (someone out there still reads them).

Software

Micromax YU is powered by the customised version of Android by CyanogenMod. CyanogenMod has been quite well known for the stock look and powerful customisation it offers for almost all popular devices in the market. It came preinstalled with KitKat version 4.4.4. Initially, the device had some hiccups with the Proximity sensor, which led to the screen going blank when making a call. With a blank screen, there was no way for the user to disconnect the call. Fortunately, Micromax released a small update that resolved this issue

The other customisation options include goodies like the theme manager(allowing to change various aspects like icons, fonts, boot-animation, wallpapers and sounds), double tap-to wake, double tap the status bar to sleep and also a screen recording app.

Just as experienced with OnePlus One, YU uses capacitive navigations buttons — Menu, Home and Back out of the box. The user can switch between capacitative to onscreen navigation buttons. Turning on the onscreen buttons completely disables the capacitive ones, however, there is a marking on the capacitive home button; which stays there as its on the bezel of the phone.

Conclusion

Micromax YU is a promising phone at the price point of INR 8,999. It did market itself well and became popular in the news during controversies when OnePlus One was launched in India. On software front, OnePlus One seems much smoother and enriched, but thats possible on YU also through updates.

For anyone wanting to experience a large screen with stock Android look and still be able to customise it, YU is a great device to begin with. Don't forget to register yourself for the next sale, which happens every Thursday.

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