Gurgaon-based Micromax used to be in the league of top handset brands in India. But the phone maker came under pressure with the emergence of newcomers from China in the Indian smartphone market. Because of the tough competition from the rivals, the company had to struggle a lot to stay afloat.
To revive its blurred glory, the company is making efforts to make a comeback. Some of the smartphones that it launched recently are compelling enough to help the brand regain the lost top of mind recalls.
While Dual 5, Bharat 2 and Evoke Note are the phones that helped the brand make a comeback, its sub-brand Yu Televentures has launched the next iteration of its most successful smartphone Yureka --Yureka Black.
It’s been long since Yu has released a smartphone. It bets big on the style quotient and comes with a decent hardware package to justify its price. To get a clear picture of it’s value, you can read our review of the Yureka Black.
With tons of smartphones coming up each day we see a monotonous design language, especially in the budget segment. Frankly speaking, most of the smartphones look-alike and we are bored of it. But it’s good to see Micromax taking up the challenge to differentiate itself from the competition and to an extent.
The main highlight of the device is its shiny metal back that looks and feels premium from the moment you hold it in your hand. I was unlikely to accept the fact that a budget device can have such a finish on a metal body, so I couldn’t stop myself from scratching it to peep inside.
Unlike the plastic made phones, this one is solid and has a tough impression. Because of its smooth black polish, it resembles a lot like the Jet Black iPhone 7 knowing the fact that both are made out of different materials. So this definitely makes it a little slippery and prone to fingerprints. It tends to slide down from smooth surfaces and also catches scratches and smudges if you don’t cover it up.
Coming to the ergonomics and aesthetics, the device has a 5.2-inch display that makes it smaller and handier than the 5.5-inch phones. Apart from the slippery surface, the in-hand feel and grip of the phone is pretty handy otherwise. It has silver antennae lines on the back and the camera lens at the centre coupled with the LED flash below it. At the lower back, there’s the Yu logo, which is painted in damp grey and this looks much better than the strikingly flashy logos.
The whole body has a curved feel added to it, be it the sides or the 2.5D curved display on the front. This eliminates the edgy feeling that you get while holding the device.
Yu Yureka Black comes with 5-inch full-HD display that comes with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 to protect it from minor scratches and dents. For a regular user, the display looks nice and the touch performance is also decent. But if you get into the nitty gritty, then you may find the display tuned slightly on the warmer side, which makes it pleasant to eyes but the colours aren’t as accurate as you will find on other competing devices.
The viewing angles of the phone are pretty convincing but there’s a yellowish layer when you are not holding the display up front. It is visible in outdoors but it sometimes becomes a task to read the text when you are out on an extremely sunny day. In terms of whites and blacks, there’s still scope of having deeper blacks on a phone solely focused on colour ‘Black’.
As mentioned, the Yu Yureka Black is a budget device and we don’t expect a lot from its camera. Still, we can make judgements once we compare it with the competition. It’s not the camera you can depend on but it still manages to capture good pictures in camera friendly surroundings. It is hard to come to any conclusion as I found the camera performance to be a little unstable; sometimes its surprisingly good and at times it just upsets you. To be precise, the saturation is too high and sometimes it tones down the picture.
One good thing about the camera is its autofocus, it’s very snappy and accurate. But again when it comes to low-light pictures, the camera stutters and processing slows down. There is visible noise in dim-light pictures but if you have an extra sense of smartphone photography, you can certainly come up with some convincing pictures using the rear camera. Just don’t expect a lot of details.
The front camera is more impressive than the rear camera. You will find it tweaking with your selfies—blemishing and smoothening but it doesn't overdo it like we see on many Chinese smartphones. If you like selfies on iPhones, you’ll probably like it on this phone as well, the details are not sharp and colours may not be accurate but the final picture looks appealing and still far from artificial. Not to forget the front flash, which aids low-light selfies and makes it a good selfie camera.
Apart from the camera hardware, the Yureka Black has a simple looking yet complicated camera interface. By this I mean, the viewfinder is neat and clutter free but it lacks some basic icons like camera toggle and flash. If you want to access these tools, you need to left-swipe and then choose from the available options. Keeping these options on the main screen would have made more sense; although there is a shortcut to toggle cameras by swiping it upwards/downwards but not everyone knows it.
The Yu Yureka Black packs a 3000mAh battery unit, which is seems enough take you through a full day on one charge. Basic usage involving scrolling social feeds, texting, listening to music and 1-2 hours of calling can easily get you more than 12 hours of backup. I was charging my Yureka Black every morning before leaving for office and the 3000mAh battery sailed throughout the day without asking for charge, but on busy days it barely survived with 15% battery left by the night.
Yu doesn’t claim it to be Quick Charge compatible but I was able to charge it in 1 hour 40 minutes, which is decent.
With a Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 processor paired 4GB of RAM, the Yureka Black is a smooth driver for basic tasks. I installed tons of apps and tried to push the limits of this smartphone to see if it fails at a point but to my surprise, the phone did not allow me to complain initially. But after almost a week of usage, I found it slowing down while opening apps like Facebook, Uber and Modern Combat. However, slowing down was occasional and the apps still worked fine. The 4GB RAM is enough for smooth multitasking and run multiple apps in the background.
I tried gaming and realised that Snapdragon 430 is one of the finest budget chipsets to have on your phone right-now. I played high end games like Asphalt 8, NFS No Limits, which the Yureka Black handled quite effortlessly in the beginning but it tends to slow down after prolonged sessions.
The fingerprint sensor is fast but over the time I noticed it failing to scan the fingerprint at once. Also, it takes a little time to unlock the display when the phone is on standby.
The loudspeaker like any other budget phone was loud but only for small closed area. Customers will get a pair of earphones inside the retail box which is of basic quality and produce decent sound. You might want to go for a third party headset if you prefer better quality in-ear audio.
The Yureka Black comes with Android 6.0 Marshmallow with the version of a custom UI on top. Not having an app drawer does not work for me, and I think it makes it look more unmanageable when you have so many apps lying on top. Secondly, the bloatware apps and not so attractive icon packs steal the neatness that one wants on the phone.
A good software appearance is a key to have more customers loving your phone. This is something where Yu can work on, although features like three finger screenshot come very handy at times.
Those who prefer stock Android may not like the way Yu has served the icons but I was happy to see it flowing smooth. But its good to see that Yu has not made unnecessary changes in the settings menu and the notification panel.
At Rs 8,999 the Yureka Black touches the notch of a good comeback product with its uncommon design and a competitive hardware. The phone convinces by offering enough value for money but somewhere its dwarfed by the competition, specifically the Redmi 4 from Xiaomi. There’s no doubt about the design excellence but Redmi 4 takes the lead when it comes to a better battery, software and rear camera.
If you are tired of queuing up for the flash sales and want a phone you can trust and has promising performance packed in a great looking body, the Yureka Black will not disappoint you.