LYF is no longer an unknown smartphone brand in India thanks to the rigour with which Reliance has promoted Jio and LYF. In fact, a recent analysis done by a research firm Counterpoint Research showed that it is among the top five handset makers in India with a market share of 6.7 percent. At Pricebaba, we have been spending a considerable amount of time with LYF phones these days. If you remember, earlier I reviewed the LYF Water 4, and soon after that review, I decided to give a shot to its sibling — the Water 10 . At the time of writing this review, the Water 10 is priced around Rs 7,500. It has been a couple of weeks since I am using this phone. So let us find out what it is all about and whether it is worth buying or not!
Key specs of the LYF Water 10
- 5-inch (1280 x 720 pixels) IPS LCD Screen, 294 PPI pixel density
- 1.3GHz Octa-Core MediaTek 6753T CPU, Mali-T720 GPU.
- 3GB RAM, 16GB internal memory (expandable up to 64GB).
- 13-megapixel rear with dual-tone LED flash, 5-megapixel front.
- Android 5.1 Lollipop operating system with near-stock UI.
- Connectivity: 3G, 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, microUSB, USB OTG.
- Sensors: Light, Proximity, E-Compass, G-Sensor.
- 2300mAh Li-ion Polymer removable battery.
To get started, this phone comes only in black colour and has a smooth plastic back with a leather-like finish. This material feels soft to touch and offers a good grip, making it comfortable to hold. At first, I was impressed with its design but the back being prone to smudges was a letdown. The Water 10 is a Dual-SIM phone with two micro SIM slots and a dedicated memory card slot. Opening the back cover gives an immediate access to both of them.
I tried my Jio 4G SIM on both the slots and it worked. Hence, it should be noted that both the SIM card slots support 4G connectivity. But the catch here is that only one of them can be on 4G at a time while the other is forced onto the 2G network. Notably, SIM cards are not hot swappable and you will be required to pull the battery out everytime. Thankfully, it is not the case with the microSD card.
The front has an earpiece and a selfie camera. A microUSB port is placed on the top beside a 3.5mm audio jack. It is a very unusual position for a microUSB port since phones normally house a microUSB port on the bottom. There is a mic on the bottom. The right side has a volume rocker and a power button while the left side is totally blank. There is a speaker grill which is situated at the lower back. The front is pretty similar to Yu Yureka.
The screen is fairly decent to look at until you turn it on. I do not intend to exaggerate but every time I turned the screen on, it felt as if a part of my soul died within. Well, there is something horribly wrong with the font of the home screen (and apps) which at times is portrayed in flawed colours, and it hurt my eyes. It used to become extremely painful to read through app name on the screen as well as some of the text inside the apps. However, this may be an issue limited to only my unit, who knows. See the screenshots below:
It features a bright 5-inch screen which retains visibility even under direct sunlight. From what I have experienced, the light colours on the screen are way too brighter than dark ones. Also, there is a backlight bleeding issue which is visible in the bottom of the screen. It causes a distraction while interacting with the screen during indoor conditions.
The screen features 720p HD resolution and is further protected by Dongxu Glass which makes it scratch-resistant. However, the display lacks an oleophobic coating and is prone to fingerprints and smudges. According to the listing on its official website, it supports 5 points multi-touch meaning, users can use up to 5 fingers at a time. However, during my test, I found that the screen did not support multitouch. Surprisingly enough, I was not even able to use pinch for zooming in on pictures or Google Maps.
Powering the LYF Water 10 is an octa-core MediaTek MT6753T processor which is clocked at 1.3GHz and coupled with Mali-T720 GPU for graphics. I played a couple of graphic intensive games such as Asphalt 8 and Modern Combat 5. Both the games ran just fine, without any lag whatsoever which can be considered as a plus point. Overall, I faced no issues with its graphic performance.
It is worth noting that this phone also packs in 3GB of RAM which is really good for the price. The multitasking was good since there were no issues while switching between apps or running too many apps in the background. I ran around 10 apps in the background and yet the RAM did not kill any app. AnTuTu benchmark test score of 36890, which competes with Xiaomi Redmi 3S having 42060 benchmark score.
The phone delivers a limited 16GB internal storage out of which only 9.78GB is accessible to the user. This storage would be sufficient for storing only a limited number of apps, pictures, or songs. Unlike the LYF Water 4, this phone comes with a dedicated microSD card slot which allows storage expansion up to 64GB.
Talking about the camera performance on the Water 10, there is a 13-megapixel rear autofocus snapper with dual-tone LED flash. The camera clicks pretty sharp pictures with good color accuracy in daylight conditions. However, dark or low-light conditions, the camera struggles to focus quickly whereas pictures turn out to be shaky and distorted. The phone records up to 720p HD videos at 30fps (Frames Per Second). I recorded a 1-minute long HD video which turned out to be around 66MB in size.
Taking selfies on this phone is hectic especially when you hold the device using right hand. The reason being, you get two on-screen buttons to record videos and click pictures. None of these buttons are centered. The button to click pictures (including selfies) is slightly at the right side of the screen. As a result, when you try to capture selfies while holding the phone in right hand, your thumb will struggle to reach the button.
If you hold the device in your left hand, the experience will be somewhat better. However, there is no another solution since you cannot even capture selfies using a volume rocker. The 5-megapixel front camera, captures shaky and grainy selfies which are not at all good in terms of quality. In fact, I did not find selfies up to the mark even for social media.
The LYF Water 10 is an average performer when it comes to the battery. It comes with a charger having 5V 1A rating which takes around three and a half hours to charge completely. The phone can last easily a day with minimal usage. With a moderate to heavy usage, it will last less than a day i.e. 16-18 hours depending upon your usage.
Coming to the software, this phone is based on Android 5.1 Lollipop operating system. It runs on near stock user interface, which is a good thing. This phone has no bloatware. Meaning, it is free from any unwanted apps which users do not wish to use and cannot always uninstall.
One of the most important factors, where most of the LYF phones fall behind, is a fingerprint scanner. Similar to Water 4, the Water 10 also lacks a fingerprint scanner. This is surprising considering the fact that cheaper phones feature a fingerprint scanner these days.
No issues were noted in terms of audio and calling performance during my review. In terms of call quality, the audio was loud enough for my usage. However, the speaker placed at the back is not that loud.
The LYF Water 10 lacks Android 6.0 Marshmallow and Full HD video recording support. Apart from the multitasking and graphics performance, there aren’t much reasons to spend your hard-earned cash on this phone. If you are looking for a better option, take a look at the Coolpad Note 2.5D which costs Rs 6,999.