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LYF Water 4 Review: Non-Expandable Storage Is A Bummer

Since the advent of Jio’s disruptive offers, the need for 4G VoLTE phones has consistently been on the rise. If you are a regular Pricebaba reader, you will be mindful of the number of 4G VoLTE devices that are launching in India these days. Ever wondered what’s so fancy with the term VoLTE or Voice Over Long Term Evolution. It’s not a spell from Harry Potter, but the muggle-world protocol which makes voice calling over a 4G LTE network possible.

Keeping this in mind, LYF — Reliance’s own division which sells affordable 4G VoLTE-enabled smartphones emerged. Recently, I got a chance to explore the LYF Water 4. I have been using this device for over two weeks and based on my experience, I am going to share what I think about this smartphone. Before going ahead, let’s quickly take a look at some of its key features and technical specifications:

  • 5-inch IPS display with 1280 x 720 pixels resolution.
  • 1.2GHz 64-Bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 quad-core processor.
  • 2GB RAM with 16GB ROM (no storage expandability).
  • Dual-SIM (Micro + Micro).
  • 13MP rear camera with flash.
  • 5MP front camera.
  • 4G VoLTE / WiFi / Bluetooth 4.0.
  • 2920mAh non-removable battery.

Hardware Overview

The LYF Water 4 comes in a white cardboard box which has the LYF branding on top. The packaging is pretty simple, unlike the one we have seen for the LYF Flame 8. The company also packs in a microUSB to USB cable, a 5V travel charger, in-ear headphones, a SIM removal tool, a warranty card, and a quick start guide. This phone carries a sleek unibody design with silver metallic finish and textured back, offering a firm grip.

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The phone weighs 138.5 grams and is slim at 7mm, which feels pretty thin for one-handed use. It also packs in a non-removable battery which is large considering the overall size of the phone, resulting in an additional weight. There are no physical buttons on the front as it features a usual set of backlit capacitive buttons to perform the tasks. At the top, there is a standard 3.5mm audio jack to plug in your headphones.

There are a microUSB 2.0 port and a primary microphone on the bottom. The right side houses a volume rocker and a power button. The left side, however, is pretty much empty as it just has a SIM card tray. Right above the display, the device features an earpiece, proximity sensor, and a 5-megapixel selfie shooter. The back carries a 13-megapixel primary camera as well as a LED flash.

Display, Battery Life, Connectivity

Talking about the display, the LYF Water 4 sports a 5-inch touchscreen which supports up to 5 point multi-touch. Meaning, at a time five fingers can be operational on the screen. The screen is built on IPS technology that features 1280 x 720 pixels HD resolution and 294 PPI pixel density. You may need to clean the screen quite often since it is prone to fingerprints and smudges. The brightness is poor under direct sunlight, resulting in a lack of visibility. The phone is also backed by an ambient light sensor so that it can automatically adjust the brightness level depending upon a lighting condition around the device.

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In terms of battery capacity, the LYF Water 4 packs in a 2920mAh of a battery which is not user replaceable. The company claims it to deliver up to 15 hours of talk time on 4G as well as up to 290 hours of standby time. In my average daily use, the battery backup was sufficient enough to last all day long. I also observed that the phone takes around 3 hours to charge completely and can last a whole day with a moderate use.

During my 15 minutes of continuous Asphalt 8 gaming, the battery dropped 5%. If you do not tend to perform a huge amount of graphic-intensive tasks or gaming, the battery should last a day, easily.

Software Overview, Performance

Upon booting the device for the first time, I was relieved to see it running near stock interface on top of Android 5.0 Lollipop operating system. It features a limited 16GB of non-expandable storage. I ended up having around 12GB of storage upon booting the device for the first time. Interestingly, the phone doesn’t have any bloatware to burden the phone’s limited storage capacity any further.

I played a couple of graphic-intensive games such as Asphalt 8: Airborne and Modern Combat 5: Blackout. Both the games ran just fine and there was nothing much to complain about. As far as the audio performance is concerned, the speaker which is situated at the lower back is loud enough to produce a good-quality audio output.

Also, I faced no issues with the call quality. The audio was loud enough, resulting in a good-quality experience.

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Camera

The Water 4 has a 13-megapixel rear autofocus camera with LED flash, which produces fairly decent pictures in daylight conditions. It also houses a 5-megapixel front camera, making it a good selfie phone. Both the cameras support HDR mode. Interestingly, the camera interface has different creative modes and artistic filters to improve the quality of your overall camera experience.

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Some other camera features include burst mode, digital zoom, face detection, geo-tagging, gesture shot, HDR capture, panorama, smile detection, and touch focus. The camera interface can also configure ISO level, exposure, white balance, and red-eye level. I also observed that shutter speed is OK and the output produced by the camera is decent.

I observed that color accuracy was highly inconsistent and mostly dependent upon objects the camera was focusing. See the difference yourself, below:

You can easily spot the difference between these two images. The one on the left has fairly accurate colors whereas the one on the right looks as if some filters or effects were applied.

More Camera Samples

Conclusion

The Lyf Water 4 is a good option for those looking to buy a budget 4G VoLTE-enabled Android phone. It has decent specs that are essential to get most of the work done. Even though the phone lacks storage expandability, it delivers a good battery backup. If you are ready to compromise on the storage front, the LYF Water 4 can be an ideal choice. The phone is currently available at Rs 7,499 in India.

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Tanmay Patange

Associate Editor at Pricebaba, Tanmay is working in the tech writing and content industry since 2011. He closely follows all trends and developments across the Tech world and admires fearless journalism. Follow him on Twitter at @techtsp.

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