Since Reliance launched its telecom venture Jio, the demand for 4G smartphones in India has skyrocketed. This is largely fuelled by the Welcome Offer of Jio that gives unlimited 4G internet & calling for free till 31st December 2016.
People are lining up for phones which support VoLTE, an unknown term until recently. VoLTE, i.e., voice over LTE technology is a protocol being used by Reliance Jio for its network. In VoLTE, voice calls act as data which provides much better voice clarity and noise reduction.
This is where LYF smartphones come in, a subsidiary of Reliance Retail which manufactures affordable smartphones with VoLTE support. The objective of Reliance behind LYF is to provide affordable VoLTE phones to consumers which is compatible with Jio network.
Coming to the point, we have been using the LYF Flame 8 for a while and here is what we think about it!
Design, Display and Build Quality
LYF ships the Flame 8 in a black box with flames on top, for a phone at this price range (Rs 4,000) it is quite attractive. The phone ships with a micro USB cable, a standard 5v charging adapter, a pair of earphones, battery. The device comes with a ‘gel case’ which is quite a welcome addition considering in this price segment. The Flame 8 has a nice looking glossy finish and feels sturdy in terms of build quality.
On the front panel, the Flame 8 sports a 4.5-inch touchscreen display with three capacitive touch buttons at the bottom. The touch buttons below the display are non-illuminative. The screen of the device is built on IPS technology and has a resolution of 854×480 pixels. Above the ear piece speaker at the top on the front panel, you will find a non-functional speaker grill which adds to its looks.
On the left edge, the phone has both the power button and volume rocker which feel a bit uncanny, given we are used to seeing at least the power button on the right side if not all controls. Thanks to”Tap to Wake up” gesture, I didn’t really feel the need to press the power button to wake up the device. On the top of the device, you would find the micro-USB port and a 3.5mm headphone jack. For the ones comparing with an iPhone 7, here, take a point. 😛
The device has a plastic back panel with rear camera and LED flash at top left corner and speaker grill at the bottom. The back panel is removable so is the 2000 mAh battery. The back panel looks a little cheap (maybe because of the creamy colour) but not slippery at all. Even with regular usage, it never slipped out of my hand. Talking about its frame, even though it’s made of plastic, it looks like a metallic frame and quite good. Overall, the device feels good in hands, especially considering the price range!
While the Flame 8 is not as thick as some of the other devices in its price range, the 9.3mm body isn’t the sleekest out there either. You wouldn’t be complaining on this front when compared to other options you have. Though with a weight of 138 gm, it feels little heavier for a 4.5-inch phone and that’s why I call it a “sleek little brick.” 😉
The first thing I do with a smartphone whenever I get one in hand is to open its camera app and click a picture. I did the same with LYF Flame 8 and I’m left with a mixed feeling. First talking about the specs of cameras, the phone features an 8-megapixel rear camera with LED flash and a 5-megapixel front facing camera for selfies. The rear camera is decent enough for this price range, but the front facing camera is disappointing. Overall the camera performance is just average and certainly below the mark in low-light conditions. You may not expect more than this for a 4,000 rupee phone, but at the same time don’t get driven away by the fancy looking 8MP & 5MP figures, they mean nothing when it comes to quality of photos you will click. Here are some samples:
The camera app is quite user-friendly and offers different modes such as beautify, face detection, continuous shots, ZSL, HDR, red eye reductions and much more. The camera settings is accessed by sliding from the left while in the camera app.
Software and Performance
Thanks to the near Stock UI, this is one of the fields where I liked the phone so much. The LYF phones offer pure Android like experience with only a few changes to the Stock UI and some pre-installed apps. Pre-installed apps are of course all the Jio branded apps which include Jio Chat, Jio Money, Jio Beats, Jio Play, Jio XpressNews and Jio OnDemand. The phone also comes with LYF Care for support and NetVelocity app for checking internet speed.
The phone comes with Android 5.1 Lollipop. The device features ‘tap to unlock’ option and also supports gestures which can be customized according to your comfort. Coming to the performance section, the Flame 8 is powered by 1.1GHz quad-core Snapdragon 210 processor paired with 1GB of RAM. With basic uses, the phone doesn’t lag, and even multitasking is quite decent keeping the price segment of the phone in mind.
Out of 1GB RAM, the OS and system apps running in the background takes about 450MB of RAM usage, thus allowing only remaining RAM for a user to run apps. Even with that condition, the phone usually doesn’t run out of memory, which is quite nice.
Talking about the graphics, the normal games like Temple Run, Hill Climb Racing runs totally fine without any issues.
Overall the Flame 8 impressed me on the performance front. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that this is one of the best entry level phones when it comes to the thing that matters most.
The Flame 8 packs in a 2000 mAh battery which provides a decent battery backup. In regular usage, the phone’s battery lasts a full day. Though I haven’t used it with Jio network, if you are in good coverage, the battery life shouldn’t be drastically different even on Jio 4G.
With the 1000mA charger which comes with the device, it takes more than 2 hours to fully charge the battery which can be little frustrating sometimes. But I liked it how the battery percentage doesn’t drop quickly after reaching a level of less than 15%, which is a delight for me.
This device offers you much than what you expect from it. Honestly, I wasn’t much expecting from this device when I first got hold of it, but it has pleasantly surpassed all my expectations. It performed quite well on daily usage, and I’m genuinely amazed at the device considering the price range.
I would definitely recommend it for those first time smartphone buyers who are looking for a 4G enabled smartphone which doesn’t burn a hole in their pocket. It is a dual SIM smartphone priced at just Rs 4,199 and is currently available on Flipkart and Reliance Digital Stores throughout the country. Check its latest VFM score & price.