LYF smartphone is a subsidiary of Reliance Retail, famous for launching budget VoLTE phones in India. The brand is fairly popular thanks to being in the news just like the company’s network – Jio. The LYF Water 11 is yet another 4G-enabled budget smartphone from the brand that is priced very competitively at Rs 7,415. Looking at its specs table, it looks very promising and seems like a fair deal for this price. But, is it really worth buying? Well, I’ve been using this smartphone for much longer than I should have and here’s what I think.
LYF Water 11 comes with a metal unibody design with a 5-inch 2.5D screen glass up front and LYF branding on the back. At first glance, it looks good, to some it might even look like a distant cousin of the iPhone 6. Although I wouldn’t call it beautiful, but I think we can settle on with good design but no so good looking material.
The metal back is slightly slippery and may cause you to drop the phone, especially when your palms are sweaty. I did drop it a couple of times, but thanks to the Asahi Glass protection on the top, it survived these drops. So, while the material isn’t premium it is certainly sturdy and well built.
The display is nice to look at and has a balanced colour temperature. Although screen brightness is average under direct sunlight, it is satisfactory indoors. It offers a modest pixel density of 294PPI which is on par with most 5-inch smartphones.
The LYF Water 11 features a 13-megapixel rear camera with LED flash and supports Full HD video recording which looks nice on paper. But in real life, the images appear to be a little desaturated. In low-light conditions, the camera performance was a real bummer and images seem to be full of grains. I’m not a selfie person, and I hate the idea of taking a selfie, so there is nothing to disappoint me here — but for the record, it is a below average performer.
The phone is quite impressive in terms of performance for the price. It is powered by a quad-core MediaTek MT6735A processor clocked at 1.3GHz which multitasks well. The device also houses a whopping 3GB of RAM which is a pleasant surprise considering the price. The phone didn’t show any sign of lag, and I never experienced the RAM getting choked, no matter how many apps I ran simultaneously on the phone. The Water 11 aces in terms of performance and should be on the list for anyone who puts performance on top of the stack while choosing a phone.
The phone also gets ‘HotKnot’, a feature found on MediaTek powered devices which utilizes capacitive touchscreens to enable the exchange of data just like NFC (Near-Field Communication). We tried it with another LYF phone and the results were good but not as impressive as NFC. While sharing a file, it asks for a confirmation and doesn’t work if you just touch the screens of the devices. You first need to select the file and then tap on HotKnot sharing option to transfer it. This confirmation exercise is not needed for NFC and it works just by placing the devices close to each other.
The battery performance is below average and could even be termed poor if it’s on Wi-Fi. The standby time of the device goes south surprisingly quickly while on Wi-Fi, which isn’t expected. It is powered by a 2100mAh battery which usually exhausts in 16-17 hours, failing to last one whole day. The charging time doesn’t help the situation either, as it takes more than 3 hours to charge the device fully.
All LYF phones offer near Stock UI, which is a real plus point here. The Water 11 runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow and interestingly, without bloatware. It runs very smooth and works flawlessly with the Google Now launcher. The phone also features gesture support such as double tap to unlock, tilt to silent, three-point screenshot and two-point adjust volume. The two-point adjust volume does interfere while zooming in when using Google Maps or on an image, so I would recommend against using it. The device also fared well when we played high graphic games. Although it showed some signs of heating, it isn’t something that is out of the ordinary. In typical day-to-day use, the phone doesn’t heat up at all.
This is a dual SIM phone with a single hybrid SIM tray. It supports 4G VoLTE on the first slot while the second one is restricted to 3G and 2G networks only. As far as the network is concerned, the phone managed to hold on to network most of the time. The voice clarity is also fine, and there’s nothing to complain about here. It comes with 16GB of inbuilt storage which can be further expanded up to 32GB with a MicroSD card. As I said earlier, it sports a Hybrid SIM tray, so you have choose between the second SIM or a MicroSD card. Talking about the audio performance, the speaker located at the lower back is loud enough and gives good quality audio output.
The LYF Water 11 will surprise you in terms of performance and multi-tasking. That said, it does have its share of cons that include a sub-par battery life and an average camera. At a price tag of Rs 7,000 – it isn’t exactly a steal but is certainly worth a look among a sea of options. For the same kind of money, the LYF Water 4 is a good alternative and also provides better battery backup.
If you’re looking for an affordable LYF smartphone, read our review of the LYF Flame 8.