LYF Water 2 unboxing and first impressions: the promise of free-flow 4G connectivity

“The LYF Water 2 could be a compelling option if it’s bundled along with JIO’s free data offer”

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Reliance JIO Infocomm is the only telecom operator which has received a license for operating 4G pan India, but while the conglomerate is rolling out its services gradually, it’s also introducing its own range of smartphones to work with its services. Launched under LYF branding, the company has soon expanded the series to as many as six devices, priced between Rs 5,000 and going all the way up to Rs 20,000. Today we have the mid-tier LYF Water 2 with us, and while we will take it through the paces over the coming days, let’s quickly take a look at its box contents along with giving you our hands-on impressions.

The LYF Water 2 comes wrapped in a minimal and compact rectangular retail pack. The front lid only has LYF branding, while the back offers the key specifications of the mobile. Prying the cover open reveals the smartphone, which looks quite classy in white. Underneath the tray, you’ll get the documentation in the form of a warranty card and a quick start guide along with two small boxes. One of them holds the wired headset, a micro-USB cable and an SIM-ejection tool while the other box has a wall charger rated at 1A.

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A head turner.. that’s how we will describe our first impressions about the LYF Water 2. The fascia on the white unit looks gorgeous with the display panel being the centrepiece. There isn’t much to disturb the uniformity barring an earpiece, a front-facing shooter and a couple of sensors above, and a circular home button below. The two navigation keys light up only when the display is turned on, with the left one being used to return to the previous screen, while the right button letting you access options or recently-opened apps (you can change the layout from settings). The home button also doubles as a breathing light for notifications, which looks cool with its blue colour.

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The phone is extremely lightweight at 135g, and it’s slim too with its frame measuring 7.7mm. Thanks to a compact 5-inch display, the LYF Water 2 can be held and used with one hand comfortably. The device features a unibody construction, and the sleek build quality adds to its looks. The back panel is made of plastic but seems premium with a smooth metallic finish in grey. The primary camera is available towards the top left along with the LED flash, while a speaker mesh is available towards the bottom.

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Both the power button and the volume rocker are available on the right spine, whereas the left edge sports two ejectable trays. The first one offers two slots for inserting SIM cards of micro-SIM type, while the second one is a storage expansion slot.

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The 5-inch display on the Water 2 features a resolution of 1,280 x 720 pixels. With the pixel density of 294ppi, the IPS screen offers sharp text and the colours also seem to be reproduced quite well. Sadly, the 2.5D glass is a bit of a fingerprint magnet.

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Under the hood beats an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 616 CPU. The chipset comprises a quad-core processor clocked at 1.5GHz, while four low-power cores are tuned at 1GHz. For rendering graphics, the processor offers Adreno 405 GPU. Multitasking is taken care of by 2GB of RAM. During our time with the handset, it didn’t show any traces of lag and was able to handle navigation and quick opening / closing of apps quite well. In the storage department, the LYF Water 2 ships with 16GB of memory on board, out of which approx. 10.5GB is available to the end user. You can extend it further by adding a microSD card.

LYF Water 2 screenshot (1) LYF Water 2 screenshot (2)

On software side of things, the phone comes with the old 5.0 Lollipop build. The UI is customised with all the apps placed on the homescreen itself. There are a lot of apps preinstalled on the Water 2, including Touchpal, AliveShare, WPS Office, etc. Some apps come from JIO family itself such as Jio Chat, JioMoney, Jio Mags, and NetVelocity among others.

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The 13-megapixel sensor at the back is accompanied by an LED flash and seems satisfactory for your photography needs. For selfies, there’s a 5MP snapper at the front. The camera interface is minimal and only offers you various effects, but there’s an expert mode as well, which lets you control different settings like ISO, exposure, etc. 

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Connectivity is an important aspect of the LYF Water 2, with its primary SIM supporting 4G networks (both 2,300MHz and 1,800MHz bands) and VoLTE, while the secondary SIM supporting 2G networks. Other options for hooking up include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS.

Juicing up the LYF Water 2 is a non-removable 2,400mAh battery, which should ensure that the mobile lasts a day, if not more.

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The LYF Water 2 is available to buy around Rs 13,000 and seems like a decent offering. Its specs are average, and the phone gets beaten by the likes of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (review) and the newly-launched Lenovo ZUK Z1 (first impressions). However, the phone could become a compelling option if it’s bundled along with JIO offers on the lines of the just-opened invite system, which gives users unlimited 4G data, 1,500 voice minutes and 9,000 SMS free every month for a period of three months.

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Photos by Raj Rout

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