YotaPhone: Call Quality and Speaker Quality
A feature often neglected, call quality for the YotaPhone is good but not fantastic. Disappointingly it lacks the clarity and the richness of top-end phones. Calls come out reasonably clear and it doesn’t suffer greatly in busy environments, but it would really benefit from active noise cancellation to help block out exterior ambient noise.
It doesn’t get much better in the loud speaker department. The sole speaker sits below the e-ink display and doesn’t break the mould for smartphone speakers. It’s reasonably loud but lacks clarity at top volumes with some minor distortion. Our advice would be to stick the headphones in if you are planning on watching a video or listening to music.
YotaPhone: Battery Life
The YotaPhone has a 1,800mAh battery which is again below par – even the £135 Moto G has a 2,070mAh battery. Yota made bold claims about the YotaPhone promising 50 hours in reading mode and 85 hours flight mode. That’s sounds impressive, but users are unlikely to just use this for reading.
The aim of including the e-ink display is to take some of the strain off the more power-sapping LCD display but in truth when there’s limited reasons to use the black and white screen, you’ll soon find that the battery life is pretty disappointing.
You can just about squeeze in a day’s use but that’s really pushing it. We had to plug-in the charger pretty much as soon we got home. In more strenuous testing running Netflix continuously on 50% brightness it manages on average 6.5-7 hours.
On a more positive note, it does at least charge quickly. From a fully drained state it actually jumps up 40% from a 30-minute charge and is at full capacity in just over two hours.
Should I buy the YotaPhone?
The YotaPhone is a phone with a really interesting idea but it falls short in the areas it promised to excel. The design isn’t the most exciting, the battery life is far from great and there are simply not enough captivating reasons to swap the LCD display for the E-ink one.
For around the same price as the YotaPhone (£415) you could get a the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact. It has the better specs on most fronts, is waterproof and simply is arguably the best 4.3-inch Android phone available. If you are willing to go bigger, the 5-inch Nexus 5 is still great value at £279 and is so much more sleek than the YotaPhone. Our current budget favourite, the Moto G would even be a great alternative.
If you are truly sold on having a two screen phone, then it might be worth holding out for the YotaPhone 2. The Russian company has already announced the next generation handset with a slimmer, nicer design, a higher resolution screen, quad-core power and crucially, the ability to actually write on and interact with the e-ink screen.
The YotaPhone is a clever two-screen smartphone, but it needs to get a whole lot smarter and more powerful before we’d consider buying one.
How we test phones
We test every mobile phone we review thoroughly. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly and we use the phone as our main device over the review period. We’ll always tell you what we find and we never, ever, accept money to review a product.
Score in detail
Battery Life 5
Calls & Sound 6
Screen Quality 7